The Bard Knows

The Bard Knows

You wonder at times
The voices we hear
The stories we see
The lies we live
Of hopes unborn

Yet the Bard knows
Those questions unseen;
Of Sepulcher tales
and Shrouds of gloom; woven
to our souls repent

They write the tales
On a Poet’s lyre
Parchment glowing
In Odin’s eyes
As Dragons roar
Racing on life’s behest

Yet a dreamer knows
What tales to tell
What tales can be
What truth we find
Of tales untold
Within a Bard’s inquest

–Lewis Campbell–

Words – An Intellectual Coin

Prophecies come in many forms; often subtle tremors within our psyche we don’t notice, until they come to be expressed within the pain they cause. Many come to feel that pain is something to avoid, something to shy away from as a warning of danger. Others would say it is something to be challenged, resisted, a physiological Haiku that breeds the emotion of something wrong, not quite right within the world of our body we are locked within.

A mother screams in pain as they beget to the world another soul; another life to which our innocence comes to be added to the beauty of things. A child cries from a skinned knee, a soldier bleeds, his bloodless tears beseeching the reasons to the world of why he comes to be who he is.

Yet the question; like so many we find no answer to, comes to exist within the words we claim. They are Words from birth, a harmonic, a force bombarding our home within the womb, smothering us at times in the confusion they render within us. A dyslexic tone seeing but not seeing the nature of what others can see.

I came to see the power of words when they were lost to my mind’s eye as a child. Wanting to read, watching others who were much faster than I, the letters crooked and broken, shuffled and torn, habits, pauses, thoughtful meanderings while others waited, waited for my mind’s eye to find the key to the confusion I found in every word, every book, and every sign that surrounded me throughout my life.

“He’s Imaginative; but slow, they said. “He’s stupid, obstinate, and lazy, so don’t waste your time,” others said. Yet my mind reigned free from their words, the challenge taken, memorizing exercises before class to appear less clueless. Hours spent daydreaming in front of books pretending to read. I think my mother knew at times, yet remained quiet, protecting my self-esteem with a cookie, a hug or just a smile saying, “you’ll get there.”

My mother read to me often, and I loved to hear her voice so much that it didn’t really matter what she read to me. Sometimes I’m sure; looking back as I can now; my mother read to me the stories of her mind rather than the words printed on the page in front of her. Replacing character names with my own, changing the story line at times to push some point she wished me to learn or at times for no other reason than to make me laugh or smile at her words.

I have memories of the book ‘One Hundred and One Dalmatians.’ It was the book that I cut my teeth on; literally at times, when learning how to read. I carried it everywhere with me, reading it so often that eventually the book fell apart. I listened to her so often that I could quote whole chapters of it or so I thought at the time. Years later I came to read it again as an adult, enjoying the memories, reading it for my own grand-children; saying to myself, ‘but there is something greatly wrong here.’ I thought, ‘where is the part where Pongo did this, and where is the part where he did that.’ Coming to understand after some time that it was my own imagination and that of my mother’s many extended stories, which had so imprinted the universe of the novel to my life, rather than just the words of the book itself.

My mother and father both had such vibrant and challenged souls, creating in me and my brothers and sisters the love of the written word. I wonder now looking back how much of it was lost to them, as they sacrificed their dreams for ours, their life for the sometimes hunger that came our way.

I never went hungry, though when food was scare, I can see the pattern bright within the hindsight of my memories, those days my parents were starving to eat; but didn’t. Going hungry, doing without in many thousands of ways so that we stayed well fed, happy and oblivious to the reality of it all. Seeing now my dad losing weight working sixteen-hour days, my mom as well, never complaining, and never whining about life, just always at the end of the day, my mom and dad being the sanctuary by which I came to be.
I suppose for me the written word is the rendered essence I find in life of who my parents were and are. Not perfect of course, yet perfect for me. My mother read to me the most; her voice always resonating within my mind as I listened to her stories, that for some time I could not read myself. The habits of escaping into the adventures I listened to, and for a time, settling my soul.

Yet the adventures of my mind cried out: “What words doth man use to sooth the savage beast?” Lonely voices throbbing to the savage heart of a world that uses and abuses at times, the shades and cries of shadows within our mind driven to speak, driven to use the words that tame the world around us. For what is life without the words as tools that we use to paint the world within our dreams. Words, the intellectual coins we spend for every thought, spend for every vision we come to see.
Words are a coinage my parents knew would be important to my future, yet never having enough for their own needs, their own wants or their own desires. Yet it was enough for them to see such gifts given to me, my brothers and sisters.

My mother told of others; orators, scientists, artists, wordsmiths of every kind, honing their skills through the challenges of wanting to be normal; whatever that tends to be. For a time words became my passion, understanding them, learning what each one came to mean over time. Big words to use against those who saw me less than others of my kind, driving my need to fight the word of lazy, with thriftiness, the word stupid, with bright, the word ignorant or foolish with knowing and carefree.

Looking back at those times, I now know the nature and depth of the greatness my father and mother innately came to have. My father learned to read by looking at signs on the road as he grew up out of the Great Depression. A brilliant mind, teaching himself to read and write well enough to pass an engineering exam and become more than what any before him had ever come to be. Challenging the intellectual world who believe that genius only lays within the ivory towers of old.

Through him I came to understand the limits of the intellectual rationalist, using the words in a reductionist world, a label here, a tag there, often spouting words and phrases much like the street corner bible-thumper, using the words of the bible to push their needs; but having long forgotten the essence of the whole of what the bible means.

Along the way I came across many minds, some long dead, some still alive. Their writings pouring into my mind, breaking through the barrier of the individual word, pushing me to understand the ideas they were trying to convey.

For much of my youth, I came to understand enough words in the books I read to see the imagery the author was attempting to plant within my mind. The weaker the writing the less my understanding; the stronger the writing the more I came to understand. I started to see the patterns; the nuances of form and flow of great writers, drawing me in, becoming the gravitational force by which I started to grow.

Through Asimov I learned the ideas and beauty of physics, chemistry and mathematics. From Clark I wandered through the universe, seeing the nature of the ‘beautiful mind,’ casting into the darkness lines of thought by which they came to change the world.
I learned about other dimensions from Dr. Abbot of Flatland, the precursor for much of what Einstein came to see within his theories of time. I learned that the intellectual coin is but a word, meaning nothing and everything welded as it sometimes is through the lens of Damocles sword, two edges that come to cut through the dogma of a world gone mad at times.
My parents inspired me to see the written word, books, and an education as a path to success. They like many in the world were challenged more often by those things taken away from them, rather than those things given freely or to easily. It is the nature of pain I saw in my dad’s eyes, the brilliant mind relegated to mediocrity by the lack of paper to prove he was good enough to exist within the worlds he so longed for.

The parable of Aesop talks of those who fall away from the challenges of the sweet grapes hanging above, the fox jumping for a time to capture what he desires, giving up to soon, too often, rationalizing “they’re probably sour anyway.”
My parents like so many of the “greatest generation” understood the nature of what a challenge is. They knew that the Darwinian Cage the lowly defensive prey and predator are locked within, does not have to be the path we walk. They knew that any man, woman or child only has to make the choice to be different rather than stay within the herd they shuffle along in.
In a world where being different is an act of conformity to the surface fads of life and society, my parents came to show me that being different; truly different, is the art of wisdom, by which we slowly start to understand what so many great writers of the past came to know.

