Sunday, March 31, 2013


Happy Easter


It's Easter.

Some days come and go without much ado, like drops of water from a leaky tap, but some days, like today, have something special connected to them. Some people celebrate Easter with a consummate love and passion for all that life offers us. Some find it all a bit desolate and are sometimes more lost than ever.

Some kids have an Easter egg hunt, and some go berserk and shift into chocolate-greed mode and tear the house apart.

Some kids are cool and make their mothers and sometimes their fathers cute Easter cards made from cut-out scraps of coloured paper.

Some grandparents shoot the moon and buy their grandchildren bright, new clothes, and sometimes someone gets another someone something particularly fancy, like a new bike, a fancy hat, or a silver spoon.

Some families share a dinner of something delicious, sometimes a turkey, although some are sick of turkey from Christmas and prefer a glazed ham.

Some single dads are content to spend some of their half-day with their kids at some fast food restaurant, sometimes McDonald's, and sometimes some place a little more special like the IHOP, where the other single dads and their kids go, and some single dads never see their kids at all.

Some folks enjoy the company of relatives and eat and drink and shout "Cheers" or "Hallelujah" when they toast one another with the clink of wine glasses.

Some are content to be by themselves, have toast and jam, and watch TV all day, and some people think that is sad without realising that sometimes those who live alone are happier that way.

Some do get a little wistful, a little nostalgic, and spend the day entertaining the blues because all they can think about are the "good ol' days" when they had true friends and some really good times before their hair fell out, their loved ones checked out, and their hearts grew sore with despair.

Some people celebrate religious stuff, and some ignore all that. Some go to communion, and some just spend the weekend at a family reunion. Some feel blessed by the blood of Christ, and some feel depressed because their faith left them when someone close, like a daughter or a son, a mother or a brother, maybe died a long time ago, or maybe not so long ago, some from a disease like cancer and some from a throw-of-the-dice genetic flaw that was ticking quietly like a pipe bomb and just waiting for some careless moment to blow up a life and spit the shrapnel of hurt and anger into the hearts of some unsuspecting family. So some blame God, and some skip the celebration of resurrection completely, because somehow it doesn't ring true any more. Some remain faithful and continue to feel nourished by their faith, and some just wish life had been maybe a little kinder.

Some of us are lucky to share full and complete lives. Some of us are simply waiting for some kind of miracle, like maybe winning some lottery, while some simply wish for something or anything hopeful.

All this on a day to celebrate how some man, long ago, died but didn't die. Some trick, for sure, but not a magician's trick at all, just some kind of something that some us understand while some of us have never really been able to guess at the meaning of how some of our life, even after death, is always carried forward in the mind and the heart of someone else.

So wherever you are and whatever your situation, here's hoping that, today, you have a Happy Easter, even though it's important to remember that you can't measure happiness by what a single day brings, no matter how "special" that day may seem. Every day is special, and you're special every day.


Thursday, March 28, 2013

In A Pickle

Miss America 2013

In A Pickle

At the time of His crucifixion on a not so good Friday many centuries ago, Jesus wore a crown of thorns. I'm sure that little fashion statement wasn't His choice. Nothing could be more uncomfortable. Granted, the plus side of that particular model of crown would be that there is little chance of having it slip from one's head.

Which brings to mind the Miss America pageant that I watched on television some time ago.

Whenever they crown a Miss America, that sparkling tiara almost always falls off the winner's sleek blonde hairdo. OK, Miss America isn't always blonde, but let's not quibble about stereotypes.

As the story normally unfolds, once the losers have been announced as "runner-ups," the winner goes into a kind of hysterical seizure while we watch last year's Miss America attempt to pinch and bobby pin a crown of glitter on the new Miss America's head. At times, I have to wonder why they don't just use a staple gun. Maybe there's some concern that a staple to the back of such a beautiful head might leave a mark, despite all indications that, more often than not, we're dealing with a cork skull. Perhaps a hot glue gun would be better suited for the task.

I know. I'm being unkind to the beauty pageant world. Lord knows it's a thankless job with few perks and no retirement benefits other than repeated appearances on The Shopping Channel.

Pageant girls start early in life, and before the age of five, they are dressed in frilly clothes and made up to look like Church Street hookers. I don't really know if there are hookers on Church Street in your town, or even in my town for that matter, but I like the image it creates. Smacks of irony, don't you think?

At any rate, in the world of beauty pageantry, thousands of young girls are dragged from town to town, city to city, where they compete in one beauty contest after another, all for the glory of wearing a crown.

As the years go by, these girls lose their front teeth and watch their bodies go berserk. Most grow up and become ordinary looking young women, get married, have babies, and some time around menopause, file for divorce or become United States senators. A select few somehow sustain that Hollywood, starry-eyed "beauty" and continue along the road to regalia, adding such titles as Miss Kentucky Korn Harvest or Miss Purina Gravy Train to their resumés. Eventually, the most successful girls go on to the really big beauty contests — first the Miss Teen America pageant and then, of course, the grandest event of all, the Miss America pageant.

Once in a while, one or two pageant girls are murdered. But that's another story for another time.

