An aging humanist hanging on to the idea that there is hope for humankind — against all current indications.

My library of published stories

Things I have written, things I have made, things I am thinking about — all in one place.

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Firebird, oil on wood panel (detail), Ronald C. Flores-Gunkle

Nicely done, Eric. I enjoyed it...and will remember it every time I hear the EBS test tone!

Free Verse — Can I know you? Can you know me?

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Photo by Moon on Unsplash

I am not the person that you see
If you think it’s really me.

I’m not the words you read,
They are symbols that mislead.

Did some lapsed synapses form you?
How can you be sure the words
I’ve told you transcend the hoards
of syllables teased randomly,
Or tapped timorously, on keys?

I’m not the rhythms that you’ve found.
By none of them I’m bound.

Of me, I’m sure; of you, I’m not.
Your eyes and mind and other minds
I cannot know. I own my world,
I can only see within.

Only I can really know How deep…

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Flaming Duel 2021 ©Ronald C. Flores-Gunkle

My arboreal Cain and Abel

I am a nature-lover but not a naturalist. I know a lot about some things and very little about others. I am, at most, a casual student of Mother Earth. I’m also a skeptic. I tend to take issue with things that I am told or that I read. Like which plants are weeds and which are not. Like which trees are invasive and which are not. Like which are allowed in and which should be kept out — and where should we build a wall.

It occurred to me that very few of the plants we grow are endemic…

The deceptive beauty of nature

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“Folly and error, sin and avarice
Labor our minds and bodies in their course.
Gaily we nourish our pleasurable remorse
As beggars feed their parasitic lice.”

Charles Baudelaire in Les Fleurs du Mal, translated by Jacques LeClercq.

I have no memory of how I first encountered the poems of Charles Baudelaire. It was some 60 years ago, even more, since there are few books that rattled me in my youth as much as Baudelaire’s or that have retained an enduring place in my mind. I can still quote from memory — in English translation by Jacques LeClercq — many of…

We love all types

Things have been going smashingly at Florilegium — the publication, not the archive. Yes, there are two Florilegiums. Our multitudinous followers (20 fine folks) enjoy an occasional newsletter like this one, see our posts first, and are invited to submit writing that meets our (sort of) strict requirements (quirky, creative, homeless). The other Florilegium is just an archive into which the editor (me) tosses everything he has written on Medium. You can probably ignore that one.

You should not ignore our latest offerings. Only an ogre would be so cruel. …

Managing my senior moments

My Geriatic Journal #19

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Photo of the author by Lisa Davila

I am somewhat disoriented. Or maybe disoccidented. That should be no surprise to my often-neglected journal or to the select few who read it. After eight decades of existence, I am not sure who I am and what I am supposed to be doing.

It has a little to do with these strange times in which we are all living. After all, who among us has ever experienced a pandemic? (You’d have to be more than 100 years old to remember the Spanish Flu or be immortal to remember the Black Death — mid-14th century.) …

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Whatever turns you on

For me, there is something rather rude about the family of plants that my wife has been cultivating on the enclosed terraces of our home in the mountains of Puerto Rico. Not entirely in jest, I once published a selection of my photos of them on Flicker. The title was, I believe, “The Secret Sex Lives of Flowers.” They are the Anthurium, a genus of about 1000 species of flowering plants of the arum family, Araceae.

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Spying on nature

It is probably a good thing that I have no neighbors — at least none close enough to see me crawling around the property with my camera spying on bugs. My mission? Create a photograph of a beautiful moment in their brief little lives (the bugs’, not the neighbors’) to share with you.

Not everyone is a fan of spiders, caterpillars, moths, and bees. But as Confucious is reported to have said: “Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.” I went looking for it and — mostly — I saw it. I do have my reservations about spiders. …

How the moon follows the sun

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Caguana Indigenous Ceremonial Park, Ponce, PR ©2005 Ronald C. Flores-Gunkle

Borikén/Puerto Rico 1508

Inaru sat uneasily on the stone duho in the shaman’s hut. The shaman will be pleased to see the main ceremonial bench occupied by the mother of the Great Sun, Agüeybaná I, the Chief of Guaynia, their village. But her son may not.

She had news she had to share, serious news from the shore. The short walk from the sea to the village had been difficult. She had been on the earth as long as the shaman; with knowledge comes pain. She did not rise when the men arrived.

Agüebaná’s form was framed in the hut’s…

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