Times Past

Twenty-twenty, ‘tis said to be

Yet now, so clearly do I see

Hindsight views such times, now lost

To go back I’d pay any cost

Things I wish I’d done, or said

To those who’ve drifted, or lie dead

I wish, so dearly, for the chance

To change what’s now my circumstance

So much sorrow

So much regret

No more tomorrow

They’re gone, and yet

All that’s left to do is clear

I cannot dwell on yesteryear

My choices give no other choice

I’m left with nothing, but my voice

So now I speak the best I can

I try so others understand

What matters can’t be weighed in gold

Its finding those who’s hand you hold

Nurture

Such sorrow do I feel

For those who never knew

My heart aches for the lost, unloved

And pain that they’ve been through

I’ve tasted life when sour

I’ve sampled it when sweet

True happiness, I tell you

Is who we love and meet

Let not the things around you

Cloud judgment, nor your sight

For life is meant for living

Do not waste it, do not fight

Dance when strings are playing

Kiss under mistletoe

Take this world by hand

And don’t ever let it go

Live with limits, never

Be generous, and love

Do not hold back anything

We know not what’s above

Such sorrow do I feel

For those who never knew

A heart that warms and comforts

Whose love was meant, for you

What I’d Give

So bittersweet, this day to me

Each year it lies in wait

The pain so strong, the memories: glee

I’m struck by love and hate

The loss of those we hold most dear

Turns to tragedy, life’s play

And while you feel the hurt all year

We all have that one day

A time when all emotions rise

Consuming every thought

We try, in vain, to don disguise

Our mind, so overwrought

For her I write this, through endless tear

I’d give anything on Earth

To spend, with her, just one last year

This day: my mother’s birth

Wanderlust

Wanderlust, traveler, perhaps even gypsy

So many labels they’ve applied, but in reality

Living life is all she wants, it’s really that simple

Her spirit shines through both her smile, and her cute cheek dimple

Life is meant for living, yes, a thing she truly gets

Singing, dancing, spinning round, she loves without regrets

Always brightening what is dark, this girl, so free of care

Defined by “one day at a time”, she’s happy everywhere

Some may say she’s weak, not strong

But she knows that they all are wrong

She is not lost, like others say

This girl’s just finding her own way

For all the things we say and do

There is but one thing that is true

Life, she says, is nothing more

Than canvas, white, awaiting more

It’s you who gets to fill the blank

And for this chance, we all should thank

This beautiful and wondrous place

For giving us the life it’s graced

Love & Loss

Unforgiving, relentless, cruel

More sour than lemon or lime

Yielded by Life, this emotionless tool

Deals pain that’s inevitable: Time

No matter the love or the laughter it sees

It strikes without warning or sign

Its flame turns to smolder the most peaceful of trees

All beginnings, it ends by design

Why, all too often, is it the trivial, mundane

That seems to be our sole focus and care?

It takes moments like these, meant for family; not pain

The harshest reminder – her cold, empty chair

How fickle it is that this Life seems to be

Just a path we all struggle to cross

It’s proven by Time, regardless how desperate the plea

That if you ever know Love…you’ll know Loss

My Life

The sand, the dirt, the grass, the trees

The sticks, the stones, the light, the breeze

The things this world has made for me

Have warmed my heart and set me free

I look at the stars as I rest on my knee

They twinkle and spark, this light that I see

I gaze at them wondering, what could they be?

As I listen to waves hit the rocks under me

So calm it all is, out here with the leaves

No fear of the world, or it’s warriors and thieves

My mind is at rest, this feeling I’ve sought

A needed reprieve from the torment I’ve thought

The darkness within isn’t something I share

I keep it behind the false mask that I wear

It’s not that I’ve feigned, and not that I’ve lied

I just don’t want to release all the pain that’s inside

I want to be happy

I just want to live

Her death, it has gripped me

And it’s hold will not give

My words carry weight

Of this, I know

But now I see nothing

Through her bedroom’s window

It used to be filled

With her smile, her love

As she watched us all playing

With a ball and a glove

Those days are all gone now

And it hurts me so much

Please take this away, God

Please heal me, your touch

I don’t care if they read this

It’s my only escape

These pages have saved me

From a much harsher fate

I beg you, my Father

If you truly are there

To take this away

And heal my despair

These words that I’m writing

They’re the realest I’ve penned

I beg of you, God

Will I see her again?

