In Life Too Often, It’s the Tail Waggin’ the Dog

100_0003 (2)I love the beat of Cody’s tail wagging against the floor, against the door, against the wall, against the bed he is lying on.  I’m not sure whether it will be Cody’s heart that gives out before his tail stops wagging.

Cody’s my 10 year old chocolate lab.  We’re kinda attached at the hips.  He goes to work with me every day.  He goes to work most days, I am out of town on business. I now have a ramp he uses to load up into the back of my SUV.  It is a ceremony.  He’s not fan of the trip up.  I’ve employed what is best to describe as a soft suitcase I wrap him in, to coax him up the ramp.  He’s frantic, so there’s always a treat waiting for him.  Upon arrival, and his descent, he reminds me of an arriving dignitary, including the obligatory pause for photo ops, before his parade trip down the ramp.

Cody knows when it’s time to go to work.  He knows when it is time for his 10 and 4 o’clock walks.  He knows he goes to North Park in the AM and he knows he tours the office park in the afternoon.

Most important he knows when it is time to go home.  Dinner!

If you ask him to change his routine, you meet with the stubbornness of a 100+ lb. dog, who knows who’s in charge.

He knows when the UPS truck arrives.  He knows the drivers.  He knows whether to expect a biscuit or a good rub.  The drivers know him, too.  After all, “What can brown do for you?”

You might say Cody has it made.  Even before you see his beds at home or the leather sofa he spends an increasing amount of time on at the office, but there’s a point to all this dribble. So bear with me.

Cody’s hips are giving in to father time, so he’s getting laser to strengthen his shoulders and flanks.  If it works for him, I’m next in line.

Cody now goes to bed before Terri and I do.  Both of us cracked a smile and laughed the first time he left us to head for bed.  Now we know Cody has more common sense than we do.

A former neighboring business owner had a 10 year old white lab named Jack.  Like Cody, he came to work with his owners each day.  Jack died suddenly.  We were commiserating when Jack’s owner said to me, “give Cody a good back scratch for Jack.”

When I scramble to meet a deadline, decry the political theatre, grouse over a lost order or worry about where the next dollar is coming from, all I have to do is look to my friend.  He’s most often at my feet.

I am reminded.  I have so much to live for, why not make things right in this messed up world?  The solution?

Everyone should get a good tummy rub and a nice back scratch every day.  Cody does.

The Streets of Baltimore

Thaddeus%20Logan%2C%20author%20of%20Hey%20Cabbie%2C%20published%20in%201984%2C%20which%20describes%20life%20in%20Baltimore%20as-he-see-it%20through%20the%20windshield%20of%20his%20taxi%2C%20has%20came%20out%20with%20the%20sequel%2C%20Hey%20Cabbie%20II.%20%28Kenneth%20K.%20LAM%2C%20Baltimore%20Sun%29

Thaddeus Logan, author of Hey Cabbie, published in 1984, which describes life in Baltimore as-he-see-it through the windshield of his taxi, has come out with the sequel, Hey Cabbie II. (Kenneth K. LAM, Baltimore Sun)

I have never met Thaddeus Logan, but I can share a moment in time with Thaddeus several years ago.

There’s a great restaurant, highly recommended for its blue crab, in Baltimore. To get there you had to leave your swank hotel and drive through the slums on the east side of Baltimore. What I saw from my vantage point in a Yellow Cab made me lose my appetite for crab and left me empty at the same time.

I will never forget the sight of a man, who may now own a piece of my soul, sitting on the steps in the projects in Baltimore. I have often wondered, is my soul his for the taking?

Do either of us have a choice to create a better life? If there is hope, the choices should be available to us both, should either be necessarily more gratifying?

The experience prompted me to write this:

The Streets of Baltimore
Our eyes met in a moment.
One, sitting on the steps to nowhere.
Where hallways echo empty promises.
Where memories too often perish,
Where misery too often survives.
Ever so brief, our souls meet
On the streets of Baltimore.
 
One, just another fare,
All we shared was a glare.
A moment, no more.
One asks resolute.
Is it not too late?
Can you snub out your smoke?
Can you swallow that last drink?
On the streets of Baltimore
 
Both born rich in life,
Both born poor to circumstance.
Both bodies whole,
Both born spirits unscathed,
Both born undiscovered,
Only one is born,
On the streets of Baltimore.
 
One white, one black.
One who can’t look back,
One can only look away.
One lives on, in stark reality,
One lives on, with memories.
One lives on in misery.
One lives filled with hope.
One lives on the streets of Baltimore.

Updated Tuesday, October 23, 2012

I’m not going to get a copy of Hey Cabbie or Hey Cabbie II. Thaddeus Logan’s driven along those very same streets 1,000 fold and he too, understands, one can not look back. I have a feeling he is a good man and he has written a couple of good books that need to be read and taken to heart.

