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Causeway

Causeway

(The first part from Middle English cauceweye, either from Latin calxcalcis (“limestone”), or alternatively from Latin calciāre (“to stamp with the heels, tread”), from calx (“heel”). The second corresponds to English way. Causeway:  A raised road upon which to walk, made of stone, over a body of water.)

As we walked the causeway
Over the river,
to the beach,
“Can we stop?
I want to look out over the water,
Listen,
Watch the moon rise above and below.”
Easy.
Of course. I wish everything people asked
Was that easy,
But most of the time what people ask
I just can’t give them.
Make me happy.
Hold me together.
Let me bruise you.
Fix me.
Sustain me.
Survive me.
Make my head stop hurting.

 
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Posted by on May 19, 2014 in Poetry, Uncategorized

 

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The Well

There are still tears
For you, around corners
I have avoided, nested into objects
Unexpected, curled up in words.
They well under memories
Until released, into the open,
Jostled by a stray scent,
Nudged by a colour,
A page of a book,
A wind in leaves.

 
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Posted by on January 2, 2014 in Family, Poetry

 

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Wintering

The sky is cloudless and
when I look up, it reminds me
of you, and when there are clouds
wispy, white, soft, light,
and I look up, it reminds me
of you. And storm clouds too.
Sunrises. Sunsets.

The air is cooling now.
When I met you,
it was crisp, but
the world was warming,
opening wide for the spring sun
and now summer has passed
and some days are winter sets
for plays that pass their time
in the course of that season, but you,
you, I hope,
will see spring with me again,
and again,
will watch with me the world
open to the birth of love
until winter comes to us each
and does not leave.

 
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Posted by on October 27, 2013 in Poetry

 

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Nightshirt

Nightshirt

Originally Published in Elephant Journal.
(For Lee, 9/8/13)

For the first few weeks,
once I would return to the bed,
I’d lie on my side
arm on your pillow
your nightshirt tucked
under my cheek,
One of the few pieces of your clothing
I kept. The body is a just a shell
You said. But your lab coat,
the suit you wore to your graduation,
your nightshirt.

The one you wore to hospice.
The one you were comforted in,
the one, the last one.
Your favorite,
cornflower blue
Bamboo fiber,
soft and light,
unwashed
the scent of you
still smooth upon it,
the smell of your skin-
the gentleness of
the small of your back,
the familiar comfort
between your breasts
where I would rest my cheek,
the collar that still
carried the nape of your neck.
Each breath, a calmative
against the cruelty
Of the sudden solitary sleep,
the life, a brain, that was built around
your existence
suddenly
without.

And, sometimes, I would sleep.
and sometimes not,
but over the days,
the scent diminished,
disappeared,
like your ability to walk,
speak, see, remember,
until little was left and,
fearing its loss,
as I still fear yours,
I put it in a plastic bag,
removed the air, closed it tight,
put it away in the dark.

A perfume, almost gone,
of days past,
that brings a flush or joy,
a smile, a sigh,
that, for fear of being used up,
isn’t used at all.

 
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Posted by on September 15, 2013 in Family, Poetry, psychology, Social

 

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The Wheaton Test Or What I Need to Know About You Before the Second Date: With an Amendment Three Years Later Regarding how Completely Wrong I Was and a Further Amendment One Year Later that I was Not

Amendment
02/22/18

I wasn’t wrong.

Sometimes love alone isn’t enough.

Some people are set in their ways. Some people don’t fit. It doesn’t matter if it is one, or the other, or both, she, I, or us.

I think, in the end, I was sold a bill-of-goods. But it wasn’t she who did the selling – it was me. I sold myself on a dream, on a life I could have. This is on me.

I told my son, never feel badly about being a fool for love. If you are a fool for anything, let it be for love. And love her, I do.

Sometimes love alone isn’t enough.

Amendment
12/26/2016

There is a picture on my bedside table that was not there yesterday morning. It is a picture of a gloriously beautiful woman, sky and sea behind her, smiling. It is in a frame of gilt and funk and sparkle and it makes me smile nearly as much as the beauty in the photograph. It was a present from Arlene for Chanukah. And it is perfect.

