Through the Fire I Came (A Final Ode to Mom)

Little Flower

 

When we die, we not only take with us an experience of life, but we also take with us each and every possibility, each and every bit of potential, we have ever been blessed with. What we leave is the concrete portions of our journey, save the ambitious delusions of a certain few who make us much more than what we were as they, too, deal with the certainty of loss. We, take with us any hope for forgiveness, any hope for our own sense of redemption.

My mother has passed on, leaving this world and taking with her any hope of such things.

I’ve kept busy in this strange sense of loss, struggling as I do between the battle of great hurt and great love. Yes, I am angry in my pain. My mother never made amends for her actions. She never acknowledged the pain she caused, or even sought forgiveness for a past rife with hurt. She never addressed the ripples she caused, or the fiery destruction in so many of the lives she touched.

Her obituary touched, as they always do, on the great things she had done in life. She had her goodness, her joys, her loves, and she was not without purpose. Yet her son sat in despair wondering where the sanity was, and wondering if anyone in the family he left behind would have the strength or truthfulness to offer an open embrace. I questioned, often aloud to the full moon rising above my ocean, which was more likely the reality –  their lies or my truth. There is no true winner there.

No embrace ever came, and the chances for redemption seemed to pass on with the soul of my mother. Tonight I offered a solemn wish into my hand, dove it beneath the surface of my ocean’s waves, and let it go into the sea. I’ve symbolically made it part of every thing, of every life, of every action in this Universe we call ours.

I didn’t learn of my mother’s passing from my sister, or my stepfather, or a person I call “cousin”, or any of the “family” I left behind. No, was told via Facebook message from the only woman I’ve trusted my entire life, from the only family I’ve ever truly known. I was told my mom had died, and I realized with her went the only chance I would ever have of being recognized as her son. Not as a traitor for telling the truth. Or a bastard for not living the lie. Or a heathen for never, ever, wanting to lie to my niece and nephew.  No, in my family you are ostracized because you won’t lie, because when you tell the truth with as much veracity as they tell the lie, you are simply not welcome.

So now I am sad, but I certainly was angry.  That anger brought me back to a place I haven’t been to in some time. I don’t like it there, and although I know the choice to visit was mine, I felt it a place I had to go. Even if for one last time.

I am one who believes that sometimes it is necessary to burn bridges, and burn them right down to their foundations. I want to see them in ashes, and then I want to see the swirly winds of time take those heated embers to places I will never visit or see again. Let those who love the pain burn themselves. I am not one of them, I want mountains or the beach. I want a place where few bridges remain, and those that exist take me to the sound of breaking waves or the view of majestic summits tickling the clear-blue sky.

I’ve tried to burn that bridge down in my heart, in my mind. Yet, I’ve found it is often water-logged with the tears of a lonely boy, a misguided man, a lost son and an impossible friend. Sometimes the puddles I’ve left behind just won’t let that fucker burn, and large parts remain to be dealt with another day. I’ve always hoped that they’d dry in the summer sun but, alas, they are still here pointing the way to chaos. Chaos I’m sure to visit now that the Queen of that place has died.

We do, sometimes have to revisit those places of turmoil. I don’t fear those places, I loathe them. I am slow to draw my sword for battle anymore, something that is more a sign of experience than age.  Instead, I sink in despair when those battles come, and I find myself warring with soldiers of delusion, of misspent hostility and ridiculous drama. Their flag seems empty, their battle cries futile, and their strategy that of toddlers playing in knee-deep sand once used by kittens as a toilet.

I’ve discovered over the last week just how much I loathe that battle. I dove out of it as fast as I could, finding victory not in defeating this dwarf army, but in getting out of the fight as quickly as I could. In the end, all I could do is shake my head in disbelief, then smile in the recognition that is was not them who grew smaller since we last we met, it was I who had grown much larger.

In the end I offered them love, and an understanding. At least from my perspective. To a vampire the Sun is a lethal poison and the darkness quite a paradise, and to those in the enchanting embrace of pain and suffering love is, often, a cross too great to bear. I can’t apologize for loving them, and I can’t stop being me just because they want to fight. I first reacted much like I would have when I was but a sapling, but now I stand tall against the wind, graciously accepting its challenge and offering repentance to my pain. I love myself in my tears, in my throes of anger, and in my final, much deeper, recognition of who I a truly am.

