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Taking a Breather

Occasionally, the tyranny of social and news media becomes too much for me to handle.

About ten days ago, I reached my limit, full up to here with the naïveté of the left, the mendacity of the right, the fear-mongering of the media, and the narcissistic selfishness of humanity in general.

I needed a break. From damned near everything. Continue Reading »

Understanding My Father

My father was a distinctly midcentury man.

He was a man of tract homes and manual transmissions, cigarettes and pipe tobacco, straw hats and huaraches, sand dunes and surf fishing, Frank Sinatra and Mel Tormé, pancakes with his kids on Saturday morning and roasted meats with his dad at the table on Sunday nights.  He was a dry martini/red wine with ice kind of guy: uncomplicated, elemental, rustic, reserved.

And yet, in his final decade, I found him nearly indecipherable. Continue Reading »

Bound

In the space
Between their words
They stand
Wondering
How they arrived
At this hollow space
Where neither
Can see the other
Where friendship
Rimed with hoar
No longer warms
Both captive
To their own
Righteousness

 

k

Practice Session

Decades as an orchestral musician taught me the value of practice. Years of woodworking taught me the wisdom of the planning and the pre-cut double-check. A stint running a newspaper press taught me the dangers of over-confidence. Twenty summers working in my gardens taught me the peace that can come from taking the long view.

With that as preamble, it’s probably not a surprise that I am approaching my retirement with forethought, prudence, and not a few contingency plans. Continue Reading »

Scattered

I visit his grave
with toes deep in restless sand
waves erase my path

k

Arrows

I step into the drear of night 
bundled by the here 
enclosed in the present tense 
until the clouds part 
and I can see 
past the isolate stars 
and stately galactic swirls 
all the way 
to the birth of time.

Aeons 
stretching away, upward, outward, 
radiant lines speeding 
from my microscopic self 
my ephemeral now 
to the vastness of 
the eternal long ago.

Unless I turn around, 
reverse the lance of time, 
and those lines 
no longer spread 
but converge 
and I become 
the arrow 
the universe at my back 
heading into the future.

k

Stupid-Ass Stuff

(Note: I’ve tried to start this piece about eight different ways, including caveats, trigger warnings, and explanations as to why I’m addressing this to men and not to all folks, regardless of their place on the gender identity spectrum. To be totally honest, I’ve only seen this behavior in cisgender males, so that is to whom I speak. Feel free to change the pronouns to fit your own experience.)

Now . . . that said:

Dear Men,

I’ve seen us do some stupid-ass stuff in the past, and I’m fully aware that we will continue to do stupid-ass stuff in the future. Some of this stupid-ass stuff is so outrageous that it takes us out of the genetic equation entirely. Other stupid-ass stuff merely (and hopefully) teaches us something, something like “let’s not do that again.”

Most of this stupid-ass stuff results from our testing the limits of our abilities (and/or physics), to see if our abilities are in sync with reality. For instance, I once believed I could, in one jump, go from both feet firmly on the ground to both feet on the countertop. Whilst wearing clogs (hey, it was the early ’80s). My belief, as it happens, was misplaced. My shins still bear the scars. Lesson learned.

However, some of our stupid-ass stuff hurts people other than just ourselves. Sometimes, we hurt others more than ourselves. And sometimes we hurt only others. These are harder lessons to learn because the ones we hurt, well, often they’re the ones we love most, and they hide their pain because of their love for us. We, not seeing their pain, continue on with our stupid-ass stuff, ignorant of the damage we cause.

Case in point: fear of marriage. Continue Reading »

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