Serendipity is alive and well on the streets of Baltimore. What is going to stick with me is the romance, sadness or even the empathy I experienced, while visiting, so as for reading his books, so I’m just not going there. Not now. I believe the solution is already on the table. All that is needed is willing patrons.

The Streets of Baltimore

Thaddeus%20Logan%2C%20author%20of%20Hey%20Cabbie%2C%20published%20in%201984%2C%20which%20describes%20life%20in%20Baltimore%20as-he-see-it%20through%20the%20windshield%20of%20his%20taxi%2C%20has%20came%20out%20with%20the%20sequel%2C%20Hey%20Cabbie%20II.%20%28Kenneth%20K.%20LAM%2C%20Baltimore%20Sun%29

Thaddeus Logan, author of Hey Cabbie, published in 1984, which describes life in Baltimore as-he-see-it through the windshield of his taxi, has came out with the sequel, Hey Cabbie II. (Kenneth K. LAM, Baltimore Sun)

I have never met Thaddeus Logan, but I can share a moment in time with Thaddeus several years ago.

There’s a great restaurant, highly recommended for its blue crab, in Baltimore.  To get there you had to leave your swank hotel and drive through the slums on the east side of Baltimore.  What I saw from my vantage point in a Yellow Cab made me lose my appetite for crab and left me empty at the same time.

 I will never forget the sight of a man, who may now own a piece of my soul, sitting on the steps in the projects in Baltimore. I have often wondered, is my soul his for the taking?

Do either of us have a choice to create a better life? If there is hope, the choices should be available for us both, but should either be necessarily more gratifying?

The experience prompted me to write this:

The Streets of Baltimore
Our eyes met in a moment.
One, sitting on the steps to nowhere.
Where hallways echo empty promises.
Where memories too often perish,
Where misery too often survives.
Ever so brief, our souls meet
On the streets of Baltimore.
 
One, just another fare,
All we shared was a glance.
A moment, no more.
One asks resolute.
Is it not too late?
Can you snub out your smoke?
Can you swallow that last drink?
On the streets of Baltimore
 
One both born rich in life,
Both born poor to circumstance.
Both bodies whole,
Both born spirits unscathed,
Both born undiscovered,
Only one is born,
On the streets of Baltimore.
 
One white, one black.
One who can’t look back,
One can only look away.
One lives on, in stark reality,
One lives on, with memories.
One lives filled with hope.
One lives on the streets of Baltimore.

 

Updated Tuesday, October 23, 2012

I’m not going to get a copy of Hey Cabbie or Hey Cabbie II.  Thaddeus Logan’s driven along those very same streets 1,000 fold and he too, understands, one can not look back.   I have a feeling  he is a good man and he has written a couple of good books that need to be read and taken to heart.

Serendipity is alive and well on the streets of Baltimore, but  I’m going to stick to the romance of sadness or even the empathy I experienced, while visiting, so as for reading his books, I’m just not going there.

You Are My Bright Stars

Live in the moment,
Or endure the past.
Blister or bathe in the sun.
Shiver or revel in the rain.
Make love or lose love.
Live free or imprisoned in self doubt.
Open or close your eyes to great dreams.
Travel the road of gods or demons.
Find peace in the bosom of friends and family,
Or fall at the feet of failure and his companion, evil.
Wherever fate finds you, choose to remember well…
There will always be bright stars in dark skies.
And you will always be the brightest star.
 Love forever and always.
 
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Dedicated to my daughters
Updated 09-30-2012
 

If I Could Write You a Song



If I could write you a song,
I’d be asking you to sing along.
Lyrics without the music,
They just don’t belong.
Like this plane I’m sitting on.
Going nowhere, I’ve always been,
Into the setting sun, away from you,
Away from you.
 
If I could write you a song,
There’s no now, there’s no then,
My life’s not taking off.
There’s no place I’m landing soon,
So much for life’s baggage when,
I can’t even carry a tune.
No place I’m going soon.
 
If I could write you a song,
The music would be all wrong.
In this lonely hotel room.
Trying to forget, drinking wine.
Thin walls, thin lives, keeping time.
Keeping me away from you.
I need to be moving on.
Always away from you.
 
If I could write you a song,
The lyrics would be too long.
City streets, no place to turn around.
Can’t keep these feet on the ground.
In time, it’s always back to you.
If I could write what’s wrong,
This song would never end.
I’d be on my way back to you,
Back to you…
 
++
Saturday, August 18, 2012

Eyes wide open… Reflections

Cody Bear

Cody Bear

In the darkest hours of the 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; and 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 amongst 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…

Lonely Man, You Know Who I Am

Lonely manI 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.

The most humorous aspect is that I had to submit the prose to a site called poetry.com.  They sent me a letter, said they selected me for a “coffee table” edition of their next book and wanted me to spend $45.00 for a copy.

Can you believe someone would actually fall for something so ludicrous?!  If you’re interested, I am selling  a serious surplus of these limited edition books for 1.99 on eBay!  Here my contribution…

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.

Your best friend,

Mike, the Bartender

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