Communion in the Park

Men in the park

grip brown paper bags

certain as Catholic nuns

grasp their faith,

both counting one

by one, until neither

makes any difference

in the course of eternity.

Two paths, one park bench—

Angelic in their own rite.

Footnote: to Regardless of the election.

For the majority of my adult life I have lived in impoverished communities, mainly because it’s what I am able to afford. I have seen, felt, and heard the cries of both men and women, alone in gutters, pulling the arms of children onward to a life not many of us will ever lead. Some of course have made choices leading them down this path, others are facing hard times, but I see the majority of them, just as I see myself, as I see my loved ones, as common people. So regardless of the outcome of an election, regardless of the winning or losing side, I still see many men, women, and innocent children who will continue to suffer either way. I do my best to spare what little I have to offer, be it a dollar or two, a bottle of water, or even a smile which seems to go even further than the former because at least they know that they are seen, and like so many of us often feel, we like those less fortunate are not forgotten. So just be a decent person, treat people with dignity and respect, regardless of their current standings in life. Do what you can to leave the world a better place than it was yesterday. And be well, my friends. Be humble and aware. And give more than you receive, when possible. With love, gratitude, and thanks to all who’ve graced my path, and who I continue to think of daily.

whether or not

Every morning

theres’s a woman

pruning bush, or

a bush pruning

woman, whether or not

either is real to me

it’s real to her,

that rose bush

pruned, green grass

now rising wet

in the morning dew

of chimney’s now

smoking, standing

in line at the DMV

with the DUI

unpaid, scratching lotto

old men lifting hats

scratching heads,

wondering like children

where all that hair

goes when it falls out

and if there’ll be

enough water

for the grass, in

the coming July drought,

no matter, still

does the woman prune

as the old me croon—

each mourning.

Whatever you decide, do it without the need for validation—we are one.

Whatever you decide, do it without the need for validation.

To seek validity is but a farce. It’s like aiming to make a splash in a rain puddle.

A child learns early on whether they care to admit it or not, that their choice is theirs and theirs alone. Nobody really cares more than it takes them to realize, eventually with age, that nobody really cares.

Sure, a mother cares deeply, but only as far as it interrupts her well being.

A father can break his back many times, but only as many times as it serves his cause.

Progression doesn’t come from an audience. Progression comes from within.

Progression comes from love, awareness, and nurture.

And although social media tells a different story from reality, we seek it, crave it, we often need it, but do we really?

Perhaps the greatest lesson we can learn from posting our day to day lives, morality, and hardships is that we are all equally as alone as we are the same—myself included.

Not too long ago, there was a time, it seemed, the world was much larger than we could ever imagine.

Driving cross country felt then like an achievement whereas now—after doing it more than a dozen times—it feels more like a routine I’d rather not admit.

Mostly it’s this that scares me.

Desensitization. It’s this that makes me wonder.

What’s the point?

The point is to treat yourself with the same dignity you would a stranger—a child.

The point is to look beyond life’s blessings, with eyes wide shut, and understand that all will be regardless of whatever validation you seek.

We can learn this by simply looking at a flower bloom. We can understand this by accepting that although, it may seem, the flower dies, another will take its place, as equally and wholly as beautiful as its former.

So whatever you decide, decide knowing, you aren’t as separate as you feel—we are all one.

Long Island Cottage, 2012

Children

Children are very important, more in tune

than our fragile adult minds are willing to admit,

because kids know what’s important

and they’ll tell you to your face,

though it’s hard to hear them

with all the nonsense man’s created

to convince the world

he ain’t so little anymore, knowing the truth

once he’s willing to truly listen.

My Nephew Collin

Portrait of my own Unique Beauty

If what you see in the mirror is ugly, then consider this: chances are you’re comparing your own unique beauty to what, for your entire life, you’ve been programmed to believe is beautiful.

And what is beauty anyways?

Margaret Wolfe Hungerford said, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”

And isn’t that true? Yes or no, in more instances than not beauty is subjective. In fact, I’d go even further to say that beauty manifests itself in infinite ways other than what the eye can see.

As a photographer with a fond admiration for women and men alike I can honestly say that I have taken countless photographs and manipulated them to appeal to the mass collective of what is to be considered quote on quote “beautiful.”

Hypocrite. No, I think not. I never claimed they were beautiful but simply did my job in a way that my superior agreed was aesthetically pleasing.

A wrinkle here, a crows foot there, deleted.