Hilaire Belloc (1870-1957), in his book ‘The habour in the North,’ came to eloquently say what most of us understand, that:

“The voyage which I was born to make in the end, and to which my desire has driven me, is towards a place in which everything we have known is forgotten, except those things which as we knew them, reminded us of an original joy.”

My father showed me that the only failure in life is one where we quit or when we rationalize ourselves into being less than we need be. From my mother I came to see the original joy of her voice, her words, the love she gave so freely in the stories she read.

In a world of intellectual rationalizations, where words are so often things to be used to destroy rather than create, I’ve come to understand that quitting isn’t just about the ‘grapes being sour anyway.’ It’s about the fear to even look up long enough to see what intellectual sustenance passes you by. It’s the media hype and rationalizations to push thoughts into your mind even before you know what is there to begin with.

Being different isn’t the newest tattoo, the newest tech-zombie mobile you are plugged into. Being different is thinking and seeing the depth of the world you come to walk through every day. The question is: “Will you look away?” Will you take the path of rationalizations that give you what you want? Or will you take the path that gives you what you need?
Some say that love is the only thing in life that the more you give it away, the greater it becomes, the more it feeds your soul to the nature of who you want to be. If love is the essence of life; then dreams are the innate expression of that love.

All you have to do is make the choice, sing the song, read the book, be more than you were yesterday, and less than you will be tomorrow.

Going to the Park

The beach was cold; dreary, the last of summer’s days now passing into fall. A young boy trudged through the sand, warm water washing up between the toes of his right foot, his left sliding in the dry sand; his balance off, the struggle enjoyable after so much of his young life in the hospital.

His parents sat quietly watching from afar, their beach house moaning, creaking with every shift of the ocean wind. There was a storm at sea, the father looking out at the dark clouds in the distance, the quickening of it matching in time the beating of his heart, the sharp pain in his chest, tears in his eyes, his wife’s hand tight within his own.

They watched their son, blonde, blue eyed, slender; only seven years old, fighting the wind, a warrior’s soul challenged by all the battles confronting him these last two years. The vision of their mind’s eye fighting the reality they saw before them. Pale, limping, hair mostly gone, Jonathan’s right hand, crooked, tucked into his side, so much damage to his little body from Cancer and the many treatments all talking there toll in so many ways.

His mother smiled, her memories shining through her tears watching as her son played in the lapping water, watching his footprints form, a whimsical trail of sorrows being slowly left behind. Emily felt every footprint as if it were a hammer pounding away at her very soul; feeling the catch in her throat, her pounding heart riding the waves which rolled in from so far away.

It was the grandeur of the Pacific Ocean that first drew them here. Her young mid-western upbringing mesmerized by the sunsets that drowned the very light of day, waiting each night to see it reborn as it crept quietly above the mountains to the east.

They bought into the time share before knowing she was pregnant with Jonathan, both her and her husband taught at Berkeley, sometimes working the summers; but every other year or so they made it here. It was Jonathan’s favorite place to explore; R and R for the military minded, rest and relaxation from a hard battle won, life continuing to exist beyond the chaos all battles bring to the mind.

Their temporary home slouched like an old man going to pouch. Well kept at one time, legs becoming weak, hair disappearing more and more every year, eyes still blue and bright; hard instead of soft, squint lines replacing the once infectious smiles. Yet for all its surface views, there was yet a core of steel deep within, a density tough and hard, hammered by all the storms that come to rage within every soul.

The area was something of a Hitchcock legacy; ‘The Birds’, a suspense thriller, much of which had been filmed on the shores of Bodega Bay, kept the air surreal, every seagull that flew by a bit to close pushed every eye to watch nervously. A turn of the head, an eye for the shadow when they flew by, innocent as nature is always innocent, yet declared guilty by the over-active dreams of every tourist that came to peek into the dreams of what had been; once upon a time.

Their house sat upon a two acre meadow like knoll just off Coastal Highway. Santa Rosa and Sacramento to the East, San Francisco to the South, the highway winding its way north and south along the craggy coastline.

The San Andreas Fault runs parallel to the coastline bisecting Bodega Head; a four mile long peninsula sheltering the shallow sandy Bodega Bay. Separated by a jetty, the coast curves inward protecting Bodega Harbor, and the residents that call it home.

Over the centuries the tidal forces of humanity waged a constant battle to survive. The Miwok Indians; ‘The First People,’ came, then Spanish explorers searching for riches, then homesteaders claiming the land, bringing the madness of violent social change along the way. It is the way of the world, the seagull knowing it best, where change comes, so chaos does as well. An unobserved order to something new, something great, something terrible, the edges of the fire always shining the brightest; yet so to comes the heat, the burning, the passion of hope and hopelessness entwined.

The seagulls swirled within the drafts of wind that carried them so high aloft. They were watching, waiting, darting this way and that, hungry noises squawking in the early morning race for sustenance. They swallowed anything they found, a small morsel of fish, a sea sodden French Fry from someone’s last beach picnic, a piece of bread, or often along these treacherous waters; life now gone, washed ashore to feed the flurry of winged serpents greedily picking, fighting, stealing from each other what they could.

A horn blew, the seagulls leaped into the air as a line of cars drove toward the house, scattering the birds from the road-kill battle that had raged off and on for most of the morning. There wasn’t much traffic along this part of the highway. It was more a scenic route of laid back pleasure rather than the furious foaming road-rage get-me-there as soon as I can frenzy, which so often cascaded from the minds of so many forty year old four year old’s.

The man stood up, helping his wife off the porch swing, both walking down the steps onto the sandy soil, moving around to the front of the house as several cars drove into the driveway. It was a somber presence taking even the voices of the arriving children for moments at a time. Jonathan’s parents; Emily and Walker waved at their friends and family, the welcomes, salutations, tight grins, handshakes, and chatterboxes all a relief from the steady wind wailing out the cadence of life passing them by.

That was the legacy of this place, this time. Young men and woman searching, seeking, making movies, going to movies, a furious energy of youthful life changing the world; the chaos, an unseen order to the madness that now quiet, reflected what lives were spent, what they were spent on. It was the same for all generations; the truth of rebellion was the essence of their conformity.

It is the youthful madness to need change without regard to thought, to see the surface of life without the depth of truth; the urge to explore innate, yet still to learn the depths of what we see, the patterns, the introspection and patience that comes to define the wisdom of knowing right over wrong, good over evil.

Such vision, such wisdom gives to us the gift of seeing the mirror image of who we can be, rather than the reflection of what others come to make of us. It is this magical eye; this thought, looking at the world, coming to know the difference that defines ones soul, coming to have feelings that define ones heart. Knowing the touch of another, the creation of another that comes to give us the understanding of what love was always meant to be.

Emily glanced wistfully over her shoulder, looking at the memories of her son. Seeing him play, laughing wildly, the shadows of herself and Walker leaping in and out of the surf. The bond they had so strong, the bond to life that Jonathon came so strongly to be.

The women wore summer dresses, the younger men wore pressed chino pants, formal shirts with narrow ties, the younger academics and students in the group looking the part of what they were. Mothers, daughters, fathers, sons, every age and every color all mesmerized by the emotional flavors of what their daily lives were this day.

Jonathan watched from the beach; his smile wide with joy as the arriving children raced laughing down the hill. “Hi dad, mom, I was hoping you would be here early.” Emily stepping into her father’s warm hug, her mother taking her arm and walking toward the back porch; her father stepping next to Walker, bringing his arm up and taking him under his wing. With bowed head they walked together, the act saying what men say to each other when stressed by life, all without a word passing between them.

