i wish i could say failure was as unknown
to me as my brother's current address,
but last year on my seventh anniversary,
i gave my wife a cupcake with a candle in it
and a six pack of non-light beer,
four of which i drank..
the spot where my college diploma
should be is taken by a picture
of pool-playing dogs and the caption,
“hey, one leg on the floor.”
my childhood soccer uniform is not
framed in my office next to other
sports memorabilia from fellow
yes, failure follows me as closely
as my little brother did, age four through
when i saw that toddler-sized dribble of pee
sporadically hit the inner walls of the
and then waterfall downward into
the pool of redemption below,
i grabbed my newly potty-trained son's arm,
held it up toward the gods that made it all
and yelled, “goooooooooooooooooooooooooooooal!”
i followed this up with an acceptance speech
to a still toilet-seated audience member of
in which i thanked everyone from huggies
to the first years toilet seat company.
weeks of hard work culminated in this one
and i knew
victory was mine.
seconds go by at normal speed
one-one thousand, two-one thousand.
irrational thought no longer darts through my
my veins flow slow and smooth with silky
this heart only pounds at the sight of a
my calm mind deciphers emotion.
these hands only shake with rational fear.
my sweat is saved for the hot summer.
i sleep again through dark winter nights.
these days are not like the drug days,
three-one thousand, four-one thousand,
because i've slowed down enough
to feel again.
Fly, Baby, Fly
broken spirit and wings,
this bird no longer sings.
forgotten are the days of intoxicating
replaced with the fears of another fight.
this was a day much like any other,
but this time the lightening force of his
punches created thunder.
through watery eyes and rain-stained glass,
she began to see.
as she molted transparent skin and grew
thick feathers, she prepared to flee.
like embracing the change of seasons, she
embraced new insight.
she learned her own husband made her wings
visions of the sun on her back as she
soared above the situation
gave her the perspective to no longer
you see, this bird can't be caged; her
wings are too bright.
her mind bends bars as she exercises
i know because she sings to our kids every
fly, baby, fly.
A Light Turned On
each light within every window of the
increasingly beautiful skyline
represents another existence,
another person with loved ones,
children to come home to,
or a dog,
or even tivo.
i recognize this as i stare at it from a
it seems it's always been from a distance.
what started as looking into the lunch room,
watching kids eat while i was without food
or even a penny,
turned into the opinion that
the religious are truly intolerant wanna-bee
know-it-alls below the surface,
the rich are too superficial and nothing
outside their world,
the homeless are lazy drug users,
and most everyone else is a follower.
i'm older now,
a little more beaten down into submission,
my stupidity is currently at it's all-time
and i have been every single thing
that i have ever called anyone else.
i still look into the world as
it revolves increasingly slower around me,
but as i become more accepting
and smile more,
and talk to the other parents at the
or discuss Bukowski with a woman
browsing the poetry section of powell's
i realize how relative the truth's about
as i get closer to being old and bitter
and then moving on into the ultimate light,
i admit it might not be so bad
to consider myself another one of the lights
that make up the beautiful skyline
in the meantime.
as i gently touch my scalpel to the page,
i peel back layers of once-thick skin.
blood pumps from my aorta into
plump, supple fingers,
through the plastic shaft,
mixing black ink with blue veins,
and oozing onto the page.
i slice into my diseased soul
in hopes my cancerous ways can become benign.
spills forth from an open heart.