Keep the Prayers

Keep the prayers, I request, to your own faithful self. They’re distant to me, meant for somebody else. I was close to your God, admittedly you see, until he ripped me apart; abandoning me. I’m told “There’s always a reason”. Yeah, well I disagree. No purpose is found in response to my plea. His “love” ripped the life from my family tree and left nothing but branches, bare as can be. Yet I’m expected to thank Him for who he DID leave? The knuckles and thorns that cause nothing but grief? I’m asked to embrace this great Sculptor and Thief, who steals life from creation yet demands its belief? How twisted the logic of Religion must be to pass judgments on those who don’t blindly believe; we who dare question the infallibility of He who locks his own house and gives evil the key, corrupting his own tenants that in one breath could be free, if only the Lord would allow their release?

I don’t care what your pages, prayers, or priests tell you. There is no realm in which the amount of unwarranted death, suffering, and destruction this world is subjected to can be justified. No false eternity, no empty promises, and no alleged punishment of those who oppress, rape, or murder will ever merit the evil allowed in this world. These are nothing more than lies to masquerade the suffering as something worth tolerating. A pathetic grasp for meaning in a meaningless reality.

Breathe.

Listen, I don’t want to offend, just please comprehend that the time that we spend in devotion and admiration of who we thought was our friend is now something that, sadly, I can no longer commend. The magnitude of my mind’s malcontent effects pain impossible to mend, as I see nothing but an empty dead end for which I can no longer expend what little strength I have left to fight or contend. It’s like He created hope just to strip it away, to apprehend our only tool to desperately suspend the realization that for every start, there’s an end; that the shadows and darkness will always descend; demonically disregarding the tales we believe and the life we pretend.

I’m conflicted, consumed and confused by this sense of abandonment I’ve no choice but to feel, ashamed I took the bait; deceived by a false rod and reel. I can no longer find cause to embrace, heed or kneel to He who ignored every cry and appeal, my pathetic attempts to take her pain and conceal all the heartache she suffered and the hurt that he’d deal. And yet, through it all, she still prayed that she’d heal, to one day finally break that constricting tight seal, in hope that the answers she sought would at long last be revealed.

There are no words in existence which can adequately describe the degree of sadness, emptiness, hopelessness and hatred that such hindsight instills.

Once more, I ask that you respectfully forgive what many would label as harsh conjecture. This is not the shallow recant of some closed-off, short-sighted miscreant. These pages contain the unabridged passion which defines me; nothing more.

So I ask that you forgive, as every night I can’t help but relive that month which felt more like a year, when I sat plagued by inexplicable fear that her death was so close; unavoidably near. How vivid is that memory, hauntingly clear; the image of she who I held so close and so dear, lying in tubes on that bed as the shell of the person who used to appear; now drifting away with no life to cohere. And as I sat next to her writing through every cry, sob and tear, I tried my absolute damnedest to be strong, persevere, begging God that He’d save her so for once in her life she could taste happiness; cheer.

I watched the tube being pulled from her. That final, feeble lifeline pathetically attempting to breathe life into her poor lungs. I collapsed, terrified, against the wall. Defeated, completely helpless and puddled in tears as I witnessed her unconscious body desperately gasp for the oxygen that her fragile body’s grip could no longer grasp. It was, without the remotest doubt, the worst sensation I have ever experienced, and one which I would not wish on even the worst transgressors of humanity. Feelings such as those felt that moment would not exist in a world claimed to have been created out of love. This is the harsh, unarguably candid truth.

Regarding my opinions and views of God, I ask not that you agree. I have no request, nor desire, for sadness or sympathy. I merely wish that my words and contempt fall on minds that are free; free of the judgement which has for so long met my plea as I fail to articulate that which I now so passionately see.

