Could You, Would You, In Your Life?

Truth and Beauty

A Softer World

There’s a thousand and one ways for you to kill the passing hour
There’s a million and one ways to kill a day
A billion and one to kill a week

A trillion and one in your lifetime

I think a big part of growing up and becoming an independent being
Involves a major lesson on how to be a child again
Actually, growing up involves a lot of lessons

1. Appreciate the little things
It’s the simple, small things that allow you to really grasp how awesome your life is. I know the bills pile up and the days seem to get longer, but it doesn’t matter against the little things.
Your loved one puts a simple post-it on the front door saying “I love you” that you see just as you leave for work.
When you only need a twenty five cents more for your purchase and the person behind gives it to you.
Your waiter offers free refills on something that normally would’ve been extra.

Last night I had one of those moments. We were sitting at the bar and watching as Flash, an older black man, sings soulfully into the mic, smiling at the women who giggle to each other. All of a sudden, a new song comes on and my love sets down my beer, grabs my hand and pulls me onto the dance floor, where we sway slowly, spinning softly, to Elvis.
“Take my hand, take my whole life too / For I can’t help falling in love with you.” 

2. Do not regret what you’ve done in life because at that time, it was exactly what you wanted.
I’m guilty of sitting and regretting A LOT in my life. It’s something everybody does. But there’s value in those things you “regret”. Those drunken nights, those loud arguments in the driveway, the desire to run from the only people who’ve been there from the beginning, not staying in school, quitting a job for false pride. All of these things people can look back on and regret but honestly, would you be where you are today if they hadn’t happened?

Each experience, action, or memory that you look back on with just a little bit more perspective and a tighter hold of the big picture is something to be appreciated, not regretted. Those times built you, showed you where to go, who to trust, gave you the opportunity to be the bigger person, and challenged you to not be content with what you used to be and instead seek improvement and betterment of your self.

3. Remember that the internet isn’t life. There’s the outside as well.
This one’s silly and something that we all heard from our parents growing up.
“It’s a beautiful day today, why don’t you go outside?”
Despite how many times they said it, we still had to be locked outside for a decent couple of hours on a regular basis. At the time, yes, you’re having a fantastic adventure through jungles and hiding from cars but it’s not until years later that suddenly, as you’re sitting in an office or on your lunch break, sweating from manual labor or wearing a jacket in your cubicle, that you miss being able to go play in the mud.

Even if your not an outdoors person, you can still enjoy a nice afternoon outside. I know here in Houston that’s a little impossible right now but eventually!!! A picnic by the bayou, take the dogs to the dog park, challenge your friend to a go-kart race, or just join friends/family for a dip in the pool.

Whenever I get bored with being “grown up” and “responsible”, I invite someone out to eat. And then I initiate a spitball war. Or just throwing random things at each other war. But it never hurts to relax once in a while and just act like a child.

I remember going out to eat and getting told to be quiet and sit still a couple years back by someone. Said that I was being childish and embarrassing them. What I remember most though, was the fact that while they were embarrassed, I was just mad they didn’t try to understand. You don’t have to act like a grown-up all the time. Remember that, boy.

Life is something to be cherished, fully appreciated, a reason to be grateful and an opportunity to do more than just make a paycheck.

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Fear Can’t Win

Lying shackled upon a floor so cold
The memories that shaped me
Itch back into thought
Scratch until it bleeds
Scratch until it scars
Scars no mother’s kiss could heal

Despite everything, I let it consume me
As the dark room gets darker, the air gets colder
Seeping, clouding my mind
A wet blanket upon a glorious fire
Every second develops into an hour

I know they are gone, never to return in my lifetime
Yet, in my fearful state, his rough hands are felt
The pain emanating from something meant to be beautiful

Alone, within my blankets and cold pillows,
Nothing I do will halt the overwhelming emptiness
The feeling of being robbed of something special

But yet, one night, I didn’t succumb
For as I woke, trembling and terrified, gasping for air
You woke as well,
Your arms surrounded me
Gently saving me and providing a comfort unbeknownst to me
Your voice whispers gently into my hair
And I know, you are there
They can’t hurt me when you are there

Kaleidoscopic Suicide

Through the eyes of Cognac, I see these demons that have sought to greet me
Toes curl upon a cold floor, yearning a ground more yielding
Should I look up to the stars, I will die tonight

Your glittering eyes coast into focus 
My body is motionless yet I crash into the unfolding kaleidoscope,
Enveloped in your misty existence
Your frantic voice berates my ears
Hands that once held my world,
Now press delicately to my skin

Torn, to fight or to wake so sweetly
I remain still, hovering in this dream so real
Pour the philosophical musings of our late nights
Back into my voice
So that if only once more, my tongue would know
The beauty of such glorious days

My newest suicide lies within your fingertips,
Seamless silence would show you, if you would only listen
Yet amongst your echoing desperation of why
My lips cease to open, filled instead
With a memory of intoxicating existence,
What I lived for leading me to crave forever your memory,
As my motionless form is lowered,
Only six feet from your being so ethereal

