Prize Fighters And Poets

With a tone of scorn and eyes conveying pity I’ve been called “sensitive”. I hate the term sensitive, it brings to mind weakness and vulnerability. To write a poem requires guts. To paint a picture requires vision. To play the blues is to open up ones soul and expose a heart callused and gnarled. To put pen to paper and write is fool hearted and as brave as taking off all your clothes and running down main street bare-ass naked.  We’re all awkward and sensitive when naked. Most will point and snicker, but few will understand.

I suppose the opposite of sensitive would be insensitive, indifferent and selfish. Imagine being described as a sweet fellow——-but so terribly insensitive, indifferent and selfish. The worlds full of bleached out souls afraid to air their feelings. These are the ones who lean on trite “Hallmark Cards” to express their orphaned emotions. 

I ain’t sensitive, I’m the underdog in a prize fight. I’m the guy that’s willing to take a hundred punches so I can get one in of my own. I’m not particularly fast or talented, but I can take a punch. I’ll weave and bob my way into the face of any dumb ass critique. I’ll shove them against the ropes and whisper in their ear “Is that all ya got?”. My eyes might be swollen shut and my nose may be bloodied, but you’ll have to take me out in a stretcher before I’ll give up. I’ve done my work in the gym. I’ve done my early morning roadwork. I’ve pounded that heavy bag until my fists bled. I’ve hit that speed bag until it became a blur. I’ve earned this chance. I’ve been patient. I’ve waited for my opening. I’m one dangerous motherfucker, I’m one of those with nothing left to lose. I’ll hit that son of a bitch right on the jaw with a right hook.  I’ll watch him crumble like a sheet of bad poetry headed for the waste basket. 

People don’t drown cause they can’t swim, they drown cause they can’t hold their breath long enough.  And brother, I can go forever on one breath.

Inventing Colors

Art is everywhere, but most only see it when it’s put in a fancy frame, installed in an art show or defined as such by pretentious critics’. I do love art. I love Bukowski and Kerouac….Their pens like divining rods, separating raw sewage from raw beauty.  Some people breakdown playing the piano into a math problem, into intervals and the frequency of notes on a page, but that’s missing the point of playing the piano. Why paint by numbers when there’s so much more waiting outside the lines. Doodle, scribble, close your eyes and let the music flow through you, out of you, into you——like a new color that’s yet to be discovered. 

The Forgiveness Song

This one’s for all the old couples who stuck it out through the hard times.

I’m tired of you

Being tired of me

I’m tired of me 

Being tired of you

Once again

You forgive me

Once again 

I forgive you (2X)

Your my friend and lover

I’m your lover and friend

We’re still together

Cause we’ve learned how to bend

Wrote you a love song

Wrote me a letter

Some loves fall apart==but

We’re better off together

We can take bike

We can take a bus

Enjoy the ride 

Don’t get in a rush

Come on to bed

Don’t make a fuss

Shut off those lights

I’m gonna make ya blush

I’ve been wrong

A few times right

You’ve been right

A few times wrong

After all our trials

And tribulations 

Our loves like a sweet song

Playing on a country station (2x)

Gave me a kiss, and a hug

Gave ya a hug, and a kiss

Turn tears to laughter

Cause it’s better than being pissed

Doubts and questions

We’ve had a few

But, you still love me

And, I still love you

We can take a Harley

We can take a bus

Enjoy the ride 

Don’t get in a rush

Come on to bed

Don’t make a fuss

Shut off those lights

We’ll polish off the dust

I’m gonna make ya blush

Vows

One of life's greatest mistakes 

Expecting to be loved
Expect is a word best not attached to love

There’s many versions of love
Few are lasting, and even fewer are memorable 

Some covet it as if it were property
Others wear it on their arm like a flashy bauble
Or, proudly tattoo it permanently upon their skin 
Oftentimes vanishing before the ink dries
At times it’s confused with sex
You can have sex without love
And you can have love without sex

After all the gyrations and moaning
Even if she lets you put it where you want?
You’ll still need to find things to talk about at the end of a worn-out night
Humor is the best aphrodisiac 
Honesty is the slipperiest of lubricants

It's naively offered up with open arms 
Like a soon to be broken Vow
Vows are for love-struck suckers
It’s a fabled belief in security and sincerity 

Sometimes, it's a broken record that skips and pops
All noise and no melody
Like a sympathy composed for the deaf

Most want love to be soft and tender
Like sappy verses from a smarmy poem
But it's none of those things 
It's a prize fight, a spectacle of blood, rage and courage
It can suddenly switch from an endearing hug to an enraged choke hold 

