Gravity Whispered

fell of bike

I fell off my bike.
Landed on my hands.
Rolled onto my back.
Covered in sand.

Quickly, stood back up.
Slowly, looked around.
No scratches or marks.
Could be found.

I hid my face as blood
slowly pumped back in
the rest of the pace
till the end.

The tiny aches I had
before are gone.
Before I was broken
now I am one.

Possibly, in shock.
Inflamed joints
no longer locked.
How lucky we all are.

Everything intact
Everything so exact.
How lucky
we…all…are.

Both life and pain are fleeting.
Gravity has no friends
but today it whispered,
“HOLD ON.”

They Howled

winter_florida_new_york

They Howled:

It gets cold here
when it’s 45 degrees.
People bundle up and chatter.
Talk of wearing layers.
Then at noon it is 70
and sunny, again.
Jackets get stuffed in bags
and carried around like luggage.

This is sunny Florida.
This is the place where
people come to forget
the cold winters and rat race
of when they were important.
With cheap housing
comes cheap labor.
Which do you favor?

It is a great place to reminisce
about the big cities.
Mostly, the big apple.
With northern accents
filling local gyms.

A guy named Bob speaks
to a guy named Rob
about the The Giants.
Past seasons.
When they saw history
painted and bare chested
in the cold arctic snow.
They howled.

Now they move like slugs
through their morning workout.
Retired and just happy to be vertical.
They talk of how they’d
rearrange the gym.
How people just don’t get it.
All people.
All coaches.
All unions.
All Presidents.

It is sunny here in Florida
as we melt together.
Southern born and
northern formed, Floridians.
We are fine here.
Most know we are backwards, here.
Most don’t care.
Because none of us want
the snow from up there.
Polar air stay clear.

When Summer comes
the snow birds will migrate
back to the cities.
The traffic will thin out.
The Yankee accents will lessen.
The leftovers will burn like toast
on our endless beaches.

The state of the flower
is timeless and knows
no power but nature.
Man is a pest as
we rent time and space
on this land’s thin tropical crust.
Three times surrounded by water.
We are always watching for
the next big storm.

To sound the alarm.
To wipe paradise off the map.
To reawaken.
To rebuild again.

The CLOUD

hans_solo

The cloud.
An information frontier.
I tried to picture packets
of machine code as it moved
through the air.
What do they look like?

Photos of your child’s birthday.
Videos of drones bombing
a mosque or a wedding.
Tweets of twits.
Edited status updates.
And then one day,
Snowden got in.

The information we received
did not shock or awe.
We have already slowly
given up our privacy
through each new password.
Through each new account.
Each online form filled.
Ad infinitum with all of your
personal information.

Name
Email
Phone
Social Security Number
Date of Birth
Credit Card Number
Expiration Date
City of Birth
First Pet’s Name

5+_=8
Prove You are a Human

I hear an orchestra playing.
It fills the space like Kubrik demands time.
Opera. Full chamber. Surround sound
As sounds echo through my brain.
Wi-Fi data flies through the room.
There are no more secrets.
There never were.

Putting on a radiation mask

 
Wet
    Drips
         Into
           Your
           Pores.
          Forms.
         Softens  
             Into
              Your
               Core.
                Dries
                  Fast.  
               Hardens.
               Marked 
              With
               Your
               Last
             NAME.
             Knows
             You'll 
               Be
           Back
      For
More.

Such Were We

formless-and-empty1

formless
and
perfect

before
we ate
the apple

before
we divided
the land

before
we carried
disease

before
we sailed
the seas

before
we shot
the cannon

before
we split
the atom

before
we ate
forrests

before
before
before

more
more
more

formless
and
perfect

such were we

Don’t Forget to Breathe

image

Train for the end. To finish it. To win. With respect. Enter with a bow. Eyes always forward. To be aware of each moment. Train for the other side. Take your opponents position. And if you lose the battle, you will have won the war. You will be a ronin ready for, service. To meet your new master.

Train to serve yourself. To master your mind and body. To outlive any prognosis. To be more than any disease. To feel the power of the Tao in the breeze. As you practice striking knees by striking trees. As you feel the earth move beneath you. Control emotion through jogging and breathing. Lifting and pressing. Don’t forget to breathe, fully.

Train because you have to. Because you are alive. Because you survived, when so many didn’t. To run with the fallen. Listen as they whisper. Feel the presence of your ancestors. Singing running cadences of all platoons. Who have fought, in any war. Train for those who didn’t come back. If only a dream, dream it for them.

