Nest

I am still not used to it.
Both of them only half the time
was hard enough to accept.
Then the teenage years came
and they became independent.
Half the time became
half the time, half the time.
Then came graduation,
and jobs, and university for one.
And now it’s half of them,
half of half the time.
In less than a year and a half
it will be none of them
almost all the time.
That’s life, I suppose…20171130_094348


NEST
 

Our new family home,
that I bought to share
A shell of a house
without you there
Echoes in the halls
Walls, inside of walls
Some framed with memories,
some still bare 

Never seems as bright
when you are gone
A dim comparison,
with half the lights on
Darkness under a shade
Beds perpetually made
A window with a view,
with the curtains drawn


Down, in the basement

Alone, in the yard
I knew it would hit me,
just not this hard

A simple fact of life,

but it feels like a test
They spread their wings,
and they leave the nest


I wander and I wonder,
cleaning up for one
Swept up in thoughts of you
until the work is done
A vacuum, and a broom
The dust in your room
Faint specks of yesterday,
settled, and then none 

The quiet of the night,
t
he silence of compromise
C
alendar on the fridge,
c
old comfort, as time flies
Circles, that tell me when
Two weeks until then
A small glimmer of hope,
faint in
a father’s eyes

 

Empty, in your bedroom
Alone, at the table
I glance to your pictures,
when my heart feels able

Sad solace in knowing
that it’s for the best
When life calls them,
and they leave the nest

 


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Filled

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Filled 

Tired and happy

My heart is full

I close my eyes
to end a great day
Another great day

I am a lucky guy
With all that I have
With all of those
who fill my heart

A wonderful family
who don’t judge
Who want nothing
but the best
for me

So many good friends
Unbelievable friends
who are always there
No matter what
this crazy life
brings my way

A modest home
where my heart resides
That reflects who I am
Where my mind
rests peacefully
after another
great day

20171118_095324[1]

 

 

 

 

 

Deliberation


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Deliberation

It’s been a full and active day already,
with even more still on my plate.
Feeling pretty sluggish at half past ten.
Been going since this morning at eight.

Some friends I saw earlier, are visiting from Toronto.
Was planning to meet them later for drinks.
I am going to have a hot shower first,
and then I will see what my body thinks.

I toss my shirt and gitch in the laundry
and grab my bath towel from off the rack.
As I leave my room, I hear a faint whisper,
so I stop, I listen, and then I go back.

Scanning the room from the doorway
I can see, of course, that there’s nobody there.
Must be my phone, in the pocket of my jeans
which earlier I’d slung over the back of the chair.

I slide my cell phone out, and I take a look.
Nothing to see there but my cover screen.
No open apps, or videos playing,
so I slide it back in, to where it had been.

Turning once more to leave, I hear it again.
This time a little louder, and a little more clear.
It seems to be coming from near my bed,
and the voice I hear says, “Gary come here.”

A little less tired now, and a lot more freaked out,
I inch a little closer, and the voice speaks again.
This time adament, with much more authourity.
“Do you really need to go out? It’s well after ten.”

“Who’s there?”, I ask, speaking to no one,
looking in the direction of the pyjamas on my bed.
“Who are you, and what do you want with me?”
“I want you stay home tonight, just like I said.”

Now certain that I must be hallucinating,
I flee my room and head down the hall,
past the closet and toward the bathroom,
rocking the print that hangs on the wall.

I come face to face with myself in the mirror.
Needing a reality check, I smack my cheek.
Feeling it’s sting, I speak my thoughts aloud.
“It has been a busy day. And a very busy week.”

Still hoping that a shower might wake me up,
I hang up my towel and pull back the curtain.
Spend equal time washing, and convincing myself,
“pyjamas can’t talk, of that I am certain.”

I finish up with a cold blast of water, 
with similar results as the slap to my face.
If I am going downtown I had better hurry.
With renewed focus I pick up the pace.

Wrapped in my towel and rapt in thought,
I strategize my night while I brush my hair.
Thinking now of my best way to travel,
glasses or contacts, and what shirt to wear.

Distracted by the tasks on my mental list
and the momentum of my slight energy burst,
I find myself standing back in my room,
with a tall glass of water to quench my thirst.

After a lengthy guzzle, I reach for my jeans,
pull one pant leg up and then make it two.
As I tighten my belt I hear a different voice,
“So glad we’re going out, Gary. Good for you.”

I take a quick step back, with an audable shriek,
knock over the glass in my astounded haste.
“It’s me Gene, Hey, I’m right down here.”
The words seem to have come from below my waist.

“Good thing you didn’t listen to that guy.
He’s flat and lazy, and a complete bore.
Grab your cash and your keys.  I’ve got your cell. 
Let’s call a cab and we can wait by the door.”

