The End of Eleven

I am that joyful sound
The heat and warmth
The smell of pumpkin spice
And frosted window sills

I am candles that flicker
The halo of light and breath
Rising and falling in time
While winds howl out in the night

I am the wool and the fleece
The embrace of sleep
Your own little sanctuary
With softness that kisses the curves of your shoulders

I am the hearty abundance
The bottomless comfort sweeping in
The aroma of the unconditional
Like a dream from grains of sand

I am the strings and the ivory
The sweet sound of home
On the tongue of your Mother
Subtle as a waxing moon

I am the bite of clean apple
Clinging to cold branches
Bare and quivering
Under lonely shades of blue

I am a sleepy sun drawing to a close
The last days of Autumn’s blaze
The vibrant blood red dusk
And dried husk of goldenrod

I am the dying of fall
The slow wane of days
Scattered in the clear air like leaves
Crisp and curled in shriveled age

I am November

No Man’s Land

The rain falls like a hammer on the roof of this truck
Green little numbers, pin pricks like eyes
Staring me down
Like highway lights
Playing chicken with their own reflections
Four Roses in the passenger seat
And a Bible in the glovebox
Mike Ness is growling on the stereo
To no one but the night

There’s nowhere to be in this no mans land
My beds are all empty as the palms of my hands
So I’m leaving this town
While the bars all spill over
With the lonely and the lost
The desperate and the drifters

There’s nothing left in these empty streets
Where the red of the rust and the clay come together
Just dusty diners and gas station signs
The drunks and kids hanging down on the corner

So I’ll put it all in the mirror to my left
Cause the rain will never wash clean
All the empty nights I wasted away
Waiting for something better than this

When I was Young

I remember a girl when I was young
Seventeen and we didn’t have a clue
We danced in an empty parking lot
With the lights and the cool of a newborn moon

Smiles over cocoa at the diner
She had the air of innocence
Under the street lights blinding my eyes
Her lips were soft an naked
They weren’t the first, but they were the best
Or that is what I thought back then


Her kiss is nothing but a memory now
A faint ghost, a reminder of lost youth
Though I knew it well those winter nights
The faded taste of sugar and passion
In my old truck, or on the worn soft blankets of my parent’s couch
Skin touching skin
My head to her heart praying it would never stop beating for me.
Never wanting those nights to end

I never saw it coming
The stillness of a bed
The taste of salt water on the tongue
The bitter shadow I saw of myself
I never thought a scar could run so deep
Looking back I’m glad it did
Inspiration to a lost child
And now I know that one thing is true
When they told me that time heals all things
When I cried and thought the pain would never end
They were right, and I was wrong

Six Weeks

The sun set a fire in the western sky
I keep staring at the white caps as they shimmer
Hoping to catch a glimpse of your smile
But all I can see is the gold rolling over
It’s been six weeks since we laughed ‘till it hurt
And still my light eyes trace the curve of your face

I sip at the bottle of cold beer in my hand
The rush of the sea and the whispering wind
Pass over my body as my toes hit the sand
I close my eyes to draw out the sound
It’s been six weeks since the last words that we spoke
And still my heart knows the sound of your voice

The sweet smell of sunscreen and salt in the air
I try to ignore the fresh ocean breeze
Instead I imagine the scent of clean linen
The light hint of mango shampoo
And red wine on lips
It’s been six weeks since I held you close
Still my memory is burned with the scent of your skin

So I sit, my legs in the water by the pier.
Girls walk by but I don’t even see them
Content in my peace, alone with the tide
The sad reality is they aren’t you
And it’s you that I want, nothing less

We’ll Always Have Paris

We have been in the fire
And I am not afraid
Through the flames she shines
Like the stars, quiet in their brilliance
Swimming in the night sky
Mapping our path from shore to shore
Ships upon a midnight sea
The words she speaks are light
Collected by her lungs and shaped by her gentle tongue
Through the deep and dark of night
They dance across the miles like softly sweeping fireflies

My sweater slung over porcelain skin
Draping her body in faded warmth
While cold rains fall heavy
The dark gentle murmur
Of showers spreading echoes down the shadowy halls
Our laughter paints the walls
Like the faint shades of memory
The graffiti of our story written on our bodies

