Gray Day

Gray Day

Gray day ripples of rain and wind
Gray day thoughts of gray day sins
Languid effort to rally the bones
Restless moments in listless homes

Gray day stupor for wandering minds
Gray day emotions which mesmerize
With darkly sheltered comfort laid bare
A suited message without a care

Gray day desires to forge into its realm
Gray day melancholy manning the helm
Drenching rain a melodious call
Wistful memories to embrace and forestall

Gray day comfort from the white day mess
Gray day relaxation, who would guess
Each passing moment a treasure to hold
No need for the valorous, the athletic, the bold

Gray day peace within a storm
Gray days cease to excite or mourn
Simply the day slips into a calm
A respite, and bandage, a healing, a balm

You Don’t Get to Say Goodbye – Episode 2

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The roads of life get experienced one moment at a time regardless of how cluelessly we traverse the journey. At times we see the grasshopper. The glinting dew-diamonds on early-morning grass. The butterfly, crocodile, whale chiffon clouds on stage with the azure background accenting their show.

Then there’s the walk home after an exhilarating evening of joy. Those moments come rapid-fire yet soft. Billowy. Unforgettable. All because you’ve set your heart free. All because you’ve connected to your higher self and you allow yourself to glory in all that is good and kind and fortunate in your life.

Those roads, less traveled, beckon to us. Always. For the most part, we not only ignore them, we grow into a refusal of their actual existence. Memory serves us well here if we could only grasp the importance of the fact that these moments of walking on air truly emanate from within rather than without…

Rachel

“She likes me!” Tingles shot an array of directionless explosions throughout his body. His brain. His arms. His legs. The tip of his nose. He likely glowed brighter than the most dominant star in the sky.

They’d danced. He actually danced with her! Seventh grade was becoming a bellwether time in his young life. The holidays had passed. Rachel had asked (through a friend) if he liked her. He appreciated her forwardness. After Dawna, he needed that.

He got to walk her home. What an amazing time to be alive! They held hands. They strolled Dunbar Avenue with its elongated shadows painting a surreal backdrop to their majestic victory over new love.

Ray noted the magnificence of her warm hand, the tapestry of stars winking their approval through the maple leaves overhanging the sidewalk by Jimmy Smith’s darkened house. The world slept. The entire world snoozed the night away allowing them their time and a complete run of everything everywhere. Nothing was denied the two young lovers, as best they knew to be, as they strolled in harmony.

When the time came to part, and she walked into her house, Ray felt blissfully lost. He remembered his favorite shortcut. He floated between two darkened houses. He imagined a narrow deer-trail from all the times he’d cut through these peoples’ lawns for a more direct route home.

In the daylight, he’d always felt the thrill of necessary caution. Caution because he must take care not to be seen as this trespass might not be welcomed by the homeowners. Tonight, the entire world bowed to him. He ruled the night as he’d never known he could.

As he approached the alley between Rachel’s street and his, he noted the darkness and how easily his feet found true purchase and how the crisp shapes of daylight blurred into gray-black marshmellowness at night. His gaze rose to the heavens, the stars all witnessing his primal victory as he waked with a lilt, a skip, and an unceremonious topple over a seldom closed gate.

He’d tumbled over the thigh-high obstruction and flipped onto his back in the gravel of the alley. There were the stars. Laughing. Not in derision. They giggled because they knew he did not feel the fall. He simply grinned back at them.

He had the sense to collect himself. He knew nothing could hurt him this night. Yet sometimes in life, he’d found it important to make sure he was ok. After a few moments of physical inventory, he took a moment to smile back at the heavens, lift himself and cut through the apartments, which was a daring move since he’d never really done that before, day or night.

Why not? He was indestructible. He ruled the heavens and the earth. He could still feel her hand in his. For the second time, he felt love engulf his entire being from the inside out.

***

Days and weeks of school passed by. They saw each other as much as two twelve-year-olds could. Summer began and he had not yet kissed her. Something about a kiss frightened him to his very core. He couldn’t understand it. T.J. was frustrated with him. He could not believe Ray could go this long with making “a move.”

