Memories : We Will Always Be Friends

There’s something you should know.
Something you should never say.
Not to me,

Never tell me,
“We will always be friends.”
Never do that.
Never lie to me.

I have the scars
In my heart and soul
That remind me
That those words
Are never true.

And those same scars
Have taught me,
In lessons filled
With my own blood,
And tears.

Those words are a lie.
And when I hear those words,
That’s when I know
That the end is near.

And that who spoke them
Will very soon
Abandon me.

The last time those words
Were spoken to me
Was in late September
Of 2010.
The one I used to call
The Lenten Rose
Spoke those words to me.

“We will always be friends.”
Her exact words.
One month after she said them.
She was gone.
She’d left.
Like everyone else
That I used to know.

I held on to those words.
For months.
In the desperate hope
That someday.
After I’d walked through
The deepest depths of hell.
Depths I pray
You never learn about,
Every single day
That life grants me
Another day of life.

I dared to hope
That she would some day
Talk with me again.
After all,
She’d said,
“We will always be friends.”

She lied.

She was the last person
I will ever let
Say those words to me.
For I’ve grown tired
Of hearing them.

I’ve heard them
Time and time again.
And always.
In the end.

The voice that spoke them.
Is gone.
And I am left
With one less friend.
One less voice
That I can talk with.

Don’t dare tell me
That it’s my fault!
Don’t you dare!
For I know the truth.
It’s not.

It’s a choice
That people make.
People who become afraid
Of the things that they don’t know.
The things that they don’t understand.
Of people that they call their friends.
When those friends

Or become ill
With an illness
No one understands.
One that you can’t fix
With a pill.
Or with surgery.

It’s a choice
That people make.
“I can’t get involved!”
“I can’t help you
In any way!”

When in truth
The could.
If they were not afraid.

She who was
The Lenten Rose.
She said those words to me.
“We will always be friends.”
She said them
To my face.

And then
She threw me away.
Because she was afraid.

That is just one of the reasons
That I say these words to you.
Ever say to me,
“We will always be friends.”

For I know those words
Are never true.
And I will not
Let you lie
To me.


Dreams : Now All I Need Is Time

The other day I walked past
That big hole in the ground
Where the garden
That had died
Had once grown.

All that was left
Was a big rectangle
About six feet deep.
Even the dirt was gone.

This day was different.
For I stopped.
And I looked
At that hole
In the ground.
And remembered
What had been.

And when I was done looking,
My heart told me to act.
And on that day
I turned and walked away
From that hole
In the ground,
Knowing there was something
That I had to do.

I went to the new
Secret garden that I had.
And I found the place
That I’d reserved
For the Lenten Rose.
And I stared at it
A while.

And I thought to myself
How empty that place was.
How much I needed something
To fill that space back up.

So I went out into the fields,
And I looked around.
And I couldn’t find a thing
That would erase the memory
Of the Lenten Rose.

I thought there must be something
That I’d missed somewhere.
Something I gotten wrong.
For surely there was something
That could fill in that empty place
Where the Lenten Rose had been.

In my wanderings
I came across
My garden of friendship.
And I saw that the Camellia
Was not doing well.
Even though I tried
To care for it.

The Azalea though
Was doing fine.
It was in full bloom
With flowers everywhere.

It occurred to me
That just perhaps
The Camellia
Didn’t want to be there.

I noticed too
That many of the flowers
That I’d planted
In that garden
Were long gone.
They’d long since died
And been returned
To the dirt
That they’d grown from.

There was almost nothing left at all
In that new garden.
Just that Azalea,
And that poor Camellia tree.
And a lot of empty space.
Where something was supposed to be.

As I stood there looking
At the garden
I had tried to grow,
I couldn’t help but think
That it had not been meant to be.

That the garden of friendship
Was to be an empty place
For me.
At least for now.
That it would grow
Very slowly.

Matching very much
The nature of my life.
Where what I’d been
Was gone.
Nothing but an empty space,
Like that garden
That I’d once called work.

Like the place
There once had been
The Lenten Rose.

I thought about that Azalea,
Growing all alone.
And it occurred to me
That the Azalea
Was so very much
Like me.

And alone.

There was a time
When being so
Would have frightened me.
But that time is gone.
For now I know,
And understand,
That there are times
In this life,
When we are meant
To walk alone.

And that’s just how it has to be.

So I cleaned up
The garden of friendship.
Leaving nothing
But the Azalea tree.
And for now anyway,
I thought it right somehow
To let the Camellia stay.
At least for a while.
And see if it got better.
Of if it got even worse.