Fossilized Throne of Oak

The gentle sway of a piano once again whispers delicately upon my ears
Tantalizingly sweet, bringing forth a mindset of gentle ease

“Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling faces. Smell the rain, and feel the wind. Live your life to the fullest potential, and fight for your dreams.” – Ashley Smith

The breeze coasts across the fields, leaving ripples fluttering across the grass 
Leaves and stems alike bow as the earth brushes them into color
Amongst it all, I sit
Upon a chair fit for a child yet sturdy as the ancient oaks beyond the plain
The wood is smooth, worn down from years of use
Softened lines show the age and the knots within a fossilized life

My hair sweeps across my back and over my shoulders,
Dancing to a life of its own, moving with the wind and the trees
As it flies behind my ears, I hear the traces of children laughing
Out of sight, just beyond a tender hill
They live, thrilled by the simplicity of a stick and a hoop

The sun warms my skin, erasing the goose bumps from the crisp breeze
Shadows dance around me as if I sit underwater, breathing within a glass box

The urge to speak escapes me and instead, I sit still
Fingertips tracing my throne of choice
My toes curl within the cool dirt beneath

This place, I want to stay here forever
And as I tentatively retreat back to reality,
My eyes open to reveal a concrete balcony, metal railing,
A parking lot filled to the max, brimming with drunken lovebirds
Having arrived home as the bars closed down

I watch silently from my perch, the lights off,
Only the burning ember of a late night cigarette shows I am there
One couple holds hands, happily drunk together,
Returning to a bed soon to hold passionate love and a warm embrace

Others step out of cars
Hesitant, knowing smiles; a one-night stand
The man thinks only of what joys he will feel whilst the woman studies to know what he likes, hoping for a callback

Dissatisfied, I close my eyes
Go back to a breezy, summer afternoon
An ocean of grass and child’s priorities
Happy

A Square of Time

Something I can’t explain / Crept on my shoulders tonight
Unrecognizable in weight / I simply felt myself heavy with it

Perhaps it was a simple thought / Throwing me chaotically into a history forgotten
But it was a simple picture / Falling softly from between pages worn
A square of time seemingly brighter than before / Brushing my fingertips as if to reconnect
As my toes reach out and dig into carpet / I sit, back to the wall, almost forlorn
Every section examined and memorized / What does that look even feel like?

In those days long past gone / I race with in my head
With closed eyes, my mind runs back / And in a darkened room in a different house
I feel as I am there, smiling softly / In that old blue dress
I feel the edges brush my knees as I lean forward / A smoothed stone flies from my hand
Victorious five skips and I turn / Turn to make eye contact with you

Come on, I say, come on! / Your slender form turns as well
With a seventh skip I hear your voice ring once more through my ears / Laughing
In the soft breeze, our hair takes on lives of their own / Reach for your hand
Our toes bend with every step to reach around the pebbles / Into the gently flowing river
I knew then you wouldn’t be there forever / But even then, I couldn’t face the truth

What I wouldn’t give to jump through time / Into this memory
Skip pebbles for hours / But this time, I promise I would pay attention
Without knowing, you had been telling me how / How to make it in this world
It took six years for me to learn / That all you spoke was true
And six years to learn that no matter how many stars shot through the sky
No matter how many 11:11’s I caught or how often I crossed my fingers

You weren’t going to be here to see it and share it with me
Six years and through it all / I’ve begged to wake up from a dream so cold
A dream where the sun never shines as bright as that day / The dress doesn’t brush but scratch
Pebbles aren’t smooth under my toes / And I can only skip a stone three times
In this picture I hold / A day where you still laugh with me

Others have forgotten and others still cry / Others have hidden you and buried you
I float on the surface of my memories / Looking through a shallow river
To a wavering river bottom / And your hand on my shoulder
To a hug so tight and a smile so real / To a love that has trained me for years
I have carried you in my pocket since that day / On my skin you will stay

Oh,
But to drift back to the blue dress and sunlit hair,
To compare the treasures buried beneath gnarled roots and worn stones
To not sit in a darkened room like a child and cross my fingers for you to walk through my door
To not feel so forgotten, left on a surface for others to feed on
Every day is one more step, one more skip of the stone
When I will open my eyes and together, I can show you
What I have done with the knowledge you gave me
I live every day to make you proud,
To make someone else realize there is more
Than a sea of clouds and a sky of water

And with that, I open my eyes and the room is once more darkened
My toes are back in a carpet not yet aged
The chill of the air conditioner pours into four walls
And there on my shelf, is an old pebble, worn smooth from years of necessary reassurance
And I smile

Funeral on a Sunny Day

Drive into town and it’s like nothing has changed
Everyone’s still driving under the speed limit
The breeze brings a calming scent of open fields and cowboy boots
But underneath it all, I sense the dread of what today has brought us
A young life fell to the hands of our worst fears
And now, we come together to memorialize it

