Car, Man and Tribulation

8

October 13, 2017, Prescott-

Car went through an ordeal, yesterday.

A wayward peace of cardboard,

in the road,

surrounded by loose gravel,

in the middle of a sharp curve,

sent car off into a small downgrade.

Car was pulled out,

by a gentle man,

in a powerful jeep.

Car is okay,

with a few screws

needing replacement.

Man woke up this morning,

noting that a long-standing

wound

on his face had faded.

Man is looking

more human.

Man and car went out,

and delivered flowers,

to people who are

being supportive

of a large community event,

tomorrow.

Man and car are fortunate.

Across California,

there are thousands

who face tribulation.

Loves of a Life

8

September 30, 2017, Flagstaff-

I told an old friend that Penny has been gone,

for six years.

He spends lots of time,

off the grid.

So, he missed all that’s happened to us,

since 1997.

Twenty years have come and gone,

and he is a loving husband and father.

I was the former, and am still the latter.

After leaving this generous man,

and his fine facility,

lent us for our Baha’i gathering,

I turned on my laptop.

I went to cbs.com,

and selected

the most recent episode

of “Blue Bloods”.

In this one, it’s revealed

that a man has lost

his wife,

in a helicopter crash.

He wants to turn inward,

shut the world out.

He has two teenage sons,

to finish raising.

His family,

and the Universe,

conspire to keep him

afloat.

Today would have been

her 63rd birthday.

I told an old friend.

Bacchanal

10

September 29, 2017, Prescott-

There was a man who said he loved women.

His idea of love was tied, tightly, with sexuality.

Sexuality was tied, tightly, with freedom of choice.

Freedom of choice was underpinned by epicureanism,

hedonism, the idea that life is for the living.

His idea became a machine that went of itself,

and would not stop,

even when he was getting tired,

on many levels.

He became a caricature of his younger self.

Young women thought of him,

and were sickened.

Older women looked back on the Bacchanal,

and wished they had been part of it.

He showed me, and many men my age,

what a woman with perfect features

would look like, in an airbrushed photograph.

Many of us bought into it, month by month.

Then, little by little, we met real beautiful women.

My love was never airbrushed;

her perfection was never unnatural.

She was as bright a sunrise,

as any the Fife of Finery could have conjured.

She was my sunrise, alone,

and I hers.

Our merriment was measured.

Our love was underpinned,

by a God who knew no Bacchanal.

There was a man who said he loved women.

 

Cherish the Lessons

4

September 26, 2017, Prescott-

All my life,

I have practiced honesty,

as my place on the spectrum,

has never let me

sweep anything under the carpet.

So, I  have let things out

about what I’ve done,

and taken my lumps

or, as has been the case lately,

taken the lessons

behind the admonitions.

If we view correction

as savaging,

then debilitation results.

If it is seen as pushing

one upwards,

then strength happens.

So, today’s meeting,

with lovingly issued

advisement,

accompanied by solid

background information,

was a textbook example,

of how any issue

can be resolved.

It all comes down to will,

or the lack thereof.

As Summer Ends

2

September 20, 2017, Prescott-

Almost as if on cue,

the triple digit temperatures

are leaving Phoenix,

and our nights, here,

are requiring a light blanket.

Soon, I will need a sleeping bag

for Fall and Winter camping,

that will provide comfort,

below forty degrees F.

I will finish pulling weeds,

in about ten days.

They won’t be back,

until next May.

I will be fully engaged,

in my daily work,

both faith-based and secular.

In such times,

it feels good to occasionally,

come up for air,

even when immersed,

in water and the Spirit.

In eleven days,

I will come up for air,

and I do not know,

as yet,

in which hyperbaric chamber,

I shall ensconce myself.

Medicine for the Soul

4

September 17, 2017, Prescott- 

The poor man is, no doubt, sitting with his head in his hands, wondering what his beloved will conjure next.  Rebecca spoke, sympathetically, of her husband’s reaction to her doing things like writing a song a week, for a year or writing a song and a related poem, plus painting a picture, each week, for so many weeks.  I would guess that a certain number of said works are about him.

Last night, Rebecca Folsom and Sally Barris offered two hours of rapturous song, interspersed with the kind of banter indicated above.  They came to us from Boulder and Nashville, respectively, and offered “medicine for the soul”.  The repertoire ran from Rebecca’s songs of her beloved Colorado;  an homage to Judy Collins, Joni Mitchell and Carole King (see below); and a bluesy paean to what women can do, to Sally’s  impromptu “Halloween Love Song”; a tribute to those who accomplish much, with a “Little Voice”; and her signature “Let The Wind Chase You”, which earned a Grammy nomination, in 2009, when it was recorded by Trisha Yearwood and Keith Urban.

The ladies captivated the vast majority of the audience, including me in my box seat, just to the right of the stage.  We joined in, on cue, for the choruses of the Halloween Love Song and “Wilder Girl”.  Their nearly matching red dresses were a sign of the slight ache in their hearts, at not being with their sweethearts, on a Saturday night.  The loving audience at Prescott’s Elks Theater did what we could to make up for it, and like so many of us who have traveled far, in the line of work, they carry on.

There was a bit of personal resonance in the ladies’ presence.  Rebecca’s voice resembles that of my mother, in her prime.  Sally both looks and sings like my late wife did. Both  despite, and because of, that eeriness, I was all in with their performances.  Their work speaks of liberation and trusting love.  They stood, solidly, for the achievement that is in every woman’s soul and by extension, in the soul of the person she loves.