Then I went to
The big hole in the ground.
Where the garden I’d called work
Had once been.
And I knew
What I’d have to do
With it.

I’d have to slowly
Fill that sucker in.
So the ground could heal,
And be made whole again.

It made no sense
To leave
Such an awful scar in place.

As I figured out
What I should do,
I found that sometimes
I wondered
If I should just give up
And leave.

And go
Someplace unknown.
Where I could try again
To piece together
The gardens of my life.

But that’s just not my way.
I’ve never quit
In all my days.
And I know
I won’t quit now.

I’ll find a way
To stay the course,
And heal the damage
That’s been done
To the landscape
Of my life.

And I know that over time
There will be more dreams
Of the gardens
Of my life.

As for the Lenten Rose.
I decided it was time
For it to go.
So I left the space
Where it had been
Empty of everything.
While I figured out
What should be planted
Where the Lenten Rose
Had been.

All I need
Is time.

I Could Look Back…

I could look back.
At the past.
At what was.
At who I used to be.
At those I used to know.

I could look back
At the mistakes I’ve made
Time and time again
In this life I lead.

I could look back
At all the friends
That are now
Just plain gone.

Like the Lady Smile.
Or the Lenten Rose.
Or the people
Of the churches
I’ve been too.

I could.
It would not be
All that difficult
To do.

To get lost
In the memories
Of a life
That is just gone.

That’s all.
Just gone.

That life did not end well.
It ended in hell.
I don’t know
That I’ll ever forget
The hurt I saw
In the eyes of My Lady
In those days.
Or in those
Of my children.
Both of them full grown.

But looking back
Would not accomplish
It would only hurt me,
And my family.

I could look back
At what once was.

But I won’t.

I chose instead
To live right now.
To live
Breath to breath.

For I’ve learned
That now
Is all I really have.
That what was
Is gone.
And no one knows
What is yet to come.

The changes I am going through
Are in full swing now.
Not that anyone would notice.
All that anyone would see
If they were to watch me
Is how I don’t do anything at all.

He works part time.
In a job
That doesn’t use his skills.
And he doesn’t seem to be looking
For a job that does.

The inside of his home
Is a total wreck.
He can’t even keep
All the dishes clean.
See how they’re collected
In the kitchen sink.

He tried going to church
For several months.
And couldn’t even
Keep that up.
He had to withdraw.
As if he’d grown too lazy
To bother getting up
On Sundays any more.

Then he stopped communicating with
Everyone he’d come to know
In those few months
He’d gone to that church.

And no one there at all
What the heck he did.
But if he’s that way
That’s his problem.
He’s clearly
Not one of them.

I’ve learned
From having been so hurt
That people do
What they want to.
No matter what they claim
That they believe.

That they’re all tied up
In coping with
The problems in their lives.
As they claim,
“I can’t get involved.”

Part of why I went
To that church for several months
Is that I was searching
For something.
And I’ve finally figured out
What that something is.

I’m searching for people
Where I feel
Like I belong.

And I left that church
Because it was a place
Where I didn’t belong.
Where I didn’t understand
How everyone there was.

I only knew
That from my view
They were all the same.
And I was not.
And I could not help but feel
That my presence there
Disturbed some of them.

Whether it did
Or not.

But I have started to find
Some places in the world
Where I can fit in.
Where I feel
Like I belong.

I have found a few
Creative souls.
Each of them different
From the other people
That I’ve known
Throughout my life.

It’s not a perfect fit.
And I know
It will never be.
But at least
I’ve found people
That aren’t afraid of me.
That let me be
Who I really am.

And I’ve never found
People like them

So I’m learning
To live in this moment,
And not to worry
About what happened
In my past.
I’m learning
To let that go.

I told my doctor
Several weeks ago
That I don’t ever forget.
That’s just not the way
My brain’s been wired
Since birth.

That I remember.
I remember everything.
And because I don’t forget,
I have to integrate it all
Into my life.
And learn to live with it.

That’s what I’m doing now.
Letting go
Of the last thread
To the past
That was holding me back.

The memories
Of the Lenten Rose.
And of the people
That I met
In the past few months
At the church
That I went to.

For the truth is
They’re not part
Of the life I’m going to have.

It’s what my heart
Tells me.

It’s time for me to continue
The walk I’m on.
Down the path
That’s before me.

Even if I can’t tell
Where it really leads.

I could look back
And remember
The stories of my past.

