A Song For Haley

A song written for my daughter.

She walks in the woods alone

She puts her thoughts down in a poem

Prayer flags and dolls upon her shelf

She’s original, holding true to herself

This world will never break her

She sings along with James Taylor

She dances, alone in her room

She tells her secrets, to the midnight moon

Fathers and daughters

A bond like no other

Believe me brother

I’ll always love her

Puts her make up on in the dark

Blind secrets, hidden in an innocent heart

Her smile makes my world brighter

Her openness sets the darkness on fire

She’s strong and she’s true

She seeks no approval, from me or you

A mystery in the blood we share

In her eyes, like a mirror I stare

Fathers and daughters

A bond like no other

Believe me brother

I’ll always love her

My Best Mistakes

The soundtrack “Secret O’ Life” by James Taylor.

I climb into my faithful old Tacoma pickup and head west. You can tell a lot about a man by the truck he drives. The cab smells of rag weed, muddy boots and fresh orange peels. I drive past the fields, the farms and the redundant strip malls.  I eye pretty small town girls with odd names like Galenda or Karla.  Their perfume scented skin I won’t stick around to touch.  These places and girls belonged to other boys with their Friday night hot spots and their Sunday morning houses of worship,——— a community of suburban anchored hearts. I’ve tried to fit into such places, but never could. 

I drive til I come to the ocean.  I check into a cheap motel that wears the odors of mold and a thousand forgotten summer vacations. I wonder how many have made love on this tolerant mattress, or how many have cried themselves to sleep within the walls of this soul suffocating room. The walls are knotty pine with a bathroom sink that drip, drip, drips.  Outside my gray skied window the pavement smells of early morning rain, the sun rises with a memory of how small her hands looked when she touched me.  Once again I find myself at the edge of this sad stained continent. There’s a damp coldness blowing off the water that chills me to the bone. January is my favorite month to revisit this rundown seaside town. The boardwalk is empty and quiet except for the rusty Farris Wheel squeaking and moaning under the strain of a gusting wind. I pull my knit cap tightly over my numb ears.

All my once hip friends are now vengeful Republicans, need I say more?  Out of nowhere I find myself singing “Into the Mystic”——I take a shot of Jameson with a beer back.  “And when that fog horn blows you know I’ll be coming home——-I wanna hear it, I don’t have to fear it”. 

The bed-stand clock glows with its red digital numbers, the sound from the dripping faucet warns me of time passing by.  How do I carry on?  Where do I go from here?  Am I too old to start over again? Have I squandered too many chances.  I’ve moved to new cites, I’ve found new jobs and I’ve broken promises to the few who might of cared for me. I’ve never been one to reinvent myself or attempt to tame my faults or bad habits——I’m all that’s left of my best mistakes. 

I sit on a carved up and pigeon stained bench at the end of the pier. A wrinkled asian man is standing as still as a statue as he waits for a fish to bite his line——I suppose we’re all waiting at the other end of one kind of fishing line or another.  A young kid with chin stubble and unkempt hair takes a seat next to me.  He asks if I have a light.  He helps me cup a flickering flame from my Bic lighter. He squints as he stares intensely out at the foggy horizon. I know that look, I know this kid. He speaks “You got a wife?”  “Yeah, I’ve had a couple of them.” He continues his interrogation “You got a job?”  “Yeah, I’ve had a few those too.”  “Did you get everything you wanted?”  “Like most, I suppose I got what I deserved and a few things I didn’t expect.  Sometimes it isn’t what you get, but more importantly, it’s being happy with what you’ve been given——-gratitude is the scale on which to weigh a balanced life.”

An older me talking to a younger me, what a gift. “Take good care of yourself dude.”  I grab his cigarette, then take a hit off it before stomping it out.  “Look after your health kid, you’ll wish you did when you get older——-and yes, we all do get older, that is, if you’re lucky.”  He pushes his shaggy hair back “Do you ever think about your parents?” “Everyday I do. You won’t understand the sacrifices your parents made for you until you become one yourself. You’ll look at your children and be amazed at how parts of you became their flesh and blood. The best of times will be the time spent with your kids.  Remember to give your weary parents the love and respect they deserve.  The kids grow up too fast and our parents grow old and frail too soon. Once they’ve passed on, they’re gone for good.  Time moves in one direction, forward. Regret is the child of missed opportunities.”

“Many acquaintances will come and go, but few will be elevated to the position of trusted friend. Choose your friends carefully, because they’re the only ones who’ll enjoy your ridiculous humor, tolerate your irritating idiosyncrasies and stand up for you when this world leaves you feeling insignificant, irrelevant and unworthy of love. They’ll embark on crazy adventures with you and provide you with the sweetest of memories. Your friends and family are your tribe and their unconditional love is the only thing that will sustain you through the good times as well as the bad.”