It happened one day that Rachel had struck out to T.J.’s house in search of Ray because Ray and T.J. were best friends. Ray was not there. In T.J.’s backyard, underneath two broad canopy trees, sat a bench-swing.

Rachel was growing into her body. She proudly walked with her growing breasts accented with tight-fitting tops. Ray appreciated this. In fact, his internal self drew toward them like an emotional magnet huge as the Empire State Building. Those breasts called to him. Their siren song taunted him.

Intimidated him. This fateful day, filled with T.J., Rachel, and the swing, forever changed Ray in ways he would continue to discover decades later. T.J. lured her to the wooden ship. The one that sailed away with Ray’s dreams.

To his credit, T.J. told Ray about it the next day. Or was he bragging? He’d slipped his hand up under her tight blouse, and fondled the softness Ray had believed was his. T.J. even took the time to describe how soft they were in his Neanderthal vocabulary.

Rage tore through Ray, a voracious beast that threatened to devour everything and everyone. A hardness grew in a recess in his heart. That dark corner where Dawna and Rachel had erased the pain which resided there. They’d filled its emptiness with love, or so he’d believed for many, many years to come.

That pain had always been there. A casualty of two parents who fought too often and too loud. A small kid who could not understand why they could be so harsh at times. But that pain had always been a dark shadow within gelatinous darkness.

Now, that pain morphed into something hard. Something more rock-like. The dual betrayal of best friend and girlfriend washed over him like a black wave of dirty, oily goo. While Ray raged inside, he simply walked away from his friend, then ran to his pillow in his room and wailed into it all the pain of childhood which should never feel this dark.

A few days later, T.J., having apologized over and over and over again, found Ray and Rachel at T.J.’s cousin Harry’s house. The three were playing spin-the-bottle in Harry’s garage. The intent was to get Ray to kiss her. When the bottle pointed to her, he could not do it. He could not kiss her. He walked away.

The next day (it seemed), Rachel was seen walking arm-in-arm with some tall, stringy-haired guy from highschool. While Rachel was about to go into the eighth grade, Ray knew he could not compete with this guy. He looked dirty. He looked unscrupulous. Ray would never be like that. This dude looked like Ray’s moral-less father.

He knew she would give this guy whatever his needs demanded. For the second time, Ray learned the harsh lesson, “You don’t get to say goodbye…”

Memories

Choices float through our hearts,
Forever available in their invisible realm.
Not like objects in liquid dreams, but
Wispy clouds on high.

We choose where memory drives our soul
From open joy to blackened hole
Yet too often we choose one or the other
When both should live on.

Love always delivers the paradox of knife
One side ecstatic, the other strife
For love’s acquisition is the grail we hold dear
And its absence the darkness we fear.

Memory’s clouds too often envelop pain
Darkness its character, its definition, its reign
When joy and aspiration may be saddled as well
Our choice, slice of heaven or burning ember of hell

Balance lends credence to life and our love
That we may learn to be wary yet cherish
Our smiles and our foibles which never need perish
When we keep whole the memories of love…

You Don’t Get to Say Goodbye – Episode 1

Love.

Simon and Garfunkel once sang, “If I never loved I never would have cried…”

Let’s say you find yourself single. Not only that, you’re single and you’re past your mid-life crisis. Or so you hope. The landscape of dating has become skewed beyond all recognition. You try dating sites. You work to re-identify who you are. You soul search. You decide you’re better off on your own.

You know you don’t mean that.

But you know its true. Why? Because every woman you meet is not her.

Have you ever had a “her?”

That woman who steals everything you own inside – with a simple smile. A quirky habit. A simple giggle. Her presence.

Then there are all the others. The true “damagers.” The ones who trample your emotional repertoire. The women who shredded all the feelings of warmth and compassion you hold deep inside. Once they finish shredding your innards, they mock your pain, spit on your emotional remains, and grind you under their heel as they stalk away.

