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!

Broken Ice (slide show)

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While I write off key,
Chords to the music,
Are washing over me.
Each note in concert,
Broken ice,
On a windblown lake,
Surrendering to the sun.
A starburst of shattered sea.
Frozen chimes, every key,
A new discovery.
Music in step.
A part of my soul,
Playing over again,
Feeding a waterfall,
Touching blue skies.
A crescendo washing over me.
Driving memories.
And new discoveries.
Out of step,
Out of key.
Perfection.
Nature’s harmony.
Play broken ice for me.
While I write off key.
Each chord floating gently,
Over me.

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Lonely Man, You Know Who I Am

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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.

Choices

I have to breathe.
That’s on me.
My back’s against the wall.
I’ll take the fall,
For leaving you,
All alone.
Choices.
I can leave.
My reprieve.
That last pour,
And out the door.
That last kiss,
That I’ll miss.
Choices.
That last glance,
Left to chance.
Step into the rain.
Walk out on the pain.
For loving you,
On my own,
All alone.
Choices.
I can’t replace,
What love can’t embrace,
A journey still undone.
I can lift you up,
Or I can run,
Leave love undone.
Choices.
I have to breathe.
That’s on me.
My back’s against the wall.
I’ll take the fall.
For leaving you,
All alone.
Choices.

Your Soul is Your Flame

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A sunset should never steal your smile,
You are the woman who has given birth,
To many sunrises, to many beautiful sunsets.
You have breathed life into beautiful souls,
So that life never grows old.
God has filled your soul with the gift of life.
I will chase your smiles forever.
Forever, I may find them.
So that our love never grows old.
Your soul is your flame.
Your smile is your claim to fame.
Light up my life. 
Burn bright for me.
I will catch your smiles.
Whenever they are fleeting.
So look into my eyes,
Look no further.
Leave your fear at life’s altar.
Our love will never falter.
Your soul is your flame.
Your smile is your claim to fame.
Light up my life. 
Burn bright for me.

Happy Birthday Pops!

Dad’s 80th – August 11th, 2007

It’s August 11th, my Dad’s birthday and Paul Ryan has been named the Mitt Romney’s choice for VP running mate in the presidential election.  My dad passed away in December 2010, I was 58 years young.  I was thinking about what Paul Ryan said today about his Dad passing away when he was only in his teens.  I can’t imagine my Dad not being around for all those formative years, especially high school and college.  I would have had a ball, j/k!  In retrospect, I would have had to look elsewhere for a mentor, a backstop, a person who would make sure I didn’t self-destruct.  Somehow Paul Ryan managed to turn out to be a really good guy, and successful by anyone’s measure.

I think Dad would be proud of Paul Ryan, and pleased his appointment was announced on my Dad’s birthday.  I think he would be in Mitt Romney and Pul Ryan’s corner.  After all I’ve never met anyone with more backbone or higher ethical standards than Dad.  Dad would say Paul Ryan was, “a chip off the old block.”  So enough about Paul Ryan and politics, what kind of birthday message can I leave my old man?

Well I could begin and end the story by saying he was a successful small businessman, husband and father.  We are a family of six siblings, including three sisters and three brothers and we all get along, Mom too!  Seriously, we actually know where each other lives.  We celebrate holidays together, sometimes vacation together, and even have each other’s cell phone numbers. 

We’ve friended each other on Facebook and “Like” each other’s posts, although there’s been a couple times Mom’s wanted to wash my keyboard out with soap.  We text each other.  Mom IMs most every day with daughters and daughter-in-laws to complain about sons and son-in-laws.  Mom actually Skype’s!  We even have a family Blog site.  Dad wanted little or nothing to do with computers but he would have expected no less from his family than ,a family that Skype’s together, stays together.  Happy Birthday Pops!

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