Thursday, January 11, 2018

Bill: The Death of My Biological Father

I really still don’t know what to do with this. These thoughts and feelings of, and around, the death of my biological father. I wrote this poem as a way to process it all. It’s safe to say I’m still processing. So, perhaps, the poem is just the start. I went back and forth with wanting and not wanting to share this for many reasons. Some of which is that ongoing process of letting go, or learning, or moving forward, or whatever it is that I’m doing with this. In any case, if you’re reading this, thank you. If you know what this all means, know that you’re not alone.

Bill: The Death of My Biological Father

My father just died.
I’m not even sure what to do with that.
How do I mourn the loss of someone who’s been gone for over half of my life? 
That’s just one of many questions he left me with.
That he left my brother with too.
Like a will written in riddles. 
He made many choices over many years.
The ones that had everything to do with my brother and me will never make sense now.
Would they ever?
Any and all answers died with him. 
His choices couldn’t have been clearer though.
He made so many choices.
“I won’t be a part time father.” 
He opted for being no father at all. 

I think at some point people started to see that saying I have my father’s eyes wasn’t the compliment they meant it as.
I didn’t know what that meant when I was younger
I didn’t know what I meant when I was younger
I just knew there wasn’t an immediate model to learn how to be a man by
(But I lost that long before he died)
I made my peace with the idea that the man I got my middle, and then last, name from had voluntarily left my life.
And that all of that defined me in more ways than I could, or ever will, possibly understand.
I was never at peace with that though
I’m still not
I don’t know how he did it
How he turned his back on two boys with such purpose and drive.
A model of being a man showing us that his only desire was to put himself as far away from my brother and me as he could.
That the hardest I can remember him working was for digging the largest gap he could between him and his sons.
So now I write this
Because he’s passed away
Because I really don’t know how I’m supposed to feel about that
Am I sad for lost time?
Am I sad for a life lost?
I don’t know if it was wasted.
I don’t know if the energy and time I’m spending on every thought I’ve ever had for the man was, and is, a waste.
That at 3:something AM all I can do is think and write about a man that never showed he, at some point, ever thought about me,
Or my brother,
Is a waste.
This sure as hell isn’t a tribute to some great man.
There won’t ever be a tribute.
Not from me anyway.
I’m betting it won’t ever come from my brother either.
How do sons honor a man that acted without honorable mention? 

So I write. 
With all the thoughts and feelings that circle back to something simple.
But massive.
In showing me all the ways he did things, made choices,
Moved through his life,
Lived, then died, 
I know, concretely, fiercely, angrily, emotionally, and yes, even proudly,
The man I never want to be.  
The man I never want to be for _____.
The man I never want to be for anyone I love. 
The man I never want to be for anyone who loves me. 
Through choosing nothing, you gave me everything Bill. 
So, thank you for that. 
In showing me what not to do, I learned what to do.
It was a formidable and hard school to graduate from.
But, believe me,
This isn’t a backhanded thank you at all. 
In fact, it’s the only thanks you’ll ever get from me. 

Friday, September 8, 2017

Learning From History?

I Know Very Well What I'm Doing, But I Bet It's Not What You Think It Is

"Those that don't learn history are doomed to repeat it." 

It's a pretty solid quote right? Infallible in fact. Right? If we see the mistakes of the past, we can prevent the same mistakes now. Right?  If we all look at history as a chance to learn, it's so. Or is it? But what if we don't see the mistakes the same way? What if a mistake to me is a success to someone else? What if the past is a chance to learn to perfect previous practices? Still, not a "bad" thing. Right? 

In the middle of all of this questioning the past is a very present thought though. The talks of taking down Confederate statues, monuments, and symbols are as alive as ever. They've been there all my life. I know that. I overheard someone saying, "go to places that do that, and they have no history. They've erased it all." I then found myself saying, louder than I thought I said it, "there are no statues or monuments of Hitler anywhere, but we still know who he was." The look on the face of the guy I responded to was priceless. As I'm sure the look on mine was too due to my (un)intended volume. 

