Words, their definitions variable,
Their meaning open to interpretation,

A fracas? A loud disturbance… A big fight?

Okay, could be, so lets take the idea Of interuptions to heart,
Make them positive, yeah positive.

Getting out of bed was a struggle.
Getting into the pool was a struggle.
Willpower won the early hours.

The pay off? Seriously inappropiate humor. The best kind, right?

The pay off? Sitting in an open gym,
Music streaming.

A fracas of “chill,”
Perfect disturbances.

Summer is coming…

Music can make a mood,
Stoke a thought,
Change a feeling,
Make a moment.
My day started in darkness,
I emerged in a light
Full of memories,
Doused with creative energy,
Inspired to run, write, to be ridiculous.

This is how they played…

Just Like Heaven (1987), The Cure

Four-thirty in the morning,
Birds are chirping, they do that you know,
I’ve heard AC was built for that reason.
That little trick line
Took me way back to a time when high school
Was over, but the relationships were still strong,
Took me way back to a place where cheesy rose high
In a converted roller skating rink turned night club
Took me way back, when there was no showing of tricks,
And high school ended.
On this dark morning, thirty-something years later,
I could only smile,
Wondering how life would be different with a little more guile,
A little less ambition, and a better trick.

Magic (1984), The Cars

One big ass drop, two loops, and the status of mythical monsters,
That was The Loch Ness Monster at Busch Gardens,
A new roller coaster, loops, speed, balls out fun,
I’d meet college kids there,
Hanging with them making me feel cool,
Since high school,
Was at least another year from being done.
There was the track runner,
She was something.
There was the party dude,
He knew a lot about her,
But he had no magic with her.
In the blazing hot summer, he tried to start a fire,
She put it out like the cold air in the break room,
No problem, he accepted that his wallet wasn’t thick enough,
And headed to the LeMans cars.
In fact, we all did,
Trading in the lime green overalls,
For shorts and running shoes.
Maybe that got me to this morning
When a longish run
Was on the agenda.

The song ended.
Unfolding myself from the truck began.
Two minutes later
The real sleight of hand began,
Legs moving,
Heart beating,
Cobwebs shaken off,
Running.

Pretending (1989), Eric Clapton

West Philly, no AC, no birds chirping,
Buses, police cars, fire trucks spewing noise,
My apartment, spartan, poetry spitting from a dot matrix,
Me on my back wondering what I had done,
Leaving the Colonial Capital for the City of Brotherly Love,
Bound to duty and unwilling to break ranks,
While Clapton implored me to stop pretending.
I stayed making the most of things,
Thinking the path was true

It wasn’t.

Many years later
The gig was up.
Life would get better
Where no faking would be necessary
For truth in feeling, that soul massaging way
Got back to me.
Yes, Eric, no pretending.

Home By the Sea (1983), Genesis

Her parents weren’t home,
My friend’s girlfriend and her friend were alone.
He drove a Camero, earliest 80s vintage,
He drove fast, the Ironbound Express,
A blue blur flying through the night
His foot inspired by adolescent dreams.
Nobody talked, the windows were down,
Spring can get hot in Tidewater,
Since it is a home kind of close to the sea,
I’m not sure about seat belts,
The will to live is different at seventeen,
Death has no dominion then.
We made it safely.
We left safely.

The Lakers won that night.

Wicked Garden, (1992), Stone Temple Pilots

Rage, frustration, I don’t know with this one,
When it came out, I was mad,
Mad at a lot of stuff,
Mad because I was a chump.
I might still be,
I can’t claim to be an interpreter of song,
But this one gets the adrenaline pumping,
Motivation, aggression,
A soul taking, ankle-breaking mentality
Fit as a mid-day espresso.

The run was long past,
The sun was high in the sky,
The hurricane that my office fan stirs
Blew with Category Five ferocity and
When this song hit,
I was the eyewall, spinning in imagery,
Letting go of work’s never-ending frustration.

Music can make a mood,
Stoke a thought,
Change a feeling,
Make a moment.
My day started in darkness,
I emerged in a light
Full of memories,
Doused with creative energy,
Inspired to run, write, to be ridiculous.

This was how they played…

I like learning things,
Maybe my poetry is too much about me,
Forche said in her book that she was encouraged
To write poetry about something other than herself.
I’d like to, but things seem easier this way.
Observations, lessons,
What have I learned?

We took to the roads this morning ten or twelve strong,
We bullied cars to other lanes, or so I imagined.
Thinking tough was a defensive move
As my heart rate shot through the zones
Like gas prices climbing through the two-dollar range.

The group stuck together,
A hodgepodge of rhythms, conversations, and paces,
Only to break up for the threes, fives, and two lonely sevens.
It was cold. I did not know about the temperature dropping
Only a couple of degrees just before sunrise.
I knew my hands hurt from the chill and
That the hill didn’t look as menacing in the light,
But gravity and angles don’t lie,
It was the same mofo seen or unseen.
Stories stopped, breathing labored, endorphins released.

