Through the Haze

Seven decades into this thing called life,

I am just beginning to see through the haze

Chained to the rigors of a long commute, down to the tip of Manhattan.  

I haven’t spent much quiet time, listening for and listening to the whispers of my muse.

My dreams of painting her portrait,  sculpting her form or singing her praises

have lain dormant, her guidance unheard against the din of the 6 train

My chosen profession has kept me at the mercy

of those that boast

 they are cyber challenged,

 Can’t Word

Can’t Excel

Can’t logon

 Won’t boot

Got no mail

Can’t work

lions and tigers and bears, oh no

And at the other end of the spectrum

The barbarians are truly at the gates

 The black hats are hammering against the walls

 The walls setup to keep those within

safe from fires without

It’s phishing and malware and bots oh, no

Yes, phishing and malware and bots

Otherwise occupied

As tech villain for failure to help them compute

or hero for turning off their cap lock

And boy with his finger in the firewall

 Keeping the bad guys out

I haven’t spent much quiet time

 Listening for or listening to the whispers of my muse

My dreams of painting her portrait, sculpting her form, or singing her praises

Have lain dormant, unheard through the Cacophony of noise of daily living

and the roar of the 6 train

This past year I have been able to spend a few minutes
Culled from the absence of rushing to and fro
To see that the haze has cleared and cacophony been silenced

To see her beautiful form and hear the wisdom of her musings 
And with her hand on mine

transcribe her whispers into song.

My Shadow and A Cardinal Kept Me Company on the Ride

My shadow and a cardinal, kept me company on the ride
The frogs are sleeping for the season, the winter sun is in the sky
I rode past Yorktown, my usual stopping place
I’ve missed the sweat of a hard ride, and had to up my pace

I felt my pain rewarded when a white tail deer appeared just as I had crested the rise. She stared at me for what seemed like an eternity and I braked hard and began to slide. She bolted at the screech of my brakes, into the woods, her tail visible as she raced. I rode hard after I saw her, heart pumping, muscles aching, a smile upon my face.

 A few minutes later, mindful of the traffic, I stopped to walk my bike across the road. A car stopped to let me pass, when I saw another’s fast approach. 
It’s breaks squealed, it swerved to avoid my Good Samaritan and stopped along side

 I waved my gratitude. It was so clear to me that if she hadn’t stopped and waved me on I would have been the deer in the headlights of that fast approaching car.

My shadow and a cardinal, kept me company on the ride
The frogs are sleeping for the season, the winter sun lights the sky,
I am so lucky to be living
So lucky to be alive.

Those Times I’ve Cried

I went to the waters edge

and walked along the rocky shore

The sun was low in the November sky

As I watched the sun rise

Over the water

I found to my surprise

My cheeks were wet

And I remembered

Other times I’ve cried

Years after my father died

in your arms I cried

safe in your embrace

A sign I’d finally found

A love so true

When we lost our first born

I hid my tears from you

Though you might have

Thought they were your own

Through the years

have flowed our tears

as friends and family

Join those long lost

These past few years

My eyes stayed dry

To busy with your care

and to frightened to

Leave your side

Now as you grow stronger

I shouldn’t be surprised

To find the tears flow from my eyes

Now that you are safe

In my embrace

A sign that the decades

spent together have proved

That we share

A love so true

The Perfect Gift

If I could choose the perfect gift for you,

One that when unwrapped, you would gasp and say

“Oh my Oh yes, it’s just what I’ve always wanted”

and you would hold it up to the light and turn it around

and when you looked up and away from this precious gift

your eyes would be misty and tear filled with joy!

I have spent the last few weeks pulling at my new grown beard

racking my brain attempting to think of a gift so perfect

it might come close to the many gifts you have given me.

I think back on those gifts to better form a picture of a fitting gift for you.

Your first gift and most enduring, 50 years and its still ticking is your love for me.

A love that let me fall back asleep after the Gorillas

paraded through my dreams in our tiny little house in Suffern, NY

A love that has seen me through those awkward teenage years,

Pops passing, the mania of the Sixty’s,

and my early failures in my attempts to grow up and be a mensch.

But in addition to this mothers love of warm kisses and hugs

and soft hands placing a bandage on my scraped knee

you have always had confidence in me and knew that the potential

my teachers always reminded me I wasn’t reaching would one day be fulfilled.

It might have stated as early as the time when I was just four years old and

Pop was working nights that you had me place a mouse trap in the bathroom.

But for these many years across the kitchen table late into the night

you spoke to me in such a way

that I finally understood the words your mother spoke to you.

“That the morning is always brighter than the night”

and one day I would wake up and be part of that light

instead of the boy who brought a rain cloud with him wherever he went.

The third gift that is so precious to me

was a gift that Pop and you planted firmly inside me was our love for humanity.

As Abou Ben Adam said

“Let it be written that I am one who loves his fellow man”

These three gifts;

your love, confidence and desire to make a difference in society

Each day, one person at a time

are the pillars on which I stand.

These are the gifts I have shared with my bride and with my sons.

My Gift to you

Although it may not be shiny or bright or when held in the air reflect the light

the only gift that I can think to offer is to acknowledge all that you have given me

and to let you know that I try in some small way

to give these gifts away each and every day.

