Thursday, November 25, 2010

Danny Boy

Oh Danny boy. Please stay, please stay. Don't leave us.
They don't care about our island in the sea.
With you going, who must, who must,
Our hero be?

Is it true?
The leaving of our pink, white and green team?
Please return and bring back with you,
Your pride and vision for the Newfoundland dream.

And if you leave us in a fortnight,
Without a leader to wade into battle,
We will fight for our right,
And the cage we will rattle.

We hope to hear,
Your love for our good name,
The snarl at fear,
And only our flag will remain.

So we wait, we wait,
For your return.
From St. John's to Twillingate,
The candle will burn.

Oh Danny boy, oh Danny boy, we love you so.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Brindle Swirls

Summer heat
brings memories of skipping clawed feet.
Cloudless sunny sky,
Remembering ponds of floating tail-high.

Lips pulled back in fake bite,
Kisses replaced moment of fright.
Soundless sleeps with room to spare,
Our patrolling guardian has no fear.

Scratch her nose, ear, and belly,
But watch your feet - she finds them smelly.
Offer a treat with ease,
But ask and wait for the bark of please.

Cool and content,
Her father she did compliment.
Here for so long,
Taken away in a song.

Summer starts with a warm breeze,
Pollen whispers always made you sneeze.
Never forget,
Your smell when you were wet.

I will miss you Zoƫ.
Rest well my friend.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Home Sweet Home

My focus on life is on choice and experience. It is not possible to turn the page on the past, but it is possible to move forward to a better life. You just need to take a chance.

The example here is from seven years ago, when I was leaving the west coast of Canada and returning to my roots in the east coast. I was on my way to university at the ripe age of 29 years old. I was leaving a lifestyle of drugs, booze, women and snowboarding. I was leaving a life of irresponsibility and diving straight into a potentially bright new future.

I have gone through several pseudo-editors over the years. None were able to commit to my work. I can either focus on the loss or keep my eyes forward. The time is right to be my own editor. The time is right to share with my readers. It is only fitting that the following post is from a time in my life when I was returning to my home. Just in time for when I am leaving it again.

Here you go. May you enjoy an excerpt from my memoir: Soul to Squeeze.

We all have moments in our lives that we build upon until the moment arrives. We base our days around when it will happen and daydream about what the moment will be like. The days pass. The moment grows closer and closer. Our anticipation rises. Our thoughts race forward in time.

Then, suddenly, we are in that moment. It happens so fast that we desperately want to release the jam on the fast forward button of motion that is life. We watch as the moment slides by us and then passes us by like a stranger on a busy street corner. It is all we can do to keep our heads high and wait for our next moment to arrive.

But what about the moments in between? Do we not live in between those times? Is our life nothing more than a transition from one big moment to the next big moment in between our mundane days of existence? How do we collect our moments and develop our future? How do we build upon our days and make each collection the rest of our lives instead of one fraction of it? Instead of looking forward to something that comes and goes like the precious breath we draw in and out?

Up to this point in my life, my existence was based on moments of anticipation. Moments of a better existence. Moments of anything more than what I had at that present time and place. But, slowly and surely, my outlook changes. Instead of keeping my eyes planted solely on the distant future, I fixate on my present course. Slowly and surely, I place one moment in front of the other, no matter how mundane or monotonous, and find that adding each moment to the next is the only way to design the future. To achieve the full potential of my destiny.

I focus on my days now. Focus on making each one better than the last. Each morning I wake up is a reason to smile. Each morning I wake up is a reason to live. Each day I wake up is a reason to learn. I watch as the days grow into something more than just a trivial passing of time. For, in reality, there is no such thing as a trivial passing of time. My days collect into something more. Something to push me forward. Something that I can almost taste but still have to wait to touch.

Each morning replaces each night. I center my thoughts on the idea of what happens with the collection of my days. I realize that the collection of my days eventually becomes the phases in my life. Phases of knowledge that becomes wisdom with the aid of time. Phases of experiences that teach me how to learn from my mistakes. Phases of new life that spurs tangible growth through the hard times.

I think about the phases in my life - the moments that come and go. Not the phases of puppy love or of drug use. But real phases in my lifetime. The extra push from behind that demands I make something better of myself…that I don’t let life pass me by because it is the only one I get.

I don't see my life as a moment in time but as a collection of days that guide me down the path of resistance. A guide that recognizes the signs standing firmly in the ground along the road side. I recognize the guide for what it is: an understanding that these days I live will eventually catch up to what waits patiently for me on the road ahead.

I am entering into the very first phase of my life. For so many years, I shuffled through my years and stumbled in the dark because I was terrified of the light. Then, one day, my path suddenly became true and just. It became a reason to make myself into the person I always knew was possible. Listen closely. That same message is hidden in your own moments in life.

So, here I am. More than seven years later. In a couple of days, I will reach another anniversary in life. It marks more than the date I jumped off a three storey railing and fell 50 feet to the hard ground below; fracturing my skull and shattering my lower back. It also marks three years of being clean.

Life is so fragile. Embrace it while you still can. Change yourself. Change your world. Change your life.

Until we meet again, my friends. Until we meet again.

