Selfish

Selfish. Not a label I have ever wanted to own. I’ll own it. Certainly it’s a label that has to be resonating with more of us today than ever before. We’re all selfish. Ego controls us. Think selfie. Our smart phones own us.

If I can be rested from my self-induced, self-prescribed existence or being and smart phone, it would literally require an act of God.

It’s alarming to me, an ordinary human, that the extraordinary, often sensational, often impersonal, even detached, surreal moments become my perception of reality. I would never experience these moments without this new reality. The Internet and the advent of social media.

How can us ordinary humans, moms, dads, teachers, business and spiritual leaders compete with this new reality? Self-awareness maybe the one thing I can do to improve selflessness. If you can listen to your inner self maybe you can do a better job of listening to someone else. It could make me a better person. Good luck with that!

Case in point, calling someone selfless is a huge compliment. There may be people that commit selfless acts but who do you know that can be described as selfless? Rare indeed. Did I mention self-effacing? To the point, I wrote Lonely Man in one of those pity me moments. It’s called self-promoting!

Lonely Man

Lonely man, you know who I am. 
You’re a labor of love, hand and glove. 
If you ever want to shoot for the moon,
You’ll need to bring your own silver spoon. 

Your drink is empty, nothing’s on the table.  
Miguel your waiter, sells only by the label. 
So you dance to music that never ends,
And toast bartender Mike, your new best friend. 

You’re anybody who has a story.
You’re the blood and guts, but no glory. 
You’re the play that’s no longer afloat. 
You’re the poem, you never wrote.

Lonely man, you know who I am.  
You’re a labor of love, hand and glove.
Johnny Cochran’s not your deal.
You’ll never win on your appeal. 

You’re the crowd in every room. 
The conversation that always spells doom. 
You’re the fly that’s always unzipped,
The greeting card, that’s always skipped. 

You’ve become the sweat on everyone’s brow. 
You’re the answer to, “No, not now!” 
You’re the best friend you’ll never have. 
You’re the rub, without the salve.

Lonely man, you know who I am. 
Labor of love, fit hand and glove. 
Win the lottery prize in your office pool? 
What are the odds you’ve played the fool!

You’re someone’s smile, without a face. 
You’re the awkward in an embrace.
You’re the gaze behind an empty stare. 
You’re the voice that isn’t there. 

You’re the cold pavement under bare feet. 
You’re the toothless grin that never eats.
So when you dare ask for a slice of life,
You’re the one to brandish a knife. 

And when your chapter is finally read,
You already know what’s been said.
Lonely man, you know who I am, 
Dance to music that never ends.

I originally wrote Lonely Man for a Montel Williams Poetry Contest for MS charity because I have a sister with MS. I think “Lonely Man” epitomizes how many of us feel from time to time. At the same time it pokes some fun at those same self-effacing feelings.

Choose YES

It’s late. I’m listening to Porcelain, by Helen Jane Long, a piano instrumental on an album of the same name. There’s an upbeat tempo one minute and down the next, but what’s never in doubt, the melody is moving forward.

Long’s instrumental reminds me that life is a series of ups and downs. In life, we all have them. When we have hurt, pain, tragedy, it is overwhelming, often devastating, even catastrophic.  Life goes on.

The cruelest part may be life goes on, with or without us. We can experience disappointment ranging from losing the lottery to losing a loved one or worse.  Yet for us, the cruel irony is, yes you guessed it, life goes on. In those moments of despair, panic, fear, disappointment, agony, even shame, it is all about what we do next that separates us. Life goes on.

The same holds true for those moments of elation, spontaneous laughter, thrills, the smile that aches, the head rush from a fist pump or a YES! There’s the deep gratification that love yields, the peace and reciprocity that a warm smile can bring. Life goes on.

There’s a reason for a beautiful sunrise or sunset, because both are signaling a new beginning. And yes, there’s always hope, as we live and breathe. There’s always hope. All we have to do is look for it and we can find it. Life goes on.

