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

In the presence of family, be only with family.

In the presence of family,

be only with family.

Put aside the work and worry.

It’ll be there when you part.

And enjoy one another

as if each member of your family

were a dish at the dinner table.

Fill yourself with their essence.

Allow them like nutrients

to replenish your mind, body, and soul

so that when you leave one another

you’ll do so knowing

their presence is with you

for better or worse, forever and onward—

second star to the right and straight on till morning.

Family Gathering, 2012

When I was a kid—after bedtime—as quietly as I could, I would crawl from my bed, onto the floor, then elbow and knee my way down the hallway to lay in the doorway of my brothers room…

When I was a kid—after bedtime—as quietly as I could, I would crawl from my bed, onto the floor, then elbow and knee my way down the hallway to lay in the doorway of my brothers room to watch his television.

He’s four years older than I am and, well, I thought he was really cool.

One, for having a TV in his bedroom. And two, for probably knowing I was there but not saying anything.

Whatever he was watching didn’t really make a difference but it was comfortable there, on the carpet, with the blue light flashing.

A dark bedroom can be pretty scary to a child, especially during a thunderstorm.

Now that we’re older, we speak when it is necessary, but not all the time.

Probably less than either of us cares to admit.

He’s a busy working husband and parent while I’m pretty much all over the map.

Though when we do talk, it’s a meaningful talk of mutual reflection. He provides me with information from four years down the line and I remind him that I’m listening by offering whatever small insights are on my mind.

I thought he was great then and I still do now. No matter the distance the bond between two brothers is strong and unwavering.

Basically what I am saying is I look forward to the next time we’re able to watch a little TV, crack a couple jokes, and just hang out—without any pressure—even if it means the carpet or floor, that’ll be enough.

The Sweatpants King And His Little Brother

How often have you judged yourself by your looks rather than how you feel? For this average white guy, countless.

If I could go back, all those years, and stand next to twelve year old me, would I have the courage and strength to tell that nervous boy watching all the other children, swimming, laughing, and running—playing shirts v.s. skins—to quit worrying and join in, that it doesn’t matter how chubby you feel, or how different you look, that as long as you love and accept yourself, no words from another can harm you, or would I just sit back and watch, still the observer unable to join the party?

It’s funny how something so simple as taking your shirt off to swim can be so detrimental to a young child’s self esteem and yet as adults we often forget what that was like or rather what external forces beyond our control led us to believe ourselves unworthy of such a simple, yet harrowing task.

As in childhood, so as in adulthood, what we allow to harm us will.

Commercials show us long, slender, sleek models who seem to effortlessly fit in to their surroundings while being rewarded with warm smiles and admiration for seeming perfect.

Television shows and movies give us well manicured, quintessential versions of ourselves that often seem more like science fiction than what actually is.

Billboard ads and magazines are placed conveniently to fill all our psyche with blemish-less detail to promote this false sense of unattainable beauty that even when met, there’s ultimately an even whiter teeth formula, or wax to whisk away our imperfection.

It’s a cycle that even before the mind has time to develop, stunts it’s growth and like a cavity begins to decay all sense of self worth.

How often have you judged yourself by your looks rather than how you feel?

For this average white guy, countless.

But it’s taken all those countless times to figure out that it doesn’t matter in the slightest, especially as a child who’s developing.

So would I tell that twelve year old me to take his shirt off and go swimming with the rest of the lot?

I don’t think there is a clear answer other than that instead of telling him what he should or shouldn’t do like all the rest of the world, I’d allow him the opportunity to listen to my story and decide for himself.

But I would say this. Chances are that boy or girl over there thinks there nose is too big or there ears are too small. Chances are that kid who cringes to put on his glasses everyday feels just like you do now, wondering what others will think of what makes him human.

Perhaps I’d reassure him that everybody has stretch marks, even the biggest, strongest athletes. Even his mother, and what could be more beautiful than sacrificing your physical form to grant another life?

But we all figure it out in our own time.

I know he did.

Clearwater Beach Florida

sad suburban father’s

There’s a black cloud hanging over

the boys playing in the park

While they argue who is correct

mothers watch them from afar

Now there’s Billy screaming loudly

clawing at this boy named Mark

Who his mother she is absent

somewhere screaming in the dark.

It’s a Sunday what a fun day

boy let’s pass the ball around

He’s a shy son name is Ricky

staring at his father now

He is pitching like a Yankee

throwing hard with all his might

All the while there is Ricky

scared to death screaming inside.

There are blue jays singing robins

bugs and inchworms puffy clouds

On the playground there are children

swinging madly laughing loud

Cause it’s Sunday what a fun day

to be playing in the park

Except for Ricky, Billy’s mother

and Mark crying in the dark.

Now the children they all line up

ice cream bells ring all around

He’s a kind man I mean probably

he just smiles at the crowd

Screw-ball sundaes chocolate cookies

candy gleaming in his hand

For the children ask no questions

they just stand and stand and stand.

Now the mothers call the boys in

from the awful looking cloud

Billy’s mother reprimands him

as Mark’s mother has a cow

Oh your father she is shouting

Ricky hears her from afar

As his father whips a fast one

knocking Ricky to the ground.

There are stars now spinning circles

sending shivers down Mark’s spine

While his father who is furious

warns him hell boy you’ll be fine

As Mark stands and sees the dark cloud

fill with light ready to burst

Cats and dogs rain down around him

he thinks what’s he who’s on first.

So the moral of this story

is not what keeps you in line

It’s the people in the park who

I do not wish to define

They are people who like people

look quite normal in the park

While the sad suburban father’s

dingle dangle in the dark.

peaches

An idea
fosters questions.

And questions
raise ideas.

Picked like peaches,
pickled and peppered,

in sealed mason jars,
upon dusty wood shelf
buried in a garage that smells
of gasoline, and summer.

Where as kids playing nerf
we never raised such questions

not having any idea
of the hungry beast out there

waiting, sharpening its claws
using our parents as dental floss,

grooming its teeth, and ready
for the day

it too, could devour our peaches.

Another word to an unborn son

Some day
out of nowhere
your mood
will shift
from one hundred percent
to zero,

and you will feel sad

and you will feel weak

and you will feel vulnerable,

and that’s good
that’s natural
that’s life,
so get used to it,
it’s a beautiful thing
even when it hurts most.

A Common Conundrum

There
is a
brief
window
as a kid
where
they
don’t know
about

overtime
morning commute
time and a half
cut hours

nor should they,

because
they’re kids,
kids who need to let the adults speak
you tell them all the time

so
when
the kid’s
all grown up
and wants nothing to do with you
don’t forget
all
those
times
the kid
just wanted to play.

In light of current & ongoing events.

Most of us have a hard time
having to express the way we feel inside
I
seem quite normal to the outside world
but really who would know?
We
don’t ask questions in public
for fear of stirring up conflict
You
could have said something helpful
but you stood politically correct.

Some like to engage in alcohol
others fuck strangers in bathroom stalls
She
to the world looked like an angel
something she’d never know.
We
don’t ask questions in public
for fear of stirring up conflict
He
could have given her confidence?
But sadly he knew the truth.

Most of us have a hard time
having to express the way we feel inside
I
am just a quarter in a wishing well
so here’s to wishing you well.
We
don’t want to listen to sadness speak
instead we wait for silence’s grief
You
could have the world at your feet
if you just put that bottle down.

It’s not a problem until it is
we’ve all got history I know this
He
made loads of money and hit his kids
but that’s just history now.
We
don’t ask questions in public
for fear of stirring up conflict
I’ve
been feeling good the past two days
I guess that’s a start anyhow.