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Archive for the ‘LifeMinded blog’ Category

gman-park-jam2
Ever since I was a knobby headed snotty kid
with sloppy clothes & slob appearance
shoddy lyrics potty mouth and not committed 
I could hear it 
poppin on those rocker boxes
toppling my body parts & going partly non-responsive
rappin was the hottest topic.
party where the cops are watching 
bombing up the parking lots & 
watching where the heads are noddin
hoppin scotch & double dutchin
droppin stuff & now we got them Otterboxes.
rhyming to the 1 & 2’in
movin you to groove upon it
beats & rhymes the reason I
am still at school in afternoons
people’s trunks are open, showing off the volume how u doin’
speakers bumpin, tweeters knockin
all the parks are live & poppin.
kick a few to blow your socks 
stepping to the baddest boxing
miniscule to mighty oxen
moccasins are bitin often 
spitting fuel that’s raw & toxic.
interview the mind of Spock &
watch a couple dreads unlocking
picking up what I am droppin
corner stone to corner coffin.
mamas in their rollers on the porches 
babies in pajamas
ladies in their finest, sun is shinin
bring it back to basics, place it in the perfect timing.
girl is fine & guys are trying to get attention spitting rhymes
or showing off their newest tapes to make ’em say “Oh where’d you find it?”
I been on my grind & steady shinin’ back in ’89
you see me pressin play and often pausing, pushing fast rewinding
fat was fly & fresh was nice, enticing every rap device
& dicing out the fairest slice on any brand of stereo types
I carry no hype but keep it tight in spite of other rapper’s reps
eventually I’ll meet my match although hasn’t happened yet
I’m trackin the way that back in the day the music used to pack a wallop
fattest laces wrapping through Adidas leather woven eyelets
double deck cassette recorder equalizer radio waves
can bring the sun from out the clouds and freshen up the rainier days
remember back when we was young and fun was all we was about
before a bunch of hyper active rappers started runnin’ their mouths
I wanna rebound from dumbing it down for lyricists I can’t debate
let’s take it back to breaking, making beats and shaking cans of paint
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For two years now I’ve been fortunate enough to be holistically bound to the most magical creature through life, through love, through law, and through marriage. Every day and every week we water seeds with the joy of the present with hopes they will blossom and grow into a fruitful tomorrow. We nurture the very soils of our souls and plant gardens for our future. It’s really I who am the most lucky because she’s a truly unforgettable, beautiful person. There’s no person I spend more time thinking about than she.

I love our life not only for the things we have, but the things we don’t. The things we are working towards make me equally happy because these gaps in how we live, in what we do, in what we own – we will fill them in together. There’s such an abundance of things we have yet to achieve and as we move forward we’ll change and improve both of our lives through joint-efforts where each endeavor and every victory is an additional step up the mountain on this lifelong hike.

Over the years I’ve known her I’ve been inspired by her actions, her words, and often simply her presence so much to the point I jot down brief instances in little notes I keep to myself. The best day of my life, is any day when we’re at home just me & her. You can’t beat it. Her heart is elysian. She is assiduous about those close to her and shows it in her every surprising thought and idea that reveals a genuine appreciation for others and the desire to actively contribute to nearly every facet of the world as it revolves around her. It’s rare for her not to jump in to any situation and not want to help or take part.

We aren’t plastered across social media. We don’t post on Facebook boasting to the anonymous world how great is the other person. Neither of us feels compelled to aggrandize the other which just cheapens the core value of the object to which one is trying to over-assert. Greatness doesn’t require that kind of publicity and neither of us require such superficial cheerleading. The romance of energetic feelings and the sentiments that arise from personal experiences with one another are always welcome in the real world however.

She is also not my best friend. She’s better than my best friend. I’ve had best friends. They change. Some of them fail to even be friends of any caliber later. When people say “I Love You. You’re My Best Friend!” I think it’s great if you love your best friend, but that’s no compliment for your spouse who is, in my opinion, meant to be much more than that. When I got married I didn’t want a best friend I wanted a wife. I wanted a partner for life. I wanted the other half of the equation with whom I would team up and walk this amazing journey of days until we come to the end of the road and take our final rest. Of course I wanted somebody with whom to make jokes and go out to eat but can’t I find that in nearly anyone? I wanted my 1st wife, not my 5th best friend. Friends are islands. My wife is a continent.

She’s quite amazing. She impresses me on a reoccurring basis. And her husband is pretty great on occasion too.

