Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Theme Thursday: Flight

Oblivion awaits at the edge of the rocky promenade, the edge of the earth upon which I stand. Few stones slip with the settling of my feet, clattering down the face of the cliff, disappearing into the ink below. Midnight tapestry, dark with mystery unfurls across the sky, an audience of little twinkling eyes peers down at the lone traveler on the edge of the abyss, even the moon pales in the shadow of its gaping mawl.

Drinking in the night sounds, whispering winds, the chirup of crickets give way to the depths of solitary silence. Eyes strain to see the unknown. Expectancy, a heavy spice to the crisp air, invades my lungs, stirring the drumbeats of my heart. Now or never...Now or never....Now or never.

Deafening, the crunch and skritch, as I turn from the edge, staring back to the welcoming safety of city lights, in the distant valley. A warm bed, comforting friends around a worn lacquered bar table, routine...they beckon, a long sirens call to my soul.

Goodbye...

Resolute legs piston, plumes of dust rise on the air with each pounding footfall, until the last step throws me headlong into the murk beyond the precipice. Seconds stretch, hushing the howl that rushes passed in my descent, and I kiss eternity full on the mouth, Icarus reborn on invisible wings.

Brilliant, a flash of light invades my senses a split second before impact, only to be eclipsed by the embrace of liquid obsidian. Air pushes from my lungs, aching to return along the path of escaping bubbles...breaking surface I gasp...more alive than ever before.

Midnight cliff diving may just be the craziest thing I have ever done. A flight into the unknown that seems to last forever before the waves wrap you in their blanket. You can look at it, measure it, attempt it in the light, but in that last step you embrace the uncertaintity as you learn to take flight.

Kinda like faith.

Flight.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

365

you were so much easier than your brother. except the early hour, when it was time, it was time and your mother nudged me awake and two hours later a tear rolled down my face when you first cried. you smiled. we smiled. life was new.

365 days.

even at a young age you have a boldness, an adventurous spirit, getting into things you really do not know you shouldn't. the places we find you and make us wonder where our easy little boy went.

365 days.

you learn faith, falling backward out of the tree house, your legs entangling the wooden steps, dangling precariously you smile and declare you must do it again, and then again maybe you learn that life can not be tackled on mine own.

365 days.

you learn balance, on the back of a skateboard, catching air across the ramp, skinning your knees, creating battle scars of memory. we all fall, we don't all get up, but you do. you give away your allowance just to see people smile.

365 days.

you learn freedom, the wind in your hair as you ride your bike for the first time without training wheels. your little legs never tiring you would ride all day if we let you. your heart shines in the way you encourage your brother that has not learned yet.

365 days.

years tick by faster and faster, no matter how we try to hold back the sands of the hour glass, or capture moments through the lens. what will you do with the next...

365 days.

Cole turned 5 today.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Seeing Red

it was a sunny, the day i killed her. she never saw it coming. neither did i.

air whistles through the open window, my arm on the sill, my hand playing fighter pilot in the wind created by the passing of my grey truck. the ramp off the interstate winds through the lush green fields, leading into the asphalt jungle of the city. summer heat rises in a haze between the black and yellow line of the road, into the rich blue sky polka dotted with white puffy clouds.

green fades to yellow then red as we drag to a stop at the intersection, the breeze a sweet relief. smiles grace my lips, at two little boys playing with a red ball, bouncing it back and forth on the sidewalk. the laughter of their game spreads infectious glee as we wait our turn to move on toward our destiny.

all is right with the world, happy.

a dark mirage of movement out of the corner of my eye, a brief glimpse at what is coming, before my face caves in from a crushing blow. my pulse races with my mind, my hands clasp my broken face and the world swims in my tear filled eyes. blows rain upon my lap and chest, as i try to bat away the unknown assailant. screaming until my lungs ache, i stomp and kick until my truck rocks on its tires. heads turn and gaping mouths match the wide eyes in their awe at my plight.

arms splayed, the bird lay dead under the sole of my dirty work boot, its funeral dirge played out by my heart against my chest.

i imagine the bird had no malicious intent when she flew through my window. in you turn the movie back one frame, i had no malicious intent in my heart, just an awe for a beautiful day. in a split second, anger and fear took a life.

kinda like the words that come out of our mouth, when we let our emotions get the best of us, at the most inconvenient times. a slow car. the lady with a thousand coupons in your line at the supermarket. a spilled drink at the supper table. when something messes up our perfect little picture of life.

we all get angry. some people use it to change lives. some people use it to destroy them.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

One day

Under the bed, in the deep dark recesses lies a hidden treasure trove of memories, waiting patiently for fingers to trace their contours, inhaling the fragrance of days gone by, resurrecting them into new adventures. Still they reside in the shadow that you must go through to reach them.

