Piano Man’s Heavenly Waltz

The cards are up, the dance is done
A silent breath carries upon it a soul for the masses
As ashes fly wildly, they cannot ride the gusts and return slowly below

In this goodbye, as so many before
The dance partners collect amongst the heavens
To show the newcomer an eternal tune with which the waltz can begin

Though expected and the experience familiar
An inner, involuntary sense of abandonment stings as harshly as the first
Your heels kick upon the cloudy dance floor, cotton tufts drift as snow
Souvenirs bouncing upon the living with ash as cargo

This snow fall on such a summer day is a gentle embrace with a dusty trail
One day my dance care will fill no more, my stay in this centuries-old hall complete
Humbly, I will wait to twist wildly amongst the golden tops of clouds to my own eternal song
Yet guided once more by old familiar leads

—-

In loving memory of Gary, a man who showed loyalty, strength and charisma to his last grain of sand.
I am grateful for the memories and the stories you shared with me and that you had so long after diagnosis to continue bringing heart-warming smiles to all you knew. My words from the post in November, The Piano Man, still ring true – no matter your place above or below the cloudy dance hall.

The Fifth Step is the Hardest

The first step some would say is the hardest, trusting your legs to hold true above the feet you pray find safe footing
You are shaking, unnerved and uncomfortable at the vaguely lit path with no destination
The idea of a fresh start in a new setting was more invigorating as a simple concept

The second step comes with a deep breath and more crossed fingers that the ground is still there
You stand tall but frightened as the bridge that got you to the first step has fallen away
Now on your journey, hope burns as a gentle candle fresh in its jar with a maddening flare of excitement

The third step is a blur as you skip to your next stone and forget your legs are only human
You don’t pause, leaning into your next predicted vault through a fog you’re temporarily unaware of
Filled with pure dreams and brushing off any old wounds, you move forward

The fourth step seems longer when you stumble and realize your feet may not be as ready for the trip as your mind
The humbling reminder of your mortality shocks you into a silent moment of reflection
Foggy surroundings ahead and behind send goosebumps to whisper doubt in your ear

The fifth step is the hardest, leg muscles exhausted from little use before and your feet cracking over new callouses
Your hopes and dreams are foggy and dim, the brilliant bait hidden and you left to your imagination
The road home seems untraceable except for a briefly flickering glow through that kitchen window

Where does one travel from here?
The easily shaken turn back, steps sure despite the uncertainty of the path’s existence anymore
The cautious stand still, solid footing in a safe spot for them to rest and be comfortable
The adventurous jump into the misty forest, spinning clouds as they land – jumping again, a tornado spins slowly behind them

Be the adventurous one and ignore the fear weighing upon your shoulders
It’s time to move forward and act with the knowledge that each moment you breathe is as important as the last one and the next one
Look back on your travels with a vault of memories to cherish, lessons to live by and new friends to share laughs with

A Life You're Proud Of - Inspirational Quote - Poem about Life's Journey in The Sunshine Theory

The Piano Man

Man Smoking a Cigarette and Playing Piano - "The Piano Man" Poem about Death - Koogimama Ponders

He wanders through the crowd, lining the bar with a tall loping grace
As the piano man plays a gentle melody, the dying man’s smile dances for each note
With a glance you wouldn’t know his hourglass is almost run out
Though the bar whispers his tale to each newcomer and repeats it over every beer

Over each repetition, gazes cast heavily upon his brow and wait for a sign of sadness
But instead he grins a cocky, sideways grin and waves his hand
A round of drinks to all from the man you can’t turn down
For he has no one else to empty his wallet
And the price of green paper vanishes with one’s last grain of sand

Friends from long ago and friends made in the dim evening light
Sit around and laugh on their old leather stools, cracking and squeaking yet sturdy as ever