So odd that the question of whether love is worth the pain does not get examined as deeply after the cruel ones. The agonizing search for answers drives madness and delirium throughout your heart and soul when you lose a love you believed in. A love you embraced whole-heart.

The odd thing is this. You don’t get to say goodbye. Sometimes it’s you. Sometimes it’s them. Only the heart can tell…

In this serial storyline, life scenarios will be presented. Love and pain will be the common theme. A poem, in remaining true to this site, will follow each story. The ultimate tie-in will be the observation that “You don’t get to say goodbye…”

Episode One

 

Dawna

T.j. spun his bike in a violent semi-circle by standing and stomping on his right pedal. Ray followed suit.  The synchronized move appeared as super-hero moves, at least in their eyes. They were tuned to each other… and their prey.

Dawna and Sally.

T.J. was more wingman in this cat-and-mouse chase of the twelve-year-old nemesis’. Ray was flipped-out-gaga over Dawna. Had been all summer. The twitterpation had begun near the end of sixth grade.

They stood poised in the shade of a generous maple tree, sweat beading on their tan bodies. Their eyes darted as their necks twisted methodically, scanning for a glimpse of the elusive female riders.

“Do you think they saw us?” Ray asked with a hint of wistfulness he could not cover.

“I say we run them down and talk to them. We’re faster than they’ll ever be.” T.J. noted Ray’s slight cringe of fear.

“What would we say?”

“You’re the one who wants to ask Dawna to the dance tomorrow night.”

“I don’t know how to do that.”

“You’re never going to find out if you don’t ask.”

“Maybe you could talk to Sally at school tomorrow…”

“She’s in my fourth period English.”

Ray jumped, landed with both feet on his bike pedals, and spun gravel behind him as he shouted, “There they are!”

T.J. followed down the gravel alley in hot pursuit of a rendezvous that would never happen.

***

Friday night sock hop. The deal had gone down. Sally had been informed Ray wanted to “go with” Dawna. Sally confirmed Dawna wanted to “go with” Ray. T.J. and Sally commiserated at how shy the two of them were and that they’d never get together without help.

Ray’s jaw dropped when she walked into the lunchroom. Of course, tonight, this was no lunchroom. In fact, the room appeared to him as some ethereal manifestation of some other world. A world where he and Dawna would finally meet and talk. He had spent his entire summer chasing her.

And eluding her. He hated the fear and shyness within himself. He constantly felt as though he would burst each time he thought of her. Everything in life that was good reminded him of Dawna.

This night, though, he beheld an angel. Her long, stringy brown hair he was used to seeing flying in the wind from their bicycle chases now flowed majestically tied with the most feminine of ribbons. Her smile when she talked with Sally, caught sight of him, and the giggle which ensued fueled something so primal within Ray his fear became a raging dragon which must be slain before he could win her hand.

The music of the early 70’s paired with the strobe lights, and the darkened room with dancing bodies all around overwhelmed his senses. The “Theme from Shaft” rattled around the room followed by “Papa was a Rolling Stone.” Nick Johnson stole the dance floor with his gyrations and insane ability to move his muscular body to every rhythm and make it all look incredible.

Ray had no clue how to dance like that. He had no clue how to dance. He realized almost immediately if he went up and asked Dawna to dance, he would not know what to do. He went into the bike chase mode. He avoided Sally and Dawna throughout each song. Dawna appeared to be doing the same.

He steeled his will to go up to her on the “next song.” Then that song was either too fast or completely undanceable to him.

“C’mon man! You’ve got to do this!” T.J. gave Ray a nudge. “You’re going to run out of time! You can do it!”

“I know. I know!” Ray felt the wildness in his eyes and the alarming pounding in his chest. The clammy hands. The music. The strobes.

Dawna.

Someone announced through the speakers, “Next to last song everyone!”

Ray’s heart sank. He’d wasted the entire dance swimming in fear. Now the night was going to be the biggest disappointment in the history of mankind – all because he was such a scaredy-cat.

“I’m going to do it if you won’t,” T.J. stated emphatically. He strode away toward Sally and Dawna. Ray’s weak protest drowned in the lyrics of Sammy Davis Jr.’s “Candyman.”

