Looking up and looking out one sunny Cincinnati day

TheStoryIsTheThing.com photo-illustration | august2021

A waitress, taking in the air
outside, looks up from the
Cincinnati street. Returns

inside. Tells the waiter
with the squirrelly pony tail,
‘A flock of geese just went by!

‘In a vee,’ she says.
Showing with her fingers
a sidewise ‘V.’

This pen wants to speak.
But what is there to say?
About the sunlight in the

store opposite the cafe.
Lighting foreheads of the
customers in the poor folks’

grocery. I think I’d like to
photograph these
illuminated skulls behind

the glass. A misdemeanor,
of the liberal, artistic sort?
To…


Fifteen Woodland Thoughts on an Appalachian Eve

AMP Media photograph | may2021

1.

Here in the quiet provinces,
Wars pass via headlines, worrying us
Solid citizens even from this distance with
their loud report.
We in the quiet country have the luxury of
Worry, second cousin to fear.
And the pleasure of taking our conscience
Out for a strenuous walk, choosing this side
or that for the exercise of our
Opprobrium.

2.

I see my forehead in the mirror, scene of
so many dustups and border wars,
Internecine conflict and civil war, feuds and
Blood oaths. We are showtime, you and I,
All the world’s a stage and in my forehead
I the playwright.

3.


What happened one day beside the ohi-yo, and the day after that

WestVirginiaVille.com photo | Hoeft Marsh, Greenbottom WV | may2021

I had to get out of town. Get lost, evade the race of human beings. Seek out geese and turtles, beavers and blue herons. Gunned the car 50 miles per hour, 70, 80. Slowed to make the left turn. Parked on white gravel near the trail head. The way forward was barred by a long rusted gate, hinged and anchored to a chest-high concrete post. Only footfalls allowed hereafter.

I grabbed my shoulder bag, stuffed with cold mango kumbucha, a Nicaraguan cigar, and a book of Auden poems…


He lifted an entire generation of writers shunned by traditional publishing

Giancarlo DiTrappano died March 30, 2021, at age 47.

You form odd connections as a feature writer for three decades, as I was with the Charleston Gazette and Gazette-Mail in West Virginia. I interviewed a lot of people in that time. My obligation was to quickly get to know a bit of their story, then tell a general audience some of what they were all about, without getting it all wrong.

I can’t guestimate the numbers of folks I profiled in a career that began professionally at age 21. A new song I’m working on, “Minor Glory,” has…


When someone who saw you through changes can’t be reached

“Over the Ridge.” | WestVirginiaVille.com photo

1.

Where have you gone, Stephen?
Now, this night I need you.
And just you, the gravitas

of your bulldog self. Your ancient
belief in me. Rather, a belief that dates
to 1977 or thereabouts. Ancient enough

for we beings allotted
no more, usually, than 100 years.
We cherish companions

who know us through our long game.
Who saw us, who grokked us as greenhorns
in this life business. Witnessed

our intoxicated upchuck in their
bedroom one prom night. We weren’t invited,
not quite understanding this

other race of beings, with…


A question on a sleepless night: How many thunderstorms old am I?

AMP Multimedia photo-illustration.

1.

Awake, abed, in a
shadowblack room.
Eyes closed. Then,

my field of vision
goes white, the color
of a stick of chalk.

Am I enlightened, at
last? Or dying, witnessing√∫∫∫
the near-death

glow of an itinerant
god? No. Eyes, unwrapped,
search the misty darkness.

Still alive. Then, my ears
move to the fore, alert.
Loud growl of thunder

on the other side of
my bedroom window
shade. Lightning, then.

2.

If I’m to be an
insomniac, a fine
thunderstorm is a

welcome thing.
To entertain. …


What is the melancholy fascination of a warehouse frozen in time?

‘Hooked.’ |Huntington WV | feb2021 | WestVirginiaVille.com photo

What is it about static industrial spaces that make them so compelling to the inquiring eye? Maybe it is the forlorn, yet intriguing glimpse of past workaday lives — the lunches, the labors, the left-behind tools and flotsam of work — in a place emptied of human activity.

Last week, I visited for a few hours in a decommissioned warehouse in downtown Huntington, West Virginia. The warehouse harkened to another era in the city’s history, when the city boomed with muscular manufacturing sites.


A left turn down a country lane puts me in their secret midst

All photos by Douglas John Imbrogno | WestVirginiaVille.com | feb2021

1.

Let’s talk hay
bales. I have,
perhaps like you,

been spying hay
bales most all
my life. At least a

half-century of hay
bales or more, as
it likely took a half

decade of initial
breath to notice,
and then ponder them.


‘Republicans who acquit Trump convict themselves’ ~ Windsor Mann

Shelley Moore Capito illustration | WestVirginiaVille.com

Dear United States Sen. Shelley Moore Capito: Greetings. I am a long-time constituent of yours for your entire Senate service from West Virginia. I am writing this open letter about how you choose to vote in the second impeachment trial of Donald Trump. I am a bleeding-heart progressive, who has been a vocal, multimedia critic of yours. Yet I write now as a fellow West Virginian, parent, and American citizen.

It is the mother, the grandmother, the fellow West Virginian, and other American folks to whom this open letter is addressed…


How a West Virginia artist captured ‘100 Badass Women’

Here are just a few of the 100 portraits in the “100 Badass Women” project in which West Virginia artist Sassa Wilkes painted a portrait a day in the last 100 days of 2020. | WestVirginiaVille.com image

By Douglas John Imbrogno & Connie Kinsey

Technically, Sassa Wilkes is a visual artist. But it would be more correct to describe the Barboursville WV resident as a Renaissance Woman — an artist, teacher, author, musician, and now a visual biographer. The depth of her knowledge and skills is readily apparent in her latest project, “100 Badass Women.”

The project began on September 23, 2020, following the death of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Witnessing the mourning led Sassa to want to know more about RBG. Listening to news…

Douglas John Imbrogno

Douglas John Imbrogno is a lifelong storyteller in print, imagery and moving pictures. MORE: TheStoryIsTheThing.com and WestVirginiaVille.com

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