We like crowns. But that doesn't mean just anyone gets to wear one. If you were the Queen of England, you would have a crown, and you could wear it any time you pleased. Off to the ballet? Wear a crown. Out to Sunday brunch at the Holiday Inn? Wear a crown. Suffering a bit of constipation and spending most of the day on the loo? Well, why not? Wear a crown. Of course, from my experience, Queen Liz II of England doesn't often wear a crown at all. I suspect she worries about being mistaken for Miss America.

Now, if you're President of the United States, you wouldn't dare wear a crown. People would worry that you were getting uppity, a tad too arrogant, and just a bit too full of yourself in a country that believes itself to be a democracy in which all men and women are told that they are created equal, except at income tax time. So no crown for the President. Seems a shame really. The leader of the most powerful country in the world should have some distinguishing garb. Maybe a cape would work? Or a rodeo-sized belt buckle? Perhaps a buckskin coat with a nice fringe and a quiver full of feathered arrows with a bow strapped to his back? Must be something.

I confess that I have often had dreams of wearing a crown. Sadly, it's never a gold crown, never a regal coronet of rubies and diamonds. For the most part, I wake up to the horror of finding myself wearing a crown of gherkins. I'm never sure why that is, but I'm sure the symbolism doesn't escape you.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

the last

the last

and so
this is the last
the last sunrise
and the last sunset
the last walk through a favourite woods
the last ripple of a crystal clear brook
the last splash of salmon spawning
the last meadowlark calling
the last car ride through golden wheat fields
the last flash
and the last crash
of a thunderstorm
coming out of the west

and so
this is the last
the last telephone call
the last sound of genuine laughter
the last whisper of your voice
offering a gentle goodnight
the last getting together for coffee
and the last smile across your face
the last shine of your bright eyes
in the last parting look you gave
just before the blur of your last casual wave
and the last memory
of you walking away

and so
this is the last
the last scent of roses
the last collapse
into your warm arms
the last longing kiss
the last promise
of undying love
the last sleep
spooned in the curve
of your body
the last waking
to the last morning
staying in bed
and the last brushing
away the last raindrop rushing
from the last look of happiness
in your eyes

and so
this is the last
the last solitude
the last butterfly heartbeat
before the last longing for sleep
the last twist of blankets
the last midnight mystery
of the last dream
the last waking in the middle
of the last night
the last nagging question
of how i ended up alone
in this the last empty room
the last stance by the window
the last look over city lights
brightening the last of so many restless nights
that end here in the last hours of this
the last home

and so
this is the last
the last prayer
the last negotiation
with the last hours of breath
the last regret
and the last moment
of happiness
the last confession
and the last absolution
the last shiver
the last shaking hand
grasping for the last
moments of time seeping fast
from a life that simply could not
or would not

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Jumpin' Jack Flash

Life's Little Hurdles

Jumpin' Jack Flash

I have decided to run the 100 metres hurdles in the next summer Olympics.

Oh sure, you snicker and laugh. You can't imagine an old guy with a penchant for metaphor running in the Olympic Games, but don't count me out so quickly. After all, I've been jumping hurdles most of my life, so I may well be better trained for the event than you think.

Now, I'm not completely sure how far 100 metres is. To the best of my knowledge, it's a bit farther than running from here to the bathroom, but I'm sure I can run at least 99 metres, and then when I collapse at the end, I figure some part of my body, maybe a flailing arm, a twitching big toe, or an outstretched middle finger, something will surely flop over the finish line. If not, a bit of grovelling should complete the race. Lord knows, I know about grovelling as well.

Some of you may be asking yourself why I choose to run the hurdles. Why not just run the 100 metres without the hurdles? The straight sprint seems a bit too simple to me. The hurdles involve some thinking, and I need a little challenge to motivate me. Anyway, I'm not sure I'm actually going to jump those little fence rails. I may just plough right through them. No one has perfected that technique yet, and maybe it's time I revolutionized the sport.

Most Olympic runners skip over hurdles quite gracefully. OK, a few runners misjudge things from time to time and fall flat on their faces, and it's all a huge tragedy in their lives. All that training and and all those years of self-sacrifice for nothing. Usually, someone like Spike Lee ends up doing a documentary on them for A&E, because nothing sells better than failure.

Well, how ridiculous is that? When someone loses a seven-year-old daughter to leukaemia or an eighteen-year-old son to a Afghani roadside bomb, then that's tragic. Death-out-of-place is tragic. Tripping over a hurdle in the Olympics or in any aspect of life is just a boo-boo. You simply have to pick yourself up and keep running for the finish line.

Not everyone keeps running. Some quit and veer off the track to have a bottle of Gatorade while they think up excuses for not finishing the race. They'll say things like, "The hurdles were set up all wrong ..." or "My asthma kicked in just as I was about to really take off for gold ..." Those are great excuses, way better than anything I could think up, but then, I'm not really about excuses.

I figure you finish what you start. Start a book? Finish it. Start your dinner? Finish it. Start a relationship? Finish it. Start a divorce? Finish that too. For good or bad, finish everything. Otherwise, you end up wondering and dancing the "what-if" shuffle. To be honest, that kind of wondering is the worst condition I can imagine.

