Thursday, January 30, 2014

#anonymous tweet

I’m watching another anonymous tweet go by

And I start to wonder…

I wonder what would happen
If our love for our fellow man
  was greater than the love we show for a beer can

Would our hallways not echo so loud
 with the footsteps of shame and regret?
Would the laughter we hear
 ring of joy instead

I wonder why they wear their weekends like badges of honor
  What will you do with those tomorrow?
  Hang them on your wall
   next to your family pictures

Years from now share them with your grandkids
  expressing how they built your family name
Or maybe let your 14-year-old daughter wear them
 to walk in your path
    passed out on a Friday night
      another victim whose story last only two minutes on the news
But whose scars will never truly heal

I wonder...

They wear their confessions like shades
  Oh so cool
Never revealing their eyes
Because when you have to see something more than a screen
You have to face who you express to be
  In the eyes of those around you

I wonder what happen to the definitions of

Because I believe this life is more than a digital tag
I believe in L
  In living up to our greatness

#you can tweet that

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Lost Among the Branches

            So this is how it feels, she thinks. Hands submerged in the cooling dishwater searching for silverware.  She had heard about this.  She knew of two marriages in the last three years that had ended in divorces.  The empty nest syndrome she guessed.  With the children gone there was nothing left to bind them.
            Their last child, Paul, was a junior in high school. A year and a half left before he moves out.  She turns the faucet on to rinse the spatulas and pots. She puts the frying pan in the dishwater.
            “That was a good meal, hun,” he says. She leans into him as he kisses her cheek.  He is headed to his chair.  It is Monday night so he will watch AMC or the History Channel.
            She couldn’t deny that life was good.  She was standing in the kitchen she wanted.  They had built this home eight years ago.  Nothing too grand, about 1500 square feet with an open concept for the living room, kitchen, and dinning area.  The basement was finished.  Every once and awhile the end of the month was tight, but nothing like their first couple of years of marriage.  Life was good.
            She started in on the frying pan, scrubbing at the stuck remains of chicken fried steak.  Comfortable was good, but was it love?  Her mind moved to different snap shots of their life.  The time they scrapped together change and had a dinner date off the dollar menu.  Their first kiss, right in the middle of celebrating a touchdown during the homecoming game in college.  She smiles. It was so quick, and he didn’t talk for the rest of the quarter until she grabbed his hand. 
            She holds up the frying pan to see if it was clean, nope a little grease still by the handle.  She frowns as she scrubs remembering the biggest fight they ever had.  Sarah was just over a year old.  He was working almost 70 hours a week.  She was lonely. The apartment complex was filled with college kids.  It was a pivotal moment: money or family.  They actually didn’t talk with each other for three days.
            She rinses the frying pan. Pulls the drain and hits the switch for the garbage disposal. She wonders why the light switch and garbage disposal are always together.  The grinding sound from the sink eases away. She hits the switch off.  She grabs the towel hanging on the oven handle.  She watches him as she dries her hands. A flood of emotion fills her chest.
            On the fourth day he had come home from work with a single flower. A daisy. He said that he would find a better job and that his only goal was to love her.  To provide her the best life possible.  And here we are, she thought.  Wondering at how you can have everything but feel hollow inside.
            “Dad, can you read over this essay for me?” Paul had his computer in his hands.
            “Yes, what is the topic?” he asked as he muted the TV.
            She smiled.  Paul looked up at her and smiled back.  She stood there watching father and son discuss the homework as she dried the dishes.  Fifteen minutes later Paul headed back to his room. 
            She tidied up the counters. Sitting on an idea.  One of those ideas that can easily be dismissed because life would simply go on if she didn’t do it.
            “Dear?” she walks to the living room.
            “Humm?” he replies looking up at her but then quickly back to the TV.  It was Monday night and he was watching the History Channel.  He did this almost every Monday night.
            She falters in her decision.  Life was good. It was predictable and secure. “Do you want to go get some ice cream?”
            He doesn’t respond.  It seems like he doesn’t hear her question. She starts to walk back to the kitchen, blinking to keep a tear from falling.
            He answers quickly as he stands up. “Yeah, I’ve been wanting to try that new blizzard they have advertised. Grab your coat, I’ll get the car warmed up.”

            He holds the door open for her at DQ. As she walks past he quickly kisses her. She smiles up at him.  He shakes his coat pocket; “I thought we would pay with coins for old times sake.” They both laugh.
            Hours later the manager had to ask them to leave because the crew wanted to go home.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014


  It is 2 a.m.
Our feet hit the floor
We think we just can’t do this anymore
    we try to open our eyes
While a child’s cry
    disturbs the night

What can it be, now?
  Through the years
    we have awoken to
  Monsters under a bed
  Upset tummies and achy heads
  Late night feedings
            And just random eyes at the side of our bed

2 a.m. has seen us
  cleaning carpets
  shining flashlights
            While they watch with frighten eyes
  tiptoeing out of a room
    only to hear our child cry
     as we sigh to return
             to sway them back to sleep
   praying we make it past the threshold
            tiptoeing again

We, as fathers, set the home right
  checked locked doors
  Nightlights switched
  Closet lights off
And we see the clock move to morning
   so we debate
   If we should just brew the coffee
     to start our day

We know moms make the world a better place
  With hugs and kisses
But in the darkest hours
It is in our arms they feel the safest

This poem was inspired by Tim Berndt and I tweeting early this morning as we were dealing with sick kids.  

Sunday, January 5, 2014

It is snowing...

The kitchen light shines out to an early morning snowstorm.
A rectangle, bright against the ever changing pattern of white.
The house hums with sleep.
I gaze out the window, lost in the pattern
    as it moves with the wind.
For a second.
  For a minute.
    For a lifetime,
I wonder if you like to watch storms,
   or gaze at the summer stars.
Do I get my laughter from your side of the family?
The snowflakes seem to shrug,
  I don't know, as they move through the kitchen light.
I shut of the light, making sure I don't hit the switch
  for the garbage disposal.
   Don't want to wake the family.

I burrow into the covers.
My wife mumbles, "You OK?"
I find her hand and reply,
   "It's snowing."