As the door opens, waves of fresh air cut through and shift the smoky atmosphere
With the movement, he lights another cigarette
May as well enjoy the beautiful ember betwixt fingertips;
The stench of bitter joy and guilty habits rolled within the tobacco’s leaves
Is that much sweeter when it’s deaths calling card
Burning into the night’s thick air with a smile

A Toast to the Dying Man who Spends His Last Days in a Welcoming Home - Poem by Koogimama Ponders

Gary

For a man of gentle smiles, vivacious laughter and humble actions – I do not know you well but I know you enough to say I will miss you when you leave, as will all those who’ve shared a night of stories and friendship with you.
The first time I met you, you and Ol’ Miller played bodyguards for me, the silly little girl at the bar who felt ten feet taller with each beer. I’d almost forgotten to be honest, because you were so quiet. But best friends of old, you stood there with Miller to provide quiet strength and protection should any other bar guests try to pursue conversation with me. It’s kind of funny to think about, that you didn’t know me but the day you met me were put in charge of my wellbeing. I appreciated it then and I still do today.
You say you’ve lived your life and though I’ve only known you for your last year (according to doctors and whatnot), I’d say you’ve still got life to live until your dying breath. You still have time, words to speak, experiences to revisit and friends to share a few more drinks with.

I hope the doctor is wrong and that you continue to visit and tell stories, sitting in the smokey bar. I hope, for Ol’ Miller’s sake that you go out kicking and that you remind him to keep going, as a best friend, as a strong man, and as a believer that every day still matters.

If I don’t see you before you go, a toast to good health for irony’s sake and one last smoke to embrace the chariot that carries you swiftly away. 

Do you sing? Or play piano? I can’t say for sure but this song always makes me think of you.  Piano Man by Billy Joel on YouTube

The Mad Bull Club Back Wall

I Was Bullied Too – A Note of Love and Happiness

Each day I have woken up to read of a new tragedy. The details of horrific crimes, murder-suicides, rape and murder overflow from my computer. What hits home the most though, is the story of children committing suicide.

I read through their blog entries, their Facebook updates, their words of desperation typed out to the internet and feeling as though it will never be found. They are seeking for confirmation, for no one to read and comment, or ask if they’re alright.

It hurts me, so truly, because I know that feeling. I have felt the despair, depression and general desire to give up. I have sought to end my own life’s breath, naively thinking that no one would care. In the back of my mind, I knew I was being irrational. I had a strong, supportive and loving family that for some reason, I had chosen to shut out. My family would have gathered around me and provided the strength I needed a lot earlier, if I had only sought to ask.

So I have a message to you, the hurting teenager, the unpopular junior high kid. You might want to grab a drink and a snack, it’s a little lengthy. Also, go ahead and clear the bladder now. Because it doesn’t have the same depth if you get up to take a piss halfway.

There is hope in the distance - Anti Bullying - Koogimama Ponders

What can I do to show you that it’s ok to dream?
How can I convince you the world isn’t that scary?
I wish my words would be enough, the voice of hope that managed to break beyond the pain
It’s rough now, but I know and I want you to know that your life is not worth missing out on

No matter how your self was brought into being
By accident, planning or something horrific
You were allowed to develop and encouraged to come out and join us
With your first breath, you knew love, cradled by your mother who knows it was worth it
In your first sleep, you knew peace, though your parents hovered frantically above you all night
The first step you took showed you knew determination
And that first tickle’s giggle gave you the knowledge of happiness

And then you learned to speak and the power of words
With the ability to say “I want” came “I don’t”
And with “I love you” came “I hate you”
“You’re beautiful” also taught you the opposite, “You’re ugly”
Each sweet word spoken was met with its opposite, quickly and harshly
Beginning when you could determine which toys were yours and which ones were theirs

In school, the vicious taunts and insults, naive kids struggling to decipher society’s norms
You all were learning the ways around, but most often were exposed to extremes of love and hate
You learned what it was like to be ignored, cast out and shamed
For your appearance, your heritage, your family, your handicap or seemingly just for existing
No matter the reason, you were made to feel small and unwanted
And I’ve been there
I was taunted mercilessly, bullied through elementary school, middle school, high school

The most common nicknames were:

Bullying is Wrong - I was Dumbo

Talk about creative genius, huh?