You can't live your life sitting around and muttering, "I wonder if I had done this ... I wonder if I had done that ... I wonder how my life would have been different?" Leave all that "Road Not Taken" stuff to the poets and the dreamers. All that wondering just screws up your brain, and you forget about the purpose. The purpose? Yes, the purpose — the why you are here kicking around this earth for a short while. We all have a purpose. Most people don't know what their purpose is, but so what? One day it will become obvious, so stay on the track and keep running the race until you hit the finish line.

If you see me out there smashing my way through hurdles, be sure to say "Hello." Maybe we can run together for a couple of metres or so.

If you don't see me there, don't be alarmed. After all, it's just 100 metres, and no one gets to race forever. The best anyone can do is to run while you can and, one way or another, conquer every hurdle along the way.


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

if love comes ...

On The Beach

if love comes ...

if love comes
it comes slowly
like the cooling flutter of a hesitant sun shower
from white winsome clouds
on a hot summer’s day

if love comes
it comes with a purpose
like the breath of an artist’s brush
finding colour on a empty canvas
and capturing everlasting beauty

if love comes
it comes with hope
like the look in newborn eyes
believing the world has strong hands
that will offer soft care forever

if love comes
it comes with a silent wish
that reaches far beyond any dreamy distant star
to the end of space where faith is firm
and every wish comes true

if love goes
if it crumbles or wastes away
all the world dissolves into sudden silence
too deafening for any poetic heart
to describe


Tuesday, March 19, 2013




It's funny how at the beginning of a new relationship, people like to talk about their past. For the most part, I guess that is a good thing. Much of who you are is a product of your various experiences in life. Your family, your childhood, your education, your religion — all of these helped shape who you are. So, I guess if two people want to know what makes the other person tick, then it's important to talk about certain things.

What always astounds me, however, is when someone starts talking about past lovers. For me, that kind of information should be locked up in the vault of memory and left unspoken.

When a lady begins to tell me about her past lovers, I am never sure if there is some kind of standard or expectation being set. Saying something like, "I once dated a guy who was 6' 8"," makes me feel short. Saying, "I once dated a guy who was 14 years younger than me," makes me feel old. Saying, "I once dated a guy who drove a Maserati," makes me feel poor. And to be honest, I don't want to feel short, old and poor.

No, some things need not be said, and I have never been idiotic enough to ask. And still, there is some impulse in people to throw the unspeakable out there, like you were a priest listening to confession.

I once dated a woman who casually mentioned to me on the phone one night that I was #19. At first, I wasn't sure to what she was referring, but in a moment of unusual insight for me, I realised she was saying that I was her 19th lover. I didn't want to be #19. Such an ugly number, not really divisible by anything, not really important in any manner I can think of, not really a happy number at all. Being #20 might have been OK, but not #19. At #20, you get a sense of beginning a new series. At #19, you're like the dribs and drabs of a kind of worn out sequence. Of course, I had no choice but to break up with her right then and there on the telephone, but before I did, I made sure I said, "You're #103." After all, fair is fair.

I am a firm believer in the confidentiality of the bedroom. Want to know how many women have been in that inner sanctum? Well, I'm not telling. Want to know if any were older or ridiculously younger? Forget it. Want to know if any were short, tall, fat, skinny, A cup or double EE cup? My lips are sealed. Want to know if any were African, Asian, Indian, Latin, or Klingon? Nope, not telling that either.

I think that too much information is just that — too much information. It's hard enough starting a relationship without having to undergo a class in the history of the other person's libido. Once you know, you know. It's not information that you can easily forget. You can't just reformat the hard drive of your brain. So, whenever you think the two of you are doing something new and exciting, whoops, up pops the notion that this might not be new and exciting at all, that you are really just entering the "been-there-done-that" zone.

No, they say that "Curiousity killed the cat," and for good reason, because what you don't know can't hurt you, and at the risk of tossing a salad of mixed metaphors here, I'm the kind of guy who is just happy to be opening Pandora's box. I'm certainly not interested in muddling around in there to see if there's an oversized U-Haul truck ready to transport all the nasties out.


Monday, March 18, 2013

A Good Life

Heart In Glass

After all is said and done, after all the heartaches and the headaches, after a million mistakes and even more bad breaks, you have to admit ... it’s been a good life.

© Copyright, Kennedy James. All rights reserved.


Sunday, March 17, 2013

A Day At The Spa

Serene Green

A Day At The Spa

I think I need a day at the Spa. Not the spa that grinds and slimes your body into some sort of physical state of euphoria. No, I need a weekend at the Mind & Soul Spa, where you get your feelings and doubts and guilt and all those other psychological nuances crushed and flushed out.

I want to be dipped in a mental mud bath, where I can wallow in the sticky goo and moan and groan about how unfair life is. Then, when they hose me off, I'll feel as though all the real or imagined agonies of my life will just be washed away and swirl clockwise down the drain.

I don't want a manicure or a pedicure. I want a psyche-cure. I want some wisp of a girl to sandpaper off the callouses on my soul.