“Who you calling flat? You denim deadbeat!”
My head jerks quickly in the direction of my bed.
“Ya you, Levi, with your zipper and your attitude.”
And yes, I clearly just heard what my pyjamas said.

“Always making this guy empty your pockets.
Give him a break. Your material is wearing thin.
He is a bad influence on you Gary. Take a night off.
Listen to PJ, get comfortable with me and stay in.”

“Come on lounge boy! Don’t zap his momentum.
You, with your save some money, save your liver crap.
He knows when to say when, and it ain’t now.
Not with good friends, and so many good beers on tap.”

At this point, stuck in the middle, I decide to just go with it.
I muster up some courage and I join in the debate.
“Gene, I get it, you have some some very valid points.
And PJ, I am tired, and been going non-stop since eight.”

Immersed in this, and actually needing to make a decision,
I get an idea, that gives both sides a chance.
I take off the jeans, or Gene, and I lay them/him on the bed.
I will take some time to think, and decide between pjs or pants?

“When I get back from finishing in the bathroom, I’ll choose.
You two try to get along. I’m giving myself ten minutes to decide.”
My underwear and I depart, back down the hall to brush my teeth,
both with a vested interest in selecting one side.

As I floss and weigh both of the night’s options,
I can feel the cumulative effects of all that I did today.
Yet, it would be nice to see Greg and Chrissy again.
I only saw them for a bit, and they did come all this way.

Spitting out the last swish of my mouthwash,
a realization comes over me, and suddenly I know.
I figure, if any of my clothes are speaking to me,
I obviously need some rest, so it’s wiser not to go.

I make it official, by going from contacts to glasses,
confident and pleased with the logic I choose.
Proud of myself for deciding to be responsible,
I return to my room, to deliver the news.

I can hear some murmuring and muffled obscenities.
The bickering gets louder as I walk through the door.
Once inside, however, I am met with complete silence,
fully expecting to find one of them lying on the floor.

Still side by side on the bed, are anxious jeans and pyjamas.
And you could cut the tension with a knife.
I preface my delivery with some token respect,
“I appreciate your concern fellas, but it is my life.”

“While I am seldom one to let responsibility slow me down,
I do have to learn, sometime, when I’ve had enough.
After careful deliberation, I’ve decided to stay home.
Sorry about that Gene, but if you don’t like it, tough.”

“A little harsh Gary, but I suppose it’s okay, just this once.
But I hope you don’t make it a habit to be so boring.
Because there is nothing more sad or pathetic
than a lazy ass, on a Saturday, at eleven, snoring.”

“Point taken Gene. Speaking of a little harsh.”
I toss him in the basket with the other dirty guys.
“I guess it’s you and me PJ, let’s watch some tv.”
“Good idea Gary. And you’re not boring, you are wise.”

I immediately feel comfortable as I put on the pyjamas,
adding a sweat shirt to my lack of cares.
After texting my friends to politely apologize,
I refill my water and we head down the stairs.

After flipping on a lamp, I turn on the television,
pick up a remote that had fallen on the floor.
I plop myself down into my favourite lazy boy,
which seems oddly appropriate, because of before.

“There is nothing wrong with a nice night in.
It doesn’t always have to be go, go, go.”
That was just me, justifying to myself,
wanting to make sure, that both of us know.

Finally settled, I scroll through my movies choices.
“Don’t sit there. Come lie down with me. No need to slouch.”
I am more exasperated, really, than surprised.
It’s a sexy female voice, coming from the couch.

Hip

 

 

If this is it,
then so it shall be.
I want you to know,
it means a lot to me.

                        

                       Hip
Lining up at the campus pub

1985, a cold stubby in my hand
Doors would eventually open
No cover, for a cool cover band
Some suggested Jim Morrison
Felt more like a Rolling Stone
A mix of B-sides and originals
The hip vibe, definitely their own

A different stage, Lakeview Manor
People from miles around
A fan base that had grown
Along with their singular sound
An E.P and a break-through
Up To Here, and it was time to go
As good as each next album was
It was more about the live show

Passing on some arena gigs
Four of us, in my father’s car 
Five and a half hours south
The Hip experience, in an unhip bar
Taking a break from winter
With our Canadian content in tow
Sharing our rock n roll landscape
With those who might not know.

A slice of our identity
A uniquely Canadian sound
Taking our reciprocal pride
and passing it around

No matter where this life takes you
it’s good to know
that you can always come home…
Back to your family and your friends
with stories of where you’ve been
To the harmony of your hometown
To where you always begin
Accompanied by the music of your life,
that defines you from within.


