F€@® & L0√£

I’m at the age where I realize, 

Nothing, actually (Sublime)
Just say the words, tell me I’ll be okay. 

You don’t have to mean it, it ain’t gotta be true, you’ll never have to be accountable for what comes or goes, 

Just say the words. 

I tell my friend, she of open heart and hospitality, tell me my parenting will get easier, tell me it gets better. 

She says, yes.

 She says, I did it, you will too. 
I tell my son, he of 13 years and internet-trolling, if it’s not true, helpful or necessary, 

Don’t fucking say it. 

He says, okay Dad. 

He says, I understand. 
I tell my wife, she of magical unicornism and poetry-inducing madness, 

I will always give what I have, I will work until I drop, to give us, I say, to give you, 

To provide for you, my girl, wife, dream, goddess, queen, 

My endless frustration

To give you home and hearth and love and food and bandwidth and hot coffee and cold air when it’s hot outside, 

I will give what I am to a job that takes all I have, to earn this place I see, this golden fantasy where you smile and we have a door with a lock, behind which we remember our youth and we expose our eternal truth

She says, wherever. She says, I got you. 

She says, be happy and I will. 

She says, we got this, love. 

We got this love, love, we have our love to rely upon, she says and she shows and sometimes she needs reassurance but,

She knows. 

Tell me, say the words. 

I will say the words. 
Even when I have trouble believing myself. 
You’re going to get through this. 

I’m going to get through this. 

We’re going to be okay. 
We got this. 

💚

A Miss Before Flying


i want to run away,

To stay,

And I can’t find the way,

No method in my mind

To leave this behind,

The traps that I find
I want to go home

Too tired to roam

I left a feeling alone

And never touched it,

But now It’s reaching me,

It’s begging and beseeching me

To return from the far away roads

To the place that I know

To where I started the show,

My heart started to grow,

My mind started to know,

All that matters
I want a ticket on a plane

Before I can’t afford it

I want a place to remain

Where all my love won’t be hoarded

In tiny boxes and bags

In finery and rags

On a throne or in the gutter

Commanding armies or

Churning butter

I want a plan for escape

With minimal red tape

And a happily-ever-after at the end

I want more than I’ve earned

But look how I’ve learned

I won’t leave any stones unturned

To find my home, to not be alone, to remove from my bones this longing and aching, to seal up the cracks in my breaking, to once again start giving more than I’m taking,
I need a vacation

And I don’t want to take me along

Through A Mist

I will not see your face with my eyes, nor touch your hands with my own. 

I will never hear your voice outside of my dreams, I cannot watch you live. 

A life is not made of time. 

Supposing I knew you, I weep in secrecy for what I might have known. 

I can tell the story of what may have been and what was, I can interpret my intuitive emotions into language and create a space for you in the hearts that might understand. 

When I was twelve I had a kitten, he ran away before he was two months old. 

When I was nineteen I had a crush on a girl that didn’t return the favor. 

When I was thirty-two I forced life to my will and captured love and family. 

When you were-

When you were-

You weren’t. 

Perhaps I didn’t do it right, maybe a mistake on my part left you on the other side of the veil. It could be that I wish it was my fault, I’ve always been more comfortable wearing blame than my own face. It could be that random chance left me an unintended consequences. 

When you were… No. 

You were not, you were almost. 

I will never forget your name, the sound that means my smile. I will never let go of your possibility. I will be what is, I will be your life. You exist in me. 

I will hold your image, bouncing curls and sad eyes over a glowing, crooked smile. 

I will say your name in privacy, I will call your name through the mist of what might have been until my lungs stop drawing breath and my mind can finally let go. 

There is at least a small chance, still, that this life is my dream and one day I will wake to find that nothing was lost. 

Madness and Other Games

I wouldn’t tell you that it was magical, no, the way she smiled and turned her head to the side, glancing sideways at me. 

My breathing didn’t change, I was forged in fires and tempered by vigilance. 