I often go back in time to the boy who was me. I tell him to hang in there, and deeply experience the pain for the lessons it will provide. Funny, but I remember when I was a boy going forward in time to the man who would be me, telling him to hang in there, that somehow this would all make sense one day. We are both right.

Even though the world was burning around me as a child, I survived. Even a world seen as desolate and devoid of love has changed. Through the fire I came, and through the heat I was tempered into something much stronger than I would have been without it. My mother made me, and through a myriad of my own choices I now stand firm in a place of my own choosing saying words of my own making while sharing thoughts from a mind unafraid of itself.

Mom, I say thank you. Thank you..for…me. Pardon me if I say that I don’t want to be much like you, even as I wonder if a part of you has always hoped I’d say that. Excuse me if I try to live my life in a much different way than you had lived yours, even if I smile at the thought that perhaps that was ALWAYS your plan. Forgive me if I smile while fondly remembering you singing into your microphone/shot glass to Tammy Wynette songs. Allow me to remember the first puppy you brought home, or the many times you’d pretend to sleep while I’d sneak into your room to tickle your feet. I’m sorry if I remember the best times of our lives as the times when we had nothing but each other. I’m lucky to have such memories when you were a single mom of two and we were dirt poor. God, life seemed so good then.

Don’t worry, I will stop by to see you before I head westward. While you seemed to stop being my mom I am, still, your son. Yes, I know, perhaps you were saving me. Perhaps you knew that the best place for your boy was in the place you were not. Perhaps you knew what kind of man I’d become if only I were free from…you.

I know your life wasn’t easy, and the choices you made were hard. I know that you were tortured, misled, misguided and hurt in many, many ways. I know you were not perfect in the eyes of others, and in that, we have much in common. Such things seem all-too-hereditary.

I will be alone when I visit, and what we share will be uniquely ours and shared with no one else. To that, I swear.

Good night. I’m done. I have nothing left inside me.

 

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The Man on the Fence

Fence with ivy

 

When we see ourselves in the mirror, what is it we see?

Do we see the beauty we are, or do we see the definition of us through the eyes of others? Do we see a trusted lover, or do we see the villain in some Biblical play? Do we see a savior or an executioner riddled with guilt he can never seem to shed?

We are, it seems, nothing more than a cacophony of ideas born through a myriad of experiences.  Each unique in its way, each different in the space from which it views all others. To the rose the muddy waters are poison, to the lily they are home, to the Observer both are equally beautiful.

I do love you, me, that man in the mirror. 
I do love you, me, that woman whom I see. 
I do love you, me, that stranger in the distance. 
I do love you, me, that song that set me free.

And yet, a man sits smiling at himself, nearly laughing at his own debacle. In the voiceless pasture he smiles, knowing what must be done to till this sullen field. On the crowded side he sighs, knowing what must be done to stir the sunken stew within the cauldron the voices will not let him forget.  When on the fence he sits, studying the marveled meaning of it all, knowing each side has it merits in the experience he certainly wants to have.

I curse at you while in the mud before that lily blooms. How dare you assault me at my core, disturb me in my peace, berate me in my solemn slumber? I throw my stones you at you cursed sinners, never quite hitting my mark but knowing I’ve hurt you just the same. The muffled thud, the risen welt, the bruise begins to form.

I curse at me in the well-tilled soil before the rose bursts alive her gifts. How could you lose control, forget your inner light, curse the darkness that gives you rest? I cut myself with the sharpened shards of glass born as I fired bullets within my simple house of glass. ‘Tis lost too many a moment stuck wiping up the blood from places I simply should have left, a frail man pretending to be strong when surrender was all that needed to be done.

I laugh aloud as I sit upon my withered fence. My, how beautiful that lily blooms once the mud has been stirred beneath her feet! How wonderful that rose opened to meet the summer sun! “What is the problem?” I ask from atop my aged perch?

“There is no problem here,” the muddy voice lies. “Certainly no problem here,” comes the calling of the rose. I laugh alive in merriment, not know which is truth and which is lie, but not caring the least in either.