I have always found it to be a mystery that, as time goes by, people watch their bodies crinkle and sag, but they never really consider that their inside lives might be doing the same. One's hopes, beliefs, morals, ambitions — all change as we get older. Some of these become redundant, because we fulfill some of our dreams, and these dreams become the realities of our daily lives. Other expectations and promises to ourselves are transformed by the wear and tear of disappointment and failure.

Just as the body needs constant attention, so too does our sense of completeness, our happiness. Too many people exercise and diet to prolong the physical side of life, without considering that the spiritual side of life also needs some kind of regimen of exercise and diet. Some writers and philosophers suggest that the two go hand in hand, that body and soul are interdependent.

One thing is certain. Happiness is never some kind of finality, never some completed jigsaw puzzle that can be framed and displayed on the kitchen wall, never really so concrete that you can hold on to it forever. Tomorrow, a shift in your emotional landscape may twist the nail from that wall, and your beautifully completed puzzle may fall to the floor and shatter into 1001 pieces again. Just ask anyone who has lost a loved one in a car accident how fragile happiness can be.

Well, therein lies the dilemma. Do you pick up the puzzle pieces amidst the shards of glass and start over? Or do you simply sweep the whole mess into the trash and give up the struggle?


Saturday, March 16, 2013

On Any Given Day

Sunrise Through The Rain

On Any Given Day

On any given day ...
Someone will fall in love

On any given day ...
Someone's heart will break

On any given day ...
Someone will love and know you for just who you are

On any given day ...
Someone will love and know only your clever disguise

On any given day ...
A young boy or a young girl will know a first kiss

On any given day ...
Someone will never know another kiss

On any given day ....
Lovers will couple and know true passion

On any given day ...
Someone will pray for another chance at love

On any given day ...
You will feel joy for what you have

On any given day ...
You will feel anger for what you are missing

On any given day ...
You will feel trusted

On any given day ...
You will feel betrayed

On any given day ...
Someone from your past will remember you and wonder what if

On any given day ...
Someone will not remember you at all

On any given day ...
Someone will wish you happiness

On any given day ...
Someone will wish you harm

On any given day ...
You will feel the warmth of life on your face

On any given day ...
You will feel nothing at all

On any given day ...
A child will be born and the world will shift gently to the right

On any given day ...
Someone will pass from life and the world will shift gently to the left

On any given day ...
You will feel a sense of wonder

And wonder why some things are true
Only on any given day


Friday, March 15, 2013




Variety is the spice of life. Or so the saying goes.

Most people are content to live a life of routine. One day sort of blends into the next day. Variety? It usually comes as a surprise. It's like you're standing on the same street corner you were standing on yesterday and the day before that. Then, one day, something is different. Something doesn't look the same or feel the same. Something is out of kilter, and who you were those days before is not who you are now. You try to readjust everything, get it all back to normal, but the more you try, the more peculiar it feels. You've changed, and you can't even explain what that is. You've somehow stepped or stumbled from before into an unshakable after. You may not like it, but there's no turning back.

I think change is important. It helps you grow as a person. So many people live lives of quiet resignation, folks satisfied with what is comfortable.

Change is never comfortable. It upsets the little brain waves in your head, because it asks you to be someone different from yourself, if only in some little way.

When asked if there is something they would change in their lives, most people will say that there is. In fact, when I conducted a survey in the gym yesterday morning, one out of one person confirmed my suspicions. People want to change. Unfortunately, most don't know how to change.

Oh sure, they know how to dye their hair, lose a few pounds, stop watching Jerry Springer, try sweet potato fries instead of the customary plain French fries, and stuff like that, but most people don't know how to change the BIG things in their lives.

What are the BIG things?

I don't know. Buying a big house? Changing careers? Moving across the country? Getting married? Getting out of a crappy marriage? These seem like pretty big things to me, and big things require that extra strength of will that many people just don't seem to be able to find. Big things don't just make you uncomfortable, they make you very uncomfortable. Big things are a big gamble, and not everyone is ready to roll the dice.

Young people seem to make big changes more readily than older people. I love to watch my children change, usually for the better. And that in itself is a big change for me.

For the longest time, I never wanted my kids to change. I wanted them to stay young, but now I'm glad they have become adults with lives very separate from mine. I miss being the "Dad," the master of all things big and small and essentially the director of the film that was once their lives, but I don't mind sitting in the fifth row now, and just watching the movie unfold. So far, the script has been pretty good, not without its scary moments where the soundtrack goes berserk and lifts you out of your seat, but I'm anticipating a happy ending, even if I'm not around to see it when the curtain falls.


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?

Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?

Someone asked me the other day if I thought she was sexy.

I must admit, my mind did something of a back flip at the time. I mean, how does one even begin to answer such a question? Isn't it as loaded as the two barrels of Grandpa's shotgun at Milly-Mae's hurry-up-because-the-baby-is-due-in-a-month wedding?

Let's say that I respond with a "Yes." Would the woman then think that I'm interested in something other than passing the time of day with her? Would she think that I might want to be passing something a little more personal her way?

Let's say that I respond with a "No." Then what? Would she feel insulted and think that I was the rear end of a mule?

What's the right answer?

Is there a right answer?

And what is sexy, anyway?

What is it that makes someone sexually attractive?

