Uncertain

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Uncertain

In no uncertain terms
these uncertain times
exact a daily toll
Consigned to our reality
Confined to our home
Cavernous, in our hole…

The disdain of the social media
The refrain of the incessant news
Trudeau’s late morning assurances
Trump’s daily need to accuse
Portals to the vital information
Privy to all the points and views
Small screens or the big screen
Two for my one. One for my twos

So much that I have to believe
With so little I have to choose

Twenty four, gone just like that
Stuck at home, paying hour dues
Any time, less than well spent
is more that I will lose

 

Numbers that continually climb
The mountain exceedingly steep
Information about our situation
Piled onto, and into, the heap
Unsure of exactly how to react
Dangerous to relax. Dire enough to weep
Life burrowed. And lives buried
Lost and lonely in the deep

Choices, and musts, and maybes,
sown by what we reap

Restless, on same sorry nights
Tempted to pour my self to sleep
Waking to the same exhaustion
With no appointments to keep

 

In no uncertain terms
these uncertain times
test our resolve
The tenuous balance
The strenuous times
The few we can involve…

Sitting with the same three people
So strangely out of whack
A picking and choosing of persons
Separating them from the pack
Getting together with friends, sort of
Grainy and intermittent as we yak
Me, Skyping on my Samsung
She, Zooming on her Mac

Small relief, virtually compensating
for the contact that we lack

Stuck inside, inside my head
A smothering, closed-in panic attack
A forty minute escape on foot
to the grocery store and back

 

More word games on my phone
with another temporary friend
Wearing out my headphones
Replacing another pen
Staying up late with a movie
Staying in bed until ten
Back to yesterday’s puzzle
Then another. Because I can

Nothing seems to matter much
when it doesn’t matter when

When anywhere I choose to go
is where I’ve recently been
It’s the same day as yesterday
All over again

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In these uncertain times
We must look to the certain things
Voices and faces. Warm and safe places
Music and memories. A lyric that one sings
We must absorb all of the sensations
Even when the situation stings
Bask in the perfection of a complete silence
The anticipation, when the phone rings

While we are captive in our own castles
we are still the queens and kings

We need to absorb every day importance
To see and hear when reality dings
Finding the words and feeling the thoughts
Any comfort that familiar brings

 

I am required to switch my focus
To forge ahead in this lonely role
Accomplish something, anything, for me
Feed and fill my hungry soul
To live life as it is, in the here and now
In the circumstance, within my control
I’m not allowed to live it to the fullest
Making more of less is my modest goal

Regaining my composure and perspective
Some of what this pandemic stole

Raising my head, my eyes, my heart
Extracting myself from the mounting toll
Wanting to live while waiting to leave
Up and over, and out of this hole

 

In these uncertain times
In no uncertain terms

Lu

Lu
I have tried to put myself where you are
To imagine how all of this must make you feel.
To imagine all you must be thinking
as you sit down, with us, to share in a meal.
When something as vital as all of this,
questions you’ve carried and could no longer conceal,
becomes something now that actually is.
Something uncertain, that is suddenly real.
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Unanswered questions, so near to your life
The persistent glimmer, as you have grown
Many thought-filled nights, lying in bed,
with a glimpse of the truth, beside an unknown
All of the trappings of everyday normalcy,
family and friends and the seeds you have sewn
Childhood innocence, and then adolescence
An adult, then a mom, with a family of your own

Ongoing years, learning a little at a time
Altered details of who you had hoped to meet
Your husband’s hand, and love and support,
and a wondering heart’s determined beat
Through family trees, into family histories
From informative emails to a signature on a sheet
Back and forth, and around and around,
until your elusive circle is near to complete

In the comfort of somewhere that feels familiar
Together, at long last, on the Huron shore
On a Wednesday in May, at a Goderich gathering,
of open minds, through an open door
With all of your rights, and your revelations,
and all the years that were too much to ignore
After all of the clues, and then the confirmation,
you finally catch up to all that came before

Along with all of the realities of a good life to here,
there is the calm in knowing you have even more.

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We sincerely hope this all feels completely real.
And that we have helped to make it easier for you.
We also look forward to our next time together,
whenever that may be, whatever we may do.
And I think that I can speak for all of us,
for your extra, additional family…and for our mother too,
when I say that whatever your life’s wishes are,
we hope that at least one of them has now come true.

