Staycation

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Staycation
There is something to be said
about just staying in
About seventy-two hours, of just us,
a
way from the traffic, the lights, the din
Us, together, happily losing track of time,
while everything we do is win/win
So many great choices when it’s you and me
that we seldom know
exactly where to begin
And it never returns to where we didn’t go
when we realize where we’ve just been

Together, inside of each other’s heart
Sharing time, within each other’s mind
Where the very best of both of us
is remarkably easy to find
Where every word we consider
is purposeful, caring and kind
Where our substantial substance
can relax, and breathe, and slowly unwind
A safe and serene distance
f
rom the lives we’ve left behind

Right at home with all that makes us laugh
Where nothing is too wacky, nothing too bizarre
For our own choice of music, and great conversation,
for our own ideal company, we needn’t go far
A healthy, necessary break for the wallet
A welcome, fuel-efficient rest for the car
Beer and wine, or whatever else we choose,
at less than a quarter the price of a bar
And when we buy it locally, ourselves,
it’s always Canadian money at par

A stay-cation, much like we wanted
A stay-in solution, much like we said
Staying in, and saving for our next adventure
Staying in together, and staying out of the red
Holding hands, while sitting on the couch
Holding each other, while staying in bed
Making love, and making our own meals
With both of our appetites, extremely well fed
Instead of 
spending a pile of money, frivolously,
we spend some quality time staying home instead

There is so much to enjoy about these weekends
It makes little difference what we choose to do
All that matters is that it’s our time, together
And every memories matter, when it’s me with you

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Mine

MINE
I was inching away from everything
that I had tried so hard to preserve
Taking the smallest of careful steps,
as I negotiated the next curve
Having spent far too much energy
accepting less than I deserve
Gradually reaching the realization
that I have more than enough nerve
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So, I am making changes

For me
Found someone who sees the very best
in me
Nearer to the fun and confident essence
of who I used to be
Experiencing life, one day at a time
For me

I had the best of all of the intentions

but my will seldom found the way
I just needed some selfish motivation,
and to heed the words I would say
When it’s broken, you must fix it,
rather than put it off, for yet another day
And that meant doing it myself,
believing, this is the price I’ll pay

20150801_131006[1]
So, I am making changes

For me
Bought a nice new, reliable vehicle
just for me
I am getting ever closer
to the way things should be
Closer to the life that I choose
For me

The constant of the truly good people

who are always always there
Family, colleagues, closest friends,
listening, simply because they care
Honesty, in the face of my best interest,
with only good intentions to share
Helping to get me to a better place
and then joining me, no matter where

apartment architecture contemporary design

I am making these changes
For me
A newish job, and a great new house
For me
I am now looking only forward,
to the place I want to be
Where life and love and happiness meet
With me

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

Worry


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Worry

You worry about us
while I worry about you
My wounds have mostly healed
Yours, are still unfairly new

Still vulnerable, still susceptible,
Still affected by so much
Bruised around the edges
Still tender to the touch
 Memories, there on the wall
Reminders, flashing on the screen
Taking you back to a hurt
that never should have been
Pictures and question marks
Still images, still fresh 
Years of mixed emotions,
rubbing against your flesh
The occasions, the situations
With family, with friends
The sudden jolt to your system
When some of your past attends
Incessant and intrusive probing
Concerned people, hassling you
The pangs from a harsh reality,
that may or may not be true
Occasional reminders,
that prick you like a pin
Sharp and pointed circumstance
Jabbing at your skin

Rumours, and stories that swirl
Of others, going through the same
Open secrets and indiscretions
The deflecting of the blame
Sad and similar symptoms,
that you reluctantly understand 
Taking you an unhealthy distance
from the life that you had planned

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You worry about us
 and I worry about you
 This is what I can see
This is all I can do

There is pain that I recognize
Sore spots, we have both got
Other aches, I can understand
Worse ones, that I cannot
Nights, together in your home
Putting myself in your place
Hours, rapt deep in our conversation
Moments, spent lost in your face
The nuances of your smile
The emotions, found in your eyes
A shimmering well of melancholy
behind a wavering disguise
The sharp, cruel jabs of pain,
that stab your heart like a knife
The tears, that occupy my mind,
as we sit, surrounded by your life
Yet, there is no place I’d rather be
There with you, trying to comprehend
Distracting you and laughing with you
As your partner, as your friend
Taking you to a fun and happy now,
And sitting beside you there
Giving only me, and who I am,
In every minute that we share
Knowing, I have zero urge to sit
where someone else has sat
That I am one hundred percent yours
That I can promise you that
I have my steadfast morals
I have my own unique charms
I have this love for you,
and I have two strong arms

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You worry about us
I worry about you
I promise you my honesty
That is the most I can do

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

 


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

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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’ll 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 think, I scroll through my movie choices.
“Don’t sit there. Come lie down with me. No need to slouch.”
Hearing this, I am actually more exasperated 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


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