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Archive for the tag “truth”

Asphalt Sky Asphalt

asphalt sky asphalt

December 22, 1975… A little before sunset.  I rode my bike, a green, Schwinn Ram’s Horn Fastback, to the Rexall to buy a roll of Scotch Tape to wrap Christmas presents with.  I took the back alley on the south side of Artesia to the light at Casimir Avenue, and saw that it was green for me to cross.  I sped through the intersection on a yellow, and as my light went red, I heard a sound… like metal, pounding into metal. 

That was the sound of the ’63 Studebaker hitting my bike as I crossed in front of it. 

I no longer knew where I was.  All I saw in the next moment was dark, then light, then dark again.  My mind picked up the story again with me wobbling to my feet about 20 yards away from the intersection where my bike now lay, twisted and useless.  Someone, I don’t remember who, led me to the curb to sit as I heard the police siren in the distance.  What felt like seconds must’ve been minutes.  Adults were everywhere.  A woman, the driver of the car that turned my bike into scrap, came over to where I was sitting.  Confused as I was, I could still tell she was scared shitless.  I mean, she did almost kill a kid, on a bike in a crosswalk, trying to beat a line of cars into traffic before her light turned green.  She could have tried to make a break for it, but westbound Artesia at 5 o’clock was bumper-to-bumper, even in 1975.

The cop who showed up a minute later drove me, and my green wreck, the few blocks from there, home, and waited with me… in the days before cell phones… for my dad to come home from work.  As I sat in our living room, it came to me what it was I saw right after the BOOM of the car and my bike. 

Dark, light, dark.

Asphalt, sky, asphalt.

A front somersault from the pedals of my bike, end over end, landing on my head more than 50 feet away.

Landing, and walking away, without a scratch on me.

Every time I watch the M. Night Shyamalan film, “Unbreakable”, and see the train wreck scene at the beginning of the movie… the one where Bruce Willis Is the only survivor, and walks away without a scratch on him, I remember that day.  Today, forty-two years to the day from when it happened to me, the movie was on TV.  And I watched.

Then I wrote this.

And after, in my journal, I wrote,

“…anyway, forty-two years ago today, I almost died.  And forty-two years later, it’s time for me to live.

Let’s close out the remains of ’17, and take ’18 like it’s a Giftwrapped Best Present EVER.  Tear the wrapping paper clean off, rip open the box, and GO!  Shouting all the way,

‘It’s exactly what I WANTED!!!’.”

2017 was a whole lot of dark, light, dark.  Asphalt, sky, asphalt.  And that makes 2018 a present. 

Giftwrapped. 

For me.

And it’s exactly what I wanted.

 

© Copyright 2017 William S. Friday

Nothing Ever Spoken

nothing ever spoken

I offended someone today. 

Not you,

because you weren’t there. 

And not the person who,

gently,

let me know of my offense. 

The person who told me that I had offended someone. 

Sometimes,

I’m insensitive. 

Okay,

more than sometimes,

I just cover it well with most people. 

Sometimes,

I let it slip. 

And this time,

I almost let it slip to cause someone to fall. 

I didn’t want to. 

I spoke,

randomly,

or so I thought. 

But nothing ever spoken is truly random,

is it?

I offended someone today. 

They just didn’t know it,

but I do,

now. 

Not you,

because they weren’t there. 

But someone was,

who cared.

 

© Copyright 2017 William S. Friday

With My Heart

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I saw things with my heart once,

years ago. 

Before the bad decisions. 

Before the good decisions gone bad. 

Before there were no more decisions left to make. 

 

And then my heart went dark.

 

Until,

years later. 

After the bad decisions. 

After the bad decisions gone worse. 

After there were no more decisions left to make.

 

And then you turned the light back on.

 

I saw things with my heart once,

years ago. 

Before my heart went dark. 

And now,

I see them with my heart once more.

 

© Copyright 2017 William S. Friday

Even If I’m out of Time

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This is a throw-away post. 

It was bound to happen sometime this month.  I just didn’t expect it to happen like this.  To be brief, my computer and my phone are working.  I still have the internet, and I’ve been good physically.  I haven’t run out of ideas, and I haven’t run out of words, either.

What I’m out of is money.

