Monday, August 31, 2009


No matter who it is, when we get there they are evidence. That's the only way you will keep your sanity.

Cresting the hill, the monstrous dragon of twisted metal lay on its side, smoke of its last breath leaking through the hole left by the absent grill. Snaking through gawkers in stationary cars the cruiser glided close, blue lights casting a pall over the scene. Gravel scritched beneath polished shoes, eyes squinting behind sun glasses, a last breath of hot air and exhaust before the scent of day old flesh assails us.

He is evidence now.

Winding our way through spilled Corn Puffs, seeping out through vicious tears along the seams of the trailer, adding color to the drab landscape under the overpass. Yellow, such a joyful color once, mixed with pools of green and brown fluid leaking rivers across the grey road. A lumpy white sheet, red rorshach blots, and one sneaker laying in the passenger floor board.

It is evidence now.

My pencil drags across my notebook, the sound becomes my meditation of attachment to reality, capturing vital information. Brown worn leather, his wallet lay open exposing what was, in pictures wrapped in old gas receipts and a wrinkled twenty dollar bill, and what will be calls to make, to inform loved ones waiting.

Just evidence now.

Sterile has a smell, in the back of the ambulance, draped across the gurney, probing fingers confirming the cause. Asleep at the wheel...down the exit ramp...into the bridge support...probably never woke up. Will never get where he was going.

Evidence now.

I remind myself to breathe, as we swiftly retreat to the air conditioned confines of our patrol, passed the now moving train of cars, forcing myself not to look in their eyes, to stop wondering who is next.


I don't think any of us set off intending to fall asleep at the wheel, one day we wake up and realise we have. Hopefully it comes before the crash.

Sunday, August 30, 2009


Why did you name me Logan and not Gilbert?


Yeah, I always thought I was a Gilbert since I was born.

Why is that?

I just feel like a Gilbert.

We love our Logan, just the way he is.

What if I start signing my name Gilbert at school?

Then no one will know who you are, and you will have to do all the work again as Logan. Now let's write your name on all your school supplies.

Ok, how do you spell Gilbert?

When I was Logan's age I had everyone call me Brian T. The T was important, you know...I just can't remember why. Occasionally I will run into one of the old teachers and they will call me Brian T. I just smile.

Of course there were times I wanted to change my name, mostly when I heard it bellowed down the hall and knew I was in trouble. Then there was the time in college I tried to go by Roman Michael. Brian seemed so bland, while Roman was mysterious. Of course that was trouble too.

Our name is the first gift we are given, what you do with it from there is up to you. Changing your name never really changes the person that stands behind it.

Kinda like banks, but that's a whole other story.

Any way, Gilbert makes me think of Dilbert.

When you get to high school, ask me again if you can change your name to Gilbert. I think you will find you love Logan just as much as we do.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

goodbye friend

me write pretty once...

i was waiting on the call, don't ask me why, i did not know who. i just knew.

you were gone.

years have passed since we last talked. the implosion that left families laying in the wreckage. just last month i threw out the last letter you gave me ordering strict silence in my leaving, a final release as it clunked heavy against the cold, hard bottom of the trash can.

i will always recall the lunch that changed the direction of my life, calling to the deep longing within me. i will remember you for that and who you were before.

in some ways you will always be my pastor.

goodbye old friend.

we were waiting on this day, for the last six months. knowing it would come, no matter how we tried to hold it back.

its time for me to go.

i watched you grow up to be the boy you were on the outside, on the inside as well. anger has flown the coop, and a wonderful child has learned to play, to be there for his mother, to be the young man we always knew was there.

i will remember hard days when you yelled, throwing things against the wall to keep from getting out of bed. i will remember you for who you are after.

in some ways you will always be my student.

goodbye new friend.
me write pretty once...
because you were part of my story...
but not today.

Thursday, August 27, 2009


Why do you love me?

I love you for your...

Twinkling eyes
Warm embrace
Knowing smile
Enraptured chase

Tender heart
Soft caress
Coffee confessions
Skin tight dress

Unchained passion
Unending faith
Magical moments
Dancing grace

Kindred soul
Taken chance
Beautiful compassion
Burning romance

Eternal friend

All of these,
None of these.

Love doesn't need a reason,
for what happens when that reason is gone?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Theme Thursday: Limo

Swirls of white, with glittering smiles, the happy couple spun furiously around the hard wood floor, full of new life and hope, to the delight of the crowd of family and friends. Crystal cups of red punch, adorned the hands around the circle, a blush in contrast to the purity of the moment.