Is it a physical thing? Is it a pretty face or a handsome demeanour? Bedroom eyes or executive eyeware? Tumbling hair extensions or a shaved head? Is it a question of big boobs or big feet? A bouncing butt or long, thick fingers? An tiny waist or a six-pack of abs? Long legs or long dong?

Is a hot car sexy? A big screen TV? A mansion in the posh part of town? Fame? Power? Notoriety? Money? More money?

Or is it something more subtle? A positive attitude, a charming personality, a witty sense of humour, intelligence, poise, or something other than what pops out or up at you at first lustful glance?

Does "sexy" always mean "I want to have sex with you"? Is it possible to describe someone as sexy without having everyone in earshot think that you want to slap that ass in bed, become a contortionist in the back seat of a car, break your back on the staircase, or become an urban legend in the Burger King washroom? Is it possible to say, "I think you're sexy," without having to go the extra mile?

Now, I'm starting to wonder if I'm sexy? Do women see me walking in the mall and think, "Oooo, he's so sexy ..." Do they imagine ripping off my clothes and throwing me over the cell phone kiosk to dial up my number?

I'm not so sure that I want to be a sex object. Wait, OK, I don't mind the idea of being a sex object so much, but heck, please don't ask me if I think you're sexy. At the very least, let me buy you a cup of coffee first.

One thing, though, if you order a sweet roll to go with your coffee, and in your coyest, throatiest voice, you offer me a bite, well, it's game on, baby, it's game on ...


Wednesday, March 13, 2013


Uh-oh ...


I guess it's safe to say that we have all made a million choices through the events of our lives. Sometimes, we choose for our own benefit, other times we choose for the benefit of others, and I guess there are times when we just choose without much thought at all.

Sometimes, I wonder if there are really any wrong choices in life. I mean, sure, sometimes you might choose a particular course of action that sort of blows up in your face, but what if that was exactly what was supposed to happen.

What if each "wrong" choice were really the "right" choice?

I know, I know, I'm flirting with some kind of weird determinism here, that everything we do is caused by a chain of events over which we have no control. Don't get me wrong, I'm an advocate of "free will" and all that, but isn't it free will that sends us reeling into the darkness from time to time? What if that was exactly what was supposed to happen ...

Most of us quickly recognise our goofs in life. Most of us suddenly realise how wrong we were to follow this or that path, most of us suddenly wake up one morning and say, "Ooops, what the hell was I thinking?", and most of us have the strength and determination to change what was so obviously the wrong choice.

Maybe that's the point. Maybe, it's like the age-old cliché, that we learn from the mistakes we make.

Maybe, as we stand in the rain and watch the 3:10 bus leaving without us, we learn to be at the bus stop at 3:05 the next day. So, from the "wrong" choice, we learn to make the "right" choice. Doesn't that make the "wrong" choice the "right" choice?

The problem, in all of this muddling, is that there are obviously people who repeatedly make the "wrong" choice, like they were addicted to screwing up, time after time, again and again.

I guess those people never catch the bus.

So it goes ...


Tuesday, March 12, 2013


Looking For Inspiration


Every one gets stuck in a rut from time to time. I'm no different.

Lately, I've been procrastinating and putting off writing a story that I plan to enter into a big contest here in Toronto. I've entered before, several times, and one year reached the top ten, but I have never won it. This year, I have a great plot line, but again, I'm dawdling over actually getting the words up here on this computer screen.

I have been in this place before. I have found that you can't fight your way out of it or anything like that. Creativity has a mind of its own. Mine is off in Bali or Belize or some such exotic/erotic place with my inspiration, and I suspect the two of them are hitting the late night bars and trying to pick up dull bimbos dressed in skimpy adjectives and adverbs. I just need to let them have their little booty spree, until they decide to come back and get to work.

Writing is work. It's tough work, methodical at times. Editing is worse. Editing is brain surgery, where you look at things through those wild, microscopic head sets that brain surgeons wear.

The "experts" say that you shouldn't edit your own material. You should have an impersonal and objective reader critique your work. From my experience, it's always best to have an editor who lives far away. Then, when he or she tells you that your very best stuff is crap and needs to go, you won't be tempted to go over and throttle him or her.

I should stop eating Greek yogurt in the morning while I write this stuff. My keyboard is getting sticky. So far, the hhhh key is repeating like bad fish sticks, and my CAPS LOCK seems to take over whenever it so desires.

Seems like everything is a little stuck these days here high in the sky, overlooking the lights of Toronto in the middle of the night, and waiting for the sun to rise.

God help us if the sun were to get stuck ...


Monday, March 11, 2013

Stealing Tomorrow From Today

The Sun Also Rises

Some mornings, I drift back to my coming of age years on the Canadian prairies. Some of my memories of those days are fragmented now. Some remain crystal clear. Regardless, I have always been intrigued by how we grow from the experiences that fostered in us a love for the world and those other times that were so horrific that they all but crushed the spirit to carry on.

Life is a mixture of joy and dread, and perhaps our happier moments are what carry us through the darker days. We live through even the worst despair, because we recognise the fingerprint of hope along the edge of the glass, even when it is half-empty. And that is my salvation — knowing that tomorrow is always this ambiguous promise of something better.