But I chose not to
Any more.

New Words To The Concerned

Sunday, 30 October 2011


I was going to write this note just for a single friend of mine. One individual. Someone that I care about. But, as I wrote this note, I came to understand that I can’t hid these words. That these words need to be shared. And so, I now share them with all those that I call my friends.

I’ve had yet another of my “holy crap” moments. My Doc calls them “epiphanies”. Steph likes my term for them better. (-: And, having had this “holy crap” moment, I can’t help but feel that this is something I was supposed to learn.

The world is asleep. The vast majority of it, anyway. Lemmesplain. And it’ll take some doing to ‘splain this one. Geeze…

I’ve noticed that I watch other people, and I end up so confused. “How can they not know? Are they blind? Why can’t they see what’s happening? Why can’t they see what they’re doing?” When I was barred from work, I was hurt. Badly. Wounded to the core. The actions of the workplace, and the people I worked with felt very much to me like I was being punished. For having been different from them. For having behaved in a different way. Then, over time, I started to talk about things. Like Get Well cards from the office. Like office lunches, and other celebrations. Like what happens when someone leaves the workplace. Or when someone gets cancer, or some other nasty disease. And it became apparent to me that things like the cards, and celebrations weren’t really that at all. They were just “appropriate behavior for the environment”. If someone you work with gets in a car wreck, and gets seriously injured, and can’t work, then the workplace is supposed to send a get well card. And maybe even flowers. And it’s supposed to say, “We wish you well. We miss you. If there’s anything we can do, let us know.” And everyone knows that no one will ever ask for assistance. And that if the individual never returns to work, “Oh, well. Such is life.”

The reality is that no one cares. The workplace doesn’t care about the individual that got injured in the car wreck. The people in the workplace may be curious. They may talk among themselves, “Too bad, what happened. Hope they’re OK.” But the truth is that so long as their own jobs are not at risk, it’s not their problem. And they’ll carry on, as if that person didn’t exist.

As a platelet donor, I have another story to share. The number of people I have encountered in the past year that refuse to donate either blood or platelets. “I don’t have time.” and “It’s not my problem” are the major excuses. Followed by, “I just can’t deal with being stabbed in the arm. And that finger stick! AIEEE! Blood! MY blood!” In short, “No way in hell am I gonna donate blood, or platelets, or any other component of my blood. For any reason. For anybody. Someone gets in a car wreck, and needs a blood transfusion to survive, well. Tough luck. Life’s like that.” And the same people expect the blood supply to be infinite, so that if they should ever need any, it’s available for them to use. It’s part of the mysterious math of life. Where rational thought, and logic, simply don’t work. One of those complete mystery things. Except that for me, it’s not a mystery anymore. I understand it. I know a big part of where it comes from.

I would say it’s from a self centered point of view, but that’s simplifying things too greatly. Far too greatly. No, it’s not just a self centered point of view. There’s something much deeper than that. Much more primal and primitive than that.

It’s fear.

Pure and simple, it’s fear. I have been learning how very much afraid of life that people are. How very much afraid of being hurt that people are. How very much afraid of pain. How very much afraid of being uncomfortable. How very much afraid of change. Of the unknown. Of risk. Of anything that includes the possibility of being hurt.

To care about the person you work with means that when that person gets in a car wreck, and can’t work, you care. It bothers you. If they can’t work, you want to help. In any way you can. Because that person is your friend. And it HURTS you to know that your friend is in pain. That your friend has been wounded. And can’t work. And you can’t see your friend every day. And you MISS your friend. You become uncomfortable. Your heart aches. Your soul cries tears of pain. Hell, you even cry sometimes because of what’s happened. All because you CARE. But… If this is just someone you work with, and you don’t care. You don’t get hurt. There’s no pain. No risk. You’re OK if that person never returns. You miss their presence in the workplace. But only for a little while. And then, it’s like they never worked there anyway. And it’s OK to forget about them. Like you forgot about all those people you went to high school with. Or all those people you know from church.

You’re insulated. You’re protected. You’re safe. And so is your job. Your source of income. And so is your life. The things you have collected. The house, the car, the TV, the electronic toys, the riding lawnmower. All that crap. It’s safe. And you’re not lonely. You spend the weekend with your family. And you take vacations every year. And you have people you see at work every day. So, how can you be lonely?

