Poetry: Love Down a Great Stairway

She walked into the majestic hall glowing with womanly confidence,
her body flowing gracefully, moving like a soft breeze across the floor,
all eyes looked as her light summer gown flowed on and off her soft satin skin
as it shed her refreshing scent, filling the air with the aroma of orchids.

He looked up to her as she briefly paused at the top of the grand stairway
as all sounds in the hall ended for him and he felt his heart fill his chest
with brightness and the promise of soon feeling her divinely elegant touch,
as he studied her footsteps gliding down toward him, his desire piqued.

Eyes on her, he rose up without consciousness of his actions, as he left Earth
and entered into a world of enchanted love and impassioned romance,
soon their eyes met and all visions of reality left their unconscious minds,
instantly they were face to face, then hand in hand, and finally heart to heart.

“May I have the honor of this dance, most lovely and pleasant flower?”
“Of course, mon amour chérie. You are the universal eternity I seek.”
The orchestra stopped playing, but everyone heard the heavenly music
of lovers in love as they moved effortlessly, gracefully to the dance floor.

©Bill Reynolds 12/06/2018

Look both ways, but dance arm in arm into the gaps of eternity.

Essay: Thanklessness

Gratitude

Some say it’s the least felt of human emotions. That may be. It seems to be the feeling least written about from a mental health professional perspective. And yet, I’ve read that grateful people are happy people. Are they happy because they’re grateful, or vice versa? I should know because I consider myself one of them.

I am uneasy when people thank me for my military service. While there were days I would not want to repeat; some of those memories are among my best. It was my career – my profession. If people were silently grateful, I’d manage. I used to humbly balk at such comments, but I soon learned to say thank you and move on.

I was walking down a street in Crystal City, VA (just outside of Washington, D.C) with a US Marine Corps colonel. We were headed for a meeting. He was in his uniform, but I wore civilian clothes. As we were waiting to cross the street, an attractive young lady walked up and shook his hand as she thanked him for his service.

After she left, he said, “Since being married, I no longer know how to handle situations like that.”

I replied, “Next time, introduce your Air Force friend and I will take it from there.”

The value of gratitude to our overall mental health is well known. I know of no self-help book that suggests being thankless. Everything from gratitude lists to National Holidays inspire us to be reflective of those things and people we feel have improved our lives.

A Memory

My favorite gratitude story involves the son of my wife’s sister. She had six boys, of which Scott was the youngest. Whenever we visited his family, I would find time to play with Scott. Be it baseball, football, basketball, or some other similar endeavor, Scott and I interacted and played – just the two of us. It never occurred to me, as the youngest boy, Scott’s five older brothers had better things to do. And his father, a borderline workaholic, had been worn down by the first five boys.

Eventually, Scott grew up, got married, and graduated from Texas University. He and Sarah had two lovely daughters. I enjoyed my time with him and never gave it another thought after we had both moved on with life.

Scott matured into a handsome, well-liked, and friendly man. Everyone liked him, despite his reputation as a clever prankster.

On a visit with Scott and his family, he asked to speak with me alone. After we retreated to a private area, he said, “I want to thank you for all those times you played ball with me when I was a kid. No one else did that and I have never forgotten. It meant a lot to me. Thank you.”

By being me and playing with some kid, I created memories for him. Now, my memory is of his expression of gratitude. Within a year, Scott had died of a congenital heart problem. When I learned of that, my first thought was of our chat.

‘Thankless’ Employment

I’ve had some experiences with work-type situations some people call “thankless jobs.” While I understand what they mean, I can never get my brain around what a ‘thankless’ job is.

As an additional part of my real job, I once volunteered to be a Facility Manager for a large building where several hundred people worked. I was paid nothing extra.

A few months into the building job (which my wife titled Permanent Latrine Orderly [PLO], from the movie No Time for Sergeants), I realized that all my voice mail messages were either new problems, or comments about on-going issues related to the building, not my real job. I liked the challenges and the idea that my efforts made a better place for people to work for nine hours or more each day.