For thirty years I have bowed, as my whole life I would vow, yet I stand here no longer acting holier than thou. I can simply not continue to allow my unjust allegiance, as every drop of sweat from my brow is shed for He who destroys, whom I tonight disavow. It’s not born of vanity, and not that I’m proud. I’ve just at last cleared the malicious dark cloud that’s wrapped my plagued mind in the blackest of shrouds. Despite His cold embrace, I’m finally free; and the death of my mother is the answer, to how.

Please, keep the prayers. I just…don’t need them now.

Never Satisfied

My biggest fear isn’t what I thought it’d be

It’s not the day of final rest, not the day I cease to be

It’s that my time alive isn’t spent the way it needs to be

That all I did was sit back and react to what’s been done to me

That’s not the path she laid before, not the path she paved, you see

Her lessons still resound within, under the umbrella tree

But sometimes when I sit here thinking what all lies ahead, I grieve

And wish instead I’d grew up, obtained what I used to believe

The life they taught me I should have, picket fences painted white

Ph.D, tenure and the other things they say are “right”

Then my thoughts drift back to her, and the talks we shared at night

As my focus fades into the place that it belongs, to write

Do the things in life that as a kid I’d always dreamt I’d do

Even though my father told me “go to school, just think it through”

There’s nothing in this world I wouldn’t give to have just one more day

To spend with her, to do the things we talked about, the things we’d say

All I am, all I’ll be, everything that I create

They’re all because of her and things she’d teach me when the night was late

As I look into this mirror, I know she’s here and hasn’t died

She lives through me and fuels my work – it’s why I’m never satisfied

Forward

It’s often that i see this

If truth were to be told

Despite the goal: inspire

It turns warmth to bitter cold

If ever you are struggling

If ever you are down

Remember they don’t matter

And that words can’t bring you down

For often will you hear, when

You are looking far ahead

That all your dreams are fiction

Come and fit the mold, instead

Be strong, my friend, for as we

Chase our dreams and live as one

Your calling will come one day

That it’s justified, your run

Don’t ever tell yourself “no”

It just simply can’t be done

Instead get up, get grinding

Until that day has fine’ly come

Our time on Earth has limits

It’s too short for stress and strife

Just find what makes you happy

And live your dream, this life

The Tiki Torches: 3

“Alright, everyone. This evening we have an excellent opportunity to show these people just what we mean. We’ve tolerated centuries of oppression, decades of condescension, and countless years of bigotry! I say unto you all, stand up for your rights! Stand up for your freedoms! Stand up for the God Given, inherent capabilities of existing as a human being!”

Hurrah!!

Standing tall in front of a melting pot of human beings, the mayor of the city of Perth gives an emboldened speech at the municipalitie’s town hall meeting. As a champion of all races and creeds, he has garnered the support of pretty much the entire town. Except, of course, a small minority of closed minded bigots who refuse to adapt to change.

“We will stand strong with our brothers and sisters, no matter the cost!” The mayor shouts from his podium inside the town halll. “This is but a small town, but we are a united town!” He adds, a finger shaking in the air to reiterate his point.

“We will not allow a small contingent of oppressors to light up the evening! We will stamp out the flames of injustice!” Hurrah! “We shall stop them in their tracks!” Hurrah! “We shall meet them on the battlefield of intellectual opposition, and let none leave without exposure to our light!” HURRAH!!!!

As the mayor lets the crowd’s energy die down, he holds out his arms.

“My friends.” He says. “Let us begin preparations. It’s been reported that there has been a spike in Tiki Torch sales at the Wal-Smart across town. Let’s show them that these torches shall not have been bought in vain! We shall show them the error of their ways.”

Hurrahhhh!!!!!!

Slowly walking off his town hall stage, the mayor finally takes a moment to catch his breath.

“Great speech, sir!” One of his constituents says.

“Yeah. It was. But it was just that. A speech.” The mayor snaps back, obviously caught up in thinking about something else.

“But sir, you moved the entire town! That surely must count for something.” The constitutant says.

“Yes. They’re motivated. And for that I am grateful. But there is so much else left to do.” The mayor says.

“Come, we must prepare for the Torches.” He adds with a sly wink, clearly indicating that he has something in store for the folks riding his way.