And after a while, the ache in your chest, and the empty feeling you have inside become normal. You’re supposed to feel that way. Everyone feels that way. Go watch another show on TV. Go read another book. Go look up pictures of naked women on the ‘Net. Watch another streaming XXX movie on the ‘Net. Listen to your music on your iPod. Play “Call of Duty” or “Battelfield” on your Xbox, or PS3. Have text conversations with people on the cell phone. Call up your buddies, and talk with them.

Kill time. In any way you can. Go fishing. Go hunting. Go shopping. Go eat dinner out somewhere. Mow the damn lawn again. Keep the house perfect. Wash the cars. Weed the gardens. Anything to kill time. Anything at all.

And after a while, you stop noticing that something isn’t right. That something’s terribly wrong. After a while, it’s all OK. And you’re OK, ‘cause you know that everyone else is like you.

And here I am. Wide awake. In a world filled with people that will do anything to keep from waking up. To keep from having to deal with life. To remain blind, and heartless, and cold. So that they don’t have to risk being hurt. Ever. So that life is always good for them.

I’ve known this for decades. “If I had never cried, would I know the value of a smile? If there was never any rain, would I really, truly appreciate a beautiful spring day?” I’ve asked this type of question for decades. I knew all along what was happening.

And now, having been through the past 15 months. I’m beginning to understand things that I’ve always known. Pema Chodron, in her books, always writes about how as we become the compassionate, tender-hearted, caring warrior, we come to know great sorrow, and great sadness. Because we learn the truth of life. And I find there are times when I know great sorrow. When my heart aches so very much that I don’t know if I can take anymore. When my soul cries so hard that it is as if my soul cries tears of blood. Because I grow closer and closer to seeing the truths of life. To seeking the wounded, injured, hurt people all around me. To seeing the loneliness, and the awful fear that people live with, believing that this is how things are supposed to be.

All because they are afraid.

This is a big part of why I was removed from work. I was afraid. Yes. But, I truly cared for the Lenten Rose. I did. And for the Princess of Laughter. And seeing them hurting the way they were hurting. I had to do something. Anything I could. I couldn’t just carry on. I couldn’t stand by and pretend that everything was normal. Fuck the job. Fuck the appropriate behavior thing. I HAD to help my friends. And I didn’t care at all what that cost me.

It cost me my job. Because I woke up. I acted on what I was seeing. I named the workplace the land of gray. I told the people that I worked with that they were all just alike. They were all the same. They all reacted the same way. They all behaved the same way. And that the way they behaved was, to me, heartless. As if their hearts had frozen, colder than any ice, and harder than any stone.

I knew the truth. Even then. I just didn’t know the words. And this past year, I’ve been finding the words.

I have said, a thousand times, and I will say this until my last breath on this world. “God. Never give up on them. You never gave up on me. Never give up on them. Find a way, God. Please find a way to touch their hearts. And wake them up. Like you did for me.”

As time goes by, I will become a compassionate, tender-hearted, caring warrior. I know this. It is what my heart and soul want me to be. What I am meant to be. And in becoming the warrior I am meant to be, I will know more sorrow, and more pain, than I have ever known. For with each day that passes, I see more and more people that are wounded by life. That have closed their eyes to life. That, as the Bible says, “have hardened their hearts, and covered their ears”. So that they don’t have to see, and don’t have to feel. So that they can avoid the truths of this life we all live.

That’s a very sad thing. It is why my heart aches within me. And why my soul cries tears of pain.

Your friend.
And I mean that truthfully.
For I am not afraid to be your friend.


Finding My Wings : I Can’t Be That Way

These are the words I shared
With three people
On the 22nd of October
Of 2010.

They come from a song
By the group Disturbed.
The song is named
“Violence Fetish”.

So tell me what am I supposed to be
Another goddamn drone

Funny thing about that.
I’ve come to understand
That a lot of people
Read those words.
And took them in a way
I didn’t mean them at all.

They were insulted.

It seems some people thought
That I was calling them all
Mindless drones.
All the same.
With no differences at all.
And declaring that I didn’t want
To be like them.

They were afraid.

It seems other people thought
That I was declaring
I would only be allowed
To behave in just one way,
So that everyone would know
How I would react
To every thing that came along.
And I would never do
Anything at all
That would surprise anyone
In any way at all.

They were disturbed.
Their days disrupted.
By those words.

Those words made people think
That I was violent.
That I was angry.
And God alone
Knows what else.

In short,
People interpreted the words
That I’d sent to them
Completely differently
Than what they meant to me.

I’ve been learning
That people will interpret
The things I say,
The things I write,
In their own way.