I also enjoyed the times people expressed their gratitude to me for doing such a ‘thankless’ job. Even with that irony, I also liked when people sent emails to my boss telling him how much they appreciated what I did. He let me know. One day he introduced me to some visiting VIP as his Facility Manager rather than my real job title. Was that a slip-up, or was it because he most appreciated my building caretaker duties? Thankless? I think not!

Thankfully Happy Few

I admit, as Harvey McKay titled a chapter in How to Swim with the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive, gratitude is (or may be) ‘the least felt of all human emotions.’ But I also know when we think about it, we are usually grateful.

It’s not a perfect world. We have a fair share of ingrates and thankless souls wandering around. But thankless is the other side of what we ought to be, and most of us seem to know it.

I further admit knowing some who fear happiness. They are normal when complaining or worrying. In those cases, we either simply wait for it, or we speed things up by asking, “How are you doing?”

Their answer is, “Well, let me tell you about it….”

There’s nothing wrong with having an attitude of gratitude and it may even lead to a healthier and happier life. Yet, I’ve known some very happy, but cantankerous old farts who relish the chip on their shoulder. Good for them.

The only thankless jobs are the ones we don’t want. People have been treated for long term depression, only to find relief with a job change. It happens.

And the only thankless people are the poor souls who may be struggling with their own sorrows, problems, or demons.

And isn’t happiness what we ultimately want? I think so.

©Bill Reynolds 11/26/2018

Look both ways for health and happiness. Mind the gaps. They may harbor traps.

Song Lyric Sunday – Take

Helen’s post for the SLS theme for today is take. I immediately (excitedly) thought of Take It Easy, by the Eagles. It was written by Jackson Browne and Glen Frey about 1971. Take It Easy was the Eagles’ first single (1972) and the title of their debut album. It is one of my favorites, primarily for the lyrics.

Besides the title, the hook lyrics for the theme are in the refrain:

Take it easy
Take it easy
Don’t let the sound of your own wheels
Make you crazy

Other lyrics I (and others) especially like about the song are:

 

I’m going with a wild-ass video with Travis Tritt from the fantastic Common Thread: The Songs of the Eagles album.

Lyrics to Take it Easy

Well, I’m running down the road
Tryin’ to loosen my load
I’ve got seven women on my mind
Four that wanna own me
Two that wanna stone me
One says she’s a friend of mine

Take it easy
Take it easy
Don’t let the sound of your own wheels
Drive you crazy

Lighten up while you still can
Don’t even try to understand
Just find a place to make your stand
And take it easy

Well, I’m a standing on a corner
In Winslow, Arizona
And such a fine sight to see
It’s a girl, my lord
In a flatbed Ford
Slowin’ down to take a look at me

Come on, baby
Don’t say maybe
I gotta know if your sweet love
Is gonna save me

We may lose and we may win
Though we will never be here again
So open up, I’m climbin’ in
And take it easy

Well I’m running down the road
Tryin’ to loosen my load
Got a world of trouble on my mind
Lookin’ for a lover
Who won’t blow my cover
She’s so hard to find

Take it easy
Take it easy
Don’t let the sound of your own wheels
Make you crazy

Come on baby
Don’t say maybe
I gotta know if your sweet love
Is gonna save me

Oh oh oh
Oh we got it easy
We oughta take it easy

***

Thanks to Helen for a great theme prompt and thanks to the Eagles for years of great music.

Look both ways, mind the gaps, take it easy, and
don’t let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy.

Click graphic for link to SLS page.

 

 

Poetry: Ich hatt’ Alte Kameraden

 

Goodbye my old friends. You’ll be missed.
But we have no ways to keep you all
held together. Your time has passed.

We all get old. If we’re lucky, we live
purpose driven lives of building memories. Yet,
wear and tear take an unrecoverable toll.