Toe in the Water 

It looks so cold 

This water, bold

As evening reaches crest 

And yet I know

Aft icy blow

The warmth will be abreast 

Is it so hard?

Why do I guard?

No logic can be found 

Just jump right in

But wait! I grin 

I will! The next time round

I promise, then

I’ll dive right in

I know the shock is short

Okay, let’s go!

Hang on! Go slow

No wait, I must abort

I must prepare 

And get some air

For easy, it is not

To take the leap

It looks so steep 

One chance is all you’ve got

This life’s not long

So sing your song

Leave worry in the past

For when you’re old 

You’ll wish you’d told

Yourself to have a blast 

Don’t be the one

To miss the fun

Make every second count

As fortune faves

The bold in waves 

The risk worth all amount 

Your life is yours 

Not boring chores

This, please understand 

It starts with you

That water, blue

Don’t waste away in sand

Just take a toe

And dip it slow 

The cold will soon feel hotter 

The time is here

No more “next year”

It starts with toe in water

The Gentleman

Chivalrys dead!

Or so it is said

On this, I ponder quite long

It’s really no chore

Kindly holding your door

Yet you glare, like something is wrong 

It’s fine! Some will sneer

I’ll get it! They’ll jeer

Independent, a woman am I

Your help? I’ve no need

These mouths, he shall feed

Career driven, focused, my guy

Well fine I shall say

As I walk far away

I just thought I would lend you a hand

And one day, when he cheats 

Hope he’s good in the sheets

Cause you won’t get much else from him, ma’am

Ms. Scribbler

Hello my friend!

Please lend an ear

A tale have I

For you to hear

Once upon

A timely time

A maiden lived

Who loved to rhyme

She’d sit outside

As sun shined bright

Observe the world

And write and write

Her rhymes were filled

With love and fear

And all the things

From there to here

And so it was

For years and years

This scribbling damsel

Laughs and tears

Until one day

There came about

A trav’ling minstrel

Passed her house

Pinned outside

As he passed along

A wondrous rhyme

So fit for song

And so the man

He went inside

Said “Please Miss Scribbler,

Become my bride”

The two were wed

Grand lives they had

The moral here

Is clear, dear lad

Love will come

The wait, while long

You’ll find the words

That fit your song

Vengeance 

Your sticks and your stones

May break all my bones 

But these acts, I swear you’ll regret

For time heals us all

It builds a stone wall

And this, we shall not forget

You came here to slay 

To take mine away

All that, which we hold close and dear

Yet here, I still stand

Bloodstained, on my land

And wait, as your armies draw near

I clean my steel sword 

Serving these lands as Lord

My honor, it’s all that I am

Till death shall I fight

All through this dark night

For my muse, for my love, for my lamb

And as you draw back

This feeble attack

Remember, we started as friend

And know, upon death 

As you draw your last breath

Your family name, it shall end.

 

Dear Mom

Dear Mom

I want you to know, Mom

I’ll never forget 

The pain and the hurt

Nary thought of regret

For all you could do

And with all you could give

You gave to us three

In hope that we’d live

The life that we dreamed 

Where good turns to great

When happiness soars

And life, it elates 

I remember, dear Mom

All the lunches you made

The trips that we took

And our days in the Glade

I shall never forget

How you impacted all 

How your children came first 

And how love was your law

I miss you, dear Mom

So much more you deserved

Your life shall be honored 

For to God, mark my words

Go…

My head’s above the water

That drowning feeling, gone

A year point five has passed

The dark before the dawn

I know its up to me now,

To act, to make her proud

No longer shall I question

Why the pain was ere allowed

Instead my eyes shall focus

On this path that’s clear ahead

And journey down the trail

Where nary a foot hath tread

For loss lasts but a moment

The shock, the pain it sends

Yet those we loved would tell us

To heal and make amends

What words would ‘scape her lips?

Is there encouragement today?