Together

Together

Another great night
Together

Love and understanding
Two hearts meeting

Our familiar refrain
Together
Love and understanding
Well worth repeating


I arrive at your house

A few petty annoyances
weighing on my mind
You are there for me
with a smile and a kiss
The door closes behind

I feel immediately better
The cold left outside
The tension gone
The night ahead of us
With you in my arms
With the music on

Forgotten, in an instant
Moving all that’s good
ahead of the bad
Love and understanding
Takes me far away
from the day that I had


Your numerous worries

Drastic life changes
swirling all around
I am right here
with a shoulder and an ear
Until answers are found

Talk and common sense
The simple solution
Splitting perspective in half
The right words to say
Our candid exchange
Making each other laugh

Forgotten, for tonight
A switch of topic
A shift of gear
Love and understanding
Remembering the reason
that we are both here

This quality time
Together

Great conversation
Music and laughter

Love and understanding
Together
We are the difference
between before and after

Direction

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Direction

I am not sure where we are headed,
but I can see you there with me…

Sitting to my right in your window seat,
my one arm held tightly inside your two
I feel the exhilaration of our unknown journey,
gliding together, over nothing but blue

I see you there, lying beside me, 
on a rainbow of satin sheets…

Reaching to my left, I touch your skin,
as your cheek rests peacefully on my chest
I feel the ease of your sleeping breath,
in the soft sigh of our much-needed rest 

I see you and I, talking and walking,
past streets with familiar names…

Glancing down, I find your hand in mine,
as we walk along a boulevard of light
I feel the exhilaration of our shared experience,
strolling together, through an unforgetable night

I make my way around the crowded table
until I see your beautiful smile…

Looking across, we are paused together,
our eyes connecting as our thoughts entwine 
I feel the ease of this perfect moment,
as your glass of white meets the red in mine

I wake up to the buzz of my cell alarm,
and the realization that I won’t see you here…

Staring straight up, at my still dark ceiling,
my mind drifts back to inside my dreams
I feel the exhilaration, and the ease in knowing,
that all I’ve just seen, is as close as it seems

 

backlit bird clouds dark

 

Invariably

                     Invariably

“You need to pave your own path,”
she would always say.
“Do not let fear, or doubt,
ever stand in your way”.you are enough text
“Just take the bull by the horns.”
“Jump right into the fray.”

“Carpe diem, Gary James.
Seize every day.”…

I would see the familiar postmark,
and I would always smile
A thoughtful note, a card, a poem,
certainty, every once in a while
That perfect hand writing
Her unique, unmistakeable style
My consistent, truest inspiration
Spanning many a mile

“Carpe diem, Gary James
Seize every day.”

Invariably, my phone would ring
after a few sunken days in a row
When I needed her buoyant words,
she would lift me from my low
Her soothing and assuring voice
A motivational “get up and go”
Not sure just how she knew
She just always seemed to know

“Carpe diem, Gary James
Seize every day.”

Even as the cruelty of life
slowly seized the best of her20180803_204117.jpg
Even as her struggling breaths
slowly faded away…

Even in the face of the inevitable,
in the last squeeze of her hand,
her message seeped into my heart
And it’s forever here to stay…

“Carpe diem, son.
I am with you always.
Now go and seize the day.”

Meeting

                                  Meeting 


I arrive with wine, and little apprehension

Entering your home, my worries are very few
Confident that you are kind, that you are genuine
because your wonderful daughter is a part of you


As I look around, a comfort settles over me
Instantly, I am at ease, and even more sure
We say our hellos and she squeezes my hand

Moments later she takes me on a tour

I see warm colours, and family photos
lovingly displayed, up and down the hall
Your own creations, and your creativity,
gracing each room, and on every wall

Crafty signs, stitch work, and oil paintings
Your personal touches, so easily found
Children and teens, newlyweds and grandkids,
all of your loved ones, leaning or hanging around

Tangibly vibrant, with a flick of each switch
The now and the then, brought to light
The young couple, handsome and pretty
Their beginning, framed, in black and white

We stroll through your memories, new and old,
The long journey of a husband and a wife
A visual journal, of his story and yours,
Room to room, so full of a life

As we join everyone in your living room
I look to you, straight across, sitting in a chair
Our glances meet, knowingly, for a moment
neither overly concerned, but both of us aware


Just as I had hoped, with this important step,
I was adding perspective to my happy reality
But it was also tweaking my ongoing interest
with peoples’ grasps on their own mortality


I find myself staring, as we are having dinner

catching myself, just before you do
I am lost, inside my natural curiosity,
wondering about your point of view

I imagine what you might be thinking
Another Easter dinner, like any other year?
Are you blissfully oblivious to who is new,
and simply thankful that everyone is here?

Are you thinking about who is missing,
a little sad, and reminiscent as you look around?
Or are you soaking in the whole atmosphere
Every familiar sight, every happy sound?

Your grandchildren, all talking excitedly
That perfect mix of exuberance and loud
The smiles of three uniquely beautiful daughters
Your constant smile, telling me you are proud

Your living legacy, right here before you
Those most important, just being themselves
A vital portrait of your loving family
brought down from off the shelves

Your smile subsides only when you speak
Voice cracking, behind the few words you say
You seem quietly content, at the head of the table
as I gradually get to know you, on this April day


Everyone slowly heads towards the door,
saying thank-you and exchanging good-byes
I see your expression change, ever so slightly,
a
s a twinge of melancholy forms in your eyes

Merengue

Esta vida es mía,20180322_111749
pero este corazon es suyo.
Esta sonrisa es mia,
pero la razon eres tú.

