Monthly Archives: March 2014

Stargazing

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His mother told him stargazing wasn’t a reason to come home after curfew. His father said “you listen to your mother.”

Inside his darkened bedroom he exchanged texts with the girl who made him come home late.

“Tomorrow we’ll run away together…forever.”

Answer the question in exactly 42 words. The inaugural questionWhat’s so amazing that keeps us stargazing?

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I Can See Clearly…Mostly

The Passionate Shepherd to His Love

COME live with me and be my Love,
And we will all the pleasures prove
That hills and valleys, dale and field,
And all the craggy mountains yield.

There will we sit upon the rocks
And see the shepherds feed their flocks,
By shallow rivers, to whose falls
Melodious birds sing madrigals.

There will I make thee beds of roses
And a thousand fragrant posies,
A cap of flowers, and a kirtle
Embroider’d all with leaves of myrtle.

A gown made of the finest wool
Which from our pretty lambs we pull,
Fair linèd slippers for the cold,
With buckles of the purest gold.

A belt of straw and ivy buds
With coral clasps and amber studs:
And if these pleasures may thee move,
Come live with me and be my Love.

Thy silver dishes for thy meat
As precious as the gods do eat,
Shall on an ivory table be
Prepared each day for thee and me.

The shepherd swains shall dance and sing
For thy delight each May-morning:
If these delights thy mind may move,
Then live with me and be my Love.

I can’t explain what it is about you or what it is about me that makes us special. Can’t tell you what it is in a way that you can analyze in the traditional manner.

But what I can tell you is that together we are more than we are apart and that I know you feel my presence in a way you have felt no other and that I can say the same about you.

And you know my love is wild, fierce and relentless.

You know the ring of fire burns and the ache of separation. You know that together we define passion and separated we are the picture of tragedy.

Separately we are you and I but together become we.

The circle of time moves as it will and life throws options and opportunities our ways daring us to stand upon our ponies and reach for the rings that seem to be just out of reach.

And every time you have scorned me I have felt you dare me to push back, heard you call out and tell me you don’t want me to walk. I have felt your heart and heard your innermost thoughts, felt your fear and done all that could to protect you from that which you worry about.

You know how you feel in my arms and that there is no other place in which you feel so much and you know I say the same. The only chains that exist are those that are self imposed.

There is no prison that can hold our hearts. No walls that cannot be climbed or overcome and no stopping what was started.

The fire we lit continues to burn and even at its weakest the heat is indescribable. But every time I step into the flames I am not consumed and neither are you.

You don’t have to ask why nor wonder if that will ever change.

One day I won’t be found on the mountain tops chasing after my sheep. One day you won’t find me wandering through the woods because your hand will be in mine and time will stand still…again.

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Running

He couldn’t run with the same speed and ease as he once did but that didn’t mean he couldn’t run. Didn’t mean he wasn’t as fast as he had once been or that his body wouldn’t respond when called upon because it would and it did.

The real difference between then and now was that it took a few minutes to warm up before he could really start moving and his endurance wasn’t what it had once been.

Sometimes it was hard to accept these changes, to know that his physical limits seemed to be more defined than they had once been. It seemed to be like that in every area of his life including the bedroom and that didn’t make him any happier.

But when he had mentioned it to her she had told him she thought it was in his head and told him she was happy. Initially he didn’t believe her but the more they did it the more he began to think maybe she was being honest and not trying to spare his feelings.

Not that it mattered, been months since he had last seen her in person and there was no telling when he would again.

Still he held onto it because he thought of it as proof that maybe the limits he thought he was working under weren’t as strict as he worried about.

He liked that, liked it because he always had tested the limits and he was ready to push himself again to see just how far he could go.

+++++

Some of it had everything to do with curiosity but much had to do with genetics.

He looked at his father and shook his head, dad had done a lousy job of taking care of himself. He had never exercised the way he should and though there had been moments in time where he had been good about his diet for the most part he just ate as he pleased and now they were learning how big a price there was to pay for that behavior.

Sometime in the near future dad was either going to have to go on dialysis or receive a kidney transplant.

It was hard to reconcile the thought with the blue skies that beckoned to him outside and not just because of the dialysis/transplant news but because dad’s health wasn’t all that good to begin with, there were multiple issues there and reason to wonder if the end of life was much closer than anyone thought.