It begins with a polite first kiss, ending up in a dark room that reeks of raw savage sex--that is--if you get lucky

Yet, there are those rare flashes of something
Some may call it love, but that's an over-used euphemism
It stirs an ancient ache that resides deep inside us all
Where does it come from? Why does it go?
Who knows? It's a vexing enigma 

It comes with no warranties, no guarantees
It’s fragile, so handle it with care

If ya break it, you'll have to pay for it 
Once shattered, you’ll never be able to put it back together
No glue or counseling can dull its painful shards 

Once the shelf-life has been reached
You’ll need to decide——should it be thrown out?
Or painfully watch it continue to curdle and sour 
Salmonella is a bad way to go 

The trouble with love—-is
It’s what happens between life’s otherwise mundane moments

It has no soul or conscience 
No sense of right or wrong
It makes fools out of it’s gullible victims

At The Speed Of Foreverness

In spite of our long days and the swiftness of these passing years 

We’ve reluctantly grown old
Old as in running out of time
The potholed street of aging leads to a cul de sac of convalescence 

Age robs us of youths vanities
It rubs our hair off, dulls our eyesight and deafens our hearing
We slowly cave in on ourselves

We can no longer get by on our sexiness or youthful bravado 
We’re left with a fading wit and the shreds of a once charmed personality

This leaves some bitter, while others are liberated 
There’s nothing more attractive than someone who no longer gives a shit about what others think of them

Shriveled skin, brittle bones, hemorrhoids and varicose veins ain’t so bad

It’s the fading of memories and the onset of feeble mindedness that leaves us befuddled

There’s that moment of confusion when we enter a room and forget what we needed there, or what we were looking for, or even why we came there in the first place???

But, I’ll fight like hell to forever remember your face 

							

Tigers Or Table Scraps

The universe keeps trying to convince me that I’m mediocre, but I refuse to give in. All the greats have had to fight that urge to shrink and fit into normalcy.

Crazy is better than normalcy, going mad is better than normalcy. Do something, do anything to prove that you’re still alive—-that you’re a worthy opponent. Release your bullshit on the world like a tiger ripping into a fallen gazelle.

Kill or be killed—–most are already dead and feeding on table scraps. The true holy ones aren’t afraid to climb free solo—they know that no one is tethered to security.

Make fear your best-friend and nothing will ever scare you again. 

Fatally

Soundtrack by Mazzy Star.

I’m homesick for a time that no longer exists

Unfulfilled dreams from youths lost innocence 

What happens to a love that no longer calls my name

She just stands there not even knowing how sexy she is to me

I want something back I’ve never had

She looks like a memory, lost

Dim the lights of truth

You’re that song that makes me miss you

I want you to find yourself inside me

I want me to ache inside of you——- too

Only the broken know how love is never eternal

Lonely inside, without you

Wanting you is unbearable, far beyond unbearable

Falling through ghosts of you, where angels and buzzards circle

Fatally falling asleep after hours of telling our biggest dreams and secrets to each other.

Such beautiful sadness in your eyes

I’m your night inside you

I shivered inside when our souls touched

Age

They say I’m old. But they don’t know what old is. They break it down into a simple math equation. They take my birthdate as the starting point, then they take the current date and add up the years between the two dates They’ll say that number is my age, they’ll say that’s how old I am. But they don’t understand that I’m not the sum of the years I’ve lived, but rather, I’m all my ages——-all the time.  

Who I am, is all the things I’ve ever been. I’m the little girl playing with dolls and having a tea party. I’m the young girl learning how to dance. I’m the teen in the party dress nervously hoping some boy will ask me to dance. I’m the one discovering that indescribable passion of a first love. In me, is the youthful college graduate filled with tenacity and anxious to chase down her dreams. I’m the beautiful woman in that old photo dressed in a white wedding dress. I’m the first time mother gently cradling her baby. I’m the strong willed and determined career woman earning her respect in a man’s world. I’m the proud grandparent braiding her granddaughters hair. I’m the retired woman meeting her long time friends for lunch. I’m the matriarch giving my time and counsel to the young ones who are on their journey. Can’t you see, I’m all these things at once. So for god sake, please don’t call me old——call me experienced.  I’m like a pair of broken in hiking boots, a little worn but comfortable and a good fit for all seasons. 

Sure, I have those aches and pains that come with age. I move a little slower. I might forget a thing or two. My hair is graying and my hearing isn’t what it use to be. But inside, I swear, I feel much younger than I appear (Well, at least that’s true most days). Sometimes I sit in my chair and run all my favorite memories back like old movies being screened in a darkened theater. Yes, those were the days of my life and no one can take them from me. Life is bitter sweet, but mostly sweet. I enjoy the small things now. I enjoy sitting outside and listening to the birds, visiting with my family, slipping into a warm bed——-and of course——-having a good ole bowel movement. 

