love is not an infatuation. love is a choice. love is the decision every day. not a starry eyed feeling for 50 years, but a conscious effort to treat another the best you possibly can, to care for them, and to commit to them. love may be many things, but effortless is rarely one of them.

i love you.

though at times hidden behind a sky of grey, the sun will peek through on even the darkest of days. one day the sun will rise, and you will see that it’s no longer in the sky, but in the eyes of one that means more than the stars in the sky and the moon that embraces them.

keep your moon, and your stars.

just be my sunshine.

what defines me?

is it the clothes i wear? the place i live? the skeleton and muscle that make up my body? the job i have?

words define me. the words that come from my mouth and pen and heart. the ideas. stories. the innocence and guilt. the crimes i’ve committed and lives i’ve saved.

i am the guilt that drives me. i am the crimes that haunt me. but i am also the hopes and dreams. i am the proud moments where i do the right thing. i just pray, at the end of it all, that in my own eyes the decent acts i’ve contributed outweigh the cowardly failings i have allowed.

i don’t want to be alone in a world of so many drums beating to their own hymns when i am drumming my fingers and hoping that girl at the pulpit will one day tap her feet to the beat and have a seat, next to me.

pain is not weakness leaving the body. pain is a cue that all is not well in the world. whether emotional, physical, mental, or spiritual in nature, we weather the elements of pain or we don’t. every moment is a conscious choice: fear or hope. fear sneaks into our being and absorbs our atoms. fear clouds judgement. fear crushes souls, and leaves scraps in the junkyard of our spirits. yet hope does the same. hope allows us to find the good, to seek the positive. and with hope comes discipline.

fear is a choice. hope is a choice. but one is simply tacit approval while the other requires work.

hope is work. work hard.

vast echoes ricochet through my mind. it is only the constant distraction that prevents them from pealing out through the bass chords i was blessed with. i live afraid. i live nervous. i live guilty. these are not adjectives i use lightly or darkly. i believe the poison dripping through their letters is potent and suffused by their very mention.

where will this self destruction turn? i know and preach the path. i stray. but i walk on in the hope that the souls of my feet will again find confidence. i want no painless road. the first footprints in the deep-dusted snow are not easily won. but because of them others may join.

this is my lot. i just need more snowstorms.

start #1

he only had six breaths left to draw. and now five. i could feel his pulse racing, as the beads of clouded sweat trickled slowly from his grizzled cheek and was lost in his salt and peppered beard.

he had to know i saw him approach. the canyon is too narrow to pass unnoticed, unless you know it like family. he knows i grew up here – this place is as much a part of me as my little sister Grace.

as guilt and rage welled up in me i pushed the blade deeper, farther, closer to the core of his being. or where it once was held; i miscounted by a breath.

this gulley will never be the same. i hate it now. i cannot return.

clean knife, clean gun, good fun

the words from my late father echo in my head and guilt sweeps over me for not attending to my tools. tools. what a word for these things i grew up using to hunt and scavenge prey.