Slipping in the back door, his grey suit, pressed just for the occasion and quirky top hat perched precariously above his close shaven chin, he took up an easy stance in the shadows to wait. A familiar grin creeps across his face at my approach, a memory of our past acquaintance.

When did you start driving a limo?

Contemplation gripped his eyes in a far off gaze, his mouth clammy to stutter his tale of woe...infidelity had cost him dearly, a trist with a co-worker, both married, now only tentatively. Reversing course to save face, he shares tales of wickedness and wanton glimpsed through the clouded glass partition that separated him from his passengers, with an impish grin.

My heart shriveled, as if biting down hard on a lemon, seeing the man once revered, lusts tentacles buried so deep. I knew addiction's embrace well. Jumping from one flame to the next to avoid the burn, losing sensation without its touch...we give in to one more click, a box of donuts,one more pull, one more swipe of the card, one more release.

More. More. More. Until exhausted we cry...Until we replace our desire with something we desire even more, something better, filling the vacuum of the fleeing hooks. Giving direction to our addictions. Speechless, I nodded, excusing myself to return to the throng, my frantic thoughts unsaid.

Soft tired hands held the limo door open, amid an afternoon shower of birdseed, as the couple dashed into the dark interior. A secure thump closed the breach, sliding into the front seat he pushed off into his own river Styx.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Soft music drifts through the room, his face carved with a smile as if he were dreaming of the peaceful melody behind closed eyes. Off to the side a plush brown teddy bear shivers in his purple ribbon, missing his warm embrace. Tucked tightly in his tiny fingers a sprig of yellow flowers, dangling a note Love, Mama and Daddy. My cousins sleep is enternal, inside his 30 inch coffin.

That was two years ago, and for the brief four months of his life we visited him in the hospital at UVA. His kidneys were the size of grapefruit, pushing his legs out of socket. We never gave up hope.

Why does this happen?

Silverware clinks on everyday dishes, quickly losing their burden to hungry mouths. Idle chatter and reprimands for climbing over the table to steel a taste of butter fill the air, smiles infectious...all pause as the clattering phone vibrates across the couter. Words rush from the speaker in exasperation, overpowered by the sound of her heart shattering into a thousand pieces. Her husband left her for an old girlfriend, the All American couple, no more.

We were best friends. We went to church together, hung out multiple times a week, talked on the phone almost daily. He never said a word. He never returned my calls again.

What do you say?

I would love nothing more than in that moment to make everything right, by word or a snap of the fingers, but it is beyond me. And the last thing anyone wants is for someone to tell them how to fix it or say they know how it feels...

We all experience pain. Everyone has a story...of death, of job loss, of heart break, of illness. In telling them, they bring us together, because we can all relate. No one escapes. There is comfort in just being together. Because there are some questions we will never have the answer to.

The danger is that we camp there in the suffering, letting pain become the center of our universe...we either get bitter or better. The bitterness robs us of what we do have, replacing it with a void of what we don't have...of life.

I am not my parents first child, though I am the oldest. My brother was still born. If my mom had stayed in the pain, I never would have had a chance at life.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Play dough

fingers push
dimples form
shape erupts
then folds over
squeezing tight
massage, caress
pulled and torn
complete duress
again rejoined
fingerprints adorn
i am reborn.

Life can feel like play dough sometimes. Pinched and pulled, folded and smooshed, poked and prodded and left in a lump to harden and crack in the afternoon sun. Ugly and unremarkable.

Until a whisper on the wind reminds me...

You are not ordinary.
You are extraordinary.
The flaws that you see,
Are fingerprints, left by me.

You are beautiful.

And so are you.

Sunday, August 23, 2009


This story ends with us on the couch, held hostage by an inebriated man waving a 9mm like he is conducting an orchestra. Maybe that's where the story begins though, because everything that has happened up to this point loses significance the moment he decides to pull the trigger.

Music massaged our chest with its rhythm, bringing smiles to friendly faces. Just a typical college Friday, until the door busts in, the brass door knob pushing its way through the sheet rock as an exclamation point. The world loses coherence as bodies start flying from the end of fists, a horde of invaders making their claim on the apartment and we have no idea who they are. Chaos ebbs and flows until battle lines are drawn, opposing armies regrouping on the fringes to the realization that they kicked the wrong door in and the damsel in distress they were trying to save is not here...

