Monday, June 17, 2013

Much Fanfare About Turning 40

The rumors are true. As of today, I am 40.

And in other news, the sun rises in the east in all its molten, gilded fury.

I do not mean to sound flippant but rather---if you will permit my indulgence---I strive to find richness in each day. It is not just about making today's birthday special, though it is something of milestone. The thing is, I want my own deep library of experiences to reflect on.

I pay attention to seemingly irrelevant details such as the texture of a couch I sat on when visiting someone who is important to me. That might sound like a waste of energy but that is how I turn abstract time into tangible memories. It is not for nostalgia's sake; remembering what my past felt like helps inform my future decisions.

The familiar coarseness of the dress shirt I wore for an important speech; the heat on my skin in spite of the cool spring air during an intense discussion; the soft, lush tickle of a dog who flopped on my lap to cheer me up---such things remind me who I was and what was happening.

My memories can be complex like grains of timber full of spirals, whorls, and undulating lines. I wish I could say I had perfect clarity of every significant moment from these past 40 years; my mother had one of the sharpest memories I have ever known, which made for wonderfully colorful tales.

I am resisting the urge to dive into extremely, lengthy stories that dole out pieces of my supposed wisdom. If you truly know me, you already know there is a method to all of my shenanigans.

Some of my aspirations can come across as bombastic. My sense of humor shifts from salty to cartoonish (I grew up on Benny Hill, G.I. Joe, Hardy Boys mysteries, and scads of other literary and farcical material). I thread mischief into my candor whenever possible.

Let us all celebrate every day we share together. In this era of social media disconnect it can be easy to create excuses (myself included) to avoid making real time for each other. Embrace people who consistently make themselves conspicuous, in positive ways, in your life in the real world. These are the people who truly believe your well-being is important and will be the welcome, usual suspects knocking at your front door in the midst of June.

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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