Ray couldn’t look. Panic overwhelmed him. He thought about running for the door but instinctually he knew that would be the worst thing he could do. “Candyman” was winding down.

T.J. appeared out of nowhere, grabbed Ray by the shoulders, spun him around, and gave him a forceful, but gentle in its way, shove. Sally had just done the same thing with Dawna.

“Candyman” faded into the Stylistics’ “You Are Everything” just as the two pairs of eyes met. T.J. and Sally arranged four petrified arms together into “slow-dance” position and stepped back.

The entire universe ceased to exist. In a surreal bubble of Dawna and Ray and music and touch and emotion and joy inexplicable, the two bodies moved to the music. Ray noted how rigid they both felt and he did not care. Nothing mattered.

No joy known to man could ever top this moment. This breakthrough. This ecstasy. The most beautiful girl ever born was dancing with him. And yes, she was everything, and everything was her.

He lived an eternity in those three minutes and twenty-three seconds. He felt the song would never end and he would die the most glorious death, happy beyond all sense, dancing in the arms of this girl he loved.

When the song did end, the experience felt as though a bomb had dismantled everything and everyone into a chaotic mélange of lights and talking and exiting and abrupt separation from heaven.

He walked the nine blocks home underneath the stars of the autumn evening singing “You Are Everything” over and over and over…

For one moment in time, Ray knew love, wanderlust, joy, passion, exhilaration, and heaven. Truly, only one other time in his life would ever feel this combination of pure love and adoration and completion again.

Saturday and Sunday they went back to the bikes. Ray’s shyness ate him up. They’d barely spoken. He felt even more terrified even though Dawna was all he could think about. On Monday, Ray avoided Dawna at school. By the end of the school day, Sally informed T.J. who in turn informed Ray that Dawna was breaking up with him.

He knew why.

This is where he first learned, “You don’t get to say goodbye…”

Lifetimes

Lifetimes gained
Lifetimes lost
All within a song

Two hearts racing
Facing life and love and futures bright
Knowing so little
Yet learning so much

Her eyes and her hair,
Even her crooked teeth
Mona Lisa fell jealous and lost her smile

One heart broken by its very hand
One heart spoken only to the stars over the moonlit land
One moment cherished throughout lifetimes of trials
One special memory of love’s first blush

How many lifetimes do we live in a moment?
How many lifetimes may we live in a song?
One future path crumbled sadly into the sea of time
Yet, the joy, the pure, pure joy of first love

A lifetime relived too often and not enough
A pain billowed too often to life
Bittersweet melancholy to flavor his life
And a smile for the moments they soared…

Burning Time

Burning Time

Time torched in early morning tears
Rolling thoughts over tumultuous years
Malibu 2016
Nearly now a nightmare
Only then a living dream

Burning time in our fallow mind
How life and love can live unkind
Flaming soul unrestful, uneven
For a moment
For a season

Burning time as tiny crystalline memories
Salted away in our darkened corners
Which love to haunt our hearts
Gathered demons
No fresh starts

Burning time like candles in a gas tank
Wondering when the spark ignites
Supernova flameout
A destined fact
How does this all come about?

Time the well documented enemy to life and love
Time the destructor, the master, the executioner, the end
Frugal use
Of no use
When heat meets wick

Burning time when our sanities fail us
Burning time while our passions drain us
Burning time while our failures train us
Burning time while our thoughts derail us

With so much light in our darkened world
Is it not shameful our lives play unfurled
Hidden underneath our self-imposed shrouds
Rather than live our flames truly out loud

Burning time leaves us withered and dried
Mornings of dread while evenings we cried
More power we lend to taming our flames
Color our world in distractions and games

All who burn whole, walk corporeal and quick
All burn down to our ending wick
All who wake to light comprising their lives
Thrive

 

What Happens When Forever Never Comes?

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What Happens When Forever Never Comes?