I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know. You have been there. We all have. I don’t know anyone in my life over 50 that hasn’t experienced tremendous ups and downs. All I am doing is reminding you and reminding me too, in this moment, with this soulful piano playing to my heart, I can find peace. And YES, life goes on.

There’s always an upside, too. I’m living proof. Every day will be a new beginning. I am going to arm myself with a warm smile and choose YES! Life goes on with or without you. Choose YES!

Life Is Art

bow glacier falls hike_upper falls 6 (2)
Life is art.
Can’t apologize.
Love is pulling us a part.
If you painted this moment.
Words are forgotten.
Brushed aside in emotion.

Can’t catch a break.
Can’t catch my breath.
Can’t sleep.
Can’t eat enough.
Can’t drink enough.
Yeah that’ me.
Yeah that’s you.

The deepest, darkest secrets,
Come out when you’re alone.
You can’t be alone.
Reason’s gone.
Memories gone.
Life’s canvas isn’t wrong.

Treasure the moments.
The warm embraces.
The knowing smiles.
The tender caresses.
The sweet quiet voices,
The hot breath in your ear.
You can hold dear.

Never you’re fault.
Someone’s just rubbin’ salt,
In places you can’t explain.
Imaginary pain.
Everyone’s sayin,’,
Never going to change.
Everyone’s sayin’.

You’re singing to the choir…
Honey, I’m wearing a wire.
Baby, I’m hearing you’re a liar.
You’re cryin in your soup.
You’re the only one in the loop.

Love is art,
Life is pulling us apart.
Lay your life bare,
No one cares.
The deepest darkest secrets,
Come out when you’re alone.
You’re not alone.
Never alone.

Apocalypse or New Beginning?

rabbitWhat if an apocalypse isn’t a disaster or the end of the world?  What if it’s a new beginning?  Like the Big Bang Theory except we simply pass unaware from one universe into another.  Maybe we simply pass through a looking glass in a moment in time into a brand new world in a blink of an eye.  Maybe we do so every day, every second, always.  Could an apocalypse just breed a new set of circumstances; where life’s dynamics change in an instant?

Anytime one can pass through that looking glass into another world.  In the blink of an eye your life is on course, planned almost to the “T”, the next everything’s changed.

Start with the day you were born, how many unexpected circumstances cause a potentially apocalyptic change?

Take a seemingly inert object, a cylindrical piece of glass, a table top separated from its home atop a patio table, being pushed around, scrubbed cleaned and spun back around, destined to return to the patio where it belonged.  Except it shattered.  Its glass shards dove deep into the leg, a loved one’s left leg cutting it to the bone, leaving her helpless.

So a moment in time caused an apocalyptic blip in a world never ending, giving birth every moment to a new life we now live.  Sunspots are blamed for all sorts of atmospheric changes, like global warming, now it’s P.C. to call it climate change, so why not a rabbit hole to life reborn?  If Mother Nature can conjure up a flood or a drought, hurricane, sweeping tornadoes, life is never going to be the same.  You are forced to adapt to something new and different.  People, places, circumstances you know…will change or cease to exist, in an instant.

To me a hospital likens a brand new world.  When you enter into a life threatening situation and your life suddenly spirals out of control you find yourself relegated to a new beginning.  Your life is now in the hands of paramedics, doctors, nurses, technicians and support staff. All these people appear to you in “scrubs”.  If there’s significance to colors, it escapes me.  I have yet to see a candy-striper.

Certainly everything life threatening now appears to be in slow motion.  Life is now uncertain, so answers are drawn, deliberate and studied.  No one answer is beyond reproach or certainty. Life in this new world is all about adjusting to whatever comes their way.   Life is resurrected, sutured, stapled, stitched, sewn, connected by drips, drains, inserted, injected, measured and clipped. Good fortune is you get the best of the best. A plastic surgeon with precision hands to go with her accent. Five hours later, an eternity to some, you’re reborn.