You would think they would check the apartment number before starting a war, but they are not the only ones to make that mistake.

Peace returns to the land with a nervous chuckle, as they sheepishly file their way back through the breech roaming into the darkness with renewed conquest. Music resumes, in the absence of conversation as we all slump back on the couch contemplating the oddities of life. Breathing is interrupted once again as the door flies into the room, followed by the barrel of a gun.

Sweat slick fingers grasp, my future wife, if there is hope for a future. Pride and anger hang like a cloud across his eyes, here to defend the honor of the men who came to defend the honor of the missing damsel in the wrong apartment...

Pride and anger...bring out the fool in all of us.

Tense moments later he sits on the couch, a puddle of tears forming around his feet, as he thinks of what might have been.

And so do we.

Saturday, August 22, 2009


Detaching from the wall, the shadow slithers fluidly into position like a coiling cobra, fang extending toward the morning's prey. Eyes rake the terrain, studying the movements of the target, measuring breaths and intentions. Swift and without sound, his weapon moves to ready, fingers bring tension building up to release...pwfst...simultaneously two projectiles slam into his shoulder and forehead leaving him silently screaming, sprawled across the table, sinking back into the darkness...

You realise if you guys keep shooting each other with paper balls out of your straws we will probably get kicked out of the restaurant.

Boys giggle, my head stirring as I crack an eyelid to peer around the room at the growing silence and gasping stares.

Today I turn 36.

I am acting my age.

Why is it that the older we get the less we play? As a kid our minds are cracked wide open with imagination, but adulthood seems an exercise in sewing it shut, one stitch at a time. It seems to be happening younger and younger...

My birthday wish for you, take time today to play.

Play kick ball.

Find pictures in the clouds.

Blow bubbles.

Go have fun.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Record Player

Yesterday was a long day, one in a week of long days. Being gone for a long weekend will do that to you.

Isn't it funny how taking time away and relaxing only leads to full days playing catch up that make you forget about the break you just had? Let's not forget about the week leading up to a break and everything you cram in just so you can be ready.

When we were young we had a record player with a little lever that you used to control the speed. Flip it one way and Whitesnake became the Chipmunks. Flip it the other way and the singer seems to fall asleep between syllables.

Breaks feel kinda like that, sometimes.

Heavy, the day rested on my shoulders as the crunch of tires greeted me in the driveway. Slumping across the lawn, I breathed in the first few minutes of stars beginning to twinkle on display against the deepening onyx sky.

Smiles and hugs to be home, the boys already in bed, my dinner spins in circles in the microwave. A quick debrief of the day leaks out like a pin hole in a balloon, deflating me across the couch.

Boom. Boom. Boom. A billowing mass of fuzzy brown blanket bounds down the length of the hall, across the living room and takes a flying leap into my lap, giggling and grabbing, pulling me into a warm embrace. The air is infused with the fragrance of my boy, as I inhale deeply.

Our noses touch in the shadows within, whispers slide across my cheek to my ears...I can't sleep.

Eyes pinched tight, I exhale in a smile...I am glad.

I carry him to bed and lay next to him, listening to his breathing slow with sleep and I can't help but think the record is spinning at just the right speed, right now.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Theme Thursday: Shadow

Bright light floods my pores, finding cracks to be filled in by pliable triangle sponges dipped in liquid white, laying a foundation for my face. Long slender fingers of red lipstick trace my mouth, defining my mood. I can't help but smile, because I can't help but smile when I get to paint it on.

Clowns have that liberty.

My name is Sunshine, if the neon wig and billowy pants hung on springy suspenders did not give it away completely. Though you will never hear it from my mouth, I am mute, you see. My voice is the laughter of children's joy as they grab a gloved hand and spill in dizzying circles around me. Big red shoes flip flop as my legs pump in outrageous movements, matching the rhythm of my hands, casting a spell over them as I mime my story.

I am the center of their universe.

Bumbling off the stage with a see ya later wave, the shadows encroach with each swipe of the alcohol pad, as I transform back to me. Slipping out no one gives notice of the invisible man with the duffel bag as they chatter with excitement making plans to grow up to be a clown. Maybe its just the make up we crave, to transform us to who we hoped we would be.

Not knowing who we are, we try to become something we are not.

The spotlight of the face we create gives warmth like a dying sun, while in the recesses of our soul, we find our identity has been stolen, by our own attempts to manufacture the intimacy we all crave. If we never learn to love ourselves, can we ever hope to really find it?

