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.

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April 8th.

At long last,
I can breathe.
Fill my lungs
with hope
with exuberance
with fresh optimism
Enough of
the incessant reminders
No more
of her suffocating grief
I exhale
only contentment
Breathe only
a sigh of relief

At long last,
I can think.
Open my mind
for creativity
for revelation
for honest expression
Free from
the condescending paralysis
Away from
her sickening superiority
I speak volumes
only for myself
Think clearly
as sole authority

A long last,
I can look.
Cast my glance
to tomorrow
to possibilities

to cloudless horizons
See beyond
the judgemental glare
See past
her irrational ways
I focus
only to the future
Look forward
to my everydays


At long last,

I can breathe.

At long last,
I can think.

At long last,
I see.

At long last…
just be


 

 

Affecting

 

     An influential soul can affect a life. 
     If we are lucky, someone comes along when we are lost or misplaced and makes an impression that lasts a lifetime.  Sometimes all we need is a boost or a new direction to get us going on our way.  It is those people who realize that their influence has possibilities – and who realize that possibilities are endless — who affect lives. 
     Quite often, it is a teacher who is that influential soul. Your life path may be altered by their inspiration, motivation, imagination or subtle persuasion.
     The right person at the right time.

Affecting

It might be only one simple gesture
that changes the course of things

One turn of phrase, or turn in the road
One solid notion that a teacher brings.
An influential soul, who can affect a life
The extra yard, that goes an extra mile
The ability to inspire a want to aspire 
That singular soul, who finds the smile.

Positive thinking, meets untapped potential
Opening a mind, by opening a door 
Initiating the urge to take on the world
Lessening the less, to motivate the more.
 Noticing that possibilities are indeed endless
Giving more of yourself, despite the clock

The right person at the right time
You’re welcomed in, yet you always knock.

Making a difference in their world
by sharing what’s unique inside of you
That place where experiences live 
and understanding comes into view.
Where your common sense prevails
Expressed, in uncommon ways
Where your perception turns a page
and affects their future days.

Every year brings renewed opportunity
with a new group, beginning anew 
Fresh influences and malleable clay 
Shaping character with what you do.
You matter in these impressionable minds
It’s the substance that’s in your style 
Asking only for an honest effort 
You make it worth their while.

Inspiration found, with subtle persuasion
Motivation, to where you shine the light
Imagination, in the eyes of tomorrow 
  The vision to see the higher height.
Encouragement and understanding

Providing balance to their uphill climb
An unselfish stamp on an emerging life
The right person at the right time.

Making a difference in this world
by sharing the life inside of you
That place where experience lies 
and humility comes into view.
Where your common sense prevails
Expressed, in uncommon ways
Where perception turns an important page
and affects their future days.

For all the right reasons,
you affect the rhyme.
The right person
at the right time.

 

Butterfly?

Butterfly?

Epihany

The same stubborn scenario
The same view every night
A silhouette, close to the edge
A moth under the light
The echo of my thoughts
On infinite repeat
A schizophrenic mind field
Of two and a half feet

Turned one hundred and eighty
In a blanketed cocoon
A butterfly to a moth
Under the light of the moon
A stark and palpable silence
An insurmountable rut
Urges, kept at arm’s length
Until my eyes flutter shut

Take me back to my muse
Release me from this storm
From the cold of my creation
The bitter back to the warm
From this tempest in a teapot
 These chilling winds of blame
 The frigid reality each night
The moth back to the flame

An exasperating tug of war
Across a span of diminished hope
There has to be some solace
Near the end of my rope
Nothing that I can do or say
Changes, impervious to gain
The collateral damage is done
A consequence to the pain

So many months, eaten away
The thin fabric of a ruse
Resentful of my own creation
 A moth disguised as a muse
Rose-coloured tunnel vision?
Wishful thinking all along?

For the sanity of lost time
It would help if I was wrong

Take me back to my muse
Release me from this regret
From the pall of uncertainty
That hangs over me yet
From the now back to the then
The difference of day to night
To open arms and an open mind
To a butterfly, in a better light

Squashed

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Squashed

She had
no time

for us.
I had
no patience

to wait.
While she
found
the time

to keep 
the promises
she made.

