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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Fortitude

Fortitude
From father to father,
and friend to friend,
I send you thoughts
I can barely comprehend.

I have been reticent
and respectfully hesitant
to send my thoughts,
any thoughts, your way.
Because, for the first time,
perhaps first time ever,
I simply could not find
any words to say.

After laboured rumination,
days spent distracted,
with all of your family
weighing on my mind,
feeling extremely selfish
and somewhat irresponsible,
I will attempt to express
thoughts I’ve managed to find.

As a distant friend
it would be remiss,
and inadequate,
to send you my love.
If I was a believer
I could send a prayer,
deferring my sentiments
to someone up above.

I have no wisdom
to pass on to you,
no innate answers
that I can honestly give.
It’s an experience
that I have never had,
and one, that no one
should ever have to live.

You already know 
we send our condolences,
and we know you have family
for a comforting hug or a soothing kiss.
So, as my tear touched sentences
gain their momentum,
the least that I can do
is to let you know this.

We have read the resilient words
that you have shared,
have great respect for your fortitude
in the face of such pain.
We’ve seen the positive approach
that you have displayed,
the cascade of beautiful memories
and there affirming refrain.

Pictures of a young life
well-lived, always to the fullest,
by a vibrant young man
who seems exceedingly wise.
Smiles and great experiences,
friends and family, and life,
images of dedication, and pride,
seen through his father’s eyes.

We admire, from our distance,
your immense courage, and resolve,
as you lead by example,
for those also exceedingly sad.

The best representation of a parent
and a dedicated husband,
the brave face of a grieving family,
the embodiment of a caring Dad.

Seeing this fortitude in you
provides us all with inspiration,
with the stark realization
that we must cherish every day.
And, what I realize now is,
that the most important thing,
is not what we have to offer you,
but rather, what we can take away.

Thinking of your love, and loss
makes me want to give my all,
recognizing a perspective
that I should have embraced before.
When I see your stance,
representing such strength,
I am inspired to be stronger
and to love life just that much more.

Whenever I get down
I will climb right back up,
look at my little problems
with the appropriate perspective.
Will take the time to notice
the warmth that surrounds me,
to understand how lucky I am,
whenever I feel reflective.

Every time I feel the impulse
I will give my daughters a hug,
holding on to it, and them,
just a little longer.
I will tell them, far more often,
just how much I love them,
with a renewed certainty,
which is just that much stronger.

And, I will never use distance
as a lazy, convenient excuse,
because when time is so tenuous,
it should never be a bother.
This is a promise I intend to keep,
in honour, of both you and your son,
as I draw upon your fortitude
to be a better friend, and father.

Father to father,
and friend to friend,
my words barely touch
the respect that I send.


Fortitude
– 
courage in pain or adversity:

synonyms: courage · bravery · endurance · resilience · mettle
In memory of Ricky Davies
(1993-2016)

 

 

IT

                         It

Me:
“If you question its existence
does it therefore exist?
If you never really had it
can it actually be missed?
If you’re not sure you ever found it
can it still be lost?
If you spent no time on it,
is there really any cost?”
(assume that’s the way I talk)

Him:
“Well, it is what is, I guess.”

 Me:
“It’s what?!? Okay then. See ya.”


A philosophical discussion,

that grinds suddenly to a halt.
It’s just a sign of the times
and it is no one’s fault.
He’s run out of words, I guess.
Has nothing else to add.
“It is what it is.” 
What it is buddy, is sad.”

It’s a harsh reality
once it comes out.
“It is what it is.”
As if there was any doubt.
It has to be final,
wouldn’t you say?
“It is what it is”,
so we’ll leave it that way.

I choose to make light of it
and I do mean to mock.
That expression surfaces

and it finishes the talk.
Rather than try to continue
it’s basically cut and run.
You say “it is what it is”
and the conversation’s done.

I know it’s a response, sort of,
but what does ‘it’ mean?
It leaves so many lines
to read in between.
So much to interpret
that it doesn’t mean shit.
“It is what it is”.
But really, what is it?

It is hard to stomach
when it comes around.
Many people say it now,
so you choke it down.
It leaves a bad taste
but you swallow your pride
“It is what it is” apparently,
so open wide.

I am glad someone told me
or I may never have known.
And now that we all know
its cover is blown.
“It is what it is”
and that’s where we’re at.
“It is what it is”,
now the bag has no cat.

It might be what it is, but,
seriously, what does it mean?
Can it be what it is, or was
if it has never been?
It may be what it is.
It may be just because.
It may never be again,
whatever it maybe was.

If it is what it is
is it all that bad?
Could it perhaps be something 
that you never had?
Can you forget about it
if you never really knew?
Well, “it is what it is”,
so I guess you just do.

So let’s just say “it is what it is”,
though I’m not sure it ever was.
If I can believe “it is what it is”,
then I suppose everyone does.
So, it must be what it is,
and that must be where it’s at.
“It is what it is”.
 I guess that’s that.