Two legs dangle from beneath the wooden slats supporting the mattress wrapped in Batman sheets, searching for purchase to push him further into the graveyard of forgotten toys, crumpled pictures, stuffed animals that had lost their place of honor among their brethren up top.

I can't get all this myself.

If you pull everything out, we will help you put it where it belongs.


Pulling everything out from underneath the boys beds, we were greeted by...well a mess. We made them pull it all into a big pile and we picked through it, separating the things to keep from the things that are trash. Long forgotten treasures were met with smiles and renewed vigor to play with or care for them. Some things we made them toss as they have been grossly out grown or because they were just junk, while other found their way into plastic containers to be put away for another day.

We all have beds that we stuff things under, promising ourselves we will clean it out one day.

Eventually though, the space underneath runs out and it all starts to spill out onto the floor for the world to see. Our one day arrives when we least expect it and we are left with a mess. Old beliefs we had about ourselves resurface, clouding who we really are. Forgotten grudges erase the joy filled moments of our friendships. An unexpected bill breaks the precarious balance of the checkbook of our lives.

Hidden among our refuse are beautiful things, we just can't see because we have not taken the time to separate it and throw away the things we no longer need.

Maybe one day, needs to be today.

Sunlight trickles through the blinds, laughter floats in its rays and two young boys play with toys that once were lost, but now they found.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Kidnapped

Black. The truck. The glasses that hide his eyes, behind the tinted windows, as the tires spin in the dirt, pushing him further into the brush that had begun to grow around the path that led to our house from the bus stop. Closer to where we stand, rooted by the fear that someone is coming for us. Lost in the black.

Cacophony, the noise of chittering voices reverberating between the slick green benches, along the rubber runner that makes the aisle to the back of the school bus. The world dashes by the open window, a slight breeze filtering through. signifying school is done for the day. Little feet beat the backs of the seat in tune with the charge of anticipation at what the afternoon may hold.

Rumbling to a halt, the yellow monster swings one arm in front, another to the side bringing traffic to a halt, as we clamber down the steps, back packs bouncing against our backs. Looking both ways we dash across the asphalt into the cool shadows of the path, an old driveway to the land below our house.

Let's build a fort in the woods.

How about we play football.

The world is our playground on a sunny afternoon, as the six of us, brother, sister, cousins, tromp towards home to drop our burdens, until we hear the overpowering roar and rending of sticks giving chase to our steps. We turn to face the shadowy beast, the gleaming chrome grill smiling like bared teeth come to devour its prey.

Run, run, run...our hearts scream with each thud, breaking the trance, cajoling our feet to keep pace with its fear filled metronome. Breath returns with the solid thud of the kitchen door, a crisp snap of the lock, as we slide down the door becoming pools on the floor. Safe once more.

We never knew who the man in black was or what mal intent drove him to follow us from the bus stop. Hopefully neither you or your children ever face the prospect of being kidnapped. Unfortunately too many people face this every day...not from strangers, but from people they know.

Hearts are held ransom, by physical, emotional or sexual abuse, kidnapping lives. You begin to believe it is your fault, if only you were better, smarter, stronger, then you would not deserve it...trapped in your own dirty existence, no matter how many times we scrub your hands. Silence becomes safe, because who do you trust when those that should love you most become your tormentor? Who would even believe you? Would it be worse if you told?

Fear, humiliation, intimidation, guilt, coercion, manipulation...have nothing to do with love. Love is not a bargaining chip.

Its not your fault.

You don't deserve it.

You are special.


This should not happen.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Sixteen Candles

flickering flames
reflect on the surface;
the pools of
your eyes,
to their depths
i have descended,
plunging deeper
in search of air
you breathe,
into
my
very
soul.



