Digging

Keep digging through the pain

and at the bottom you’ll find

that what’s buried underneath

was worth your struggle.

Then just keep on digging.

Austin’s Coffee, 2011

Let today be a reminder

Let today be a reminder

that bravery

sacrifice

and we the people

bleed as one, heal as one

and mourn together

as one

for a better tomorrow.

A kick in the head!

I will always be curious

and allergic to cats.

Ain’t that a kick in the head!

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

The ability to discover is a gift in itself and it’s that same gift of discovery that makes our individual perception unique.

Have you ever noticed that the thing you are most excited to share with another person, be it a new book, movie, podcast, idea, or what you think happens to be something to be considered “the greatest,” that their excitement never quite matches your own?

Of course you have. We’re all human.

And have you ever noticed that upon showcasing this thought or idea to another that when you do, their reaction never quite lives up to your expectation, which leaves you feeling either hurt or discouraged?

I will not take it upon myself to assume that you have though I will tell you this: I have.

And it’s a very tough thing to understand.

In the moment of realization that your appreciation for something you deem extraordinary hasn’t been deeply felt in the same way by another can often cause conflict, misunderstanding, and judgement—that is reactionary rather than honest.

Instead of expressing our pain for what seems a lack of appreciation in the moment, we often turn to criticism, which is in itself a form of false pride.

Rather than saying, “I’m confused as to why you don’t feel the way I do about what I’m showing you,” one says, “well, of course you don’t get it,” or more often than not, we say nothing, letting our emotions fester to distress and shame.

In the Alchemist, Paulo Coelho writes: “It’s not what enters men’s mouths that’s evil, it’s what comes out of their mouths that is.”

Well if that’s not the boldest yet truest statement to have ever been penned than I implore you to enlighten me as I’ve found myself in this predicament more times than I am willing to admit.

My point is, we can’t expect another’s reaction to mirror our own.

We shouldn’t expect them to for the simple fact that they are their own person, with their own background, beliefs, and experiences that before judgement deserve appreciation and due time to process and articulate what is being presented.

What took the time to find, understand, and appreciate should also be granted—the time—to another.

It’s like telling someone rather than suggesting someone read a book.

Your willingness to share does not determine one’s willingness to receive.

It’s like giving someone the answer without allowing them to solve the equation.

The ability to discover is a gift in itself and it’s that same gift of discovery that makes our individual perception unique.

So the next time you offer someone a gift, regardless of their reaction, remember who you’re sharing it with and why you chose them to share it with you all over again.

I think then you will find an even deeper appreciation for yourself and another.

Santa Monica. September 6, 2020

Surrender for this man is essential for future understanding.

As important as it is to be informed, it’s just as important, if not of further importance to distinguish between what information you allow in and what information you choose to put out.

Feeling pain is not an excuse to cause another pain.

Feeling slighted is not an excuse to slight another person.

The news and media are valuable resources to acquire current information but the information gained from the news and media is not an excuse to promote ignorance and intolerance—or for lack of a better metaphor: one side of the coin—without further, more definitive research.

I don’t claim to know everything and I have come to terms with the fact that I never will.

I’m no a saint.

There has and always has been social injustice and sorrow in the world and I can’t change that. All I can do is choose a righteous path towards consciousness.

Consider this.

The anteater will eat ants to survive as the hawk will hunt ground squirrels and field mice. The spider will spin a web to catch the fly. The fly will feast on feces to survive. The feces will decompose into the soil and a tree will grow.

Nature always finds a way.

Human nature is an entirely different phenomenon.

It’s a common theme between civilizations to find balance and order between extremes. Love and hate. Fear and faith. War and peace.

Each and every day this phenomenon is in question—human nature. The hawk does not see the field mouse as a hawk. The hawk sees the field mouse as prey. The field mouse does not see the insect as a field mouse. It sees it as prey.

Nature operates without question.

It is human nature to ask why. It is human nature to consider the consequences of our action. It is human nature to consider what is right, wrong, and just, then decide.

Either way, the tree will grow.

Either way, the prey will die.

I’m not asking for you or I to be a saint, I’m just asking you to consider another way, a way in which I’m sure you deal with like I, each and every single day.