“That’s that”?
That’s what?!?
Oh no, here we go again.
Straight into another rut.
I’ve got no time for this, or ‘that’,
and now I need to take a wiz.
So let’s just say that that is that…
If that’s what it is?

Zone

 

20160424_142517[1]
Zone

There is this special place
That a goalie can call his own
It is in a vacuum of concentration
Known only as…”the zone”.

It’s a place of reflex, and of clarity
Where any mistake is an extreme rarity
Where you are certain that you’ll be tough to beat
Where your blades feel sharp under your feet
Where all of the dekes are easily read

Where your every reaction is two steps ahead
Where you find every shot through any screen
Where you sense it coming when it’s sight unseen
It’s where every opening becomes a closed door

Where a save, and a rebound, lead to one more
Where, if they are lucky, they may hit the post
Where it’s a party for none, and you are the host
They are in your house, and you are a wall

And the little black disc looks like a huge ball
You find yourself there, and you don’t ask why
It’s the place where slap shots will go to die

It is that perfect place
Where a shutout is never blown
The land of thwarted opportunity
Known simply as…”the zone”.

The place where the elusive backhand is easy to follow
Where victory draws nearer with every swallow
Where they purposely bump you and you don’t care
Where the blank scoresheet matches your blank stare
A place where your confidence is at its peak

With a solid foundation, and nary a leak
Where you manage to anticipate their every maneuver
Where you are the Hoover Dam, and a damn Hoover
It’s where you’re never the goat and only a hero

Where there are zero bad goals because the goal is zero
It’s sixty or more minutes at the top of your game
Where starter and stopper are one and the same
If you are there only once in your entire career

You’ll remember that feeling and will hold it near
You’ll remember sitting in the room, filled with pride
With you and perfection, sitting side by side

 It is a uniquely sacred place

Where the tender crouches alone
Accompanied by only his focus
The unholiest of places…”the zone”.

 

 

 

Precarious

Precarious
Every morning I see him
barely hanging on 
Dangling, precariously
under a lingering moon

Managing to endure
despite his battered shell
A razor piece of skin
holding him up high

Been torturous months
since that horrendous storm
Shattered his foundation
destroying his lofty view

Many extreme days since
of ice and punishing wind
Chipping away his perseverance
diminishing his resolve

I imagine his motivation
the reason for his strength
The last strand of resilience
that holds him there

The harsh and bitter elements
cracking through his will
Leaving him alone, wavering
on the brink of his demise

20160221_094612[1].png

I check on him again
battered by days end
Still hanging on, barely
by that same thread of hope

Any quick jab of pride
is quickly superseded
Replaced by the reality
of what lies ahead

Knowing that rest is fleeting
as night brings the unknown
One thin strand of determination
preserving his weary soul

Nights of wavering doubts
of cold and cruel struggle
Exhausting his perseverance
diminishing his resolve

I imagine his thoughts
through this arduous battle
Through the repetitive rigours
of winter’s constant extremes

Recognizing his own inevitability
his slight, precarious being
Perhaps, hoping not to fall
until the warm ground of spring

 

Sixteen

                       SIXTEEN

As I began to write this for youIMG_20150301_191535[1]
I knew only one place to start
In the bottomless well of pride
That lies deep within my heart

On this occasion, especially
As you turn sixteen today
I find my thoughts are flowing
I find it’s easy for me to say

Just how proud I am of you
Of who you have come to be
The exceptional person you are
And just how much that I see…

I see a free and happy spirit
I can see that in any light
I see your limitless future
And I see that it is bright

I see your kindness and compassion
I see your sense of right and wrong
I see a breadth of inner beautySun for Every
That spans at least a mile long

I see your charm and contagious energy
I see your love for life, and I see joy
I see my rocking chair on the front step
I see an interview for every boy

I see your talents and ambition
I see your determination and your pride
I see that competitive beast inside you

That you find impossible to hide

I see your mom cheer when you compete
I also hear it, because she squeals
We both see just how fast you can run
But have no idea where you got the wheels

I see your creative way of thinking
I see your terrific sense of humour
I hear you like it when I purposely embarrass you
Though that may only be a rumour

I see and I cherish our mutual respect 
I see that as how it will always be
I see how often that we see eye to eyeblack-and-white-hd-wallpapers-4-comfort.jpg
Now that you’re the same height as me

I see how gracefully you adapt to change
I see it, because it has happened a lot
I see you smile, and just go with the flow
This may be the strongest strength you’ve got

I see you as a baby and I see you today
I see the sixteen years in between
I see myself richer for the experience
And I treasure all that I have seen

I see the day and year on the calendar
I see a terrific person, sitting right here
I see the same wonderful daughter
That I have seen every year

Jump

                Jump

I clearly remember 
like it was yesterday.
You said “jump”
as plain as could be.
I stared down
as you looked up.
My one-plus year old
smiling at me.

