Sunday, March 27, 2011

150 Words: The Hours

Nicole Kidman is pretending to be Virginia Woolf.  She’s pretending to sink slowly beneath the healing waters of a gently unforgiving stream.  She’s pretending to choose darkness because the light is, all things considered, just a little too much to bear.

Nicole Kidman is sinking…slipping, disguised as Virginia Woolf, away from the sky and down to the bottom of a gently non-judgmental stream. 

I am watching and I am pretending that I do not understand.  I am crying, hot reluctant tears.  I am mocking myself…it’s only a movie. 

Nicole Kidman is sinking below the water. I am pretending that I do not understand. 

Virginia Woolf is slipping down and the hours are passing…the hours are ending but not ending at all.  Nicole Kidman is pretending to be Virginia Woolf.  Ed Harris is falling to eternity.  Meryl Streep is choosing life.

I am crying and pretending that I do not understand. 

Friday, March 25, 2011

I Imagine Your Eyes...

I imagine your eyes will save me….your mysterious eyes that speak of passion and romance even in their shyest, most shielded moments…it’s a fool’s errand (it always is) but I am foolish enough to indulge the fantasy just the same. 

Your eyes…your tender eyes…will save me.  Will save me from my shadows…will save me from the fire…will save me from myself.  And I will be whole again.  And I will be happy again.  And I will light a fire in your eyes and spend the rest of my days working tirelessly to keep it there.  I imagine your eyes…they will save me.

I imagine your touch…your gentle arms, your tender kiss, your sweet bosom, your delicate but strong hands…I imagine your touch will save me.  It is, again, a fool’s errand (nobody can save us if we can’t save ourselves) but, again, I am foolish enough to reach for the dream just the same. 

Your touch….your tender touch…will save me.  Will save me from my books and my poetry…will save me from the cold, lonely nights….will save me from myself and my missteps.  And I will be whole again.  And I will be whole for the first time.  And I will be happy again.  And I will be really happy for the first time.  And I will take you into my arms and shelter you from the world while you shelter me from the world.  I imagine your touch…your touch will save me.

I imagine your heart…your mighty heart that I know without really knowing it all…I imagine that your heart will save me.  It is, of course, a fool’s errand (a bittersweet and eternal journey) but I am foolish enough to wonder what the world would look like with your heart in my corner.  

Your heart…your mighty, guarded, shimmering heart…will save me.  Will save me from the sad songs and happy feints…will save from the heartache of memory true and memory false…will save me from starry eyed self and let my make believe heart float gently down to real earth.  And I will be whole.  And I will be happy.  And I will save a place for your heart in mine and spend the whole of eternity trying to make myself worthy of that trust.

I imagine…I imagine your eyes will save me…

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


He often railed against gravity.  He always laughed at the hubris of it afterward but he did it, too often, just the same. 

Gravity weighed him down, kept him from just floating up into the azure sky, and he knew that was gravity’s job…but sometimes…just sometimes…he railed against it just the same.

Gravity held him still while his lovers flew away…but, he was realist enough to realize, that was on him…always on him and his stubborn hubris…and not really on gravity…but it was easier to blame gravity so sometimes…just sometimes…that’s what he did.

Gravity kept him grounded when his heart was ready to burst each time his wife gave birth to one of their children…gravity held him close while he held his wide-eyed, open-hearted daughters and sons close to his heart, while he held his guileless and trusting children up high to the moonlit, starry expansive of the sky and let them know that nothing other than that celestial majesty was greater than who they were, who they would be. 

He often railed against gravity.  And gravity, for its part, gave wing to his heart and gently brought his tears back down to the welcoming, nurturing earth.  He always laughed at the hubris of it…of railing against gravity…but he did it, much too often, just the same.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Learning to Fly

Gabriel smiled ruefully as looked out over the precarious edge of the precipice.  He was, as usual, afraid…but he was also resolved.  At long last he’d understood what he should have known all along…trying to learn to fly meant accepting that you would sometimes have to fall. 

And fall hard…maybe to unyielding earth, accepting the pain and trying to find the courage to climb up and try again. 