This life is mine, but this heart is yours.
This smile is mine, but the reason is you.


Merengue


My mind drifts from you

as twenty years
find me here
  The people and faces
food and music
  reminders, so very clear
Images engrained
the inevitable memories
that all seem so near
Skies, and waters blue
in waves of recollection
vivid, as they reappear

Tones and textures
some too familiar
to a life that I knew
Dances and flavours
the spice of life
shared by just two
Una foto familiar
of smiles and sunshine
of lives that doubly grew
Of another time
In another place
a different ocean view

Years of love
that still fill my tears
on any given day
Streams of thought
that line my cheek
that reach these words I say
Life has brought me
here to you
to a place I want to stay
But please be patient
as some of me
was washed out on my way

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Barely removed
from those lost depths
from the lowest of my low
With half of my life,
just tied up,
reluctantly, without a bow
We are flying high, together
with so many places
we still want to go
Yet, there is a large part
of who I am
that you still need to know

I know that to heal
I must face up to my pain
to repair from inside
Talk about the hurt
the lump in my throat
as I swallow some of my pride
I will get ever stronger
if I can resist the urge
to stay away or hide
I will be open, and be honest
to raise myself up
to gradually subside

I know I can talk to you
without any judgement
I’ve put my love in your hand
You always listen
you always remember
and you want to understand
We took off together
on this flight of our own
on a trip that we both planned
I am here with you
you are here for me
and I see no line in the sand

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La mejor foto que tengo,

es aquella en la cuál sonrío por ti.

— The best photograph I have,
is the one in which I am smiling because of you.

Strides

Strides

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We looked mostly straight ahead,

the first time we met
Walking, and small talking,
already at ease, as I got to my car
Yet, within the messages,
that lead us to that point,
I knew the enormity
of getting that far

No sense of haste
as we leisurely walk
Steadily paced
in time and talk
Self discovery, together,
with no real clock

Feeling more familiar 
with every block
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We have picked up the pace,  
as we’ve moved along
Both ready and content
to be moving on
Putting miles, and smiles,
between us and the past
The more we’ve walked
The further we’ve gone

Side by side
our fingers entwined
Stride for stride,
both body and mind
Moving forward, together,
toward what we’ll find

Distancing ourselves
from what’s behind
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Continual but careful steps,
on a path to each other,
Patience, and anticipation,
for what we have in store
So far, so very good, for us,
From nerves and hesitation,
to comfortable conversations,
to moments meant for more

Nights planned
for more time alone
As we delve, we understand
our shared unknown
Time well spent, together,
we can call our own

Hand around hand,
in our comfort zone

Inevitable
Everything, and time,

plenty for us to discover
Our subtle intricacies,
strides for you with me
Walking and talking,
as we ease into us,
Heading toward whatever, 
whenever that may be
 

Weiland

 Weiland
Certain impressions

Cemented imprints
  Moments, that always
  Will remain with me.
Stamps of clarity
Distinct interpretations
Times, to never forget
That only I may see.

A concert among many
A smallish venue
Dedicated patrons
Pressed against the gates.
At that precise instant
I saw it in his eyes
The sure realization
The nod to his mates.

He knew he had us
The right people
Pleased to meet us
At one with his crowd.
With each familiar track
We rose to the occasion
To a body of work
That made him proud.

Belying his frailty
Gaunt and ashen
Worn down by the life
And wearing the age.
The consummate showman
Doing his thing
The slightest of figures
Commanding the stage.

I remember it vividly
The crispness of the performance
Struck by the energy
The electricity, the pace.
Tight and professional
The purity of the music
The megaphonic intensity
The smile on his face.

The wail of the guitar
Meandering behind his words
The roar of the crowd
As the last note sustained.
All had been sung and done
Two plus hours invested
The whole band as one
Fully and entirely drained.

Standing, arm in arm
Having given their all
Drenched in their art
Soaking in our applause.
 Recognizing the enormity
Of our live experience
 Spent on the stage
Entirely, and just because.

RIP

 

Commute

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Commute

Car acoustics
take me away
The soundtrack
to another day
Open road
An open mind
Work in front of me
then left behind


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To and from 
The same routine
So I prepare myself
for the time between
Beyond the stop lights
I begin my day
New music loaded
and I press play

This familiar highway
Sets the scene

For rhythmic places
I’ve never been
Alone with an artist
I’ve just met
Reality
on the horizon
but not yet

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 Car stereo
An hour each way
The soundtrack
The tone of my day
Mental preparation
for come what may
A mindful escape
Just press play

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Commute enhanced
by drums and guitar
Outside of myself
inside of my car
On my own
with whomever I choose
Lost in the lyrics
I never lose

 Delving into the unknown
alters my view
The same drive
yet something new
Enraptured escape
in tunes sublime
Nothing in front of me
except the time

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Car stereo
The cerebral way
The soundtrack

The refrain of my day
To different places
I can get away
I strap myself in

and I hit play

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