Beside me, as I write this, is another picture, a drawing, actually, by Brian Andreas. We were in a gallery in Charleston, South Carolina. She was looking at Christmas ornaments, hand-blown globes, from Glass Eye Studios in Seattle. Each globe, multicolored, swirling, translucent, reflective, unique, blown with ash from Mount St. Helens. And she was going to buy one. The problem was that I had already gotten it for her, months earlier, in Tacoma at the Museum of Glass.

There they were, something I knew she’d want, right next to something I didn’t think I’d see anywhere but online or in a book. She recognized Andreas and how much I liked his work, how much it made sense to me, and asked me to walk away while she looked through them. I did, and visited with the gallery owner.

“I hate to ask this, but, she is looking at something I already got her as a surprise. So, please don’t let her buy an ornament.”To not sell something is not the best thing to ask a shop-owner. He listened kindly, I explained, he smiled.

That ornament, made with ash from deep within the heart to the Earth, from the heart that is the birth of all hearts, the hearth that is the mother of all hearths, is hanging from her tree. And I am looking at the print now.the-edge

They came to sit & dangle their feet off the edge of the world & after awhile they forgot everything but the good & true things they would do someday.

She had picked one of my favorites. Just like that. I picked what she would have gotten, she picked what i would have. We knew.

It has been three years and a few months since I wrote The Wheaton Test. And here is what I’m telling you – I was wrong. Wrong wrong. Not just a little wrong. Utterly wrong. Not fun-sized snack wrong. Elephant wrong. Blue whale wrong. The Earth is flat wrong. The kind of wrong that can leave one wondering if brains actually have any use if, after all, they can be that dreadfully wrong.

Here is what I wrote to Wil.

Good evening and happy Thanksgiving to you! I’m writing because I wanted to say that three and a half years after The Wheaton Test was published it is: 1) One of my most hit posts, 2) my most shared post, 3) is used on dating sites, if seems, as a litmus test and, most important of all 4) terribly and completely wrong and I am engaged (a few months now) to that very same young lady. What I’d have missed out on if I had taken my own advice! So, thank you. The ride would not have been quite as interesting otherwise. Blessing Always.

The reply was short and simple. “:-)”

Three years and then some. I have memories of my granddaughter, Sadie, at a year and a half old, sitting on the hearth (notice how close hearth is to heart?) of Arlene’s fireplace Christmas morning after a sleepover night so my kids could go out and have fun. Videos of her opening presents from her. Pictures of Sadie with Arlene’s kids, G!G! And Jules. Memories of wonderful moments on the beach, shared rainbows, amazing concerts. Memories of helping her eldest set off for college. And Arlene’s smile. Always that smile. And memories of kindnesses – kindness unsurpassed in any person I have ever met. I never thought I’d have new memories, domestic memories, memories with other than my own children, that would be important to me again. And here they are.

So, while she does now know who Wil Wheaton is, I know it also doesn’t really matter. I know, now, that, if we know something, we are often surprised others don’t. The knowledge we carry we feel is common. If we know something about quantum physics, we somehow feel it is not abstract, not uncommon. The same is true for literature, or popular music, or TV shows. Anything. Knowledge. Skill.  We can’t imagine others don’t know, can’t do, what we know and do.

So I was wrong. Or, rather, she was right. I draw that distinction because she is, to my recollection, nearly always so. When she tells me something, I may not get it right away (I am slow, I think), but given a bit to sink in, there is that moment of realization that she is correct. Now, even if I don’t get it, even if I immediately disagree, I won’t discount anything she says. Instead, I sit with it, let it sink in, roll around, because I know, given an hour, or a day, it will dawn on me not only that is is correct, but how as well. All I need to do is wait.

And wait with her I’ll gladly do. I will sit with her at the edge of the world and dangle my feet over, over into the nothingness, until all is forgotten but that which is good and that which is true.

All. Even Wil.

*****

Original Post
August 3rd, 2013

Sitting with a young lady, I was, at a Japanese restaurant. The kind where they cook the food at a table in front of you and you sit with people you don’t know and the chef makes noise banging salt shakers and scrapers and juggling shrimp and squirts saki in great arcs into the mouths of gulping diners. The kind that leaves one waiting an hour. But this time, we waited nearly two and a half. It gave us plenty of time to talk. Or try to. It didn’t go so well.

