Topanga

Halogen yellow bursts

of light, turn signals

burn bright, through

white lines of Topanga

Morning sunrise, her and I

up all night, we rise

like silhouetted tree

under the belly of LA sky,

gaze upon a sea of fog

clouds, shower faint

hallucinations of

spontaneous future

Travel

October. Topanga Beach

The slammed door and the silence

The slammed door said I’m hurting.

The silence said I’m scared.

The walls between us listened

when no one seemed to care.

The portraits on the wall,

oh how they seemed stare,

where deep within night

the stars poured ever clear.

The door knob turned eventually

as silence did it’s head,

the sea between us parted and

the portraits went to bed.

While all the world was sleeping

with all their monsters fed,

the boy and girl slept soundly

no sooner had they met.

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

So it seems here, now, in the mornings clean light, where all that I can do is observe—in nature that surrounds—human nature take its course.

I spent a good portion of last night, mooring with the tide, tied to emotions, most of which surely weren’t mine to suffer, though, like a good little buoy I did all I could to stay afloat.

But what causes a man to harbor such feelings of faithless dread.

Sympathy? Empathy? Selfless, selfishness?

Isn’t it funny how even when no one asks us to suffer, we often choose to suffer.

Could it stem from guilt? Plausible, though I think not. Depression? No, because I could still move. Trauma? Not in this case, as it had nothing to personally do with me.

Perhaps than maybe deeper, beyond the physical self, far from age or reason, like roots grown deep within the soil, always there yet invisible to the naked eye.

So then what?

Let’s take the current state of society in which the mind is placed.

We are and always have been reactionary beings, jumping to conclusions without fully taking the time and energy to understand or explore where these irrational compulsions come from.

So the year is 2020 and we are still at one another’s throats.

Not a day goes by that I don’t get a phone call whether or not I am willing to vote. Not a day goes by that I don’t see one side of the argument ready and willing to cut the other’s throat. Not a day goes by where I don’t get the impression that peace is just dependent on war, like an inside joke I just don’t get the humor.

So it’s within this grey area that I swim where both sides of the equation continue to expel these deep seeded emotions from within.

Had it not been for the open minded, tirelessly educated guidance and good nature of a mother, I may have gone another way years ago, though still I stay afloat while the undertow continues its torment.

So it seems here, now, in the mornings clean light, where all that I can do is observe—in nature that surrounds—human nature take its course.

I know who I am. And I know my intentions are good. Sometimes our actions speak louder than words but for most of us, words just don’t seem to be heard.

But that’s no reason to destroy what you can’t control.

So for those who cannot express or explain this current state of extremes we face both alone and together, I suggest this: be a beacon of hope.

Because what we know today, with or without our help, will surely change tomorrow.

So even in my darkest hours, I know, hope will never falter, light will find a way, and tides will turn, if not now, then surely another day.

Alone and writing.

Wild Beauty

She watched him rage

with the rapid tide

like an oil painting

left to dry,

each stroke was wild

beauty, behind

him boats full throttle

calm as the horizon.

California September 2020

Colorado

on the road to nowhere fast

holy rock and stone flies pass

speeding sky dawn’s overcast

where mountain gulch

stream onward fast—we drive

on happy high of summers past

My words

My words, they are carried

like a seagull clenches crab

Plucked from the water

red claws pinching mad

Then dropped from the sky

to a hot pier of gull

A days hungry flock

who will never be full

Where valleys lay and peaks do rise

Beams of light which dance on my wall

Aligned with the sun I know they’ll fall

Deep within my own hearts embrace

Like shadows cast I’ll leave not a trace

Where beauty fills the untrained mind

My love, my dear, sweet dew resigns

Each blade of grass from which we crawl

Is timeless, still, the moon does fall

Where valleys lay and peaks do rise

Is where my sight and yours align

And to the depths, the deepest sea

Like an anchor rests, my heart to thee

Eating edibles by the ocean

Her sun kissed skin

My wind swept hair

Eating edibles by the ocean

So happy we’re here

I play my part as she sings me to sleep

Taylor calls for me from those stairs in Italy

I’m walking by a pay phone on the beach

Reminders from the East and a girl named Cicily

Talk me into circles out of reach

Send letters won’t you son to remind us what you’ve done

Don’t be a stranger call us once a week?

I buried what was left of my heartache in a trench

On that lonesome stretch of sand I was released

Now Bret he reads the lines in the background of my mind

There’s no one in this room to hear me sing

When journaling in thought feels like a raven’s claw

It’s Taylor who sits calmly next to me

The grass rests underneath her cheekbone by the sea

While chemicals channel flowing dreams

It’s 8am in August while I pour the gin and tonic

Listening to the ocean’s cresting wave

The cobblestone in Rome for which once walked me home

Now Cicily I hear her gently speak

There’s no such thing as time, if you believe that then that’s fine

But darling I’ve got no tears left to weep

I did my best to please the priest listening to me

Still Lucas rest assured me of my grief

I didn’t have to sail to France to find a girl to dance

I just went out every night for one last drink

So now as Taylor calls to me from those stairs in Italy

I pick her up once more from memory

I play my part as she sings me to sleep

I pick her up once more from memory

I play my part as she sings me to sleep