The Brothers at St. Leonard’s

The brothers attending St. Leonard’s
Would chase us away from their pond;
Either in the summer while we were skinny-dipping,
Or, during the winter as we ice-skated upon.

We could see the pickup truck coming from the seminary,
Bouncing across the cow fields;
With time enough to gather our stuff,
And, successfully, their wrath we would yield.

Never were they able to catch us,
Although, sometimes our paths they might cross
While we walked the trails in the nearby woods,
Always pretending that we were then lost.

They asked if we might know the culprits,
We lied saying we were unawares,
Feeling a little bit guilty
Due to their connections with the Big Guy upstairs.

I walked there to church services on Sundays,
Or the guitar masses on Saturday night;
Never once during a confession,
Did I ever come clean to make this wrong right.

Some of the brothers attending St. Leonard’s,
Were barely much older than I;
I never understood this choice that they made,
Even though many times I did try.

I hope they continued with their calling,
Becoming Priests who are now doing good;
I would apologize for our constant trespassing,
Today, if only I could.

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Clock Chimes

The clock on our mantle and in St. Leonard’s tower,
Had the exact same chime;
Every fifteen minutes following top of the hour,
You would always know the time.

I listened in the middle of the night
To figure out how much more time I might have to sleep;
Or anywhere I was in the neighborhood
Ensuring I didn’t get home too late to eat.

Ding-dong, ding-dong,
Ding-dong, ding-dong;
Ding-dong, ding-dong,
Ding-dong all day long.

You could keep track of how long you were ice skating,
Out on the frozen St. Leonard’s pond;
It’s the one thing throughout my childhood,
I could always rely upon.

Ding-dong, ding-dong,
Ding-dong, ding-dong;
Ding-dong, ding-dong,
Count the hours by the gong.

One, two, three, four,
I don’t remember if there should be any more;
Five, six, seven, eight,
I best get home before I’m late;
Nine, ten, eleven, twelve,
It better be noon or I’m catching hell.

The silence of the echoes
Following the final gong;
Gave you time to figure out,
If you should be moving on.

The clock on our mantle and in St. Leonard’s tower
Had the exact same chime;
It’s now the tune recalling pleasant memories,
Of, for me, a happier time.

Fresh Air

I step outside for some fresh air,
Away from all of those who try to smother me;
My inner soul, I must let run bare,
Without the cloak of divisiveness they use to cover me.

Why do you let others bring you down?
My alter ego inquires of me.
Just stop and take a good look around,
There is nothing my Id desires above me.

My country has lost her way,
Captained by the King of Fools;
Every word he has to say,
I find offensive and not so cool.

“Don’t worry”, becomes the mantra,
We can change things with our votes;
Farther into the abyss we saunter,
As allies and enemies are taking notes.

Throw your slanders and insults at me,
For my bones are not so easily breaking;
It will take more than his infamy,
For my spirit to be forsaken.

I step outside for some fresh air,
Away from the troglodyte’s cave;
You can act as if you don’t seem to care,
But, I’m coming back riding a blue wave.

Words Left Unsaid

Those words you have left unsaid,
Will become your albatross.
They can weigh you down like a casket of lead,
Buried with a loved one whom you have lost.

Don’t hold on to affectionate words
Waiting for a time, exactly right;
An illness or tragedy absurd,
Can immediately turn dark the light.

Words you have left unsaid,
Do not a good eulogy make.
Speak those words before you dread,
Making this unfortunate mistake.

I Liked You Before I Ever Loved You

I held her hand while in the hospital bed sleeping,
Just after her mastectomy;
She woke up silently weeping,
Afraid she might be losing me.

I knew all about her fears and worries;
I tried to give her comfort constantly;
The future, for me, was less blurry,
Every step she’ll be holding hands with me.

I told her:
I liked you before I ever loved you;
I loved you before we said our vows;
I respected you before and long after,
Nothing is going to change that now.

Her smile was slow to be recovered,
But, the twinkle in her eye soon returned;
I knew self-pity for her would not long hover,
That’s not how the flame of her courageous candle burned.

We took long walks on the beach at sunset,
All part of her rehabilitation routine;
We reminisced about a life we won’t forget,
Looking forward to new memories not yet seen.

She told me:
I liked you before I ever loved you;
I loved you before we said our vows;
I respected you before and long after,
Nothing is going to change that now.

Advice for those Awkward Years

If I could converse with my sixteen year old self,
I would encourage him to ask you out;
Not that I ever thought you might ever say, “Yes”,
But I think it might help him to remove all doubt.

At sixteen I had no confidence;
Was running low on self-esteem,
Advice to go out and grow a pair,
Might have been helpful, if not a little bit mean.

Your beauty really intimidated him;
You were out of his league, or so it seems;
I would tell him, “Every boy is probably afraid to ask her out,
Your courage might be the answer to her dreams.”

She might say “no”, if you ask her,
But, she certainly won’t say “yes” if you don’t
And, the other girls will see you differently,
Ignore you any longer, I bet they won’t.

If I could converse with my sixteen year old self,
It might embarrass him and fall on deaf ears,
But it might also be the sage advice,
That helps him get by easier in those awkward years.

That’s Just How This Life Goes

I sat in a bar at the airport
After they finally cancelled my postponed flight;
I was re-ticketed for the morning,
But, had nowhere to spend the night;
My bags had been checked in,
Where they were no one seemed to know;
The waitress spilled her tray on me,
I didn’t have a change of clothes.
The interview hadn’t gone well,
I still needed to find another job;
My esteem and dignity were long gone,
It felt like they had both been robbed.
A tear escaped from my blurry eyes
Slowly rolling down the five o’clock shadow on my cheek;
I knew I shouldn’t feel so damned defeated
But my situation sure was bleak.

Where does an atheist turn to
When your only hope is to say a prayer?
That’s when the barmaid said, “How are you doing, Pal?
You sure look like you’re in a deep despair.”
So, I told her my sob story,
Sowing in a few more woes;
She said, “I sure am sorry,
But, sometimes that’s just how this life goes.”

She said, “I’m off in an hour,
And, I have a bedroom that I can spare;
Just as long as you understand,
This doesn’t go anywhere else from there.”
I said, “I sure could use a shower,
Maybe a washer and dryer, too;
And, I assure you, for your kindness,
I will not be a burden at all to you.
I will not read into this anything more,
Than the extreme kindness of a stranger;
To have me think you’re offering anything more,
I assure you, there is no danger.”

It turns out we really hit it off,
We were good friends within an hour;
By the time I got around to it,
She joined me in a nice hot shower.
I didn’t use that spare bedroom
In the morning I had clean and dried clothes,
Bad days, I guess, can turn out right,
Sometimes, that’s just how this life goes.

I didn’t get the job I went there for,
But, I ended up with so much more;
I knew that in the morning,
When I silently crept out of her door;
Uber took me to the airport
Where I caught my flight back home,
Living in my small apartment,
Never before had I felt so all alone.
Can we maintain a long distance relationship,
Neither one of us really honestly knows,
But, we are going to give it our best shot,
And are willing to see just how this life goes.