Let loose the sheets and trace the subtle lines
Her soft fingers brush the skin of my chest
Touch to touch, the rise and fall in silent static
Sparks crackle in the lowing moonlight
Clinging to the heat and the steady beat of open hearts
Her limbs entwined in mine
It’s such a shame every second can’t be this
Slipping away like the hum of crickets

In my room there is only one picture sitting framed on my dresser, and it is of my Dad and I. As silly as it may sound there is a reason for that. If something ever happened to me. If one day I just don’t wake up I want him to know how much he means to me. My Dad is a tough guy, and sometimes he raised me on tough love. I learned the value of hard work, persistence, and dedication from him. I never saw him cry, never saw him back down from a challenge, never saw him give anything less than his all for my family. Sometimes it’s hard to show your father how much he means to you. My Mother, my sisters, my Grandparents are easy, they know how much I love them, I tell them all the time.It’s easy to show them, but sometimes I am afraid my Dad doesn’t realize he means the world to me too, and that is why his picture is on my dresser. Because I don’t want him to go a day without knowing how much I love him. I wish a happy Fathers Day to all the great Dads out there like mine, teaching the next generation how to be a man.

In the wake of the Elliot Rodgers tragedy and ensuing #yesallwomen movement I have found myself contemplating the way we perceive ourselves and those of the opposite gender. I have read articles, pondered the roles we all play in gender relations, and even made my own comments. I have read things that have made me sigh in exasperation, laugh in absurdity, and I am not afraid to say cry in heartbreak. There have been voices of enlightenment and reason to help me in my own journey of growth, and voices of terrifying ignorance to strengthen my resolve.

What I see mostly though is the urge to take the easy way out. It is not surprising that all of us give in to this temptation from time to time, but if we wish to give rise to progress we must look beyond the easy path.

Some women write articles, share blogs, and seemingly promote an over generalized view of all men as predatory beasts incapable of controlling themselves. In reaction to this many men reply and take a defensive stance pointing out that not all men are like that at all. Unfortunately more is lost in this exchange than is gained.

If we truly desire to make a difference, to fight inequality and injustice, we must fight it wherever it is, and whoever it is against. We must join the battle together, on the same side, unified in a common purpose.

It is easy to over-simplify and generalize. It is easy to lump each other into groups and apply labels. It is easy to issue blame to others. It is easy to coin terms like “rape culture” that add no true value to the discussion and ultimately have the effect of minimizing the responsibility of individuals for their evil actions. It is easy to do all of these things, but none of them bring us closer to equality.

True progress is anything but easy. It requires hard work, persistence, sacrifice, and very importantly understanding.

Understanding to recognize that not all men are rapists, not all men objectify women, not all men are enemies or obstacles in your path. Understanding to know that Elliot Rodgers was a sick and twisted individual, mentally ill and reckless toward all human life. Understanding to realize that the overwhelming majority of men are horrified and angered not just by his actions, but his views as well. Understanding to see that men can be victims too, that we can be traumatized, afraid, shamed. We are not immune to many of the very same struggles and situations that women have to face. Understanding to know that many of us already stand with you, and many more are ready to add our voice to yours. All we ask is that you view is for what we are, allies, individuals with our own thoughts, values and ideals.

As a man I recognize that we must embrace understanding as well. We need to be able to understand where a woman is coming from when she says that she lives in fear. We need to be able to put ourselves in their shoes to the best of our ability. We need to understand that she does know that most men are not rapists, even if she posts literature claiming that all men are the same. We need to understand that they do not mean to attack and provoke us, even if that is how we perceive it. We need to understand that there are places where hatred, violence, and abuse towards women IS rampant. We need to understand that even in our neighborhoods and communities female victimization is a problem and is more prevalent that many of us realize. We need to understand that we add more to the conversation by focusing on the points where we agree than those where we differ. We need to understand that this is not just a debate to be won, it is a real issue with real and lasting impacts on the lives of billions. We need to understand that it is imperative to all of us, man or woman to stand against injustice in all forms.

