Posted in Leaves on the Poet Tree (Poems)

Sometimes It Seems All Of The Days Are Gray

sometimes it seems
all of the days are gray
and the doors closed
without a glimpse of the one
who steps across the threshold
you are the one who walks in the rain past the curious stares of dry children in their after school program coloring within
and further along past the empty storefronts waiting for new tenants
you smile at the woman smoking beneath the dripping eaves
the open sign flashing red behind her

inside at home it is warm
the lights cast off the chill
but you know that you can
never ever leave the gray behind

Posted in Leaves on the Poet Tree (Poems)

Success (n.)

to not seek to possess

to be a man of largesse

to be capable of caress

to help others in distress

to not seek to impress

to be willing to confess

to offer redress

when i have transgressed

to not suppress

the need to express

to take time to process

and to decompress

to find the courage to profess

that i am a work in progress

to be steady in faithfulness

to bless

to resist unkindness

this then is my definition of success

more or less

Posted in Musings and Reflections

The Aging Artist Invisible

i awake from deep slumber with thoughts of yesterday’s sadness still raw in my heart and mind. the song break it down again comes to me here in the red light of a cold morning. the weight of what it means to be an aging artist invisible after years of work and where-what now to put my energy towards leaves me curled up in a ball. i have no answers. and yet there is something i think in not becoming overwhelmed by giant thoughts. break it down again. the big picture sometimes just gets bigger and bigger until it floods the senses and leaves me paralyzed by the unknown. break it down again. what are the bits and pieces of a satisfied life. what do i act on. no more sleepy dreaming. break it down again. this is more than success, ego, or legacy. i do not seek the spotlight, but i also am tired of toiling in the shadows. what is my forum. is it time for me to dim, or to burn bright with compassion, to fade into love for the other and leave my dying dreams behind. where can i find in me the beauty of decay.

Posted in Longreads and Essays

Salvation From The Depths

There is a bridge in Washington DC that is named after an unlikely hero, a man who quite literally gave his life to save others.

Thirty-eight years ago, on January 13, 1982, Air Florida Flight 90 Boeing 737-200 crashed onto the 14th Street Bridge and into an icy Potomac River, killing all 73 passengers and crew. Four passengers and one flight attendant were the only survivors.

At least four of those people owed their lives to the “sixth passenger” as he became known.

After the plane crashed and began to sink into the ice-strewn river, six people could be seen clinging to the plane’s tail fin. A US Park Police helicopter arrived on the scene and immediately began trying to rescue the survivors. The helicopter rescued one person and then returned to the tail.

Arland D. Williams Jr. caught the rescue line and instead of wrapping it around himself, he passed it to flight attendant Kelly Duncan. When the helicopter returned to the wreckage a third time, it dropped two lines because the crew feared that the remaining survivors would succumb to hypothermia very soon. Williams caught one of the lines and passed it on to a severely injured Joe Stiley, who also grabbed Priscilla Tirado. Patricia Felch took the other line and was towed to safety along with the others.

When the helicopter returned, Williams and the tail section of the plane were gone. After the bodies from the crash were recovered, the coroner determined that Williams was the only passenger to die by drowning therefore he had been the “sixth passenger,” the one who gave his life for others.

Ninety-one years ago today a man was born who would give his life to rescue his people from the dark depths of racial segregation and discrimination. Fifty-two years after his death, the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is honored and acknowledged through his monument on the National Mall.

I will probably never have a bridge named after me, but I want to be a bridge between people. I may never have to pass a rescue line to another, but I want to daily live my life in service to others who may need a helping hand.

I will probably never have a monument highlighting my deeds, but I can make my life a monument that honors an ordinary hero like Williams and the extraordinary life of Dr. King.

Perhaps I can be the one who keeps someone from slipping beneath the surface into the cold depths of despair.

Originally posted January 15, 2012, dates updated to reflect present.

Posted in Leaves on the Poet Tree (Poems)

The Lost Parts of I

i am the scattered one
fragments cast
across the cybersphere
a million pieces of me
invisible
mixing with you
over my head
in the air
like silent wraiths

i am everywhere
and nowhere
omnipresent
without divinity
immortal
in search of my soul
my essence
sucked from
me by vampire
screens

i am the silent one
removed to the cave
away from the
false gods
of fire and wind
and storm
drawing deeper within
to call
a quiet shout

like bats
the lost parts
of i
hear and begin
their returning
to me
like smoke
in the bright
red morning

Posted in Musings and Reflections

Do You Speak My Languish?

I prefer the older definitions. They seem less negative, more nuanced.

(archaic)
pine with love or grief.
“she still languished after Richard”
(archaic)
assume or display a sentimentally tender or melancholy expression or tone.
“when a visitor comes in, she smiles and languishes”

This then is an ode to the languishing. It is a place where one has arrived to find broken dreams, unfinished projects, hoped for successes all for naught.

Mr. Hughes spoke of holding fast to dreams, and mine remain close. Yet, I still feel like a broken winged bird that cannot fly, confused, shot from the sky by the unrealized.

Perhaps the time for holding fast is done.

I wonder if languishing is simply another word for letting go.

I do not like this place.

I am afraid.

I do not want to be labeled lazy.

And yet action for action sake is “sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

The tendency is to move! move, damnit!

Who or what determines a life’s success?

Do I still have a good heart, as she told me long ago? Perhaps I will ask her that today.

As my tongue lies thick in my mouth, while I try to learn this new language of languish.

Posted in Musings and Reflections

Awaiting 2020

last night
after i dropped him off
and made sure he was
comfortable in his room
i returned
through the fog
my world
like his
now smaller
farsight
a mass of white
revealed only
bit by bit
by going slow

i missed my turn off
confused by the changes
wrought by the mist
places once familiar
no longer
the lights adding
to my blindness
yet gradually
i found my
way home

i know not what
the new year holds
the next stop
on the journey
hidden within
the fog of
the not yet
faith keeps me
on the road
the answer
found perhaps
in my love for an
aging man
sitting alone
in a small
room

Posted in Prayers and the Sacred

Unbroken

I no longer wish to be unbroken.

Rather I seek to embrace my brokeness

in the hope that the Light will shine out through the cracks in my heart.

Posted in Musings and Reflections

Hypoxia

I rarely pay attention to what I inhale and exhale.

My breathing is automatic.

I take in the air around me and rarely notice its movement in my lungs, the taste of it in my mouth.

I used to long for the mountaintop experience and now I wonder if there is such a thing, if the thin air found at the apex distorts one’s view.

The idea that one should go to the mountaintop to find the answers now seems somehow suspect to me. Such experiences far too often seem to fade rather quickly when one re-enters the everyday of middle earth.

There is a sickness that comes with remaining in places devoid of oxygen, where the air is thin and the mind can wander and cease to be clear.

One can see far but perhaps the sight is a distraction.

Sometimes I wonder if the answers are found simply by going underground into the inner caves that reside within my soul.

O, for the patience to remain on the ground and learn to breathe again.

I leave my house and the wet snow strikes my face.