After accepting the hill’s charity, a steep downhill,
I was struck by the beauty of the morning.
The sun softly lit an unplowed field and for a moment
There was nothing,
The nothing of awe where even this jaded soul
Could recognize how great things can be.

Could it be that I’m getting older,
Able to see through the bull shit that is created by others,
Created by me?
Why should I care if my arms are skinny, little twigs,
Unable to lift a big body without help from rubber bands?
Why should I care if my belly rises from my torso
Life an annoying speed bump on the road.
I do care, but why should I?
Ah, vanity, the Devil’s favorite sin, according to Pacino.

Still, why should I care?
There are more important things, better lessons,
Serious accomplishments.

I’ve learned to like people, again.
That sounds harsh, but too many pokes with a hot iron
Has a way of turning a personality off.
The last few months of hitting the roads
With a group of dedicated souls
Has allowed me to see good. That’s a testament to them,
Not something I’m proud to admit about myself.

Maybe that’s it,
Caring is key,
It’s owning motivation,
So we can keep going.
I don’t want to be the big belly in the picture, so I run,
Today, I ran both night and day (cheap, I know)
Finding a peace that can’t come anywhere but from age,

And from paying attention to others

Like my running partner who
Thinks about things similarly and shares the
Same values, same humor, and hopefully shares
The same respect.
It’s good to know that people have the same issues that
I thought were all mine,
Strength through numbers, right?
Bringing life to those kinds of things
Is an emotional release worthy of boom box amplification,
And that’s what our stories are,
Radio transmissions, efforts to make sense of the stuff
That shouldn’t require a call.

But we do call, each person in the group,
Kind of an HR person,
Listening to each other’s stories,
Offering perspective, or just listening.
Only in this group,
It’s not just about complaints,
But also the joys of family, the ridiculousness of teachers,
Simple banter, dumb ass jokes.

Friendships.

The end of seven miles sometimes comes too soon.
Class continues at the coffee table,
Although, some days it’s in the back alley gym or pool,
Lessons happen in each area,
Be nice,
Pay attention,
Appreciate others,
Have no expectations and take things as they are.

I love it. Not the back alley gym classes so much,
But why ruin a confessional type of poem with such negativity?
I love their energy, the laughing, and this feeling of trust
My crusty old white-haired soul with aging muscles
Is finding with this group of highly motivated early risers.
I’m learning. It’s scary good. Age be damned!

Please, though, no jock straps…

 

I worked out this morning,
My partners immature adults
Full of life experiences
I relate to.

I tried a second workout this afternoon.
Former students, current students, rival students,
All of them, everywhere,
Flexing, preening, everything but lifting.

I stuck it out for seventeen minutes,
Headed to the table for coffee and Lived the life of the old man
Who sits in the morning
Wishing to read in silent…
It never happens.
Just like now.

Why didn’t I just swim?

All of this mindfulness stuff
Is having an impact.
I’m hearing the buzz of bees when I ran,
Tasting the deliciousness of cinnamon,
Feeling the beat of a heart,

Which is the point of being mindful, right?
To feel,
To have a better understanding,

And then to make a change.

I feel a little guilty writing today,
The sun is out, a soft breeze,
Work is a distant thought,
Since school is closed,
I’m sure my corporate friends love reading that.

The guilt though is from my run
When being mindful of everything
Tuned me into my self.
I had a realization that I was describing someone else,
Only to understand,
I was exactly who I was talking about.

Energy drainer.

Maybe it takes me a book bag full of sand to figure things out,
But as I stepped on the steel box after running
I had some time to think.
The person I had been describing was working out nearby,
She was talking to a friend,
No drama, no kryptonite, just her and her non-edgy way.

I saw her differently, then,
Not as someone to avoid,
But someone who was just doing the best she could,
And I was the real ass in the scenario.

With a heart rate barely registering on my monitor,
There was plenty of oxygen for me to hear
The lame way I can be.
Since I’m the ultimate good versus bad,
Black-White, pendulum kind of person,
I started seeing all the ways I drain life
Out of various situations,
The list is too long, but
For me, it’s one person shorter.

Work in progress…

There was a character in a James Bond movie,
He felt no pain,
It was a great source of anguish for the guy,
He hurt all the time.

Death has a way of sobering up a day,
Just something about it,
Such a great source of pain,
The loss so much for some.

I’ve had my share of loss,
Sudden, life-altering deaths,
Family, friends, each layering on scars
Somehow shielding my soul from death.

I’ve grown to accept that death will come,
Grabbing someone,
Maybe another relative, maybe a friend,
I hope neither. Me, either.

I worry that I’m that character,
Not able to feel the sadness when people die,
Maybe because the ache from my family’s loses
Have jaded my outlook on grief.

Move on, go forward,
“Get busy living, Red.”
Too sober some might think, although,
Others might realize I’m drunk with life.

So how is it, that I don’t belly up to the grieving bar,
I don’t know, not cold-hearted, just accepting of the end,
Saddened by the losses, not saddled by death.
My time will come and I hope people say a toast and move on.

That would be enough,
No grieving,
Accepting,
Simple.