This morning was a perfect wake up. Nobody else was out of bed and it was perfectly quiet. After gusting winds over the last two days, there was barely a breeze and the ocean looked to be perfectly still. Gradually, the sounds of life began, first as a simple conversation with my wife, then with the pounding rubber of joggers out for a run and the whir of bike tires as Schwinn’s sped by. Before long a surveyor’s measuring tape was plotting a lot for new construction. The day had started. The quiet was gone. So it is with people.
Life floats with the wind
Tempestuous currents teach
Breezes are the way
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
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
As either vintage or hipster
Hopefully not hanger-on or poser.
Damn, this is fun
A year ago, twenty-one,
The Brick, smoke and swill,
The perfect bar
To cement two feet in adulthood.
This year twenty-two,
I’m in the stands for your graduation
With your caffeine challenged sister
And a show boardering on an
Amusement park or Wal-Mart.
It’s great and your new degree,
Whatever it is,
Would serve you well for a farce
Or comedy of human fasion errors.
Welcome to unemployment.
Wallow in your offensive,
Of judgmental thinking.
Stay in your box
Threatened by the evolution
Of words, ideas, and culture
That goes on without
Your predetermined observations
On right or wrong.
I’m am offended by you,
The very idea that your brain
Is concrete hard,
Unable to accept a force without
Cracking, without dusting up,
Without limiting the lives
Of those open to possibilities,
Those not threatened by humor,
People unafraid to admit
This life thing,
As out of control as it is,
Should be appreciated as fresh,
Expansive, and liberating when
The iron bars, small boxes, and
Barbed wire are taken
From that prison block mentality
That you wish to place
On that which offends you.
You are a roadblock
You are a wen needing a popping
With your lack of laughter,
Fear of the edge, and expectation
That we all stay within the lines
Of your boring butt coloring book.
Allow people to be,
Grow a pair, or
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
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,
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.
Last night it was the guzzling,
Champagne-suds, so cold, so easy
Hydration leaving me numb
To political firebombs, global conflicts, human idiocy.
Instead, that subtle buzz had me enjoying
Thoughts, positive ones
Where wind-blown fly balls went our way,
Where sermons on baseballs traveling deep
Found a congregation of contact making high schoolers
Who are doing something special,
This morning it’s coffee
Slugged down with a bottomless potential,
Leaving me shaky,
Hands, hyped on caffeine
Beboping some kind of punk rock caligraphy, are
Driven to type,
Because my fingers are too excited to write neatly,
Sharpee lines all over the place, upending my quest
For neatness, order, and control
Everything opposite of what I’m hoping for
Hanging with my kids
Waiting for Charlie Hunter
Sweet sounds all around
there are surprises
when growing up.
some things never change, though.
people find the faults,
look to lay blame,
find reasons in others
for the short comings
of what they’ve sown.
oh well, hope survives,
optimism touts happiness,
neither doing well.
Another Christmas season,
Wrapped in the cloak
Of a monster chest cold
And coughing carols
With chestnuts roasting
In snot filled lungs.