“Who’s the little boy;” Alex asked, pointing to Jonathan who was walking towards them. Annie paused from her architectural endeavors of building a sand-castle, looking as she did to where the boy was pointing. “Oh that’s Jonathan. He’s my cousin.” Slurring her words as her seven year old mind attempted to push pass the limited physical skills of her five year old body.

Without a word Jonathan crouched down next to Annie, working diligently to help her bring form to the wet sand they found so pleasing to the touch. Gritty, wet, squishy, the granules sticking to their arms, the dryer sand tinkling out from between their fingers.

Alex watched the two playing in the sand, sitting down after a few seconds, enjoying the quiet moments of creation to which all find peace when their hearts are pure. There was something odd about the boy, his body indistinct, one moment looking sick, the other, smiling back at him; long golden hair, blue eyes sharp with intelligence, moving with an ethereal grace.

The adults were walking down to the shore line, some slogging without grace, others slipping and sliding as we all do at times in thick dry sand. Finding purchase the closer to the water they came, resignation for the ruined shoes, the wish of their friends to be here for them. It was for Jonathan, the cost was minor compared to the heartache they all felt this day.

“Annie? Alex? Come along its time.” Annie stood up looking back at her parents; her aunt Emily, waving for her to come along, smiling as she waited. Alex ran ahead not really understanding what it was they were doing here today. He’d never met Jonathan, though his parents had talked about him at times. Annie he knew, they both went to the Berkeley day care center while their parents were at work.

Annie grabbed Jonathon’s hand, pulling him with her, not wanting him to leave. His form solid, strong, the way she remembered him before he became sick. The three kids walked, the families gathering up the other children, the hard-packed sand wet, waves lapping over their feet. More than one admonishment chiding the kids for wearing their shoes into the surf; but it was half-hearted, none having the heart to discipline their children this day.

Jonathon walked with Annie, coming to stand between his mother and father. The two holding hands, the Mickey-mouse painted ceramic urn holding their hearts entwined. Quiet prayers as they stepped into the surf, taking the lid off the urn, dark black ashes flying into the wind, floating on the waves, even the seagulls seemed quiet for a moment.

Jonathan touched his mother’s summer dress, the sleeve of his father’s shirt moving out to the water. Alex pulling on his mother’s dress asking her to look. “Look mom the little boy on the water;” his mother shooing him quiet, not wanting to interrupt the service. The minister’s quiet words of faith and peace breaking out among the waves and Jonathon’s ashes slowly disappeared into the wind and surf.

Annie drew in her breath as Jonathon’s hand slowly pulled away, a smile on his face. “Where are you going Jonathon?” Heads turning as the little girls question struck to the heart of each one there; chills moving coldly along their spines. “What do you see Annie?” Emily asked; her face pale, her body shaking with emotion. “It’s Jonathon Aunt Em; he’s going away, I don’t want him to go away!” Tears and sobs broke from many; but a sad smile from Emily, knowing as she did that life never really ends.

“Look mom;” Alex said pointing out into the bay. The clouds had formed just above the surf, the storm swirling, a light shining through, shapes forming. A mirage of form and flow, color and light, flavors of life within the Park they came to see. Jonathon waving goodbye as he walked into the park, blowing his mother a kiss as he always had to the day he died.

Alex jumping up and down, trying to pull his mother toward the Park he wanted to play in. “Come on mom; let me go; the boy went to the Park. Why can’t I?”

You missed those you love, those you are parted from for a time, yet the gladness of what would one day be, was the hope that kept life alive. For life isn’t just about surviving, for the beating of a heart filled with misery is the same as one that finds love. No life is about the giving, that essence of love that grows stronger for the effort to give it away every second of every hour of every day.

Emily held her husband’s hand, reaching out with the other to capture the kiss that flew her way . . .

The Ramp

You wonder at times;
what things in life,
seem to come alive?

Wooden steps!
Wooden hearts!

Inclined Planes!
Tortures align!

Men! Women!
Children and Babies!

Memories awash;
Guilt or Penance,
Who knows?
Who comes to care?

Marching feet!
Stumbling legs!
Crying eyes!
Broken Will’s?

Day and Night;
the trains rolled in.

Sepulcher’s on wheels!
The Ramp; sitting beside rails,
a dark ribbon come alive.

Five a day!
Ten a day!

We bled; fingers cold with dread.
Purging hearts; throbbing souls!
Racing fears; fading minds!

Pandora’s Box; hope now gone,
once upon a time, as The Ramp
now comes alongside.

We watched them come for us;
The Ramp; hard against our feet.

The gas hissed; like something alive.
The furnaces roared; within its lion’s den.

Biting! Eating! Swallowing whole at times;
what once we were, within our mother’s eyes.

We looked up above the wire?
Dark smoke bellowing across the sky;
those before us, now only in our mind’s eyes.

Trains always rolling; always running,
Day and Night; then Night and Day.

A savage knife that bleeds; as wheels align.
Sinuous vapor trails; that rise,
as our shrouds move across the sky.

The trains are coming; The Ramp alive,
as dark souls again arise.

Will we wait; that breath of fear,
to see our own march across the sky.

Will we be what is left;
as vapor trails move across the sky,
remembered only in our mind’s eye.

Life of Books and Tea

I’ve always been something of a compulsive reader. Even when at times I couldn’t read. I had dyslexia to some varied extent. It would range from an irritation, the words looking wrong, having to translate the nature of what I saw to what others saw that I did not. I heard someone comment; in reference to their dyslexia, that they had learned to imagine a giant blackboard in there mind.

When they came across a word that did not look right, they imagined the word like a puzzle, shifting the letters around in there mind until; with practice, it became second nature. For a kid, still listening to others tell them they were imaginative; but slow. Learning to read faster than anyone else came as a competition; to not be noticed as different or slow.

I imagined that chalkboard in my head, learning to do my math; which I seemed to be good at, on the board as well as shifting my daily puzzles around in my head to figure out what the written word in front of me said.

If you haven’t heard of what a blind typist is, I’ll explain to make my next point a bit more clear. When in high school, I took a typing class. No real intent to want to learn how to type, that was where the girls were obviously; puberty being the common dysfunction we all know it comes to be at times.

My teacher described a blind typist as one who could develop the skill of connecting the words they saw on a page or the words they heard being dictated to them and there fingers, like the magical hands of the artist on a piano, could create the motions that put the words on paper with lightening speed, without ever understanding or knowing in any real way, what it was they were typing. Playing an instrument like the act of typing; becoming faster without the connection of the conscious mind to it.

Now I understand that to be reflex arcs of mind and body, the perfect basketball throw, the world class musician, the race car driver, the average man driving with a big-mac to his mouth, or the woman applying her make-up on as she drives to work. Some accidents determine how well the reflex arc has been imprinted to the automatic level required to remove the conscious mind from the act.

My giant imaginary blackboard becoming for me something of a reflex, at times crashing within the social confusion all children go through. Most of us adults it seems as well once we get there.

I came to understand over time that my imaginary blackboard was still there, developing over time pauses in my conversations with people, when talking about something on the real blackboard in English class. The letters confusing to me; forcing me to develop affectations in my physical manner to delay my answers to the teacher while my mind work furiously to understand the question, figure out the puzzle, and not look stupid or slow to the class.