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You can love an old man

You can love a cranky old fart

You don’t have to like all their ways

but you can still love the heart

You can love him like he’s an old drunk who shoots off his mouth

You can love him because you know he’s out of touch

You can love him because his life has been different than yours

You can love him for all the things he lacks

You don’t have to excuse everything he does

You don’t have to look away from everything he says just because of who he is

You don’t have to ignore the things he has said

You can hold him accountable for the things

You can help him improve

You can love the person he is because he is still a person

You can love him for what good he has done in his lifetime

You can love him like a ludicrous product from a crazy world

You can understand that life taught him lessons we have not had the experience to learn

You can acknowledge that he may have been exempt from learning many of life’s best lessons

You can love an old man no matter how belligerent or angry

You can love an old malcontent not for the mal but because of the content

You can give him a break for being wrong

You can love him for his mistakes

You can love an old man because somewhere deep down we all are good

You can give him the chance to be better

You can love an old man

You can love a cranky old fart

but don’t make him president

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It’s hard to look closely and recognize everything that we have lost on the small scale. Usually we do keep ourselves focused on the here and now when we could instead benefit from gazing at the larger picture. But that’s not the case here. I’d like to look closely and focus on the minute details that, once isolated, are easy to excuse. To focus on these grains of sand is difficult though because they incessantly start to blur until you can only recognize the beach that they pile together to form.

The beach is just easier to see.

All the things we’ve lost are thrown carelessly into this oblivion. Each singular identity becomes lost into the greater appearance of the coast.

We all know people either like or don’t like the beach.

As the winds shift our lives around in the swirling fates of unpredictable destiny I can see the traces of the dead.

As the sea laps its gasping tongue against the shores of what is gone it creates a middle ground that is neither living nor dead. No soul has ever sustained their existence in this trench of the void for very long before having to commit to the sand or the sea. We saw my grandparents traipse this watery slope as they left their life of the ocean to the sedentary dunes of the beach. To the still land where rest is complete. We saw my uncle slide gradually from life to land and now the times of his life have left the tides to remain off shore where they dry and scatter in the winds that influence us all. Yet occasionally a soul will leave the mighty deep, where colors and textures drift freely amongst the varying temperatures and life, to cast itself upon the rinsing shelf of the surf, where the turbulence of change, and the pressure of the life left behind tries mercilessly to pull back its lost treasure into the bath of boundless possibilities.

Rarely has one washed up onto the middle ground between awake and asleep so early and remained for so long. The blank space between here and there is no place to take up residence.

That is a soul lost to nothing; not to death nor to complete loss, but a wanderer to nowhere – a place of waste. For a time that, itself, becomes waste. We’ve lost beautiful souls to death – the loss that unites us all. It’s on rare occurrence we lose a soul purely and purposely to the beach itself. That is not its place but that is where it remains.

When a ball tries to roll into the sea it rides the edge of the water as it laps back and forth on the sands until it is ultimately cast back to the land where it belongs. When a buoy attempts to float onto the beach from the rolling ocean the endlessly moving surface of the water gently pulls it back to the wide open sea where it too is meant to be.

When a body washes to the shore the natural cycles of the Earth attempt to pull it back to the drift of the waters, to return it to its natural place in time. Its timely progression will occur on schedule as it is meant to occur along the path of its natural rhythm. We’ll all be pulled back to sea until the time is right to be cast from its lively waters and deposited into the drying, decaying sands and soils of the land.

I don’t know what this one body is doing, disregarding its aqueous alignment and repudiating its remaining days burgeoning amongst its peers until it is delivered felicitously from the depths. A voluntary despiriting of desperation. A martyr for martyr-sake.

Don’t wish for the beach ahead of your own schedule. Don’t wish for the beach before it is your time. The beach just might accept you.

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the R-word

I have thought a number of times that the R-word is my N-word.

Well, not exactly.

The N-word, what with its history of torture, pain, and suffering isn’t exactly the same as using the R-word. The N-word I don’t believe has any possible meaning other than to degrade another person.

It’s used between and amongst African-Americans, sometimes jokingly or showing friendship, and sometimes showing hostility or as a put-down. But all that’s another story and another whole conversation.

It’s your European-Americans (white people), and all other nationalities and cultures to whom the N-word is off-limits socially; with good reason. So in the past when I’ve used the word “retarded”, it’s not quite the same thing as a term that invokes the legacy of hatred as achieved through centuries of systemic racism and personal, direct degradation.

So it’s not the same. I think the R-word might be my Confederate Flag actually.

