Monday, February 28, 2011



I don't have the words to define it. I don't have a lyric to describe it. I'd love to say it was once not this way but that would be a lie.

I won't lie to you.

I hope whatever creeps in me never crawls across you. I hope this part of your Dad never found its way into your breath.

I've never understood it. I see so much beauty every day, so much life & hope. I see it. But it all fades. It always fades away before the sun ever finds a reason to settle behind the hill.

I want to grab those last few rays of light and wrestle them in. I want to slingshot myself over the mountain, into the bright, blind brilliance of squinting. I've tried for so long. They always slip through my fingers.

I would sell my soul one thousand times over to hold you. Just to feel your flesh and bone in my hands. Just to smell your hair and see you Blink. Both of You. My only two little moments of absolute perfection. My only notions of goodness.

I don't know what the future holds.

I don't know why some people are broken, some are patched, others are mended, and others yet are whole.

I Hurt. I don't want to hurt any longer.

I hope this never makes sense to you, because if it does... I'll have failed.

Be better than Me. Ignore the 13:13 that the clock never lets you see.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011



There will come a time when you aren't quite as valiant as you think you are. You will find moments when you aren't quite as pure as your purity would demand. There will be days when you are stained.

You are imperfect, regardless of what your Mother & I tell you.

How do you survive such things?

You Stay Golden.

You Shine.

Now, figure out what that meant.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A Little While


I hope one day you'll remember tonight.

You & your Brother were fast asleep, the distant sounds of Scooby Doo falling on ears that had long since retired. I pulled your covers up, kissed your foreheads, and quietly closed the door. I then went where I go when I feel at peace with the world.

The sky was a menagerie of lonesome clouds and winking stars. My kind of night.

I stood on the front stoop enjoying the unseasonably warm air and lamented on the Saturday looming ahead. Everyone loves the weekend, I know. I just don't like the weekends when you have to go back, I suppose.

Leaning against the porch post, watching the little valley below rise and fall, I felt the incredible need to reach my hand out and steal a little moonlight.

That's when I heard that tell-tale click.

The door behind me opened and you wandered out.

"Daddy? Are you out here?"

"Yea, Baby. Are you OK?"

"Yea, just can't sleep."

"I'm sorry. It's warm, you can come out here with me."

"What are you doing, Daddy?"

"Honestly? Just trying to hold a little moonlight in my hand."

"Can I do that?"

"Well, you can try."

And you did.

We stood there for several minutes, watching the light that came from our sun bounce off the moon and find a little bit of rest in our milky palms. 

"Daddy, can we hold the moonlight all night?"

"No, Frog. But we can for a little while."

Then you smiled.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Return To Sender

If I could write a letter to someone that matters to me, one of which I knew the universe had no choice but to deliver, it would probably read something like this...

To Whom it may Consider,

Do me a favor. When you find yourself alone, scared, insecure, & angry at a summer camp you never wanted to go to... just enjoy the fishing. Don't pick on Brad simply because he can't shoot a free throw as well as you. Don't throw that spitball in Ms. Callahan's English class. If you do end up throwing that spitball, don't lie about it and run away to 6th period. She'll find you. Again.

Don't kiss Carolyn with your eyes open. It was your first one. It was worth not seeing. Save any tapes you & your cousin ever record music on. Save the tape that has the weird ghost sounds, too. For good measure.

Don't spit gum in Johanna's hair. Kiss her instead. To hell with Brian and his Norwegian attacker.

Don't fire the bb into the car window at Pizza Hut. Bad move. Make sure you wear the necktie with your t-shirt to the Salem baseball game. Great move.

Make sure you stand up and applaud after seeing Natural Born Killers in the movie theater. Yes, the rest of the folks (including your date) will stare at you. Just go with it.

Don't lie about being born in Romania... you vampire obsessed idiot.

Make sure you motion someone over after watching the movie "Singles" in Salem. Once you have... don't fuck it up.

Confess to Ben that you were the one who shit-bagged his front door, and consequently (albeit accidentally) his doorbell, thereby causing his father to come out at 3AM to clean the gunk out so it would stop ringing. It's shameful to blame it on John. Granted... it was fun to do so. But don't.

Spend as much time with Ben as you possibly can once you graduate. He won't be here forever.

When satellite radio is finally invented and you finally get around to "renting" it... dance around in your boxers to the Hair Nation channel. Often.

If you don't kiss Rhonda in the Goodwill parking lot, I'll never forgive you.

Never. Get. A. Perm. Even if your Mom is a hairdresser and you're in sixth grade in 1986. Defy! Rage & Defy!

Hug Tommy every chance you get.

When your Granddaddy pretends he's going to steal one of your fries at the Dairy Queen in Crewe, Va... let him. He's earned more than your fry, kid. It'll probably put him to sleep again. For good.

Make sure you remember how your Grandfather's voice sounded. Both of them.

You had better tell Nannie you love her every single chance you get. God knows she loves you more than you deserve.

I'm sure you think you're a bottle rocket. Well, you are.