Funny over time how such affectations still exist within me, reflex arcs of the mind when talking about any subject really. The drive to be seen as bright as everyone else, even if in my heart at times, I was still the six year old kid, slow to read and slow in class, called slow by most who came to interact with me at times. The social pressure of ineptness driving me to dissociate, to be quiet, to not talk or interact socially in so many ways. A lot of you I imagine are on one side of the equation or another. We are all works in progress, sometimes we learn more by the efforts to conform to the status quo, even before we realize it doesn’t matter.

That was the nature of me as I learned to develop how to read. To make things a bit more difficult I had; looking back with my medical knowledge now, I had Synesthesia, a condition that many children grow out of, and I eventually did as well. It is where the brain mis-routes sensory data. When you hear something, it may get rerouted to that area of your brain that processes taste for example. In my case certain letters, certain colors would at times create a ringing or white noise in my head, or I would see flashes of color. To this day I can’t eat spinach, the color green would evoke a burnt rubber taste and smell to the point of getting sick. Some imprinting; you can never really remove from your mind.

When I eventually learned to read, the world started to open up. The stories I came to read, the Greek Myths, King Arthur, Conan Doyle’s Holmes; the dashing bright devil-may-care Englishman that solved crime. I discovered Iliad from watching Kirk Douglas play Odysseus. The fun of watching him driving me to read the stories behind the movie, opening my world to Homer, Pericles, Aristotle. Over time the joy of reading became the joy of learning, of seeking knowledge rather than just a defensive skill in the world of childhood I traveled.

Reading was my sanctuary when I had trouble understanding those around me, or when I could not seem to find the path I innately felt was just around the corner. Each corner another book to lose myself in, the discovery of the world before me and the times yet to come. Science fiction becoming the myths of a future we didn’t really know yet; but knew was starting to come into our collective existence.

There I discovered others who had dyslexia, much worse than mine, under conditions much worse than any I had had to deal with. Great scientist’s like Bell, Curie, Einstein, De vinci, Ansel adams, Hero’s such as Patton, Nobel Laureate’s and the list is so long with so many more. Now I realize of course that the act of learning to use my imagination to organize my world was enhanced by the skills of visualization which I had luckily come to use. Seeing patterns beyond just the surface observations of life around us, projecting them within my mind, challenged me to rebuild the broken connections within the plasticity of my brain.

When I discovered Science Fiction, I came to explore science and mathematics from authors who were for the most part in my day, scientists or thinkers of science in there own right. Such writers, writing there hard won knowledge deep within the stories they came to tell.

When I joined the service I came to love tea, many kinds of tea; the travels around the world opening of new experiences, new cultures and new foods. The form and flow of the tea ceremony I absorbed from the Japanese while stationed there as a Marine; these many years ago. I learned the pace; the presence of action with thought in all that we do. I learned that just lifting a cup of hot tea built the anticipation of the taste, the mood, watching the world around me The ocean waves, the passer-bys at some cafe I sat at watching the world go by.

I came to learn that all things in life; all good things, are an act, a step, a thought, a pleasure, a dynamic bonding of mind, body and spirit; to which the art of how we come to express the synergistic flow of life around us and within us, is the essence of transcendence our souls are driven to experience. And in the experience; wisdom waits to be found.

A book isn’t just words on paper; it’s a masterpiece waiting to be understood, some innate wisdom the author came to find, if only; I, the reader can come to see it as they do.

So when I think of tea or coffee, the reading of a book; that activity some of the tech-zombies tend to make fun of. I remember that the essence of what my “soul shall keep,” is the bonding of my mind, my soul and my body in the art of life, the essence of which connects me to all the lives that have come before me and all the lives that will come after me.

For in truth; aren’t each one of us a book waiting to be read, waiting to be enjoyed, if only I the reader can learn to be patient and listen to the story, learn to sit quietly with an old friend and have a cup of tea; seeing within our collective minds what stories our lives will come to be.

Moon Rise

I look to Love
A poets search
A lovers requiem
A hope for Life
This Breath of mine.

Howling with passion!
Screaming at the Moon!
Red and Bright
Blue and White
Giving Birth a Purple Haze.

We talk of love
our souls quenched;
Desires found.
Growling! Pawing!
Watching a Pale Moon Rise.

As Bleeding Souls Intwine
Bathed within the Haze
Quaking with inner light,
A Hearts desire
Fans our Flame.

I watch my Love
Her smile so wide
Her eyes so bright
Her Soul so alive
Screaming Joy to the sky.

We shudder and shake
With voices intwined
Waiting on baited breath
As passions release
This breath of mind.

We seek the heart
That glow of life
The one we Love
As Time flows by,
Watching a Pale Moon Rise

I know your fears
I know your hopes
I know our hearts
I know our souls
I know the Pale Moon Rise.

For as we love
So too; do we live
Shining, hoping
Running to the Sky
On the Pale Moon Rise.

Maxim Liberty

Maxim Liberty

I thought when I first met Max that his name was short for Maximilian or Maxwell. Masculine names, derived from Maximus, a third century saint and martyr. It’s a name with a history, a noun as all names are; of something or someone. Even the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick the third gave the name to his son and eventual heir. A blending of two other nouns; two other names, Fabius Maximus and Cornellus Scipio Aemillanus. Roman Generals of past gone battles, past gone empires of one sort or another. Past on; more the operative and unfavorable point of my tale it seems to me now.

I was wrong though as Max spent hours at times regaling me with witticisms about what his name meant. Truth was his parents were illegals just learning English and heard the name Max in one of the places they cleaned. A stereotype of people, yet like all stereotypes, they become that due to the fact that many people for one reason or another come to fit a pattern of behavior. A pattern of living or just a pattern of the worlds Darwinian environment that makes some people come to do questionable things in the nature of there never ending attempts at survival.

Many illegals as we call them, and many times our own citizens fall to a great extent to that stereotype. PC or not, truth is as truth comes to be seen. Without it; we’re just another animal hiding from those things of truth to which all our fears come to be. No; Max’s name was Maxim; his parents had looked up the name Max; but for some reason or another, ended up finding another word closely aligned in spelling to the short version of the name they had borrowed from their boss, and thought it a good omen to name their son the same.

It was a lucky mistake as “Maxim,” fit Max’s personality much more than the name Maximilian ever could. Maxim; a short, pithy statement which expresses a general truth, or rule of conduct, fit Max to a tee. There were all the synonyms; saying, adage, aphorism, proverb, even epigram; for he was something of a puzzle at times. The type of child born complicated to everyone’s view, yet more an axiom, given his world view. So it seemed to me at times.

Max reminded me about the funny quirks we often come across in life. Not funny ‘Ha Ha;’ but funny the ironies of life at times. Patterns that emerge in peoples lives which change us all. Not always for the better of course; at least not in the short view most of us take all too often, yet change us they always do. It is left to all of us over time to see; looking back, whether the challenges we faced changed us for the better or changed us for the worse.

I was working at one of the local hospitals; taking some clinical classes; patient care time outside my classes, in my efforts to pick up a nursing degree. After being injured in Afghanistan; several years in the Wounded Warrior Program, I was back going to school to follow another path.

I met Max this night; just an infant really, the baby sitter calling 911 because he had stopped breathing. Such a call; frantic, panicked, and rightly so. By the time I was called, things had settled down, the father; a young Hispanic man around twenty or so, held Max to his chest, rocking back and forth, the mother crying in relief or the Adrenalin letdown, the aftermath of the crisis, I wasn’t sure on first view.