And I have no control of that
At all.

I’m here to continue
On this strange path I’m on.
Where I’m learning to understand
Both myself.
And the other people
I encounter in this world.

This single incident,
Centered on those words,
Has lead me to ask
One question after another.
In the past 12 months.

I value independence.
The uniqueness
Of each person that I meet.
Each person that I know.

But in those days,
When those very people
I’d worked with
For years and years
Had told me that I couldn’t
Work there any more,
Because my actions
Were disturbing them.

They wounded me
Clean to my core.

I’d trusted them.
I’d worked with them.
I’d cared for them.
I’d even tried to help them
In any way I could.

Even though I knew
That I did not always behave
Like they wanted me to.

I let them all behave
In their own unique ways.
Even if their behavior
Disturbed me.
And I lost count of the times
That the behavior that I saw
In that work place
Left me so frustrated
That I felt as if
I had to go some place
And scream.

After 10 years of time
Spent in that one work place.
I woke up.
And when I did
I started to change.

I started doing things,
And going places,
No one there
Would ever do,
Would ever go.

I went to Dragon*Con
In 2008.
With my family.
And I had a great time there.
Taking pictures.
Writing haiku in workshops.
Looking at the work
Of artists.
Listening to music
I had never heard.
From bands that no one
From that land of work
Would ever listen to.

In my last three years
In that land of work,
I changed.
I grew.
I came back to life.

That there were things I like
Began to show.
I began to write
In my notebook.
More and more.
I stopped using pens
With nothing but black ink.
I started writing
In bold colors.
Red, Blue, Orange, Green.
And others.

I brought in a fairy figuring.
And sat it on the desk
Where I worked each day.

I started sharing all the pictures
That I’d taken
On vacations,
And on trips
To parks,
And mountains,
And the ocean front.

With time.
The fact that I was human,
And had feelings of my own
Came out.

And as I changed,
As I woke up,
I couldn’t help but notice
That every person I worked with
Behaved in the same way.

That every person I worked with
Reacted just the same
When something happened
In the work place.

It was because of this
That to me,
The place became
The land of gray.
A place where everything
Was exactly the same.

Except for the three of them.

Everyone in the workplace
Was a male.
Except of the three of them.
And the three of them
Were not the same
As the males
In the land of gray.

They spoke to me.
Encouraged me
To write more.
To share my pictures
With them.

I started wearing
My fairy t-shirts in
On Fridays every week.
And it seemed to me
That the three of them
Were OK with that.
And I liked my fairy t-shirts
Very much.
I still do.
I wear them all the time.
Every day,
When I’m at home.

I grew my collection
Of fairy figurines.
And fairy t-shirts too.

And as I shared
More of my pictures,
And the words I wrote
With the three of them,
Something perfectly natural
Began to happen on its own.

My emotions,
And my feelings,
Began to show.

I will always remember
When the one I call
The Lenten Rose
Gave me a hug one day.

I didn’t really know
The rules of behavior
In that place.
I never really did.
I just knew that as long
As I did my work each day,
Every thing was OK.

How very wrong I was.

For at the end
Of my time in that work place
I learned the hard way
That I was supposed to behave
Just like all the other males
In that place.
In that land of gray.

And I did not.
I could not.
And I never will behave
Like the people that I knew,
And worked with
In that place.

To me it’s like
There’s more than one
Of each of them.
The one they have at home,
With their families
And friends.
The one they have at work,
With the people that they know
And work with
Every day.
The one they have
When they are alone.
And don’t feel at all
Like they have to hide
Who they really are.

The one they have
When they are eating out
In a restaurant.

Another one of them exists
Within the walls,
And circles,
Of the church that they go to.

And I would learn
That I could not exist that way.
That there was,
And is,
Only one of me.
And I’m the same
In all those places.

I just don’t become someone
That I’m not,
In the place I work.
I remain myself.
And nothing,
And no one,

So tell me what am I supposed to be
Another goddamn drone

So tell me what am I supposed to be.
Someone that I’m not?
Someone that exists
Only in one place
In the life I lead?
Someone that exists
In the workplace,
And nowhere else?

Someone that I let
The people that I work with see,
So that they can feel safe
And secure
Around me,
Even though that someone
Isn’t really me?

So tell me what am I supposed to be
Another goddamn drone

Behaving just like everyone
In the land of gray.

I can’t be that way.

It would slowly kill me.

And that’s what I meant on the day
That I shared the words
Of that song
By Disturbed
With the people
I once worked with.