I wouldn’t say it was supernatural or otherworldly, when she asked me to light her cigarette and cupped her palms around my hand, softly brushing my knuckles with her pinky. 

She took a draw and the cherry glowed and as she pulled back she winked at me. 

“Thank you,” she breathed around the smoke and I couldn’t remember the response, decades of polite conversation guidelines gone in one second, 

but, no, I wouldn’t try to tell you it was poetic, or momentous, it was just a normal, ordinary, every day type of life-altering instance, boy meets girl, girl smiles, 

boy forgets how to do the thing, with the words and the voice, that thing. 

I couldn’t ask you to believe that love can really happen in a moment, at&first&sight. You’ve read the stories and you’ve seen real life and there’s no chance that you would take my story as something real. 

The light through the window fell only and directly on her mouth, and I had to kiss her, and I knew I loved her when she said “Hi” and I knew that she loved me when I smiled, I knew that I could have asked her to go with me, for coffee, for a beer, for a wedding, for a lifetime, after three seconds. 

I’m not asking you to believe this and hope that you’ll find that kind of connection. 

Sixteen years and ten months later she sits next to me as I write of that moment, and I’ll read this to her as soon as I am finished. 

I don’t need you to accept these words. 

She did. 

Anniversary

He took the microphone and walked to the center of the dance floor with her, as everyone pushed back. She clutched her dress nervously, never liking the spotlight.
The music started, and she smiled like the sun breaking through clouds. ‘Butterfly’ had long been one of ‘their’ songs, he would sing to her in front of people with no fear, and seeing him free made her happy, so he kept doing it.

he sat down next to her hospital bed, again. the chemo treatment always took so much out of her that she slept for hours afterward. he sat and waited for her to wake up every time. lately it had been longer each time, he would sit, and watch her sleep. the pain showed on her face even though she was drugged for pain… the brain never let anything happen without noticing.

He slowly danced around her as he sang, touching her shoulder then pressing up behind her, spinning away and leaning toward her as he sang the sexy words to her- always, only her.
She began to loosen up a little, swaying back and forth and staring at his eyes and mouth as he sang, reaching up to caress his cheek, then yanking on his beard lightly with a mischievous grin. He started really feeling his voice as he got further into the song, serenading his love on their anniversary.

she woke from her drugged sleep to see him sitting next to her, as always. “Hi, love” she said. he rubbed her hand softly in his grasp, looking at her face without meeting her eyes. she noticed the evasion, of course. she always saw everything he felt.
“what’s wrong, baby?” she asked, squeezing his fingers softly, as firmly as she could.
“they said it’s over”, he whispered. he continued looking at her hand, caressing her fingers lightly. “they said hospice care is the only option left.”
she smiled, a wry, half-smile. she had known this was coming. the fight had been long and painful, and each step had been a step backwards. a step toward death. she tried to make him smile, tried to put the old familiar sarcastic tone in her voice, “what do they know?”
it came out weakly, quivering, feeling every bit as sad as she felt.
he looked at her eyes then, his eyes glowing with fervent emotion. “I won’t let it happen this way, baby.”

Then he got to the part of the song where lyrics disappear in favor of scat- and he stumbled. Trying to find the rhythm again, he did a very poor imitation of the singer.
It was agonizingly painful. The look of delight which had painted every face in the room turned to embarassment and sympathy as he kept going.

the plane ride was awful. fourteen hours from San Francisco to Greece, with several painful moments along the way. he held her hand as they landed, and said, “we made it baby. we made it.”

