Going Back In Time

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Florida was my home for 18 years. In a way, it will always be my home. So much of who I am today was formed in the Sunshine State, albeit from the shadows as I am not really found of heat or sun. Yes, I did willingly move to Florida but until you live here you don’t understand how oppressive the sun is. It never really stops trying to scorch the invaders so it can go back to being a happy mosquito infested swamp. We all have our glory days, and Florida misses when its very nature repelled development.

The journey here was longer than expected. We left my beloved mountains and solid ground around 7am thinking that with stops we would be in Orlando around 7-8 o’clock. Alas, we made it in shortly after 1am. While we were finishing lunch and getting gas, there was a multi-vehicle car crash 25 miles from the Georgia-Florida line.

We were rerouted by GPS so many times that at one point after a much needed stop we had to head North on 95 to be able to navigate around it. With all the detours, there wasn’t much time to think or reflect on my first trip back home in two years.

Reflection came after I relinquished the wheel and saw the Orlando area for the first time. Places that I had known flying by in the shadows and then the lights growing of downtown Orlando. This is not the land of the mouse. It is hard to define what it is the land of because Orlando and Florida in general is more than a vacation designation. It is home and not home.

Home is the solid footing of the Blue Ridge Mountains, but home is also where the heart is and pieces of my heart will always be in Florida with my family (both biological and chosen). There were so many people and places that I wanted to see. I managed more than my last trip in 2019. Time, however, was not on my side.

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I remembered Papi, first. I remembered the place where we first kissed and so many other bittersweet memories in between. We passed where my friend, Shannon, lived in the last days of her life. We drove pass what had been the home of my friends, Wolfie and Awen. Awen passed away in the home and Wolfie moved out more than a decade ago.

We briefly stopped at Lake Eola before discovering that our bladders wanted us elsewhere. I thought about the walks around the lake. One sticks out, we were walking around before Papa passed, my brother E was with us and we were all sad, but happy to be together in the sun and fresh air.

My companions and I walked through Disney Springs and all the happy memories of my best friend and I hanging out. Memories of family birthday gatherings at the Rainforest Cafe and the day I walked into the Chapel Hats and asked them to find me a hat to match my outfit.

There was a drive through my old neighborhood and so many memoires. My companions got to see the porch where the novella “Blood Child” was conceived. And the places where I used to walk with Luke

We wandered through the Greenwood Cemetery where I poured out every bit of knowledge I have concerning it. I couldn’t bare to take them to the Pulse Memorial but I could point out the section of Greenwood that were some of the 49 Angels have been buried. The City of Orlando donated the plots for them. I pointed out the trees and other features that mark it as unique.

My companions traveled with me back in time. They were most amused after dinner with Zee and the Professor where I had indulged into far too much wine. During the journey back home, I gave them Lucinda’s drunken tour of Orlando. Apparently, I had a lot to say about every building I could identify and quite a few that had been built in my absent.

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The present and the potential future blinked in and out of my days home.

The past is not a place you can stay. You can only really glimpse it. The emotions push through the veil separating past, present, and future. You are there for a moment, feeling all of the emotions, drowning in them. Then you are in the now, and nothing is right.

Nothing is the same.

Everything changes regardless of your desires. Your favorite nacho places closes after twenty years. Friends move out of your old neighborhood. And sadly, there are people you never get to say goodbye to again, even when you are going back in time.

The Day with Verbs

Up with the throbbing  head again

No wine to blame

stumbled out the door

into the world

locking myself out

meandered my way back in

set to work

putting things here and there

walked the dog

recycling to the bin

errands ran

dishes to the sink

clothes to the hamper

litter to the bin

walked the dog again

finished the dishes

three pills

then off to bed

little moments building a day

a life

The Good with the Bad

The day began with insomnia

drifted into lateness

and fell into despair

One found dead, the news feed reads

the reaper’s  prize

at last

sorrows grips friends

still other silent cheer the end of the road

two kids in a doctor’s office sick with the flu

 

two strangers cling to life

victims of happenstance

attended by the best

No news is good news or so the fellows say

No news is bad news worries the friends

beloved ones

Victory arrives late

lesson learned, acceptance obtained

a child born

new shoes,  credit extended ,

then end of an abusive relationship

 

No clever words need

or cliques expressed

Just another day

the good with the bad

the bad with good

perspective the only means of definition

 

 

Writing Exercise – I am Poem #1

Every nine weeks, my students write a new I-Am poem to help build  their writing portfolio and so they can see how they changed over the course of the year.  It is interesting to read them because often times even though they know that their poems will be read by me they confess little truths about themselves.  The format is simple and can be altered easily to let them express themselves more freely.  Tonight, I decided to write my own to get my creative thoughts flowing. 

I am tired and burnt out

I wonder if I will ever cease being living in a state of permanent exhaustion

I hear the not so quiet sounds of students working

I see myself getting older and wondering where all the time went

I want to do so much more than I am

I am constantly working to find a way out

I pretend that I have it handle, but I’ve never really been good at this game

I believe there has to be a way, a better way than the one I am living

I touch the brace on my leg and count the days until it is off

I feel the pain between my shoulder blades taunting me

I worry that there will never be another book and the thing my body has become will be permanent

I cry too often

I understand the cycle and know that tomorrow or tonight I will find my fight again.

I am myself and this is only temporary

A poem without a name

Stop the madness

the relentless drive to

be comfortable

there is no comfort

no lasting bit of piece

no moment that will take away

all the time spent being abused

by myself or others

so many of the scars

inflicted upon our souls

are self-inflicted

Stop the madness

do more with less

and give up access

to the world of want

Want leads to desire and

desire to suffering

Currently, this poem has no name.  I would love suggesting from readers.  Submit yours below. Please and thank you. 

Blinded

blinded by smoke

scored by the heat

nothing but the most bitter fruit

left to eat

nothing left but to fight

to fight

to die

and maybe then be heard

or be seen on CNN

and misunderstood

still better than

do nothin’

being the big man’s punk

and doing my time

in the oligarch’s machine

better to go out

with a stone in my hand

than dying in an attempt to live

the promised life

 

Testing Cycle

Stuff knowledge into their heads

cramp it in there until their eyes

beg you to stop

plead with you to let them up for air

then review, review and review

some more

because they have to know it

they have to know it all

and then stuff some more into their head

Make sure they know their subjunctive clauses

from their subordinate clauses

how and when to use a semicolon

what a colonoscopy

and how an author’s background shaped

his choice of dessert or

the fifth word in the second stanza

they want to learn

need to know how to think

so the next command is to

challenge

but not too much

or too little

Shove them into rooms filled

computer screens

and cardboard blinders

put headphones on their minds

and figurative corks in their mouths

pray that they will rise to be wizards

and sorcerers of knowledge

let the scent of vapor cream

pry their sleep exhausted anxiety riddled minds away

for a ninety minute knowledge dump

because everything is riding on

an assessment

when they finish

prep them for the next one

rinsing and repeating until the end of school.