Wednesday, June 17, 2009

I was born on Father's Day...

Today, I'm 36.

Had a fun gathering this past Saturday at my place. The sweet & sour chicken was devoured. The gumbo made folks jump out of their seats. Double peanut butter brownies, chocolate chunk cookies, and I got out the torch to top it all off with some creme brulee.

I have many thanks to offer to all who made it over Saturday. Now I have so much wine, I need to throw another party to enjoy it all!

And now we come to today. Last night I went to a panel discussion on business journalism at Columbia University's j-school. Very informative session. I truly appreciated all the thoughts raised by the speakers. I had to hurry back to catch the train home afterwards, otherwise that would have been two birthday's in a row I spent standing alone in Penn Station at the stroke of midnight.

Who I am today is far different from anything I conceived when I was 18. Truth is, I didn't really know much about the world back then. I didn't really grasp all that I would be called upon to do. Didn't even have a vague idea.

I spent many years being naive about everything from love, to careers, and fiscal responsibility. I've had a lot of catching up to do.

So I was born on a Sunday, June 17, Father's Day. Every few years my birthday falls again on that holiday.

It goes without saying that this year is quite different from all my birthdays prior.

My father and I, we didn't talk so much until the last few years. Not for any particular reason. It's how things were. In some ways, he didn't think we needed to talk until I pushed.

To all the fathers out there, here is my birthday request: Speak to your sons, every single day. Impart to them all your knowledge and experience, especially the embarrassing mistakes and obstacles you have faced. Only by learning how to overcome and even avoid these challenges can they themselves grow into men.

After work today I will drop by and see my mom. We'll probably act like a couple of 12 yr. old kids, put on party hats and sing "Happy Birthday." And I'm good with that.

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Flame and Bone

When I was made from fire
Poured into the tender vessel of caution
That keeps my smoke from rising
Quickly did I discover that apart from crisp drizzles or falling snow
The world chilled my touched
Walking the narrow cornered gap between girders and cut stone
One learns to tuck his shoulders in or risk
Jostling a neighbor passing by rapt with want
For a clear path without the distraction
Of another man's boiling eyes
The tip of a finger
That oldest of all weapons
Grown deadlier and pristine in its invention
Gathers a mote of a cinder on its bare flesh
And turns pondering how best to scratch the impious itch
Prying open the tender seam
Where the oil of thought dews
Offering a new wick to ignite
Squirming alive as a salamander of mischief
That yearns for a taste of air it is so ready to devour
The steam of breath betrays me
Before the glint of orange spreads
In popping bright waves
Eroding the fibers feeding it
Leaving naught but ash
As my shell of quietude falls away