It is T's birthday today. Sixteen candles adorn the Krispy Kremes. Before you think ill of me, there is one for each of the birthdays we have celebrated together. Figured that was an act of love in and of itself.

Happy Birthday Baba!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Theme Thursday: Wild

Streetlights dance in the reflection of my face on the silver surface of the butcher knife clenched in his trembling hands and all I can think is curse you Tom Cruise.

Thunderous cheering erupts from the stands as the soft pop of the baseball finding the catchers mitt echoes into the night. Players dance under the spotlights, falling over each other in the brown island of dirt on the sea of green grass, where the pitcher once stood. The regular season is over, on to the playoffs.

Joyous spectators pour like ants out of a disturbed hill into the parking lot looking for cars in spaces long forgotten to the epic battle. Our odd ensemble of mismatched ties and coats to go with our shorts, complete with blinking red roses, all for the love of the game and good heckle, ambles across the asphalt to the bass drum of our rumbling stomachs.

Evening lights blur with Friday night noise, drown out by Pearl Jam's Alive, until we roll to a stop in front off the red roof of Pizza Hut. Nothing like a good pie to cure the munchies of competition. Strange looks abound at our attire, sloughed off our shoulders, lost to the laughter and camaraderie.

Her smile breathes warmly across the table as she takes our order and we know she has lost it and so as we are about to leave, on bended knee we present our corsages and...

You never close your eyes anymore when I kiss your lips, there's no tenderness like before in your fingertips, your trying hard not to show it. But baby, baby you know it...you've lost that loving feeling...

Crimson creeps across her face, to our delight and the applause of the befuddled patrons, as we steal into the night only to hear...

Hey you!

Red streaks slash across the cooks apron, adding sinister intent to the gleaming knife in one hand, a tattered flower in the other. His girlfriend, the waitress, beckons to him from the door he just escaped, knwoing it will do no good.

The fool's mouth oft leads them to dine at the trough of trouble.

We survived the debacle and grew up a bit along the way. Every decision we make has a consequence, no matter our intentions. Especially in matters of the heart. Just because Tom Cruise got the girl, does not mean you won't get a beat down. These days I save my songs for my wife, and the shower of course.

I wonder if it would have been worse if we had sang Wild Thing?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Torters

Little fingers measure the width of the silver circles, naming them torter, nickle, dym, placing them gently in their respective piles. Lips screw in concentration under the glare of his eyes tallying his bounty.

Is it enuf dad?

Fresh clipped limbs, thin and green, adorned in sprouting leaves surround the base of the bushes around my parents house. Scratches create plaid designs across the back of my hands, another load pushed into the wheel barrow, ready to cart around to the burn pile. Back and forth, the vision of the Starlog magazine featuring Star Wars getting smaller and smaller in my eight year old mind, with each clomp of the sheers and avalanche of limbs that would need to be removed in order to earn it. Overwhelming tears pull from their containment in my eyes as I drop my load and run to bury my head in the couch.

Is it enuf dad?

For me it was $1.75 magazine. For Cole it was an $8 used video game.

There used to be a day when people would barely need an excuse to run the hard plastic card through the little machine and paying enough interest to buy the same merchandise twice over. Maybe one good thing about the recession is it seems to have slowed everyone down to think about how we spend our money.

Our first year of marriage, we were drowning in debt, fighting to keep afloat by climbing on top of each other. Standing in line, staring at the brown curling linoleum tiles, with my stereo in one hand and my golf clubs in the other and hoping they were going to give me enuf to pay the light bill, cured me of ever wanting to be there again. This is what I hope my boys learn without ever having to be there, as they save their torters.

Cole's smile could have lit the strip in Vegas today as he counted out the torters in front of the lady behind the cash register. Seeing him be diligent in saving, avoiding temptation and finally reach his goal, mine could have powered a small nation.

Monday, September 21, 2009

elemental

smoke,
twining swirls,
surround me, your
flower petals
brush my face
and i am lost
in you
as you press
into me, and
earth expands
to just us
two.

handing you,
my pulsing heart
to crush
with each caress,
an ocean's sigh, as
your waves break
against my
sandy shores,
taking pieces
out to
see

that is writing
to me.

and for you
to read,
such sweet
intimacy.

