Monday, September 30, 2013

Poem for October, 2013

October's secrets stalk at night.
Brood on hidden wicks alight
Keep impassioned thoughts aflame,
While one in silence keeps the name.
Finger to the lips are wed,
Placid face cloaks tempest head.
Coming fast is cold November
And 'tis futile to remember
that there’ll be no respite there.
Wishful thinking fills the air
And its acrid smoke arises
From the wrecks of compromises
Made in want of happier times -
Litanies of wounds that belie rhymes.

But ever Hope toward skyline stretches
(known in heart by burned, scarred wretches)
            So they sit on Expectation’s throne.

Not a one considers leaving:
They give o’r their cloaks of grieving,
‘Til Fate doth smile! then walk no more alone.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Nobody wants to give you an iPad. Not even Southwest Air.

A few weeks back, a story crossed through my social network feeds. Ostensibly from Southwest Airlines, it seemed to be a giveaway to take five people to Disney World. All that needed to happen was clicking "like" and you'd be entered. Within a short time, several of my connections had passed the information forward or commented while giving their "like" status.

Initially skeptical, I followed the link back to the sponsoring page. It was for "Southwest Airlines." including that little suspicious period at the end. It also had only 2,000 people who liked the page - rather a small number considering it's arguably the most popular airline in the United States. The official Southwest page has almost four million likes.

Basically, everything about it said "fake." At best, maybe it was just a time-waster or a trick to get people to see advertisements. At worst, it's malicious software or sites or a compromised account. So I set about adding a comment to each person's posting, letting them know that it wasn't a real offer. I took more-than-usual care when commenting on other's posts, knowing that lots of people don't necessarily appreciate being called out.

I was right.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

This Time of Year

Last night, I was able to partake in one of my favorite season-transition activities.

I went to bed with only a single sheet and an open window.
I woke up cold at some point in the night.
I stumbled out of bed and picked up the comforter from the corner, throwing it haphazardly over the bed.
I hunkered down inside, smiling all the way into the comfortable release.

Sometimes things are very simple.

Monday, September 16, 2013

"Dearly beloved, divorce is an honorable estate..."

"... and is not to be taken in hand lightly, inadvisably, or wantonly to satisfy men's carnal lusts - although that's a pretty good reason."

-The Divorce Service, performed by Rowan Atkinson.

Two friends, married to each other for ten years, announced over the weekend that with the coming of a court appearance today, their divorce has become final. They had no big revelation, as the various hints had been gradually appearing over months -- when the relationship status is set to "single," it's not done because you're trying to keep things on the down-low. They seem to have put their two children first and foremost, so having taken care of that part, I wish them both well on their respective directions.

It did put me in mind of all of my other friends who have been in long (and not so long) term relationships. Some of them stay together, some of them break it off. Some of them should have broken things off years ago, some should never have gotten together, and some -- bless them -- just keep chugging along even though every circumstance tells them to break up ("they're so happy, they don't know how miserable they are!").

Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Wave Will Embrace the Words Erelong

Occasionally, a face or name will come sneaking back into my mind without notice. In this particular case, it started with a friend getting praised for his yard work. He'd put pictures up on Facebook of clearing out a dense bracken in his front yard. Much sweat went into the rehabilitation of the area, and I made to compliment him on his serious work. One of the comments there before me was from a woman I didn't know. It was her face that caught my attention first.

She looked familiar. Oh, right. She sort of looked like a good friend of mine, known for her enveloping smile. It was the similarity of the smile and the smooth face and dark hair that caught my attention. But this woman wasn't known to me, so I moved on to make my comment. 

Yet the face glowed ever brighter in my thoughts. Why did I keep thinking about it? This wasn't a person I'd ever met before. Or... was it? I stared at the face, almost willing my brain to make some connection and ease the tension. It couldn't be... what was her name? Elsie? No...Elmarie? No...


The door in my mind had opened a crack, letting some of the light from beyond pour out.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Shifting Sands of Sins

If you had approached me a year ago and been of enough prominence in my life for me to answer you truthfully, I would have said that my particular chief sin was that of Pride. When I started the unfinished blog series on the seven sins years ago, I saved Pride so it could be the final one, knowing that I would have much to say about it. I've struggled with it for a long time, struggling even to convince people that it was the correct choice to describe me.

People are right to be confused, as there are many things about which I have no particular pride at all. My personal appearance is one of those areas, as I regularly wear shirts with holes. My hair is thin and sparse, but I laugh at any suggestion that I try hair restoration tonics or shampoos. Even until recently, I laughed about being overweight, though my recent bought of healthy living is prompted not so much by pride as a desire to sleep well and not die early.

There are still a great many things that stiffen my spine and force me to bristle. My logic, my reasoning, my considered opinions: these are the things about which I am tremendously prideful. Should someone belittle them after I have put in effort, my reaction will be swift.

But I recently felt such envy and entitlement that it left me white-hot and short of breath.

Women and Men: Five Observations Each

It is always incredibly dangerous to generalize a group of people, more so when the group is 51% of the world population. But at the risk of misidentifying vast swaths of womenfolk and menfolk, here are some things I've observed. As with all observations, these may not match your experiences, or even match reality.

By and large, women are more likely:

1) to smell good.
2) to know where a tissue is at any given moment.
3) to have some form of pill on their person.
4) to prefer some other woman's hair to their own.
5) to have a ready answer to "what do you not like about yourself?"

By and large, men are more likely:

1) to respond with a definitive (though not necessarily correct) solution or opinion as a response to any piece of conversation that indicates a problem. See also "mainsplaining."
2) to have a ready opinion about food.
3) to be suspicious if a woman says she has an interest in the same thing they do.
4) to be color-blind, left-handed, and/or be a serial killer. These are not interrelated.
5) to describe a location by saying "go 6.7 miles east, then turn south for 2.3 miles. It's on the northeast corner."

Monday, September 09, 2013

So I appeared in the newspaper...


A couple of weeks ago, a reporter and a photographer from the Kansas City Star were at one of my lessons. A story was being written about my student, Robert Finn, bishop of Kansas City and St. Joseph.

As I get back into the swing of writing after my tour through Oklahoma City and Colorado last week, one of the entries I'll write is a companion piece to the story in the Star. As is often the case with trying to condense a multi-year regular appointment to a thousand words, many details are lost or not included. I'll have more thoughts in a larger entry.

Friday, September 06, 2013

Colorado Irish Festival

This week, I've been touring. For Labor Day weekend, I was in Oklahoma City, but now I'm near Estes Park in Colorado. The brass band is playing for a Scots Irish Festival in the little town. I'll have a larger update after I return to an actual computer.

More regular updates should resume in the next week.