That was the first time I met Max, just an infant being rocked by his father, a new life barely started, now doomed in all likelihood to frequent visits to the hospital. So my understanding came to be over time; yet I didn’t know it then. Max would change my life as few have outside the life and death experiences with my own children, my own friends at one time or another in combat and out.

Nursing was a second calling; but one I was doubtful would engage me to the extent I wanted or even needed at times. The truth of the matter was that I had started the Nursing program to have a little more freedom from the military protocols that were rather binding.

The Wounded Warrior Program is great, very supportive, even very attentive to my every need; yet also locking you within an Active Duty military status, with all the bells and whistles of legal do’s and don’ts that we as Reservist don’t normally have to contend with. I had been transferred to the 101st Air Borne unit in Kentucky and Tennessee, for it spreads for many miles across the borders of both states.

We’d had a choice of duty medical stations to be flown to. My younger son to my knowledge was stationed there; though it turned out that he was in Fort Bliss Texas, a recent transfer after his own deployment to Iraq. I could not get permission to go outside the region I was now locked within. Eventually being processed to the Midwest regional Wounded Warrior Program at Rock Island Arsenal near Davenport Iowa. The closest duty station to my older son who is a policemen in Fort Wayne Indiana.

After a few days or weeks; depending on your medical care, you are processed to go to your home duty site; usually with a relative or someone. I was still listed as Active Duty; but no real job per se. You’re not allowed to get a job or go back to work; the logic being if you can work, you probably shouldn’t be in the program.

Sometimes that’s true, and sometimes it isn’t. All soldiers are required to give a 0500; 5AM call back to the duty nurse at Rock Island to verify that we’re still alive. Haven’t committed suicide, haven’t died during the night. Probably a good requirement; especially for the younger soldiers, those not tested by time in harsh conditions or their first injuries in combat or otherwise. It’s a good program for those with Post Traumatic Stress Injuries (PTSD) or Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) where the psychological patterns become unstable at times due to the healing of the brain, and the extent of the damage done to it.

Certainly for this group of injured soldiers its definitely needed, for they will exhibit personality changes for some years to come. Many permanently. In general its a good program for all of us; but for an aging Solider Marine like myself, the seven day a-week 0500 call to check to see if I’m alive, or the hours of sitting in the local armory at a duty post, staring at walls all day long, it can get old very quick even for the best of us.

That was the other part of the program we had to comply with; reporting for duty to the nearest military armory. My home base was basically any of the local armories within a fifty mile radius; limited to any activities I might want to pursue by the military medical orders I received each month.

Outside the fifty mile radius of Fort Wayne Indiana, I still had to get orders for travel just as if I were back on any Active Duty Military base. Active Duty communications can range from excellent to average; but between Active Duty stations and Reserve Stations it tends to range from average to something way dark and deep, where you get lost to whatever duty Sergeant happens to be in the Armory at the time.

The positive side; I had access at a moments notice to my Chain of Command and my doctors back at Rock Island Facility five hours away. The negative side; even in the military I tend to be a loner and self-sufficient to a fault. I’m a team player who gives his all for the team; but finds it very difficult to accept help from anyone else. A great success for the team; but not great for my own personal development.

Don’t get me wrong, the military units and the people I came to associate with in my recovery were great; but not used to having wounded soldiers in there midst without some medical guidance to tell them what type of work I can and cannot do.

In today’s military with officers careers being lost for overstepping Risk Management Guidelines on just about everything; they, like doctors being sued all the time, get in the habit of playing defensive medicine or in this case, defensive interpretations of orders that come there way concerning those of us medically compromised and sent back to the walking wounded details of a reserve unit.

For me this translated into sitting in a corner, not given work to do, not being able to leave, for the very simple reason that if I was hurt doing something for the unit; well….bad fitness reports are the bane of any officer’s career. There fault or not.

For some months I thought reporting to another armory would help; but the end result was extra work for those I was around, having to look after me or worry they were going to get in trouble for putting me to work. I’m one to find it difficult to be a burden to others, so I started looking for alternatives.
As a younger man I’d once been interested in medicine; even went to a pre-med program for awhile before focusing on engineering and physics; but now due to my problems I wasn’t up to a full medical school program. I worked in a hospital while going to school and remembered enjoying the patient care to a great extent. Certainly I needed to focus on something besides myself, so over a period of several months I eventually chose to go to Nursing School full time. My time was my own, all accept the 5AM call in the morning; seven days a week, 365 days a year. Certainly it got old; but it was better than the eight hour shifts of passing time with nothing to do.

If I couldn’t work, it did give me something functionally to do, something every patient in recovery tends to need most of all. Nursing was a quick and easy two year degree getting another skill set while allowing me to pursue my own interests without to many limits.

Quick and easy for me anyway; my background was already complete with courses in the hard sciences; engineering and physics and mathematics, and I’d already been a Para-Medic in my younger days, so going to school was the easiest choice for what I was looking for.

Easiest in the sense that as a younger man, the ideas of Medical School were something of a life goal, as well as science in general. A life goal before my daughter became so ill that is. She became my overriding goal; searching for ways to help her. Hence my choice of going into the sciences, teaching at times, jumping and leaping from one program to another as I found my path ignorant of any solution for now; my life’s goal, finding some way to heal my daughter. As the story unfolds you will see that somewhere along the way, I became broken, lost to a great extent, and it took years to find myself again. Max and Liberty you will come to find, were much of the catalyst among others that finally healed the broken soul I had become.

After that first meeting with Max, an infant very ill; I would come to see him over time, sometimes in passing, sometimes it seemed he was there every day. I never thought it odd at the time, at least in the beginning. Yet Max seemed to light up and focus on me when I came into the room. The nurses always busy, other patients needing to be attended to, they never seemed to see Max the way that I did.
Liberty was the same way; one among several children that over the next few years I came to see, and say hello to, talk to and develop a friendly relationship with, when I found them walking the halls, just enjoying there play time with the other sick children. If I knew they were here, I would sometimes bring toys or books for them to play with or to read. Something I did when my own daughter was lost to us for so many months in the Intensive Care Unit she spent so much of her young life in. Maybe that was the nature of my view of these children, my daughter’s absence from me so much of the time, partially military deployments partially problems with my ex-wife’s husband who had become my daughter’s guardian after my ex-wife passed away.

I was lost to desert sands in the Middle East, losing touch with my family as I served in Iraq and Afghanistan, the injuries and the several years it took to recover. The absences more my fault than anyone else; the need to not be a burden to my family as I fought the battle of healing myself once again.

Yet it is with a certain amount of hubris on my part that I came to cause much of the harm I did to myself over the years, always feeling the martyr, the might of right in going it alone, never; for many years, realizing that going it alone makes you stronger; but weakens your connections to those you love, yet finding the balance of making those connections stronger, makes you less reliant on yourself. A Catch 22 if ever there is one.

Like most things in my life; the Intellectual Rationalist, I found logic a way to reason my way through to the needs of myself in the act of trying to be protective of my family. Not understanding that any lighted path lies through the heart rather than purely through the mind.

I met Liberty much the same way I did Max, taking a clinical course in Pediatric nursing and watching her being wheeled in to the Pediatric-Intensive Care Unit. Parents crying; an ongoing problem of severe asthma reaching at times a deadly race to the hospital when it grew out of control for Liberty. The name Liberty isn’t used often I gather, yet it is usually feminine; which makes some sense. Liberty, freedom, thoughts of creation coming to mind. The nature of Creation always feminine to my mind.