Bullying is Wrong - I was called monkey

The monkey face may have only accelerated the name calling, looking back on it.

Bullying is Wrong - My ears were butterfly wings

This one came from my best friend in 6th grade. So I went to the bathroom and wrote her an angry letter. It’s kind of funny lookin’ back on it.

Believe me, I know what you’ve been through – to a much deeper level than those photos suggest
I know the thoughts that you’ve had and the nights upon nights of tear-stained sheets
Sobs muffled in your pillow until you fall asleep from exhaustion
I know this because I’ve been there
I have also dreamt of the escape, running away or releasing myself from the daily task of breathing

But I said no
I rose up from my pain
Musty curtains rained specks of dust as they were thrown open
The sunlight reaches so much farther when you open your eyes to let it in

The shaky muscles will grow stronger, I promise
They just need a little practice
Standing tall is a state of mind, not just a stance, and it only happens when your heart feels the desire to beat with a purpose

To the bullies, I won’t tell you I fought back because I didn’t
But I stopped cowering, I stopped believing their taunts
I didn’t throw insults, I just stood straighter
Mean people are a lot smaller when you stare them down with a smile

You can rise up, knowing that you’re not defined by words or looks
You are defined by the heart, by your strength
By the courage you feel to hold steady and brave the tide

It gets better
When you believe in your bones, your muscles, your tendons and soul
When you breath with a purpose and welcome the vital air

You are free, with the world to explore
Do not settle to stay in your city after you can leave
Do not remain where you hate, with memories that sour each day
Grab a map and a pen
Close your eyes and let your dreams guide your hand
And when the ink meets paper, open your eyes to your destination
A booming metropolis or a corn field in bum fuck nowhere,
I bet you haven’t seen it and I bet with a few clicks on the computer,
You can get there pretty soon

It’s the race of adventure, exploration and knowledge that brings the brightest light to your eyes
You have the choice
Empower yourself not with bitter old feelings but with experience of a place and memories that can never be touched

Just do what I do and when you’re ready, as in you truly believe in your heart of hearts and your smile is genuine and your stride is long
Leave a nice little note and maybe they’ll find it

You can overcome the bullies

I really hope someone sees this and reaches for their own pen and paper.

When you stretch your life beyond its limits and past that little line of chalk the bullies drew
Your imagination can stretch your future even farther
But before you go, be sure to send your old “buddies” a nice little goodbye.

To my bullies, fuck off.

Psst… bullies! Can’t touch this, duh nuh nuh nuh, du nuh, du nuh, CAN’T TOUCH THIS!

A Lesson in Humility From an Apathetic Planet

Infinite Starry Night Sky - A Lesson in Humility

Photo by Mark Unrau 2009 – Courtesy of Starts With A Bang, Science Blog

When the clouds drift away
Suddenly the world is darker; yet clearer in its make-up
Revealing twinkling stars
A glimpse of infinity

Look up and know
This perfection, this midnight canvas
Was once violent chaos
Entropy that we know of only centuries later
When the starlight finally breaks through the atmosphere

For only a moment, I seek control
A deep breath of smoke emerges
And betwixt my lips, the sky is hidden
Just as quickly, the air dissipates
A seemingly calm breeze on an almost calm night

In the middle of nowhere
Lying in the grass with only crickets for company
It is hard not to feel insignificant
The confidence perceived when around other people
Means nothing to a planet
That is just as insignificant to her universe

In a moment of spite I pull up grass from around me
But there is no insult perceived from these few blades, as more will grow to take its place
I shout loudly to nothing, startling the crickets
The millisecond of sheer silence slams against my eardrums
And the chorus of insects begins anew