Outside at The Forum, August ’93

Bigger stage, overflowing crowd
The same electric atmosphere
For the appreciative and proud
Reconnected with a great friend
Gary and Hodgie, the Queen’s years
Kingston to Toronto, and back
A hug, The Hip, and a couple of beers

A common thread of identity
The words, drums, the guitars
Intimate and intertwined
under a constellation of stars


Fast forward 25 years, Ottawa

Tailgating, second to last show
We are raucous, we are ready
Inspired by what we know
A brave, triumphant journey
Our home and our native land
Man Machine Poem, and mutual respect 
The storyteller, their crowd, this band

It’s not about patriotic pathos
It’s a celebration, for 30 plus years
It’s new songs mixed with older
Rhythmic recollection, maybe a few tears
It’s whole cities of support
An entire country, and its heart
Lyrically linked, together as one
Joined at the Hip, from the start.

The strength of our identity20170731_185540
The pulse of a nation
A Tragically Hip tune
on a radio station

No matter where the music takes you

it’s good to know
You can always come home…
Back to those perennial seeds,

the ones you chose to sew
Firmly planted, in hometown soil
The seeds that helped you grow
Pride, a poet, and a band of brothers,
home for one more show.

Last night…     

A front row seat in Port Perry
It’s Scotty, Tim, Peter and me
A musical postcard from Kingston
The Tragically Hip, in a pub, for free
Honoured guest at a party for all of us
August 20, 2016, a tall pint, a toast, a sip
A thoughtfully wrapped three-hour gift
To Canada, with love, from The Hip.


If that was it,
then so it shall be.
I want you to know,
it meant the world to me.

Thank you.
            G.G.
Kingston, ON
August 21, 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Limbo

“As much as I’ve always been driven creatively to move forward toward something bigger, brighter, and unknown, I’m also a deeply-rooted nostalgic. I adore photos, mementos, all bits of ephemera that represent each and every time and space I traverse. I’m a hoarder when it comes to these things…
A flood of memories wash over me when I find these treasures, all of them new again, focused by the perspective I’ve gained in the years since. It’s a beautiful kind of limbo, seeing yourself, your past alongside your present…”
-Mick Fleetwood from Play On…Now, Then, And Fleetwood Mac The Autobiography-

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Limbo
There I am, sitting on the couch

Looking as content as I can be
But what makes me smile now
Are the faces of the other three
Friendships, made in a flash
Cultivated with laughter, and cold beers
The time of my life, so many times
Great nights, that turned into years

Sometimes I sit with a lost friend
If only for a brief while
I gaze into her playful green eyes
I remember his reluctant smile
Realize just how alive they really were
And how precious that our time is
That contagious spirit, so uniquely hers
The distinctive laugh, that could only be his

A note, a post card, a poem

Feelings that are, and/or used to be
A letter filled with distant love
Words, meant only for me
Wee hour messages that I have written
Hastefully penned, but never sent
A shoebox, filled with emotions
Papers lined with what we meant

Flipping through the pages and photos
Snapshots of my life until now
People and places, that shaped who I am
Images of who, of where, when and how
Framed pictures of significant moments
Rectangular reminders of family and friends
Travels together on this wondrous journey
An evolving road, that curves and bends

It’s a beautiful kind of limbo
Spent with people that I know
A transcendent state of mind
And I can choose where to go
The full gambit of my experiences
The love, the pain, the pleasure
Memories, that take me away and back

Moments, I will always treasure

Camping, Christmas, the dinner table
My whole family, together in one place
The truest essence of who I am today
So much influence, etched in each face
My Mom, my Dad, right there for me
Whenever when my heart yearns 

I am able to go home, again and again
With happy, and melancholy returns

Time-lapse capsules of my two daughters
Wide-eyed infants, in the back seat of the car
From half-day kindergarten to incredible teens
Ever-emerging lives, chronicled so far
First steps, dance recitals, and graduation
Lovingly preserved, in albums or on DVD
Even when they seem too far to reach
I can find them here, in front of me

Awards, team photos, newspaper clippings
Memories of play that are always fond
Reminders of an enduring love of sports
Teammates, championships, a life-long bond
Wondering what became of those I coached
Peewee signatures on a thank-you card
Events and people that helped me to grow
Character built, through practicing hard

These boxes that I’ve moved many times
To different homes, to cities and towns
Different cabinets containing my life
All of us sharing the ups and downs
I can open up whenever I want to
These memories, of importance to me
Their significance, personally priceless
Sentimental value, I can always see

It’s a beautiful kind of limbo
Sitting there, beside myself
A transcendent state of mind
Brought down from a shelf
My life, captured in moments
The past, seen through today’s eyes 
Images, taking me away and back
Suspended, for now, while time flies

 

Stars

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Stars

Hand in hand,
  slow walk to town
  Table
for two
The perfect way
to end the day
Me
and you