© Copyright, Kennedy James, 2013. All rights reserved.


Sunday, March 10, 2013

Teachers Of The Heart

Puzzle Pieces

Teachers Of The Heart

They are there.

For some of you, they number only a few. For others, there’s a crowd forming. But they are there.

They have faces, smells, voices. They clog up familiar places where you rarely or never see them anymore. And, still, they are there.

They are demons or angels. You despise them or remember them with a certain sentimental fondness. They are the hazy ghosts of your past, not a vital presence in your life now, but still they are there ... there inside of you.

Yes, I know, you have put them away. They live only in dark places now — in closets, trunks, or shoe boxes tucked away under your bed. Their faces are frozen in time with a smile or a grimace or a look of idiocy as they stare back at you in photographs, images of your time with them, remote now, stored away with other tokens — letters or poems or cards they gave to you — reminders that they loved you once. You loved them too. Yes, you did. No matter how hard it may be to admit it, you loved them too.

You held them in your arms. Your lips touched their lips, their cheeks, their eyelids. You gave them your time. You gave them your attention. You walked with them. You danced with them, laughed with them, shared a birthday or a holiday with them. You ate with them. You travelled with them. You listened to them talk, and you listened to them breathing beside you in your bed. You dreamed about the future with them.

The future. You looked into tomorrow with them. There were promises, sometimes vague, sometimes so real that nothing could ever possibly undo them. Some wore a ring for you; some even took your name. Some were all you ever hoped for; some were more than you ever dreamed possible.

And then ... a pause, an end. The dream that you trusted and cherished suddenly melted away into a pool of accusations, pleading, anger, and tears.

We stagger into love with a hope that each new lover will be our last. That is the beauty and the danger of romance, and I suspect, there is no other way to love. Still, the danger remains. If you love unconditionally, you risk unconditional heartache, and the sorrow of a lost love is like no other.

Some say the sadness passes with time. That may be so, but the love you felt never disappears. It is, instead, transformed into a wrinkle etched across the face of your emotions forever. Hide it if you must. Seek solace from family, friends, books, or religion. Just know that, no matter what you do, they are there. They will always be there.

Every lover who once entered your life still remains a part of your life. Each one remains a piece of the puzzle that tells the story of your longing for love. Some fit into your life for a while, some you forced into a misshapen void in your heart, some did not fit at all. Do not forsake them. Do not demean them. Do not hide from their memory. Instead, remember that you loved each of them once, and understand how that experience changed you for good or for bad. Understand that each past love has been a necessary stage of your journey towards discovering a final love. Do not loathe those whom you lost, those who dismissed you, or those who were stolen from you. Respect the fact that they are there still, these teachers of the heart, locked inside of you, embodied by you, and possibly even shaping how you will love tomorrow.


Saturday, March 09, 2013

My Back Pages: Limit/No Limit ... Experiments In Subterfuge ... The Train


Limit/No Limit ... Experiments In Subterfuge ... The Train

Blues and greys. Steel. And some rust. Some grease as well. So splatters of dead orange and black. Nothing white. No pure white. Just more shades of grey.

Silence. A night sprayed with stars. A canopy of pinpoint lights over fields rushing away to a forest of snow-laden spruce trees. Every so often, a frozen lake. Like some memory flying from view but still remembered later. Familiarity trapped in a snapshot. Sepia photograph of her there in front of her father and next to her brother, both dead now from the rage of the disease she carries as well. In her life blood, boiling in her veins like hot mercury. You were there. You weren’t there. Choose. Be part of the scene or not. Decide. Or just stop now.

Between the cars of the train, she could smoke, so she did. She stood almost carelessly and looked out into the swirl of dazed images rushing by. Ribbons of thought would spill out into the cold air. Memories, some sad, no, mostly all sad. She let them go, pushed, drove, forced them away.

Then a twist in the rails sent her lurching, grasping, clinging. Flesh to steel, crushing her left cheek and scraping away her skin like the buttery icing her naughty fingers skimmed from her mother's wedding cake. A second turn and lurch. She snapped back. Something hurt inside. Caustic. Cancerous. She heard its raw voice but ignored it. Then it sent a line of pain up her side. Not a line really and not a steady pain. More like a sequence of nerve endings spontaneously igniting and just as quickly extinguishing. More like agony pulsating. More like torture unrelenting. Then transverse. Encircling. Girdle of thorns.

“Fuck you,” she groaned against its weight.

Good for her, you think.

[Yes. Good for her. Bravo, bravado, bravanaseum. If you were not here, I would kill her in an instant, and let her die before the rise of another paragraph. Quietly and with some dignity. But you forbid it. You and your strained hope.]

Her legs weakened under her. Knees betrayed her. She fell and spun. And spun again. Arms and legs flailing just enough to keep her from falling out into the dark ditches of death that ran along each side of the tracks. Flesh to steel. Treads of metal scraping away one knee, then the other, and then as she turned her head from the roaring sting, the palms of her hands peeled away. Blood. Streaks of black red. She saw them. She ran her finger through the ooze and tasted it. Steel and something else, something sallow.