In an inexplicable tantrum, I rise from the dirt
And then pause
Standing up, without the grass to frame my sight
I am the only thing visible, moonlight reflecting off my pale skin
And just like that, with no words or actions, not even a smirk
I am humbled, by a planet who cares not

Walking slowly, I ponder why I even bother to continue when I am of the same existence as a cricket
Insignificant to the floating rock on which I perch
Although we have all found this moment once before, and the human race developed
Creating a significance that only we believe in
And in doing so, I am given the chance to matter
To scream loudly and be not only acknowledged but heard

I am a voice, a heart, a soul – operating from machinery that is unique
Even though it was designed from the same blue print as everyone else

With my lips, I will share knowledge, questioning what I cannot grasp
I will show tender love and teach my children what I have learned

With my arms, I will provide the warmth and solidarity for those who are lost
Reach for a paintbrush to capture the sky and write stories to pass on in death

With my legs, I will travel, exploring this world and learning from it
Lift others above rising waters and swim to shore when it gets too deep

I am one of the billions, as are you and you
Another living creature vying for my own space and life
Pretending we are more than just simple animals
Creating a purpose when there is none, to quell the human need to belong

But I choose to feel like someone worthwhile
I choose to share smiles and laughter and tears, to share moments with strangers
And advice when its due

And one day, I will do one of these things as I would every day
And will never know if that had been my purpose for living all along
So I’ll keep on being someone who matters, with something to give
Remembering always the humility dealt by Earth and shown by the moon

You are not insignificant

We Took a Trip

This past weekend, the boy and I had the opportunity to take a break and get out of Houston for a while. So we drove out to Wimberley and got to soak in a bit of the hill country.

Driving in the Hill Country - Koogimama's Roadtrip

Friendship is precious, not only in the shade, but in the sunshine of life, and thanks to a benevolent arrangement the greater part of life is sunshine. – Thomas Jefferson

Making a Living Yet Never Living

We are all on borrowed time

Some turning a blind eye
To the wanderlust nipping at our heels
Others, acknowledging it in silence
Knowing that with self-control, it can be kept at bay

Why? Why, when only faced with our own deadline,
Do we rise up to live,
To explore and travel, to approach every stranger for a story
To grasp for some attempt at meaning before our existence is demolished

Why do we keep our whole life limited and routine,
Afraid to dance without inhibitions,
To sing at the top of our lungs in the car,
Instead choosing to spend our days making a living
Without ever seeking to live

I write of the desire, the need to take in everything
And yet I find myself sitting at a screen, typing away
A paycheck for the chance that I might wake up
Soon, I will stop making my excuses

With the city lights growing a brighter contrast
A dark sky pretending to be night but clouds hang low,
A wide reflection of the neon signs

I realize that for over two years I have now sat
Thinking only in dollar signs,
Failing to return to the spontaneous trips
Waking at three in the morning, determined to make it to the beach before sunrise
Armed with only time and gasoline

I know I can save and I know we will travel
But once we make plans, set a schedule
The mystery and the excitement of the unknown stopping point,
It all wanes and becomes a grid of required events, a guideline for adventure

So instead I want to squirrel away funds
I want to open an envelope, pull out the cash
Turn to you with keys in hand
Let’s drive for a day, let’s drive for the weekend
Let us spin the wheels and consume the gravel,
Stopping at hide-away stores
Drive to a small town square and dance to the truck’s radio
Put the dogs in the back, roll the windows down
And breathe air of a different kind
Think not of the gas tank, think not of the budget
Look only to the road or to your right and I will look only to my left

In your eyes I travel the only road trip I’ve ever sought
In your smile, the miles speed by
In your arms, my destination is meaningless
Swept up in a passion
Knowing that with the weekend’s close,
So too shall the map fold up and be stowed away

The grind will resume, the responsibilities taking forefront in our minds
The bills and daily requests will put each day’s clock into sharp focus
But in the dark bedroom, dimly shining with outside lights
I see your profile and we may smile at each other
Knowing that the trip may be over
But the map still holds secrets
Highways have yet to be traced, cities circled wildly
Cut out post cards glued along the roadways
A physical testament to the life we have led

