over the wall

dear friends, i found a song and video that
inspired this poem. the words are written to the
tempo of the song and if you have the time,
please watch this incredible video.
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Stubborn Love/ The Lumineers
It’s better to feel pain, than nothing at all
The opposite of love’s indifference
So keep your head up, keep your love
Keep your head up, my love
Keep your head up, keep your love
Head up, love
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over the wall
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i saw a smile today…

shining from a stranger’s face

and bundled from the bitter cold

it leapt over the wall

to meet me eye to eye
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i woke a girl today…

and kissed her pale forehead

as i did on that night she was born

tears just poured over the wall

at the miracle in my arms
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i drew a face today…

trusting these hands again to say

what my eyes have always known

climbing over the wall
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’cause fear is the enemy of art
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i risked it all again…
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and shared all the secrets
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of my troubled life
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her patient Love tore down the wall
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to heal an injured heart
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now i won’t pretend to know

why this life can be so hard sometimes

and this world will bruise our tender hearts
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because i am just the sum of all my pain

the kind that can never really be repaired

i just learned to wear the scars beneath my skin
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i saw the sun today

so bright through the clouds

even the greying slush did

sparkle and gleam across my boots

and i… just keep walkin’ on
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Siren of Shooting Stars

dear friends,
it’s been a long week and a longer winter.
i began daydreaming about the warm weather
and the annual vacation we take each August.
we rent a 5 bedroom houseboat on Holly Lake
in Tennessee and find our favorite cove and
tie up for 10 ten days.

this is a repost, i edited the form. it was written
in one sitting at 3am as i sat as i always do, on the
top deck while family and friends were asleep. this song
was playing in my headphones and this poem was inspired by
the incredible shower of shooting stars that crossed the sky.

please play the song and begin reading…ty and i hope you enjoy.

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when

the

S u n

is

busy

elsewhere…..

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and

the

night

descends

upon

your

world…

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.

in

your

S i l e n c e…

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.

in

the

S e r e n i t y

of

forgiving

S o l i t u d e…

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cast

away

the

fear,
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.

just

S u r r e n d e r

your

heart

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and

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L i s t e n.

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beg

your

eyes

to

open,

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.

to

gaze

so

high

above

the

low

horizon.

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there…

beyond

any

doubt

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behind

the

shadow

of

constant

cloud,

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.

S h e

can

be

seen

each

night

cajoling

every

S t a r

in

your

S k y.

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B e l i e v e,

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.

embrace

your

F a i t h.

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S h e

is

O m n i p r e s e n t,

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.

S h e

is

E v e r l a s t i n g.

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S h e

is

a

daughter

of

the

U n i v e r s e,

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.

a

S i r e n

of

S h o o t i n g

S t a r s.

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.

her

voice

a

chorus,

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a

H a r m o n y

of

every

melody

devoted

to

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L o v e.

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.

her

history

our

yearning,

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.

the

sum

of

our

forgotten

M e m o r y.

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.

her

shape,

a

C o s m i c

swirling

of

I n f i n i t e

density.

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S h e

talks

to

S t a r s,

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.

in

the

U n i v e r s a l

language

of

L o v e,

of

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R e a s s u r a n c e.

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.

a

S i r e n

offering

C o u r a g e

to

erase

their

fear.

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‘my bashful star,
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ready yourself for the voyage.

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T i m e

is

N o w.’

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‘oh, lovely star
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hear my song,
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my Melody of Love as you fly’

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‘go little star!

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blaze a trail
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across the midnight sky’

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and

become

N o w,
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what you were always meant to Be.’
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and show this world
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P e r f e c t i o n,
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in your moment of
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E t e r n i t y.’

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The Bridge of Time and Promise

dear friends.. i felt the need to write some prose while i worked on the co write poems i mentioned in my last post, the song was chosen not for the title or video but for the close your eyes experience.
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The Bridge of Time and Promise
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Chaos was the default setting in my family. The earliest memory of my uncertain future, was me sitting in the sturdy chrome legged high chair that provided a perfect mezzanine level view of the kitchen table. From the relative safety of that private perch sitting plush as a prince behind my oversized formica tray, I could hear and see everything.

It was a cruel foreshadowing of how I would eventually view the world.

