To Dhyan: Year 8

Dear Dhyan,

Well another year has passed during a pandemic. But hopefully things are starting to return to normal. As a father you hope that your children don’t have to live under such restricted times, but really there is still much worse situations. You have handled it wonderfully though. Perhaps, in some ways it’s good that this happening now. Traveling will hopefully become easier in the next couple of years. There are so many places we want to take you, and I think being a little older will help you appreciate and remember it better.

As I write this letter you are playing with your brother. I have to say the sounds of you two playing are some of my favorite. Not only because it gives us parents a break, but because I know how much your brother is benefitting from playing with you. You are so patient and kind with him, even though I know he can be difficult sometimes. And funnily enough you are proving these very words as I type. It’s also wonderful the impact Allie has had on you. You always seemed to play without a lot of imagination, but this year is the year I’ve really seen your imagination take off, and I think this has a lot to do with the impact of your brother and his imagination. Perhaps you just needed another kid to feel like it was okay to pretend. Your mother and I can be pretty pragmatic, practical, and scientific. With us being older parents too, maybe we didn’t do a good job of fostering your imagination. But you and Allie play so beautifully together. You even finally started naming your stuffed animals this year. You always used to just call them just by the kinds of animal they were. It’s always okay to lose yourself in a pretend world for purposes of play. I am glad you are doing that more.

As always, I want to help you understand where I am in my life too. It’s been a challenging year for many reasons. My work still lies in some uncertainty for the next few years. I hope I will find a place. I’ll admit that I am pretty fortunate to have the job I have. Maybe it can’t last, but I am going to try. The main reason being is the extra time it allows me to spend with you and Allie. I know it’s a bit selfish, but really I wish more people were able to spend more time with their children as I can. I’ve never been a terribly ambitious person, and right now I feel even less so providing we can take care of you and your brother comfortably. I want this time of my life to be a celebration of raising my children. It is ultimately only for a short time, and I want to be around for it.

It’s hard watching you grow up sometimes. I can’t help thinking about the last time I carried you, or being able to swing you around. Each year there is a little less of you that needs me. But this year my mind has been thinking about needing to have talks with you. Talking to you about people touching you without your consent. Talking to you about violent or sexual content you might see on the internet. Making you more aware of the darker side of the world. Still seeing beauty in the world despite all the bad shit that happens in it, is often no easy task. I believe you will find a way, but the thought of you contemplating these things, imagining these things for the first time, for some reason makes me sad. In the end, if we are to improve the world for all people, we have to be aware of their suffering. It is not only inevitable for you to learn, it’s also important. Still, it’s like disturbing the perfect stillness of a glass lake surface. It’s no easy task. Here is a poem, I wrote about that feeling.

There is a documentary, that I didn’t watch, but claims to essentially support the idea that the person someone is at 7 is how they are going to be as an adult. I am not sure I completely buy it, but when I look at you, I certainly hope that’s true. So I thought in this letter, I would describe the kind of man you will be based on who you were this year. First and foremost you are going to be kind. You don’t want to hurt others, you are so thoughtful, sweet, and loving. You are independent and responsible. You have a high emotional intelligence and a high general intelligence. You are also hard on yourself. You can feel a lot of anxiety when you make mistakes. You shy away from hard conversations and don’t like criticism. We have much in common. You don’t like a lot of the hard work it takes to become good at something. None us our perfect. I am still trying to get better at these things, and so we will continue to grow together. I know you will bring a lot of light to others as you do for your family. The most important thing to me, is your kindness, and that you clearly want to become a better person. And so I have no worries about the man you will become, I just hope it doesn’t happen too soon.

I have to say my favorite memory from this year was from our trip to the beach when your mother hid a “treasure box” and made you believe she found a map in the bottle. You seemed to be a little doubtful at the reality of the whole thing, but we seemed to convince you and you were so excited at finding real pirate treasure. I loved following you around and watching you as searched for it. I hope you don’t read this letter too soon, because I want you to still believe it was real for a while longer. In general you are quite observant so I am surprised we were able to pull it off. I love watching you get really into something. I know someday you are going to find your passion and you are going to be brilliant at it.