Each time I publish, a small piece of my heart is laid bare before you. Then I wait anxiously for your interpretation of my intentions. Feels a whole lot like passing a note in school, waiting to see which box is checked. Maybe its just me. I can be kinda goofy like that.

Thanks to all those who read.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Ghost Writer

Today Otin is ghost writing for me. Drop over and check out his amazing spoof of yours truly. While you are there, read his most recent story as well. He is an amazingly talented writer and a master of misdirection with all of his twists and turns. So give him a plethora of love and I will see if I can pull off an Otin spoof soon enough. Be back in a bit.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

It rains

It rained and ruined an otherwise perfectly planned day.

Though I stand under the shelter of the deck, my clenched fist shaking at the clouds that cursed my efforts and took away my dreams.

It rained and ruined an otherwise perfectly planned life.

Though I clench them in tightly bound fingers, the carefully drawn blueprints detailing the direction of my days spill out down spouts, into puddles overflowing in the mud.

It rained and my eyes are open.

Though hidden in plain sight before, air gained form, framed in the drops, and the wind appeared in all its howling glory.

It rained and new scents assail me.

Though they were there the whole time, earth and moss become fragrant, mingling with the perfume of flowers and wrap me in a olfactory hug.

It rained and everything shines.

Though moments before they were tarnished and mute, a new radiance gleams from the pinnacles of deep green grass to rusty black mailboxes.

It rained like it will sometimes...

So we play in the liquid reflections of life, get cold and wet just to have an excuse to come inside and huddle in warm blankets, because sometimes life needs a refreshing and so...

It rains.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Friday Night Lights

Its Friday night and the lights are on.

Fresh painted helmets gleam as the teams take the field of green amid the crushing screams of adoring fans. The ball takes flight through the crisp evening air, let the game begin.

She glides through the audience fluid, like a shark, her satin eyes undressing her opponents, sizing them up to the task. Deadly smile wrapped in pouty cherry lips, her best offense to move the ball ten yards further, trading flesh for a first down.

Fevers rise with each batted eye, teasing and tantalizing, young and old she is indiscriminate in her indiscretion. Golden bands just raise the stakes of her hard luck chase, drawing them deeper into the shadows beneath the bleachers.

Lust is her musk, built on a lie that if only you had it, then...you would feel young again, handsome again, alive again...playing on your deep dissatisfactions. A promise it will never deliver, only leave you empty and hollow, wanting more.

The game is done, 41-0, the final score. I wonder does she find her identity in the touchdowns she scored. I wonder do the boys that chased her into the end zone.

Its Friday night and the lights go out.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Theme Thursday: Over the Hill

Silence creeps through the trees like a fog, swallowing heartbeats pounding out war drums of anticipation. Hues of orange and brown carpet the forest floor, broken by the green and grey trunks and craggy rock outcroppings. The sun closes its eyes and even the wind holds its breath for this moment.

Horns moan bleeding into snarling howls, the earthquake of a thousand feet taking their first step stuns our ears to a dull ringing. It has begun.

Snarling teeth and mottled flesh flash in a blur of movement as the first wave reaches our placement. Whirling from the secure feel of the rough bark to our backs, we slash and parry. Thorn and thicket, yellowed cracked nails rake furrows across tanned leather armor. Reckless they pour into us, only to pile like cord wood around our ankles, the air itself becomes wet and crimson.

Wave after wave breaks upon the shores of our sword reach, driving us deep to to the edge of a gully, loose earth clattering down its embankment. Sliding down the incline we slip into the gaping mouth of a foreboding cave welcoming a moment of respite from the tromping feet beyond its shadow.

Do we fight on?

We have n'er a choice. There is a princess to save.

Alright, lets be on with it.


With a determined breath we turn and face the waiting horde...

*ahem*

Oh sorry Doctor. No, I don't know why I have a hero complex. I was just thinking about Sunday afternoons, two boys with their sticks, somewhere...

Over the Hill.


While some days I lament the passing of those times in the woods behind my uncle's house fighting fanciful creatures, the battles still rage on. Only now its for your family. Romance your wife. Cherish your husband. Play with your kids. The enemy is lurking...

