Monthly Archives: December 2016

Poems by Stephen Kalinich

7The Poetry of Stephen Kalinich


All photos by PAUL ZOLLO

In times of darkness, more than ever we need artists of light. In times of war, we need beings of peace. So as this year comes to a close, we are thankful for Stevie. The man contains multitudes; he’s a beloved and legendary poet, songwriter, artist and visionary. A true poet in a world of false and hollow voices, his presence is needed now more than ever.

He’s written songs with Beach Boys Dennis and Brian Wilson, P.F. Sloan and others. With Dennis Wilson, he wrote both “Little Bird” and “Be Still.” Paul McCartney and Brian Wilson recorded “A Friend Like You.” Brian Wilson called Stevie a “poetic genius” and credited him with stunning the music world by unleashing Dennis Wilson’s full creative potential.

Stevie’s “Rainbows” and “Love Remember Me” are featured on the acclaimed 2008 reissue of Dennis Wilson’s Pacific Ocean Blue album. The Beach Boys’ second anthology, Hawthorne, CA, contains his song, “A Time To Live in Dreams.” His “California Feelin’” is among the all-time hits on The Beach Boys Classics Selected by Brian Wilson and appears on California Feeling, a collection of his songs released in late 2010. 

When legendary songwriter P. F. Sloan, most famous for “Eve of Destruction,” recorded his epic poem “If You Knew” and “Soul of a Woman” on Sail Over in 2007, the poet realized his lifelong dream of working with his mentor. Among the other top musicians who have immortalized Kalinich’s lyrics are Mary Wilson of the Supremes, singing “You Dance My Heart Around the Stars”; Odyssey, whose recording of “Magic Touch” was a top 40s hit; and Randy Crawford, with “Only Your Love Song Last.”

Although he has risen to the highest echelons of the music industry, Stevie considers himself a poet first. A voice of conscience comparable to Bob Dylan, he has inspired audiences around the world. He was invited to Washington, D.C. to recite his epic poem “If You Knew” before members of Congress to benefit Children Uniting Nations. Actor Stacy Keach recorded his poem “The Magic Hand,” and former Beach Boy Al Jardine’s EP A Postcard from California features Alec Baldwin reciting “Tide Pool Interlude.” Newscaster Jerry Dunphy appeared on a video in which he read “America I Know You” by Kalinich. Jez Graham’s 2004 CD featured Kalinich’s poems “America Is You and Me,” “Life Against the Wind,” and “You Can Soar.”

After being lost for nearly forty years, Kalinich’s masterpiece “A World of Peace Must Come” was rediscovered and appeared on Attic Records’ 2008 CD boxed set devoted to the poetry of Kalinich. Another early composition, “Leaves of Grass,” was released on this CD, accompanied by Mark Buckingham and produced by Carl Wilson.

 “As long as I have breath, the river of love will speak through me,” Stevie said. “When I look back, I will ask, Did I stir someone, reach one soul. . . . Did I help them understand that when the breath of love poured itself into others, it didn’t forget them.”

Bluerailroad is proud to publish a selection of his poems. We start with “Angels,” as Stevie is one of our most beloved angels here in this angel city.


I know there are Angels

You can feel them in your heart

They are the answer to your problems

when you feel torn apart

Listen very closely, hear them stirring deep inside

they turn the sadness into love

give it nowhere to hide.

I know there are Angels

When you are overwhelmed

When you are stressed out too much

they can turn the days around

Feel their healing Touch

in the Greatest challenge

On the darkest o lonely nights

They can comfort you

Let you know everything is alright.

I know there are Angels

you can feel them everywhere

though you do not see them

I know they are there.

In smiles on Children’s faces

the hope that shines in their eyes

I know there are Angels to be experienced and realized.

I know there are Angels

in the midst of crisis they give you comfort

and peace in all situations

they give you release

I know there are Angels

when you are troubled restless

Don’t know where to turn

when you are in pain

and your insides burn

your emotions are raw

and can find no relief

when you give up on life

and have no belief

there is an answer

when you are torn apart

I know there are Angels

you can feel them in your heart.

All of your sweet burdens will cease

I know there are Angels to give you release

they are here to protect you

you can find peace

whatever come at you

whatever knocks you down

I know there are Angels

Right here on the ground

so when your heart is heavy

and you need a lift

the angels surround you

they are a gift

I know I know I know

there are Angels

I Love You Too

I love you too.

I too am going through 

rough waters  

which forces me  

to live the poems  

and not just  

write them  

which is a great challenge. 

When it is dark 

when life feels oppressive 

when there seems  

no way out  

in the midst of tragedy

I surrender to Grace

to Divine love.

I find my peace

in the stillness.

It does not always work out

the  way I want it to

but it gives me more peace

as I  travel on this journey.

I have heard it said

the sign of mental health

is how we tolerate frustration

deal with our set backs

our disappointments.