Wednesday meant spaghetti and meatballs for dinner, and not ’50’s style Americanized Chef Boyardee spaghetti either. No, not in our house. I can remember watching for hours while my mom made the meatballs, prepared the ingredients and slow cooked the deep red fragrant sauce on the stove. With her large spoon disappearing into the open topped aluminum pressure cooker to take a sip then dolloping some into my plastic bowl, I was a red saucy mess by dinnertime

Though I was much too young and preoccupied as curious kids are,
to understand exactly what all the words I heard actually meant, I knew something was amiss that night. Kids learn by repetition and it wasn’t until my personal spaghetti feast was suddenly interrupted by a very loud thwack followed by my father yelling at the top of his lungs, did I realize the words ‘not good enough’ was…uhm, not good.

From what I could gather, his ‘not good enough wife’ had once again tried to cook a ‘not good enough sauce’, not like his mother would make it and said sauce and spaghetti ended up on the ceiling in so furious a motion, my mom and I sat in stunned mouth agape awe.

Lost in my kid reverie of seeing something new for the very first time,
I don’t recall hearing the plate crash down on the table but the white porcelain shards were everywhere. The inevitable commotion and chaos trailed quickly down the hallway without so much as a glance from me, I just couldn’t take my eyes off that Rorschach red splatter on the low ceiling.

So there I sat in our little kitchen alone in my high chair, howling with laughter as one by one a spaghetti strand would peel away from the ceiling only to flutter and plop on the linoleum floor.

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Apparently the spaghetti was cooked to perfection, al dente pasta will cling if you toss a strand on the ceiling; an old school trick I learned from my few years as a chef. The recipe is memorized now I’ve made it so many times though I wish just once, mom could have slow cooked
it for her grandchild. Shining that red saucy face grin, my daughter has been happily wearing that sauce since she was in her own high chair.

Mom deserved to live that memory… the world and our lives are less that she didn’t but the regret has tempered with time, and knowing mom would have been tickled that her recipe was still being savored.

And there is solace in knowing the weight of her life has lifted some,

that the generational abuse in our family finally ended with me…

a promise I whispered in my daughter’s ear

the miracle night she was born.

in whatever I have or may succeed,

I find joy in the vast and

tranquil oceans of her innocence.

and my life’s full reward

witnessing the budding dreams

of clean and open sky…

of song and flights of angels soaring…

of pure… in her adolescent eyes.
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as the Universe intended.
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The Angel of Redemption

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some magical Icelandic music to read by
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The Angel of Redemption
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high on a mountain
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resting in the Sun washed sky,
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day never meets night,
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and the Stars never die.
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low clouds… they wait suspended in
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a permanent air…
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alone on the peak
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with the Heavens nearby,
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and speaking in tongues
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with her half Sister the Moon,
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an Angel sits there.
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i’ve traveled this jagged path
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of a difficult life,
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plateau… by plateau,
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reaching… time and… again
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climbing this mountain of strife.
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and restless souls
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sleep the sleep of despair,
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while we stumble…
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stumble blind
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through the night…
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my clear eyed Angel
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beckoned as I reached the peak,
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she sat me down… and held my hand.
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together… we watched
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our Universe unfold there…
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she spoke softly in
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a tranquil dialect of unconditional Love,
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in the purest syllables of Truth.
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the Truth
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only the Innocent know.
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her words dreamlike swirling in the still air…
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as i became the story in her eyes,
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slowly… the burden of years…
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the remnants of wronged perception,
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and the dead weight of doubt began
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………………..lifting
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……….floating
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………………..rising
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becoming one with
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the Infinite Memory of Stars.
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amidst the permanent air of the Universe.
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a celestial reminder
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the eternal gift of Love given being returned,
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time…and time…and again..
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as our finite days become forever…
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and we become another…
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like imploding Stars morph into matter….
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because Love given…like a Star
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never truly dies.
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ngc6357_hubble_960
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from NASA.gov
For reasons unknown, NGC 6357 is forming some of the most massive stars ever discovered. One such massive star, near the center of NGC 6357, is framed above carving out its own interstellar castle with its energetic light from surrounding gas and dust.

everyday….. Of Kitchens & Promises

everyday will be a random
posting of daily events or
memories of my daily life
that don’t translate
well into poetry

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029

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I should have known when she spent an entire summer weekend dutifully making notations in pencil on the back of every page of a very neat black clasped, inch thck manuscript. Curious, I inquired, thinking it was something she had written. As she slowly wrapped her left arm around the stack of paper, protective like any good editor and gathering it closer as she lay flat on the pull out futon, answering in a very quiet but deliberate voice,

‘It’s Anna’s autobiography, she asked me to read it and take notes.’