One of his sisters and he had spent most of a telephone call discussion options and wondering if either of them should volunteer to give up a kidney.

There were so many questions and yet so very few clear answers. It was easy to get caught up in worrying about what could or might happen and hard to believe that everything would work itself out on its own.

The only thing he could control was his own behavior and how he lived which was why he was more focused than before on what his body could do and how long it could do it for.

+++++

Out on the basketball court the guys suggested he slow down and when he jumped over a stack of chairs to after a loose ball they asked him why he was playing so hard.

“Because one day I won’t be able to play as I like to and I am not ready to change.”

They told him that people get hurt playing like that and he laughed. “People get hurt crossing the street and in stupid accidents around the house.”

One of them asked him if he realized how many of the guys he knocked down or threw out of his way and he laughed again. “If I foul you than call the foul, but don’t whine at me for playing hard. If you don’t want to get hit by the train stay out of my way.”

The only response he got was a smile from his team and silence from the other side. He really wasn’t trying to hurt anyone. He liked playing hard.

But he also knew that some of the energy came from concern about his father and his desire to make sure that he didn’t turn into him.

Maybe that made him play with a chip on his shoulder. Maybe thinking about how short life could be for others he knew pushed him to go harder too and maybe occasionally he’d think about her and wonder how long it would be before they would see each other again.

It made him shake his head, too many maybes and not enough definitelys.

Thought about calling her to check in and decided against it. She knew where he was and she had asked for the distance so he was giving it to her.

But he knew what he thought, what he saw and what he believed and that was enough to make him feel pretty confident. And regardless of whether he was right or wrong the push to get in better shape was critical so he kept doing what he was doing.

If there was a way to outrun the sun for another day he would find it or at least be confident that he was giving his best effort to make it happen.

And that and the warm sun on his back was enough to make him smile.

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A Different Sort Of Fear

Johnny walked out the door and stood under the moonlit sky. Took a swig of Scotch, closed his eyes and thought about all he had been through and all that he had accomplished.

It wasn’t an exaggeration to say he had been through hell, or at least one definition of it. Sure there were people who could say they had been through much worse but that didn’t make it any easier for him. It didn’t take away any of the pain, anger or frustration and that was ok with him.

He wasn’t interested in holding a competition for who had suffered the most and were he entered into one he would gladly lose. There is no point nor benefit to winning such a thing.

Eyes wide open he looked up at the moon and pictured the apartment he had been living in. Mentally walked through the front door, turned to his right and looked at the couch, glanced to his left and stared at the kitchen.

Not long ago he would have sat on the balcony, headphones on his ear, drink in hand looking out at the scene in front of him.

He closed his eyes for a moment and pictured the street his complex was off of. Drove it in his head and took the road right back to one of his favorite restaurants. Thought about a magical night and smiled.

She had worn a black dress that hugged her curves and showed off her legs. Just thinking about it made his body respond in ways that made him remember high school and smile because this particular response wasn’t going to create any issues this time around. There would be no fear of being asked to go solve a problem on the board and no fear of being embarrassed by what had happened.

Music drifted in from across the street and he snorted, Charlie Rich was singing The Most Beautiful Girl. Hard to believe it was just coincidence, but maybe it was. Maybe it made perfect sense that a song that was 40 plus years old happen to be playing when he was thinking about…things.

Johnny leaned his head back and finished what was left of his Scotch and smiled again.

Smiled and thought again about how far he had come and how much he had managed to do. Every time he had gotten knocked down he had gotten back up and started climbing the hill again. It hadn’t been easy but he had found a way to fix most of what had been broken and had gotten answers to most of the questions that kept him awake at night.

But there were still a couple that would rattle around inside his head, a few that made him wonder about life and what direction he should head in.

Looking up at that moon again he thought again about his apartment and decided that he needed to move back. It made him feel sort of funny to admit that the place he had once called him didn’t feel like it anymore.

Something inside had changed and it was time to start over, time to build a future elsewhere. It was something he had known for a long time, long before he had moved in the apartment he had heard a voice inside calling to him, pushing him to move but he had ignored it.

Ignored it because he had believed it was only because she was there but this time around it was different. This time he didn’t just hear the voice, he felt it and this knew it was far more than her.