In the spaces that I’ve sat, the waters that I’ve swam and in the rose bushes that I’ve bled, it all comes down to this: Two feet stuck firmly on the Earthen heaven that I stand, a body assaulted yet not succumbed, a mind tested but not defeated, a heart weathered but beating loudly. On either side of the middle there are the places that I play, but it is in the middle that I know. It’s a place of not-yet-Sun but not-yet-storm. It’s a place where the greenest pastures meet and lie to one another, each protesting that “I am greener yet” even if they find no wanderers there to tease. It’s a place were the stones and broken glass dissolve into some wonderful harmony. It’s a place we all can visit, if only we’d sit and play still for a while.

To those I’ve hit with rocks from my garden, I beg for your forgiveness. To those who’ve clunked themselves with rocks tilled from my own soil, I’d bet you to please let go. To those who’ve marveled at my broken glass, please put on your shoes. I’ve grown tired of the crimson treasures you leave behind.

Now I say “good night”, and tomorrow I let come. There is so much to do.

 

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Goodbye, Dear Mother

I want to disclaim that I am not sure where this piece is going, or how it will get there. I can only say it needs to come out of me in whatever fashion it wants, in whatever form it decides to take.

There are so many times when you are faced with where you’ve come from. Each time is a challenge, each time is a test. Mostly, though, each time is a testament to where you are.

Just now, a few moments ago, I found out my mother died. We had no real relationship in the last decade, save the actions and reactions I’d have to certain things. As much as I tried to distance myself from her, there was always something there that reminded me that she was never really that far away, despite the distance I tried to put between us.

My mother didn’t have an easy life it seems. She was born an Army brat to a tough German father who lived quite often in the old methods of old days. I would hear stories of switches being used, of abuse in the household and the fact that it was “the way it was”, as if there could never be any need to change it. I was told my Grandfather wanted a son, and as such she was given the nickname “Mike” despite not being born with the desired parts.

Yet, I could never be quite sure of what was truth when it came to my mother. My life was filled with a steady stream of lies, and I learned how to be quite a good liar from someone I considered “the master.” I could watch her feign illness to get sympathy from a relative, or to end a conversation she didn’t want to have, or to begin a conversation with someone who wanted so much to be somewhere else.

I learned much more egregious lies that are better suited for another time and place. Those lies affected me greatly, first creating a master liar in me who distrusted everything, and then creating a man so in love with the truth he could embrace nothing else. I haven’t rejected lying, I’ve simply replaced it with such a love of truth that nothing else fits between the spaces in my life.

I can thank my mother for that to some large extent. I’m not a guy who is honest because I was taught to be, I’m honest because I was taught not to be, and I learned the destruction and sadness that dishonesty creates firsthand, not from a textbook or words of some great master somewhere.

I learned violence from my mother. The first time I got beat up was by her hand. I learned a great lesson in the beatings and painful words she’d hurl at me with reckless abandon. While the little boy felt the pain in both body and soul, the man realizes a great wisdom in such a perspective. Mom, there are few people out there who could match your intensity when angry or your wit when words were all you could use as a weapon. At least I haven’t met any.

Yet, out of that, I now stand firm in my own perspective, and strong in my own wisdom. No man could match your fury, and no insult could challenge me as much as the ones you offered me. I have risen beyond those limitations in no small part because you taught me the power of my own thoughts, the strength of each and every agreement I make, and the focus necessary to create a truth much different from the one I was taught.

I was taught loss from my mother. Whether it was the relationship with my biological father that was prevented, or the loss of everything I ever knew as a child as I grew beyond my youth, you taught me loss well. Your lessons are seen in the relationships destroyed by my own dysfunction, in the friendships I keep at arm’s length, and in the empty spaces that now permeate my life. Your lessons were seen in the self-destructive agreements I once made, in the patterns of denial and desperation I once cut into the cloaks and shrouds of a boy afraid of his own shadow.

Yet, I learned a great love of aloneness. I’ve learned new agreements along the way. I’ve learned a new way of living that was not taught to me out of some book or from some perfect family, but rather taught to me by walking in the brier patches and sharp, rocky inclines. It was my falls that taught me to stand, my sadness that taught me great joy, and my willingness to lose everything in order to find the things most important to me in a life I only wish to live well.