I sat there in my favorite writing chair in the room we shared when she sleeps over, mouth slightly ajar and more than a little dumbfounded. Cbear, my daughter was 12 last year.

I guess I should have known then.

Maybe it should have dawned on me a few months later when she had her choice of languages to study, after testing into one of the better high schools that includes a new advanced 7th and 8th grade college prep program.

‘I decided to continue Chinese. The United States and China wiil be doing a joint space venture someday and I want to be there.’

Spoken so matter of factly, I could only stammer,

‘Uh…sure, that makes a lot of sense Cbear.’

We had spoken about the possibility of her learning French and how it might inspire her writing, poetry and the blossoming creative side of her personality. She’s been learning Chinese for 5 years now, about as long as she’s expressed the burning desire to be an astro-physicist. Stephen Hawking is one of her favorite reads.

It should have dawned on me, right then and there.

I mean, how dense of a father can I be to not realize that my little girl is growing up in leaps and bounds so profound I am continually playing catchup, constantly trying to assimilate and absorb this not so sudden reality? Any comparison, any attempt to relate to how I was at her age has long ago become obsolete becaue there is none.

It feels as though I’m flying by the seat of my parental pants, trying to grasp a shooting star.

And it’s not that I’m attempting to hold her back, that would be as selfish and unfair as it would be impossible but….I just keep wondering where these 13 years went, I worry that her childhood is going by too quickly.

I wonder if she feels the same whooooosh! of time that I do.

Cbear lives with her mom and as a child of a divorce is about as well adjusted as you could expect a kid to be. There are the inevitable day to day details I really regret missing over the years with our every Wednesday, every other weekend sleepover arrangement, but when we’re together we talk about stuff, real stuff.

She and I have always talked, our conversations began when she was very young as my way to resolve conflict, when she occasionally misbehaved and needed some guidance and direction. It was very purposeful, a night and day difference in how conflict was so called ‘resolved’ when I was a kid, the back of the hand injustice I was given as guidance by my parents.

And if there ever was a conversation that
crystalized just how grown up this 13 year
old daughter of mine is now, it is the one
we had a few weeks ago standing in the
kitchen of our apartment after school.
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Soon after moving into Scout’s apartment, we did an assesment of what we now owned together. With both of us being good cooks fond of our own special pots and utensils, the large but poorly designed kitchen that held promise, needed a complete redesign. I cooked professionally for 4 years, and being borderline OCD I designed it to resemble a restaurant kitchen, lots of stainless steel, almost everything exposed, organized and easily accesible.

Every utensil, pot, saute pan and dish had its own place.

I took the entire kitchen down to the studs on the walls and floors and started from scratch, doing most of the work myself. The project took about 6 months, and there were days we wondered if we had bitten off more than we could chew.

But now all these years later, our kitchen like kitchens in most people’s homes is the hub of ours too, the place where the day to day life of our family begins and ends, where lists are made, food is shared and conversations had. Ours is not a sit down kitchen with a table, but it is very comfortable with a large counter where we sit and eat, work on laptops, and chatter about our day.

And if you’ve been to other people’s homes for a dinner or party, the kitchen is usually where all the adults eventually find themselves, the magnet of proximity to food and beverages is just too appealing. So in retrospect, it was fitting that Cbear and I had this converstaion in our kitchen that night.

I knew the minute she began talking this was no ordinary conversation, turning off the burners on the stove I turned around to face her eye to eye, heart to heart because what she was telling me needed every bit of my attention and careful consideration. We spoke for about an hour, I listened a lot, I asked questions and she was as direct and truthful and matter of fact as I’ve ever known her to be. After I took her head in my hands, kissed her forehead as I always do, we hugged for a long time before she returned to her bedroom to resume her homework.

I stood there for a long while letting the warmth and wonder of the moment wash over me, shaking my head some, tearing up a little too. I thought about the first time this person, this now young adult and I first met, in the delivery room after the horribly traumatic ordeal of the emergency C section had subsided, where it was very touch and go for both her and her mom, when the nurse finally handed me this tiny bundle of blankets with a baby inside, how tiny this new life felt in my large hands and the truly beautific smile the nurse had on her face as she told me my daughter and her mom were healthy.