When you get the bright idea to paint a mural on the wall of your newborn daughter's room, don't paint a forest and fountain. Paint the stars above. She'll dig that. Trust me.

Never try to talk Chappy into a river ride on his one man raft. He'll miss throwing you the life line, you'll miss catching it, and you'll both end up losing the raft. Thankfully, not your lives.

Never tell your Mother any of this.

Love more often than you Hate. Live more often than you Die. Believe in yourself more often than you do Not.

And one final request...

Dude... Chill Out. Just breathe. Say "So Be It"... again.

Mean it... as Usual.

The sun will still rise.


P.S. You'd be wise to mark this letter "Return to Sender".

P.P.S. Laugh at people who use P.P.S. It's hilarious.

Monday, February 7, 2011


When I was a boy your Poppy used to make me go with him, deep into the National Forest, and cut Wood.

I never enjoyed it. It was always the same repetitious method. He would cut the tree down, saw it up into logs, and I would carry each dismembered being to the truck. We did this all afternoon.

When we finally filled the bed of the truck we would drive home and he would back that truck up to the barn. He would then climb out, point at the load and say, well, "Stack it".

I would then spend all of Saturday evening emptying the truck of the wood he had cut. I would grapple with two or three pieces and lumber then over to the woodpile (You'd better grin at that pun). I'm pretty sure that's where I learned to curse.

Did I mention this all occurred near the end of Summer?

It wasn't until the lingering arms of Fall fell across my face that we went out to split what we'd defiled.

He would have me set the logs up on a stump and then he would swing his heavy axe and split the wood. He would do this two or three times... to every log. It annoyed me to no end. Chopping wood. Good lord.

In the end he would have made three or four pieces out of each log.

Then.... you guessed it... I had to stack them all over again.

This was called "feeding the fireplace" or so I was told. In my opinion we were just cutting wood. Or more to the point, HE was cutting wood and I was stacking it. Repeatedly.

Personally, I called it Hell but I never enlightened your Poppy to my thoughts.

We Learn.

As it turned out... I'm kind of glad we did that. It was what gave us heat when the nights grew cold. Those logs that we'd (or "He'd") chopped into split ends, were fed into the fire of the stove. Those logs that I'd stacked so begrudgingly, and then carried even more begrudgingly back to the house, kept Me Warm.

I find it ironic now... considering the days I went out and cut the same wood, in a different state, and stacked the same wood, in a different place, so that You would feel warmth as well.

The burden of my childhood no longer seems as such a burden, but a necessary passage. For when I realized I was no longer a child, I also realized I had children of my own.

But you're going to have to learn that on your own.

One of these day's we'll have a fireplace to feed.


P.S. For the record, chopping wood is so much more fun than carrying it to the truck.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Two-dollar bill

  two  (t)
1. The cardinal number equal to the sum of 1 + 1.
2. The second in a set or sequence.
3. Something having two parts, units, or members, especially a playing card, the face of a die, or a domino with two pips.
4. A two-dollar bill.

I want to tell you about two people. One of which you were able to meet. The other, I hope, you'll be able to meet through Me.

Your cousin Tommy was always my hero. He was six years older than I. He was the reason I now and forever will love the Duke Blue Devils, the Indianapolis Colts, VW Bugs, & Quiet Riot.

I can't explain that last one either.

He taught me how to play football. He taught me how to sprint. He taught me how much it hurts to lose a member of your Family.

He was no Saint. He wasn't even related to you by blood. He and his Sister were adopted by my Aunt & Uncle long before I was even born. That did not make him any less my Cousin though. It did not make him any less my Family. Any less Your Family. Any less Your Cousin.

He was murdered on a lone stretch of a South Carolina Interstate Road... with a shovel... for 300 dollars.

The man who took his life is now Free.

Tommy is the left half of a two-dollar bill.

I know a part of you remembers Mason.

You were lucky enough to see him one time. He was sitting in his bouncy seat at your Aunt & Uncle's home several years ago. He was hooked up to modern technology. Tubes & wires making sure his lungs did their job, making sure his kidneys didn't have to do their own.

He smiled at all three of us one time. Just once. He lived for four months on this earth.

Nature took his life and it continues to be Free.

Mason is the right half of a two-dollar bill.

The ironic thing about two-dollar bills is this... they just aren't worth very much. Not many people care about them. Their value, in the public eye, is null.

I don't know what happens when the human body dies. I don't know what the mind goes through. I'll know one day, as will you, but not this day. I'd like to think that we evolve but I just don't know that for certain. There is nothing left but molecules and matter. Nothing but a clod of dirt. Nothing that ties us to our vessels, save the countenance that those who look upon us relish and recall.

I do know that whatever made us US, leaves. Call it a soul, a spirit, a being, mere consciousness, what have you. Whatever it is... Goes.

I don't know where. I like to think it goes Everywhere.

Two-dollar bills don't have that luxury. They're no longer in circulation.

What that means, at least to me, is that when you come across them... however infrequently... you should hold on to them.

I do.

I hope you will learn to do the same.