With cautious hands
beneath your arms.
I lifted my little girl
from her little bed.
I laughed aloud
at my surprise.
“Of course you can”
was all I said.

Walking on air
to the end of the hall.
Down the stairs
to your favorite place.
Different this time
with that single word.
And the anxious look
on your one-plus face.

You seemed more eager
as I put you in.
The harness secure
under your tiny frame.
You immediately began
as I let you go.
I immediately knew
it would never be the same.

“Jump, jump, JUMP!”
as plain as could be.
Three more times
as you bounced and sat.
With no hesitation
and the proudest grin.
“Jump, jump, JUMP!”
just like that.

Astounded, I watched
and intently I listened.
My bouncing baby girl
and her happy word.
Up and down
and over and over.
The sweetest sound
that I had ever heard.

There may have been
a “mama” or a “dada”.
But nothing as perfect 
or with less doubt.
Other infant things
that infants say.
There must have been
but I’ve blocked them out.

I soaked it all in
and beamed with pride.
“She’s smart already
and athletic too!”
It occurred to me
on that glorious day.
And it’s the same now
when I think of you.

A vivid memory
about my first-born.
I tell it often
and I’m never bored.
This proud father,
who could also show you…
If he’d just grabbed his camera
and pressed ‘record’.

Chances

CHANCES

IMG_0145

I found in her that second chance…
Opened up my heart to real romance
A long clouded image had come into view
A great next life with someone new
I knew very quickly and without a doubt
So beautiful, inside and out
Dared to imagine what might be
I put it all out there for her to see
Love and happiness united again
 Lost sight of never and discovered when
A future together for us both to explore…
A second chance for so much more.


He speaks about his second chance…

A gift of patience, and of circumstance
 Dispiriting years of just getting by
Of wondering if and wondering why
Creative talents suppressed by his debt
Burdened by unfeasible and not just yet
Consigned to a life so near to his dreams
  But possible is not always as far as it seems
The right person noticed what we all knew
 Finally doing what he was meant to do
I smile when I hear about his smile…
A second chance well worth his while.


Second chances that make us pause…

Just too close, and just because
The end as near as a slippery ledge
Precariously tumbling over the edge
Confined alone in a submerged car
A near fatal miss that reached so far
Timing and fortune saved her then
Bringing her back to start again
A young life, an unexpected turn
Another opportunity to grow and learn
Miraculous escape from the ultimate cost…
A second chance when hope seemed lost


A second chance to become friends…

Made the effort by making amends
Lost years gone, without a word
Good times erased by what was heard
  A misunderstanding that got intense
Something small that became immense
You knew what to do and what to say
One conversation packed it all away
Stubborn pride, no need to plead or beg
Simply putting the chicken before the egg
Breathing life back into something good…
A second chance because you should


See tomorrow as your second chance…

To make a change, to take a stance
Strong steps toward your goal
To be resolute in mind and soul
To know and grow, and strive and see
Dare to imagine what could be
Seek out life from barren soil
Extract enrichment from its daily toil
Take what’s worn and make it new
 Seize the courage to be true to you
Bound forward and learn from the past… 
   Your next chance could be your last

Sky for SURE

Toll

East gate here we go again[1]                                 Toll

Underemployed and underwhelmed
making a buck the hard way
at the expense of my integrity
another dollar, another day

Paying a steep price to just get by
aching body and weary soul
mortgaging my self-respect
while it takes its daily toll

East Gate
here we go again
thinking about getting out
as I walk in

Uneasy and unfulfilled
valuable time is wasting away
small return on substantial investment
just another dollar, just another day

No real long-term interest
keeping pace with the cost of living
repeatedly taxing my every nerve
all taking and no giving

East Gate
here we go again
already exhausted
as I walk in

Unrewarding and unrelenting
a payroll number with no say
no incentive to add value
same old dollar, same old day

Waging my own personal battle
time is money, tick toc
physically and mentally spent
literally wanting to punch the clock

East Gate
here we go again
thinking about leaving
as I walk in

Uncertain but undeterred
there has to be a better way
without this risk there is no reward
one more dollar, one more day

It’s time to save for my future
to find myself, before I get lost
this life has so much more to offer
getting out… is worth the cost

East Gate…
never again.

Aspire

MountainView


“If a man constantly aspires is he not elevated.”

Henry David Thoreau

 

                       Aspire

The willingness to change your life
is all about your will

Deciding what makes you the happiest
and making it better still…

by ascending to the summit
of ambition’s highest hill.


Assuming control of who you really are

and doing what makes you whole.

Striving always to live your best life
by reaching for your loftiest goal…

by nurturing the impetus
inside your aspiring soul.


Inhabiting a life that makes you proud

and making the most of every day.

Attempting something you dare to do
by doing something you dare to say…

by using your elevated will
to find the ultimate way…

to live your life today.


You change, you thrive, you feel alive.

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