This time around it wasn’t completely unknown. This time around he knew where he was going and why.

Part of him felt some fear and uncertainty because the voice wasn’t something he could grab and hold onto. It wasn’t tangible, it was just a gut feeling that said “go and you will be rewarded.”

The man he had once been would have ignored the voice and done the opposite because he didn’t want to listen anything he couldn’t touch but the man he was now had seen and experienced things that made him believe there was something else out there in the ether.

Ultimately it didn’t really matter to him whether it was gut or desire because when he put it on paper and looked at the numbers it made perfect sense to move.  There was more opportunity and he didn’t see a point to work harder for less when he could get so much more.

So he looked up at the moon, smiled and whispered “I’m coming home” and walked back inside the house. Except this time when he lay his head down upon the pillow he felt a different sort of comfort, the kind of peace of mind you get when you have made a big decision.

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Mottos, Moments & Memories

“Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”
Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night ― Dylan Thomas

The email was a reminder that life is short and that we never can tell just how our string is or how much time we are given to do whatever it is we choose to do on earth.

It made his head and his heart hurt because six or was it seven years of wondering where the path would lead seemed to be coming to a head.

He didn’t yell about it being unfair or cry about misfortune because none of those things would make a difference nor would it be of benefit.

Still he couldn’t stop himself from shaking his head and thinking about how young our early thirties are and wondering how many of life’s experiences she would miss out upon.

In the very near future he would reach out to his cousins and ask if he could be of any help and offer whatever assistance he could,

And then he made another mental note to not let time slip away. There was too much to be done and not enough time to do it all but he was determined to be the best conductor of his life that he could be.

He would plan for the future and live as if there was none. He would do his best to drink deeply of all that life had to offer and he would make a point to tell those he loved that he cared about them.

He knew himself well enough to know he would always feel like there were things he still wanted to do, wouldn’t matter if he lived to be a 1000 or 10,000 years-old.

But he figured that as long as he worked on doing the things that filled his heart and made his soul sing he would feel good about life and that was enough.

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The Magic 8 Ball

Johnny looked at June and smiled.

“Why are you smiling like that? What did you do?”

“Maybe I am just happy.”

“Or maybe you are not telling me what is going on. Tell me.”

“Juneleh, I tell you everything…well most of the time I do. Sometimes I hold my tongue and wait.”

Johnny watched her eyes narrow and lips purse, “baby if you really want to pucker your lips you ought to come closer and I’ll kiss you. This air kiss thing doesn’t do much for me.”

June rolled her eyes at him, started to say something and then stopped.

“Baby, finish what you were about to say.”

“Johnny, you know I tell you everything…well most of the time I do.”

Johnny snorted.

“I am not going to fight with you and I am not going to play this game because the end result is when you start to feel unimportant and ignored you will get angry and try to pick a fight with me.”

“You make me sound stupid, petty and ridiculous.  If you don’t want a fight then tell me what you were about to say and don’t play games with me. You stress me out when you do this.”

“June, I pay much closer attention to you than you realize. I have noticed that we really don’t fight much. It is usually just when we are apart for extended periods of time and it is only about silly things. As soon as we see each other all that stuff flies out the window and we forget it happened.

If I had my way any time we had a disagreement I’d just hug you and talk it out but  we can’t always do that. So here we are in that weird in between place neither one of us likes. My bet is that you are worried about what is going to happen when I leave and I get that. I’ll be gone for a while and my guess is that you’ll find a way to create some distance between us.”

“Why would you possibly say that? I am not a flake.”

“No, you are not a flake you are reliable. But you’ll protect yourself. You’ll worry about whether I am going to come back and at some point you’ll decide it is too hard so you’ll come up with a reason to push me away and I’ll have to decide whether to try to convince you to keep holding my hand or not.”

“Does that mean you would just give up on us? How could you just walk away from me, especially after everything?”

“Sweetheart, I can’t imagine just walking away from you. Hell the Magic 8 ball said you would be mine forever and you said I would be yours forever but experience has taught me that your crazy, hysterical, illogical and irrational.”

“I am not laughing. I want to know what your plan is. I want dates. I want to know when you are coming back. Give me a reason to be confident here.”

