Shoals

A very vivid memory.

I remember one November
(I was in my early twenties, and
My father was still alive)
I met my parents out on the beach
At a Holiday Inn
For Thanksgiving Dinner

It was very cold:
Twelve degrees Fahrenheit
In Florida, standing next to
The Gulf of Mexico

12 degrees, sans “windchill”, mind you
Although the wind was blowing occasionally

I arrived about an hour early;
Enjoying having miles of coastline
Completely to myself,
As no one in their right mind
Would be out on the beach on
A day that cold

I had left my “right mind” at home

And I remember
Looking out at the shoals,
Or “The Sandbar” as we called it

Wondering how, on a day so freezing,
Anything could look so tropical

But also struggling to understand
Why I had no girlfriend

Why “everyone” seemed to be spending
Thanksgiving Day with families they had forged
As well as ones they had been born into –
Except me

But I loved that day
I loved how cold I felt
(It was painfully cold)

And I guess we begin
To truly understand
What it is to be thankful

When we’re even grateful

For the pain

The Lion In The Other Room

Not a child anymore
Not his child any less
Struggling to bring together
Remnants of this scattered mess

Left behind, the days of trembling
The fear of impending doom
Ears pricked up to hear the roaring
From what’s in the other room

Ruled the pride here, so well named,
Presence felt when absence there
Straggled off alone, ashamed
Returned, now – not to hear him swear –

But to see his golden carcass
Stretched across a linen span:
Once the lion, so regarded,
Now a feeble
Broken
Man

The Ghost of Christmas Failed

There’s clamor in the house tonight
And tempers running high;
With people disappointed
In the year that’s just gone by –

We hurt each other so,
But we just will not change our ways;
I wish that I could fix us
And could lift off this malaise –

There’s fire in my belly, and
There’s aching in my head;
The Christmas lights are up
But all they symbolize seems dead –

I want to run away from here
And don’t care where I roam:
From this family, with its secrets,
And this house that’s not
A home


(Originally posted 12-25-2013)

Another Reason

There’s much we’re given that we cast aside.
The process: fitting in or standing out —
And yet, heredity is hard to hide:
Its workings leave bystanders little doubt

As to where we might come from. After all,
Although our own uniqueness we might tout,
Genetic code across us like a scrawl
Is penned. Then add to that the same environ,

And few things but a total overhaul
Can change us: family figures, wrought in iron.
Those differences that once seemed deep and wide,
Are blurred, be we all buffalo or lion,

The tether of our sameness keeps us tied,
Another reason when we left, we lied

One Father’s Perspective On Having A Child

I had a friend who told me that he never wanted to have a child, because then he wouldn’t get to be the child. I understand that choice, but for me the situation was very different: I had been given so much, I wanted a family I could give to, only to find they gave me far more than I could ever give them.