Blog, Feature

Urban Lee Ridings and “Who Lives Alone?”

Recently I was going through a folder I’ve held onto over the years, which has some of the poems I wrote the old-fashioned way, with a piece of paper and a pencil or pen, along with some similar keepsakes. Among the other pieces in the collection, my mother is a major contributor. She has always had a great way of giving things that feel special enough to make me want to keep them forever. Read more


June 9, 1984: Dedication, from Mom

From Mom, June 6, 1984, my high school graduation day.

Throughout our lives, my brother and I have enjoyed the wealth of blessings that come from having a mother who is extremely nurturing, strong of heart, spirit and mind, and uniquely powerful as a communicator, mentor, friend and survivor. Today is her last day at work, where she is effectively graduating into retirement, and Scott and I are joined by many others in our extended family in feeling extremely proud and joyful, knowing how hard she has worked for such a long time to get to this moment in life, the epitomy of dedication, perseverance and responsibility. To give you a sense of her graceful ability to share touching words which have put our most precious life moments into profound perspective — which is something she’s done consistently throughout our lives — I’m sharing the letter she wrote for me on my high school graduation day, over 25 years ago.

Mom, you are such an inspiration, such a wonderful friend and guide. You are a blessing, in every sense of the word, and as you move into phase-next of your life, we wish you all the things you have wished for us, in spades. Enjoy!


July 8, 1985: Ask and Receive

I still clearly remember the time, place, circumstances, and even the paper that I wrote on, when I penned the following short poem over 24 years ago. I was headed to Champaign, Illinois, to complete the technical school component of my initial U.S. Air Force training. It was my first real freedom since my last previous airplane rides had delivered me from Orlando into Houston into San Antonio, whereupon my basic training promptly began. I recall finding it odd that I was scheduled to arrive on a Friday afternoon… but it was worse than I could have imagined. Read more


August 27, 2009: For Aunt Max

Circa 1985, Roger, Maxine and Bud.

Circa 1985, Roger, Maxine and Bud.

I learned today of the passing of my Aunt Maxine Ridings.  Talking about her with my mom this evening, one of the things that came up was how she has just always been part of our family, forever.  Also, for her nieces and nephews, Read more


August 14, 1997: Not Tonight

“Not Tonight”

by Roger Darnell

The things I find entertaining aren’t things I can write about.

I like to imagine stories about our cat, taming her world,

unafraid and attitudinal, eccentric and, well, beautiful. 

Our other cat inspires her own happy go lucky devil-may-care

cavalier and friendly tales… which are still just cat fancies.

Romantic stories from Europe, South America

and Pennsylvania Amish Country beginning to take pixel-life

in my imagination, are hopefully the right stuff and will someday

prove worthwhile things I will have written about.  For now

they’re still in the layer just above my vision, in a place I can’t see

because, looking, it rises above.  Yet I can imagine it and,

without looking, see it perfectly.  The work I’ll create, in a night

where the vein runs longer than this one.

Much longer….

 — August 14, 1997


November, 1989: Trial By Fire

I have not written many short stories, and of those I have written, there are only a few that I would think to publish. My early inspirations in this area include Hemingway, who made a deep impression on me when I discovered him during my senior year of high school, and also O. Henry, Tennessee Williams, Joseph Conrad, and Edgar Allan Poe; Bukowski came later. Read more


June 18, 1988: clear blue light



Tomorrow it will be twenty-one years since I began writing the following poem. That’s another story, and perhaps, another post… maybe one for twenty-one years from tomorrow.

I selected the poem this evening after searching through the spreadsheet containing an archive of my poems with the date I wrote each one, collection information, and a column for me to track reviews underway with publications. The document was put together at another time in my life and career, when I was more diligent in submitting poetry to prestigious print publications and presses. Not sure if this one was ever submitted to magazines, but either way, I know the rights are mine :^). It’s part of my first collection, entitled “just.” Read more

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