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Marinara

Today was pizza day at school. Logan and I have a standing date on pizza day. There is just something about school pizza. At least there was when I was in school. Now, it's just not as good. Or maybe my memory of it, is greater than what it was.

The blue plastic chairs seem smaller, but they still have the tendency to cut off all circulation below the tuchus, leaving your legs all tingly when you stand, like exploding firecrackers racing the blood back to your feet.

Two little boys at the table started it. The it that the monitors never see until green peas fly through the air, ending up in someones milk or someone has to go to the school nurse to extract a plastic fork from unmentionable places. But this one had to do with marinara sauce.

Marinara sauce. Why didn't I get marinara sauce as a kid. It was all PB&J, chips and the obligatory fruit your parents prayed that you ate, even as it made the hollow thump in the grey rubbermaid trash can by the window where you deposit your tray.

There is a certain physics that apply when the weight of a six year old boy impacts a plastic pouch the proportionate amount of spray that will be captured by the one person that is wearing white. Luckily I had little white, which in this equation equals little marinara. Probably less than 2% of the pouch. Vastly different from the dripping boy in white.

But he told me to.

Just when I thought he was destined to be a middle manager, justice stepped in and both the stomper and his evil mastermind got on their hands and knees with rags. Which is all well and good, unless you are the little boy whose last words he heard before getting on the bus were don't get anything on your white shirt.

The little red stained boy,

that had nothing to do with it,

that will go without ice cream tonight,

if he is lucky.

Which begs the question, is that really justice?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Jailbreak

Calloused fingers trace the smooth metal contours of the bars that contained her, her reflection swirling shadows on their surface. So much that she sees in what passed for eyes staring back at her, lost in her containment. Sands slipped through the hourglass much too fluidly, and yet the last six months streched like an eternity.

Eyelids unfurl like theatre curtains bringing memory into focus, of days walking to the melody of their laughter, the silver in her husbands hair glinting in the golden rays of sun. The anticipation of her grand daughter leaving for college, only she had missed that catching only glimpses from this cell. How she had wanted to help fold and put away her clothes, even to hug her and bid her good luck, stolen opportunities lost to the days.

Even now her love sits, watching her over the steam from his coffee cup, resting a weathered hand against hers, lending strength and comfort. He sees...He knows...the heaviness of heart that threatens to topple her. Everyday he is there, passing time on her sentence, easing the moments until her release.

Determination swells, coursing through tired fingers as she pushes against that which holds her. Muscles quiver, a faint memory of movement empowering her sole desire. You shouldn't, though he is there to steady her, concern dripping off his face begging the question of where this was going. Feet shuffle relearning old steps, carrying her slowly across the expanse...

Can I ask you a question about your laptop?

I had been watching them together in the coffee shop, so delicate, their love portrayed in the care he took in bringing her small joy. To see her now before me, asking about my computer of all things, her chair left lonely by their table... Her grand daughter needed one for school and she wanted to provide...and so she took her first steps out of a wheel chair in six months...to ask about a laptop.

For a few brief moments she is free, and despite the pain there is a new twinkle in her smile as we chat. As they turn to leave, he whispers thank you and guides her back across the room and I can't help but see a graceful couple spinning around the dance floor, one more time.

I like to think I witnessed a small miracle. Not just in her walking again, but in the love that has carried them for almost five decades.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Sitter

Dear Zoo Keepers (guess that would be us),

I will never forget the opportunity to (there are a lot of erase marks here and it is barely legible) your boys. We had an interesting evening, but you should know everyone was still breathing when I put them to bed, including the boys.

When taking Logan to tuck him in, he came up short, gasping in shock...

Where is it?

Where is what?

The booger...

What booger?

The one I left on my pillow earlier...

umm...

...for snack.

Ewww...maybe it fell in the floor?

It fell in the floor?

Maybe.

And you stepped on it and got it on your shoe? That's gross.

After Logan fell asleep I pondered why it was gross that I have his booger on my shoe, while he is okay saving one for later. I am unsure whether to suggest social skills, hygiene or tolerance training. Call me again though, as this is fascinating research for my thesis.

Sincerely,

The Sitter

[I guess its easier to see the booger on someone else's shoe, than the one in our mouth. Prejudice exists in that great divide between who we think we are and who we know they are. Tolerance makes us feel slightly better, yet safe in our insulation. Is tolerance really love though?]