Liberty like Max first came to my attention as an infant, a child losing the race that even Hermes came to lose once upon a time. A deaths-head breath of life losing its hold even as her parents looked on. It always did something to me; twisted something deep and dark within me as I watched by proxy my own sense of loss, my own sense of guilt in not being able to do something, to help our children survive.

After finishing nursing school, I picked up a security position in the hospital of my choice to take my boards for becoming a Registered Nurse; it pushed me away from the couch potato status I was starting to specialize in; now that school was over. Due to the night position I worked and the type of patients that arrive many times at three o-clock in the morning on any given weekend, the nurses started calling me the Douche-Whisperer.

I hoped I had misheard the word; hoping for maybe Duce-Whisperer, like Benito Mussolini, the Italian word for Leader Duce. A Latin word Dux, or cognate with Duke. A leader; something to be respected. Yet it was a bit funny at times, for I had not misheard; it was Douche-Whisperer.

Drunks, raging hormones waiting to explode in car wreaks, druggies, people some nurses termed Douches; human waste to be washed away. Not a nice thing to say, yet when you see the same gang-banger faces, the same lost children day in and day out, the nurses and the doctors alike get frustrated that their skills are; to there view, wasted at times on those that do not care for the life they have. Cannot see anything but the feral nature of the world around them. The feminine wash which creation washes away the human waste that comes to exist within the world we live. Within the views some start to take in the raging forest fire which burns each night in every city of the world at one time or another. Burning even those that come near, even those that seek to help. Changing them as it does those lost in the fire of emotions believing that love has spurred them in some way.

I became the Douche-Whisperer long before starting to work with patients. Though some would call it something more biblical, something more a calling to save a soul. I came to work with some of the Detainees; prisoners in Afghanistan and Iraq; those feral cult mentality type personalities that cannot think beyond their imprinting, the culture that defines there view, rather than their views defining there culture. We see it everywhere today; black, white, Hispanic and all colors in between, culture being defined by the worst of behaviors coming out of the jails and inner city mentalities of the 60’s and beyond; transforming society to enjoy the worst of thoughts, rather than the best.

Raging truths of darkness that are always with us to one degree or another, that in the past was what a civilized society fought against, now acceptance for the darkness, even enjoyed and reveled in as just being free, as just being who we choose to be. Moses would have had this view coming down from the Mount as he did, watching his people turn to the worst of who they could be, the rational of giving up to the dark forces by choosing another God to validate what they were becoming. I suppose it was the same feelings Christ had when kicking out the money changers from the temple.

If it is true that good people coming together can create a world of peace and harmony; some fortress of solitude by which humanity can take a rest from the vagaries and vicissitudes of life, come to build it with the collective believe of right and wrong, and knowing the difference of each. It is also true that that those who revel in the dark-side, can come together to destroy all that disconnects them to some hope or dream through which jealousy drives it outside there reach; then yes the world can be lost, can be destroyed by the freedoms they think they have, rather than the emotional prisons they wall themselves within.

My ability isn’t something magical, or seen outside the nature of what those around me do not understand. My ability comes from having been in some ways one of those lost souls; part of the human waste, lost within the Gordian knots some of us tie ourselves within, not able to see a way out, not able to get someone to understand the prison that surrounds them even as we drop from sight.

When I talk with a lost soul, I only see the common thread by which I to once was lost, I only see a mirror of who I could have been, if at one point within my life, a hand had not descended to the depths of my soul, pulling me up to see the light, the light we all are able to see, if only we open our eyes at times to look at how it shines for thee.

So when the nurses call me the Douche-Whisperer; the joke they usually mean, whispered as they ask me to talk with some soul they are unable to connect with, quiet down, or just don’t have the time to talk with for the raging traumas that all to often swirl around them in the Emergency Rooms. I take it as a complement, a glad soul that welds the words of a common scar, a connection to the human waste that comes to be, as God tries to save them to. The living breathe of God which shines out like a diamond in the sky, even if at times its been dipped in human waste somewhere waiting to be plucked out, plucked from the addictions they escape to; to forget who they have come to be.

None can easily look in the mirror of a wasted life; seeing those around them shine constantly within their minds eye, the truth that becomes their only perception to escape from, to run from, learning to snap and claw at those who come to be the pain they flee.

My magic; if it is magic, is the simple act of listening, knowing who they are; feral, though they might be, is a soothing hand, quiet words to the savage beast that swells within. For pain is the great equalizer, we all strike out in anger at times, yet we all seek a release from that which drives us insane. Given someone who does not judge them, that looks to guide them, to mentor what they see past the lost hopes and dreams that cause them pain, they find in a quiet mans words the peace they seek. A temporary sanctuary from eyes that judge them, that condemn them as something to be washed away; something to be washed away from the light of day. It’s rather ironic really, those who condemn do so out of fear, and those who are condemned came to be; out of fear.

So when I get called; the Douche-Whisperer on the prowl, it is with a light heart, and a thanks, for the joy of finding a common heart to learn to heal together within our common scars. For whether you have wounds of the body, the mind, or the spirit that comes to be healed, they always leave the rough scars that challenge us, change us, become the map by which we see the world through the lens of there existence.

Guilt drives the scaring of the mind; yet through penance becomes the introspective challenge by which our wisdom can grow. In my minds eye I started to heal as I saw the comings and goings of Max and Liberty; so many more children like them along the way. First in the Emergency Room, then the Intensive Care Nursery, periodically in the intensive care area at two and three, they would appear and disappear as children tend to do in a hospital. You see them, then you don’t, say hi to them, and happy they are gone, yet sadly you miss them as well.

It was always with a glad heart this Damocles sword, the metal biting with both edges, the happiness and joy of Seeing Liberty and Max, yet sad that by seeing them, you knew they were ill once again. I was there in the hospital room when Max took his first step, Liberty learning to roll from side to side and sit up. Read them stories every week or so as they sat mesmerized by ‘The Cat and the Hot.’ They were five. They hugged each other at six sitting next to me, as I read them Goosebumps horror stories for children.

The cadence of life within the hospital a cadence of life and death, day in and day out, the tidal pools of life surged through the community which depend on the people within to be there when called. Max and Liberty flowed to the same cadence, as did the shrouds which hung so often over there heads. You learn a lot about death, a lot about grieve when you see it attack a child; yet I found that when death stalks a person, they become the children they always have been. Some innocent with hearts so strong, some the guilty pleasures of sin seeking the fear of absolution in there last moments. Anger, fear, complacence, acceptance; all move and shift as fear bares all souls to the quick of who they are. Max and Liberty had come to accept life within the path they were forced to walk. The least I could do, was make the walk a little easier, a little more enjoyable when they came to visit my world.

“Hi Max, how’s your day going today. The seven year old boy in front of me, wearing hospital pajamas with the varied Disney Characters on them; standing tall for his age. I was working the weekend night security as I always do, picking up shifts as I could, attempting to step into a nursing position somewhere.

When starting Nursing School it was more happenstance than anything else; but now having finished, finding a nursing job as a fifty-eight year old, more retirement age rather than a fresh new face most places look for, had become somewhat problematic. No one would say it was my age, yet most alluded to it in one form or another. Though being a combat soldier and injured probably worried them at times as well.

Civilians tend not to understand the nature of something outside there experience, so shun it most often if they can. A combat soldier is more hardened to step into a situation and confront it, sometimes the Political Correction of some find that rather harsh at times. Yet accepting the truth is more about learning to have a thicker skin, a stronger will to accept truth as a way of learning, becoming stronger.