Fall, perhaps, into the arms of earthbound angels there to cushion the impact, to wipe his brow and kiss his cheek; to hold him tight and beg him not to try to fly again or to stroke his hair and tell me to try again, tell him that they’ll be there as long as it takes.

Or fall, if such is the will of fate and foolishness, into oblivion, into the darkness that waits…waits patiently, inevitably…to welcome us, the fliers and the fallers, back into the endless arms of a merciful and merciless Universe.

Gabriel smiled, his heart racing, the verdant fields, winding paths, and fragrant bittersweet rosebushes stretched out so far below him that his eye couldn’t possibly take it all in; he smiled, the unbounded expanse of creation stretched out so far above him that even his wildest imaginings were too mortal to ever truly appreciate the scope and grandeur of its promises and possibilities.

Gabriel smiled, his coward’s heart…his hero’s heart…racing and urging him on…he took a deep breath…ready to learn to fly…ready to learn to fall…he looked inside his fool’s being, his immortal soul and…too late…too soon…just when he was supposed to…he stepped off the edge…

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

150 Words: Moonshadow

Darkness lingers later in the morning again…stars twinkling in the waning hours before sunrise due to our hubris in attempting to manipulate time to suit our mortal whims…and the moon, the bright yellow moon, smiles patiently down doubtlessly amused at our illusion of mastery over time and space.

And me, I’m being followed by a moonshadow…in the wee hours, into the bright hours as our stately old world sails the cosmic sea and turns its face to the radiant star that warms and protects us as the journey continues. 

I’m being followed by a moonshadow…I’m being warmed by a sunshower…but, of course, I’m not unique, moonshadows and sunshowers keep us all in our journey back towards the light eternal. 

Darkness lingers…we “save daylight” without irony and the Universe, ever patient, allows us our illusion of mastery over time and space…and I’m being followed, we’re all being followed by moonshadows…moonshadows...moonshadows…

Friday, March 11, 2011


Elvis smiled and threw open the garden gate welcoming me home.  It was bigger and less golden than I had imagined but I felt right at home just the same.

I found some of my friends in a courtyard filled to overflowing with light and music and we danced…danced to Motown 45’s and Bach sonatas, danced to the blues and the Beatles, danced to Joni and Bruce, Billie and Coltrane.

I found my smile in a small bright corner of a warm dark hall and I put it in my pocket for safekeeping.

I found my love drinking wine and nodding next to a blazing fire in the great room while Miles played melodies for songs he thought he was never going to write.  Miles slipped into a shadow and my love and I made love on the floor by the fireplace while the music from the courtyard swept in and carried us away.

I found myself, saved by time, un-moored from the harbor, redeemed by faith.  And it was all bigger and less golden than I had imagined…but it was okay…I was at home just the same.  I was home…just the same…at long last.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Late in the Evening

Sometimes…late at night…when the moon was cool and the air was still…I thought I could hear my mother crying…or praying…or singing…or doing all three at once.  And sometimes…just sometimes…I thought I heard her, as the song says, “laughing the way some ladies do…when it’s late in the evening…and the music is seeping through…”

I guess I never forgave my father for not loving my mother the way she needed to be…deserved to be…loved. 

I know I never forgave my brother for being so needful that he drained her energy and tried my patience and never seemed to get enough. 

And I certainly never forgave myself for being resentful for being taken for granted (in my heart I know that I wasn’t but it felt that way so often that the little boy in me didn’t have enough strength to ever truly let it go) or for not being able to give my mother room to find some solace and happiness outside of her care for me and my brother.

And sometimes…late at night…lying in the shadows of my bed down the hall…I thought I could hear my mother crying…or praying…or singing.  I thought I heard her laughing…surrounded by soft ballads and dancing swirls of menthol smoke…the way some ladies do…I thought I heard her dancing to her own song…the private song she indulged when it was late in the evening…and the music was seeping through.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

150 Words: Listen

We listen but we do not hear.  It is the way of being human.  It is the way of being separate.  It is the way of the world.