A voice broke out of the back of the room, “Stop, that’s not right.”
Shocked gasps spread across the room as horrified onlookers all turned to the owner of the voice. Her angry face stabbed daggers through the low light, livid that someone had interrupted her husband’s loving but awful singing.
A slight figure walked forward, wearing his signature hat, holding a guitar. Recognition turned all the shock to outright disbelief as everyone assembled realized who it was. She looked over to her husband to see a huge grin across his face as he looked back at her. Understanding followed immediately, as she realized what her husband had done.

they walked slowly out onto the beach, white sand gleaming in the sunlight. she was barely alive, but his love carried her all the way to the waterline, where they sat down in the clear blue waves. he cradled her body against his, her now frail body leaning against his healthy bulk. she nestled her face against his neck as he held her, water washing against their hips as they sat in the gentle surf. he whispered imagined tales of their life to her, telling her of all the things they would have done, explaining all the adventures they were going to miss. they sat there for the entire day, he whispering in her ear, she feeling her life slowly fade from her body as the water took their stories away into the Mediterranean.

The singer walked over to the couple, and said, “Can I help?”
They quickly gave assent, he laughing and she with her eyes wide. She mouthed the singer’s name as she went into her husband’s arms, shaking her head. She smiled up at him, tears glistening in their beautiful home before escaping down her cheeks.
The singer looked at the band, and signaled them to resume, then he picked up right where the man had faltered, scatting through the difficult part. The happy couple danced through the end of the song, and everyone joined them, The singer played their other songs, all of them, and had the man join in on a few parts.
After the music stopped, the man once again took the microphone. He walked to the center of the floor with his wife again, and raised the microphone to his mouth.

she stopped moving just after night fell. he sat there with her as the moon rose, soft white light shining and reflecting off the water as they sat. beginning to shiver with cold as darkness surrounded her, he told her now, still form, the story of their love- stories of imagined times being painted on an invisible canvas. after he finished, he stood up, cradling her lifeless form close to his chest. he walked slowly up to the resort hotel, mentally preparing for the job ahead- the last duties he had as a husband, seeing to her body’s last disposal. the tears flowed freely down his face as he walked, her body not much more than a bundle of sticks in cloth. the disease had taken away all of her substance.

Voice trembling, he said, “You have been my life. You are every word and every poem and every song, all the words and thoughts I have been trying to wrap around your heart. You have lifted me from my grave, given me safety and inspiration, you have held me through every storm that has ever raged in my soul. I would marry you again, every day, just to hear you promise to be mine. You are the only place I have ever wanted to be, and I am yours forever. As long as I exist, I will be needing you.”

they took her body away, and he sat alone in the hotel room. they had dreamed for so long of being here, in Santorini. they had not foreseen the path life had chosen for them- their journey here had been only a defiant gesture. he sat in the room, unable to sleep without her. he cried without sound, sitting on the end of the bed. there was no solace for him, no hope of home. his only home had died in his arms, and there was no longer a reason for him to hold his sadness back. finally free of hope, his lifelong melancholy flowed through him, as he dissolved over and over in his hotel room in paradise. he held a photo of her, smiling at him, and repeated over and over again, “I love you, my soul.”

Beaming at him, shining at him, looking at him as though he were the only thing that existed, smiled as wide as she could, and said,

“Likewise.”

Unicorn Poop

   

When I started sharing the things I write, I had a lot to say. I would write four or seven or nine pieces a day, and at least three times a week I was discovering new parts of myself. 

I haven’t been writing as much since my sister died. 

I’ve been contemplating the balance of life. My sister was so many things to me, and so many parts of my memory are wrapped around her. In a lot of ways I worshiped her, as boys worship their mother. She was the protector, the teacher, the nurturing presence in my life. 

In a lot of ways I was angry at her, I still am. She had so much that others never get and she threw it away. She was capable of so much more than she did. She killed a lot of dreams, mostly her own. 

I saw her as a unicorn. Magical, impossible to capture, perfect. 

I was blind to the way she saw herself. 

There are lots of differing opinions about self-image. Some say that the way one perceives their self is irrelevant, some say it’s everything. 

I say that self-image can be heaven or hell, and it can change at any time. 

My sister was horribly abused and it twisted her life. My sister was wonderfully gifted and it was beautiful. 

She was a unicorn. She also had flaws. 

I married the love of my life. It was not easy, it wasn’t fated. I had to make it happen, she had to make it happen. We spent a long time apart before we were lucky enough to get it right. 