There was a day…
Many a fine day…
Whispers of futures unseen…
Glimpses of what might be…

There was a day…
Belief in experiences to come…
Knowing I am the one…
Potential is never done…

There was a day…
Starlit days and moonlit nights…
Moments of passion, world delights…
Dreams to hold and feel and glean…

There was a day…
One which escapes me now…
A day I need in order to scrawl my words…
Something to imagine of something unseen…

What happens when forever never comes?
Kaleidoscope lives flit in and out as myriad images blurred by time.
What happens when forever leaves the room?
That place where you manufacture goals and aspirations.

There was a day…
A lonely day…
A day of reckoning…
Where my soul lies bleeding lifeforce out each breath

There was a day…
Fingers to the keys…
Never lost to the song of life…
Sadness envelops the coming hours…

What happens when forever never comes?
Emptiness grows around nothing but memories.
What happens when forever dies to life?
Echoes of laughter, tenderness, hope.

There is a day…
Fresh in its stale repetition of many before
Where a step any direction brings you home
Even if home houses you, an empty bed, hollow thoughts and passive dread

What happens when forever never comes?
Words flow…
Emotions billow the tiniest of embers
Fingers slide across a familiar landscape of keys
Where you discover you still own this moment, this hour, this day

And…

You wonder why forever left your side…
You explore the depths of sadness at its loss…
Until you realize forever never truly left…
She awaits your next…

…thought…

Look

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Look

Look at this
This hope
This tease
That life will not ever end

But it does

Look at this hope
This love
This heart
Which cannot breach its fear

But it does

Look at this love
This power
This lust
That she’s unattainable

But she is

Look at this heart
This pain
This wellspring
That cannot hold back its tears

But it does

Look at this life
This passion
This fight
That wearies so much it cannot go on

…but it does

Love and Pain

Love and Pain

Tears.
From joy
From love
From hate
From fear

Passions roil inside
Emotions toil for understanding
Life wends its way through time
Love erupts from the soul

Or gets capped by cruelty
Self inflicted
Others inflicted
No matter.

The loss stands real
Pain
Healing.
Love

All own roots within
Acknowledging your self worth becomes vital
Love yourself
Love the pain you self inflict

Take time to ask yourself why
Massage your love
Give love to yourself in abundance
Find your truth

Heal your pain

Answers

Random thoughts fire through my brain constantly.

What’s that? That happens to everyone?

Ok, Random thoughts fire through my brain constantly and I am dedicated to writing them down. Sharing them. OK?

A couple things camped out “top-of-mind” here of late. One thought is this: Why do we pay for dating sites rather than use our own sites and social media? It seems like you would meet people more in your life rhythm. Yeah, I get that you might then attract the crazies to your personal sites and media. But you could block and report them and move on. From what I’ve heard on the dating sites, there’s some real wackoes doing stupid things… Those reports mostly come to me through women who tell of men (apparently lots of them) who send them pictures of their, well, uh, you know…

But lets not let women off the hook. For all the men whose vulgarities ruin our gender for the rest of us, there’s the demanding women who tell you what mold you must fill and how to fill it to simply talk to them. I’m not interested in that. I’m interested in being the best “me” I can be, not the best “crafted me” by someone who does not even know me.

A couple days ago a woman messaged me the lame and sure-to-not-get-a-response-from-me “Hey there!” I get it. Some people are timid. Hell, I can be timid. I am simply not interested. Yet I still look at their profile, and yes, their picture. This particular profile seemed interesting so I broke my rule of not answering the “Hey there!” lameness. I replied in kind with a simple “Hello!”

Her response? She stated: “Really? Hello? That’s it?” I must interject at this point my immediate reaction. One: Her ego is far too inflated. Two: She’s the one who showed interest in me. I’m just giving her opportunity to speak. Boy, did she ever. I responded with an apology which stated I don’t typically respond to “Hey there!” but she seemed interesting so I said hello. This woman went on to bash me and unload a whole shit-ton of pent up anger. The most comical aspect of all this? In her profile she stated how extremely laid back she is! LOL!

SO, men are vulgar and women are angry and controlling. But no, not all men are that base and not all women are that whack. But the numbers in both categories are disconcerting. Makes me wonder if I really desire a woman in my life… I may be better off alone…

 

Ayesha.