Nobody has ever died from a portrayal of beauty, right?

Wrong. Though I’m not an extremist so there are many factors to consider, all of which yes, I agree, may seem like a bit of a cop out or excuse not to hold oneself accountable for taking what is and transforming it into something less natural.

But this isn’t about my career choice or eye in which I behold.

This is about you and that “ugly” reflection in the mirror.

You are not ugly, you simply aren’t. You are you, and you are beautiful.

Those who claim to seek perfection, well, they’re only trying to fill a void. And it’s a bottomless pit because like beauty, perfection is ultimately subjective.

While I sit here and delve deeper into thought, I watch a mother and daughter walk by my window. The mother is flapping her arms as graceful as she can. The child looks to her mother and understands she is trying her best.

In the end all that we can do is try our best to love ourselves enough to fully accept the unique beauty of another.

Any other judgement is of which we have been programmed to believe.

It’s taken a very long while to believe in myself and I willingly admit that each day is a slow progression to further acceptance of my own unique beauty.

If someone tells you you’re not beautiful, that’s their loss.

And I hope the next mirror that you face looks back in your direction as the child looks with grace and marvels at the perfection of her mother’s love.

Portrait of my own Unique Beauty, September 8, 2020

Through the air vents of my room

I’ve known a many artist in my day, say

Today old friend you come to mind

And how for a short time, your voice divine

Scratchy and old, though, you and I know

Age is just a number and it’s you who’d show

Me this: Dear, Gavin Heron Vante

Who needed a place to rest his weary head

For the night I offered you some bread

Where that night you had said, Ah man!

I haven’t seen this show in years, mind if I watch

Married with Children, Amen! Amen!

Then later I’d record you playing all the chords

I always had wish I could, watching your fingers

Slide and swoop through Sloop John B

I tried to sing harmonies but who was I kidding

Aloof in my eagerness to know everything and all

You had to offer and more, more, more I cried

Singing, drinking in the night like two old friends

Because we were in fact just two ageless nobodies

In the effortless night of somebodies

Giving me your time, cradling my wine

Looking through old photo’s now

I can still feel your spirit sing softly through

The air vents of my room

The next morning of course, saying farewell

Dropping you at Austin’s Coffee

Collecting your bicycle and taking the trash out for a buck

Needing my fix of early morning talkie

That I’m sure no one ever really gave a hoot about —

Now I hear you’re out of the Coma

That took you too soon like a phantom in the night

You were right when you told me

To take it easy man, oh man, Gavin Heron Van

Where there is no plan there in lies the plan

I now know the meaning of that age old saying

Those were the days, good sir, I give my praise

Sincerely,

Dave

P.S. There’s a place for you here, always

it’s ok to feel blue too.

I think I’d rather not

I mean ok

Let me walk a block

Get my thoughts straight

Try and help out

Make you feel great

If this was high school

Basket case.

I think I’d like that

I mean no don’t

If you bite back

I could go home

Take my shoes off

Draw a warm bath

Some use a toaster

Here I’ll right back.

Got a new job

Got a new face

Got some new friends

To help replace

No that ain’t right

I mean ok

It’s a bad trip

Depends what you take.

Is that a sick joke

Or the new wave

Is that a cut throat

Or a switchblade

Is this real life

Or a showcase

No one can hurt you

Just be brave.

Had a dog once

His name was courage

He could sense pain

Like a surgeon

One day I woke up

He had broken

His chain and ran off

But that’s the breaks kid.

See the sunshine

And the bus stop

See the shadows

And the rooftops

Even your grumpy

Great grandpa

Smiles sometimes

Don’t last long.

So if you feel bad

Just know I like you

If you feel sad

I’ll feel sad too

We’ll sing a singalong

In a sad room

Kid it’s ok

To feel blue too.

Her Genius

We are all our own genius

aren’t we? Self-help tells us

to be selfless while the world

tells us to be tough

slowly, gradually

like a surgeon’s steel

picking apart pieces

of our sanity like a game

of Operation. We are all

children at heart, aren’t we?

When our nose’s glow red

and hairs stand on end

while our souls ignite like kerosene

flailing our arms in ecstasy

remembering the truth which

from birth was wiped clean

like a board of chalk.

We’re always trying to get that

message back, that message which

in a world or man and steel and greed

can only exist as long as love at first sight

where in the morning she lay

soundlessly asleep, bound to no one

her genius in my memory forever.