Childhood

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He spoke the secret, shared language

Of identical twins

Despite the fact he was an only child

You could find him at any time

Smiling and nodding in agreement

In a room alone

He played the harp on spiderwebs

He whispered secrets into heater grates

Walking out into the sun

He would sneeze almost every time

He’d mastered lucid dreaming

And tried to make the waking world

Bend to his will, unsuccessfully

He thought being half Native American

Would give him the ability to walk silently

Across leaves and twigs

He knew, comparatively, that he was poor

But mom was there for him, growing up

And that made him rich beyond compare

He wept the night his friend showed him

How to kill ants with a magnifying glass

He wondered if the ants sneezed

Before they melted

I missed that boy

Until I had my son

Together

We will make

The waking world

Bend to our will

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Immortality

Ankh

Most of us, if not all, are afraid of what comes next…the big next.  Now, I’m not going to get mired down in a philosophical treatise on the afterworld or reincarnation, rather I am going to center on the simple act of leaving the life you know behind.  Death waits for us all, whether we want it to or not.  We worry about the state of our affairs, “who’s gonna support my loved ones, who’s gonna take out the garbage on Monday night,” and so forth.  The question that burns the deepest is, “how long before I am completely forgotten?”  At least if I am remembered, in some way, then I live on.

Those of us that blog, do so for certain reasons, like catharsis, or sharing beautiful moments, or introspection and trying to understand what it is to be human…reaching out with this to say that we are not alone.  We read the words of others to experience their human condition and to see not only what makes us different, but what unifies us as well.  Beneath all that, I think, that we yearn for immortality through our words.  Many of the bloggers I see have already published books, and in that alone deserve our respect and gratitude for adding to the chronicles, while some of us (yes me) are still finding our voice with hopes of one day writing the next Great American Novel.  Is that too much to ask?  If I can string the right words together, in the right sequence, I can live forever.  It’s wizardry.  We are trying to cast a spell, but if we do it wrong we could find ourselves lost in the oblivion.

This carries a lot of weight.  I have always allowed fear, more specifically the fear of failure, to paralyze me into inaction.  If I do nothing then I haven’t failed yet and the possibility of success is still there, but if I try and fail then the dream dies.  Now with age comes wisdom and I have learned at the intellectual level that this is false, that we learn from our failures and can always try again, but at the subconscious level I am still scared shitless.  A prime example of this fear induced paralysis was, for me, going to college.  I didn’t go right out of high school.  I went to work through temp agencies, at warehouses and factories and found myself having nervous breakdowns that bubbled up when I would think, “is this my life, am I stuck?”  I had always wanted to go to college, but the fear told me that if I go and I flunk out, then factories and warehouses will be all that’s left for me.  It took every ounce of my resolve to fill out the paperwork, but in the end…I flourished.  I loved it.  I wish I could be a career student to this day.  Now I won’t get into the irony that I am now employed at a factory in a managerial position, as it would change the tone of this entirely.  Rather, I am going to talk about hope.

As most of you know, I am now the proud father of a beautiful almost-five-month-old son.  Now, as much as he can serve as a wondrous distraction, he has also given me my immortality (at least that’s how I see it).  He looks so much like me that it’s like having a window into my own infancy.  I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of my future self sending my current self a letter that not only explains what’s coming, but the right decisions to make to get there…perhaps this’ll be a future post.  Now I know this concept seemed a fantasy, but it will happen…not for me, but for my son.  I am the letter from his future and hopefully with my help he can make the right decisions and avoid certain pitfalls.  Okay end of tangent.  This newfound immortality means that it isn’t all riding on me becoming the next Stephen King.  I can begin to write with a sense of insouciance.  The weight has been lifted, by the hands of a 17 pound, almost-five-month-old mini-me.

So, watch out world…here I come!  Right after I change his diaper and I figure out a new way to  make him smile and laugh.

New traditions


My father, who I think about all the time, used to go nature walking at some local trails (Beaver Lake Nature Center). It’s where I laid his ashes to rest. 

I now take my little man there as often as I can. I need him to see these trails as sacred, as our church. 


These are the stained glass windows that hold more solemnity than anything man made. 


These are the waters that should hold reverence, be sanctified like the entire natural world…protected. 


I’m trying to raise an eco-warrior. 