“June, I can’t give you an exact date today but if you give me some time to get settled I can come up with a time frame. Besides I need you to look at your schedule and tell me what is good for you too.

Baby, you are my best friend and maybe one day we’ll wake up and look around our bedroom and be amazed by how lucky we are. I love you and am confident.”

June sighed deeply.

“How can you be so certain?”

“I know things.”

“I hate when you say that, I like details.”

“I know you do and I am not playing games here. I am telling you that if you look at everything that we have been through you could argue there is no reason for us to be here together and you could just as easily argue this is exactly why we should believe our time is coming.”

“Can’t you ask that Magic 8 Ball for some details, like when it is going t.o happen?”

“I did. When I asked if we would end up together it said ‘It is certain.’ And when I asked if it would be while we were young enough to enjoy life it said ‘You may rely on it.’

That was enough for me, at least for now. Beyond that all I can do is tell you I love you and ask you to keep holding my hand and we’ll figure it out together just like we always do. Because that is what we do, we figure things out. Besides that astrology thing said that the smart Virgo listens to her Taurus, so…”

June smiled at him and took his hand in hers, time would tell.

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The Carnival

Johnny sat back against the wall, headphones on his ears and coffee in hand and smiled. Eyes closed he listened to the music and thought about carnivals and Casablanca.

Rick: Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, she walks into mine.

She had walked by him at the carnival, close enough to touch but she hadn’t seen him. He couldn’t decide what had been more surprising, her showing up or how seeing her made his heart stop.

He thought she wasn’t just beautiful but sexy and radiant. Just looking at her made it clear she didn’t have a clue how attractive she was which of course made her a thousand times more beautiful.

It had been unexpected to run into her like that. He wasn’t going to lie and say he hadn’t hoped they might stumble into each other but this was far different because he hadn’t been there more than a few minutes before she showed up. They say people declare what they want and then the universe conspires to make it happen.

Well maybe that moment was like that. She certainly hadn’t come looking for him the way Ilsa looked for Rick but she definitely still loved him as Ilsa loved Rick.

Johnny looked down at his phone and smiled again. A year ago he was getting ready to get into the car to head to that famous carnival not knowing what he would see or what to expect.

He didn’t know if he would say that moment at the carnival changed everything or confirmed it but he was certain it was a marker. One of those things you look back upon and see how life moved a certain way afterwards. Maybe it was a different direction or maybe it was your attitude but you couldn’t look at it as being anything other than an entrance into something new.

It certainly was for him.

The electrical shock he got when he saw her proved to him that she was more than just some girl he had once loved. She was much more than that and though he couldn’t tell you exactly why he was certain he was more than just some boy.

He closed his eyes and smiled again, opened them and looked at blue skies.

There was another carnival to go to and a beer to drink later at BJs.  Reminiscing time was over, it was time to get dressed.

Still he couldn’t help thinking that if he were there she would be in his arms again and time would stand still again.

There were no tunnel of loves at these carnivals, but maybe there should have been or maybe there didn’t have to be because they always made their own.

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And Every Time

And every time I thought about letting go I heard your voice and felt your heart calling so I turned around and saw you. And every time I saw you I fell in love with you again and remembered what it is that draws me to you.

There is a silent language we speak, one we aren’t always conscious of but it is there and it is part of the threads that bind us together. We are inextricably linked, family, best friends and lovers who haven’t begun to truly plumb the depths of what we can be.

All that we are and all that we know is based upon the tiniest fragments of the time we have shared. Moments that moved too quickly but lasted forever and proved to our heads what our hearts always knew.

And if you asked me to love you forever I would smile, take your hand in mine and tell you it is not even a question because some things just are.

And every time you told me it was too hard, too tough, too complicated or too whatever I would wrap you in my arms and whisper in your ear that sometimes we have to let go and just love. I could tell you that if you let me I would be your hero and that I would find a way but that it only partially true.

Because you are mine as much as I am yours and you are my air so what good am I without that.

Without my air I choke and though I keep going on I am less than I was and though I could rebuild I would rather heed the words of Rumi:

Gamble everything for love, if you’re a true human being.

I am a mortal man who follows his heart and listens to his gut because it is all I know how to do. And every time I think about those moments my heart is filled again and I remember how together we become more than when we are apart and how happiness isn’t enough to describe the potential of what we could be.