I was a clown once.

Perhaps I still am at times.

When I give in to it's...


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Row 21

Engines whine, a great shuddering rush, as the wheel kiss the ground one last time, taking flight into the afternoon blue. Cool air hisses through small round vents, everyone taking a collective breath to be on their way.

Retrieving a three inch stack of well worn business cards, wrapped three times over in a faded red rubber band the sales man begins jotting notes on his yellow pad. If I can just get a sale I'll be set, his silent mantra as his fingers read promises embossed in the names. Behind tired eyes, the wheels turn recalling hands pressed and smiles shared over cordial words. Flip, flip, flip...he lays them out like playing cards across his tray table looking for the winning hand. Pausing he turns and smiles across the aisle at the family he has never allowed himself to have...

Please keep your seat belts fastened, we may be experiencing some rough air ahead.

Her hand upon her husbands leg squeezes with each pitch of the plane, her mouth whispering in his ear, tickling the hairs on his neck. A toothy grin breaks free across his face as he answers her, the twinkle in his eye betraying the freshness of their relationship. His thoughts turn to the oasis of their own bed after a week away and cool sheets beckoning. Careful hands try to maintain hold of the squirming toddler climbing his chest...

We have reached our cruising altitude, rough air behind us, please feel free to move about the cabin.

Curls of brown hair loop across the satin skin of her forehead, above deep ochre eyes capturing every moment. Chortles and sighs, she waves her little hands at each passenger that will give her a glance. Her dress dances to the rhythm of her wiggles, her lips blowing kisses, infecting smiles on those she captures. Curious fingers reach for someone to play...

Our stewardess will be coming down the aisle with refreshments...

His finger, hard and calloused, draws pictures in the air just out of her grasp. Warm, the delight on his face, as he drinks deep of her joy and innocence. His heavy ruck sack, tucked firm between the knees of his camouflaged fatigues, carries memories of the little ones he left waving out the window as daddy flew far and away. They will be his blanket on cold nights, staring at a foreign sky, fighting someones war...

We are beginning our initial descent...

Everyone heading somewhere, some to work, some to bed, some to battle, all yearning for something...

We thank you for flying USAir, on behalf of our crew I would like to welcome you to...


Monday, August 17, 2009


I sometimes wonder if Legion escaped from the pigs before they plummeted off the cliff and lay dormant waiting for the birth of my boys. I am just saying...there are moments.

Periodically, Cole will wake up around 6:00 AM, and in a gravelly voice that would make the dead shiver he says, "Logan, wake up..." No wonder he has nightmares sometimes.

Just the other day, Logan started foaming at the mouth...

They have been at the grandparents house while we traveled this week. Can't wait to see them. [And I think the grandparents are ready to give them back. Smiles. What can I say, boys will be boys.]


Salty and sassy, the musk of the ocean teases our noses with an innocent smile. Evening sun caresses our faces with its warm fingers, playfully enticing us into its mystery. Breathing deep, we surrender to the embrace...

A rare evening, just the two of us, T and I decide to walk to dinner so we take off out of the hotel on foot. Across the street there is this Irish pub called Sla'inte, which apparently means health. The challenge is to get to health, we have to cross an eight lane thoroughfare, reminiscent of Frogger, forcing us to wait an inordinate amount of time for the signal to change then sprint to stay ahead of traffic.

The food isn't great, but that's not the point, as we share knowing smiles and chat about how the weekend is going, life and other unimportant things. Finishing our meal, we prepare to return to the hotel only to find the sky has opened, pouring sheet after sheet of rain. No car, no umbrella, we are faced with waiting it out or getting wet.

Without a backward glance, hand in hand we push into the rain, not because we have any pressing appointment, but because sometimes its fun to play in the rain. Grace clears the way, giving us favor with the lights at the crossing as we skip through the puddles. Soft laughter precedes our rain slick lips meeting, sharing warmth amid the cool drops.

Perfect moments happen in the most imperfect circumstances.

Easily they slip through our fingers, ruined by everything going on around us, until we realise that's not what its all about.

Not rain.

Not bland food.

Not traffic.

Because if it is, you're going to be sorely disappointed...

In moments like these.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

cold shoulder

Grey microscopes line the walls, peering in at high top desks ringed by students chatting about this and that. Cold metal braces scrape along the linoleum, with each step the teacher takes matching the wet pop of the black rubber end of his cane. A solitary rose rests innocent, ready for his smile and sterile tongs to lithely slide it down the throat of the burnished steel container labeled liquid nitrogen. Glistening, the hammer leaves its pretty petals shattered into a million tiny pieces...