Friday, September 11, 2009

Keeper

I had a hot date tonight.

We watched My Sister's Keeper. The book is better. The movie is good though, just a different story really. She cried. I cried.

But she did not laugh hysterically. That's good.

We watched Shadowlands together at the theatre, years ago. Baba cried until she started to laugh. There would be this really sad scene, the whole room was sniffling and she was laughing.

I just told everyone she was on a pass from the center.

I call her Baba. I think it started about the same time we learned to walk in tandem, with me behind her and my arms wrapped around her, to keep us warm on cold days in college.

Ok, it really had little to do with keeping warm.

Our first date was at Pargo's restaurant in Blacksburg. I cut my steak into little pieces to eat, figuring it made me look a little more sophisticated.

Silly, I know.

A week after we met it was Spring Break. A freak snow storm closed the school for an extra week. Her parents said they could not understand why she was so upset to be out of school.

I wore green and mustard rubber boots when I welcomed her back.

The first time I told her I loved her, I wrote it in a poem on her hand. We took a picture so she would wash her hands again.

I like to think it sank into her heart.

Nine months later I asked her to marry me. The next morning at breakfast, I asked her parents if I could. She kept her hand in her pocket all morning.

Sometimes I wonder how I got so lucky.

She's taking the babysitter home right now. She'll be home soon. I can't wait.

This post is about nothing.

This post is about everything.

This post is about a keeper.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Silence

Silence.

Silence sits between us on the grey bench seat of granddaddy's pick up truck, staring at the stream of miles flowing around us. Mmmmmm...the low level hum from the kiss of tires on the asphalt, fills the dead air taunting the...

Silence can be deafening.

Deafening, the words communicated as you softly trace lines across the back of my hands with your fingers, teasing playfully at the curling hairs on my knuckles, measuring his hand on mine. Eyes squinting toward the road ahead, an impish smile dances across your face in contentment in the...

Silence can be peaceful.

Peaceful, your hand under mine, like a blanket sharing warmth, until you decide to see who can keep their hand on top. Slap. Slap. Slap. We battle back and forth, vying for position, then find my hand pinned with all ten fingers, as we travel on in...

Silence can be so hard to find these days.

Days fill with filling the silence. Days fill with seeking the silence. Days to be silent.

9.11.01

Why does it take a tragedy or death for us to take a moment of silence?

Take a moment to be silent today.

Its the only way you will ever really hear...

Silence.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Theme Thursday: Rhythm

God is incapable of failure. yet here i am.

brilliant shadows of stained glass rainbows sprinkle across my road worn face, the gaping wounds in my back, mimic the ones in Your side and hands. a crown of thorns pushed into my brow as you turn your back, leaving me here, crucified by my broken heart.

i am not good enough.

damp lips press firmly into my cheek, while the silver stiletto slips between my ribs, the first drop of poison to my withering heart. my everything blows like dust in the wind, alone and afraid i embrace the cackling beast in the corner, thankful for his open arms.

he becomes me, i become him.

dwindling dregs remain from all that is poured into my cup, empty though i pour intoxication into the moments between heart beats and replace the hollow with dime store friday night love. the sun rises on my shame, flopping like a fish in a pool of my own refuge.

does anyone see me here.

whistling chokes are all that reach my lungs as my heart drums staccato, threatening to burst from my chest, the crescendo of my decent, until i lay shattered on the soft white sheets of this hospital gurney. why have i been forsaken.

one. two...thirty. breath.

crooked smiles as grace shines into my barren soul, the prodigal returning from his hip deep pig sty existence. loves warm kisses in the evening snow, wash me white again having never left as i ran out the door on myself. i surrender.

God is incapable of failure. yet here I AM.

this is my story, or part of it. each of these stories are, but there was a dark chapter, my shadow years between 16 and 20 where i walked in scary places trying to fill the void left by a broken heart. everything i thought true came crashing down around me, a discordant resonance in the rhythm of my life. finally i had a system crash and the next week i met my future wife. then together we found our way home again.