Hold on, though. Let’s take a step back.

The R-word is a real word. The word “retarded” has some varying definitions at this point in time. Google first and foremost returns with its meaning as “less advanced in mental, physical, or social development than is usual for one’s age”, a definition it also deems as dated and also offensive. It also has the meaning of being “very foolish or stupid”, similarly coined as informal and still offensive.

Merriam-Webster: “slow or limited in intellectual or emotional development”, with the post-script sometimes offensive.

We can go on but you get the point; a real word that was taken on by society and used in a widespread way to the point where the meaning has changed.

I grew up where kids called each other “retarded” and no one thought much about it. It was another era, which makes an excuse for then, but is no excuse for now.

It was years ago I first saw a campaign that brought attention to the hurtful and undermining uses of the word “retarded”. It was probably long overdue to shed light on something that has the potential to be as hurtful as this word.

I argue the R-word and the N-word aren’t even in the same ballpark, though I do think they’re similar in the way they’re hurtful words usually chosen to be directed towards someone who has no control over their condition whatsoever or in any way. A person can’t choose their born nationality, skin color, or culture any more than they can their naturally-born mental, physical, or emotional abilities (or inabilities). A person is born an African, a Christian, or with Down’s syndrome as simply as being born blonde, or poor.

We’re moving on from the N-word because the relationship is too weak between that and the R-word.

The R-word is also a verb. It’s used in science to describe the influence of a chemical that can slow down the speed of a reaction, or in general the verb means to delay or hold back progress.

“The process has been retarded by a strong combination of indecision and lack of leadership”.

After childhood I’ve most often thought of the verb form of the word and used it appropriately when speaking.  It rarely came out of my mouth as a means to describe how stupid a process or decision might be – but rarely still does indeed mean sometimes.

I’m not perfect; not trying to be hurtful.

The R-word campaign (R-Word.org) came about years ago to discuss the topic and to ask people to think before the next time they say it. The R-word doesn’t dawn on most people as potentially being all too bad, but if you ponder the social connotations it’s easy to understand how and to whom might be affected by the trivial use of this word.

When I think of my top 10 list of offensive words or derogative terms it wasn’t the first word to come to mind. It probably would have been around #15, after all the various racial slurs and crude terminologies that have been created over the years. So even though I don’t think I ever upset somebody by my use of the word, I could easily and quickly identify the potential. If I’m to minimize the suffering of people around me and uplift my fellow humans around me I wouldn’t want to call them something that would hurt them, even light-heartedly, jokingly, or indirectly.

To go back in time just a little bit, the word didn’t taste like gasoline on my tongue or make me feel ashamed later in the day if I had used it. But I know it wasn’t right. It wasn’t positive. I’ll take sides with the R-Word Campaign people and even say it is probably most often used offensively; even if it has alternative meanings and connotations.

This is what puts it in the category to become something similar to the Confederate Flag.

It’s the ability to learn that makes us a higher species, if you want to call us that. It’s the ability to learn that makes us human in the highest sense of the word; to adapt and to respond appropriately.

The Confederate Flag also has its hurtful meanings to lots of people – just like the R-word.

It has a history that differs from some of the current-day definitions and emotional responses it causes – just like the R-word.

It too is something a person can use without the intention of hurting another person.

In effect, the R-word is a thing I don’t have any problem with in its original form. But after I see how other people have used it, which has been to isolate, or hurt the dignity of another human being, then I see the harm it can cause.

Once I came to learn and realize that although this word isn’t by definition a bad thing, but to entire populations of people it is something that causes hurt or insult, then I had to adjust myself.

My speech. My thinking.

Once my thinking changed that is when I had learned, adapted, and essentially one tiny cell in my body and one small component of my soul evolved into something greater, though miniscule as it may be.

And therefor I remain dumfounded by the Confederate Flag and the adamancy with which people defend its symbolism.  It has a history, the various components of which one can argue until the end of time, but it is also something that time and society has altered. The Buddhists don’t continue to capitalize on the symbol that later became the German swastika even though to them it was a religious symbol centuries before the Nazi Nationalist Party existed.

People often use the “old days” or “I’m from another generation” as an attempt at reason in trying to dismiss or legitimize the continued use of the N-word. Similar claims of “heritage” and “history” tend to surround the prolonged use of the Confederate Flag.

They both should have been long retired.

I feel that way about the R-word nowadays. We might have made mistakes in the past or maybe things have just changed in the world we live in, but we have to change with it either way. We have to accept what people tell us when they say something causes suffering. I don’t have any intention to argue with someone that the R-word has meanings that don’t have to be necessarily insulting or offensive. I instead attempt to understand, and once I understand, I accept.