If I could be young for one day I’d do some wild crazy things. I’d ride my bicycle down to the beach, peal off my clothes and go skinny dipping in that Pacific ocean. I’d have myself a slice of triple layer chocolate cake and wash it down with champagne. I’d challenge all those loudmouthed bullies to an arm wrestle. I’d beat their asses then tell them to fuck off. I’d go through the karma-sutra and try all the positions once, and the ones I liked, I’d do twice. I’d turn my speakers up to ten, then sing and dance to all my favorite songs. I’d make a point of calling everyone I love and tell them how they made my life joyful, memorable and worth living. 

I’d hold your hand and look you in the eye as if I’d never have to let go or say goodbye. But life is like juggling, catching and then letting go—-catching then letting go. But there are parts of me you’re stuck with—— you’ve involuntarily inherited my funny quirks and crazy idiosyncrasy, my good parts and my not so good parts, my headstrong ways, my strong will, my soft heart, my love of a good laugh, my desire for deep late night conversations and my lust for travel and adventure. Ah, this life is such a beautiful gift——thanks for being such an important part of it.

And you see my love, through all these things I shall live on. 

Tradition

Between routine and randomness there is tradition. Tradition is what pulls the scattered pieces of our lives together and provides us with a sense of belonging and togetherness. We find ourselves in the simple moments that we share with those we love. It’s in the aroma of mom’s pot roast dinners on a cold wintery night, it’s in grandpa’s instructions on the right way of tying a fly, it’s watching the kids on summer days playing at the same beach I once played at as a kid. It’s in the stories the old ones tell about what it was like in the olden days. It’s baked into grandma’s secret peach pie recipe. It’s in keeping memories alive while pairing yesterday with today for the young ones——these are the things that we hand down—-it’s in the reverence of those who’ve passed on and the gift of those tomorrows yet to come.

We’re lured back to the sea, to the beginnings, where it all started. Standing at the edge of this vast American continent, thousands  of lonely miles traveled beyond the stifling east coast, across Great Plains, over the mighty Rockies, beyond the Great Divide, down the Mississippi River, across the Grand Canyon, riding the Colombia River, leading us here——It’s here, the end of everything and the beginning of all new things——what a beautiful journey this life has been.

Salty air on the tip of my tongue, the smell of Eucalyptus trees, the fog rolls in, recedes, then once again comes and goes. Time is a circle, love a straight line fading into infinity. The Pacific Ocean crashes foamy waves in front of me, leaving seaweed, driftwood and seashells scattered at the high tide mark. Like people and the remnants they leave behind. This sea is the womb of mother nature, the place where life was unexpectantly given birth. If eternity had a scent it would be found in the pungent smell of the ocean . We carry the rhythm of her waves in our pulse. 

My family has been coming to this seaside village for generations. I would love to stay here forever, but traditions aren’t meant to be kept, they are intended to be passed on to those still unfolding and finding their own way. It’s at these yearly seaside get-togethers that the young ones learn from where they’re come and what they’re a part of. I’ve been looking for god, but I’ve discovered she has always been here in my friends and family. 

We take our early morning walks out on the old wooden wharf. Somewhere on the planks below, Harbor Seals bark as seagulls circle and fight over scraps . The fog brings us in closer to one another. We have our favorite restaurant with its buttered sourdough bread that’s dipped in a bowl of steaming clam chowder. We scour the nick-knack shops for the perfect keep-sakes. At night we go to the boardwalk with its Big Dipper roller coaster. The young ones raise their arms high in the air as their car careens down the steep winding track. Everything is a blur of bright lights, screams, clammer and electrifying commotion. The old ones go into the confection shop where taffy can be seen stretching like a long string of rubber. Behind the glass a woman is creating gooey homemade chocolate clusters. If one is lucky or skilled enough to knock down lead milk bottles with a baseball, for a moment you can be someones hero—-for five dollars that’s a bargain. We are all kids here once again. Even the oldest and the youngest can ride the Carousel. The Calliope blares out old time songs as we stretch out from our pumping horses to grab the brass rings that we toss at the Clown’s mouth. It’s all bright lights, dizzying motion, loud laughter and the smell of caramel corn—— all incased in the dampness of the ocean’s night air.

We’re always coming back to where we’ve always been, simply sharing time together——-and such is tradition. 