As one interviewer said: “How can a combat soldier really have the mentality to be a good nurse? How good could you really come to be? Of course the corporate nurse that interviewed me referred to hospital patients as “pocket profit,” a term I came to understand some accountant used for the patient load. She laughed every-time she used it. Ironic that she felt a combat soldier could not be a good nurse. Funny how ignorance breeds such stereotypes.

“Hey Max: How are you feeling today?” “Good Uncle Mike. There are a lot more kids in this week, so I have plenty of friends to play with.” “Is Liberty back?” “Yea; she’s down with the sick babies, she likes to visit and watch over them for some reason.” I laughed, that was Liberty. Effusive, mercurial, a heart that always seemed to bleed for every sick child she came near. Being sick so often herself, you would have thought the opposite. Max and I smiled at each other knowing the truth of who she was.
“So what have you read lately?” “Well; I finished Mark Twain’s Tom Sawyer you gave me.” “How did you like it? “It was a fun read, just like you said it would be, though I didn’t understand it all.” I read it and one quote: ‘The less there is to justify a traditional custom, the harder it is to get rid of it.’ “Uncle Mike; I’m not sure I understood that passage.”

Max called me Uncle Mike since I had come to talk with him so often when we crossed paths over the years. Every weekend I worked, he was usually somewhere close. His father came to work as a tech in surgery. A young man attempting like me; the older man, to find a path that fit our needs as well as the wants of our goals.

Maybe that was the reason I saw Max so often, though Liberty seemed to be around just as much. I see patterns around me, just as I see patterns in those parts of life that come to pass through my life. I knew at some level; in some innate way that Max and Liberty had come into my life for a reason. I just didn’t yet, know what that was.

“Max, Tom Sawyer is one of my favorites; but you do have to remember many of the words and concepts are the thoughts of an older man seeing his own life as a child, the wisdom he eventually gained in hindsight.” I thought about his question as we walked passed the elevators. We were on third floor, the new Pediatric Intensive Care unit had just opened up. Two floors up from where I’d first seen Max just a few short years ago. In that time he had blossomed; as had Liberty. Two precocious yet seemingly happy children. Certainly they seemed to circle each others lives, often to an extent I didn’t really understand.

Max reached up his hand to mine as we walked the halls. Not an unusual sight anymore, none of the staff ever questioned why there was a young boy, sometimes a young girl, sometimes both, walking through the halls, and stairwells of the hospital. I enjoyed the talks, the walks, the two of them holding hands at times as I worked. Sometimes we just sat and talked.

“It’s time to take a break Max, let’s sit over there. The Pediatric lounge just off the elevators was a good place to sit. Liberty would see us as she came out of the Intensive Care Nursery just down the hall. Nurses walked by, some doctors, family members. Most on there way to complete the next task on there never ending list of things to do in there attempts to help heal the sick. It was odd at times, always being the watcher, observing everyone; yet ignored for the most part in the things I learn about them, even if they do not see yet what they taught.

“Max; the world is full of good and bad people; yet many times even good people can do bad things due to not seeing the full extent, the full effect of what it is they do or contribute to. Everything in life is a point of balance. Take a man driving down the street, he sees someone trying to turn into the lane he’s in, slows in the middle of the street to allow the women in ahead of him. Yet in his act of courtesy to the woman in front of him, he endangers the lives of those behind him in the process of being nice. Many times causing accidents while ignoring traffic rules from his habit of being so nice to those in front of him, that he doesn’t see the lives he destroys in his wake.

“Uncle Mike: Why doesn’t the man already know that?” “Habit Max. Most of us go through life being imprinted with all the things required to be a part of the community. Courtesy is one of the mainstays of a civilized and stable society. Where we start is where we finish. Yet many can’t step out of the programming, the habits of what we are imprinted with, and use them as needed and appropriate. It goes for good habits as well as bad. There is a dullness that comes to the minds of those who accept the way things are around them without first thinking about what voices they let into there minds. Its unavoidable at times, knee-jerk emotional reflexes that we all grow up with, the cure is to challenge ourselves to see farther down the road of life, anticipate the patterns we see around us and an understanding of the mirror image of our behavior; of who we’ve become.

Over time; as I came to be healed, I started talking to those children who slowly grew up around me, there hearts filling the hospital hallways with all the joy and soulful play that all come to find within the purity of their wake. Some came and flitted by, a smile and a grin as the light came to fill their skies, some stayed much longer, the pain of life holding them for awhile.

For others like Max and Liberty; the years rolled by, they grew, my steps marching for years through the hallways and byways within the hospital I worked. Max talking to me when he felt a need as I walked on my rounds, Liberty coming to play, their souls each held in bay for the love that grew in each others eyes.

I watched as they played through the tears I held away, I watched as they walked hand in hand, watching other children come there way, watching with a glad heart and a smile waiting there turn. It was a life filled with hope, Max and Liberty, a love for each other, a life they gave in the beauty of the light that came to take them away.

I was called to the Emergency Room; a young girl arrived by ambulance, the sirens quiet, the father playing with a loaded gun had fired off a shoot, shooting his five year old through the eye. Her heart beating for a while, just long enough to get to our doors. Blonde, one blue eye left unmarked, a tiny smile on her face, her last laugh frozen on her face, a rectus of muscle by which death marks what comes to be left behind.

I watched the girl’s light step toward me; she smiled, looking back, frowning as we both watched her vessel, the toe tag placed, the white shroud her sepulcher. The police sad, distraught, their life’s work to protect, the irrational guilt of somehow not preventing this from happening.
Max and Liberty were standing next to me now, their hands reaching for the young girl. My sadness complete as we said our goodbyes. They were a family now, moving to realms unknown to me, as I watched the world spin as my future gave way to my past, the years gone by in seconds, now the seconds were upon me once again.

I watched as Max’s father rocked him within his arms, watching his son take his last breath, a mother’s cry, the nurses wiping tears from there eyes. I watched as Liberty took her last breath, a mother’s sob, a father’s howl of grieve. Yet as I took there bodies down, I watched Liberty and Max; now the young girl, walk hand in hand. For I could see them now in my mind’s eye, my reality changed to the thoughts of watching them step to another world. All of us coming together as one with the common needs of life, the common scars of grieve, as there souls were washed away, the light of grace, as god’s own tears bathed them within the beauty of his light.

Such a glorious sight to see, the truth of life that such light brings. I pray in my walks within my purgatory, to see such light come for me one day. For now, I walk; a shadow no one sees, a specter once alive, now tasked like Sisyphus to roll the stone of life across the door between life and death. To guide lost souls with the common threads of our spiritual scars, connected, knowing, feeling the catharsis of pain by which all things come to be seen.

I smiled; standing in the Emergency Room, life and death all around, an ambulance without lights just came in, a young boy walking towards me, the cries of a parent left behind. “Hi.” I said. “What’s your name?”

First Principles

Tags

, ,

You wonder with today’s political atmosphere, the rage of one side or the other, the media hype that confuses more than enlightens; what it is that we all believe.

We wonder; what is the common nature of those First Principles; a social catalyst, to which the House of our Republic was created, by which we came to be born, lived and died within.

I can’t know what things make you angry about what we see happening to our country, I can’t know what drives you to vote one way or the other; nor do I care, for each person makes the choice to which there lone perspective creates the collective patterns that keep us all alive.

The question arises though: Is your vote yours alone, or are you inundated with parasitic voices with agenda’s: Who to trust? Who to listen to? Who to bring into your lives by proxy, with the tenor of your vote?