My “Midnight in Her Heart” friend. I miss her. Life is such a crazy thing. I met this wonderful woman online over a decade ago (hmm, a bit of a tie-in to the above online dating thing…). We became fast friends. I admire her intelligence, her wisdom, her loving, gentle spirit and her dedication to make this world a better place. I suppose, in a real sense, I fell in love with Ayesha. I’ve never spoken with her. Simply texts in FB messages or blog comments. She is of Pakistani descent and lives/lived in London. Somehow, life washed over us and she was swept one way and I another.

There’s no FB page visible now. No, I did not do anything stalker-ish. If anything, I was quite silent. I am not one to intrude. The point? Where’s the point here? Oh yeah, I miss her.

Ayesha, over the years, got me through so much without ever knowing she’d done a thing. The fact she loves my writing, a complete stranger with high intellect and wisdom, helped me in my darker moments of self-doubt. I could write something from my heart and she would comment. In fact, I’ve written a book, a collection of my writings and her comments and I’ve dedicated the entire work to her.

But now, now when I am most able and free to connect with her, she’s become a ghost. A phantom. A cherished memory which grows more bittersweet every day. Time is cruel. Distance can be cruel. I suppose I must resign myself to her suggestion of Keats’ “Grecian Urn.”  Talk about bittersweet. Look it up sometime. I understand what Ayesha was saying. The analogy had to do as much with her life situation as mine. But I always harbored a hope that one day we would meet, fall into each other’s arms like fast friends do, and enjoy each other’s company. If only for a day.

I realize that’s “hopeless romantic” type of crap, but that’s me. That’s who I am.

I feel myself growing more jaded and sad with life. That’s not me. That’s not who I aspire to be. Yet, this IS part of who I am. To deny these feelings would be a lie. I work hard these days to no longer lie to myself. So I fondly recall how special Ayesha makes me feel. Yes, I have all her writings (obviously because I’ve written that book…). I may look over them at any time and feel loved by someone who only knew one thing about me – my heart.

She never saw my idiosyncrasies which might drive her crazy. My habits, good and bad. Ayesha tuned into my heart through my writing like no one else ever has. She not only read my work, she not only took interest in it, she would tell me when my words made her laugh and cry and think. She walked my heart through my writings. She tuned in to me and set up residence in my soul. She has free access and she never abused that. She was always kind. I suppose, like she would say, this is the highest relationship we could ever have. But I would/will fly to Europe to see her if she ever offered/offers.

Again, I’m off track. Easy to do inside my heart when it comes to Ayesha. I have always felt I’ve stumbled through life in such an amazingly awkward manner. I’ve missed so many opportunities due to my penchant for not taking the beaten path. I truly have few regrets. Just a couple biggies. One is losing touch with Ayesha. The other is ever meeting my ex, but that’s something I’ve dealt with and I’m good with now.

We truly do need to make the most of our days. We live our lives like we have forever. We should be more aware of our own personal needs and take care of ourselves better. No one is coming to save you from yourself. This won’t happen. That’s up to you. Keep your friends close. Do what it takes to keep in touch with those whom you love.

Ah. Online dating. I’m calling that quits here soon. I am far too busy for random women to attempt to fit into my extremely busy life. If I meet someone, she will likely be connected to something I am doing and will easily step into a rhythm with me and I will adjust my rhythm with hers. We’ll dance.

Or we won’t. I think it’s unfair of me to expect a woman to desire to join with my hectic life. It’s also unfair for me to expect that Ayesha has the ability and freedom to stay connected to me. We come from two very different worlds, but this I know, we are kindred spirits. Not meeting her in my life will be a sadness I will carry with me to my grave. But like the Grecian Urn, I will also carry her love for me and mine for her there as well. In the end, it all works, doesn’t it?

We really have little choice other than to keep our loved ones in our hearts and in our lives each day.