It was you who not only gave me the strength to stand, but also the ability to think beyond what anyone else would teach me I am.

Recently, I had the great fortune of telling someone how much I love my life, and how certain I am that I would not change a thing. I was able to, with not much description, explain how the painful past brought me to a place of great joy, how the loss brought me great gain, and how each and every moment led to a great perspective in the next. You were in each thought, dear mother, and I discovered that I was not angry with you at all.

Instead, I was very grateful. Grateful because you were the “far from perfect” mother. Grateful because you taught me all you had to teach. Grateful because in all of the mothers the universe could have picked, it picked you. Did I often pray for the Brady Bunch parents? Absolutely, but I know that my life would have been one boring hodge-podge of illusion….something I certainly don’t delve in much today.

Now, as I sit in my writing chair with tears streaming down my face, I understand that I have always loved you. While distance was the best choice for us in this existence, we were always close. Each time I got angry with my own little ones and decided to hug them instead of beat them. Each time I let my kids be who they were instead of creating them into something else. Each time I remember myself not too long ago…

And while you weren’t the bandage that healed the wounds, you certainly gave me the drive to find them.

You were not a bad person in the grand scheme of things. You created greatness. I don’t judge you as harshly as I once did, and I see you as someone who has a great value. Each time I pick up my proverbial sword to do battle with equally proverbial demons I raise it to you, for you not only taught me how to wield that sword but you also taught me how to love within the battle, and how to silence those voices you once gave me. Both the silence and the voices were your greatest gifts to me.

You gave me a stick, dear woman, and I no longer beat myself with it.  Instead, I decided to paint with it, and while the stick is mine, you did, in fact, give me it. What a great gift it turned out to be.

Peace.

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Another End (A Poem)

InfinityTo the morning's dread she struck a tune,
Alive, I wished her well,
In such chaotic memory,
It's only memories that swell.

In the end she came and in the end she went,
Gone, there's only me.
For in the moment's happenstance,
The waves will set you free.

Be careful what chimes you reach for,
Be sure of what song you've sung,
For when the bell sings a hollow truth,
That bell can't be unrung. 

A saintly bundle of flesh and bone,
I watch her walk away...
Whatever lies she's told herself,
She'll repeat another day.

I've gone within I've gone without,
In truth, my only sin,
Was handing over the light that's me,
To those who've never been.

So, as I watch her leave through painful tears,
I smile, for goodness sake.
A joy rebounds, I've regained myself,
In a smile I cannot fake.

Sometimes the end brings us to truth
Sometimes suffering's a friend,
And when you let go of all that was,
You can begin another end.
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Goodbye…

Photo by Tom Grasso
Photo by Tom Grasso

“I am leaving you soon,” I said quietly. “I’m not sure when I’ll be back, but know you are forever in my heart.”

I kicked the sand at my feet, afraid to look at Her directly. She had been there for me during the toughest of times, and had given me peace during moments of shear terror. She had been my friend, my confidant, and my partner through some of the toughest moments of my life.

She always whispered softly to me, and always knew just what to say. She’d softly caress me when I was unsteady, and let me know when it was time to move. She’d listen without fear, answer without judgment, and always loved me with the best of who She was.

“My heart is happily breaking,” I went on. “I don’t want to leave, but know it’s time. I need to move on, and I need a new beginning.”

She just loved me, in Her usual patient way.

Little tears formed where She was kissing me. I watched them fall to the Earth, as in paying homage to the power of our connection, leaving a trail behind that seemed to be a reminder of the moments we had shared. Even tears, it seems, know when to move on.

I heard a gull sing loudly in the background, breaking the steadfast silence between us.

“I will visit you often in my dreams, and when I climb the rocky trail of my new adventure. I just wanted to share these last moments with you, these last few days of remembrance, these last few heartbeats with a part of me that will never leave.”