If there was one thing I would wish to impress upon others it is that we are all the same. We are all equally worthy and deserving of love and respect regardless of sex, race, nationality, religion, or any other superficial “difference” by which we perceive ourselves. If we were all to live our lives by the Golden Rule (treat others as you would have them treat you) we would need no other law or rule to live in a society of peace, justice, and equality.
If we could just teach ourselves to think and view the world empathically we could avoid all of the destructive philosophies and actions that cloud the world with pain and anger. We are all human and it is not as simple as it sounds. Like anything worthwhile it will not be easy. We are impatient, envious, we lose our tempers and make mistakes. We will never be perfect, as individuals or as a society. However it will be infinitely worth every moment of inner conflict to do what we can to strive for a mindset that sees the commonality between us all. We can move beyond the labels, stereotypes, and blame. We can climb so much higher if we leave the “Us vs. Them” dichotomy and work together to give everyone a brighter tomorrow.

kevinisapunk
So number one, Reading Rainbow was not cancelled because it was not effective. Reading Rainbow was the most used television resource in our nation’s classroom. In 2009, it was [cancelled] due to No Child Left Behind. That government policy made a choice between teaching the rudiments of reading and fostering a love of reading. So the idea that I am trying to somehow revive a failed endeavor is bullshit. That’s right. I said it. Bullshit.
LeVar Burton (via franfinethesecond)

Reading Rainbow was perhaps (and I am not exaggerating) the most influential television show of my life.

The Odyssey of Sleep

I became a thin pale horse

A roaming cloud, a shambling corpse

I walked the world a branded Cain

Bitter drops of phosphor rain

The stifled flames within my touch

Promethean planes of articulate hush

Gas lamps and refuse in empty streets

The thieves and the liars and beggars one meets

Crumbling buildings, and rusted-out hulls

Dead fish washed up and picked at by gulls

Ancient, proud, forests rescinded to ash

The trees are matchsticks they burn as they slash

Blood washes out from mines full of stones

Left there to rot are bags full of bones

Caked with black dust and lungs full of tar

Or clutching at carbon–cut shimmers like stars

I became a long black noose

The rabid dogs of war turned loose

And in the fibers of my thread

I saw a city of the dead

Children framed in bullets and blood

Soldiers sleeping in torrents of mud

The people milling in anger and fear

No more civil than arrow and spear

Prophets quaking ‘neath heavens aghast

No dreams for tomorrow, no hope we will last

Bodies lay lifeless polluted by fools

Violent skies spread over long-empty schools

It’s a crosshair or crucifix they stick to your neck

And neither will give you just what you expect

 

I became a light blue egg

Nestled in a darkened crag

And as I lay there still and sad

I saw a future we could have had

Stands of Sequoia swimming in clouds

Mothers and sisters dancing in crowds

Silver slicked streams of mountain snow melt

Otters and herons, in the creeks where they dwelt

Shining bright jewels of aquamarine

The Great Lakes refracting like pools of a dream

Meadows and fields laid out like a map

Jasmine and lilac creep in as I nap

Pastures crowned in golden sun

Glazed in dew the fence posts run

This ample curve of tan dirt road

The air of grass just freshly mowed

I call out into the light as it rests

In eventide Evlyn sits and she jests

Upon a soft blanket, I crack a faint smile

Her eyes are all I see for miles and miles

 

 

Ode To The Moon

Master of Ceremonies

Jubilant and autumn

Maestro of tides

Powerful and profound

Your soft halo

Your beaming face

Your motionless elegance

New, full, crescent - waxing gibbous

Singer of harvest

Full-bodied butter crème

Amber falcate horns of a bull

Red apple clinging to invisible branches

Bold yellow gourd ripe with abundance

Orange orator of long-lost tradition

Plump pumpkin, turn extravagant carriage

To usher me home through the murky hollow

Endless beacon of constant change

Shifting phases but always remaining

Waxing and waning with calendar’s passage

Your mountains and seas come meeting each other

Your gaze glazing windows

And lighting the meadows

Defining and combining

With elongating shadows

Your voice joining harmony

With the sing-song of crickets

Your duty bound trek

Across light waves and radios

Honor compelled to walk without question

The course plotted for you

By mad men and clinicians

Laws of gravity, reality, and motion

Silver-white maiden of crystalline winter

Bright with unconditional affection

Snowfall and sleet your cold tears of longing

Through all the long and tortuous nights

Seraphim sweep your lonely veil