Things I Wish I’d Said

There are words I wish I’d said. But I always told myself there’d be time for words, 26 letters assembled into some future confession of love.  But tomorrow is never guaranteed——-the future is a theory, an algebra problem where x doesn’t always equal y——a law of physics that can’t explain the speed of loneliness. But it takes courage to say what’s often left out because it’s so much easier to comment on the weather. Why is “I love you” a secret tattoo hidden beneath your long sleeved heart. I tell myself, “Oh it’s obvious, they already know how I feel.” But that’s bullshit I feed myself. Do you ever check to see if your emotional Fitbit has reached your quota of kind words required in a day? Why is it that anger and petty complaints come so much easier than kindness and compassion? These emotions are stuck on mute in a movie with no subtitles. It’s easy to mistake a deep kiss for a vampires siphon, like that feeling you get from someone who’s always taking, but never giving back. But then, without warning, there are those who’s humanity walks me back from the edge. Things I wished I’d said, “Jackie Gleason was right, baby you’re the greatest.” “I’m so fortunate to have you in my life”. “You make me laugh, cause you’re the only other person I know who’s favorite movie is ‘Herold and Maude’”. “Thanks for ‘getting me’.”  “You make ‘goodbye’ the saddest of all words.” “Thank you, thank you, thank you for being you.”

Don’t let anyone tell you that poetry is ‘nice’, because it’s not, it’s a clumsy coping mechanism to escape the chains of depression. It storms the tower and breaches the walls of isolation. It doesn’t make everything okay, but it makes the darkest hours of the soul tolerable. Tolerable?—–Thinking too hard, feeling too deeply, is a road leading to a cliff just beyond the horizon. I put my thumb over your wrist until I feel your pulse match mine, we gradually fall into a comfortable rhythm. The heart is a muscle because it takes so much strength to reach out to another.  Things I wish I’d said, “I choose you.” “If I had to be quarantined for the rest of my life, I’d want to spend it with you.”  “You make me wish I were a piano, cause your touch makes me feel like music.” “You make me believe everything is gonna be okay, one moment at a time”. “You’ve always been there for me and I’ll always be there for you.”  “You stood up for me when the ones who I thought would give a shit just couldn’t be bothered.” “My heart will always be your 7-11, a bit shabby but open day or night for you.”

Love isn’t like a pair of flip flops that claims one size fits all. I’ve tried on the wrong size only to be left with painful blisters. Sometimes love is something you struggle to squeeze into because it no longer fits comfortably.  Sometimes it’s all false bravado and make believe——it takes trust to be allowed inside another’s world——-Be careful who you share you world with, it may leave you with painful blisters and a bad case of athletes foot—-one size doesn’t fit all. I know this because, I have small feet and a big heart. In all this chaos that makes up a life, finding a true friend is a rare and beautiful thing. Things I wish I’d said,“ ”You and I are a good fit”. “I desire you”. “In this world of 7 billion people, I’d always choose you to be my partner”. ”After all the meanness this world can dish out, you somehow make it worthwhile.”.  “When my day has been shitty, you have a way of making me feel better”.  You taste like spicy chili on a snowy January night, you’re my comfort food.” “You smell like a July afternoon at the beach, a blend of Sea and Ski suntan lotion and a salty sea breeze—-you’re the sun on my face”. “I won’t let anyone hurt you.” “You make me laugh in a world constructed of bullshit and lost promises”. 

There are those who will tell you that you have all the time in the world, but that’s a lie. Time is a Salvador Dali clock slowly sliding off the shelf of your life. But we pretend we are immortals, that we can transcend life and death with a foreverness, but forever is like trying to comprehend a blackhole where at its center time stands still. If I could, I’d pull you in beyond the event horizon and give you a forever kiss. And who say’s “Theoretical Physics” can’t be romantic? When I think of these impossible thoughts for too long, I scare myself. My emotions are like the lone hitchhiker on a dark stretch of a deserted highway.  Should I stop and pick this stranger up or just keep moving on? You can never be sure who or what you’re letting in.  It might be a stranded depression, a deserted memory, or an abandoned truth.  Or, perhaps emotions are more like Jenga?  You just never know what will happen by pulling out a single block from the tower of teetering blocks. And, if it all comes down, do I have the time to put it all back together? It takes a lot longer to build something than it is to tear it down. Time is a rogue wave, you never see it coming until its crashed on you and swept you out to sea. Things I wish I’d said, “If you were drowning, I’d dive in and save you.” “I feel better just knowing you are out there”. “Thanks for listening.” “Thanks for making me feel like I belong.”  “Lets you and I take a walk in the woods.” “When I was ready to take the ten count——When everyone was screaming for me to just stay down, you gave me the strength to get back up, you are my second wind.”