I saw the spot where I had once broken down, unsure of what was coming while being blinded by what had been. I saw the spots where we talked and walked together, sometimes silently, others with words spilling out of my soul like raindrops from a hurricane. I saw the spot where I once stumbled and fell, and where She did not laugh or hold me judged, but instead forgave me for my weakness and prodded me to keep going. Then there was the spot where I first saw Her, where I stood in awe at Her majesty, knowing fully that I had found my home.

Yet if there was one thing She had taught me is that nothing lasts forever. Even in the spots I held dear there was no evidence of my existence, no proof I’d ever come to visit. Now, it was time for me to vanish, too.

I think She always knew this day would come. She was a wise one, and I think She stood by me to get me to the place I always was destined to be. She picked me up to keep me going, listened to have me empty my soul, and healed me into a strength I never thought I’d see. So, I will always hold Her dear, me a part of Her, Her a part of me.

“Goodbye, and thank you.” Perhaps that was the only homage She needed to hear.

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On Being Human

the untouchables

 

There is a certain delight in being human.

As one, I can take all of the supposed errors of my ways and turn them into some beautiful masterpiece. I can take the so-called mistakes of my past and make them into a wonderful story. I can create a wonderful symphony simply by existing, and I can make a good thing bad or a bad thing good simply by changing my direction.

Yes, there is a certain delight in being human.

I can be a fuck up on one day and a saint on another. I can be the answer to your prayers today and a bastard tomorrow. I can bring you ecstasy now and then make you vomit later. I can bring you joy at sunrise and by sunset be the blame for the flood of tears soaking your pillow. I can be whatever you want me to be, all you have to do is believe it.

I can do nothing, too. I can just sit and watch the waves come at me from some distant horizon. I can just watch the birds dive for their food or fight each other for some lonely piece of bread. I can just hear the cacophony of drama around me without ever letting the tiny reactions within me see the sunlight. I can master myself or lose all sense of control, as a human the choice is mine.

I can lose myself in the shape of your body. I can find myself in the lust in your eyes. I can fly high above the clouds without ever spreading my wings. I can swim great waters without ever getting wet, and I can weave great tales without ever having stepped outside my box.

I can hate you with one hand and hold you in the other. I can fear the sight of darkness while seeking refuge from the light. I can swear an allegiance to liberation while tightly binding my legs in shackles. I can do so much with so very little, or very little with so very much.

I can search so hard for the approval of others that I never truly gain a love of myself. I can become so defined by the wrongs of life as to never see their virtue. I can be a victim and the victimizer all at once, my glory never coming to a mind so filled with beliefs that put me in a place so beneath my true virtue.

I can forget how good it feels to just kiss you in the quest for something more. I can remember nothing but the pain sometimes, because the pain is where I feel at home. I can walk on a beach and never feel the sand, or swim in the Ocean and never feel the water until I am on dry land. I can view the mountain’s sweet majesty and only be focused on what I can’t see beyond it.

Yes, there is a certain delight in being human.

Mostly, I can accomplish miracles. I can end hunger, thirst and injustice simply by choosing to. I can rid the world of my own waste simply but making a choice. I can make a great difference simply by wanting to. I can be myself and find great things beneath the veils I had once heaped upon me. I can find great joy in suffering, great happiness in a life lived not to attain perfection, but to discover perfect is all we are. I can find truth by no longer agreeing to the story, and I can live in harmony simply by forgetting what I’ve seen.

So, I wonder, what keeps me holding on to a god I do not know and a story told to me by men I have never met about experiences I’ve never had. I wonder why I bothered to climb a ladder I refuse to get off of to see a sight I’ll never reach on a land I’ll never till. I wonder why I choose to be the great limiter of my life, and why I’ve chosen to make the truth of others my truth, and their lies my lies. I wonder when I made fiction fact, and fact fiction.

I wonder why, as the rising seas swallow me whole, and the storms rattle me to eternity, I only regret my destruction after it is too late to change it. I wonder when I will learn from my suffering, when I will no longer beat myself with someone else’s whip, and when I will find just sit my ass down, as see, at listen, and act like the Being I wish to be.

The delight of being human is too often defined by its misery. The greatness of man is too often defined by his stupidity. The strength of man is too often defined by his violence.