Rhythm.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

artist lament

i want to be an artist...

capturing with my brush
breath that's lost
in the first blush of pink
when sun kisses sky
on crisp autumn morns.

i want to be an artist...

watching flakes fall
passed my hammer and chisel
exposing smooth contours
of the body contained
in the walls of a stone.

i want to be an artist...

releasing the emotion
hidden in melody
as creation bleeds
from my fingers
across heart strings.

i want to be an artist...

understanding there will be
slashed canvases, broken
pieces and unfinished songs
between the masterpieces.

teach me to be an artist.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Hard Court Dreams

He dreams hard court dreams behind those soft hazel eyes. Smooth glides through the lane, leaving defenders struck by the shine of his star reflected in the polished parquet floor. Confident hands clutching the hard dimpled leather of a well fought rebound and the thunderous snaps of a thousand flash bulbs as the game winning shot winks through the hoop…

…but the ball just dribbles off his knee out of bounds, gangly limbs swaying as he lopes after.

Fate winks periodically with the crisp crack of the net, the ball finding its unsuspecting target and a big goofy grin breaks across his mahogany face, all teeth and gums. For a brief moment he is like every other high school boy and MR is not the diagnosis at the end of his name but the salutation preceding it.

His greatest dream is to be a Walmart greeter where he can hup peeple. Even this may be a stretch, at times, but he keeps dreaming. Sometimes I wonder if he is blessed, trapped in his eternal child-like mind, where neverland never ends.

Growing up and putting child like things behind us too often includes our dreaming. We call it being realistic, maybe to make us feel better.

There is little scarier than someone that has stopped dreaming…

…and is still breathing.

What is your dream?

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Katrina

Irony hangs in the billowing clouds of dust tracing trucks across the dirt parking lot, bringing relief supplies for hurricane victims. Grey paint flecks and cracks around rusty splotches on the metal awning over the dock, heat of the September afternoon causes it to pop at random intervals, the tick of a broken clock. Like ants to their hole, vehicles march to the off loading point filled with stuff...toys, clothes, water, food and boxes of blood stained rags.

Splatters of faded brown blood dance across the off white terry cloth rags, brought from the hospital where they can no longer be used. My afternoon is spent digging through clear plastic bags, stuffed in corrugated cardboard boxes, separating the usable, minimally stained from the completely nasty.

Good..Good...Uggh..Uggh..Good...Uggh...

Bags after bag, after bag, after bag...

The good ones are folded, while the others are put in a pile for destruction. Rubber gloves do nothing for the distinctly human smell that rises each time the flaps were folded back on a new load, causing nose hairs to twitch in retreat. I start to wonder who would use these?

Giving voice to my question, another aid worker explains they are used for rescued animals who may one day be returned to their owners. I won't lie my first thought is why am I doing this when I could be helping someone. Then my thoughts catch on a family, having lost everything, one day seeing the puppy they love race across the lawn into their waiting arms, and that making all the difference in the world.

One life touches one life, touches one life...and life gets a whole lot better.

[Thanks for all the love on my previous post. It meant a lot to me.]

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Dark Love

Dark love washes over my face, teasing me into wakefulness with its rich aroma. Rolling it around my mouth, overwhelmed by the depth of tones barely perceivable, hints at the greater whole of its brew. The sun is bright this morning, painting the grass a brilliant green carpet stretching to the craggy base of the mountains thrusting up into a pale blue sky. There is not a cloud in the sky, but I still feel the rain...

One of my favorite television shows got canceled this year, The Unit. Every week, Tara and I would carve out time to watch it online, to see where the story was going. When we would get to the end of an episode, we would be ready to watch another, but we had to wait until the next week when it was posted. Periodically through out the week we would talk about what happened the week prior and anticipate what was coming next. What was going to happen to our favorite characters? There was tension in not knowing.

That tension is where I live right now. Not for a television show, but in my life.

Those of you that have been around a while know that for the last six months I have been working part time as I look for a job. I left my last job because I was living apart from my family while we waited for the house to sell and after eight months decided to come home. Recently I was offered another job, but the house still hasn't sold. So we wait in the tension.

To add to the tension, money is tight, I worked eight hours this week. Coming back to Lynchburg after being away for eight months feels like a solider coming back from deployment and life has moved on without him. New relationships have formed, there are new inside jokes, whole chapters you have missed out on. While you stare at the silent phone, begging for it to ring, for someone to acknowledge you are here.