Still, I see the quote "heritage not hate" pasted on the images of the Confederate flag these days and I wonder, "what is that 'heritage' you refer to dear social media poster?" A quick read of the Cornerstone Speech (the Confederate Constitution) and the remarks of the man that designed the various Confederate flags will show anyone exactly what that specific heritage is. If that's what we're referring to, and with the quote and image linked as such, there's no mistaking what that is. None. 

The statues, monuments, and symbols though... There so we can learn the mistakes of the past. (Look into when a great number of them went up and why.) Many people are putting "mistakes" in quotes. Because, to them, slavery and racism aren't mistakes. The rest of us however say it's to protect history. However, it's really not that. We're protecting comfort. We're protecting a very real and present danger to many, many people in this country in the name of "preserving history." We're, in fact, celebrating it. Why? That's not just my question to answer. 

Though, I do know this... we haven't learned or moved on. And the "history" and "heritage" is there to make sure we don't. 

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Do You Like Love Songs Too?

It can easily be said that I'm a sucker for love songs. Because it's true, I do really dig a well crafted love song. There's no use trying to deny that. So, here's my take on those songs of when a boy meets a girl. 

I Want To Know

I want to know so many things
I want to know why the universe exploded
And why the stars continue to shine
I want to know why Jay walking is a crime
I want to know
I want to know how to calculate complex mathematical problems
I want to know why algebra really does matter
But do you want me to tell you what I really want to know?
I want to know your voice
And all of your different tones that come with all of your different emotions
I want to know your eyes and all of the ways they see those same emotions
I want to know how it feels to have your head on my shoulder
And how your hair smells when you do
I want to know what it feels like to have your fingers locked in between mine
Mine locked in yours
I want to know what you worry about
So I can be behind you through it all
I want to know what your hopes and dreams are
So I can cheer you on as you reach for them and grab them
I even want to know what your face looks like when I make you mad
So I can know how good it feels to see your face when I make it up to you and you forgive me
Do you want to know what I want to know?
It's you
I want to know you

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Imbalance and Inequality or What Happens When You Tell a Poet to "Go Write a Poem"

The only way to find out what that title means is to read the poem. Go on now, read it.

Imbalance and Inequality or What Happens When You Tell a Poet to "Go Write a Poem"

"Go write a poem" they tell me.
As if this is some great insult.
As if poets are some sort of second class,
Only here to write about or speak on pretty, delicate things.
But shit,
Life isn't always pretty.
Though it is always delicate.
So, if we're to take Thoreau's advice to "live deep and suck out all the marrow of life," 
We're going to find that life isn't always easy.
That wine can sometimes give us horrible headaches,
And reminders of what that sad, sad song said about roses.

"Go write a poem" they say.
Oh, I will.
It'll be a poem about how I won't be silenced when I speak out against racism,
A poem that clearly says that even though it's true that all lives matter,
It needs to be said that black lives matter too.
Because as inclusive as the word "all" is supposed to mean,
It has became empty rhetoric, at best,
At worst, used only to dismiss and demean the issues others face every day.
I'll write that poem.

I'll write a poem.
A poem that loudly says that men don't have the monopoly on intelligence,
That mansplaining,
Or attacking a woman's gender,
Doesn't put a guy in first place.
It actually exposes a fear of intelligent women. 
We can't just criticize ideas can we?

Yeah, I'll write a poem.
A poem about how "gay isn't synonymous with "stupid."
Or that equating anyone who's gay as the lesser only brings the aggressor lower.
Not the target.
We don't choose who we love,
But we do choose how we treat each other.

"Go write a poem."
The last cry of someone so insecure,
So fragile,
So helpless,
So out of words.
"Go write a poem."
What exactly do you do?
Are you more qualified somehow?
Go write a poem?
Well, I did.
I wrote a poem.
What are you going to do?

Thursday, August 18, 2016


What can I say about the "you" of this poem? She's a beautiful soul and one of my most favorite on the planet. I love that she's part of my world and that I'm a part of hers.