In Oneness I cannot give up on you even if in separation I have rejected you. In spirit I can’t help but love you even if in mind I despise the ground you walk on. I truth I can only adore you even if in the lie I wish to crush you. It’s in the humanity, in my great delight in being human, that I can make the choice in which space I wish to stand.

It’s all a choice, and it is mine to make.

Peace.

 

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I Come (A Poem)

Photo by Tom Grasso
Photo by Tom Grasso

 

First, I was conceived by others…

Then, I was born…

Created by the image of man in his likeness, vilified, subjugated at the hands of those protesting such love for me.

 

Suddenly…the ground beneath me shook

 

And I suffered,

And I died,

And I was forgotten.

 

Suddenly…the ground around me shook

 

And I leapt into life anew…

Reborn to light, giving praise to the oceans and mountains surrounding me…

Finally, to feel the beat of a gentle song…

Finally, to hear the praise of the westward wind…

Finally, to live myself to Heaven’s gates…

I come.

.

.

.

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Out there…In here

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I’ve heard you. I’ve heard you through the single wolf howling songs on a moonlit plain as the Earth echoed her intention. I’ve heard you in the chorus, in the song, and in the notes which are beautiful by themselves but become a symphony when united. I’ve heard you in the music, in the voices, and in the spaces between them all.

I’ve seen you. I’ve seen you in the wave-swept sands where the past has all-but surrendered to the sea. I’ve seen you in the little puddles that bore witness to a past storm, and I’ve seen you in the little ripples a discarded leaf makes when it lightly lands upon the surface of a stilled lake. I’ve seen you in the forgotten white lines of once painful scars. I’ve seen you in the swollen places that time has yet to heal, and in the unmarked flesh that gives light to the meaning of it all.

I’ve felt you. I’ve felt you in the silence, and in the noise. I’ve felt you in the darkest part of night, an in the brightest moment before the Sun crests the distant horizon. I’ve felt you in the cooling mist of breaking waves, in the warm tundra of sun-drenched sand, and in the fine line that separates the sea from the places we call home. I’ve felt you in the space where desert becomes oasis, where hard becomes soft, and where the cool breeze brings my sweaty skin to church in worship of the moment.

I’ve known you without ever kissing your lips or feeling the softest parts of your hand hold my own. I’ve known you without ever a word whispered in my ear, or a slight nibble on my shoulder. I’ve known you despite the distance and the time, and I’ve known you beyond the human measure of knowing what I know.

I’ve fought battles beside you without ever knowing your name. I’ve had your back without ever knowing where you were. I’ve caressed your skin, wiped your tears, and held you firm in your darkest hour. I’ve tickled you, brought you to the height of ecstasy, and heard you scream my name without ever laying a finger on the places that, I can only imagine, are begging for my touch.

I’ve been awakened by your movement through the empty space that lies beside me. I’ve been known to smile at nothing but the thought of you, and be brought to tears by the mere mention of your name. I stir in the deepest parts of peace just knowing you exist, and I’ve been raised off my knees to bear witness to the power of the song that’s brought me here, to the light that has shown me the way.

I’ve grown tall throughout these many years so that you may find firmness when you lay your head upon me. I’ve grown broad to shield you from the light that burns your brow. I’ve given life to fruit that nourishes your hunger, and I point the way to waters that will satisfy your deepest thirst. I’ve bent my knee to give you honor, and I’ve risen to give you love. I’ve suffered, so that I may live again.

In the truest testament of Love, I offer you my sword to place divinely within your scabbard. I surrender my shield that I may test the pains of death before I doubt you by my side. I’ve discarded my armor, knowing I have no need for faith beyond the sight of you. Whatever battles there are to come, I have all I need in the space I share with you.

 I’m here, there, everywhere…

No need to look or call.

For in this moment’s misery…

You find the beauty of it all.

 

I’ve heard you cry, I’ve heard you sing

Out beyond the mountains true.

But when you fly where I can’t see

It’s where I find myself in you.

 

For near the end we come to find,

As this body slowly bends,

That in letting go of all control

It’s  true love that never ends.

 Out there, a wolf utters her prayer to the sullen winter’s night. Out there, waves break and crest upon a summer’s scorching sands. Out there, a lonely leaf flutters down to break the stillness of a peaceful pond. Out there…well, the song is only music, the light is only stars, and the Sunrise is only a new day beginning.