I can recognize that tranquil, clear eyed matter of fact innocence now, it was there when I looked in her hazel eyes that night, as i kissed her forehead for the first time and just before the nurse came back to take her to her mom, the promise I whispered in her little ear, that the injustice I experienced as a kid by hand and from the mouths of my parents, would never be experienced by her. Ever. It would end with me.

And I stood there a while longer, eventually turning on the burners again to resume dinner for us both thinking about promises, that we don’t hear or read much about them these days, these days of instantly unfriending someone, where divorce is so commonplace that more than half of Cbear’s schoolmates are living in single parent households, where commitment and devotion seem like such an ancient concept.

I made two promises early in my life, one I broke staying five years longer than I should have in my frst marriage, a marriage that had become loveless, and in hindsight a promise made to fix what my parents broke, my childlike attempt to repair my own family.

I kept the promise I made to Cbear, easily the most important thing I’ve ever accomplished in this life and the woooosh! of time brought me such a profound and divine humility and gratitude that she wanted our living arangements to change,
that she wanted to spend more time with her dad.

We decided a week here and a week with her mom would be best for all of us, and during the first week we were talking about stuff again. I’ve been revealing a little about my life to her when I was sure she was ready. We were looking at old photos of her when she was a baby and I told her of the promise I made to her that night as I held her for the first time.

And I could see it was she who was listening quite intently this time, and when I finished she looked at me eye to eye, heart to heart and said,

‘Thank you dad’,

and we hugged for a long time, right there in the kitchen.
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everyday….Bucket of Glads

these old shoes……Haiku

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to read by
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these old shoes
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these old shoes of mine…

walked the twisting, painful path

that has marked this life.

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my innocence lost…

psyche and body so bruised,

i ran at fourteen.

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and these old shoes stood

steadfast and true…. with me in

my loneliest hours.

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i can’t let them die…

stitching them back together,

again… and… again.

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i don’t yearn for much…

these days….. my miracles are

the moments i’m in.

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my needs are simple,

f a m i l y…. is my fashion.
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‘shoes, just get me…..h o m e’

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for my sister Melanie,
ty for your courage.

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a wish come true

dear new friends and old,

it isn’t often that a difficult issue, especially one that involves family, is resolved in precisely the way you hoped it would, that everything might just fall into place, and everyone might play their part according to a perfect but unwritten script. navigating family resolutions, at least in my experience, is like living in a colorless, flat landscape of unsatisfsctory compromises.

that absolute ideal, what you really hope could happen, rarely does.

well, i will tell you today that everything did fall into place, everyone did play their part perfectly, without rancor, without a single voice raised, with empathy and resolve and a single minded, selfless purpose.

because sometimes it isn’t about us, sometimes it’s about letting ‘us’ go, about being a conduit for what someone else needs because that person is counting on you to help make it happen, because they can’t themselves. and i will tell you i am proud of every single person involved because when i wrote ‘every single word, each reassuring gesture is crucial’ in ‘one of those moments’, i realized this wasn’t just a reminder to myself, it was a necessity for everyone else involved as well.

and so a wish was made…. and that wish came true.

yes…our lives will change significantly, everyone’s will, in the small day to day details and in profound, unknown ways. yet, as i sit here writing this and despite my weariness and emotional exhaustion, i am incredibly hopeful for what the future holds for us all, here in our family. this week will be a week of transition, and my singular resolve and commitment is no less important now, than it was getting to this point. i’m not ready to write just yet, but expect me on your pages as i catch up with what i’ve been missing.

this experience has certainly crystallized many of my long held beliefs, that our tragic history does not have to be repeated, that there is a pure universal truth in selflessness, that empathy and patience and love are by far, the most important human attributes.

that if we all work together… we can achieve anything.

i will also tell you there were days i lost my bliss, that anxiety held it’s grip and would not let go, that fear ruled the day, fear that this might not be resolved as perfectly as it was.

and each time i felt i might sink a little lower, i would get yet another encouraging e mail from one of you, from so many of you, or another wonderful comment would appear, some from new friends and old i have never spoken to, and about a dozen new friends arrived to remind me that i was being thought of even in my absence. and on days like this i think about how incredible this community is, and how lucky i am to be here among all of you. i consider you all part of my exteneded family.

there are seven words i hold dear to my heart in the English language, words that to me, are the most important words we can say to one another in certain moments.

‘i’m sorry’…’i love you’…and ‘thank you’.

thank you, thank you, thank you all.
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