In the tension, there are all these questions that usually start with why and what. Why is this happening? What am I supposed to be learning from this? What am I doing wrong? You start to bargain for your release to higher power. If only you will...I will... You try to compare it to starving kids in Africa, it could be worse, but it doesn't make the tension go away, when it is personal. We want relief, right now.

What do you do when you don't have the answers?

Brown dregs of Dark Love pool in the bottom on my white coffee mug, still wrapped in my fingers, soaking the last of its warmth. Soon the greens will give way to vibrant autumn colors, until the leaves fall to crunch under foot. Winter will blow in, life will lay dormant, knowing someday Spring will come again. We don't question it, we just know it's coming.

Everything works for good. Are you comfortable not knowing how?

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Get Away

Step on it dad, that car is about to ram us!

We really need a camera in the back of the car so we can keep an eye on them.

Whats that smell? Something stinks.

It's a stinky stunk.

I said stunk, not skunk. Maybe that car gassed us, roll down the window, it might be poisonous.

At the top of the hill, jump the car in front of us so we can get away.

Jump. Jump. Jump. Jump.

Whoa that was cool, they are gone now.

Can we have ice cream to celebrate?

If you had any doubt they belonged to me, that should be erased now. What can I say, we live life in the Action/Adventure aisle.

[No laws were actually broken in the making of this blog. While the conversations are actual, its physically impossible to get granddaddy's truck airborne. Not that we tried. Oh man, when he gets back from Indiana we are going to hear about this one.]

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Theme Thursday: Beginning

Fingers dance in tune with nerves, losing rhythm with the black tie around his neck, over, under, around and through...pulling it loose again, his sigh escaping in a hiss. How long he had loved her, and now she was gone...he would never love another. Tears contained memories of picnics shared in afternoon sun on red blankets, of new babies held carefully in their mothers arms receiving life's first kiss, of holding each other as those babies became men and began families of their own. Now the house was truly quiet, except the noise of his tired old bones....absent of life.

Briskly he brushed a shine into his stiff black shoes, admiring the wrinkles in his reflection, etched by anxious moments, filled to the rim with memories of skinned knees, lost jobs, her slow decline to cancer. Smiling at himself, he placed each captured thought of the last sixty five years into a gilded box for later, when he needed them. Smoothing the silver strands atop his head, fixing his face to keep it from cracking, he rose to stand by the door of the sanctuary, where he would make one more trip to the front.

Organs filled the air, their playful dirge, urging his procession toward tomorrow, causing his heart to flutter in anticipation. His eyes soaked up the faces of friends and family gathered to mark this moment in time, to always remember.

The clamber of the crowd rising to their feet, accompanied by the changing tempo of the music, all eyes turn and watch her smile from behind the veil, missing the tear rolling down his cheek. Forgetting custom he met her halfway down the aisle, taking her hand and leading her toward the beginning of something new...til death do them part.

Saturday, I had the privilege to watch two friends who found each other late in life, after each lost a spouse, joined in marriage. Even though there was a sniffle when they spoke that last line of their vows, the tenderness of their first kiss, drinking deep of one another, two becoming one, brought hope...its never too late, for new beginnings.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Star

I named a star after my wife.

It was years ago, one of those anniversaries where you are supposed to get a paperclip or a splinter. I figured a star was pretty romantic, in a geeky Star Trek kinda way.

Love will make you do some pretty stupid things sometimes.

I guess if you think about it love itself is a risk.

You give them the opportunity to check yes our no in the little boxes of your heart as you pass it over. Not knowing what to expect.

Yes or No.

Like asking a girl to dance at home coming.

And hoping she doesn't laugh.

Leaving you feeling naked in front of the entire gym.

I mean what if it doesn't work out?

Will we still be friends?

What if he hurts me?

What if she says that to all the guys?

What if it all comes tumbling down
and all the kings horses
and all the kings men
can't put my heart back together again?

If we choose not to risk, do we choose not to love?

Sitting on the front porch with the boys, I point to the heavens...

That twinkling light is named after your mom, put there to replace her when she fell to the earth...

and daddy risked it all to chase a shooting star.