For the vote you own; for which so many died for, requires that you make a choice, a choice to create a note in the score of a constitutional concert, by which balance and strength become innate in the group mind which comes to exist within this; our Republic of the United States.

I’ve thought long and hard about choices lately. Whether to live or die? Whether to quit life in the weak efforts of my minds eye? Yet something always brings me around, always touches my soul with the nature of how beautiful life can be.

I see my grandsons bright blue eyes, my son’s near death as a soldier and policeman. I see the nature of souls lost in fear as they shout out that lives matter; but yet only there own.

Is it goodness that drives the nature of one’s own fear, or fear that drives the nature of what choices we make. Or is it a choice at all, as rage comes to us all, the fear of loss, the fear of death, the fear of not becoming more than we are?

Whatever the weaknesses of our fore fathers and mothers, the nature of there humanity imperfect like our own, I attempt to remember that First Principles have always been the anchor by which all good things come to pass.

For like the Bible, the Constitution is not just a list negative rights, not just a list of corollaries by which we see life through the lens of some legal manifestation of our group knowledge.

It is a wisdom, a social fulcrum, a formula by which all things, all our social processes come to be changed, guided and strengthened by the nature of its existence.

Yet it takes a hero to make such choices; choices guided by principles rather than fear, choices guided by hope rather than greed, choices guided by the humble understanding that they serve us, we do not serve them.

I wonder the nature of those people we call heroes, sports figures, media personalities and the limited nature of what being a hero has come to mean.

Once; a hero, was the individual who stood for right against abuse, torture, even death. A hero was the one that saved your child, gave there life in defense of our common ideals, or lived a life of dedication, holding true to this; our concept of First Principles.

Supreme court Judge Scalia was one of those unsung heroes that lived that life. A hero like many, heroes once renowned and applauded for the blood they gave to our way of life.

Once, a hero, was our father, our mother, our brother or sister to which loves first thought was the protection of those who are a part of all that we know, all that we care for, all that we will die for.

When we look at those in the public eye, is it not expected; yes, dare I say it, is it not a moral duty within our brothers and sisters collective eyes to lift up those true heroes of our time. To show our love of life, the love of our families, and see the nature of what there life will be, what it will become from those choices we make today, those responsibilities we choose to express in those we lift up to those collective horizons of our common beliefs, those common ideals, those First Principles that guide our given fate.

Preacher, lawyer, CEO, ditch-digger, nurse, doctor, soldier, pacifist, they all come to be as one in the common understanding that whatever our differences, whatever our choices, we are making them together in the support we give each other within the walls of our Republic.

For the U.S. Constitution; those First principles that were rendered from the halls of our celestial birth, guide our behavior, keep us balanced within the stream of both good and bad that comes to exist in all generations. Our Constitution; our First Principles, combined the tenets of “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” with the common needs of being free, choosing to grow and live by our own wits end, driving the economic trails to which power those boundaries of life, both physical, metaphorical and abstract.

It is said often, that “Perception becomes my Reality.” for perception drives the choice, the pattern that comes to exist within the collective of whatever social delusion comes to exist. Collective perceptions created slavery, perceptions created the holocaust; but perceptions also came to create a Marine Luther King, A Billy Graham or any of the many figures, known and unknown throughout history by which life comes to be wiser in the choices we make, within the First Principles of our guiding light.

When we look to those who will lead, who say they are the one to be that guiding light, I only ask one thing, in the common brother and sisterhood of those things we all come to need, that you do not look at those heroes we choose to display; but look to those hero’s born in the same altruistic fires of sacrifice the good heart always seems to make.

Always you will see; in the darkness, a light, a soul whose First Principle is to lead others to the lighted path, the one they walk, the one that comes to exist with the first thought, the First Principle of an altruistic life.

When you make a choice, a life to be lifted up, or a life to be turned away: Which one is the hero? Which one lights the way to those ideals that drive our fate. Which one burns with self-hate? Burns with a natures disgrace? Those hyenas that bark and laugh at Nuremberg’s fate.

When you are confused, and cannot see the light, the hopeless agendas of a hate filled life, a feral fate, striking out, choosing a common fear, a common anger; take a breath, remove the hate, remove the anger that clouds your eyes; as we make a choice, a choice of a different kind, a choice of blessings as we remember those who came before, those who chose right over might, right over ego, and yes at times, death over the perceptual chains within the dogma of our strife.

I can’t know your vote, nor do I care, I can’t know your heart; yet I know I hold it dear. I can’t say to whom the bells must toll, as we listen to voices not our own. Yet I can say; if you take a step back, look to First Principles. You will see a host of lights marking the path to choices we all must make, if we come to understand the nature of our goals seen within the lens of our minds eye; watching the shadows of those we love within the heroes glance we lift to the sky.

Can there be anything more important than choosing a path that brightens the life in my child’s eye, carries the burden of my father’s life as we watch them pass, or look in the mirror to those dark lonely places when we first took the darkened path, the easy path, the path of not knowing or caring as the fear around us drove the nature of our thoughts away from the First Principles that always, and forever brings those guiding lights; Our First Principles.

The Beauty of Growing Old. . .

I wax Philosophic,
With thoughts of growing old.

Nature’s Wonder;
An end in time.
New Born thoughts align,
So much more to being alive.

You wonder; Why the Need?
Limits we all perceive,
You know it so well,
A need in time
A beginning anew
To seek and hope
The Beauty of Growing Old.

It is a time;
A time to render
Our Young Life’s mind,
Seen from a different sky.

We stutter, limp, and walk
To knowledge unseen,
Wisdom’s heart foreseen
From an introspective eye.

You wonder why the Need;
Limits we all perceive.
You know it well,
As the end approaches our eye
In the image of a Scythe.

I wax Philosophic,
With thoughts of new life grown

As I learn to breathe,
Learn to Walk and Run
Under my Mother’s eye.

It is a sepulcher’s wake;
To which all life follows.
A life that ends;
A life that begins,
A Changeling once upon a time.

For I wax Philosophic,
As I see the visions ahead.

Old or Young
I see a face,
A two-year-old
Each point a mind
An Infinite line.

To Nature’s Heart
A Point of Wisdom we hark,
Watching Sisyphus Climb;
Each step a struggle,
Under this mountain of Life we huddle.

We live life’s limits;
A crucible hot and joyous,
Cold and Cruel,
Our lamentations so many,
To become who we need to be.

Though our aging eye’s might dim,
Our limbs may fall asunder,
Our Hearth Hearts rest,
This beauty of growing old,
Is once again a youthful rest.

For it is the challenge;
This Shroud of Sisyphus we bare.
It’s joyous grace;
Our climb to life; heard,
In a babies cry, an Old man’s song.

For wisdom is the nature,
of an introspective life.
Such Mobius paths we lead;
Never ending hopes,
We scatter across the sky.

The Other’s

Tags

, ,

The Other’s

They weave a web of gossamer shrouds
To which we lay in wait
Holding on with trembling hands
We feel those souls: Oh so maligned!

What is it this eight legged thing
A life in debt to secrets and lies
As our fears bespeak our token frowns
A sepulcher moans out our cry!

The patterns are set
For darkness now rises
Those Other’s’ Those things
Are finally awake

Is it hope they bring
This darkness a shroud!

My soul encased in despair
Silken robes wrapped all around

Has this eye of death found its prey?
We wondered? As the first touch. . . .

–Lewis Campbell–