Love Light

You’ve given a love light, life

by building glass globes out of whispers.

 

Life is forever shaking the sea

to watch soul showers swirl.

 

Burning bright bits of sun,

the infinite floes of a mother’s love.

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Everything Has Been Said Over the Yellow Table

To me, the ego is best described in the bridge from head to heart. I affirm this the best I can in the words below…

  She was to be leaving soon, though at the time, neither of us was in much of a rush. I had made plans for later; most of hers had fallen through. The door behind her was open; opening…She sat with just one shoe on, the other bare. As if she had to test the waters before jumping in. “Kick off the other shoe mother, or close the door or both – but never neither. You’ve done too much leaving, without ever having left. You’ve done too much alone, drowning in dry tubs. It’s wet out there. It’s a hard rain. All the low places are having their fill.” The back and forth was a sweet speak. I don’t remember her bringing in the squalls. But she had. They were in her all along. Each word a torrent, each eye blink lightening, each silence thunder. Nothing is louder than those sounds of nothing. I was deaf to it then, it became deafening later. Matters fell from her windswept hair. She was trying to untangle them as the waters rose at our feet. I remember the matters but not the waters. I just brushed away the obvious when she wasn’t looking. It was debris to puzzle over when they floated away with her.

 

  I’ve handled this memory so often the edges have worn smooth. Thought moths have eaten some of the middle so that it’s harder in some places to discern. I just have to trust my heart in those matters. The fading and eating away helps me to forgive and understand. I’ve sat in the waters so long I’ve pruned. I’ve learned with time, we all have to dry out. I remember two sets of hands on a yellow linoleum table. I remember the talk lingering somewhere under the smoke of menthols and Marlboro’s. I just don’t remember the water. I don’t remember her kicking off the other shoe. But she had and was jumping in with both feet. There was a floating away with two sets of hands splayed. There were two sets of desperate cuts into the growing gulf. Canyons are scooped in just this kind of way. There’s been twenty five years of waters now. They’ve washed away every bit of poison from the wound. The waters run clear now but they’ve never receded.

 

  She still sits on one side and me on the other just like old times. I see two sets of hands on a yellowing time table. The talk lingers in mist over the waters. Sometimes words get lost in the thick. Sometimes the occasional break reveals a face. Neither of us is in any kind of rush- though I have plans for later and hers fell through. When the air is clear the words carry very well, much like the lines here and there on a fading face.

 

 

(Waters rose on Mother’s Day May 8, 1988 and swept her away on June 5, 1988. Miss you mom, love you very much. Still and always)

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Rise

A tear…may fall for years.

And I’ve chased behind it with my pickled heart of brine.

I was the constant companion, a sad shadow.

 

I free fell from heights higher than dream.

Was I scared? Or did I just dare

to drown in the fathoms deep?

 

I…I really couldn’t tell you why

or what caused me to eddy against

a sea sorrow’s tide and rise.

 

I was bathed in fear. I’ve risen clean.

I was baptized by tear. I’ve risen chosen.

I was born anew. I’ve risen christened.

 

And now all that falls,

are the shackles that bind

and the walls that confine.

 

And I rise…I rise alive.

Like the sun,

Like a flame.

 

I‘ve always dreamt I could,

take to wind and wing

and fly.

 

To soar and float like whispers-

on the wind, on the high

far into the boundless blue.

 

Goodbye to all earthbound,

Because now,

I fly, I fly, I fly.

 

My worries would aim to chase me here.

But I’m higher, I’m faster,

I’m boundless, I’m chainless.

 

Into the clear, into the blue,

The world grows small

My hopes are raised and my heart has too.

 

My world is the endless sky.

So I take to flight,

both today and tonight.

 

Goodbye to all earthbound,

For now I rise,

For now I fly.

 

 

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Boston Strong

On Boylston Street,
there are two
soul stemmed orange blooms.

Around the corner,
two planters shave wings
off of butterflies.

All around,
grey snakes and
the smell of copper.

Tainted faith will soon settle with the snakes,
as will copper scents and the night…
Some things are too heavy to linger.

But the next day,
sunrise and butterflies…
Some things use more than just wings to fly.
 

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Pictures Are What Pressed Flowers Were

I see again the tender grace,

of love lain to press in a deeper place.

Here, perfectly preserved in the inner page,

holds firm a flame from another age.

 

She was buried deep in a dusty nook,

and fain to rise her eyes and look.

Regretfully here I also find,

time holds the love I’ve left behind.

 

There are signs that speak of his embrace,

it’s found in random all over the place.

Particularly color faded dim, leaving only a trace.

But there is enough to remember love in a forgotten face.

 

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Plastic Cars and Coloring Whales

My purpose in life is easy to name, though it didn’t come easy to take. But that’s our lives in a nutshell isn’t it? Mine is that truly. I don’t claim that it is any harder that another’s. I’ve learned to never be flippant about what someone else feels – none of it is trivial. Hurt or joy is as deep to each individual as the event that evoked it. I can attribute my life’s purpose to my mom for many reasons. It has to do in part to my memories. My first memory I will tell involves being hand in hand with my mom. My life after this story goes hand in hand with her. It will always. She will never let me go. I will never let her go. It is my purpose… to live for her as she did for me. I live with two hearts. Hers and mine. I must love and live with enough to honor both…

 

 

 It is strange how I can remember some things. And I think we can all relate to that. Know how it is you can recall a friend from junior high but you can’t remember where you laid your keys five minutes earlier? I have that too. It seems my brain latched on to some memories when I was very little that to this day I can tell anyone in detail. In one of the last conversations I had with my mom, I asked her about one of them, if for no other reason it seemed more of a dream than a memory. The details were always the same but the images seemed fuzzy along the fringe.