It’s Not Obvious

it’s not obvious
that the stars aren’t revolving around me
it’s not obvious that I’m the one
who’s actually moving
even when I’m sitting here
there is no disproving.
and you’re moving too

it’s not obvious
that I’m not static
as life evolves around me
that time’s dissolving into me
that I too am just another object
subject to vast forces
shaping me at some point
in a universal scaffold.
that is shaping itself

it’s not obvious
that my life isn’t planned
that it isn’t canned
how is it not a map
when there is seemingly no event
in my life that didn’t depend
on an amazing number of
low probability occurrences
subject to the subtlest
of disturbances
making each moment a miracle
in a myriad of possible timelines

I want things to be clearer
maybe hold things nearer
I’m happy and willing
to be the first one
to try and really look at themselves
in the mirror

why is it when one person has a bad day
he’s able to tuck it away
another wants to do good to compensate
and yet another spits bile
and hate
is it all just too late?
or did we never really stand a chance?

because it should be all a
little easier to follow
but there are sharp turns
and hard truths to swallow
with little time to wallow
so if I say
that I want to sit here
and pretend that the stars are going by
and that the moon is smiling
beaming
radiating not reflecting
and that
I like it that way
because it makes beautiful poetry

then
let me

because it’s not obvious to me
that that’s a bad idea

Mother Did You Know

*I dedicate this poem to women in general, but also to my mom, who is an amazing woman and still inspires me to be more to this day.

mother did you know
it’s all your fault
you caused the fall
of man
that them’s the breaks
when you talk to snakes

mother did you know
you’re not quite human
humans should be a male
those other parts
aren’t on the chart

mother did you know
that your emotions
make you weak
and at 40 you’re
past your peak
your wisdom
your courage
cause so much fear
that instead of
being vulnerable
they sneer
and jeer

mother did you know
you’re a body – that’s it
one that must submit
and if a man bruises it
beats it broken
it means you really
shouldn’t have spoken

mother did you know
you’re not supposed to enjoy sex
but ironically you want it
even if you don’t flaunt it
somehow you’re always asking
what you wear is just masking
and if you decide to show it
boy then, they really know it
you don’t need to give consent
men know what you meant
he would have been such a gent
if you weren’t giving off a scent

mother did you know
you can’t want more
you have a role
so just put aside your goals
you can have it all
only if you do it all
I know it’s not fair
it seems insane
but that’s what you get
for going outside your lane

mother did you know
no other group has survived
so long an oppression
legislating your bodies
out of your possession
through witch trials
laws permitting rape
and voice suppression
men mutliate you
murder you
send you to slaughter
men say “I love you mom”
then violate somebody else’s daughter

and mother did you know
that every single day
I stand in awe
at how you all persevere
and still manage to
hold your boys near

mother did you know
I’m glad you didn’t tell
me these things
you just loved with
unerring equality
and kindness
patience and
color blindness
taught me spirituality
can break us free
from our prison
and that we can always
do better
if we learn to listen

and mother did you know
as a man I’ve had to
unlearn many things
at times
admitting a hard truth
stings
but then there’s you
whose womb
you made room in
because of you
I know
what it means
to be human

If you’d like to hear me read this poem, click here.

*header image is Claire De Lune” by Audrey Kawasaki

The Necessary Delusion

a bird may soar
to 30,000 feet
but eventually
must stop to eat

this freedom we chase
is only found in delusion
imagine until you sleep
there is no other conclusion

free is a bungee jump
fleeting as you fall
until the cord reminds
you’re tethered to the wall

we are all bound
equally by physical laws
and time has no mercy
on our physical flaws

we are all bound
to consider adjacent souls
each swish of our tail
affects the shoal

maybe being free
is a life without selfishness
growing your compassion
alleviating helplessness

is it possible to find freedom
living within boundaries?
can life break the moulds
forged in nature’s foundries?

maybe we can
for a time
and find
a new kind of rhyme

the burdens
we face
so real
we scrape for escape
from this oppression we feel
and so maybe freedom
is just striking a deal

because surely if we
don’t feel free
for a few moments
and lave in the stream
of a dream
while our spirit foments
life will be drudgery
with nothing but suffering
freedom is our interface
from a reality we’re buffering

and maybe without
this ability
to self-deceive
we would never know
what we could ever achieve