"Waking up dead inside my head would never, never do, there is no med. No medicine to take. I've had a chance to be insane, asylum from the falling rain. I've had a chance to break." - Anthony Kiedis of the Red Hot Chili Peppers

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Promise

Never give up
And I will never leave your side.

Never give in
And I will fight the surging tide.

Always look forward
And I will guard your back.

Always reach higher
And I will keep your dreams on track.

Always stay patient
And I will protect your heart.

Always keep moving
And I will honour the start.

Always treasure your love
And I will mend the tatters.

Always smile through the loss
And I will focus on what matters.

Always respect the past
And I will prepare the future.

Always live in the present
And I will plan the adventure.

Always nurture the soul
And I will develop the reason.

Always work smarter
And I will grow each season.

Always remember your character
And I will pave the road.

Always push further
And I will promise the seed is sowed.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Grey and White

Floating in a soft hurry,
No cares,
No worries.

Light winds push and stall,
I watch in silence,
Marvel at its proud fall.

The paths it may travel,
The roads,
The dreams that unravel.

Alone now separated from a whole,
Flying on its own,
The wet winds taking its toll.

Will it stay,
Yet it may go,
Does it bring good fortune this day?

No one sees its flight,
Swinging to and fro,
Quiet in its wake and vulnerable in its own right.

Simple thoughts and wishes,
Single feather,
Brings me unforgettable riches.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Behind Me on the Road

Autumn is here. The leaves slowly drift off the trees in a lazy swing to the wet ground below. A light mist falls on my shoulders as my thoughts race back and forth. I hurry to scramble up a mountain of doubt. To prove it wrong. To prove there is a reason. That there is a purpose. That my road is true. That it is paved with good intention.

It can be so desperately cold at times but my faith keeps me warm. Adversity. The maker of Kings. I wonder what it takes, what is necessary, to fight your way back up the heap after you were tossed to the bottom. I guess only time will tell. I am only concerned with starting the climb once again.

Here you go, and may you enjoy.

What music plays when a heart breaks? Is it the soundtrack of a continuous lost song, forgotten, now remembered? Do we pluck simple strings to elicit emotion, to pull tears unbidden without permission; hoping and praying forgiveness?

Mine has broken again and again this year. So many ups and downs. I know the road is there. I can feel it. I just can't see through this damn thick rainy fog. I just want to believe it is leading me in the right direction. No matter the cost. I want to believe.

So many questions. Not near enough answers. What is next? Where do I go? How will I get there? Do I stay here? Can I forge a better opportunity out of mere will? What was the purpose of four years of education? Was it not for a better life? A better future? I faced an addiction and accepted sobriety in order to stage the first of many victories. But I have to ask when does the disappointment lose the battle with the happiness? When? Why? Where? What? How? And the litanies keep coming and coming. No end in sight.

Pillow is wet at night. Throat is raw. Quiet whispers of sadness. Internal replies of confidence. Enough. Never enough. Sleep. Focus on the now. Race. Race. Race. Focus on the now. It will come to you. Trust. Believe. Listen. It will come to you.

Peace is coming. I can feel it. I know that hard work is necessary again. That results, a reason for hard work, happiness, that everything and more is coming. I want to believe that this is all a lesson. One day I will look back behind me on the road and understand. My faith is surreal. Pushes me. Drives me. Steadies me. Holds me upright when I want to give in to the buckling in my knees. Stay the course it tells me. Stay the course. There is reason. There is rhyme. There is purpose. It was not all for naught.

To lead is to risk failure. It is knowledge from the experience. To forge ahead when sanity urges reprieve. It is lonely. To lead is to gamble. It is desire to grow. To shape a dream from nothing but mere hope and passion. It is ephemeral. It is life. To lead is to inspire. It is reason to breathe. To see you gave it everything. That you gave it all.

This is where I am. A transition to a new level in life I never imagined was possible. I have tasted so many failures and rejections this past year that my pallet is rough and scored with slivers of disappointment. Yet I know the end to all of that is near. That a new beginning waits for me. Little, subtle, hide-and-seek glimpses into the echoes of my future. My memoir, after so many years of hard work and harder work still, is in its initial stages of editing. Each day, I read new messages from my editor about how we can shape its direction, small notes of what to leave out and what to take out. Every day a new song collapses the ache in my heart and rebuilds it with hope and desire to overcome. Fight, each song says, show your worth. Show that you are better than you can even possibly understand.

The truth is that even though my heart breaks with each chord, it is also strengthened with each word. Someone else has been on the same road as mine. To know that I am not alone in it all is more strength than I could ever ask. I sit back at times and look over my shoulder at my life. The mistakes. The memories. The moments in time that developed a life for the making. I stand back and look at the boy who struggled to find his place in the world and look inside at the man who only wants to find stable footing in the here and now. The man has laid the groundwork. Now he is told to wait. The rest will follow.

Until we meet again, my friends. Until we meet again.

