First Born

claire_byron

I saw you first
as your head crowned.
In that moment
there was your mother and I
and all of creation.

The doctor held you first.
He gently helped me cut your chord.
I remember the texture.
The thousand shades
of red and grey.

I had a moment
with you alone.
I stared deeply
at your delicate features.
I felt your wisdom
in your minute old eyes.
I felt infinity, all around.
The circle of life, complete.

After the nurses cleaned
and wrapped you.
I gave you to your mother.

We had no idea
of the trials and triumphs
we would go through.
Teaching you.
Teaching us, the basics.
Eating. Walking. Running.
Biking. Swimming. Dancing.

Cleaning. Always cleaning.

Now we see you tall and lean.
Wearing an adult size shoe.
Teaching me the names of bands
I have long forgotten.

I still see your face.
in that first glance.
Now half grown.
The same face
from our first embrace.

I honor that moment.
That very instant
our live’s changed forever.
Taking on more meaning
than ever before.
Giving us more hope than
we could have ever asked for.

And more.
It gave us you.
A big sister.
A friend finder.
A peace maker.
A hugger.
A smiler.
A joker.
A big thinker.

Our First Born…..

_________________________________
So proud to be the father of Claire King.
Tomorrow, July 13th, she turns nine years old.
Thank you with all my heart Dana King for giving me a chance.

Cast it in Bronze:

pompeii

Drawing, sculpting an image
out of thin air.
It is buried deep in there.
Now, I can only see it with
eyes closed.
I try hard to visualize
it like a prize.
To hold it close one day.

I see four figures holding
each other.
All in fetal positions.
Holding.
Closing.
The gap between loss
and redemption.
Grasping each other
in crossing.
in spooning.
A mom and dad.
Their two children.

From a flicker
I remember
when my brother and I
would break into my parent’s room.
Storming through their door.

To tickle fight
until we all could not stand
to laugh again.
So much love in
those moments.
Fleeting.
Breaking fast
past the present.

To be born again,
into this generation when
laughter fills another room.
Another space.
Another safe home to
surrender to each other
to let our eyes meet.
Just to come up for air.
My wife and my two girls.

These are the figures
I would bronze.
I would immortalize.
To make a monument of love.
Of the bonds a family shares
before it all disappears.

Cast it in bronze.
Let it be found with the dinosaurs.
Let them know where love lived
so that it might live again.

A Poet’s Resume

i have no resume for this.
no pedigree to stage any fight.
i do not assume anything.
that i know anything worth while.
that you will listen.
that i will remember.

i know i must keep writing.
to keep trying.
to do one more pull up.
to try to make it over that wall.
to try and not fall.

i have no classes for this.
i know not what i miss.
i know not what poets to reference.
to make you smile.

i have no resume for this.
no resume for this.
and that… is why i enjoy this.
more than that.
more than what i am learn-ned at.

i know not what rules i break.
my ignorance is my fate.
blindly putting one word
in front of another.
one more verse.
one more stanza.

into this universe
we make order out of chaos.
truth out of lies.
to help us realize.
there is no needed education
for passion.
no secret ordination.
that makes this act holy.

only the human
sharing fully.
the pain.
the joy that makes us complain
that life still isn’t good enough.
for there is always room for improvement.
for in our lives there probably
will never be another movement
worth fighting for.
there will be war.

there is no more time for resumes.
write what you feel.
live how you will.
be honest.
love one another.
make that life’s skill.

Look Forward

July_4th_Claire

if there is a chance.
another way.
to survive the storm.
it is through you.

your generation
will rebuild a nation
that has taken
one step forward and
two steps back.

for we seek progress
from the attack
of facts.
proving basic math.
from religious fanatics
of the old ways.
of primitive thinking.
from which our country
forged a new path.

for freedom of religion
we sailed the seas.
we pioneered
against disease.

for your ancestors
built new cities.
fought and died
to seek new liberties.

for basic social justice.
for a bill of rights.
we fought a civil war.
that we still fight for.

each and every choice.
every word you use.
you are the voice
of your generation.
to save this nation
from the old.

to break the mold.
to form a new paradigm
where diversity
is celebrated.
where all people
are integrated.

where the rule of
one religion.
one race.
is finally disintegrated.

where we are truly one.
seeking to heal the world
from the mistakes we made.
the greed.
the carbon we freed.

for in you, is the seed
that will take root.
the genes that will reboot
a world on the brink.

look forward.
do not blink.

………………………………..

to Claire and Willow

Mankind in Movement

alpha5

Running. Reading. Burning. We monitor all. Eating paleo. Vegan. Taking group classes on how to move like cavemen. It began by wondering what workout plan would allow us to utilize our gene set to the max. While Jumping. Carrying. Hauling. Running barefoot is no longer barefoot. It is rubber and nylon designed to protect bare feet. Replicating motion. Studying native cultures. Gathering before sunrise to do a workout of the day and compete. Most reps. Fastest time. Best form. Bring it on.