Plans made
for us
months ahead.

One night
away

in a different bed.
To feed
a love
we left unfed.
To bandage wounds
that
slowly bled.

Convenient excuses

from her
instead.
Obvious signs
that hope
was dead.

One dinner
for us
and maybe one dance.

One night
for us
months in advance.
To try
to find
our lost romance.
To save
our family
from circumstance.

Squashed
by her
without a glance.
An obvious sign
that we had
no chance.

No time.
No patience.

No hope. 
 Unwilling
to even try.

No time.
No patience.
No chance.

We both know
the reasons
why.

News

                               News

I used to read the paper every single day.
Some days now, I see it and I back away.


It’s tempting to hide during times like this
With the blind hope that ignorance is bliss
In Canada it seems easier to smell the flowers
But that stench in the world is also ours
It’s both nauseating and difficult to understand
And it tempts you to bury your head in the sand
News, however is virtually impossible to ignore
With so many reasons and sources to explore
It’s often both sickening and sensational
Equal parts excruciating, and conversational
Scorching headlines that intensify our thirst
Multimedia reminders of all of the worst
‘The War on Terror, and ‘The War on Drugs’
Suicide bombers and twice-escaping thugs
Al Qaeda, the Taliban, hate and terror schemes

Religion and the self-righteous, taken to extremes
ISIS, FARC, GMO, and the NRA
Acronyms putting people into harm’s way
Accidental shootings, mass crimes
Ignorance, intolerance, a sign of the times
Homophobic opinion, transgender debates
Unconscionable policy in certain states
Disturbing views so easily found
Cavernous cracks in moral ground
Earthquake, tsunami, a tornado’s clout
Wild fires, record heat, and devastating drought
Nature’s anomalies, a tropical storm then a flood
Knowing, and cringing, while the ozone oozes blood
A world where oil is the most powerful king
And conservation and preservation don’t mean a thing
A world of archaic ideas, and misplaced priorities
Limited choices, and laughable authorities
With the threat of ever-hovering inflation

And an idiot, vying to lead a nation

Reasons enough eh, to want to hide
To shut your door, and stay inside
Build your wall and let ignorance protect you
The election’s coming though, so you may not have to.

5,000

 

During World War II, starting in the winter of 1940-41, in and around the village of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon in Nazi-occupied France, 5,000 Jews were sheltered…by 5,000 Christians.

The Protestant Huguenot villagers, mostly poverty-stricken themselves, protected the Jews at the risk of their own lives. Every home took in Jews, fed and protected them, right under the noses of the Gestapo. They were often hidden in the countryside when the authorities came to investigate. For four years they defied the Nazi régime and a French government that was collaborating with the Nazis. The citizens of Le Chambon sheltered these strangers, educated their children, and arranged for hundreds to flee to Switzerland or Spain via an intricate, wooded, underground escape route.

True to their beliefs, some citizens of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon penned a letter to the Nazi-influenced Vichy government, feeling spiritually obligated to admit that they were indeed sheltering Jewish refugees. They were clearly defiant in their determination to protect them – “We feel obliged to tell you that there are among us a certain number of Jews…whose only fault is to be born in another religion…We have Jews. You’re not getting them.”

No resident of Le Chambon, it is believed, ever turned away or betrayed a single Jewish refugee.

            “I do not know what a Jew is.  I know only human beings.”
André Trocmé, the Huguenot pastor of Le Chambon


5,000
They were welcomed.

Given shelter and refuge,
without hesitation,
on the edge of violence.
Protected, without question.
Given food and a future,
at the risk of everything,
in open defiance.

One life saved
For every hero
From a man
From a horrific plan
From a power
Aiming for zero

Five thousand.
Spared a hateful demise
Five thousand.
Strong and assured
Five thousand.
Sharing one single purpose
Five thousand…
And no one said a word


Hiding strangers.
Sharing what little they had,
without hesitation,
for a number of years.
A beacon of hope.
Sharing an indomitable spirit,
without reservation,
and despite their fears.