For so many years, you’ve held it together for me.
All nights and all days, when I called, you provided
me with comfort, support, and security.

You took beatings on hot days, the soakings
of untold rain and freezing weather in three states,
absorbing blows and poundings meant for me.

You guided my way on many paths of life,
through dust or mud, up ragged hills, through raging
flood waters of life, you gave your self for me.

Now your hollow dismembered carcass must go.
Leaving only podophilic memories for soles
to recall in gratitude for your long support.

We have harvested your organs, internal and external,
hoping to preserve your memory and to provide
transplants for younger, stronger soles soon to follow.

Were we a military unit, we would give you a medal
for valor and service. Governments would give you
citations for long dedicated self-sacrifice.

Thank you for your service. Old sneakers never die.
They just wear away in a soft squeaky whimper.
My feet, toes, and ankles salute you both: Comrades!

(21 foot-stomp salute!)

Bill Reynolds 10/18/18

Run through the jungle looking both ways and minding foot gaps, slips, and trips.

Will I Care? Don’t Talk Like That!

The past happened without me, as will the future.
Beginning on what day will I no longer get out of bed?
Unable to remove the mask and walk away,
to pee or whatever. Will I know anything?
On what day will I no longer want coffee?
I can handle not to have. But not to want?
Does nirvana or moksha reflect happiness or denial?
On what morn I’ll no longer begin a day’s reading?
Is not my quest for knowledge stewed in desire?
To have and to hold, to want and to need. To care?
There’s more I want to know. Will I care? Do I?
Must I stop loving her on that day? As the Jones song goes.
Will my dignity be intact, or will it be the first to go?
Will I die in a puddle of shit? As many would see that as fit.
Will I remember my name, yours, where I am? Will I care?
Is there such a thing as death with dignity? Or do we
just pass on to return life for life? Don’t talk like that?
Away and towards. Turn, turn, turn. Say I love you.

I care.

I do.

Love you.

 

© Bill Reynolds 10/15/2018

Look both ways; to the beginning and toward the end, when gaps no longer matter.

Poetry: May I try?

 

Why can’t I be a poet?
What is that anyway?

The maker of sounds
and finder of words to say.

Poems à la muse must
be creative and see
imaginative ways,
to say,
expressively,
what we,
so capable and specially
can feel,
in a poem’s
certain way.

Poets are
sensitive.
We read (love)
dead poets!

Good at it? Yer a poet.
Writes poetry so well?
Maybe yer the bard
who shows the way.

Poetry is verse.
‘tis a versifier ye are?
Is it not?
How to tell?

Not up to par?
A poetaster you are.
If that’s in me,
a lessor poet’s what I’ll be.

What is inferior?
My poem, or me?
Or is it that my verse
is just too dern terse?

Write a poem of wit
and magic,
or a salty limerick
of some jester’s
funny verse.

Be the bard yer born to be.
Sing like a minstrel
along with me.

Be the poet
and you will see.

© Bill Reynolds 10/8/2018

A note from Johnny Cash.

If yer gunna try, look both ways and mind the gaps.
Let us feel the poems as you write.

Poetic Dialogue: The Experience

‘You did that?’

“I did!”

‘What was it like?’

“What do you mean,
what was it like?”

‘You know. How did it feel?’

“It depends.”

‘On what?’

“On what you believe. If you
believe it, it’s okay.
If not, it’s nuts.”

‘Ah. So, how did it make you feel?’

“It felt good.
Not like sex good.
More like a friendly smile good.”

‘Oh. That’s not much.’

“No?”

‘Just a smile?’

“Ok then, fuck you.”

‘Why’d you say that?’

“How’d it feel?”

‘I’ll take the smile.’

“That’s what I mean.”

‘Let’s have sex.’

Big Smile.

Look both ways. Have lots of sex.
Mind the gaps. And smile.

© Bill Reynolds 9/2018