I tried physics.  No good. She tried current movies. No dice. I tried Eastern philosophy. No way. She tried popular music. No go. I mentioned Facebook. AHA!  Yes, we both knew Facebook, of course.

“Did you see the video today of a mother asking Wil Wheaton to give her infant daughter a pep talk? It was brilliant.”

“Who?”

Uh oh!  “Wil Wheaton?  You don’t know who Wil Wheaton is? You know, sort of like Nerd King.”

“Oh, nerd is a label. I don’t like labels.”

“Well, labels make it a bit easier to talk. You know, like saying mayonnaise instead of that stuff made with eggs, and going on to list all the ingredients. Agreed upon meanings.  As long as a label isn’t used as a pejorative.”

“What’s a pejorative?”

Uh oh! “Wil Wheaton. You know, Star Trek The Next Generation.”

“I never saw it.”

“But most people know who Wil Wheaton is.”

“I bet most people don’t. Go ahead. Ask.” She looked around us. Plenty of people to ask, for sure.

I did. Ten out of ten asked didn’t know.  I shook my head.  “Well, most likely, they wouldn’t be my friends.  She looked at me. It must have been the sight of my foot so tightly lodged in my mouth that did it.

I texted my friends. They did. They knew. Every one of them. She did the same. They didn’t. Every one of them.

We tried talking some more, once I dragged my foot from my gullet. But anything I wanted to talk about, I had to build background, step by step, first. That would have been fine, except she made it clear she didn’t care about any of it by saying, “I don’t care about that.”

Dinner was interesting. Nice young lady. We sat in her car and didn’t talk.

The next day, walking home from my office, I wrote these rules.

Over hot dogs at Mustard’s Last Stand, we edited them.

Craig put them on a poster.

Someone tweeted them.

Wil Wheaton got a hold of it. He posted it on his blog. “This is wonderful and I’m honoured to be included.”

It was shared and reblogged over a thousand times in less than two hours.

“Using this for all future relationships.” And “This. This and a thousand times this.” And “This is SACRED. Never Mind The Bible.”

“I’m well-beyond my second date, but I’m adopting this anyway. If not for my partner, just to make sure *I’m* following it.”

“I’m not sure if I would say all of these things about myself because I know myself. I know my insecurities. But I would like to be like this and I would like to think I’m at least a little like this. Maybe someday I’ll find someone to work through the little things and we can both appreciate the crazy, stupid, and amazingness of the world together.”

“The Wheaton Test is now one of my favorite things.” “Fabulous.” “This is perfect. Absolutely perfect.”

“These are like all the things I wish I could have conveyed but didn’t know how.” “This is beautiful!” “YES. All of this. All of it.”

And on.

Enjoy.

Use it in good health.

PS. What else did I write, other than this poster?  So glad you asked. Look on my blog (above) under books or look here.

The Wheaton Test. Or,  What I Need to Know About You Before the Second Date.

What else did I write, other than this poster?  So glad you asked. Look on my blog (above) under books or look here.

 
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Posted by on August 3, 2013 in Culture, philosophy, Poster, Social

 

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Enter to win the Songs from the Well revised and Expanded edition, in paperback.

Enter to win the Songs from the Well revised and Expanded edition, in paperback, to be release on Yom Kippur, 9/8/13, along with my latest book, Yom Kippur as Manifest in an Approaching Dorsal Fin.

 
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Posted by on July 19, 2013 in Books, Culture, Family, Religion, Social, Suicide

 

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Seafoam and Shadow

She dreamt in color
She dreamt in light
Of the moon on the wavecaps
And the impression her feet make
In sand and seafoam.

And I dream of those footprints
And the light that filled them
The foam that took their shape
The shadows that became them.

And walk the beach under full moon light
Looking back at my own footprints
Trying to forget I just left them.

Watching them fill with shadow and seafoam
And wash into the waves,
Into the sea
To be shined upon by moonlight.

Trying to forget I just left them.

I can do that.

 
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Posted by on July 10, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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