And because I’m out of money, I am also out of time.  I’m out of time to sit and contemplate what to write over the last week-and-change of National Blog Posting Month.  I’ve been busy chasing the money necessary to keep the creditors at arm’s length while I complete my comeback from the work-related depression that forced me to quit my job last June.  Yesterday, I sold my pickup truck to the highest retail bidder.  Sold it for a couple grand less than it was worth, just to get the cash.  The cash that won’t be in my hands until after some bills go to collection. 

I’m not bitching about life.  On the whole, life has been pretty good to me.  For now, just not THIS part of life.  I’ve been told, repeatedly, that life… God, the Universe, whatever floats your philosophical boat… takes care of me.  But today, I can’t say I know that.  Because today, I’m writing a post saying that I could be living in a twenty-year-old Dodge in a couple of weeks.

And the downside to all of this distraction is, I’ve got no time to sit and contemplate what to write.  Not what to write for myself, because I do that every day, but what to write for you.  Because some of you read me every day. 

And I don’t want to let you down.

So for the rest of National Blog Posting Month, I’ll keep trying and meet you here, every day.

Even if I’m out of time.     

 

© Copyright 2017 William S. Friday

Touch

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It’s not

a matter of

how little

or how much,

but only

of how well

we touch.

 

© Copyright 2017 William S. Friday

It’s Not About You

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I don’t stockpile blog posts.  I’m not in any way a prolific blogger.  I used to wish I was like that; the Stephen King of blogging, grinding out page after page on any subject that popped into, or fell out of, my head.  And for a short time, about ten years ago, I was heading in that direction, writing online. 

Until a nasty bout of what I thought was writer’s block overtook me, and for the next few months I went from writing a feature column for a website to being an itinerant poet. 

I’ve told the story before, so that’s why the short version this time.  But there is a part I’ve never told, in print or in person, to anyone.

I started writing poetry for the same reason people vaguebook, or subtweet, before there were such things as vaguebooking and subtweeting.  I started writing poetry because all the things I ever wanted to say to others required honesty.  Feature-length, name the names, feel the feels, full disclosure honesty.  And I wasn’t ready for that kind of honesty ten years ago.  Just like I wasn’t ready for it five years ago, or two, or even more recently than that.

Poetry, and I just figured this out last week… I know, late to my own party, again… became a way of purging shit, real, honest shit, without ever having to confront another human being over that shit.  See, I hate confrontation. 

ALL CAPS HATE.

Of course I know what some of you are thinking, “How can a guy who writes the things you write NOT be confrontational?”  And my marginally confrontational answer is, “Have you not read my writing?”  See, I’m both blessed and cursed with a soul.  Not the half-in/half-out, maybe I care/maybe I don’t kind of a soul.  But the all-in/all-out/all-the-time kind of soul.  The soul that can either love you, or burn the bridge you stand on while we’re talking.  So because of that, and because this 100/100 soul can’t hold everything in ALL the time, I started purging all of it through the power of poetry. No names, vague scenarios, love you or burn the bridge you stand on, poetry.

And I am a saner man for it.

So if in the future, before you ask me, “Was that poem about me?” remember to look down and see if you’re standing on a bridge ready to be burned, and know that I probably love you, or I wouldn’t have written the poem in the first place.

And just believe me when I say,

“It’s not about you.”

 

© Copyright 2017 William S. Friday

The Night Ruby Marie was Born

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This is a momentary hiccup in Nano Poblano for me.  A hiccup like the sound my almost-here grandbaby has been making on the fetal heart monitor for the last two days.  Blogging takes different paths for everyone in the month of November.  Some people have equipment failures (me… on day 2 of last year), life failures (people dropping out mid-month), and every other reason imaginable for stopping before the end of this crazy-busy month.

But I’m kind of a ‘hell or high water’ blogger.  As a poet, and most of my blog posts have been poetry, I post when I’ve got something I want to share, not because I have a self-imposed blog deadline I have to keep up with.

But in November, knowing that I’m going to post every damn day, come hell or high water, I have already resolved that nothing is going to derail this blog train. 

Nothing.

And then came Friday.

My daughter… my first born child… was told by her obstetrician that they needed to induce labor. 

That night.

And as she had already designated me as one of the two non-medical personnel in the room, I was on-call for her beautiful, blessed event, my second grandchild.

                                                          *************

And now it’s Sunday night.

My not-so little girl, after 48 hours of induced labor that still hadn’t produced a labor or a delivery, is in the Labor and Delivery O.R. as I write this.  I’m in the waiting room and her man is in the room with her.  I am sitting with a load of family.  Both sides.  And I have no idea what’s been happening in the 45 minutes since the C-Section began.

