Swimmer

Swimmer
I had been treading water

for far too long,
when all I wanted to do
was swim
Head and shoulders
above the surface,
scanning the horizon,
 for a life beyond him
Sometimes, just floating,
motionless, on my back
Alone with my thoughts,
staring into the sky
Worrying, wondering,
can I move on? 
Still not quite sure,
but I know I must try

Standing near the edge,
I look for my place
I am in no hurry,
unsure of my needs
It’s natural to hesitate
with the unfamiliar
I search the shallows,
leery of the weeds
I want to get going
away from the past, 
somewhat certain
I am over that hump.
When the time is right
I will find the spot
I will get in for my swim,
but I will not jump

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Sticking one foot in
to test the water,
I am tempted to dive,
but mindful of my haste
Wading into the unknown,
both cautious and curious
Safer to get in slowly,
just up to my waist
The farther I venture,
the deeper I will get
The calmer the current,
the more risks I’ll take
In the waves of my worries
it seems like the ocean
When I rise above it,
I will see it’s a lake

There is so much of life
that I still want to feel
So much about living,
that I still want to know
Strong and steady,
I swim into the distance
The less I look back,
the further I’ll go
Buoyed by my family
and a lifeline of friends,
I am content where I am,
but searching for more
Rough waters behind me,
I look toward my future
If I see love on the horizon,
I will head for that shore

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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…

 

 

Ascend

ASCEND
I thought that I was strong

and focused
and wise
Then pain came along
and clouded my eyes
Feb. 3rd.
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Physical pain
with its fists
with its knife
The singular beat downs
and the double life

Bravely buried face
belying its agony
denying its control
Digging myself deeper
into a cavernous hole

Psychological pain
with its depression
with its doubt
The sinking in
and the lashing out

Dirty dark delusion
outside of my head
inside of my gut
The filthy depths
of my rotted rut

Emotional pain
with its superiority
with its second face
The nightly bring downs
putting me in my place

Soiled sullen eyes
unable to sleep
unwilling to see
The smudge of support
lying with me


I thought that I was alone

with my pain
and my compromise

Then healing arrived
to lift up my eyes
Sun for Every

Holistic healing
with healthier habits

without the medication
A stairway between me
and my situation

Patience plus purpose
in a manner of time
and a matter of space
An unobstructed view
from a loftier place

Professional healing
with nothing to lose
with everything to gain
A lucid escape
from my pit of pain

Calm cleansing clarity
sure answers
assured absolution
A clean break
from all of the pollution

My healing family
all of the conversations
none of the demanding

A tower of compassion
and understanding

Brightened blue eyes
able to dream
ascending to see
A horizon of hope
in front of me

 

Answer

              Answer

When am I the happiest?                     Family25-5x7
When I am with you.
What is the most fun?
The things that we do.
Sports and travel.
Laughter. Games.
Family and friends.
Daughters. Names.
Anna Kate
      and
Erin Elaine.
The answer is always the same.

The source of my contentment?
As clear as can be.
Love and time and us.
Happy Every Day to me.

 

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

 

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.

 

Fíon

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Fíon

Two glasses of red

  A night filled with stars
The sky shimmering
  over the quiet lake
Too long since
we had a night like this
  Moonlight reflecting
  each sip we take

Our lives move along
like the gentle breeze
Our hearts require
more nights like these

Two glasses of red
 The night finally ours
Time spent embracing
the life we share
Too long since
we had a night like this
Moonlight enhancing
our why and where

Our lives move along
like waves to the shore
So raise your glass
and I’ll pour us more

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.

Pages

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Pages
Plenty of reflections
Plenty of idiosyncrasies
come naturally with age.

The
inclination to hesitate
 The instinct to look back…
before I turn a page.

Birthdays and anniversaries

Dates of significance
Names and news and faces.
They pull be back in time
To a life full of friends
To many happy places.

I find myself occupied

For more than a moment
When I stop to reminisce.
So deeply entrenched
As I get lost in a past
That I invariably miss.

I have done my due time

Been an adult for a while
Am a proud father of two.
Have settled into middle age
Set aside my daydreams
For the responsible view.

Far too many pages

Far too many friendships
That I’ve let slide by.

As my mortality jolts me

As I read into it further…
I have to ask why?

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Social media postcards

Everyone is travelling
Going there and there.
With unlimited budgets
Twelve weeks of vacation
Gone without a care.

Everyone else seems to get it

That time is of the essence
As the years tread by.
Different walks of life
With uncommon passages
But similar reasons why.

Emphatic experiences

To exciting locations
At the drop of a hat.
Unbelievably available
Unrealistic, of course
But I want some of that.

So many more pages

So many more memories
for me to still get.

With age comes wisdom

With wisdom comes perspective…
but not just yet.

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Chance encounter reminders

Of emotions long forgotten
Of passages in my book.
Resolute feelings of once was
The remnants of my passion
And the chances that I took.

“You look great for fifty”

That is kind of you to say
But it’s clearly not the same.
Just takes me back to twenty
With the world at my feet
At the top of my game.

I have no urge to act my age

I crave the reckless abandon
That I felt back then.
I need more of that feeling
More of that self-assurance
Inside of me again.

Plenty of next pages

Plenty of new stories
before this chapter ends.

Much is still in place

Much of what motivates me…
and most of those friends.

 

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