Today the final Confederate statue came down in New Orleans. I hope one day I’ll look back on this day and realize how much further we’ve come since this day; it was yet another small step to discontinue the idolized worship of our most misled and embarrassing 4 years as a young country. Holding on to the ideals of this era demoralizes the common man and woman. I hope in my example of learning, realizing, and accepting the hurtful use of the R-word that others might come to similarly learn, realize, and accept the hurtful use of the Confederate imagery.

As New Orleans’ Governor Mitch Landrieu said to his fellow New Orleaneans today, we are able to “choose a better future for ourselves, making straight what has been crooked and making right what was wrong. Otherwise, we will continue to pay a price with discord, with division and, yes, with violence. To literally put the Confederacy on a pedestal in our most prominent places of honor is… an affront to our present, and it is a bad prescription for our future.”

The lesson for me is when someone tells you you’re being hurtful you should believe them. Reach into the deeper parts of your soul where you find your humanity, and love for others, and try to understand why. If it challenges one or many of your long-held beliefs then give it time and continue to think about it. Return your thoughts to the first step – listen – as you struggle to move onto learn. If you believe you’re on a path to reduce suffering you will eventually find yourself at the final step – change.

Our stubbornness is nothing more than a break pedal on the highway of life. It’s the changing of our minds that is the changing of gears allowing us to go forward faster.

Think with positivity. Speak with compassion. Act with empathy. Breathe with the rest of humanity.

Retire the R-word.

Retire the Confederate flag.

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Ten Poems

1.

Peace starts with me and the people that I talk to

Love is as old as the hills that I walk through

Freedom is expensive and you’re gonna have to argue

Justice only shows its head when life has double-crossed you

The lessons come with patience and a price that’s unexpected

But happiness is with me every second

We’re connected. 

 

2.

I stand in the wind both arms in the air

hands to the sky, chin high unaware

One being, flesh & bone seeing life in his eyes

sunlight be the whole key invited to rise

like sight to the blind or light to the sightless

vision to the young women, men & the righteous

now we gonna light this torch with the passion

fire on the rise these hands gonna pass it

head in the clouds how long has it lasted

face in the past both hands unmask it

step out the race break away unfastened

chill for a minute with your legs on the hassett

speak til you’ve lost all blood in your cheek

fight for the weak, life’s bleek for the meek

try’n to plug these leaks going week after week

my hunger for love gon’ flood these streets

I’ll keep to the script, tight lipped with the secret

frequent the sequence known to defeat shit

freak with sinking ships thinking I’m deep

    thinking I’mma walk both sides of the street

my wise poetry hides potency openly

speaking real words til the world starts noticing

dig with a pen, these seeds grow hope

just feed what you want and starve what you don’t

break bread with your best friend, breath with your brethren –

listen to the lessons – they’ve been referenced

next in the line, you’re destined to rise

this light gon’ shine

    my life in the sky

draw heat from your whole heart, march to the beat

compete with yourself to clean what you think

speak to your weakness, get your holes filled in

give to the children what you been building

love your brothers, all race and all colors

no hope in the world if we don’t love others

 

3.

The day we die we’ll realize how silly we were

Until that day we’ll think but never be sure

We’ll remember our roots that stretch through and through

That we have the same baseline, heart rhythm too

We’ll see how fast the years passed by and wonder if 

we lived it to the fullest or did we blunder it

We won’t be concerned about money

We’ll be thinking about our family

We’ll be smiling at our friends

transcending gravity

The day we all die and say bye to the world

we’ll realize how silly we were

for sure.

 

4.

You’re the light in my eyes

You’re the sight in my life

You’re a blinding surprise until I close them at night

You’re my wheel on the runway

landing at home

Where the cardinals chirp

to the beat of this poem

 

5.