Her body ice. No more, she thought, this is the end. I'm letting go. Then, aloud, she looks at you through the streaked glass dividing you from her. Looks at you with tearful eyes smeared black, and asks, "Will you let me go now? Please, let me go."




Friday, March 08, 2013

it's not you

[For International Woman's Day]

Verbal Abuse

it's not you

it’s not you, please understand

it’s not the way you get roaring drunk
and pass out on the couch in the blue light of the television

it’s not the way you come from the bathroom, adjust your crotch,
and say, “Howdy!” like an insane cowboy in front of my friends

it’s not your poker buddies, the cigar smoke, the money you lose,
or the way you say, “I’ll get the bitch to go for more beer”

it’s not the way you yell and scream and beat the kids,
and tell them that it’s all because i’ve made you mad

it’s not the farting or the burping at the dinner table
on the rare Sunday i invite over mom and dad

it’s not the missed birthdays, horrific Christmases, broken promises,
or the way you dismantle every hope, every dream, every success

it’s not you, it’s me

no, it’s you

but it’s you because of me


Thursday, March 07, 2013

A Jittery-Jive

Dancing The Night Away

A Jittery-Jive

i want some rhythm
  some undulation
                some stop and go
                                    some lurk and flow
         some sweet pro without the creation

"Oh great.  Now everyone is going to think you want to get laid."
"Why do you say that?"
"C'mon ... 'some undulation' and what was that ... 'some sweet pro without the creation'?"
"It's just about energy."
"Well, Google shut you down once, are you hoping for a slap on the other cheek?"
"I don't mind a little spanking under the right circumstances."
"You're impossible."

i want to bossa-nova
                      do it once and then do it ova
     bang-bang the drum
   ta da diddy dum
                   i want to jitter-jive
       feel alive

"Once again ... 'ova'?  Isn't that a bit obvious?"
"Well, I wanted it to rhyme with 'nova'."
"But it implies something else."
"Sex! Sperm and ova?!"
"Please ... you're not fooling anyone."

i want to stomp in the mud
                       jump up and land with a thud
     shatter every pressing matter
                 ride me a bucking horse
           without implying sex of course

"Cute.  You really think you're cute, don't you?"
"Well, I thought ..."
"No, you didn't, you knew that by saying 'sex,' you would be implying sex."
"You think?"
"Is spring getting to you?  Can't you just get naked with someone?"
"Just anyone?"
"Oh, right, I forgot ... you have your standards."

i want to twist and shout
                  reach way down deep and pull it out

"Whoooa there, Geronimo ... OK ... that's it ..."
"Enough.  That's enough."
"Can't I just finish ... "
"You are finished.  You're going to embarrass yourself."
"You think?"
"Absolutely.  You're done."

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Caterpillar With Wings


Caterpillar With Wings

Last night, I fell asleep thinking about butterflies. OK, there may have been a moth or two in the mix, but I have never been able to tell the difference anyway. I think moths are probably a little more powdery when you grab them off the screen window and attempt a compassionate catch and release.

It must be a strange gig being a butterfly. Just imagine. One day you're this slug of a bug in the garden and suddenly you get very sleepy. You fall asleep in something that, quite honestly, is far too similar to a silky grey shroud or coffin, and I guess you realise that your caterpillar days are done. So it goes. You sleep and sleep and sleep.

When you wake up, you are still a slug of a bug, but now you have wings. Something inside you says, "Fly, baby, fly!" and so you do.

How cool is that?

Instead of being a slug of a bug creeping through the grass and maybe up the stem of a dogwood tree, now you're above it all and delightfully dilly-dancing amongst the flowers. Instead of living on the 80 proof chlorophyll of the neighbourhood leaf life, now you get to flirt with the prettiest flowers in the garden and suck yourself full of nectar.

Better still, people like and admire you. They say things like, "Look at the pretty butterfly." Some people even take photos of you.

The only knock I have against butterflies is that they tend to be a little elusive. They like to dart in and out of the shadows, one moment a bright orange and yellow in the sunlight, then with a whisp, they're suddenly gone, disappearing into the shade of the junipers.

There must be a lesson in all this, but for the life of me, I can't quite articulate it.


Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Love's Labour's Lost


If you drop a glass, and it shatters at your feet, do not try to pick it up. You will not be able to put it back together, no matter how hard you try. Instead, remember the glass when it was whole, and when it was there to help you quench your thirst.

© Copyright, Kennedy James, 2013. All rights reserved.



Monday, March 04, 2013

finding forever ...

Into The Unknown

finding forever ...

these are the moments of great joy and pleasure
this the passage from hope to surrender
a time together lasting a day or a week or a year
or slipping by like clouds drifting through blue skies
never emerging from a beginning
and never finding an end
this is the caravan of chaos and confusion
this a journey impossible to plan
a path into uncertainty so complete
that it is impossible to chart or measure
except by faith and feeling
by every caress and kiss
and by every sensual touch
until the emptiness
between one and two closes
until we wake in the morning
or stir from sleep under starry skies
and guess that forever is
when your heartbeat
is as familiar to me
as the beat of my heart is to you
when my life enfolds
everything that you are
in the knowing that everything that i am
is enfolded by you


Sunday, March 03, 2013

What's Your Fancy?