I know she’d want me happy

I know just what she’d say

Go! Be the one we spoke of

Go! Live the life you dreamed

For one day all shall gather

Our love, will be redeemed

 

 

 

 

 

 

For Her

Tonight it hurts 

The pain it sears

I’m all alone

I’m dripping tears

I miss her so

My empty grasp

Tries reaching out 

Yet nothing lasts

I hate the hurt 

With everything

Im here, now God

I’m listening 

Speak up, it’s time

To make your play

This pain I want 

To go away

If you’re there 

You listen true

Make it known

Cause I need you

This ask is real

It matters not

What others think 

Or others thought

I have to know

Where are you God

This hurt won’t heal 

Please, just a nod

So come to me

Come prove it’s you 

Cause faithfully 

It just won’t do 

I’m waiting God

Care not to die

My heart is bursting

You did this, why 

What lesson am I 

Supposed to know

Please justify

This pain, this blow

I hate it, God

There’s nothing gained

Just emptiness 

It’s cruel, deranged 

Is this what you want for me?

This hurt, this hate, this pain I see?

Grant me strength, I swear and cry

I’ll live for her until I die 

Reflections of Sadness, Elation, Hope & Regret – Happy Birthday, Mom: I Miss You Terribly

In the midst of the typical holiday cheer and excitement, at a time when everyone surrounding me is lit up with positive vibes and kindness, I find myself riding a roller coaster of peaking and plummeting emotion; teetering from positive, heart-warming memories one moment to tear-induced recollections of times no longer within my grasp, all in the blink of an eye.

December 23rd will forever be a particularly difficult, bittersweet day for me. My mother, who as you know passed in August of 2015 if you’ve read my book or blog, was born this day.

I spent a considerable amount of time going over this post in my head leading up to now, internally writing and re-writing it until I felt it was perfect. You know what’s funny, though? The sudden realization after I opening my browser that she would laugh and tell me I’m being absurd for stressing over it. Over her. After all, she knew exactly how much I cared for and appreciated her, and I knew the very same thing about her.

So rather than write about times together I miss and the opportunities I regret not taking while she was still with me, I’ll instead try my best to focus on the simple, happy things.

I’m absolutely convinced that my mother was without a doubt the most genuine, kind person I’ll ever know. Her saintly ability to always see the good in people, no matter their words or actions, still astonishes me when I think about it. I envy the thought-process that she embodied, something of which I regret to say I’ll likely never obtain. She was the simplest, yet deeply complex thinker – and her commitment to love and acceptance was relentlessly unwavering. I’m extremely proud to say with confidence that anyone who knew her knows exactly the kind of behavior I refer to. She was a beloved individual, to her family and everyone else who had the pleasure of knowing her.

Yet despite her outwardly simple demeanor and whimsical presence, Mom was also someone who maintained ferocious conviction in regard to her inward thought process. It’s actually a bit funny when I think of it, because the majority of people I knew growing up always told me they thought my Dad was smart. In retrospect, though, she was the one who truly had the gift of critical thought and analysis. Sure, Dad was some sort of confusing Applied Math professor, but so what? Mom had passion, she had depth, and she had character. Things which, incidentally, I would take over book smarts any day. Personally, I have more respect for those who maintain rock solid commitment to deeply-rooted moral philosophies over someone who can win at a game of Trivial Pursuit. After all, true intellect in my opinion is being able to control your thoughts and emotions, sticking to your morals in the face of anything, good or bad.

So yes, in lieu of the sorrow-laden post that my mind had written, I think its best to follow the example she set for me and allow my thoughts to settle on the smiles we had, not the frowns I’ve so frequently experienced. Because that’s what she would want – and I want nothing more than to emulate her joyous passion and thankfulness for life.

On that note, as a random tidbit – something Mom and I enjoyed immensely was playing video games. I, of course, grew up during the dawning age of the industry, having a childhood that can basically be described as school, baseball, and a progression of the newest game consoles. Mom, however (and I’m laughing as I write this), was absolutely obsessed with the 8-bit Nintendo’s original Legend of Zelda. One of my fondest memories is watching her play it time after time after time, smiling and talking trash to the bad guys all the way. I’m not exaggerating when I say this, but I honestly think she beat it a thousand times. I kid you not. After all, what’s a better pastime to share with your kids than a little casual gaming?