I remember holding a pen-cil
getting started back in kindergarten it was intense still 
I’d sit ’til I mastered the print while my friends studied the sten-cil
My lines got nice as I worked it
from block letters to cursive
my classmates copied off the wordsmith
but grades were not the purpose 
A’s were just my service
the days would pass I’m sure it’s
how a hobby starts to surface
Then I turned up the ways
I could turn out a phrase 
My knowledge grew on college ruled I could fit more words on a page
this amateur walked from pencils to Manitowac Bic pens
It instilled some big grins
I’d read what I’d write share it with kids and get friends
While some sat limp in their chair like a test dummy
I felt I had an outlet that let out the best of me
I read more and saw Dr. Seuss as truth
the places I’d go if I grew my roots
and I loved The Grinch it’s
a mastery of balancing Halloween with Christmas
the green monster sponsored me to write some stories
with some children’s poetry that I expect was boring
But I wasn’t up for recognition fame or exhibition
just a game to stretch the little thoughts envisioned into diction
I’d hit the pages with the best imagination
writing nonsense in a way that would last from days to decades
still thoughts flipped fast to pass as animation
ink for the script but lead for the test page
I knew the best ways to skewer essays
get the best grades and start the next phase
I make change in the wake plus make what’s in front of me
I try to stand tall to get these words from under me

 

6.

She’s my angel out of thin air. She carries thoughts of contentment from which the smell of Spring receives its sweetness. The dew drops fall more thickly from the petals that surround. The clouds roll as oceanic ripples from her heartbeat. She is epic. 

 

7.

 

 

 

 

8.

the rain

like tiny drops of heavens

falling down to all of us

tapping my shoulders

wetting my head with love

feeding the soil and my soul

 

9.

fire flies

fidgeting flights of twilight

jittery whimsical sights 

flashing signals of life

a quick glimpse for tired eyes

flittering fluttery heights

shining slowly 

flashing hiding

flying glowing

making their rounds at nights

tiny invaders

silent indicators

rising with flare

riders on an invisible carousel of air

quietly drifting

calmly shifting

at dusk we all come here

 

10.

I’ve learned

it’s easy to make life look normal

it’s easy to make life look fun

it’s easy to make life look.

 

I’ve learned

it’s possible to go far

it’s possible to change course

it’s possible to.

 

I’ve learned

we all are on our way

we all are important

we all are.

 

I’ve learned

there’s a way for you

there’s a way for them

there’s a way.

 

I’ve learned

you have to sing

you have to try

you have to.

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We Are People Of The World.

We feel each other’s presence in this global whirlpool

where spirits travel on trade winds

and pheromones of foreign bodies infuse the space around them.

We exist with one another like ancient tribal families

who dance around the same fire and share cave space

with equal protection from rain and wind.

We feel each other’s pain when an appendage of

our communal body is mistreated or damaged.

We share in the unifying joy of accomplishment

as when the gravity around one individual is weakened

we all rise with them.


We Are People Of The World and our village is vast.

Our hearts are joined with brick and mortar

so no wedge can separate our unified bodies.

No idea can interfere in our cohesion.

No person can interrupt our harmony.

We dance like a constellation across the heavens

moving to the natural oscillation of our soul winds.

Our vision is gifted from celestial knowledge

guided by timeless wisdom renewed daily with the rise of the sun

as its life-giving glow breaks the crevice of the horizon.

Our pulse is part of a collective rhythm

growing increasingly perfect with each measure.


We Are People Of The World

and despite the tectonic shifts that move our planet

and spread the seafloor there is no separating our family.

We walk the same Earth and share the same warmth

nutrifying all bodies with the same energy.

We are one existence.

We eat different meals at different times

but we give the same thanks.

We share the same gratitude for another day of life

and hug our families with the same ferocity.

We cannot be turned against one another.

We support each other beyond any claims laid by nations.

We come together and appear homogenous

despite the various shades of skin reflecting from our faces.

There is no religion can that divide us.


We Are People Of The World and our identity is one.

Though some of us have never met

we stand with our spiritual arms linked

in a chain of humanistic unity

signifying the goodness inherent between brothers and sisters.

We are the family through which existence continues.

We are the life that prevails despite the evil that brings death.

We are the natural spirit that aligns all people

amidst the deceptions peddled

by those set to benefit from our conflict.

We are love without fail.

We are achievement without effort.

Our destiny is a timeless renewal of hope and progress.

We live on time with today.

We are the promise that brings a more beautiful tomorrow.


We Are People Of The World with no reason to hide.

We have a global network of caring faces.

We are there for our friends when they find themselves trapped.

We reach out our hands to pick each other up from the ground.

We speak up for each other and speak well of each other.

There’s no division amongst our ranks.

There’s no hierarchy between our members.

We are the natural order that cannot be compromised by politics

or religion.

We carry each other’s flags and wave them

because they are our own.

We represent the freedom to live that is inherent in all places.

Our shine cannot become dull as long as there is breath in our lungs.

Our eyes are collectively radiant.

We are the world in all its magic and majesty.

We are the love between all things.

 

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