So rather than say

to someone

it will all be OK

I say I turn it over to grace

to work it out

in its own way.

Which is difficult for some

but in my own life

until I surrender

to the grace

to God so to speak

nothing ever works out

or is right,

I only know

I love you

and I pray for you

and as a human

that is all I know.

However I believe

there is a peace

that comes to us

a way to navigate


the difficult waters

and I celebrate

the gifts of every day




Beauty Holds Us

Beauty holds me in its hand
and hugs me more
than I thought possible
I am not alone
The spirit graces me and touches me every day
with gratitude
underneath the yearning is a peace with no name
that surpasses the senses
the source of all art and poetry
the creator of all
It caresses me.

With Donovan 


Laughter is an unwritten poem
A child’s first touch of joy.
A smile within a wounded world.
Certainly the world has grown too serious
We need laughter
to bring us
closer to each other.
Laughter as a voice against our sorrow
Laughter as a voice against our heartache
Laughter as a voice of hope
That carries us into other hearts.
Laughter as the appreciation
of simple childhood days
When all the earth
lay before us
Like an open road
Echoes of laughter
From the winter’s wind
of our youth
We need laughter in our world
If we are to survive.

Rise Up And Greet The Day

With music as with life
one should not fear
going into the unknown
one should not be diminished
by anger
expressed towards them
or someone
opposed to one’s idea.
One must go
for the difficult
not be afraid
of what is emotionally challenging
one must learn
even if one is not nice
or kind to you
you can learn.
One must build up a hide
of sorts
a resilience
to thrive and survive
in the creative world.
Many people
will let you down
but Grace will never do that.
We are all human.
Keep composing
being a creator
of art and music
and know
you are a sweet soul
and I love you.
Rise up and
greet the day.


Wind Concerto

wind concerto

sunlight symphony

blade of grass

ballad of the trees

memories of Mozart

symphony of winter

a chill runs through me

like a Cello

that plays

on my heart strings

the whole earth

comes alive

with emotions


always sadness
always pain
always possibility
out of these arise
the spirit and the will to triumph
over adversity and hardship
the courage to break the limitation
of ignorance
and lack
to bring to as many beings as one can
in human terms.
Only a few souls
know how to help us
in ways we need
most advise and words of reprimand
miss the mark.
Acts of kindness
in the long run
more than stern discipline

which will never let us
or teach us love
but can make us act
because we fear
which is a weak foundation
for lasting change
averaged out
over a lifetime
my lifetime
those who have helped me
the most to develop
are those who freed me
from dependence upon them
with a light refreshing touch
they never demanded credit
or called attention
to their own good deeds
but let an almost invisible imprint
on my soul and because
of these people
I ride the waves
of chaos
and hope emerges
out of darkness
and depravity
that opened me
changed me
allowed me to experience
lasting joy
not based upon
what I receive
just living
and giving from my highest
and best potential
to aid the disease
of the planet
and touch the world
with doingness
beyond words.

With Quincy Jones at 2016 Desmond Tutu Birthday Celebration


Embrace what you do not like

Caress what is difficult

From what you resist

and what disturbs you

the greatest lessons

can be learned.

From your detractors

and those who despise you

those who do not get you

Give them peace

Give them love

Do not be afraid of sadness

or mental pain

They are part of the purification


The Pulse Of The Poet

Inspiration is your practice
tenderness is your path
sorrow is your teacher
sweetness is your celebration
attention is your awareness
that everything is now
limitations fall like leaves from a tree
lifted by winds of change
wonder is the daily walk
the earth is a living thing
we are breathing spirits bodies emotions minds
You are the key to you
Look there where you are no need to cross the galaxies
except to bask in colors
all colors yellows green shades of reds blues purples..
surrounded by love and a spiders web of white
golden light
A bay was born you are that baby gown up slightly
enter gently into the world
let no man notice
your good deeds and presence
leave a ripple with your acts
that have no weight of you within it..
each epiphany is a mere echo
of the beauty we faintly discern
all is a miracle
touch the invisible with you heart
fall into the petals of yellow roses and violet tulips
help all that reach out to you but do not do their work for them
point them to themselves
That is the way of the possible
willingly yield to letting go of false e attachments
and relationships that are damaging to you
do it with kindness..
in the heart there are no wall or boundaries
but in our relationship with others
we must give them their own space and being
That is the way with me and it is the way of everyone.
That is the pulse of the poet….
That lives in everyone every waking moment
Now is the Time
Life nothing but life
rising through the disappointment and the struggles.

A Poem for Margaret

(For Margaret Lane)

I could just slip away
into the night
and perhaps be gone
whose lives I have touched
will miss me
I will become dust
It is all too brief
this earthly journey
we evaporate as we are being
we dance before we fall
into that eternal sleep
we are not seen
by mortals
we know not of gods
with any certainty
so I say
live as best we can
take care of the day
attend to know
love now be kind now
do good now
if that is all we have
it is enough
it is glorious
that I live
and what I will become
I do not know but with grace
I accept
my present
I do not need more.