Every day I learn to appreciate God ’s creation more, men and women able to adapt, invent and create a brand new world.

When the Cheshire cat says, “If you don’t know what road you’re on, any road will do.” In a blink of an eye, the life you knew is gone.

Thoughts from May 25th 2011

Nothing Ventured! (slide show)

Hi MomNothing ventured.
Nothing gained.
Yes. That’s you.
That was me,
At 18 too.
I’m unknown.
I’m unread.
Nothing here.
Nothing said.
I’m granite.
You’re Atlantic.
In New York,
You pick your fork.
In Des Moines,
You pick your employment line.
Don’t tell me the ice is melting,
When the snow is pelting,
When you haven’t felt the cold,
When you’re too young, to feel old.
Don’t tell me we need an open door.
We’re already poor.
Show me you’re real,
Or I’ll show you the door.

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This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I Deserve You

liar
I left my soul open,
With every word spoken,
Lips left love unspoken.
Now I’m broken.
I deserve you.

You’re the wave,
That rolled over me.
More than a tsunami.
Swept deep inside of me.
Tears hide the rain.
Hide the pain.

Your lies echo in my head.
Like a book often read,
I can’t put down.
I’m you’re circus clown.
I own… this.

I left my soul open,
With every word spoken,
Lips left love unspoken.
Now I’m broken.
I deserve you.

I’m all in.
Every sin.
I can’t imagine.
Was there a beginning?
Is there’s an end?

Missing a place,
A place inside of you.
A place inside of me.
I’m lost.
There’s no you.
There’s no me,

It’s hard to get close,
To be so far apart.
So alone, so often.
Your touch. A spark.
A light that fades to dark.

I left my soul open,
With every word spoken,
Lips left love unspoken.
Now I’m broken.
I deserve you.

Dedicated to CG 1966

Eyes wide open… Reflections II

My Cody Bear


In the darkest hours of night, when sleep should prevail, without prejudice, without mercy, questions pour into my head. I lie awake and I wonder…
Have I lived well enough to make many friends and fewer enemies?
Do I have the courage to cherish my friends and to vanquish my enemies?
Have I spread enough smiles?
Have I shared enough hugs?
Have I planted enough kisses?
Have I caused enough laughter to earn reciprocity?
Have I studied enough history?
Have I been engaged enough in current affairs?
Have I earned a degree in knowledge?
Is knowledge a benefit?
Is knowledge the revelation of truths, or is knowledge the realizations of falsehoods?
Have I learned from every victory and every folly?
If so, am I a benefactor; more important, am I a teacher?
Today, in this world that reports the past in real-time; in time to worry for our future?
I only see and images of life, albeit in real-time, can I relate?
Have I focused long enough on the anguished faces, I cannot truly see?
Have I listened hard enough to the desperate voices, I truly cannot hear?
Have I seen enough of their pain, I truly cannot feel?
Have I felt their hunger, I cannot feed?
Have I shared in their grief, I cannot quell?
Have I touched enough people?
Has cuddling become a lost art?
If you learn my darkest secret, will you forgive me?
Will I forgive myself?
Did I stop smoking soon enough to live forever?
How much double churned ice cream is too much?
Will I die and when?
Will it be too soon!  Of course!
Would I fight for my life to the very end?
Out of fear?
Out of courage?
For you?
Will I let go?
Can I fall away?
Will you miss me if I’m gone?
Will you miss me when you are alone?
Will you miss me when you are among friends.
Will you still be laughing and smiling?
And for how long?  Don’t tell me.
My dog is asleep at my feet.
He has all the answers.
He won’t say, but I finally get it.
It’s not about me.
So now, I can close my eyes…

These reflections are more important to me, now then ever beforre. I hope you are asking yourself the same questions.

All the best!!!

Note: My Big guy, my Cody Bear, passed away in 2017.

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