Open Mic



A place of personal courage, testing

Out new ideas, new expressions, a new

Part of ourselves, making our private, secret inner work

Public, part of the community.


Giving what is inside ourselves some air, the stage

Intimidating, yet distinctly our own

Space, space to make a statement –

Welcomed by acceptance, community in open arms – a

Declaration of who we are, giving voice

To what has been stewing, churning, fermenting


Finding its wings, finding its audience

Being heard.


This old space, sacred, the past hundred years,

Here others stood here, sharing their souls, over the years,

Voices and music reverberating on old Grange Hall wood, generations past

Giving to the community, making community, building

Relationships, embolding ourselves, our art, our



I grow, often against my will, on this stage, exposing my private

Self, shyness and private musings somehow

Put on hold.


–Neal Lemery, 9/9/2019

Just As, a Review

A friend of mine, Julius Jortner, just published his first book of poetry.  It is a treasure!  Just As is available at


Here is my review I posted on Amazon:


Julius’ poems invite me into the moment, to be with what I might have thought as ordinary, simple, not compelling. Yet, his poet’s eye sees a gem, something of great and simple value, causing me to pause, and be caught up in what he has noticed. I linger, and learn to savor the moment. He takes his photographer’s eye, and his engineering mind, and lures me into what I never would have noticed, never would have experienced, but for his invitation.

Those who know Julius and have heard him read his poetry will find even more new riches here. And, for those who don’t yet know the voice of this quiet, thoughtful, and gifted poet, you will find a feast of delight, and experiences inviting you to linger, to see, for the first time, magnificence in seemingly ordinary life.

I find myself lingering on a poem, savoring it, and then, reading again, finding new treasures. I keep coming back, and heeding his invitation to pause, to hear his voice, and look through his eyes, discovering his fresh, bright world.