Someday, as a child quiets into slumber,
That map will hang above their bed
When their eyes open, they will know only the possibilities
They will dream of a Seussical world
Never to be told that the highways stretch too far
And the requirements of life, too pressing

No Highway is Too Far | Living without Living | Koogimama

Sand in a Jar

Hold Steady | Sand in a Jar Poem | Koogimama Ponders

I can’t say every day I gave my best effort
I won’t say I smiled at every stranger

I will not guarantee that my heart has been in it all the way
I did not put one hundred percent into my actions

But I still felt the appreciation and the anticipation of a new day
I still awoke with a hope that I would get to see the sun rise and fall once more

When the colors seemed to fade, in the brightest sunlight
And the waves rose above my head, tossing limbs wildly

I reached upon the shelf up high, breaking through cobwebs, Sand Falling From Hands | Sand in a Jar Poem | Koogimama Ponders
Wiped the dust from the lid and opened up my jar of sand

In the gentle glow of dusk, I poured the sand over my toes
Reaching to pick it off the ground and run my fingers through it

Drawing simple outlines of hearts and suns, a vivid imagination
Surrounded me with a beach scene and a delicate breeze

With a quick blow, the wind swept my sand away,
Trickling into the air above the grass and winding into the distance

But still my mind pretended the buildings were palm trees
And each passing car a playful flip of a dolphin fin

Though I doubt some days and feel as though my life goes unrecognized by all but me
I know it is not true and in one jar of sand, my world stays whole and vivid

Ferris Wheel HLSR | Sand in a Jar Poem | Koogimama Ponders

 

Testing Every Shadow

 

Supernova

Oh, I’m hell on wheels, in a handbasket, from the liar of a planet we call Pluto
Racing eagerly through time and space, with a stupid grin
Tripping over my feet as I travel, bouncing off Saturn’s rings and heading to the sun

Each day I step without forethought
My mouth spills words and my mind without passing through a filter
Eyes peering into every cave and shadow passing by
Only to learn after that it’s better to taunt the consequences first with bait
Before jumping into a den of lions

I step out alone and somehow, something always happens
Never serious enough to warrant a security guard
But enough for a shake of the head and a stern word
A small smile and joking-yet-serious voice that reminds me,
Every time I go out alone, something happens

But I can’t really say that’s a bad thing
Yes, tempting fate isn’t the most intelligent of life’s mottos
Yet the stories that I return home with cast humor and a way to pass the time

I know that I am loved, cared for, and that my choices will always be supported by my love, my friends, and my family
Even when those choices run the risk of broken bones or simply a crushed spirit
These are all reparable with time, time which I choose to view as never ending
I won’t live like each day is my last because it won’t be
As naive as that may sound, each day is a new opportunity, building up a step to the next day, with another exciting adventure

So no, I don’t mind my car being keyed, or stalling in the parking garage
I don’t mind feeling a little scared once in a while
Because at the closing hour of my day,
I’m home, safe and loved
Chastised or not, I make it home safe and I am forever grateful
To be so lucky and to be so blessed

Thank you all for allowing me to breathe, to run, and to play
And for being there to guide me to safe haven as dusk fades darker
For sharing in my laughter and my tears
In both, holding me close in a bond broken only through death itself

I love you.

I’m Happy and I’m OK

As humans, happiness is our unspoken goal, the one thing that makes us put one foot in front of the other
But what happens when we are happy, when we’ve finally achieved all we’ve sought?