(Don’t ask if you can’t deal with “no”.  Don’t leap if you’re not as prepared to fall as you are prepared to soar.  Don’t expect anybody to know what you yourself are not at all sure of.  Do ask somebody to hear when all they can do is listen.)

We speak but we do not say what we really mean.  It is the way of shadows.  It is the way of precipices.  It is the way of fear of falling.  It is the way of being human.  It is the way of the world.

We listen…sometimes we really listen…but too often we do not hear.  It is the way of being close but forever apart.  It is the way of the world.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

150 Words: This Day

I don’t suppose this day will ever pass without reflection…without remembering…without tears stubbornly held back and bittersweet smiles arriving unbidden…without the ghost of the friend who shared the end of his journey in the soothing moonlight and the healing sunshine…the ghost of the brother I loved, the brother who loved me…reaching out of the memory of my heart and soul and soothing my brow yet again.

I don’t suppose that will ever happen again…that this day will ever pass without reflection, welcome and wounding…without remembering…without knowing the darkness…without believing in the light…without cursing the Universe for the loss…without blessing the Universe for the brief season forever cherished.

I don’t suppose this day will ever pass without reflection…without remembering.  It can’t be the case…not today, not ever, not as long as breath sustains me…and I don’t suppose I would…and I know that I wouldn’t allow it to be any other way.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

The Conversation

He shifted uncomfortably in the chair.  He knew this was coming and yet he still wasn’t ready for it.  He looked up into the eyes of the other one and, finding only wounding compassion and patience, he quickly looked back down.

If you could go back and change anything, what would you change?

Straight to the heart of the matter…he sighed the way he did when he wanted people to think that he was holding the weight of the world on his shoulders and measured his words carefully before allowing them to become his truth in the cool morning air.  “Everything,” he said in a tiny, self-conscious voice.


“Well…almost everything…”  He waited for response until he realized that one was not yet forthcoming.  “It feels like every decision I made…every avenue I chose to turn onto…every choice…was wrong.  It would be a…blessing…to be able to go back…to know what I know now and let it inform my life in ways that would make it better…”

You think that would have made a difference?  You think that the person you think you would have been would be a happier person?

He grimaced, hot tears crowding the corners of his eyes.  “God, I hope so.”

What specifically would you change?

The question had so many answers he wasn’t exactly sure where to begin.  He looked up for guidance but all he found was patient attention.  “I would zig when before I zagged,” he said, allowing himself a mirthless laugh.  “I would keep my feet on the ground instead of letting myself drift among so many foolish, unrealistic dreams.  I would apply myself to making life what I needed it to be instead of just passively letting it happen to me.”

The words tumbled out with a will of their own and his breathing got tight but he didn’t stop.  “I would tell my mother I love her every day of my life and tell my father I forgive him even though he probably wouldn’t understand what I was forgiving him for.  I would hold my brother tight and do whatever I needed to do to save him from himself.”

He took a breath and the hot tears seized the moment and rolled down his face.  “I would tell the people I loved that I did and leave those I didn’t love by the side of the road.  I would kiss the people I wanted to but didn’t…and I wouldn’t kiss the ones I shouldn’t have but did.”

He closed his eyes and wiped his face.  “I would really be as strong as I always pretended to be…” He opened his eyes and looked up.  “I wouldn’t be so afraid.”

He sat back, spent, and waited.  The silence danced around them.

You know that it doesn’t work that way.
He laughed again, ruefully but with some mirth this time.  “Yes, sir, I know it doesn’t work that way.”  He felt a strong, warm hand rest on his shoulder.

Most things aren’t good or bad…black or white…they just are…and they are in innumerable shades of gray.  The same is true for your journey, of course.

“That doesn’t make me feel better.”  The other one laughed warmly and leaned over and kissed the man’s cheek.

It will when it’s supposed to. 

Somehow knowing it was time to move on, he stood up.  The other one pointed to one of the many doors in the room and he walked towards it.  He looked back and started to say something…

It will when it’s supposed to.

He nodded.  “Thank you.”  And he opened the door.