Archive for the ‘Personal’ Category

Whitewashed Memories

This is the place where my father spent several years near the end of his life. I visited him every day on my way to or from Randolph Technical College. I took him home with me and made his most delightful treasure – coffee, or we went on trips to family members or into the countryside. He had Alzheimer’s by then, so he never remembered my previous visits, only things about his early life. Who knows, maybe we did repeat the same experience over and over.

In 2009, I drove by the old Randolph Rest Home where he had lived in a room at the front on the right wing. I crossed the railroad tracks and drove as close as I could to the building and got out of my car. I spent a few minutes perusing and scanning the area. Memories flooded my mind and I had to prop my folded arm to keep my head steady on the car roof.  I could not speak, and there was nothing to say.

I’ll never forget the scene, the pristine white-washed cinder-block walls and chalky boarded windows. It was like angelic hosts had swooped in with huge vials of liquid holiness and covered the sadness and aloneness of that place, memorializing the spot set there amongst ancient oaks. It was a photograph for the soul, one stop along this railway of life, to say goodbye again to someone at a remote crossing along the way.

I had called this meeting between man and memory. It was heavy, yet buoying; wistful, but hopeful; quiet, with a heavenly haunting; even with the concrete and mortar, somehow ephemeral . I started the engine to my car, its hum concurrent with the relentless march of time’s continuum. There for an instant, I had superseded mortality.Randolph Rest Home

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What happened with us?


Well, I’m trying to flesh out the unspoken transgression. To somehow color the invisible oscillating wave-lengths to see what went wrong in our relationship. Trace the tire skids back from the collision.


I need to unveil to you this great dichotomy I feel in my soul regarding our friendship. On one side of this knife-split opening in my gut lie the treasures knowing you has brought into my life – the inspiring hand-sculpted molds of my expressive self, alive and moving; the comfort of true companionship and affirmation spread out inside me like an open, cool desert-night, with no horizon to limit my dreams and no fear of the howling or haunting dark.


On the other side of my gut lie the stray pieces of a friendship, a hope, a dream, a song, a masterpiece, crumpled and forgotten; a frayed rope of integrity wound into an uncertain pattern, unraveled and useless; blame, written with the cool waters of good news from a far-away land and then baked in an unforgiving sun.


If you can forgive me – even with dead-pan reservation, I will forgive you with gold-pan delight. And we will close the book on all this drama and poetry and squeeze ourselves back into the dull manageable everyday cubicle.


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Tuesdays With Mortality



Tuesday I went to the doctor and came away with a bad report . . . again.


So, here I go . . . again, contemplating my mortality. It seems contradictory that one who consistently dwells on the eternal things of heaven thinks equally about dying.


Perhaps it’s because I have stood a few times on the narrow edge of the ridge that thinly separates two worlds, two opposing realms. One tangible; one surreal. One a camera-ready landscape; the other, a faintly visible mist – (more…)

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The Hand of God


“Hand of God”


This is a painting my son Zack did of his hand. It means more to me than everything in the Louvre. The hand is a universal metaphor with a load of applications to life.


This hand symbolizes God as Creator of the Cosmos. ‘My hand stretched out the heavens ‘ God created man. ‘Your hands made me’. The first cradle a newborn baby knows is a pair of human hands.  (more…)

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The Orange


they told us as children,

rhymes with nothing

But they were hiding the truth from us.

Orange rhymes with sorrow

My friend was in Room 206 at Harris HEB


She was ready, except for her will

A paralegal was at her side

Explaining papers through Madelon’s pain

I said I would come back tomorrow

With the fruit she desperately wanted.

Nothing rhymes with orange

Like  promises

I bought the orange

But it sat on my table for four days

Days I spent with my son

Fresh from the war in Iraq

I figured I would take the orange to Madelon on Monday

After my son was gone.

Nothing rhymes with orange like excuses

When I arrived at room 206 on Monday

She was gone

Transferred to hospice care

The social worker called to ask about her

I saw hope drain from his face

Nothing rhymes with orange like failure

I knew what he was going to say

My friend had died.

I stood there and tried to hide

the orange in the palm of my hand.

Now, so many of my emotions rhyme with orange.

The next time I eat one

I wonder what I will be thinking about.

I know I will never again see an orange

as simply an orange.


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Apple Time


Almost every night I go into the game room, armed with a kitchen knife and with a mission in mind. Get the slightest bit of fruit into my sons’ diet. There I make slivers which I deftly deliver to them as they punch buttons on the game or the computer. (more…)

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After All These Years


All my grandparents died before I was born. For half a century I went without ever seeing a photograph of my maternal grandfather, Elias Jones Massey, my namesake. I never knew I was named after him until a few years ago. I only knew of him as Elias Massey, nothing of Jones. Therefore, I thought my lastname firstname was a mistake, an anomaly, or even worse, a punishment. (more…)

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