By the time this poem posts,
It’s 12:02 everyday,
I will be fast asleep,
After twenty-four hours of modest endurance efforts.

To get out and test ourselves,
There is nothing better,
The test, it doesn’t matter much,
Just that it is hard, maybe even unthinkable.

I know today would not have happened for me,
Twenty-six (.2) miles spread out over 24-hours,
Without some serious support,
The kind that frames these ridiculous attempts.

Family, dealing with the stink, the unavailability,
Friends, offering encouragement, healthy skepticism,
My dog, who just looks and waits with his wagging tail,
But in this one, my daughter,

Who on her birthday accepted the challenge,
Talked just enough trash
Liked enough Strava posts, and kept at it throughout
To inspire me to keep going as well.

She and I need to set up a Zoom call with Beau,
His video putting the idea of this adventure in our heads,
I’d like to thank him for the pain in my calves and the chance
To do this craziness with a kindred spirit.

We ran in the woods,
I took the lead to set the pace,
I didn’t want to spend the day chasing,
More like getting lapped,
She’s must faster than I am.

It’s hard to believe it’s been almost twenty-two years,
From a snot nosed kid, to a pain in the butt adult,
I love her, one of my best hanging partners,
Now a full fledged woman,
Long gone are her days in diapers.

On the last lap, she took charge,
I just let her go, walking whenever I needed to slow,
She’d look back and humor her old man
Knowing it was in her best interest to stay close
Since I was paying for breakfast.

Bruce,
Hornsby, not Springsteen,
Just got interrupted
By Mother Nature
Who found that angry side
And decided to let loose
With her female fury.
My daughter and I
Heeded the warnings
Finding shelter from the tempest
At the Cheese Shop
Of all places.
Once, a long time ago,
I used to sweep this patio
When it was called,
A Good Place To Eat.
It still is, but tonight
It’s shelter,
A covered place from the rain
That interfered with
Some most incredible people-watching
With beauty and beasts,
Both known and unknown
All who see me in their lens,
Probably under the same
Judgmental glass
As either vintage or hipster
Hopefully not hanger-on or poser.

Damn, this is fun

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Drawn to light,
A parental moth looking for brightness
In an otherwise dark month
Where rain and wind conspired
To blur nerve’s sharpness by
Ratcheting the tension
Of a life stuck in a routine,
Bored by the same old roads,
Cookie cutter neighborhoods,
All too familiar faces, and
Inspiration locked away in the
Gotta-go-to-sleep closet.

The light was in Washington,
A place that has lately been part of the angst animation
That life has drawn daily.
The streets were empty and the company lively,
For my daughter braved the winds
Despite a cold brought on by the sneaky look at me
Kids who get the look and then sneeze
The projectile germs pre-service teachers must deal with.

We wandered the circles of the Hirshhorn
Where the activist nature of my personality
Showed its authentic self in my youngest’s siding
With the Guerilla Girls and their protest of publications putting
Men out there without a care for equal rights or even sort of equal rights.
We mosied over to the National Gallery,
Putting up with old masters and mocking the furniture
Until we finally saw her light,

The blur, the darkness, and all that is cool when planning
Meets the unpredictability of time, chemistry, and vision;
Sally Mann’s photography, beautiful, haunting, imperfect,
Kind of like my relationship with my kid,
Brought out feelings that have been lost for too long,
Seeing, risking, imagining, documenting
All parts of a creative’s engine, part of a parent’s toolbox,
Each needing to be charged with the soulful touch
Softly reaching out from the gallery walls.
We saw more;
Sugimoto, whose out of focus way brings clarity to mental noise,
Jasper’s shapes, suggesting structure in a chaotic world,
Georgia’s suggestion, Jackson’s overt sexuality, and a treat,
My old baseball coach’s father right there next to Picasso
Bringing to mind the set up to an unwritten joke,
“Two cubists walk into a gallery…”
Food truck lunch, over-priced Harbor coffee,
Some heavy conversation to hopefully exhaust long-simmering fires,
And a quiet ride home,
Her sleeping
And me thankful to have her along.

Truth is, she’s a lot like me,
Stubborn, opinionated, trusting, unforgiving, and
Prone to visiting art galleries alone,
But it’s nice to have a partner who can share moments
Like the joy of seeing huge dogs walking
Or sharing observations on how a father
Doesn’t portray stereotypical gym teacher traits,
Or maybe the way we feel the cosmic energies, mine random occurrences,
Hers, punishments from the unseen, maybe karma or comeuppance,
To shake a wagging tongue into a more proper way of talking.

I don’t know.

The day was something special,
My rambling, so much like Sally’s photos,
Pictures of time, maybe a little fuzzy,
Sometimes a product of manipulation,
Sometimes an unexpected gift from the angels,
But always full of the right light
Like a daughter and father just hanging together.

It’s late, nearly ten o’clock.
The New Retro is streaming,
My skin is recovering
From a day at the pool.

The morning was spent with my daughter.
We soaked up the direct rays
The two of us alone with the guards
Letting the clouds carry us away.

The afternoon we faced directly into sunset’s wheelhouse,
The five o’clock sun strong and
My book about Joshua’s friend
Funny, sacrilegious, and enlightening all at once.

Then, the big kids came,
Those guys my age and I gave up reading
To talk the nonsense us guys talk
When we get the opportunity to just be guys.

The connection between morning and night
Being salamanders, who knows why, but
My daughter nearly stepped on one and my friends
Who is staying at a resort named after the amphibians.

I don’t know what this means Uncle Jim, so
Don’t read too much into this one.
I think it was just a perfect day
Touched by the energy of the Quarry.

June will be gone in a couple of hours.
I’ll wake to the repetition of running and
Head back to the waters
Looking forward to what July brings.

She said, “You’re talking about prairie dogging.”

“Huh?”

“You know, it shows its head, but never comes out.”

“That’s pretty gross. You know, I’ve seen a prairie dog farm.”

“There’s such a thing?” she asked.

“Yeah, out in Texas. I saw it when I was a kid.”

“What’s it like?”

“Like whale watching without the water, boats, and whales.”

“Really, Dad?”

“Seriously. You stand there against a fence waiting for one to come out.”

“Prairie dogging,” she said with a wry smile.