Sunday, June 27, 2010

All of My Children

All of my daughters…all of my sons…all of my children…live in a place of light and shadow, memory and hope without bounds, and they dance with me and laugh with me and keep me forever in their forever hearts.

And so it is…and so it is…

All of my sons…and all of my daughters…live in the world extant, a place of magic and heartache, passion and pain, light and shadow…memory and hope…they share no blood with me and they dance with me for brief seasons as they need and want to…and they make me smile from my heart and sing soft songs of praise to the universe in thanks for them just being.

And so it is…and so it is…

All of my children…hold fast in love and dreams…in that which was and that which never was to be…in places of light and shadow, in places of memory and hope without bound, in the world extant and the universe eternal.

And so it is…and so it is…

- for A, P, M, S, and the four J’s -

Thursday, June 24, 2010

I dreamed about my friend Lori last night...

I dreamed about my friend Lori last night. I still think of us as friends even though it’s far too many years since I last heard from her.

Dreams are strange things…we all know that…and I’m always intrigued when people I haven’t actively thought about in a while show up in my dreams and make such a powerful impression that they linger with me into the waking hours.

I wonder how the world is treating her…she was a girl of radiant, fragile beauty and quiet, wounding melancholy and for a brief season I wanted nothing more than to give her safe harbor from the unforgiving seas of disappointment and pain that buffeted her far too often.

I hope that she’s safe.

I hope that she’s happy.

I hope that she’s in the company of somebody who sincerely loves and appreciates her.

And I hope that she thinks about me every once in a while and that the memory makes her smile the shy, secret smile she used to share with me when she let her guard down and relaxed into my safe harbor.

(Me and Lori in the administrative offices of Max Factor & Co. in Hollywood, CA circa 1979)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Father's Day

I picked out the names of my first son and my first daughter when I was 12. It was apropos of nothing but it felt right and I went with it. I wrote them down in a diary I was I keeping at the time and carried them in my heart from that moment on.

I always wondered if the little humans I helped to create would fit those names or if they would come into the bright world with other names the universe gave to them. I was cool either way…the names weren’t remarkably original or anything, they just felt “right”…but I carried them just the same.

I never got to use them. Because I never got to actually co-create a child.

But I did get to be a father just the same. And I think I had some good moments.

I would be lying if I said there wasn’t some sense of loss in not being a biological father but I only dwell upon that, quite fleetingly, in extremely rare moments…life is what it is…things happen in this life as they are supposed to and not as we might want them to… and I have nothing complain about in this area.

(My life has always been blessed by the joy and magic of children…babies and toddlers have always seemed to like me…felt safe with me…for some reason…maybe they recognize someone close to their emotional age…maybe that’s not really a good thing after all… :-)

Father’s Day always makes me think about the men who became fathers. The good ones (like so many I know and have known) delight and amaze me. The not-so-good ones (like mine) are still worthy of acknowledgement for having brought new life to the great pool of human energy and experience.

And so…to all the Dads, Papas, Daddies, Poppies, Padres…to all the Fathers…thanks.

And Happy Father’s Day.

Saturday, June 12, 2010


We played tag with the languid surf on a Santa Monica night

and then laughed like children as frigid water

washed over our naked feet

making us long for our shoes;

We raced back to the van and its lazy heater,

We snuggled together sharing body warmth…

Don’t fall in love with me, you said,

I won’t, I said, only half-lying,

and then we kissed anyway.

Friday, June 11, 2010

your kiss

you would laugh, perhaps just a bit unkindly,

if I told you…if I tried to make you remember…

if I tried to get you to do that dance again;

I shrug, perhaps just a bit ruefully,

I hold my jaded tongue

and acknowledge the obvious…

the memory of your kiss still makes me smile.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Ghost of Maude

The ghost of Maude doesn’t visit me often. But I’m always blessed when she does and last night, in the middle of a particularly active and vaguely unsettling dreamtime, she visited me once more.

My grandmother…Maude (everyone called her Mom)…was 96 years old when she died. I didn’t know her as well as I wanted to but the times we did have together…sitting at the little table by the window in her always delightfully fragrant kitchen as she cleaned green beans and told me wonderful, beguiling, bittersweet stories of her rich life…will linger with me until I pass on back into the light.