I look up often.
Especially to the sky.
I have no grudge with the clouds,
But I prefer the night sky.
The night sky has always grounded me.
The gentle light of the countless stars,
To finding constellations,
To drawing my own shapes.
The night sky.
For the simple joy of just looking.
From time to time there's more to see;
Shooting stars,
The International Space Station,
And comets.
This, is how I see you.
You are a comet.
Comets aren't always in view,
Though NASA knows where they are.
You, my comet, though I don't always see you,
I know where you are.
Even when you're in other ends of the galaxy.
This is why, when you come into my sky,
I make sure to look up.
Because I know your time in my sky isn't like that of the stars.
Or the moon even.
You do as comets do.
You light up my sky when you come by.
And though the time shared isn't constant
The intrigue and energy is.
I'm not selfish enough to think you belong to my sky,
Though I'm blessed to know you're there.
So I always look forward to seeing you again.
Knowing that some of your light is for me,
I'll keep looking up,
Smiling and knowing you'll be back,
That you'll be there,
In my sky again.

for Christa

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Waking Up

This came from a lot of places. The passing of loved ones mainly. And I mean every word of it.

Waking Up

I woke up this morning feeling mortal again,
Knowing that someday my heartbeat will stop,
That my days here will end.
With that quick and lightning flash,
It's not always just that life is too short,
though to many it really is,
It's that life is fast.
As all of this floods my thoughts.
Grabs my heart.
Wets my eyes. 
I woke up this morning feeling mortal again.
Reminders came to make sure I felt it.
That weight of those that came into my life and left marks.
And those that left before me.
All at once I remember the ones that aren't here anymore.
At the same time I wonder about my own departure.
Echoes of "the good die young,"
Coupled with others tagging me as a "good guy."
Am I on borrowed time?
If so, when do I pay that loan back?
But, I always think of who I've met.
Everyone not here.
Definitely everyone still here.
I think of it like I don't have friends,
Instead, I have family.
Believe that if I've called you friend that name is meant for a lifetime. (And more.)
It's up to us to keep it.
To make it.
To keep it strong.
To get it to grow.
Or if paths differ,
I woke up this morning feeling mortal again.
Though not in a way that makes me afraid to die.
Instead, in a way that makes me feel this:
When I reach my end, whenever that is, I can look back and firmly and sincerely and lovingly say that I was never afraid to live and to love.

Dedicated toYOU my friends, my family.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

For My Friend, Than

This, plus and minus a comma or three, is exactly how it came out of my heart. This is for my friend Than who passed away five years ago this summer. To borrow a line from Atmosphere, he's one of the best people I've ever loved.

For you Than,

It's hard for me to wrap my brain around time. It's a concept that has always escaped me. So when I'm looking at the year, 2015, it's even harder for me to fathom that it's been 5 years. It's been 5 years since a good friend has gone. With every memory in my heart and mind, I sit here today still missing you Than. I remember so much more than I can ever form words to describe. Than, you were my first friend at CSC. And also my first roommate. We made quick time in making that room a campus legend. The Batcave. There is no doubt that room was ours. (I still see it that way.) 

But, amidst all the stuff that made college, college, I believe with all of who and what I am that the these memories made with you are so lasting because of everything you were and continue to be. I remember you sharing your spirituality with me on so, so many levels. Be it lighting your smokeless menorah during the eight days of Hanukkah, or talking about how simple, yet overlooked, the concept of "one love" really is. You didn't know it, but you were teaching me. Hell, I didn't know it then either. But, you did. And you still do. I know it now. I feel it now.

Another lesson you left with me is that "this too shall pass" really works. That's not to say that you, or I, didn't freak out when something big was due for class, or when the dumbasses somewhere in the catacombs of Ellis Hall set off yet another fire alarm, but the core of that stayed. That it'll be over. It will pass. That, in your words, "everything will be alright." And even as I sit here, crying for the simple and complex fact that I miss you, you were right. 

But, you were also wrong too. Because even though you're not here on this Earth in body, your spirit never left me. Even in the long stretches of no contact, those impacts you made on me have always been there. Always will. It's why it was always easy to talk to you Than. And just as easy to keep missing you. Your laugh, smile, and outlook. I fucking miss you Than, but that will never change what you ARE to me. 

Stay at peace because I know you're at peace. I'll see you when I get there Than. 

I love you always,