Summer

I’ve basked in the warmth 

Of summer days

A golden skinned child

Faced sunward 

Heliocentrically tracking 

The star’s arc

Childhood friends standing 

Tall as sunflowers 

Photovoltaically kinetically frenetic

Darting like hummingbirds 

We drank the nectar of youth

Denying tomorrow’s existence 

Invulnerable in our naïveté 

We walked the wire

Between boy and man

Eventually the rain clouds move in

And I learned to enjoy

The time 

To think

Fatherhood 


Early this morning, hours before our normal wake up time, he woke up crying. His crying had peaks and valleys of sobbing and screaming. I picked him up and drew him close. 

I spoke soothingly, “Did you have a bad dream?”

“Yes.”

“It’s okay baby, you’re bubba is here,” I assured him, as I rubbed his back. His crying quieted and I could see he was starting to drift off. 

Then, just before dozing back off, he brought his face forward and kissed my chest. I smiled and was overwhelmed by a mix of emotions. Tears rolled down my cheeks. 

In that moment I felt whole, that I could be the father he needed, and simultaneously I felt the loss of my father, who passed just a couple years ago. I also felt the gratitude from my little man and knew that, despite typical two-year-old behavior, he was becoming the kind of person I’d hoped he would. 

Every day is an adventure that I look forward to. 

Monster Boy


Growl little man

Gnash your teeth

Brandish your claw-hand

Let the power seeth

Know you can be more than you are

Your very being is made up of stars

Pretending gives you a wider horizon

Different hats all waiting for you to try on

Just remember to always return to me

My little man is my favorite you, you can be

So go ahead growl, gnash, brandish and seeth

Because beautiful, powerful and wondrous is what you are to me

In the end…

bully-switch-md

 

I had just heard about another life snuffed out too soon. An 8 year old boy, from Cincinnati, commited suicide a couple days after being the victim of bullying. The articles I read spoke of possible security camera footage, and shortly there after the footage was released.

Now, if you have read my post The Abyss, then you know how deeply affected I am by suicide and depression. Just as I needed to step to the edge of the abyss at the loss of two friends who chose to end their lives, and wonder what went through their minds at that moment, or try to conceive what had brought them to that point…there I sat watching a video of a beautiful young man, beaten and left lying on the bathroom, tile floor. I close my eyes and I can still see his legs, unmoving, and my eyes fill with tears. I feel anger boiling up inside myself, I want to reach into the screen and slap those boys awake that brutalized him. Tell them that he didn’t deserve that treatment, that they don’t understand with their still developing minds, just how much damage they are doing to him. But, as angry as I might initially feel, my eyes are drawn back to those legs and I, again, find myself wanting to reach into the screen, but this time to cradle this young man in my arms and tell him that everything can still be okay, despite how he might feel at this moment, that just because some misguided boys chose him as the target of their hatred, that he is still loved. The love his family and friends have for him isn’t erased by these actions. I want to tell him, that even though I only know him now in his passing, that I love him.

Then I start thinking about my two-year-old, mini-me, and I feel awash in 100 different emotions all at once. I am scared for him. I am angry at a world where this happens. I feel a rage that carries the heat of a thousand suns, at the thought that this could someday happen to him and how I would tear the school down, brick by brick, with my bare hands. I think about what I need to do to prepare him for this possibility. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Boxing. Judo. Let him know that he can shield his heart with the knowledge that I love him more that anything in the world and he could get through this even if it meant we walk off into the woods and live the rest of our lives off the grid. Then I want to raise him to know that bullying can’t be allowed to happen, that at the very least he would alert a grownup right away, or put himself at risk by getting in the middle, but then I worry again about what could happen to him, and my head spins and my heart swells to bursting and my eyes blur with the coming tears.

In the end I’m left not knowing what to do, other than write out my frustration.

In the end I gain a piece of understanding how our fragile spirit can be pushed every so easily from the glass menagerie shelf. A piece I felt I needed to know, but now wish I hadn’t.

Gabriel Taye…you are loved.

A hug

I was holding my four-month-old son against my chest.  We were face to face and his little arms were slung around my neck.  I was swaying back and forth like we were dancing.

In the span of a second I felt his little arms tighten around my neck.  Now I know the legitimacy of whether this was a “real” hug or not could be argued, but in that moment it was real to me.  And, in that fleeting second, I felt all the future hugs I would receive from him for the rest of my life. It was the first link of a chain that would last throughout my days.

I’ve heard people talk about all things that have occurred in the past and all those things that have yet to come are all occurring simultaneously…just transdimensionally, and now I believe it. In that moment he hugged me for the rest of my life and I hugged all of his ancestors…those I’ve had the privilege of knowing and those I wish I had.