We are a complex people. We eat and drink now to live for performance. We seek to monitor our steps and calories while streaming music. Streaming consciousness. Stepping out for the night. Drinking light. Drinking high alcohol with no sugar. Eating organic only, no GMO, grass fed before killed and bled. So much group thought into this living now. We are standing up from crawling. Giving group hugs for a workout well done. For being human.

Quickly evolving. Nostalgic for what we were. Where the third world still is. Simulating starving to burn our excess. Learning while stretching muscles we never knew we had. With decades of head down. Staring at glowing boxes with frowns. We are standing up from our computers now. Lengthening our spines and necks. Keeping our backs straight. Focused on our posture. Working on closure. From where we came. There is no app for that. For where we are going. There is no precedent. No measure for how far our minds and bodies can now go.

I can see for miles

Byron_Basic_Training

From my stateside post
I saw for miles and miles.
We drank all night.
Came to shift hung over.
Serving with teenagers.
Taking naps between duty gaps.

No Officer around.
Plug in your Play Station.
Serving your nation at war.
Wishing the hours away.
To transfer out.
To see what the fight is for.
For now.
Don’t ask them to move.
Don’t ask them to clean.

Some smoked weed.
Some did cocaine.
A few did crystal.
So many failed piss tests

This was not my father’s Army.
No pride.
No honor.
Just some kids without a plan.
Kids who grew up
playing first person shooters.
Many lying recruiters who filled them
with dreams of being more.
Being part of a team.
Guarantying a college degree
and a phat cash bonus for a car.

All escaping something.
Stationed alone on our hill.
Only time to kill.
No helicopters or tanks ever seen.
No war.
No battle.
Only air conditioned computer stations.
PTSD from the war we dreamed.

Never to serve in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Never to be shot at.
Never to see death.
Last to fight.
First to complain.
Laziest sacks of shit I’ve ever seen.

To Level Up

In order to understand any problem
one must have empathy.
One must imagine themselves
in the shoes of another.

Humanize the enemy.
The spree killer.
The deserter.
The terrorist.

With love and family and fear.
Somewhere something went wrong.
With that deer in the headlights blank stare,
the ability to feel the other’s loss lost.

…………………………….

To be the shooter

…………………………….

You think it will never stop. That you will never come out of the box. That life has put you in. That you will never have a true friend. Will never be loved fully. Think that if you ask for help that you will be condemned. You never felt joy. There is no comedy. There is no laughter. You always saw humanity as a disease. You feel if every human was dead it would free the earth from the cancer we feed, inside of all of us. Inside you, you are the only one who understands. Who ever will get IT. Getting it is the everything. The only thing you ever got. Thinking too much, was the only thing you ever thought. Having always had a hard time. Never fitting in. Never getting picked for the team. Never being seen. INVISIBLE. You feel it will only get harder. Hard times getting harder.

You now see an entire generation of spree shooters, like you. Rising up. Imagine if only, we tried to understand you. We would not.
You imagine a game where you are the winner. Have all the power. Gaining rank with each kill. Just like the heroes you seek to fulfill. Others like you, who sought the thrill of the slaughter. Emulating with each calculated kill. You level up. You visualize where you will start. Will it be from the parking lot, or while inside. Where you will take the first shot? Where will you be stopped? Will you take the last shot?

If we could only understand, your plan?

An entire generation of spree killers like fireflies.
Out of nowhere, lighting up and blowing out.
Where do they go after they act out?
Their brain matter spilled.

In the afterlife, are they sitting in a circle talking about their lives?
Why they chose the path they did?
Choosing targets instead of choosing life.
Are they finding redemption or are they plotting reincarnation?
To steal more life.

…………………………….

Target everyone

…………………………….

For we all could be killers and lovers, at once.
Know now, the human heart has unlimited potential.
Genocidal hate filled triggers.
To forgive all with the blink of an eye.
Love all sinners.
To be someone’s final or first hope.

Somewhere, another shooter
Is prepping.
Is practicing.
Is buying more ammo.

Laser targeting bodies with red dots.
Counting bodies, not sheep to go to sleep.
Somewhere, there is love for him.
A love for his generation.
A love that could change all outcomes.

In a culture they seek to kill.
We seek to thrive.
For our children to survive.

Let us find empathy for all.
Let us not target anyone with isolation.
Label or condemn.

Stare deeply into their eyes and say, “Hello.”

To level up.
To complete the game.
We must realize we are all the same.

sandy_hook

Dribbling Genetics

Claire_Hoops

Photo by Dana King

I don’t like sports, never have.
I played them because that’s what boys did.
My father was a coach
so I did not have much of a choice.
To show up. To participate.
The only lessons I learned on a court.

For years I watched him take bleachers full of kids
and bring them to their feet. Run them ragged
and make their sneakers squeak, with each
new blow of his whistle.
Dribbling to find themselves.
As I did.
I realized I was not skilled.
Not like my brothers and friends.
I would not gain any respect with any ball.
I was a bench warmer who dreaded it all.

