Triathlon

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 Triathlon
I am not completely sure
if I am entitled to be,
or, really, if I’m even allowed
But, I am thoroughly impressed by you
And, dare I say,
I am extremely proud…

I watched you, in your controlled haste,
steadying, readying, and taking your place at the start
And then I noticed the cool and calm ease
with which you settled into the race
Then, somehow, you found the presence of mind
to look up, to find me, and even to wave
Before swimming, strong and steadily away,
from the huge smile you left on my face

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It seems that I’d completely underestimated
the strength and power of your stroke

as I arrived, too late to support you,
through your swim to bike transition
My own personal pride thoroughly jolted
by the sick emptiness in my stomach

My eagerness to video, thwarted,
by your speed, and your top five position

Yet, my whole heart went out there with you
as you spun your way through the winding course
I went up the hills with you, and then down,
my mind, racing along, despite what I couldn’t see
It was impossible for me to relax, or even to sit,
with all of the unknown, and all the anticipation
So I paced, anxiously, awaiting your arrival
as you pedaled your way back to me

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A contented relief flushed over me
as you braked, and then you touched ground
As you pushed your bicycle to your chosen spot,
I felt as much like your fan, as I was your friend
Despite my pent up angst, and energetic love,
I knew I had a very small window to speak
Time enough to cheer you, and to reassure you,
and to tell you, that I’d find you near the end

As you switched your shoes, and turned to go
I noticed the game-face return to your glance
I’ve seen that will and determination before
It’s who you are, and in much that you do
As you ran out of sight, on your last leg,
I yelled more encouragement, in due haste
Wishing that my words could push you along
Hoping my spirit would run with you

As you emerged from the tunnel, weary legged,
nearing the last of your well of endurance,
your eyes seemed focused, intently on the task
Looking for anything that you had left inside
While you bravely ascended the final climb,
you amazingly found one final burst,
crossing the finish, alone with your fatigue
Soon to be joined by my burgeoning pride

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I stayed back, for a minute or two, purposely,
to simply observe, and to give you some space
And as I watched you, catching up to your breath,
I saw right then, what separates you from the crowd
It’s your personal investment, in all that you attempt
In my eyes, you’re resplendent, with all that you are
And in that moment, as you looked especially beautiful,
I could not have been more impressed or proud

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Then


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Then

It’s about time, for her.
She has worked unselfishly,
and has more than paid her dues.
Time, then, to remember herself.
The longer that she forgets,
then the more she has to lose.

A ten-hour day,
then kids, then dinner, 
and then it’s a half past six.

The others clean up,
then they head for their screens.
Then another hour ticks.

Then TV, for another two or three.
Then she is lost in her thoughts.
Her self, getting lost in the mix.

She gives, and she gives.
She gives some more,
and then, she gives.
Seldom, does she complain.
Never, does she consider
how she barely lives.

She stares, alone then,
vaguely through the mirror,
and then she washes her face.

She remembers morning practice.
Then sets her alarm ahead,
so they won’t have to race.

She turns back the covers.
T
hen reaches for her book.
And then she takes her place.

She gives, and she gives.
She gets very little,
and then, she gives.
Seldom, does he notice.
Never, does he appreciate
how the other half lives.

Then, in the silence, he fades.
There’s a mumbled ‘good night’,
and then it’s lights out.

Then she lies there awake.
Then along comes the pain.
And then, the self-doubt.

Then, the frustration builds.
Then the inevitable tears.
And then the urge to shout.

It’s then that she realizes
that this can no longer be 
what her life is about.

She gives, and she gives.
Then she wants more.
And then she knows.
Eventually, she recognizes.
Finally, she decides.
And it’s then that she goes.

It was time then, for her.
She knew she deserved better,
and she had every right to choose.
Time then, to rediscover herself.
The longer that she waited,
then the more she had to lose.

She is taking time, now, for her self.
Leaving her longing behind,
and making a solemn, personal vow.
She will take, as much as she gives,
because this is her time to live.
That was her then, and this is her now.

 

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File

Two steps forward, and one and a half back
This weary ascent, up my mental list
The more skewed the priorities, the more I lack
Still a half step behind what I can’t resist

I am preoccupied, with so many loose ends
What little time, spent reeling them in
With eyes wide, to avoid common friends
Leery, that your patience is wearing thin

It’s my quiet burden, this selective secret
Lines of inconvenience, thickening a folder
Life evolves, while I struggle to keep it
As the new, and good, look over my shoulder

All the transitional turmoil, single spaced
A ledger of my worries, my personal file
A test of your resolve, stacked with my haste
Noted, then placed, at the bottom of the pile

We will rise, when I am free, from all of this
When I can share myself,  fully, with you
This promise, an asterisk, and a kiss
For now, these, are the best I can do

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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

Past

“So give me hope in the darkness that I will see the light…
Just promise me we’ll be alright
But the ghosts that we knew made us black and all blue
But we’ll live a long life
And the ghosts that we knew will flicker from view
And we’ll live a long life”
‘Ghosts That We Knew’
– Mumford & Sons


Past

I took a chance
and let you into my heart.
I let all of my feelings show.
Uprooted my life,
for me and you,
but little did I know.


I discovered your wounds,

written in your own words,
there, for anyone to see.
Cuts and bruises,
vital accumulation,
scars, that you never showed me.