Committed, as one
For simple humanity
To do what’s right
To the preservation of life 
To an immaculate deception
In the face of the enemy

Five thousand.
Hidden amongst them
Five thousand.
Conviction, silently heard
Five thousand.
Sharing one selfless will
Five thousand…
And no one said a word

                                               Gary Greentree


Happy are those hungry and thirsty of justice…for they will be satisfied.”
-André Trocmé

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Guns

          GUNS 

Justify them however you like,
  guns are made to kill.
 
   Made even more deadly
     in the hands of the vengeful,
       of the criminal, of the mentally ill.
         Guns will always find their way 
            into the hands of those who will.
              Inevitably, into the wrong hands, 
                  despite the latest greatest bill.
                     And always at the wrong time…
                        because guns are made to kill.

                           Those stubbornly blind say,
                             “Guns don’t kill. People do.”
  
                                 This weapon finds death.
                                    In the sights of the spiteful,
                                      of the careless, of the self-chosen few.
                                         It doesn’t matter what you say.
                                           It is mainly a matter of who.
                                             So open up your obstinate eyes.
                                               It could happen to yours, or you.
                                                  Guns alone may not shoot people…
                                                     but only people with guns do.

                                                         Defensive or offensive,
                                                            it is a scary slippery slope.

                                                              Guns are firmly entrenched
                                                                 in the arms of your nation,
                                                                   of law enforcement, of those who guard hope.
                                                                      Yet, for every group with the best intentions, 
                                                                         there is one more who can’t cope.
                                                                            Manufactured for a single purpose.
                                                                               Short-sighted, in every scope.
                                                                                  The hunter, or the hunted…
                                                                                     it’s a scary, slippery slope.

                                                                                         Guns are made to kill.
                                                                                            They will always find a way.
                                                                                              No matter what we do.
                                                                                                 No matter what you say.

A scary, slippery slope.

Diminished

Diminished

Choices you make
are directly proportional
to the lessons
that you learn.
Experience will tell you
that change is necessary
when the investment
exceeds the return.

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The newness

of what you have.
A solid foundation.
Love and mutual respect.
Living under one roof.
Rich with time together.
Better than you hoped for.
More than you expect.

Weeks, inevitably
become years.
Variable inputs
become a distraction.
You notice the flame
is slowly fading.
You light the match,
 see little reaction.

The daily grind
becomes unacceptable.
What your heart lacks,
your heart yearns.
The input
exceeds the output.
The law of
diminishing returns.


You feel the emptiness

of the disconnect.
A well of time
not spent.
Lost hours
consumed, alone.
Wondering
where the time went.

Wanting more,
but getting far less.
Supply
versus demand.
The slippery slope
of complacency.
You mention it,
they don’t understand.

You only have
to see it once.
A beleaguered fire,
flickering as it burns.
Flamed, mostly,
by all that one gives.
Eventually burnt out,
by diminished returns.
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Resolve

wordle
Resolve

When you feel like you’re fading
it keeps you strong
When pushed to your limits
it pulls you along
When the daily grind tests you
it answers the call
When you need to have structure
it provides a wall

When life seems like a puzzle
too difficult to solve
Search within yourself
and you will find your resolve

It’s the ability to deal
when you need to cope
When your ambition wavers
it gives you hope
It’s that extra drive
when you’re tempted to coast
The competitive edge
when you need it the most

When doubts creep in
it is never too far
Your resolve enables you
It’s there where you are

Your resolve lifts you up
whenever you dip
It brings you back
when you start to slip
When you are feeling lost
you will find your way
When someone needs you
you’ll be there to stay

It gives you courage
when you dig down deep
Summon your resolve

and take that leap

When aches and pains
stand in your way
You build up your resolve
and get through the day
When life brings you stress
and you’d rather hide
Your resolve teams up
with your innate pride

You may surprise yourself
with all that you find
An inner well of resilience
  lifting matter over mind
An array of capabilities
A reserve of your strength
A measure of flexibility
you stretch to your length

Your resolve will guide you
toward your loftiest goal
It is right there inside you…
It’s your heart, it’s your soul

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