“What’s botherin’ you, Buddy?”…my father is no fan of his given name and early on adopted the nickname “Bud”, my grandmother took to calling me, his first born son, “Buddy” almost as a matter of course…she was the only one I allowed to call me that into adulthood.

Mom rarely smiled but her eyes were always bright with savvy and patience and unspoken, but unmistakable mischief…she had proud, angular reddish brown features…she looked like she was as much Native American as she was Black…and she wasn’t smiling as she appeared out of a shadow in my dream.

“Don’t know, Mom,” I lied…I was so pleased to see her that I wasn’t going to waste her time with my navel-gazing even in dreamtime.

“No need to lie to me, child,” she said, drifting close and touching my face, “you hear me?”

“Yes, ma’am,” I replied hanging my head.

Mom put her thin, delicate, red-brown hand on my cheek and lifted my face up to look at hers…with her smiling eyes and unsmiling mouth…and winked. “Gon’ be okay.”

I smiled. The shadows swirled around us. And the ghost of Maude was gone. And I fell…into deeper, unremembered… or dreamless…sleep.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

150 Words: Citadel

He stood on top of the citadel wall and looked down. The world…the whole wide blue green gold gray black and white world…spread out as far at the eye could see. There were a few people making half-hearted attempts to breach the wall but they couldn’t find it in themselves to care enough to put much effort into it and so they left leaving their expectations and disappointments nailed to the citadel door and went off to find more interesting pastimes to pursue.

Somewhere someone was playing Bach…and someone else was playing Skynyrd…someone was chanting with Coltrane (…a love supreme…a love supreme…)…and someone was mocking him with rueful Paul Simon songs. He shrugged…he’d heard it all before… and slipped back into the citadel where shadows danced for him…and memory played tricks for him…and yesterdays swirled into tomorrows and his heart, mayhap too long dormant, played none of it much heed.

Friday, June 04, 2010

150 Words: Community

We are community. The community of the boundless ebon heavens…the community of brave and fragile Gaea…the community of borders and city-states and neighborhoods and all the other mortal constructs we pledge fealty to…we are of our fathers’ sweat and our mothers’ tears…we are of our kinfolk’s memories and the collective legacy of beloved strangers who went before….we are of fertile seed and bountiful starlight…we are community.

We are community. The community of the multitude…the community of the chosen few…the community of abiding love and faithful familiarity…and, ultimately, the community of the one…we are joined and ever separate…we are of the same blood and utterly unique…we are heartbeats connected and light years apart…we are many…we are few…we are one…we are community.

We are hope and joy, love and lust, passion and peace and hate and love…children of mercy, parents of reason…we are many…we are few…we are, ultimately, gloriously, one…we are community.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

This is My Life (the pyschobabble remix)

I am filled with hubris and false modesty, with feints and evasions and subversive rage simmering just beneath the surface and erupting in a sudden, cathartic bursts that have as their only audience a cold computer screen, framed snapshots, and slightly bemused cats.

I am filled with dark cynicism that is soothed by loud music, other people’s words in books, other people’s visions in moving pictures, guiltless gothic fantasies, and joyless sex with strangers who think they know me. I am a master and a victim, a fool and a hero,

This is my life.

I am full of dreams and inertia, I am wary and detached and always waiting for the other shoe to fall; I am full of acid bravado in absentia and hollow smiles that go unrecognized by those who are supposedly close to me. I am a disappointment to more than I care to think about and I don’t really care that I am because everybody is a disappointment to me as well.

I am a well-regarded afterthought and I am well used to that.

I am alone and not lonely. I am a would-be romantic who doesn’t believe in love anymore. I am aging and never as old as I feel. I am consumed by a youth that never happened and comforted by phantom love, rock and roll, and comic book super-heroes.

I am consumed by futures that probably won’t happen and sheltered by mazes of words and false laughter and becoming people that I will never reveal to anyone else.

I offer safe harbor and I long ago stopped looking to find the same for myself. I wallow in self-pity and self-regard in oddly equal measure and I find nothing untoward about that. I wallow in imagination and despair in equal measure and I find nothing untoward about that either.

And this is all absolutely true. And this is all absolute nonsense.

This is my life.