I’m sure I’d be fast friends with either one of them, should I encounter her in a more casual setting.  Perking up a visibly tired Sally, by thanking her for a lovely evening, was enough for last night.  I wish them, and all women, full progress towards that sense of attainment.  In the end, it will serve to benefit us men, as well.

Handling Things

6

September 15, 2017, Prescott-

After a moving project,

this afternoon,

I offered to help a friend,

with a huge task,

this coming weekend.

Her response was:

“You work hard enough,

during the week.   It’s

my mess, and I’ll clean it up.”

This person believes that

grown people take care

of grown people’s matters.

I go along with that, in general.

I also believe that there are times

when people of all ages

can bring truth to the adage,

“Many hands make light work.”

We did, this afternoon,

and in the event my friend does

feel overwhelmed,

she has my phone number.

Speaking of grown people

handling grown people’s matters,

I have a pile of work left,

in my back yard.

This weekend looks to be a full one.

 

 

Dignity

2

September 12, 2017, Prescott-

How expensive is dignity?

Does it require the concealment of frustration,

or the savaging of one’s critics?

Does it require a modicum of intelligence,

or a neurotypical mind?

Is it a prize,

doled out to the favoured few,

or a birthright?

Is it the sole province of humans,

or something conferred,

upon all sentient beings?

A man’s man,

with whom I once had

the honour of working,

maintained that even

machines had dignity.

In his world,

Hal the Computer,

had every right

to tell Dave,

he could not accommodate him.

I ask this,

because my charges

cannot speak,

in conventional tones,

for themselves.

Yet, in my world,

they have every right,

to say, in their own way,

“I can’t do that.”

Polarities

2

September 10, 2017, Prescott-

I called my mother, to wish her a Happy Birthday.

She, to whom I was made to listen, for the first part of my life,

can now barely hear me, even when I am in full voice.

I pray her life will go on, for quite a few years yet,

and I will rely on the written word, to stay in contact.

The beaches of the Leeward Islands,

and the Florida Keys,

have taken quite a beating.

The emerging forests of Greenland,

just now rising from the Ice Cap,

are ablaze,

before they can even reproduce.

Disney World is closed,

and the lakes of The Villages

resemble mini-seas.

The Mediterranean, meanwhile,

is a lake surrounded by fire.

It’s being said that the Feds

are probing the ionosphere,

and that this may aggravate

climate change,

by pushing air currents

down into the stratosphere.

Meanwhile, we still

have relatively scant knowledge,

of our ocean depths.

These things cross my consciousness,

as I ponder whether

to go back outside,

and clear more weeds.

Time Was…

2

September 8, 2017, Prescott-

Time was, when my friends mostly had blond hair, blue eyes and family names like Smith, Wolfe, Doyle, Burnham, Stocker, Hansen, Murphy, Hines. Italians and Greeks moved in, and my new friends had brown hair and eyes, and their families were the Belmontes, Chassis, Chrisoses, Serinos, Spinellis, Geotises and Statutos.

I still dearly love people who need sunblock, when outdoors, whose ethnic legends are based on the tales of the ancient Germans, Anglo-Saxons, Vikings, Celts, Romans, Greeks and Slavs.  It hardly bothers me, that their politics are often rooted in survival and preservation.  They will adapt, survive and grow.  They are ever my siblings.

Time came, when my young adult self met people whose first names were Lutrell, Antonio, Luis, Angel, Devar, Wadous and Jesus.  Their skin was different, but otherwise, they were not.  I was, for the first time in my life, the one who had to win people’s trust.

I have come to dearly love people who relish collards and hamhocks, posole, menudo, hip hop, rhythm and blues, Salsa and mambo.  It started with Dr. King, who grew in my little white boy consciousness and became a source of pain in my  heart, when he was taken from us.  It has continued with some of the most essential people in my life, and some of them are in this nation, without papers.  They are ever my siblings.

Time moved on, and there came people whose mannerisms, dress, world view were entirely different from all who had come into this one’s life, beforehand.  They had names like Thanh, Ty Lanh, Jin-ho, Sook-ja, Tadies, Suhayl, Sohrab, Amal, Javidukt and Mohammad. Some had almond-shaped eyes, which protected them from the incessant blowing dust.  Others had tight curly hair, which guarded their scalp, from the blazing sun.  Still others wore turbans or kaftas, which served the same purpose.

I saw their presence in my life as a capstone, as a completion of my introduction to the full range of humanity.  They are ever my siblings.

Time was, when people my age were consumed with the Red Sox and the Bruins; when gathering around an 12″ television was a major weekend experience; when family trips to Cape Cod, Kingston State Park or Lynn Beach were de rigeur; when my hair length vacillated between “moddish” shoulder-length and buzz cut brevity.  Our battles were fought in VietNam, and on the streets of American cities.  They are ever my siblings.

Time came, when the next generations were consumed with making money; when our vinyl records were replaced by 8-Track tapes, then by compact discs, then by i-Pods. Birthday parties became occasions for gifting guests, as well as honorees.  My hair was like something out of the Middle Ages, then thin, then thinner. The battles of these generations shifted, to the Balkan Peninsula, to Mesoamerica, to collapsing buildings in New York and Arlington, to Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya.  Equality of colour and gender was seen as largely won.   The right to sexual identity became the cause of the age.  They are ever my younger siblings, my children and, most recently, my grandchildren.

It is a comfort, this inclusion.  I am guarded from those who shut me out, because of all who open the doors of their hearts.

Time is, a most encouraging and gratifying, state of being.