The Good Poet

The poet,

a good poet,

sees the world,

I mean,

really sees the world.

They not only see a sunrise,

they see the colors that dance across the horizon.

The changing shapes of clouds

being blown about the blue sky.

When they write about love,

they touch upon deeply held feelings

giving voice to our deepest desires.

Passionate kisses are felt,

the warmth of another person held close,

losing oneself in the moment

wishing it to last forever.

In the way they use words

that worm their way into a person’s heart.

Poetry becomes the portal,

through which we step into

an unseen world,

uncovering mysteries lying

just outside of our limited sight.

Advertisements

Friendship in the Age of Social Media

 Friendship, today that word seems to have taken on a new meaning. We have “friends” on Facebook, we are connected through Twitter and Instagram, I have followers of this blog as well as followers on the other social media platforms, yet, are they friends? Friends in the true sense of the word, the classic dictionary definition:

A person whom one knows well and is fond of; intimate associate; close acquaintance. A person on the same side in a struggle; one who is not an enemy or foe; ally. A supporter or sympathizer. Something thought of as like a friend in being helpful, reliable, etc.

 When I read the definition, I cannot say that I have many “true” friends on social media, while some are real in the classical sense of being a friend, most are acquaintances, people I have known in various stages of my life, but not close, not intimate. I could not share my inner thoughts with many, I could not share my own struggles and doubts, and recently I cannot even share my own political views. 

 I began really thinking about friendship after going out last evening with two of my oldest and dearest friends, Bill and Bob. It was Bob, Bill, Mike, Ted and I who formed the our small but close group. Our friendships began long ago when we were in high school at a time of peer pressure, the desire to conform, yet to also rebel, a time when one is trying to figure out the confusing signals that come with teenage angst. Bob, I have known since the third grade and he came into my life at a time when I was having difficulties in adjusting to a new school, new people, and also the lingering effects of tragedy at home. Our third grade teacher was, to put it mildly, was my Gorgon. In my imagination she was evil, a witch, a dark shadow that over whelmed all that I tried to do. Going to school then was my journey into Mordor and I was the Hobbit just trying to survive by keeping my head down. It was during this turbulent time that Bob and I became friends, hanging around together, going to each other’s homes and generally being boys. Mike, I would meet in our Freshman year at Framingham South as part of the Class of ‘69. He was one of five boys and his dad was a career Navy man so it was his mom who ruled their home. Mike and I would get together at his home after school, watch Dark Shadows and consume several cans of Hi-C fruit drinks. It wasn’t long after that when Bob, Mike and yours truly began hanging out together and by the time we reached our Junior year, Bill and Ted became part of our crew.

 Throughout the years we have all grown, Mike, Bob and I, all joined the Army together after we graduated in 1969. After basic we went our separate ways, with Mike and I ending up in Vietnam and Bob being stationed in Alaska. Bill and Ted went to college, where we lost contact with Ted, but the four of us remained close. We shared our joys, our struggles, our lives with each other. Even as we moved along, getting married, having kids, choosing our vocations, we remained close.

 There are so many stories to be told about our friendship, some funny, some sad, but all of them born out of our deep affection for one another. Now as we grow older, move into new phases of being grandparents and re-defining our lives, our friendship shows little or no sign of going away. Sure, distance, family and life do get in the way, yet, each of us knows that when called upon we can be assured that they will be there to support, give comfort and be that friendly ear.

 As I sit here and write, I feel a sense of loss in these deep friendships. With the advent of social media, and the accumulation of acquaintances rather than friends, I feel a deep sense of loss. Most of my Facebook “friends” are good folks, I like them but I could never share with them on the same level as I do with those four. Being an introvert and never one to put myself out there just to have friends, I find the whole thing, depressing. 

 Is it a part of the aging process? I don’t think so, having time alone, to read, write and be in that blissful state of solitude has its own reward. I also have that most beautiful of friendships with my partner and spouse, someone I can be me with, who knows my many foibles, yet, still loves me as I love her. 

Church Fair

I sit here listening to the copier 

relentlessly working

piece by piece the sheets fly out

while in the background 

there is the bustling of people

bringing in their oblations

of decorated trees 

baskets filled with their sacrament

to be bought and sold

to a people lost

all the while

prayers go up into the air

as Emmanuel approaches

reminding us that this temple

is not about silver and gold

but a place for prayer

in the darkening days

as we seek salvation

from the busyness we create

hiding from our own failings

in the glitter and bright lights

of seasons too short

awaiting love’s arrival

opening closed hearts.

Dump

I sit here trying to write this poem

in the darkened office

I need this quiet time

the quiet outside and inside

allowing my mind to float

as images slowly appear

capturing their meaning

in the words that I use.

There is a harshness out there

a place of finger pointing

where blame is passed along

like an old time bucket brigade.

It becomes hard to see light

to write freely with a heavy heart.

It’s the death of a thousand cuts

here take my load, they say,

and bear it, take my pain, feel it

as I walk away leaving you

to be the waste dump 

of all my anger and fears

a utilitarian piece to be used

then left and forgotten.

I’m as broken as the bread

poured out like the wine

seeking peace and wholeness

in this dry and dark wilderness.

There is light, somewhere

there is hope in the air.

In the peaceful silence

I hear more deeply

the song of creation

the hymns of praise

that reside deep within.

To Colin

Yes, you have the right to sit,

during the National Anthem.

Yes, you have the right to speak,

against the darkness of racism,

that still infects our people.

Yes, you have the right to be angry,

to not acknowledge the flag,

or the nation which it symbolizes.

Yet, as you sit there, on the sideline,

remember, those who sacrificed,

those who marched off to war,

who faced greater challenges in life,

than some hulking defensive end.

Men who trained and fought,

side by side as a brotherhood

giving their lives, so you could sit.

Yes, things could be better,

we all need to look deep within,

black and white, brown and yellow

acknowledging our part.

So in the end let us remember

never forgetting, why we can sit.

Wondering

It’s not that I ever knew,

much of anything.

It seems that mostly,

I blunder forward,

bouncing into walls,

giving myself bruises,

that never heal.

Looking about,

I see the unexplained,

those bits and pieces,

of color, of sound,

the smells of life,

that linger on the wind.

Wondering, 

what am I,

amongst all this,

blundering ahead,

gathering bruises