Random thoughts on this evening of decadent rhythms blaring at the skating rink where my daughters are having a blast. Typically this is where I would create some sort of poetic writing. I don’t know that I still possess the ability to go there. I suppose I do. Ayesha stated she loved my poetry raw and off the cuff. Let’s give it a whirl…

Answers

Time circles
Love spirals
Passion waxes and wanes
Life sparks of insane emotions firing off in so many directions

Answers exist only by our definitions despite what others will tell you
Answers become what you make them
When you look to someone else for the “correct” answer key, you no longer live YOUR life
Death creeps up behind us all

Time repeats itself
Like a bad student
We don’t listen
We drown our reality with distraction until time and death dance ever close and we feel the brush of their aura

Love twists and turns
Like the darkened tubular waterslides where we’re jerked in directions we cannot see or fathom
We know where we splash down in the end
The ride is exhilarating and at point frightening beyond understanding

Passion
Ah, passion
Do others kill it? Time? Age? Boredom?
Or do we do the deed ourselves, by our own hands, our own hearts, our own damage, our own inability to rise above complacency

Life.
Snatching and grasping throughout our days.
Relying on others for answers each of us must find on our own, or not
For we came into this world alone, we exit alone.

Answers remain ours for the making
Answers demand nothing
Answers wait on us to embrace them
Whether they stand as right or wrong rests with our interpretation.

Live your life
Love your life
Cherish your life
Embrace your life

Curtains and Tapestries

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Driving south on US1 one evening, “Stories of the Painted Desert” by the Rippingtons came up on my Pandora account. Instantaneously I was transported back to my early grade school self. I was lying in bed, about to fall asleep. I was staring, smiling, and losing myself in the curtains my mother had just made for the window in my room.

To call this a room is quite a stretch. It was actually a breakfast nook converted to my bedroom. The room consisted of my bed and a bar that served as a depository for clothes hangers at the foot of my bed. My window was at the head of my bed, so I was lying with my head near the makeshift closet.

If I stepped off my bed, I had one foot of room before I reached a curtain that shrouded my room from the kitchen. There as a small end table at the head of the bed which held my alarm clock and any number of young boy paraphernalia.

The window curtain popped up in the midst of this beautiful melody because the curtain design was a western scene. Cactus’. Cowboy hats. Boots, Desert. I adored these curtains. My imagination could run wild. I had been to the Painted desert when I was five years old. I’d seen cactus’ and deserts like Death Valley. These curtains became a portal for a mind ready to go places and do things.

Tears streamed my cheeks as I drove home that night. My mother’s Alzheimer’s has all but robbed me of her wonderful self. Memories like this are truly all I have of her now. While she is a sweet woman with no ability to remember much of anything now, the vibrant, intelligent woman has faded into the darkening gray areas of one of the cruelest of diseases.

I work hard to avoid these moments of loss, these moments of painful memory. I would think if Mom were dead these memories would be more cherished. Don’t get me wrong, the reason I’m crying is that I deeply cherish the memory. She made those curtains special. Just for me. The fact that over a half century later I can feel the joy and excitement and wonder of those curtains is a testament to my wonderful mother.

Like many of us, I’ve had much too much pain in my life. My sense is that this will never end. Pain is interwoven into everything we do. See. Taste. Smell Hear.

I’m not being morbid. This is truth. Pie-in-the-sky is not true. I love my mother. I love the little things she did for me throughout my life. I love the fact that I had her as a mother. A son could not ask for better.

But I drive four hours to visit her. I spend hours with her. I take her to lunch. Five minutes after I leave, I was never there. No recollection. She will even tell you she has not seen or heard from me in months.

The tears well up from this reality. I love those curtains. I wish to God I still had them today. They remind me of goodness and joy in life. They remind me that I am special. They remind me that all is not dark. Yet, the tether remains between that mom of long ago and the mom of today. I don’t know how to separate the two emotionally.

I can do this intellectually. I can deny the pain of my mother’s current condition, but then I cannot revel in the wonder of those moments when I felt so awesome my skin tingled. I seldom allow myself to feel these deep emotions regarding Mom because the disease interferes a delivers tears without fail. The loss is too much to bear.