Incidentally, you might have been wondering why I chose to include a song from Bioshock Infinite at the beginning of this. While my previous paragraph probably gives some insight, the song carries a particular uniqueness; something I thought appropriate to include. It was the last song played at her funeral. She was watching me while I played it for the first time, walking into that beautifully designed fictional environment as the mind-numbingly pretty song played overhead. I knew she would approve of me selecting it for the procession’s conclusion because of the story behind it. If you give it a listen, which I strongly recommend you do, I trust you’ll recognize the beauty and sheer passion behind the lyrics. Choral hymns can be spine-tingling, indeed.

Yes, those are the things she loved more than anything else in the world. Spending time doing enjoyable things with us, her children. The woman quite literally lived for us and our happiness.

All that said, I would like to end this on something that I will carry with me for the rest of my life; and something I’ve mentioned previously. Now obviously the majority of us have parents who have a presence in the social media world – simple Facebook profiles, most commonly. I have to admit that I never paid much attention to it outside of the occasional post like, as probably not unlike most, I was admittedly too immersed in my own universe. After she passed, though, I visited her profile during a particularly painful day of missing her; and noticed something that genuinely made me happier than any individual memory I can recollect. As I’ve mentioned, there’s nothing I want more than to fulfill the life she envisioned for me; for her to be proud of me and the person I am. I never thought something as simple as reading the “Favorite Quotes” section on her profile could provide the validation for which I so desperately long. It might sound selfish to outwardly admit it, but I needed to know that she knew how much I appreciated her, and how much she inspired me. Her statement, which I’ve made the featured image of this post, did just that.

There are three, very simple quotes that my mother deemed important enough to spend time including on her profile. And yet as quick and concise as they are, nothing could more perfectly summarize the person my mother was and the priorities the drove her. This is taken verbatim from her profile:

“I love you.” – My children

“You’ve made me everything I am.” – Matthew

“I think every child is teachable.” – Unknown

 

I saw, in her very own words, she understood that she was my idol. And – more importantly – that we, her children, appreciated her. Seeing those few, simple words eased an enormous burden and uncertainty which plagued me for the longest time. She knew how I felt, and it meant enough to her to proudly display it on a public platform. It was an indescribable glimmer of elation during a devastating storm of melancholy; a saving grace which immensely helped keep my sinking ship of life afloat.

One last thing. Please, for your sake as much as theirs, make the people who motivate, inspire and love you aware of their impact. There’s nothing I can imagine which would instill a worse lifetime of regret than waiting until it was too late to tell your loved ones just that – that you love them.

Happy Birthday and Merry Christmas, Mom. And thank you so, so much for being such a shining luminescence in a world where darkness often prevails.

More than my words will ever convey, I love you.

Purpose 

In my quest to promote my book, I have to keep something in mind. There was one very specific reason as to why I wrote it.

My original goal was to build my mom a library. After speaking with the city manager of the town which I’m from, I learned that our local library was already dedicated to someone. So he had a different idea. 

That idea was to create a reading sanctuary, where people could temporarily escape the real world and immerse themselves in literature.

There was a reasoning behind this. You see, my mom had two very limiting ailments. COPD, and rhemeutoid arthritis. Both of these things made it very difficult for her to get around. So, appropriately, reading was her avenue of entertainment. 

This is why I enjoy writing so much. Because I know, no matter what situation you’re in, that reading gives you an escape from the reality we experience day to day. And sometimes, we need that. We need an outlet to let our imaginations fly and flitter wherever they want to go.

Reading was my mom’s release. She loved it more than anything. It didn’t hurt, she didn’t have to move around, and it was something she could enjoy and experience without any pain whatsoever. 

That’s my tool, moving forward. Watching how much her world was changed through reading is the exact reason I care so much about writing. The written word really can affect lives. I myself can attest to that, because I witnessed my mother’s reality over the last few years of her life be influenced by simple, written words. 

And that’s why I will continue to promote my book, until I have the means to create this reading sanctuary for her. A small, quiet building with her name on it. That’s what I want to build. Because she deserves it.

I miss you, Mom. More than anything in the world. And I promise I’m going to get this done for you.