Letter to a Friend

I stand at the threshold
of a new dawn
trapped between
heaven and earth
sky and sea
I touch this daily stress
with all its rude awakenings
and challenges
with my safari hat
I slide
in and out of virtue
and I dance
all beauty in my soul
tenderness caresses me
in my loneliness
I yearn
for undying
moments that
that I cannot bring back
the past alive as present
right here passion
inspires each calm surrender
each change of direction
on an uncharted course.
In sacred syllables
the words sing
break limitations
enhance this earthly journey
that I love
I touch and I take
I give
and gain so much
from each breath
morning only comes
once a day
victory is a single day
lived well
magic in the everyday encounters
shared spoken
This is what I leave for you today.

Inspiration Never Leaves Us Where It Finds Us

Tenderness and listening
are essential
for the creative act to occur.
This is what i believe-
Tortured souls
pass through our lives ;
and they can drag us down
if we are not aware
or alert.
We all get caught up in events
and circumstances
and we get swept into things.
There is no time for breath..
each day is a miracle of sorts
and definitely life is a gift.
Calmness is the seed
from which creativity springs for me
and stillness is the flower
and out of this
Oceans of inner waters
a feeling arrives
an impulse to share
to bring something forth
into the world.
A child of sorts an Art
no one can do it for us
but I find
the more one opens up to Grace
that all is a gift
the more one can create works
and live lives
that reach out
and touch others.
Cold icy nights in Europe
awakened my spirit
for a brief span of time.
Casual relationships
come and go
but true friendship
that turns into love
or that is love
lasts as long
as being lasts
We cannot be too cautious
because if we are too guarded
we miss life
repel new expression
and experience
only to fall flat
on our face again
doing is the way
to learn for me.
I mountain climbed in New Zealand
did Rock sculpture in Japan
collaborated on paintings in UK
and Holland
and wrote my poems
on Canvas for charity
Each country
each city
a unique adventure
and a time
for quiet reflection
alone in my rooms
where ever I was.
…many different beds ,

The fact
that I am still alive
is a miracle.
Sometimes i just like to sit
and think
be at peace
goodness is attractive
in someone a way to be
a path that is not selfless..
help arrives from somewhere
and though we are alone
we are not alone
in some strange way..
We are trapped
in our own consciousness
and the only way
we ever break out
is through Art
or love
and more through living
and being love
than anything.
This is what I live for.
I am not after life
but I am after living.
Love to you
talking about
getting carried away …
sleep is what i need!!!
Wisdom is a treasure
and it comes from experience
when we look at the experience
and find the lesson
or the lesson reveals itself.
We are complex
and sometimes selfless creatures
here on this planet
and yes we are still blossoming
in our own unique ways
but we have to water the plant .
We probably are complete
even though we feel
we are not
and life is letting go
of what is not essential
and chipping away the stone
around the sculpture
or with someone special..
someone you trust
and care about
that brings out your highest
and best self
that does not make you
ugly or sour.
I agree with the philosophy
if ones believe in oneself
one is on the right road.
Every outward journey
is a journey
towards the self
a line
from one of my poems.
When the dust settles
life is glorious
most of the time
it feels awful
beyond description
when we lose a loved one
only the quiet comforts
at other times
we complicate it
by too much wanting
our own way
and not following the grace.
Wisdom comes in small doses
nothing is forgotten
each memory is forever
each dance a testament
that we still are life
with all its challenges
and pitfalls..
Only the striving must cease
and we must become quiet
for the true self to emerge
through the chaos
and perplexity.
Under the rock
there is a diamond
we have to polish it
and the diamond is us
each unique
when we find our own voice
it reveals itself to us
forward happens
we cannot stop it…
dominion is our birthright
all is
only as real
as we make it
the thoughts we give power to
can shape
and sculpt our lives.
Blaming is a street
not to travel.
Let those who have wronged us go
and let our resentment go too.
Songs of the self
pour out of us
when our hearts sing
all is in the way
the notes are brought to life
and sound.
Now it is time for breakfast.



There is a loneliness
you cannot share
that does not go away
its symphony
is muted pain
like the hush
of a trumpet
underneath everything it sits
in the dark
that no one faces.
A place no one can go to
in you
that you can no describe
where you find no comfort
where what you might say
is muffled
never can be articulated
in the body
beyond the soul.
This land
where no one exists.


I Shout At The Sky

Every moment is
what you make it.
You put the blue
in blue Monday
as we all do
You put the light
into the darkness
Before the violent explosion
is the calm
as the energy is brewing
and building
after the final stanza
the last poem
has been written
The silence will overtake everything
and we who were
are no more.

All poems used by permission, Stephen Kalinich. Copyright 2016.