Yet in here, in this space we share as two kindred souls writing the same song, the music found in rhythm, the settling of jostled sands, the ripples found in happenstance, all a testament of prayers that were never spoken. Thus lays the universal language of lovers. Therein radiates the power of silence, the strength of true compassion and the magnificence of single touch upon awakened skin. Therein is born the desire of conscious men and conscious women who know the value of their ecstatic combat. Therein lays the true meaning of relationship, of truth, and of holy love.

So, walk with me my queen. Lay with me upon the silken sands of my ocean home. Climb with me the highest peaks that we can find and make love to me upon their summit. Hold me firm when I begin to stumble so that I may pick you up and carry you when you grow too weak to walk. Guide me to your waiting breast and let me show you how an awakened man loves his awakened woman.

Fear not the changes that are to come. Jump excitedly from your empty nest into the plentiful unknown. Sacrifice the chains you’ve used for comfort to the uncomfortable freedom you so desperately wish to know. Fly high as Angels will, and do not stay put on this rocky soil to placate the birds who fear to fly. Instead, show them the way so that those who choose may kiss a summer’s sky. Sing your songs of merriment so that others may move to such a rhythm. Dance your joy until others know the movement. Howl at your loving moon until others see it, too.

In the end, I will hear you. I will see you, and I will feel you. Mostly, I will have known you, a true blessing in a life full of them. In the end, I will lay a flower upon your altar, burn a candle to light your image, and utter a silent prayer to the power of connection that goes beyond us mortal men. May each day be such an end, and such a beginning, and may this prayer find itself in the hallowed halls of eternity.

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A Story Just for You!

I am both overjoyed and deeply grateful to announce a new service I am providing.

Recently, I was asked to write “personal” stories for some folks who follow my work, which I was more than happy to do. Of course I was unsure of what would be produced, but was very happy when the finished product was born, and was more than overjoyed at the reactions I received.

Here are a couple of reactions (offered by permission):

“Mr. Grasso,

I can’t thank you enough for taking the time to not only write this piece for us but for really listening and providing us with a beautiful, sensual, erotic and very accurate description of our relationship and the love we share. You have captured the essence of “us” and this is something we will both cherish. On a daily basis, your writings touch us both to the core of who we are but this piece is different. It is personal. We couldn’t be happier with this. Thank you just doesn’t seem like enough.

From our hearts to yours,

K.”

“Words that separate an enlightened man from an intelligent boy. In the deepest part of heart Tom has managed to thread the last strand of silk in the web of the life of human relationships. The essence of a woman borne to life living through everything that is visceral and culpable.  The letters on the page forming dew drops on the brink of falling, they glisten, and with each word manages to have you gasping for a taste. Words that seem to fall from the halls of Zeus and Aphrodite raining on a civilization that has forgotten what it means to truly be alive. A reminder of what it means to have flesh warmed with the beating heart. A very talented writer whose words wind themselves around your limbs like spider silk, and when you are so enthralled you cannot move, they pierce your skin, enter your blood, numb your thoughts. Inside you they work their magic. Thank you Tom for your words which not only form prose but poetry for the hearts of the generations to follow.” ~Nicolette Lora Goodwin

So, whether you want a story written for a loved one as a gift, or a story for yourself, I would be more than happy to write one that is written only for you. This piece will not be shared (unless you ask for it to be), and will be written solely for whatever purpose you want. All I ask is that the copyright remain, and that any rendition you do of this work references the author (me). You are free to take the piece and to with it whatever you want under those understandings.

Please feel free to contact me via Facebook Messenger or email (Gyandeva.Writes@gmail.com) to get the ball rolling. I accept PayPal or credit cards for this service.

I also accept donations via PayPal on my blog at www.tomgrassowriter.com.

Thank you so much for following me, and for giving life to my dream of putting little pieces of me out into the Universe.

Much love,

Gyandeva

 

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I am Strong. I am Ready. I am ME

Shipley upperSometimes I just stand there, on the edge of a sheer cliff, afraid to fall. I look all around me, remembering everything that I fear, and it freezes me in a moment replayed in my life over and over again. I struggle to grasp at hand holds that don’t really exist, while looking all around me for the safety that was never truly mine to have.

