Sunday, May 18, 2014

Scraps From the Notebook


The inmates laugh and smoke
Read the same page over and over
Blue jigsawed sky turns slowly under idle fingers;
Out there, the sky
Is a hole at the top of a wooden well
Concrete pasture
Littered with sun bleached butt ends.
You watch from inside someone else’s face
Hypnotized and wary.
No visitors.
She appears beside you 
A butterfly on your windshield
Laceless sneakers for a passport
“All I want to do is cut myself,” she whispers;
Do it
Cut your damn guts out and leave me alone.


Pain is anger’s mother
Betrayal her father
Never judge a child
Until you have met her parents


She said
I know how guys are
(Like describing the taste of moldy bread)
They're always after it
Trying to get into it
And never knowing what to do with the damn thing
Once you let them have it


"I will not be your audience
I will not stand by and applaud
Your life's performance"
how could she have known
how much the player ached
for one face alone
her tears
her smile among the crowd


Two discontented lovers rudely stampped,
Unfinished, sent before our time to bedde;
In crookebacked love, wee lye together,
Twisted shadowes ‘neath the azure Moon.
Darke reminders of the damage done;
Undonne by bloody letters on life’s page,
While on the stage, a trail of murders guides
Our stumbling steps, toward our fatale end.
Here in our woeful bedde, your nightmare haunts -
Our dreams of youthful joy despair and die:
You cry aloud as I sob silently,
O mournful pendulum; Love ticking by.
Have mercy Jesu! I would give my kingdome
For a Harte Unbroken.


Cables that might have held the bridge
Another twenty-five years
Broken and dangling;
A single thread of ink,
A judge’s curled name          
Blowing across the bottom of a page


Incising slow and deep
The surgeon took the flesh until at last
Only the nerve remains
Burning in the open air
Waiting for the medicine of time.
Now that the cutting is finished,
Do I dare ask you to stay
Until the wound has healed again?

Thursday, May 01, 2014

May Day... Made it.

Well, here it is. A year ago, during what should have be a triumphant week of personal achievement and recognition, I lost just about everything I loved and hoped for. I expected it to kill me.It didn't. If not for the people who believed in me when I was ready to give up on life, I'm not sure I'd be here to remember that terrible time. And for that... for the people who did not give up on me, I'm thanking God today.

I'm not going to rehash the details here. I've relived them every day for a year. A Major Depression episode, one that I can now see had been a developing for a long time struck me just as I was about to finish my second marathon, raise several thousand dollars for LIVESTRONG at the YMCA, and receive an award from the YMCA of Central Kentucky for my "spirit." The attack, and its consequences threw my career off the rails and was the last straw for my marriage. I thought I would die. Several times, I wished I would.

By June, I was living in a tiny apartment. My coaches were gone. My wife was gone. No more dogs greeting me at the door. No more Kizzie curled up on my chest, purring me to sleep. My Mom was confused and broken hearted. My income was cut to a trickle. There were no more happy endings left to hope for.

Two things saved my life. And they are the reason I'm writing today. Because I know that someday, someone who feels the way I felt a year ago is going to find this blog on the day that they need a reason to keep living.

I found out that there were people who still believed in me. My dearest friends didn't give up on me. My boss, who had every right to fire me, let me stay. With cautious compassion, he let me earn a new place at the Y. Not the one I had before. The "career track" was not one I could expect to travel any more. But he gave me a chance. And that gave me a purpose.

I found out that I could still contribute. I could still make a difference in people's lives. Even broken and hopeless, I could still help. No, I'm not going to ever be a director of anything at the Y. I don't think I'll ever be one of the guys who wears ties and goes to meetings with the big shots. But I'll be helping people, people who have been known setbacks themselves. They have had cancer and diabetes, chronic pain and chronic depression. They are old and sick and tired and fat and the world keeps telling them to give up and some kind of spark inside them says that life is worth living anyway. And I get to help them keep that spark alive.

And that purpose, that cause helps keep me alive. I found a chance to serve.

So, a year after it all fell to pieces, I can't really say my life is good today. I'm broke. Often lonely. Always at least a little sad. I'm still a very hard person to love. And a very reliable source of income for the head-shrinkers.

But dammit, I'm still here. It didn't kill me. I thought I'd lost everything. But God stayed faithful. God sent me people and a purpose. I believe that. Am I hopeful? No, not yet. I still don't see any happy endings down the road.

But I can still see the road, and I am grateful for that. He may be doing it with tears in his eyes, and a broken heart in his chest, but The Fat Man is still running.

And I hope, if you are that person, the one who will read this someday when you need to see it the most, I pray that you will find your way to keep running, too. I know you can do it. Because I did.