This one was worth it, however. I hadn’t thought of those curtains for decades. Literally for a half century. The feelings which flooded my soul were worth the tears and the pain. I was able to talk to my sister about the curtains. She remembered them well. Mom even remembered them because her long term memory is not shot all to hell yet.

Everyone deserves to feel special. Everyone deserves the opportunity to dream and to imagine and to enjoy a gift. I listen to this song often. The music does the Painted Desert justice. I’ve revisited that wonder place a number of times since I was six.

Isn’t this how life truly goes? Everything is intertwined in a tapestry of experiences. Good. Bad. Joyful. Painful. The song is lovely. The memory of my curtains a joy. The room I treasured in the little breakfast nook makes me smile. The pain of virtually, but not totally, losing my mother cuts to my core like a jagged, rusty blade.

In the end, we either decide the experience (of actual events as well as the memory) are worth the emotions they draw forth. These days I work hard at finding them worthwhile. Otherwise, the pain of life overwhelms me. All becomes dark. Hope scurries into the shadows. Love weeps for all the losses. Dreams wither and die on their fragile vines.

Or, the bittersweet aspects of life get cherished. The fact that I can feel this deeply signals my inner emotional health is good. I enjoy the flavor of a song even more. I revel in the memory of kindness and a gift from my beloved mother with more zeal. I cry deeper tears from the pain of losing her while she still yet lives. And I call it all good as this represents the fullness, the Yin and Yang of life.

I love you, Mom. Thank you for giving that ability to love to me through your life and how you lived it… And as with all my visits with you these days, they are no longer for you any more than this writing is for you. If you could read this and retain it, that would be another story. This is for me. I get to cry these tears again and they feel right and true and good. I get to feel your love again, especially in the loss of you, and this is good for I am able to cherish you more deeply.

As with anyone who’s lost an incredible, loving parent, I will miss you all the days of my life. I will keep your memory alive in me as long as I possibly can. If I should ever fail at this, my words will have to suffice to carry this all forward.

Speaking of Curtains, every time I think of that word (curtains) I immediately think of this song from Elton John’s “Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy” album. Always my favorite song on the album, I remember spinning the tune on my various turntables and CD players over the years.

Such a beautifully written song. I love live music and having Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart cover it is amazing to me. They do a wonderful job of carrying the tune forward and staying true to its essence and power.

If you listen closely to the lyrics they reflect what I wrote above about my Curtains. Especially the part where the song says “Just like us, you must have had, a once upon a time.” My mother’s curtains gave me one of those once upon a time era’s in my life. There is so much beauty in life. So much connectivity. So much to be grateful for.

Life is truly the tapestry many have spoken of throughout the existence of man. We should step back more often and take a look at the beauty woven into our lives. When we do, we see the pain and suffering are as much a part of the beauty as the joys and exhilaration. We miss our truest connection to life when all we focus upon is the positive, or in my case, deny the negative or the painful.

Love your life. Love the tapestry you’ve woven throughout your years. Accept all the flaws and revel in them for they define who you are, whether you like it or not. I recommend liking your foibles and flaws, whether you get them corrected or cleaned up because you throw away an integral slice of yourself every time you deny who you are.

Own your life. Live it. Feel it. Connect to it. Find the threads of your tapestry and admire the entire story it tells.

Drops of Sadness

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Drops of Sadness

Love is a crazy thing
Feelings stream throughout your soul
Love is a crazy life
Emotions fill voids to make you whole

Love is a crazy day
Thoughts, dreams and lullabies
Love is a lonely night
Sad drops of darkened skies

Love is a crazy mood
Pools mixed with all you feel
Love is a crazy existence
It’s mixtures make it all so real

Love is a crazy touch
A hand to hold which makes you thrill
Love is a crazy drive
Lips beg a kiss to steal

Love gives you life and joy
To mix in with sadness’s pain
Love gives you all you need
If only you feed and sustain

Love lends you smiles all day
Rented for the price you pay
Love’s hope builds each moment clear
That’s why you hold her dear…