"What were all those dreams we shared those many years ago / What were all those plans we made now left beside the road / Behind us on the road / More than friends I always pledged cause friends they come and go / People change as does everything / I wanted to grow old / Just want to grow old." - Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Absurdity of it All

It started the other night when my friend dropped by from Toronto. “It was a total whim,” he said. “I was walking through the Montreal airport and thought about heading back to the Maritimes.” He laughed and gave me thump on the chest. “I bought a ticket and here I am.”

“Good to see you brother,” he adds and looks me in the eyes. “You are looking healthy.”

I swig a gulp of beer and think about his words for a second. We are so tight and yet so far apart. Distance is one factor. He has many play-dates to keep him company. I have one. He still likes to drink. He still enjoys his highs. I only recently picked up an occasional social drink. Drugs are not a factor in my life. And it never will be again. My former lifestyle is no longer imminent in my time and day.

But I still think about it.

As recently as last week when my roommate smoked on the balcony and the pungent aroma drifted into my room. I thought about joining him. I held back. There are more important things in life. She is more important. Our love is more important. I. Am. More. Important.

My friend opens his cigarette package and lights one up to add to his already endless line of heavy smoke. My lungs wince. How I want to ask for one little drag, one little puff, maybe even a whole cancer-stick of my own. I pull a mouthful from my beer and stay silent. It is so hard sometimes. The demon inside is sick of its prison. The walls drain his creation. Let me out, it screams, let me the hell out. There are no windows here. I can’t breathe. Let me out.

I stand outside the door and listen quietly as it beats its head against the slick, moldy walls. Again. And again. And again. Over and over. Again and again. I reach down and softly ensure that the door is locked. Touch the padlock and forget where I buried the key. I turn on my heel and walk away. My dusty footprints are the only trace of my presence. The way it has to be.

Here you go and may you enjoy.

Will anyone who is not ever understand what it is like to be one who is? To walk with thoughts consumed of how to get it? Who might have it? Where to find money to pay for it? To use it as an escape from a life full of pain, full of plain, full of disdain for the uncool. The ones who never understand. The ones with the snide looks. The ones with the upturned nose. The ones on the outside of cool. The ones who walk without thoughts of how to get it. Of who might have it. Of where to find money to pay for it.

The memories cling to my matter with chemical claws and unforgiving nails scratch and rip my will to ignore. The amount of stress existing in my life at this moment is numbing. All I can think of is what needs to be done. Of the loss. To replace what is missing. To find myself once again. This stress has taken me prisoner. It is the jailer. But I refuse to beat the walls with my skull. I refuse to scream. I just look for another way out. There must be a way. There has to be.

It is deep. In its depth there is no pain. No plain. Not even disdain for the uncool. How can I forget walking city streets, high and free, floating above ground. No cares. No worries. Give me more. Give me. Give me. Give me. Free me from the constraints. Free me. Free. Me.

It is inside this prison that the demon lays. Next to me. Breathing on me. I can smell its fetid, rotten stench. Let me out, it says, let me out. I want to play, it says, I want to taste the bitter pallet of failure again. Let me out. Give in to me. Just give in. Come on. You know somewhere deep inside, that deep hole you stuck me in, that you miss it. Give in to me. Damn it. Damn you. Give in to me. Let me out.

No. As long as there is a breath to pull from my lungs, you will never get out. I faced your need. I denied it. I hold my head with pride now. You will never be the reason that it will hang in shame. I am alive. Alive.

Freedom of a different kind is my vision now. I don’t miss the guilt. I don’t miss the glaze. I don’t miss the permanent imprint in god knows how many sofas. I do miss the fact that special moments in my life were torn from my grasp. That I stood in front of so much beauty with numb thoughts and cold emotion. That I robbed myself of the simplistic rush of a waterfall, the glisten of fresh snow, the soft feel of warm grass underfoot. I do miss that.

I embrace my reality. Strange. I am learning lessons that lay, mortar by mortar, brick by brick, inch by inch, the groundwork and foundation of what is to be. The structure of complete and utter happiness just around the bend. Stability. Peace of mind. Success. Clean. Sober. Warmth. Light. Sunshine. Love.

I talked to my friend recently. Told him that the drinking, drugs, womanizing, that it was not him. I just went for it. He would either accept it or deny it. He stayed true to form. Thanked me. Told me there was only one me. I laughed.

It’s true. There is only one me. No room here for addiction any longer. I take a deep breath in and let a bigger breath out. It will be okay. I am doing what needs to be done. I have found a way out. And I will come out a newer, stronger, happier version of the person who went in. And that person was impressive. To say the least.

So now I wait. I rock back and forth gently on my heels. Muscles tense and strain against patient tendons and neurons. Don’t jump the gun, says a small voice of wisdom, don’t jump the gun. Be patient. The biggest prize of all awaits. No need to rush. Be patient. You have come this far. The rest of it is only a mere moment in time.

Until we meet again, my friends. Until we meet again.

“Its not a habit. Its cool. I feel alive. If you don’t have it you are on the other side…the deeper you stick in your vein the deeper the thought. There is no more pain. I am in heaven. I am a god. I am everywhere. I feel so hot. Its not a habit. Its cool. I feel alive. If you don’t have it you are on the other side. I’m not an addict…maybe that’s a lie.” – Sarah Bettens of K-Choice