Roses should not shatter...

Wind howled past our exposed pink ears into the dark recesses between the trees, our train of sleds slipping quickly through the trough of packed snow toward the base of the hill. Screaming through the end of the track, the world gave way beneath us leaving twisted pretzels of bodies and sleds amid the joyful laughter. Pulling ourselves to our feet for another round, a blossoming crimson shadow on the glittery pristine snow causes the world to shatter...

Daddy's should not bleed...

Cancer became real, more than words read by newscasters on the evening news, as layers of warm sticky clothes were peeled from my dad's shoulder. Hidden the spot had grown bulbous until found by an errant foot during the crash of sleds, ripped clean it bled now exposed for the world to see...

We are not invulnerable... why do we pretend to be?

Friday, August 14, 2009


Hard yellow angles huddle in a pile, crimson mortar clinging to their skin with age. Pitter patter memories of families echo in their dense texture, of a home before decay, now forgotten remnants in a back alley. Chalk lines surrounding the homicide of a neighborhood.

Lipstick embossed cigarette butts, flicked from chipped polished nails of prostitutes click-click-clicking by in well worn heals, the new inhabitants between the rubble. Sup sugah..all teeth and glitter on the way to the evening.

City, the melody, plays on the non existent wind in the afternoon heat, up tempo and busy, the scrape and clop of the bricks adding the refrain. Mushroom clouds of red grout dust rise and fall, covering each of us in a paste, as we clean brick after brick after brick...take one down, scrape it around...

Tired hands port stacks across the silent street beneath the eyes of her inmates, trapped witnesses to the creeping demise. From alley to vacant lot, a trail of sweet works its way around blue steel dumpsters of trash removed to make way. Shallow furrows in the soil, the new home for the bricks, standing at attention as they snake their way through freshly planted trees.

Once a building tall, with splendor, broken, decrepit and despised, now a yellow brick road, shining golden in the sun, the brightest thing beheld by these eyes.

Beauty reclaimed, from the abandoned.

[Pittsburgh, 2008]

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Theme Thursday: Festival

Crisp air chills our lungs, as we make our way along the well trodden path to the crest of the hill. Tendrils of smoke float heavy from under scarred metal pots, flitting amongst the scrub. Layers of brown, the leaves give texture and add their music as they scrape against each other in the breeze.

Stoic, they hang, arms splayed cruciform in the sun, fingers stretched to heavens seeking solace in the warmth. Life dribbles from their skin, pierced with spikes running deep, as they groan under their own weight.

Steel buckets rest heavy against the base, catching clear rivulets of tears, enticing fingers to trace their rim. Put to lip, the flavor so faint, as if water, dances along the tongue.

Daddy, does it hurt?

I imagine a little, but come spring the dead limbs will teem with new life

Why do they do it?

To make sure you enjoy the sweet things in life.

Glistening soot stained arms, turn slowly with care, stirring the steaming contents on the smoldering fire. A toothy smile breaks loose across scruffy chin, above his uniform, as he notices us for the first time, among the gathering throng of onlookers.

Welcome to the Maple Syrup Festival, care to try some that's ready?

Is it the same as the tree?

You'll just have to taste and see...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Golden sun splashes warm on our faces, reflecting in our playful banter as we stride out into the day. Little fingers dance in our hands as we squeeze between the row of cars seeking the van. Our eyes meet with a smile, as I feel Cole's fingers slip free...t i m e...s l o w s...

Little legs churning to ourace his giggles...

Black and chrome blurring as it barrels down the aisle...

My voice warping with time as muscles tense...

Freezing in the center his eyes catch the glare off the windshield...

Gravel crackles beneath tires sliding...

A cold shiver washes down my spine as snapshots of his young life fall in a cascade across the living room table in my mind.

Whump...weight shifts as the truck drags to a stop, his body pressed to my chest as I kneel in the dust. Fears and tears pool in the corner of his eyes as we all take a breath.

And then another.

Each breath a sweet taste of life as our lungs fill, then exhale, here and now. At 10 we get a later bedtime. At sixteen we can drive. At eighteen we can move out. At 21 we become dangerous. At 40 we get a tatoo and a motorcycle and call it mid-life. At 65 (or some ambiguous date) we retire, so we can live the good life.