In silence, we don the black clothing
In silence, we move into the pews
Some go up to see his face one last time
I can’t do it so I sit down, ashamed that I am so weak
But from my seat, directly in front of me, I can see his face
And I can’t look away
Words are exploding with a vengeance from the pastor
He talks of death but not of my friend
Focus on my toes, crammed into heels too small
Look up
He looks like plastic
He wouldn’t be caught dead in that shirt
All this holy music, the choir bullshit?
Never in a lifetime
And I keep watching, praying for him to jump up
Yell “Fuck you” to the pastor and give everyone the bird
But he doesn’t

As we all leave, half the town wants to drive in the procession
We block off at least a mile or two on the highway
So many cars
In my rear view mirror, I have hit the highway
And cars are still pouring from the chapel parking lot
In the sunny, cool breeze
We gather around the green tent
The sunshine glares miraculously
From his silver resting place
I wipe away my tears in silence,
His mother stands up
And she is so small
Her voice is so faint but the hundred people around quiet
And we can all hear
The cracking in her voice
As she says her final goodbyes
And his brother stands up,
Looks at how many people are here
“Holy shit, Joel knew a lot of people”
He begins to cry and I walk away
I walk away

In the comforting hugs that always follow,
My friends and I are among the last to leave
They all go to eat and reminisce
I just stand there
Looking at the box,
Holding a man so young
And so full of entertainment and honest love

I guess now it’s time to really say goodbye

R.I.P. Joel Neal Janner

And So She Thinks: Day 13

Entry 13: I am one person. Supposedly, I can move a nation. Think of what one person is capable of with the right tools, techniques, and knowledge. One person could do a lot of damage. I’m laying on the cold tile of my patio. I feel my lungs compress as my weight bears down. The temperature offers temporary reprieve from the over bearing heat. I stare at a single thin, white, candle. The flame flickers sporadically from occasional bursts of air escaping the air conditioning unit in the corner. It is pitch black in the patio except for this flame and the five feet around it. I see faint outlines of stones in the backyard from the moonlight. Turn my attention back to the flickering flame.

A soft child’s lullaby begins to play in my head. Hush little baby, don’t say a word. Across the flame I’m seeing myself, three years old, a smile pushes my round cheeks. Unstable fingers reach out for balance against a mother’s leg. Skip forward as the flame wavers and for a split second hangs on the brink of extinction. Flare up and I’m in the sixth grade, smiling at my very own locker, still have the smell of new notebooks perforating the air. Meet the girl who will wind up saving my life years later. Meet the boy who will give me my first kiss. That day in the sixth grade felt like just another day. But looking back, that day defined my life for the next seven years. Flash forward, I’m crossing the stage, diploma in hand, headed to college. Now I see myself, flying off a rope swing into the river, driving to find a job, driving to find a friend, laughing into a campfire surrounded by those who know me most.

I sigh and realize that my campfire is just a flame, flickering madly on the floor of a glassed-in patio. I am going nowhere fast and it is killing me. For Christ’s sake I spent an hour laying on the ground staring at a candle.

And So She Thinks: Day 6

Entry 6: The taste of last night is lingering behind my eyes. Flaring up at random. So vivid yet so vague. Reminiscing with an old friend. The air is warm. Humidity has dropped to tolerable. The beers are cold, the smiles warm. Talking of the wacky social circles, the welcoming hallways, old loves and forgotten friends. Some have moved on, some are stuck, one has died, and others have loved. Foggy memories dragged from the depths of our memory base. Look at each other. Who are we? We are just people. Trying to make it through. I think I’m doing a good job at it so far. Only time will tell. Literally.

Talking, drinking, smoking, laughing, smiling, wondering, wishing, and hoping last night made me realize what I do have. I have you. I have you to smile with. I have you to love. I have you to hold when I cry and you to back me up when I want to cut a bitch. I have you and that’s all that matters to me. You, my heart, my friend, are the reason I am still here.

Well, somewhat here. Just sat through one of those incredibly boring, can’t hold your attention no matter how hard you try, meetings. I did, however, read a very interesting quote on the powerpoint.

“A wise old owl sat on an oak; the more he saw the less he spoke; the less he spoke the more he heard; why aren’t we like the wise old bird?”

Sunshine

The sun decided to come out today
To greet us with its bright, warm face
I smiled at it in the street
Twirling around in my bare feet

 White skirt flying in a circle
My hands raised to grasp the rays
Dancing with a little girl
Raise her hands and give her a twirl

The music casts out, beyond the square
The folks walking are all so alive
As friends grow nearer
Smiles stretch from ear to ear

Families, friends, cops, and bikers
Music, booths, toys, and smilers
Hearts, hands, and a sly glance
Bellamy Brothers bring out the dance 

Poppy Festival spreads red
Newcomers and Oldcomers
Everyone gathers to meet and greet
Nod our heads, tap our feet

At the end of the day
The sun has faded
But our smiles have stayed
New memories are made

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