We each turned down other opportunities, we each tried other paths. We had lives apart and we have histories, separately. 

My wife is a unicorn. I am a unicorn. 

We have flaws. We have magic. We have damage. We have healing. We are devoted to our WE. We are human and we have wandering minds… We’ve both held fantasies that bring jealousy, territorialism into play. 

Balance in life doesn’t mean equality, justice, it doesn’t mean everything works out for everyone. 

Balance is the eye of the storm. All of life rages, all of life has pain or healing. All of humanity has the capability to be awful or amazing. 

I had some of the best parts of my sister. 

I saw some of the worst parts of her. 

I have most of the best parts of my wife. 

She has most of the best parts of me. 

What I have come to realize, about my sister, my wife, myself, all of the pieces of glorious magical humanity that live in my view, is that unicorns shit. 

Magical, perfect fairytale beings, out there making miracles, shitting just like other animals. 

Worship as you will, see the magic. 

Understand that flaws are present in every person. Don’t just say that you accept the flaws. Understand. Know that you have magic and you have flaws. 

My sister is dead, my wife is a person, I am a jerk sometimes. 

Balance is the eye of the storm, and remembering the wind. 

This Is What You’ll Say

I am three months and a week from my fortieth birthday and I miss my mom. 

I am the father of three crazy, beautiful, intelligent boys and I miss my grandmother. 

I am living a love story with a girl I met when I was eight years old and I miss my sister. 

I am working on being able to reconnect with my daughter and I miss my daughter. 

The other night I was talking with my wife about dying. It’s not unusual to do this, we have had rough lives and her mom died a month ago. She and I have a deep understanding of the temporary state of life and, honestly, sometimes life is rough enough for us that we each consider that it would be easier to end. 

I’m not going to kill myself. My wife isn’t going to kill herself. 

We talk. We argue. We cry together, sometimes. We care about each other, and because we each have some self-loathing we usually care more about each other than we do for ourselves. 

Sorry… I get sidetracked. 

So we’re talking, lying in bed, and I ask, 

“What will you say to the kids if I die?” 

She starts to say that she’ll tell them I loved them and they’ll get through it, and they-

“No.” I said, “What will you say to Aidan?”

Aidan is our six-year-old hurricane. He is overly emotional (like me), he is overly intellectual for his age (like I was), he is and has been over-the-top expressive and reactive to everything, all the time (like me). 

I am the only one he will listen to. I am the lifeline that pulls him in when he is flailing. I am his hope, because he knows I understand him. I am his, and he is mine and we both know that we need each other. 

So I asked my wife, “What will you tell Aidan?” 

She doesn’t know. She made me promise not to kill myself, she’s convinced that if I died she will wither up like a tomato plant in Fresno during August (it’s hot).

She doesn’t know how to get through Aidan’s maze. He doesn’t know how to interact with her. She loves him as fiercely as she can, and he loves her as insanely as any boy has loved his mother, and they clash. Two storms fighting for control, and they usually both end up very upset. 

Sorry… I digress. 

What would she say to him? 

Daddy died and now you have to figure things out yourself. All the chaotic emotion raging through your mind are now yours alone, the only one that knows the way through is gone. 

So here I am, just in case. 

Aidan, if it’s time for you to read this, then I’m not coming home. I’m sorry. 

I need you to know so many things that I didn’t get a chance to tell you. I have all of these dreams for you, so many hopes and ideas of how you will live. 

I can’t start telling you those, for two reasons. First, if I start, I’ll never stop. Second, my dreams for you aren’t big enough for you. 

You’re going to make mistakes. You will do things the wrong way. This is a necessity. Doing things the right way doesn’t teach you much, if anything at all. Don’t be afraid of being wrong. You will get stronger, smarter, better because you won’t want to do things wrong over and over. Do your best when you can. Just do… Don’t let fear of failure stop you from trying. 

I don’t regret anything I’ve done. My only regrets are things I didn’t do. Things I didn’t say. Chances I was too scared to take. Be better than that. 