What about everything that happens in between?

Always looking forward we can forget to live, now.

Before the vapor blows away with the leaves in the wind...

Monday, August 10, 2009

Trash can

Walking in on a homicide as an eleven year old changed my life for years. Like a scratch on CD that got left out of its case and every time it comes to that one song, it gets stuck not being able to move forward... brzub... brzub... brzub... brzub...

Her eyes told the story, reflecting ignorance in her motives, friends cackling as she stood over the victim...the slow drip off the end of the weapon rang heavy in my heart as I stood framed in the doorway. My lips moved, seeking words, to capture thoughts, amid the ripping noise inside me howling out through my clenched teeth. How could my sister do this....

Defiled, spread across the desk, exposed...GI Joe issue stained with Strawberry Shortcake stamps. Ironically, the silent issue, not a word among the panels that blended into the story that definitively set Snake Eyes as the strong hero. Silent, like our relationship became for so many years.

It was not just about a 75 cent comic book destroyed, but years of anger building up, some deserved, others fabricated by a mind that was stuck in a moment, giving reason to the bitterness that clung like tar from a freshly sealed road to my heart. Innocent words twisted to bombshells on the backs of and hugs held hostage with cold glances and mumbles.

Sometimes its easier to forgive strangers than those we should love.

Licking the bottom of an ashtray dropped into a urinal, the smell that dripped from the air forming puddles under my flip flops. Bile rose in my throat, as I grabbed the bags of trash wrapped neatly in their pristine white plastic, tossing them into the still wet dumpsters. Looking like a space man, in his protective suit, pressure washer blasting at stains and leftover particles of three month old dinner, the man gave a friendly wave returning to his duty of cleaning off the cold metal bins. Retreating quickly behind closed doors, I gasped for the freshness of cool air in car, but the smell would not leave.

Our wounds pile up in trash cans, compacted to make room, until the weight becomes too much to bear. Sometimes we never unpack them...for fear of the smell of decomposing denial and rancid retaliation...letting go of our pain seems like we are giving up that for which we have lived. Its just easier to let it stay silent...or so we believe in our misery of carrying around our trash cans while the odor still lingers, permeating our other relationships, tainting what little life we cling to.

Maybe we need to take out the pressure washer. Letting our trash cans go, letting those that wronged us go, letting the CD go on to another we can walk freely into a life unencumbered, remembering the smell so we never let it happen again.

I love my sister.

I probably don't tell her enough.

Trash can.

Sunday, August 9, 2009


So there is this handwriting thing going will need to enlarge...because size does matter...when reading my writing...

If you still had trouble, I am translating into the first comment.

Saturday, August 8, 2009


Reluctantly crouched at the starting line,
engines pumping and thumping in time.
the green light flashes, the flags go up.
churning and burning, they yearn for the cup.
they deftly maneuver and muscle for rank,
fuel burning fast on an empty tank.
reckless and wild, they pour through the turns

...which was going along fine until the go-cart running in second pulled even with us on the final turn and we t-boned as he tried to dive in front. Helpless, we waited to be untangled as the remaining racers dashed under the checkered flag.

Daddy, why did you wreck that guy?

I just kept my mouth shut.

Hope you are having a wonderful weekend!
[lyrics: The Distance by Cake]

Friday, August 7, 2009


So if we move to Florida we will pack all of our things in a big truck and have to drive through North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia into Florida.

Will we go all that way in one day?

No, we may have to stay the night somewhere along the way. Maybe Georgia. Any other questions?

Just one...where do Georgias go to the bathroom?

Um...on the toilet, the same place we do.

Oh, okay.

[Cole adds his two cents] I want to move to Minnesota.

Of all the questions he could ask, he wants to know where they go to the bathroom.

I guess I understand after the year I spent living in the woods. We dug our own privy and built an outhouse, a pretty scary place at two o'clock in the morning, wondering if anything had crawled in the hole. I always had this irrational fear they were just waiting on me to decide to crawl out.

He did not worry about getting our things there or where we would live, just where they go to the bathroom. Because obviously they are different from us, and that can be scary sometimes. Its what keeps us and them apart. Until us becomes them, or they become us...or we finally decide it's ok to be we.

For that to happen, we have to get over the fear of what's going to crawl up the privy hole. Its pretty easy to make assumptions about people we have never met, unfortunately those same assumptions keep us from some great relationships. In celebrating our differences, we can forget how much we have in common.