“I know that at your age you won’t believe me, but this life is tragically short.  Don’t squander the time you’ve been given being bored or angry.  Monies a fleeting vapor, a job that doesn’t suite you is a snare, pleasure without sacrifice is quickly forgotten.  Look for true love and nothing less.  You’ll know it’s true love because she’ll bring out the best in you.  She’ll make you feel things you never felt and it will cause you to do things like hold her hand when she’s frightened. She’ll bear your children and cook you your favorite meals. For her, you’ll fix the things that break, mow the lawn on hot July afternoons and snowplow the driveway on cold January mornings.  All these seemingly insignificant small things will comprise a full life.  Keep your priorities straight and you’ll enjoy each day as it unfolds.”

The kid offers up a grin.  “When I grow up, I wanna be like you.” “Take your time kid, being an adult isn’t all it’s cracked up to being.” I climb in my truck and head back home as I give a glance in my rear view mirror.

These Days

Soundtrack “These Days” by Gregg Allman.

He said he’s now a Christian
Another poor excuse for me to scale
He sent me a letter with biblical quotes
Two thousand year old words laden with emotional quicksand
Everything neatly arranged into his boxes of good and evil
I wonder where I’d fit in—–these days

I miss that old friend, this new one no longer laughs at life’s foibles
His company makes our past feel irrelevant, like noticing dings on my car door
I’m reminded that time can be ruthless
Isn’t that just like me, turning the past over and over in my hands
Another shelf-life expired, I’m learning to throwout what’s soured
And this relationship has devolved, leaving a bad taste in my mouth

It took me a long time to get to this place
Sometimes it feels as though no “there” follows this “here”
Old friend, more shadow than substance
Everyone peddling their rendition of love
As if such things came with instructions and warranties

I went back to my fathers house
With him no longer living
That house is just dust and empty rooms
Like leaving a voice message on a dead mans answering machine
Pick up, please pick up, only the mumblings of a disembodied voice

I had to lose my soul, my mind, my self,
I had to lose my everything
To find a voice
The price of loving someone
Is equal to the pain that comes with losing them

Tao

Sound track “Beloved” Jesse Cook

After a million miles
It’s still running through you
A blinding light deafening a sky of jealous stars
We knew a round love in this world of flat earth-ers

Backyard tire swing, like a pendulum of gone by days
Pool chlorine mixed with honey suckles, the smell of summer
July laid out before us like a thousand unused Saturdays

Your cities are lonely
A careless milky-way evicted from time and space
Other people’s suns drenched in nothingness
Other worlds out of reach
Physics, another flawed human endeavor
Didn’t you know that the numbers never added up

Where’s the revolutionaries
Where’s our freedom fighters
An entire population of fools staring at smartphones
A generation of selfies, ego sponges

Angry, ignorant tweets, dissonant wind chimes
Where’s this generation’s John Lennon and George Carlin
Who’ll shame these fuckers
Hypocrisy is the breaking news
Truth has become negotiable
Climate change compromising happy endings

I’m the soundtrack of pissed off
Is everyone else drunk or high on recreational weed
Democracy a chess piece for the rich
Check mate, ponds against kings

Living in virtual bubbles
No longer “We hold these truths to be self-evident”
No more “We the people”
Wall street thieves and politicians
Who can tell the difference
Divisiveness is the cost of doing business with the greedy

Your birth was not an accident
Don’t let this one precious life play out like a sitcom laugh track
Be angry, fight complacency, believe in your power
To be about it, is the way

Undone Reverie

Famous Blue Rain Coat, Lenard Cohen.

Bring back
wandering and wonders

A child’s rain
A cloud’s smile

An avalanche
Of frozen dreams

That night at the lake
scent of campfire in your cloths

That slipping fear
Of days gone forever

And it’s always the same
In my bed of memories

I close my eyes and see
A spiral of life descending

Blue cars
Sing past my window

Pretend people
In fishbowl lives

Blood scrawled
love letters

February winds
Leave a hole in July

Standing so close
I smell your pain

Eyes so brutal
I’ll never blink

Is this really me
Is this really you

With rags of rage
I’ll undress you

One lie at a time
One life at a time

You’ll see me
In your worn midnight

Dry lightening strikes
Set wildfires in burning beds

I don’t know where I’m going
I’ve forgot where I’ve been

Seven turns
on a twisted highway

Listen closely
Hear the sound of your own song

And you said, so cavalier 
Offer up gods will
See things for what they are

Here’s to higher love
Are there scraps left for the likes of me

You’re the everything I wanted
Last thing that I needed

Did you know what you were doing
Because what you were doing
Caused me to choke on what’s never to be
Eternally incomplete, somehow find me there

And for a brief moment
You gave my madness worth
Like making love in your empty bed

Soft sigh, damp breath
Undone reverie, wet flesh

I have no one to hide from
Your ghost looks over my shoulder

This house of fractured mirrors
Broken pieces of me, pieces of you

Oh my god, so much older we’ve become
Sad in spirit, in this season of crucified saviors
Early December, look at what we’ve become
Hometown memories on faded polaroid holidays
And only the virgin snow knows secrets of buried yesterdays
When do old friends become strangers and ex-overs sad poems

This world will never tell us who to be
We’ll have to figure this out for ourselves
And then do our best to let go