Only six years old to join a team.
To feel your place in the space between
bodies struggling to find reason.
As all jockey for position.

As I tried to jump into the heavens, three inches high.
As I dreamed of Jordan and his six foot gazelle glide.

Proud to see my nephews inherited my dad’s gifts.
They were ballers and made all the teams.
They led by example, became champs, broke records,
while collecting trophies which now plaster their museum bedroom walls.
I still can’t imagine being the best at anything
for the adjective “athlete” was never in the cards for me.

Now a father, life is my coach.
Yesterday, I took my eight year old
to buy her first basketball.
She made the team and is ready to train.
On her own, she is passionate for the game.
To play in a basketball league.
To play hoops, to make baskets, to run the drills.
She seems to be another natural.

Yesterday, I summoned my father as I taught her to play HORSE.
We passed, we ran, we dribbled together as I spoke of
the legends of the ball whose blood she shares.

Coming home, I heard myself passionately say,
“You are a natural athlete.”
She quickly responded, “Daddy, daddy look at that moth.”

I laughed thinking, she has no idea what talents she’s got.
Somehow, sports dribbled a generation.
From a little boy who could not.
To my little girl who is already connecting the dots.
Daddy, “Look at that moth. Look at that moth.”
Pointing her finger at the beautiful spectacle of nature
that I did not see above me, while deep in thought.

Save Me a Seat

Angela_Dana

Cancer is a killer. When you first hear the verdict most collapse in horror. Then time begins to really mean something. Emotionally it is equal to genocide, war, spree killings to the ones who live with it and the ones who support those who do. To cancer survivors, cancer is a connection. It is like our own personal VFW that we can huddle inside a bubble at the bar, sharing a drink. Speaking our truths. About our hopes and dreams, fears. Our transitioning. What it has done to us and what we have become in the meantime.

If you have the same type of cancer, say a brain tumor or the same treatment, brain radiation, then that bond becomes even closer. We can share so closely that it is as if we are holding each other’s hands through space and time even after one passes to the other side. To the great void. The unknown.

I had that experience with a friend who passed recently. I would visit her and give her organic veggies donated to her. I enlisted for this delivery because we shared our cancer connection. I wanted to learn her story as much as tell her mine. To let her know that there is strength in our doubt and fears. That cancer treatment is our own right of passage. If we let it, we become wiser through our letting go. Letting go. That is the true lesson.

As we let go we see more. Feel more. Understand that it was all a shamanic dance. That we had partners along the way. That we taught the dance. We stumbled. We fell but we continued on. How you flow. How you show your joy is through your own rhythm. The way you beat. beat. beat the disease until it takes you into the water’s breeze to meet your maker. The big bang, father, mother, creator, universal speaker. That vibrates the frequency of all of creation.

Angela. I looked into your eyes. I saw your wise loving cries for another chance. I believed you would beat it. There were days when you truly glowed. I saw you light up the room. You were as radiant as sunlight in the golden hour as you graced us with your presence. I thank you for our time. Our short minutes where we prepped each other’s minds. For the infinite. My cancer buddy, I will see you on the other side. Save me a seat at the bar. In space time, I know we are not very far away from chatting again.

Sacred Space

sage

We make our sacred space. We burn sage and hope dark spirits
are not watching. We don’t know if they are there but we’d rather
prepare. We prepare for flow. The way the light and air move through
our front door into out back. Is there logic in the structure. Consciousness in our selection of pattern and color. Something larger than us. Something watching us. Giving us its blessing. Understanding the meaning of “Good fences, make good neighbors.”

We dream big. Of having a home where our little ones can play safely.
Not feeling watched. Our backyard their forest. Their passage way to wilderness. Their Alaska. Their tropical island where imagination is the only boarding ticket. In our twilight we see a swimming pool and a cabin. A meditation garden. A playground built to last till they leave the house for college. We see a fish pond and a butterfly garden. We see a sacred space. Where we can stare at the stars as one. One family under our Sun. Embracing each other as we are spun from one year to the next.

We are one mile behind ten miles of strip malls. In the center of everything. Two miles to all big box stores. We are on a road off the beaten track. A no stop light road. Hidden on our cul de sac. You would think we’d feel safe but we put up a fence to protect our backs. Keeping out wolves who might live in the heart all neighbors. Will we find peace with this wall between homes.  

We pretend we are settlers keeping out the darkness. So there is no attack. On our privacy. On our trees which have been cut back without consent. With this fence our space is ours alone, now we are free to roam. Never to think again of any prying eyes of insanity that might bloom.

With our fence we project a laser beam of red light. Our physical boundaries refined. We will hold hands and burn sage. We will make a spiritual act of reclaiming psychic territory. To turn another page. We will bless this place. Sacred space make us…. Free of hatred. Free of judgement. Full of grace. Full of forgiveness.  For good fences, make good neighbors.