Don’t let anger be your go-to reaction. Your emotions make you angry, not getting your way makes you angry, being sad or being tired or being hungry or being bored or being ignored or embarrassed or basically everything except music and candy make you angry and I’m telling you in absolute terms, this is going to hurt you. Learn to let anger slide past while your other emotions load up. If your reaction is sadness, be sad. If you’re embarrassed, smile and laugh because it makes embarrassment go away. If you’re going to be angry all of the time, you will make your life so much harder than it needs to be. 

Enjoy the little things, and chase the big things. Little joys are where happiness lives. Eat the cookie. Play the game. Laugh at the stupid joke. You can’t focus only on the big Happy. 

Set goals and work for them. You need a direction and it needs to be your choice. Find the thing that makes your heart beat faster, the thing that makes your brain feel like fire, and just do that. Act, sing, dance, create, do whatever makes you, you. Don’t get so caught up in comfortable happiness that you lose track of your path. 

Be prepared for things to hurt you but don’t worry about the hurt before it comes. You will always recover and the things that hurt deserve to hurt. 

When you love someone, all you can do is give that person your love and hope. You can’t make them into what you want them to be, you don’t get to choose who they are or how they will love you. You can decide what you will allow but you cannot make people give you what you need. 

Sleep when you’re tired, and when you wake up, get up. Don’t lay around doing nothing. It makes your mind stagnant. 

Eat when you’re hungry and when you feel you’ve had enough, stop. 

When you miss me, remember me. Think of the times we shared. Think about my smile, my laugh, my voice talking to you. Think about the way we connected. Remember the things about me that make you feel good, loved, special.

Because you are good. 

Because you are loved. 

Because you are special. 

Don’t ever, not for one moment, believe that I am gone. I am right here, thinking of you. You’re asleep and your brothers and Mom are sleeping, and it’s quiet. I’m thinking of you, and my heart is wrapped around you, and I will always be right here in this moment. 

Can you see me, son? I’m smiling, and loving you, and I will be, 

always. 

In Difference


I don’t know you. 

There’s no cheat sheet for life. We each get our own instruction manual when we’re born, but it’s written in a language we have to learn. 

I can remember a story about a boy, he grew into me. That memory is meaningless in my life, despite being the only foundation I have to define myself. 

What I know of myself today is that I am capable of things I never expected. I am talented and strong. I am expressive and openly emotional. 

Those few things don’t define me. 

I am mid-way through a life expectancy, and I have yet to figure out how I belong in my own life, beyond a very strong attachment to my current situation. 

I choose to let my emotional reactions to experiences be the prow of my ship. I cut the waters of my journey with how I feel. I direct my path by what feels right to me. 

I am secure in this choice. It suits me. 

I have been faced with opposition to my choice for as long as I have existed. Close or distant, family or friends, I have been told how wrong I am, over and over. 

I have not, I will not allow anyone else to choose my path. 

My path must be travelled by my feet. Nobody else is required to live my life. 

I don’t know you, and I don’t know how you have chosen, and with all due respect, 

I don’t give a damn what you choose. 

Your choices may impact my life. 

Mine might impact yours. 

We are not solitary islands, separated by oceans. We are interactive and interdependent in this reality. We are pieces of a global machine. 

My choices will be mine, and yours will be yours, and that is just fine with me. 

So give me your indifference, in this difference. 

We have our own lives to fuck up. 

One Poor Correspondent

Isolated is not a good way to be. 

Asking for reassurance from friends, I got some really wonderful feels. 

I matter, even if I can’t see it all the time. 

A poem is not just words, it’s the condensed emotions pressing into a mind through phrases that mean more than they say, it’s a slice of a soul given without a price and received without boundary. 

A poet is not just someone that writes poems… It takes a deeper disturbance in the mind. 

I don’t call myself a poet. 

I am disturbed. I am damaged. I am paying attention to every goddamned word and feeling and eye-flutter. I am reading tea leaves and watching the wind play with flower petals. 