What I suggest we all consider is this: walk gently, and spread love.

Love is a universal concept.

Hate is a creation of the mind as a defense mechanism.

Hate, is a creation of man.

With all the information that history, news, and media has so far presented us with, what’s stopping us from immediately choosing love as a means to an end of irrational hatred which like wild fire spreads without care or concern or reason?

Tonight I’ll lay my head down, as tomorrow I’ll rise and move forward with peace, love, and understanding.

And it will be easy because I’ve chosen to surrender.

Taken out of context, the idea of surrender is often considered as a form of defeat but not in this case.

The battle has already been won, so when we realize there was never a battle to be fought, surrender to this man is essential for future understanding.

Artistic illusions

Make my bed

Spread the sheets

They are white

They are clean

There’s a nestle of bird

Who sing softly and sweet

There are bills

To be paid

Overdrafts

To be made

But I’m conscious today

Knowing that rot can wait

I have given enough love, I’ve wrestled with the thought

Spared quarters like rain to a cynical saint

I’ve got no time to spare

All this death in the air

Has me feeling quite good, transcendentally great

Forgive me but truth is

Artistic illusions

I’ve no cross to bear climbing trees and it’s clear

That I

start to see past

The sun and moon

The sky opens up

There’s nothing left to do

This closure’s my mantra to you.

Wash my face

Clean my teeth

Knock on wood

Once a week

There’s a pub inn Philly

Where I dug my own grave

Comb the depths

Of your hair

Try and act

Like you care

I’ve been watching your play

Mixing tonic with pain

You have given enough love, so much work to be done

Put your suitcases down, for a while and remain

Like a park bench in autumn

Or leaves that have fallen

I’ve got proof there’s a cure, you just gotta find yours

Forgive me but truth is

Artistic illusions

It’s a tale to be told, when you’re young and your bold

And now I’ve

Got to go back

To the way I was before

And now you’ve

Got to go back

To the way you were before

This closure’s my mantra to you.

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.

Tell me a story

There’s a part of me

that see’s this all clearly

like a child standing in a crowd

there’s really only one way out.

What is it that you see

it’s fine to disagree

why if the world’s mine oyster please

forgive me for the lack of belief.

I had this faith in you

I thought you had it too

how many smiles does it take to show

the unhappiness we grew to know.

Do you take this hand

would you understand

lighting matches just to prove you could

did it ever do you any good?

Tell me a story, one without love, cause it’s taken me for granted so many times—enough.

There’s a part of you

engrained in me now

I’d be a liar if I didn’t admit

it’s a piece I won’t ever regret.

So what’s the point of these prose

and insecurity poems

like a fish needs water to breathe

I guess it really isn’t up to me.

If this is just a passing feeling

I’ll agree to disagree then

watch the sun rise and fall once more

a couple hours then I’ll start the chore.

You see I know my problems

it’s not up to you to solve them

if I go out the Hemingway

like Kerouac first I’ll have my say so

Tell me a story, one without love, cause I’ve taken you for granted so many times—c’mon.

Tell me a story, one without love, cause it’s taken me for granted so many times—enough.

Look at me lovely

Look at me lovely this here is I guess

a mixture of meanings which help to make sense

of the past which gave us nothing but suspense

with fearful longing and a mother’s defense.

Look at me lovely with eyes in full bloom

now imagine a child alone in his room

the covers are pulled tight warm as a womb

his head full of static his heart thumping doom.

Look at me lovely take into account

these present day feelings are years gone without

comfort or closure confused full of doubt

exchanged for composure now deep underground.

Look at me lovely two decades gone by

and please ask yourself to whom do you cry

an eye for an eye I used to imply

now I want nothing more than to sleep through night.

Look at me lovely with infinite jest

this smile is armor for that I confess

in daydreams I make up reasons quite complex

for nightmares which haunted that boy in his bed.

Look at me lovely it’s lovely in fact

walking down sidewalks avoiding the cracks

though sometimes it feels like breaking your back

the pain that defines us with love cannot last.

Look at me lovely with harlequin eyes

for we are not wells that dry up inside

and take with you this last line then decide

his failure’s your lesson, her nurture’s your pride.