Late August sky,
 without a moon
Cloudless
and clear
 A black canvas
The milky way
Far
and near 

Strolling home,
guided by the stars
Light
and space
 Calm anticipation
 The night is ours
Time
and place

Side by side,
looking to that sky
Contentment
and love
A natural repose
all around us

Inside
and above

The hour late,
we lie awake
Quiet
and reflective

This peaceful night
speaks for itself
Interstellar
and introspective

Under the stars,
slowly winding down
Tranquility
for two
The perfect way
to end this day
Me
and you


Turn

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TURN

I stop where the highway ends
Pausing at the bottom of the hill
At the intersection of here and now
where time seems to stand still
Just enough time for me to smile
Time enough to look both ways
The right time at the right place
A right turn to the best of days

A right and then a quick left
To where my awakened mind sees
Down one last secluded road
under a canopy of trees
A canopy of yellow, white and green
Scattered sunlight streaking through
A canopy that guides me along
To the home that I made with you

A home full of ease and inspiration
Where my contented heart will stay
That rejuvenates my weary soul
at the end of another long day
At the end of the gravel lane
On the west end of the lake
One last left up the driveway
Is the best turn that I make

A definite turn for the better
At the end of our long year
The best turn for our life together
is the turn that led us here
To the edge of nature’s bounty
With a love for life as our connection
The right time, and the right place
A turn in the right direction

Ours

Ours
I sit at the end of the dock

Alone, on the edge of a new day
I scan our horizon, and smile
Content,
about thinking this way
It just feels like it belongs to us
That it’s all ours, and therefor mine
That we have our own entire lake
 And our own sprawling shore line
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There is a definite sense of self
A fulfillment, based on our decision
Circumstances, that brought us to now
How I got to this position
As I breathe in our fresh air
and feel our cool morning breeze
My heart embraces the moment
My mind notes all that it sees

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I see our fence and our fire wood
I see the garden we need to weed
I see our house that we are renovating
into the home that we need
I look up to see our deck
I see just how it’s positioned
I can picture our awesome view
Even more than we envisioned
I see our tall, imposing hemlock
Our kayaks that lie in its shade
See the route we’ve taken to our place
I see all the choices we’ve made

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I see the end result to our patience
I see the fruits of this past year
I see the promise in our future
I see exactly how we got here
I see all of our perseverance
I see the challenges that we’ve met
I see how we’ve faced them all together
and I am as content as I can get

Content with this life for our family
Content with how this all came to be
Content with this time that is ours
Content, and smiling, at all that I see

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Moving

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Moving
Adirondacks on the dock

waiting for us.
A porch swing, a yard 
our family…
and all that it shares.

An empty house, a new home

waiting to be filled.
Bedrooms to personalize,
endless possibilities…
just down the stairs.

Moving in

at long last
Anticipation
and the wait
Preparations
and possibilities
A fresh canvas
A clean slate
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Fishing boat by the lake

waiting for us.
A canoe, a kayak,
our family…
and all that it does.

Open waters, new horizons

waiting to be seen.
Landscapes to familiarize,
boundless possibilities…
right in front of us.

Moving on

at long last
Changes
and the new
Open windows
and opportunities
A fresh outlook
A great new view
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Good-bye

trail3

Good-bye

Time and again
I have felt it
That pang of emptiness
the weight of a sigh.
Sometimes I suppress it
sometimes I don’t
But every time…
I hate good-bye.


I could see it as

I held your hand
that knowing look
in your eyes
Even as you struggled 
you recognized
my struggle
with good-byes

Some impressions
sink in and stay
Unselfish imprints
the enduring part
Personal reminders
a life-long spirit
Eternally residing
inside your heart

I knew our bond
 would never die
 I saw it, as we said
good-bye


What we shared

was short but sweet
wrought with
what ifs and whys
I hated breaking
your honest heart
Even more than
I hate good-byes

Sometimes it is not
meant to be
Excruciating decisions
painful choices
Personal priorities
conscious realities
Mindful guidance
from internal voices

I apologized for
the reasons why
Even as we said
good-bye


You gave us twelve

memory filled years
 But moving on
and out was wise
One final time 
I closed your door
 Reminding me of why
I hate good-byes

Someone put a wedge
between us
Breaking down walls
is always tough
Family and love are
reasons for change
Love and change
were reason enough

I felt the memories
and began to cry
Pausing, as I said
good-bye


It is just a part

of who I am
It does not matter
how hard I try
The simple soul
inside of me
Simply hates to say
good-bye

We can’t hold on
to forever
Inevitable and circumstance
will come along.
That doesn’t mean
that it won’t hurt
So say good-bye…
 but stay strong.

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