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…

 

 

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Headline

Headline
You instantly stop everything
Eating, drinking, breathing

Hesitate before continuing
Pausing, considering, reading

You float for a moment
Hovering, above the news
Suspended, out-of-body
With the worst of views

It just doesn’t seem possible
Conceivable, thinkable, plausible
Yet, there it is, clearly legible
Believable, credible, probable

Seeing it, in black and white
Jagged, brutal, true
Unconscionable meets real
As it penetrates you
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Dead. Killed. Murdered.
Gone.  Lost.  Taken
Certain. Senseless. Final.
Deflated. Shattered. Shaken

Blood and air draining
Legs, faltering below
You sink into the chair
You have read, and you know

Bold, pointed letters
Piercing hearts, puncturing lives
Cutting, stabbing, slicing
Words, as sharp as knives

 

 

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

 

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

Perpetuity

Perpetuity
It’s not the barrel of a gun
but it’s aimed
right at you
An accusatory tone
loaded
with pointed words
Cutting
Gutting
Sharp as knives
Unfounded
Ungrounded
Affecting lives
IMG_20150513_083033[1]
An unyielding hostility

cast out
with icy purpose
A dark and bitter place 
beyond
the point of no return
Weakness
Bleakness
Harsh and cold
Automatic
Autocratic
Purposefully oversold
Unforgiven
Unforgotten

To have and to hold
Unbending
Never-ending
Perpetually told

Silence

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Silence

 I hear the furnace kick in, on this cool morning.
An awakening nudge, from within the silence…
my creative silence.

It is then that I notice,
gradually notice more
The nuances of early morning
Just outside my door
The stillness of the lake
The shadows near the shore
A family of four ducks
And behind them two more
A peaceful place to begin my day
Alone, with some time to explore

A window to an opened mind.
A unique view, from within the silence…
my creative silence.

The façade of my introspection
Protective, but paper thin
Accessible, in the early morning
Without the voices or the din
An undisturbed opportunity
To summon, from within
The chance to visit places
Where I have seldom been
Insights, subtly perceptible
Like the drop of a pin

The sound of my ideas resonates,
clearly audible to me, from within the silence…
my creative silence.

Discernable refrains of thought
Echoing inside my peaceful shell
The intricacies of perception
From the depths of my well
The complexities of emotion
The conflicts that I must quell
Lost, and found, in the early morning
Immersed in what to tell
A place to elevate my opinions
Up from where they fell

I find my positive inspiration,
emerging, from within the silence…
my creative silence.

The early morning moves me
As the words start to flow
Drifting through the shadows
Like the ducks, in a row
Lines of innate substance
Gaining momentum as they go
Buoyant, lucid, more certain
Shedding inhibitions as they grow
Brought into the morning light
From this tranquil place I know

The quiet of the morning finds me here.
Where I can hear myself think…
within my creative silence.

 

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?

Composure

COMPOSURE

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Searching for composure…

A calm and even keel,
Controlling what I feel,
Knowing when to conceal.
Thinking, before I speak,
Biding, before I seek.

Waiting out the weak,
 Learning how to deal


Gaining a better grip…

A handle on such things,
How my opinion rings,
That sarcasm stings.
A jab, from out of sight,
Catalyst, to a fight,
Bruising with its might.
The hurt that it brings


Restraining words that wound…

Ceased, before they’re said,
Bandaged, before they’re bled,
Repressing all the red.
More composed, with what I say,

More steady, with every day,
 Anger slowly drifting away.
Smooth sailing ahead


Finding my composure…

Speaking more to please,
Calming the stormy seas,
A consistent gentle breeze.
Words, clearly thought,
Words, carefully sought,
Words calmly wrought.
Shaped by their ease

Searching for, and gaining,
Finding, while restraining,
Retaining and maintaining,
my composure.
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