But I have time now to do more than worry and pray, and so I write… and post.

It’s a hard, strange, helpless position to be in.  Hard and strange I can handle.  Helpless, not so much.  But I have this commitment, so I’m telling you about what’s happening on this day, when my morning post became an evening post, and my full-grown baby is having this second baby of her own.

I’ve seen pretty much enough of hospitals for a while, but for my little girl, I’ll see them as much and as long as she needs me to.

Stick around, and I’ll keep you updated in the comment thread of this post, and let you know how everything went on the night that Ruby Marie was born.

 

© Copyright 2017 William S. Friday

Final Approach

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“Once we induce, it could be 30 minutes… it could be 3 days.”

At least that’s what the Labor and Delivery nurse said to my daughter when she was asked, “How long…?”  My baby is having a baby, her second, almost 10 years after her first.  I wasn’t in the room with her for my first grandchild, but besides the father, this time my daughter asked me.

And I wouldn’t be anywhere else.

Don’t tell the nurses, but I brought a flask of bourbon into the room this morning.  If I’m going to be here for the duration, I have to have some of the comforts of home here with me, right?  Almost 10 years ago, when I was still becoming who I am today, I wouldn’t have had the balls to bring a flask into L&D.  I also wouldn’t have had the balls to write a blog post at the foot of my daughter’s bed while she was beginning to have the contractions that will bring another granddaughter into the world. 

But I’m not that man anymore.

This time around, it seems, everything is different.  My daughter isn’t a kid anymore.  Her life is as stable as any parent could’ve hoped for his child as he was raising her, imperfectly… so fucking imperfectly.

This time around, she trusts me.  And that’s all a dad can hope for from his kid.  Because after all the work and worry of parenting a first-born child… your ‘experimental child’… is done, all that’s left is that she, maybe, loves you as much as you love her.

And being in this room, in this moment, I know better than any other something could ever show me.

And in this room, at this moment now on final approach, I know I am a fortunate man.  Not because I have life figured out, or because I’ve made myself great in the eyes of the world, because I haven’t.  Not even close.  I know that I am a fortunate man because, for one of the rare times since my birth, realize what love is.  I am fortunate in the time between contractions, from the tender looks between my daughter and her man.  In the sound of the fetal heart monitor, filling the room with the presence of new life.  And I am fortunate in the flow of conversation between my daughter and me, which finds its place in the gaps of all that’s happening in this room where Ruby will take her first breaths.  In the randomness of bad jokes, and doing whatever it is my baby girl asks of me. 

This is where my life finds some semblance of completion.  This is where everything, good or bad, from the day of her birth till now, has led.  This is that moment where I know that nothing I have done badly is held against me, and all that matters is now, and the future is alight with promise and purpose and every good thing that could ever be.

And I wouldn’t be anywhere else.

 

© Copyright 2017 William S. Friday

Something

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I don’t know what to write about today.  It’s not like something doesn’t always come to me.  Something always does.  In words, and in life, something always comes to me.  Once, for an entire year, I had writer’s block.  Then poetry came to me.  Once, for thirty years, I had security.  Then clarity came to me.  Once, for three-hundred days, give or take, I had darkness.  And then came the sanity.

Something always comes to me.

A few months ago, on the advice of others, I began to journal.  Besides that it sounds strange when you turn a noun into a verb like that, one thing the act of journaling taught me was that if you have feelings, you have thoughts.  If you have thoughts, you have words.  And if you have words, you have actions.  And actions are the only way feelings become changes. 

I’m a different person than the one who emerged from the three-hundred days of darkness that kicked off during NaBloPoMo 2016.  Most people won’t know how different, if different at all.  You would’ve needed to know me in the before, and I mean really know me, to see.  And almost no one really knows me.  But for those who don’t, maybe the only way is to read what I wrote a year ago November.  I mean, you can… I won’t.  I lived it, and that’s enough for me.  I will say one thing about it, here.  After I wrote it and bottled it all up in a saved file on my computer, I let it out again after the darkness had passed.  I handed it to someone who really knows me. 

And they are turning it into a book.  A book that I’ll read, I hope, along with you.  The book is called, “That Year I Died… and kept on living anyway”.  It’ll be out early next year, because something always comes to me.  Poetry.  Clarity.  Sanity.

Something.

 

© 2017 William S. Friday

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