If we get there and they go to the bathroom differently, we'll figure it out.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Flashlight [PG-13]

[PG-13: Just giving fair warning, this one is going be a little intense. If you are looking for something fun or light, check out an older post. If you choose to tread ahead, I look forward to your thoughts.]

He seemed to have it all. Lights brightened as he entered the classroom, twinkling in his smile as he was surrounded by friends and swooning girls. To see him play, you'd think he was a gazelle, all speed and grace. Looks, athleticism, friends, girls and a shotgun, which found its way to the roof of his mouth, leaving dreams dripping into sticky puddles around his feet.

Word traveled quick currents down the locker filled halls of high school, warping with each whisper. Cheerleaders crumbled in corners, red and white outfits stained black with tears. Heaviness hung in the air, driving shoulders further to the ground, leaving no one unscathed.

Having everything doesn't matter when life seems meaningless. We all strive to make sense out of life, some faith, others reason for something that is real among the crowded plastic. When we give up searching, the madness invades and we run for the exit sign seeking escape!

Slowly beeping the heart monitor measured his recovery, a twitch saving his life, leaving a twisted mass of skin graffed flesh and one lone eye. Seeing him come through the metal doors into the foyer crowded with silent statues staring, something had changed. Losing everything, he gained something that much sweeter, a second chance, not just for life, but to live.

Arriving home tonight the house is draped in darkness, power out, I fumble around searching for something to pierce the inky air. Toes and knees become magnets for bruises and abrassions as I fumble for the flashlight on my sons bed. Clicking it on, the array of toys and bed posts that assailed me gain form.

We all need a flashlight.

What's yours?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

ThemeThursday: Kiss

The hurricane came and went, leaving a stillness in the air, eerie after the fury of a night without sleep. Roads deserted, covered in mud, the power lines and trees creating a maze for my red truck to weave. Some houses, missing roofs or walls, still teem with life in huddled masses waiting for the world to end. Arriving with barrels of fresh water, faces peel in smiles at small hope on their doorstep. Surveying their lives scattered across their neighbors yards, they know their lives will never be the same.

Love is like a hurricane.

Dirty blond and freckled, grace dances through my door with eyes as deep and blue as the ocean. Shimmering snow, like so many jewels, chases her in pale comparison, lights dimming at the gleam in her smile. Everything I had ever known, changes in this moment.

That girl who just walked through the door, I am going to marry her.

Word blunder from my mouth, tripping on their own feet to reach her ears. Hours become minutes, as the rest of the humanity blurs around this small space in between us. White and pure, a blanket wraps all that surrounds us, unnoticed as our lips meet for the first time. Watching her walk into the night, the hurricane inside leaves nothing in its wake, and I know my life will never be the same.

Love will mess you up.

Embraced in it's full on lip lock, our intoxication leads us through doors we never thought we'd open. Stripped of our securities, we lay bear for our beloved to do as they hopes it is love. Without it, the desperate loneliness creeps in, making our bones ache to feel once more the sweet burning kiss of love. Knowing full well of the dangerous winds and lashing rain, we crave to stand in the full fury of it's storm, knowing our lives will never be the same.

Because life is to love and be loved, all wrapped up in a sloppy wet kiss.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


Black pleather sucks to my legs, still warm from its previous inhabitant, canned music adding melody to the rumble of departing jets and chittering voices. Damp air conveys the musk of travelers with too many hours crushed in seats between each other and perfumed attempts to mask the scent.

With a screeching lurch, the carousel begins to snake, bags disgorging through the rubber flaps following its current, round and round through islands of waiting people. Soft side, hard side, stuffed like a thanksgiving turkey, zippers clinging for dear life, retrieved and stacked, rolling out into tropical humidity. One last breath of air conditioned joy, I follow them into the oven.

Asphalt and palms against the bright blue sky, race passed the window, bleeding into shops with neon signs and meandering civilization. A salty tinge floats on the nonexistent breeze, tickling noses turned toward palm tree's salute to the sun.

Arriving in at the hotel, my bags sink into the blue, green, maroon paisley bed spread, wheezing antiseptic fumes of cleanliness from between the sheets. Sighing, I begin disbursing their contents into my make shift home for the week.

Peaking from between the folds of clothes, little yellow sticky notes beg for attention...

I love the way you love our family.

You are such a good daddy. We miss you already.

You are an amazing man and husband.