 

“Mom, do you ever remember standing at the bottom of a hill, watching a long white car being towed from a ditch to the top while we held hands?”

She looked incredulous at me.

“You remember that?!”

“Yeah, but it seems like a dream in a way.”

“Probably because you were like two!”

“No way!”

“Yep!”

 

I don’t know why that image remained. Maybe because I loved my mom and we held hands and I felt close to her at that moment. Maybe because I was fascinated with cars and trucks (as little boys are) and it seemed neat to watch as one pulls the other. My mom thinks it was because there was some danger involved and the moment made an impression. Though no one was hurt, she preceded to tell how she accidently drove our car into the ditch and had to have a tow truck tow it to the house at the top of the hill. That is a lot of excitement for a two year old so there may be some truth to it. We seem to remember things that come wrapped in high emotion. Maybe even as a two year old…

 

  So, I knew now that there was some truth in those “fuzzy things” I could recall in detail. If you remember I said that I confirmed this in one of my last conversations I had with my mom. A month after we had that talk, my mom committed suicide. She was 37. I could take the long way around and tell you of all the reasons why this happened. And maybe I will later in a different light. Some stories deserve their own day. You’ll just have to trust me when I say her burden had just become too much for her to bear. I was just 20 at the time and just beginning to see beyond the selfishness of youth so there were many things I didn’t get a chance to learn from her. And there were conversations like the one about the car I never got a chance to explore with her. One of them now seems to have a far more personal effect on me and I would have loved to have gotten her take on it. I didn’t though I’ve gathered some opinions and in a round a bout way – a purpose.

 

  It is another “fuzzy” episode I’ve replayed from time to time. I must have been close to the same age as I was when my mom and I watched the car hand in hand. I remember standing in the front seat of a car singing to some tune on the radio (Hello Miss Robinson by Simon and Garfunkel I think) when she pulled into a convenience store parking lot. I was excited as kids get because I hoped for a treat inside. You know how it is, being a kid in a store. Hoping to get that stick of gum, a piece of candy or that can of soda. I remember the store being empty except for the older guy behind the counter. She led me over to the aisle where stores such as these had the cheap things on display. Cheap gadgets and plastic toys – just plastic and paper and brightly colored. Now, I know for a fact we never had much money. And I know now my mom was doing something special when she pointed out a coloring book on whales for me. “Would you like that Gary?” she asked. She was asking fully expecting an emphatic yes from her little boy. I never got much as a kid which is to be expected when you don’t have much to give when you are poor. But I remember seeing that next to the coloring books were some brightly colored and cheap plastic cars. They were red and blue and green and yellow. Just some cheap plastic things but I wanted them and I pointed…

 

“I want these!”

“Oh honey those are two dollars! Wouldn’t you like these whales to color? You know how you like fish!”

“No, I want those!”

“Baby, that’s too much…”

Back and forth the conversation went. Me throwing a fit and getting louder by the minute and my mom’s pleads coming to no avail. I even vaguely recall the guy behind the counter trying to help my mom by suggesting the coloring book was a cooler thing to get. I don’t recall too much how my mom looked in the store when I was doing all of this, though I’m sure she was getting exasperated as her son turned into this needy brat. I do remember she ended up snatching the package of cheap cars and buying them for me. When we got in the car, I remember her saying I acted up and was taking a nap when I got home. And that’s what happen. I went to take a nap with my cheap cars. They didn’t roll very well. The wheels and axles were plastic and warped and one piece. I pulled them off the cars. I threw them on the floor. I had played with them for all of like five minutes. Coloring whales would have been cooler. I should have got the book…

 

   Looking back on it now, I can see I was probably well past due for a nap. I was probably well past due for a butt whuppin’. I can see now my mom was having a good day which I know now weren’t many. My mom was 16 when she had me and wasn’t more than a kid herself. I don’t recall my step dad around much and when he was neither of us were very happy. Being a kid I saw things in a needy way. Being a 45 year old man I see things in a more reflective way now. That makes this memory 40 plus years old. Fuzzy along the fringe like the worn edges of a beloved photograph – I guess in some ways it is. Memories can be snapshots from a different time. But I can see the center clearly. And I feel the love that is in the center of it all…

 

  Well, there it is. This memory centered on a choice between plastic cars and a book of whales. Back then, I just saw that I wanted the brightly colored thing. I didn’t want to have to color pictures. That didn’t seem as fun at the moment as those brightly colored plastic cars. Even as a little kid I quickly regretted that choice. Now that I’m older looking back on it, I regret acting a brat. I love that my mom tried to do a loving thing for me knowing now how young she was, and how tough it was for her on so many levels. It’s poignant now to look back and see the correlation to my adult choices in life. I can choose the brightly colored thing, the pretty thing. And it’s almost inevitable that is all you’ll get. You look inside and there is nothing else there -just the pretty shell. But how much more beautiful are the things when you work for them? When you have to put some effort into it? You appreciate the time it took to make something you can now look back on and enjoy. There is as much fun in the journey as there is for when you reach your destination. Older now, I see I should always choose to color the whales…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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