So here is my present to you on your 80th birthday

My eternal love, heartfelt respect and deepest gratitude

for all of the treasures that you have given me.

A walk with a friend

I went for a walk with a friend

Yesterday I woke up later than expected
Suffering from another sleepless night
Turning the breaking news of the pandemic, politics and our own personal rollercoaster ride over and over in ones mind doesn’t make for a well rested night.

I texted that I was running late and received a prompt “no problem” in return
My bride called to me from the other room “you’ll be late” I assured her that our time was a half hour later than I had told her the night before.

When I arrived I saw my friend walking toward my car. Although I see him weekly in the Brady Bunch boxes of Zoom I hadn’t seen him in person since February, seven months ago.
We began our walk around the preserve past the mist coming off the lake on a beautiful early October day and began our story telling.

First one of us than the other until finally we were cutting into each other’s tales to share a similar or near identical experience. We filled in the org chart of our families, while watching out for horse droppings on the trail.

One coincidence, picture Forest Gump in DC, we were both there living lives we can hardly remember, passionately calling for end of the insanity and the other hauling The Youngblood’s equipment on and off stage. Memories from more than one lifetime ago.

My ribs hurt from laughing as we trudged up the last quarter mile incline and I wasn’t sure if my glasses were fogging from the breath through my mask or the tears in my eyes.

We finished our conversation in the parking lot with more medical similarities that shouldn’t surprise two alter-cockers, but did.

It was a great way to spend a few hours climbing up and through the jungle gym of childhood and family memories with a friend as we walked along the trail under a canopy of trees on a cool fall day.

The Muse

It’s time again to call the muse,
To wish her well and ask her blessings
The time is right for her to shine her light
  so that I can see the knots that I must untangle,

It is in her song
 that one can see clearly the patterns of our lives emerge
and we can celebrate victory or mourn defeat
The hero leaps or he is beaten
The lion’s teeth are at his throat
Or his foot lies upon the beasts still breast

From time to time
Each of us must
Put voice to our inner turmoil
Or we are doomed to live our lives

without the muse’s light to guide our way

Stolen Moments

Why do I crave and seek this quiet time by the waterside?

Why do I wake early and complete my chores in silence?

Walking the dog and gather my inks and pads,

closing the front door in slow motion,

just to feel the remnants of the summer sun

on my cheek and brow?

Why do I plan this time alone, to smell the sea breeze,

filled with the musk of fish and the green/brown muck,

that lines the rock walls and marks the highest tide?

Why do I set up my coffee and pens and pads,

on a picnic table, a yard or two from the waters edge,

to watch the swan land on water,

with the awkward protest of her wings,

pushing forward to slow her fall?

Or to hear the sounds of the Sound’s waves lapping,

the soft undecipherable conversations

 of the stroller on the harbor’s paths

and the muffled footsteps

 of those on their way to fish the pier.

as a lone goose honks, repeatedly

in the distance across water

a sound so different than one hears across land.

Do I come here to sit in reverence, and gaze at the elegant sailboats,

as they slide by in the hazy sunshine, against a backdrop of trees still green

sandwiched between the grey/black/green of the water and the faint blue of the sky.

And if inside a court of law,

I was asked by a black robed judge to explain these stolen moments,

I would have to say that all of the words above are true.

But only part truth.

I com here as much to be here as I do to get away.

Away from the cycle of eat, work, sleep,

 moving from crises to crises

heart pumping adrenaline as much as blood

the constant contact with people

even the play involves fierce competition.

These stolen moments

With the occasional buzzing of a motorboat passing by

and the unique sound of fishing line being whipped out across the surface of the water

are moments I have decided to steal.

And as I watch the impossibly thin neck of a white crane

move as it stalks its prey beneath the water

and the two swans glide together as lovers often do

I know these moments are so precious

And in my life so ephemeral

That they demand the stealthy preparation

For the few hours of time stolen away to the water’s edge.

Time that I can sit alone, take a breath, relax

 and let my true thoughts slowly drift to the surface. 

the power of prayer

Have you looked

into their eyes

Have you heard

their whispered cries

Have you seen

them kneel

With their hands

touching palms

Have you seen them

In the light

Of the candle

They just lit

As they pray for your beloved

As they pray for her to live

I have never

been so humbled

felt so grateful

or so loved

I am awestruck

By the feelings

That comes

From up above

I know that they

Aren’t waiting

For my heartfelt


I won’t touch them

On the shoulder

Or think to intrude

So instead

I touch my hands together

And as I bend my knee

My lips begin to move

Have you seen

them kneel

With their hands

touching palms

Have you seen them

In the light

Of the candle

They just lit

As they pray for your beloved

As they pray for her to live

I have never

been so humbled

felt so grateful

or so loved

I saw it in her eyes

She walked in to the coffee shop as I was settling up at the counter. The sister-in-law of my son’s best friend. Part of a second family that we had lost touch with when he began his global walkabout.

Kismet or coincidence the two friends were together again skiing down the slopes of Breckenridge so we chatted about them and how her sister in law was fairing with two young girls at home while daddy was away.

Then I saw it in her eyes, just before she asked “and how’s Norma doing? And so I gave her a brief sketch of our current situation with general health, next medical milestone, recent bucket list achievements and finished with how amazing she was and we both agreed she always had been.

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