‘Tis the Season

‘Tis the Season
to go to funerals
to get bad news
to smile and comfort
when others are down

to remember the fallen
to hope for the best
when you get tested
for disease and illness

is it growing or not
is it localized
can it be stopped
what treatment to take

‘Tis the Season
to pray for loved ones
to ask for miracles
to pray for peace
in our bodies and abroad

to choose treatments
surgery, radiation, chemo
to do CPR on loved ones
whose hearts have stopped

to make last choices
burial or cremation
flower arrangements
for obituaries to be written

‘Tis the Season
for so many to pass
to celebrate the birth
as we bury our dead
as we grow older

through the hour glass
life disappears
is precious
is memories
is for second chances to be had

image

A Father’s Shadow

image

My friends, this is only the beginning of a new way of thinking. Each blinking day, a blessing. As we live. As we die. As we watch our friends and family paralyzed by loss.

Two of my good friends buried their father’s today. The same day. Our friendship’s cosmically connected by a meeting of their parents so many decades ago. Those photo albums from the seventies stuffed and stacked away. Now digital photos to be thumbed through not touched. Not held. Not framed. My mother reminded me I will wake up tomorrow and remember that eleven years ago to the day, my own father died and how I reacted. How his loss brought me to my wife. Creating my own family.

When I heard the news. How far off. On the other side of the world, when I received the call. “Oh my God. Oh my God. Oh my God,” was all I could say. “Father, How I miss you.” How I think of you when I work out and try to live up to the tall shadow you still cast. How I hit that heavy bag and pretend to be a champ. How I bob and weave. Pretending I am defending my family. Genetically connected to you. I try to feel how you must have felt. To be the champ in all sports. To tower among men. To be respected by your fists, strength, quickness and even more by your gentle kindness.

I think of the war you survived. Once a Marine always a Marine. How could I ever know what that means. How could I understand the loss you must have felt by surviving the Korean war. The Frozen Chosen at Chosin Reservoir. Retreating. Bodies stacked six high as hard as unbroken bags of ice.

I think of your shadow and how I never will measure up. Never. And maybe that is why I began to quit. Quit karate. Quit football. Quit the Army. Quit grad school. Quit coaching soccer. Who could coach better than you. I can see you running 150 kids through weekly basketball drills from age six to sixteen like you are controlling them with a gaming joystick. Like it is digital. When coaches and kids were physical.

At your funeral I remember, 400 people coming to wish you on. To the other side. Where your heart of gold would work. Would be strong and not fail you. Would last as long as your legs wished to ever bike or run. I remember fifty year old men, who were boys when you coached them football, baseball, soccer, (what did you not coach) crying about you. I could see you cast the same shadow into them too. How you coached them. Coaching was your ministry. Your lesson was to never give up. That was your second golden rule you. How you coached it, not by shouting but through showing. What have I learned. I am a mix of you. And there is no shame in quitting. I can give up on what does not work into my path. Like your Marines whose path did not lead to China.

For all our lives are different and my gifts have never been my physicality. My fight is with no one but my disease. I seek not to punctuate masculinity. And now, only in retrospect, I know a son paints his own path and his own destiny. If only we took that last trip to Cali. I told you,”No, I didn’t need you, I could make it.” Daddy, I did. I made it there and back and I missed you all the way.

Suburban Howl

HOWL

Cut out and pasted on my wall
my children captured it all.
One deep and primitive howl.
OOOOOO!OOUOUOUOU!
Do you feel it now.

This image protects me
As I vibrate in
the here and now.
Keep digging.
Keep seeking.
Training to control my growl.

The wolf, a symbol
of all that is free and wild.
A territory without fences.
As a pack we hunt
all that can’t be contained.

The wolf is inside my girls.
Its spirit controls our pack.
Has me preparing for war
through finding peace.
As my wife makes our den warm.
As our girls snip
at each other’s heals
over toys that could be bones.

Through the suburbs we roamed.
We found a place to
to grow together
plant a garden
to make a home.

A Billion Earths

image

planet killers
we drifted on
found more earths
to leach from

our bodies weak
we began to tweak
any atmosphere
for our bones and lungs

for our needs
are one
death and cancer
to all nature
under any sun

seeding the clouds
carving the land
building cities high
always to expand

tribes
nations
weapons
war and genocide

odds a million
to one
a billion earths
to kill from

space our laboratory
always destroying
always hoping
to survive just one rerun