Do we write about the happy lives, the happy times, the happy moments?
Or do we wait for the screw up, the stone to trip over
So that then, and only then, will we have something to share, to immortalize forever
On paper, on the computer and show it to the world
Seeking companionship desperately once the trip forward loses focus

I have nothing horrid to say, nothing sad or depressing
In fact, right now, the only sad thing in my life is my crummy little car
And my dog pees everywhere

But my life is good, solid, happy
For the first time in years, I can’t sit alone and dwell on shit

Happy

It’s a nice feeling, one that’s been long awaited
And now fully appreciated

I think Jennyzilla put it best in saying: “The depression and anger follows from expectations that are too high to be lived up to. Life isn’t perfect. I trip, I stumble, I fall. The ones that are there to pick you up make the imperfections fade.”

It’s a Different Kind of Night

It’s another night, just like any other
And yet, it’s different from any other night
The same people, the same routine
But we all move around knowing that today is a different day

The sky looks the same, dark, few stars to be seen
And muggy clouds reflect the lights of city that never sleeps

 

Houston Skyline on a Cloudy Night

To you, this is a skyline seen so many times over
It never changes
But we all see something so different

So I sit, wondering what makes this night so special
What makes this cigarette any different from the one before it?
Why does the air smell so unique to me? Like it’s never smelled that way before?

It must be the company. It must be the people with me.
It must be the conversation that seems to shed light on new ideas and thought processes
Even though we’ve said it all before

No matter how similar this night may seem
It is different in every aspect

My chair sits just a little bit farther
The breeze tosses leaves gently in an unknown pattern
Even the smoke churns violently but in a rythmic motion

So I breathe it all in
As another night, unlike any other
But so familiar

Top Rated Street Art

Hint of Hope, Dash of Inspiration

A hint of hope
A dash of inspiration
Blended on high
Slowly add in love
Finally, bake in the heat of the sun

This thing called life is better than cake.

 

theCHIVE

 

 

Courtesy of theCHIVE

 

It Goes On - Robert Frost

Just a little bit of sunshine and happy thoughts for the day 😀

Highways and Heartbreaks

Take me somewhere quiet Unbroken Horse
Take me somewhere beautiful
Take me somewhere with air
Take me somewhere with water
Take me somewhere warm
Take me somewhere happy
Take me somewhere inspiring
Take me somewhere intriguing

Take me out of this metal pile of disgust, hatred and impatience
Take me from this city and put me in a field
Take me off these highways and heartbreaks

Take me to a sandy spot, with water and a breeze
Take me to a cozy spot, with hay and a cabin
Take me to a high up spot, with snow and a dream

As the numbers float in circles behind my eyes
Twisting inside my dreams and running across my words
The bills have risen higher and higher
The morning sun seems harsher and harsher
The boredom makes me angrier and angrier
The heats sinks me lower and lower
The stress tears my sanity farther and farther

I did it again, in case you were wondering,
I kept my words unspoken and my thoughts under lock and key
I let them loose only to convey I was close to breaking
I was told by one person,
“You won’t ever change, Jordan. You’re always going to keep things to yourself.
You’re never going to fully trust anyone and people are going to give up on you.
Not everyone’s going to stick around and wait you out to the breaking point every time.”
I guess it’s about time I admitted they were right.

I have improved though. I talk a lot more. I show a lot more. I cry a lot more as a result.
I no longer explode in a manner to rival that of a nuclear bomb. 
But it still caught up to me today and I slipped up
In a manner that ashamed me and insulted him entirely
Almost called in to work so I could go hide in another city for a couple hours.
But I’m back at work.
Wishing desperately I was hiding.
But I can’t run again.

Running, hiding, turning the tables and remaining a stoic figure, unwilling to listen to brutal honesty about my actions and how they affected others. That is what I did for too many years. I listened but never in front of people. I listened and cried to myself. Now, right now, all I want to do is go hide for a few days. I didn’t even screw up that bad! Yet, I know the level of insult it delivered and I can see his face behind my eyelids, angry, hurt, and wishing that punching a wall would make it all go away.

I want to go to another town.
I want to get in my car and drive.
I want to disappear on a back road.

But despite what I want to do, I want more to keep him around for the rest of my life. Running and hiding won’t make that happen.