And every time I think of you I smile and remember that if we were trapped on an island together we would never need to be rescued because we would rescue each other.

Some people come into your life for a short while and some for far longer. You tire of some and others never wear our their welcome.

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Sundays In Texas

Everywhere they went she was a woman but she never grew tired of being his girl.

Every story has a beginning but sometimes you have to reach the middle before you can see when things really started. Sundays in Texas is where we discovered ours but it took us ten years to get there.

Most of us have heard stories about love at first sight but only a few of us can say it happened. But don’t let that comment mislead you into thinking that we are one of those love at first sight couples, because we are not.

We are something else and just as special. I don’t mean special as in “special ed” nor should you interpret it to be sarcastic or snarky. I could have used a 100 other words to describe us but special sounds better to me than remarkable and it hasn’t been overused like amazing or epic.

What you have here is a simple story about a man and a woman or a boy and a girl. You pick the descriptors that make you happiest and I’ll tell you more about us.

In most ways we are ordinary people that you would pass on the street and not think twice about. We are no taller or shorter, skinnier or fatter than the next one.

We like to think people notice when we are around and that we have a certain presence but mostly that is because we are humans and humans like to be noticed. But you won’t find us trying to be the life of the party of the center of attention. That is not to say we actively avoid those things because we don’t and they do happen, but neither one of us feels like less of a person if people don’t come running up to us to ask us what we think or feel.

Still as ordinary as we may be we have an extraordinary relationship and if you were to spend time with us together you would have a hard time not noticing how good we are together and how we bring out the best in each other.

Some of our friends have described as being like a couple of high school kids but not as sickly sweet. They say that because we have a hard time not touching each other. If we are in a place where public displays of affection are frowned upon we are careful to respect it but if you watch closely you’ll see us brush against each other or hold hands.

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“You are family now. I am not going to ever let you go.”

I laughed.

“Famous last words, I remember when it happened.”

“I know. I am sorry it happened and I am sorry it took so long for me to thaw out.”

“Yeah, me too who knew you could be so frigid.”

She punched me in the arm and I laughed because frigid was never a word I would use to describe her.

“You know that if you cut me loose again I would walk away and never chase you.”

“Hah, that would never happen, you love me far too much. Besides you’ll never find anyone who can take better care of you.”

“I suppose you are right. I do love you far too much and I wouldn’t just let go, especially since I know how sometimes you run off at the mouth.”

I kissed her hard before she could respond. I didn’t need to hear her response, not because I didn’t care but because we didn’t have to talk to talk.

Communication is something that comes naturally to us. We don’t have to say much to understand what the other person was talking about. Friends have asked about it and rolled their eyes at me when I said we communicate telepathically but they don’t know how often we just know things.

It sounds ridiculous but we can feel each other thinking and it is not unusual for us to hear the phone ring and know it is our other half.

Some of you would probably say it is because we call at the same time every day but that is not it and even if it was there are too many instances where the phone rang and she/I knew.

But none of it matters because it doesn’t explain how I know when she is calling nor does it lend real significance or gravitas to our story.

I suppose it begs the question of what does and how do we show you what makes Sundays in Texas so very special.

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How Honest Should We Be

There has never been a time or moment that you weren’t there. Only moments of ignorance and lack of awareness. You weren’t on my radar or a gleam in my eyes. Perhaps you were a dream that I never wanted to believe in. A dream because I didn’t believe that someone like you was out there.

It is funny in an odd sort of way. I can hear you telling me that you’ll never forgive me for not finding you sooner. I can hear you calling my name, asking why I am silent. I tell you that I don’t share my thoughts easily. I live in a world of silence because I choose to be silent. Lightning Strikes Twice

Sometimes I stare at the works of the past and consider what I see there. Stare at it and wonder what if there is a point or purpose in looking at those things, ask if they have relevance, significance and meaning.

And I come back to other words I have read, heard and remembered

John Keating: We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.

And then I smile because this I understand and I know someone else who does, who remembers how it all started and dreamed as I did.

And I remember words from a very short while ago and I smile again because one New Years Eve shall come and two people will wrap their arms around each other and smile knowing that what was unexpected and seemed impossible moved from the pages of books into the reality of their lives.

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