Carrying the weight of their words to the bathroom, they find their place on the mirror I will look into each morning, and smile. Some true, some challenging. Already the air has changed, the words invoking a breath of freshness.

Our words have the ability to breathe new life, or suck the air out of already tired lungs. All in how we choose to use them.

Especially when we speak to ourselves.

Monday, August 3, 2009


Dad, if you tell me your secret I can keep it.

Really, how's that?

I just put it in my the front of my mind and then flick it out.

Nice trick you've got there.

Yeah. Did you know we got a coupon at Rue 21 when we bought your birthday present?


What are you laughing at?

Oh nothing, just keep flicking....

Wouldn't it be nice if some secrets you could flick out of your mind? Secrets you wish you never knew. Or ones you know you can't keep.

Sure there are safe fun secrets, right? They are pretty easy to keep. Or when someone is looking for help, someone to listen and they listen back and get the help.

But then there are those just looking for someone to carry the weight of the guilt they feel. They just want someone to tell them it's okay. Or they want to try the truth out on someone just to get a reaction. Like the friend that told you about his extra-marital affair, but has no intention of telling his wife, or stopping.

Secrets can be scary. Secrets imply trust, but they can break trust as well. There was a kid whose parent told them not to tell, it would break trust...nothing said of the trust they broke with their kid. So this kid can't tell anyone, because they would be the bad guy, they would break trust...but not to tell would mean their trust would continue to be broken...several times a weak.

Telling the truth shattered them...and set them free from a very evil secret.

Some secrets carry a heaven burden of guilt and anxiety, that's usually how you can tell they are not worth keeping. It would be nice to just flick them out of our minds...i guess that would be the same as telling them. And that just might be the best thing to do.

For the record, I still don't know what I am getting for my birthday. Darn secrets.

Sunday, August 2, 2009


Moonlight plays
Amid the shadows
Along curves
My fingers long
To trace
As you sleep
Breathing peacefully
Smile teasing
Your lips
I still taste
Salty sweet
Memories lingering
On scented breeze
Lost in dreams
While I watch
My heart aches
To fall head first
Into your eyes
And see forever
In your embrace
Consumed completely
Refilled with you
A sigh escapes
To sleep content.

Saturday, August 1, 2009


I bought my wife flowers today. A breath of spring wrapped in color.

Amid the ensuing affectionate embrace, a little voice asked why does she get flowers?

Because that’s how much I love her, resulting in more affection, of course, and the sound of rummaging in the junk drawer.

Scissors in hand the boys marched out the door, purpose in their eyes. Scant moments later, arms heavy with flowers the boys pronounced this is how much we love you. Then turned to me, with wickedness in their grins and mouthed…more than you.

I would say the jagged stems that now crown the brush in the flower bed protest the same.


I knew a girl in high school, the kind that boys turn to stare at as she walks down the hall, giving a heat index. She lived her rating, like a choice steak at the butcher market. It became her.

The thing about a steak is, even though its wrapped in cellophane, the more it gets poked the worse it starts to look. Poke it enough, it starts to change color and spoil. Eventually it gets stamped only for animal consumption. Thus is life in the meat market.

The thing is, she was not the only victim. The guys that chased her, they became the game. Their identity became wrapped in how many people you can tag before you get out. In their quest for manhood, they lost their humanity.

If she became the meat, they became the monster.

You can only play that game for so long before you end up feeling like the bush my boys desecrated to show their endearing love. Everything pretty is gone.

When you don’t feel pretty, you’ll take what you can get. Just to make you feel alive.

And I’m not just talking about sex. Am I?


Inside the scarred stems of the bush lies a seed of new life, ready to burst forth with the proper care and love. My wife still sees the innate beauty in the flower bed, reminding her of the love that went into it and came out of it. Much like she did me.

Seeing that in each other makes us human. Bringing it out in each other, that’s divine.


“Pursue some path, however narrow and crooked, in which you can walk with love and reverence.” ~H.D. Thoreau

Soft gentle steps stir the fallen leaves, ears twitching she pokes her head into the sun dappled clearing to stand stoically in its brilliance, white tail at attention. Scampering down the rough bark, a grey squirrel turns its curious head, chittering in anticipation at the growing throng of animals. Limbs bend slightly supporting their friends, sparrow and blue bird, adding their voice to the revelry.

Smiles break in a wave amid the chorus of their voices as the badge is pinned upon their new friend's chest, to serve and protect as a Junior Ranger.

We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children. ~Native American Proverb