I am trying to write a life, here. 

I am trying to feel everything. 

I am hurting myself on purpose, for the sake of…

Poetry? 

I am colossally fuckered up, in here. 

I appreciate how I seem to others. 

I am thankful for the love that floods my life, the tide that lifts all boats. 

I am also suffering greatly, for loving what has been lost. For losing what has been loved. For living a true life, and caring about the moments. 

I am also suffering from too little sleep and too much stress. 

I’ll be here, 

Even if I say goodbye. 

I promise. 

The Road Ahead

I don’t care if anyone else reads anything I write, as long as you do. 

Why post it online?

Because it makes me feel good. I like having readers and fans. I like having writer friends who think I write well. It makes me feel like my thoughts matter. 

But the truth is, if it was just you, I would still be happy. I would feel like a writer. I would still balk at being called a poet, but if you say I’m a poet, I won’t argue. 

I remember so much of you, so many times you have blown my mind, so many times you have completely misunderstood me and behaved badly, so many times you have forgiven me for being a partially broken asshole. You have been the parts of my life that I call home. 

I hear your voice, when I’m sad. In my head you say the same things that you say in real life. That I’m good. That I’m yours. That I matter, and the people that made me feel “less than” are the ones that don’t matter. 

I hear you and I feel happy. I don’t show it well, I’m always thinking too hard over things I can’t change. 

I see you and I feel happy. I try to display my happiness, for you, and somehow it always comes through tears. I’ve been so severely damaged and nothing is easy for me. I try to let freedom and happiness and glory out of my mind, for you. 

I don’t complain about much. Only you. 

I know you just read that and felt like I’m being a dick. 

My life has given me a lot to despair over, and you. I have you. I have your love and respect and devotion. I have your moods and your reticence and your secret sorrow. I have all of you, and that means you get all of me. It’s the only way I know, love. 

The way that I love you leaves a lot to be desired, I’m sure. I’m difficult and complicated and moody. I’m argumentative and confusing. I’m never just happy. I’m never just okay. I’m never just content. I’m never just talking, I’m writing and I’m chasing wisps of thought down a thousand trails. 

I’m not “just”…

And neither are you. 

You are a storm in a clear sky, a promise in a secret. You are a treasure in a hidden place, you are an army at the gate. You are an unclimbable mountain, an unfathomable mystery. You are an ancient child in a timeless smile. 

And you’ll say, I love you. You’ll say, I’m yours. You’ll say, why do you write these things and tell everyone about me? You’ll say, what’s the point of all of this? 

I answer, I exist because you need me. 

I answer, I write because you read me. 

I answer, I am because you are. 

That day at the beach you took up my burdens, that night at Lover’s Point you took my life as your own. 

The day of our wedding I gave you all I had. Every bit of anything I can possibly be is yours. Every day from that to this and beyond, until I do not exist. I am yours, and you will not be done with me and my confused, complicated heart until you are no more. 

And anyone else that reads this will form their own opinion of what we are. They’ll diagnose me and you and they’ll categorize us and they’ll minimize us. They’ll think what they will and move on. 

But nobody knows. 

It’s you, it’s me. 

Nothing else is real. 

It’s your love that makes my heart beat. It’s my courage that fuels your fire. It’s your touch that soothes me, and it’s my voice that lifts you. 

When I write to you, I feel an easy ache, I feel a complicated simplicity. I feel you in my arms. I feel your concern. 

I always want everything to be something wonderful. I suck at wonderful. It’s not my game. I always want everything to be happy. I am not sure how to do that. 

I always want quiet, and the only quiet I own is wrapped around you. You are my only peace. You are my only relief from the bullshit that I live with. 

I will never be anything but yours. 

I won’t allow it. 

I hope that you are reading this and hearing my voice, as though we’re together, not being interrupted by the kids, just your mind and mine. My voice and your heart. 

I promise to free you from your shell. 

What happens after that, I don’t know. 

I want you to be your truest self. 

With all of my love lifting you.