Ah, Such Choices ...

What's Your Fancy?

It would be great if you got to choose. I mean, imagine if, at different times in your life, someone handed you a menu of futures and said, "What's your fancy?"

OK, that person might not say, "What's your fancy?" I mean, I guess not very many people actually say, "What's your fancy?" But I think it's a perfectly good question. It has a nice balance and a nice lilt to it, and more people should definitely be saying it.

Try it for yourself. Go ahead.

"What's your fancy?"

See. It's a very positive question ... heart-warming almost ... like a cup of hot chocolate with marshmallows on top. It's not like saying, "What's your problem?"

"What's your problem?" — now that's a whole different ball of wax. Lots of angst sitting in that question. If someone asks you, "What's your problem?", then there's definitely some trouble brewing. Either you really do have a problem, or you're about to find one. Either way, it can't be good.

The real "problem" is that we make so many choices based on a problem and too few choices based on a fancy.

From the time we are very young, we learn to avoid the problem.

That schoolyard bully and his gang of wannabe bullies? Problem. Take the long way home.

Mom and Dad screaming at one another in the kitchen? Problem Stay in your room.

Algebraic functions? Problem. Study English and Sociology.

Someone comes into the Convenience Store and starts flailing a gun in the air? Problem. Hide behind the Slurpee Machine.

Avoiding the problem becomes our way of solving the problem. And why not? That's what life teaches us to do.

Some people actually love a good problem. In fact, if they're not working on one of their own, they'll be more than happy to come over and work on yours. After all, "that's what friends are for."

No friends? Well, then you can join a group of like-problemed people — Alcoholics Anonymous, Weight Watchers, The Catholic Church — ah, the range of possibilities is almost endless. Worse case scenario? Hire a professional problem-solver — a psychiatrist or a psychologist — someone with a license to teach you how to avoid problems.

The point is that we have enough problem-solvers in the world.

What we need are fancy-solvers.

Imagine what it would be like if, when you went to work tomorrow, your boss said, "What do you fancy working on today?" instead of "I really need you to get on this or that problem."

Imagine what it would be like if, when you got home from work, someone were there with a smile on his or her face who said, "What's your fancy?" instead of grumbling, "What's for dinner?"

We need people who open doors and windows, who let some fresh air fill our sails, who create endless possibilities in how we imagine ourselves and the course of our lives in the future.

So ... let me say it for you today, "What's your fancy?"


Saturday, March 02, 2013

Dream A Little Dream Of Me

Some Things Are Best Left Unsaid

Dream A Little Dream Of Me

It's always weird to me when I'm talking to someone, and suddenly, he or she wants to tell me about a dream from the night before.

What's weird is that the person often talks about the events of the dream as if those events really happened. It's a dream, for goodness sake. Nothing really happened, except that the chilli, at dinner, was maybe a little spicier than usual and created a bellyful of gas that somehow bubbled up into a dream during sleep. It's important to differentiate between what is real and what is not. The chilli was real, the gassy bloating was real, heck even the fact that you went to bed and had a dream was real. However, what happened in the dream was not real.

I suppose some Freudian or Jungian Psych undergrad may think that dreams are some kind of magic tunnel into our subconscious or a bridge to the collective unconscious, but I'm not so sure we even have a subconscious or an unconscious. In my age bracket, most people are barely conscious at all.

It's baffling to me that people find their dreams so interesting that they feel the need to share their midnight reveries with others.

From my experience, no one ever seems to dream about money or being rich and famous. Now, that seems odd to me. You'd think that being wealthy would be the number one dream, but apparently that is not so.

Most people dream of pretty horrific things. Some people dream of falling into an endless pit. Some people dream of being lost or confined in some mysterious and inescapable place. Some people dream of being chased by some ferocious animal, rats, spiders, and the like. Some people dream of being terminally ill or dying.

What gives? Why do so many people dream of scary things? Does anyone ever dream of pleasant things?

OK, well, there's sex.

A great many people talk about dreaming of having fabulous sex with someone other than their wife, husband, girlfriend, boyfriend, or partner. These people twist and turn in bed while they imagine running through the Kama Sutra with some beautiful or handsome movie star, celebrity, or God forbid, some poetic blogger.

But, people, you can't go around the next day and talk about the fact that you had sex with Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, or someone in your social network last night. You didn't. You had a dream. It wasn't real. Do I have to go through the chilli paradigm again?

Some people have sex in their dreams, and others, who are actually having sex with someone, wish they were dreaming. Sex is like that. Sometimes, a night-time sexual fantasy seems so real, and yet it isn't real at all. It's just a dream. Other times, real sex is so bad, you wish it were a dream.

Yes, I know, another conundrum. I have no solution for either side of the problem.

The best that I can offer is that if you are dreaming of having sex and the sex is good, then just hope the sedation of that bedtime cup of hot cocoa or the Ambien lasts long enough to get you to the good part.

If you are really having sex with someone and wish the whole experience were a dream, my best advice is that you learn the art of moaning out a good "Oooh, oooh, ahhhhh, baby, baby, there, oh my ... my ... my, yesss," make like Tiger Woods, and putt out as quickly as possible.



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