Yes, I freeze. Yes, I panic. Yes, I thrash all about like a fucking fish caught in a net. I never seem to realize that the net is my own making, my own design, and my own failure.

Sometimes I just want to get all “giggity” with it. In those times I thumb my nose at society, causing what others call “a stirring of the pot”. I rail against the ideas of man that seem to bind him to a prison he’s chosen to live in. I lash out, pointing my finger in disdain and ideological superiority. I can’t help myself, I’ve lived so many things and felt so much in this life that I know better.

Yes, I know better. Or so I think. In the moments when society acts in disharmony I react. When ideas become more important that souls, I respond. When beliefs trump people I stand up, needing to be heard. I am the rescuer, the protector. It is who I am.

So I thrash around like a fish in a net reacting to all I see as injustice in the world, never realizing (again) that the net is of my own making, and of my own design. I battle its rusted cords, and it responds by binding me tighter to the very things I struggle against. I become those things simply by giving them my attention.

I don’t vilify myself for these sins. It is these moments when I miss the mark of joy, that I truly get to experience completeness. I realize their purpose, which is and always will be, to enhance my experience. I realize I struggle not because of what is, but because of the net I’ve created that tells me what should be. I don’t struggle because of the way others see me, I struggle because of the way I see myself in their judgment.

There is always little gaps in the joys of man. Rolling hills exist in the valleys, and the valleys exist upon the summits of our lives. Once, little gaps of consciousness filled my unconscious moments. Now, it is just the opposite, with those tiny valleys of fear providing me with the contrast I need to see the enormous summits of great promise all around me.

I don’t seek to be perfect because I realize I am already perfect. Yes, I hear you, that annoying little voice of Young Tommy singing in my ear. I know calling myself perfect is a travesty. It is narcissistic, it is egoic, and it is a painful reminder of how imperfect we are taught to be. Yes, I hear you, and I realize in my soul of Souls that you are just another voice I need to know in order to know myself, and I honor you in the passing. Enjoy the show, Young Man, you are about to be realized.

So I took a walk this morning. I wrestled with my fears and my anxiety, and the belief that I still have much to lose. I have nothing, and once I conquer the fear of losing nothing I can regain my composure enough to keep climbing. I will deal with judgments the way I deal with the voices in my life because, after all, they are nothing more than my own voice replayed to me by the walls of the canyons I now survey. Those echoes once drove me, and still do to a certain point, and perhaps now it is time to hear a different tune.

Perhaps the greatest gifts I have to give is the great love I have within me. That love won’t always show itself in the way we were taught. It won’t always smile, or gently caress, or offer words that appear to encourage. Sometimes that love shows itself in a frown, in a tear, in the sharpness of my tongue and the courage of my wit. Sometimes it looks harsh, and others it looks amazingly like something far from the paintings of love we like to pretend are truthful realities.

Sometimes love looks like an earthquake. Sometimes it looks like a volcanic eruption. Sometimes it is so destructive that we fear it, and run and hide from its non-judgmental eyes. Sometimes it sweeps us away in winds, or carries us to oblivion in floods, or burns us into ash by fire. Yet, it is love nonetheless, judged harshly as something far more sinister, created by the egos of man simply afraid of his own shadow.

So, sometimes I’ll shake you. Sometimes I will blow you away. Sometimes you will burn the bridge that binds us in the very thought of me. None of that changes the fact that I love you, even if the wind carries you far away from the space on which I sit. I may be rooted here, and the wind may carry you there, but you will always be a part of me. Where you go, a part of me goes with you, even if you see that part as something unworthy of the journey, and even if you have no recollection of the adventure we share.

My past allows me to see my present though the eyes of perspective. I get to see how much I’ve grown, how much I’ve blossomed in the past years. I now see a mighty Sequoia where a sapling once stood, and while that tree may get jostled in the wind from time-to-time, I know each breeze is but a result of my height. The weather changes near the summit, but you don’t feel it because each step prepares you for the next.

I am strong. I am ready. I am, ME.

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