Josh

a conundrum
a paradox
the son that I begot

tender moments
flashes of deep kindess and generosity
softness in your soul
longing to connect and love

stubborness and temper live there too
a deep desire for independence
a push and pull even from a young age
to allow others to speak into your life

loyal to all you love
in ways that make it hard for you to say when you are wronged
but lashing out when you are hurt
on more minor points

a mind that turns things over a thousand ways
and tries to see the black and white
in things that may be gray

favorite of kids and animals
who sense your gentleness and patience
never tiring of a new game
or treat, or pet or smile

resistant and private to show emotion
but still reaching out for a hug
and speaking “I love you”
and encouraging and lifting us up with your words and deeds

I see a boy
becoming a man
taking the journey to transparency and vulnerablity
that men before you took
learning to temper the quick leap to anger
opening your heart to be examined and cared for by others
to carry and to be carried

I see you realizing that you are unique
but that darkness and light both lie in your mind
no different than that which lies in each one of us

My son
I wish love and hurt, hardship and success upon you
and hope you untangle the mess of life
to find beauty and fulfillment
that only imperfection and risk can bring
with your hands and heart open and your head high

Not Asking

I don’t want approval
for the way I live my life

I don’t care what people think
of my looks or what I wear

I don’t want their views
on my religion or my hair

they can keep their opinions
if they don’t like my politics

I’m not looking for comments
if they think I’m fat or too slim

I didn’t ask for permission
in the choices that I make

they can keep their judgments
fact-opinions, distaste

Demons

Wouldn’t it be easy
If I loved him the way he loves me

Or perhaps loved myself the way he loves me

I chase the stardust of those I am not destined to have
And when I cannot keep up anymore
I am left in the darkness, trying all too hard to make myself smaller

In my emptiness it comes for me

You, my demon, who I hate
Who I love

You are a part of me
You make me my worst self
But you keep me honest

Wrap me, my enemy, my friend
Wrap your arms around me
Entangle yourself in my mind

You say, “Be better. You can be better.”
And I believe you, because we are one in the same.

I know you’re right.
I deserve to be punished
You said it so it must be true

There is no use in trying to fight you off
Because in a sick, twisted way I need you
And I know you’ll never leave me

People are fleeting. But you are constant.
That is why I listen

I will punish myself for you
Until I faint
Until my heart gives out

Until maybe someday you take me

And I will hate you for taking my life away from me
And I will thank you for taking my life away from me

I’m not sure I even want it anyways.
But I am too coward to take it from myself

In the end it doesn’t really matter.

For I don’t matter among the seven billion others.

All living with their own demons

Humans aren’t so different after all, I suppose.

…written by daughter and guest author, Gabby

When I meet you

when I meet you
from a small farming town in the rolling hills of Ohio
green and lush with decidous trees
your family farming since 1820

you New Yorker
you know just where to find authentic Italian, Eastern European, Somali food
you hate the muddy, winter city puddles
but loves a summer New York day and can dress to kill

you Oregonian
who grew up on a Christmas tree farm
where trees drip green and sheep and rabbits are part of your backyard
you know the endless trails, the rocky coast
you can’t imagine pumping your own gas and Dutch bro’s are where you go to get a friendly smile

you Californian
you know Hollywood mixed with politics mixed with lots of sprouts and avocados
perfect weather, expensive homes and endless traffic are as natural to you as the Rocky mountains are to me
but you know where to escape the people in the Sierra Nevada forests and pristine beaches

you Utah son and daughter
born into the arms of a community that embraced you
in a mix of care and rules, encouragment and boundaries
you know the deserts and wild areas and blaze of stars in a desert night

you Wyoming chic
who grew up shooting and riding as you learned to walk
independent and intertwined with the land
singing country music and two steping on a Friday night

and me from Denver
in my yoga pants and Birenstocks
with a hundred great coffee shops to choose from
where I and most everybody else owns a dog and walks them endlessly
and all I can ever think to do on a great summer day is hike
and a great winter day ski
where the smell of marijuana reminds me of my city

I think about the divergent flavors of our lives
I’m curious about the differences
I reject the labels and the stereotypes
though we may be unalike, we are still the same
unrelated and disparate but connected by our common humanity
I feel sure your life is built around the same essentials mine is
loving my people, surviving the bills, finding small happinesses and pleasures to pass the days

Snow

today started with large flakes
falling into Denver
clouding our vision
covering the ugliness and the beauty
making all soft and fuzzy bright
then came the sun
and by afternoon
blue skies and asphalt showing
drip dripping from the trees
warming our coats until we take them off
and enjoy a bipolar Denver winter day