The breadth of your struggles,
so much I didn’t know,
spread across my screen.
Instead of in my mind.
Instead of in my heart,
where they should have been.

I took your determination,
for never again,
as a personal affront.
Your learned defensive posture
as harsh belligerence,
 you just being you, being blunt.

Your fierce independence
was stubborn vulnerability.
Your frustration, was our fate.
The voice of your experience,
sad and specific,
finally heard, but far too late.

I would have tried harder
to let you speak to me,
to let your words get through.
I could have helped you 
confront your demons,
instead of confronting you.

 It became impossible
to live with you
when you wouldn’t let me in.
Hard for us
to start over,
with nowhere to begin.

Had I only known
 the slippery slope
  of dealing with your past.
Known that I would struggle
to wade through
the depths
and dangers of your doubt.

I still would have wanted you.
I still could have loved you.
I would have understood.
I could have pulled you out.


I chose the challenge,

and gave you my heart.
Let all of my feelings show.
Uprooted my life,
to be with you,
but little did I know.


If only I had known,
I could have earned your trust.
I would have opened up my mind.
Instead, I read of our demise,

   determined before we met,
 by those you left behind.

Takers, martyrs, bullies,
sad and hurtful people,
there on my screen.
Instead of in our talks.
Instead of in my thoughts,
where they should have been.

 Until I read it,
I never once heard you 

refer to your mother as
Mom.
In fact, I barely knew
where all of the hurt
and resentment
were from.

Never could I picture, you,
together with your ex.

Made no sense to me at all.
And, until I read the name,
  typed in bold hostility,
I had never heard of Paul.

Bitterness and bravado.
 Broken pieces of the past,
clenched inside your fist.
   Our time, our spirit,
spent fighting with your ghosts.
One more added to the list.

It’s tough to share
with someone
who barely gives.
Hard to live
with someone
who reluctantly lives.

Had I only known
the bleak history
of your emotional pain.
The depths to which
those before me
had sunk inside your mind.
I still would have wanted you.
I still could have loved you.
I would have understood.
I could have been more kind.

I gave you my heart.
Had I only known…

 

 

Shallow

Shallow
So many faces,
just this week.
Most of them
are but a blur.
Flashing by me,
as I refuse.
Pausing, briefly, 
as I concur.

At my computer,
sitting in judgment.
Picking and choosing
on a casual glance.
Swiping my phone
past faceless heads.
If there’s no photo,
you miss your chance.

I thumb my way 
through someone’s hopes,
the honest submission
  of a lonely soul.
Personal insights,
for my perusal.
Wishful thinking,
under my control.

One, of every thirty,
manage to satisfy
my shallow criteria,
my superficial need.
The rest, apparently,
are unimportant.
Carefully chosen words, 
I can’t be bothered to read.

How many times,
just today,
did some decent person
do the same to me?
Drift on by,
with their own standards. 
This dude is too old.
I don’t like what I see.

Fair is fair,
as they say.
It’s a two-way stream.
To each, his or her own.
We both may have missed
a hell of a catch.
Two more thrown back,
into the great unknown.

Okay, so…

Attractive picture,
check mark.
Lives fairly close,
there’s two.
The requisite interests
and required numbers.
Yes. You’ve been chosen,
hurray for you.

Now we begin
the message game.
Spurting out sentences
to lure a reaction.
With honest intentions
I revisit her disclosure.
I extract her own words,
for her satisfaction.

We both have kids 
to brag about.
Claim to like music,
so there’s that.
Slowly, painfully slow,
we find out more.  
The more we find out,
the more we chat.

Back and forth,
we give, we take.
It’s serious business,
  when it should be fun.
Often left dangling
by my own line.
Hooking my ego
to the last one.

Finally, exhausted,
I cast out an invitation,
thankful we are done
discussing the weather.
Patiently, I await
her obvious response.
After all of this typing,
we’ll be getting together.

It’s Thursday for drinks,
we both took the bait.
Some candid conversation,
our next place to start.
We’ve gone this far,
through uncharted waters.
A first date might be
the easiest part.

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

Dedicate

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Dedicate

If only I could dedicate my days
Do the thing that fills me with pride
This creative craft that makes me whole
If only my time was on my side.


I take my need for words personally

It’s the inspiration that I thirst
A hunger that I should feed daily
A craving to please myself first

Words give me second chances
To fill the page with what I have seen
The chance to relive this life experience
To revisit places where I have been

Words that illustrate what I am thinking
The vivid thoughts and lucid scenes
Creating something entirely tangible
What I am feeling and what it means

A place to go inside of my head
Where ideas co-exist and are free to roam
Where opinions and emotions can come and go
A place that we can all call home

No editing of heart or of soul
No compromise and no limitation
Getting out of the way of my intuition
To empty my reserve of imagination

Writing always gives me strength
When life seems like a dizzying climb
I ascend alone and seek the summit
Up and over, one word at a time

I summon my resolve and determination
The impetus is change and personal growth
To inspire and aspire, impress and express
My selfish vow and impassioned oath

I crave the freedom to expose my mind
To fill the page with all I am seeing
With every breath of my inspiration
With all of the blood of my being


If only I could dedicate my days
Could make my living where I reside
My mind could breathe and words would flow…
If only my time was on my side.
 

 

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