Life in Equations

time doesn’t care for me
gravity weighs on me
preys on me

degradation
loss of lubrication
wearing away of tissue
friction becomes an issue
the grinding in my groan
hysteresis in my bend
and bone

vessels weaken
thin
how long can my heart win
against endless pumping
glitches in the pattern’s
thumping

neural pathways fray
in withered grey
more and more circuits
misfire each day
approaching cognitive disarray

I am life
subject to physical law
and though I head
towards death’s maw
with weakened knees
I stand in awe
even with all our frailty
and flaws

A year of conversation

                        When I knew you
I was spring

Ready for rebirth
For things to begin anew

Hope penetrated my soil
You beamed at me
Love blossomed
                         When I knew you
I was summer
Days were hazy
And lazy flowing
One into the next

Love was carefree
and easy
                        When I knew you
                         I was autumn
                                       Looking back was peaceful
                                       I tried to consume
                                       And store you
Making sure I survived
Cold months ahead
                      When I knew you
I was winter
I needed warmth so badly

I was desperate
Starved in frozen land
Trying to bring some light
To dark days
                          I know you
And you know me
I am the seasons
And though seasons change
There are threads
That bind them
                         I am always
The air you breath
I am day
I am night
I am the sun
I am clouds
Shifting

I am turning
I am stargazing
I am the moon
I have phases
I am gravity
Keeping you grounded

I am wind
Blowing worries away
Love has many parts
Shapes

But I shall keep it safe
Always in you arms

*Just FYI this poem is mean to be a conversation. Bolded (or centered) lines are spoken by both people together. This is not meant to be gendered. It’s just about love.

Seven Reasons You Can’t Take It With You

Not sure
if you heard the buzz
but I’m the best
there ever was

Jeff Bezos?
I have more wealth
and surely I’m in
better health

Sturgeon caviar, white truffles
Wagyu steak
I eat as much
as my body can take

Everyone talks of Bill Gates
and his fucking NGOs!
That idiot doesn’t watch
where his money goes!

Elephant bull’s ivory tusks
over my bed
Cut the head off myself
after I shot it dead
they say it’s going extinct
I really don’t care
How ’bout I leave it to you
to say a prayer?

The hookers love being mounted
where it’s mounted
I hire so many
I can’t even count it

Look at you judging me
accuse me of greed
If people weren’t so lazy
they wouldn’t be in need

So go away, write your story
my chest feels tight
I’m annoyed by your questions
take off and goodnight


Where’s my servants?
Where is my phone?
That skank reporter left
and I need to get blown

Is that screaming outside?
Can’t the poor stop whining?
The noise is
infernal

Is the thermostat broken?
my staff is a shambles
a nuisance
eternal

Before Dark

She is not sure
if there are others of her kind
She imagines there must be

looking ahead She sees
the atmospheric window open up
the Earth is enjoying a cool evening

She strides with the
turning Earth
sometimes a little faster
sometimes a little slower
Her cape is midnight blue
it shimmers soft
in particles of light
cheating over the horizon

majestic and grim is Her face
proud, lonely
duty-bound

I walk with Her
and She tells me
I don’t owe anything
to the sky anymore
there are going to be stars
and likely a moon
but nobody is watching

it can be time for lingering looks
for dancing with bodies
loose as the wind
a time for kisses
that last too long
no reason for regrets
and then the peace of sleep

but if you don’t want that
She doesn’t judge

when I can no longer
keep pace with Her
She says
the night forgives
and Lady Dusk
pulls the dark night
like a blanket over
my head

Atmospheric Disturbances

Along the westerlies
on that jet you see
you came to me
I stumbled topside-down
moving north and south
the words out of your mouth
and gathered the clouds

feet were cold
to your hot
we met at the boundary

you go low
I go high
and we’ll swirl around the sky
rain rolls in
rain rolls past
bad weather never lasts

we’ll rain down
to the ground
Find some dew
together
me and you

we are the lifeblood
of Earth

Immolation

the heat and the fire
boiled water in the trees
bark cracked
singed
exploded
brought the forest to its knees

the heat and the fire
bellowed ash up to the skies
dimming light
obscuring
clouding
shrouding blue in disguise

the heat and the fire
flee animals! to rock and field!
the nest
the burrow
the leaves
head hangs, hopeless, fate sealed

the heat and the fire
people left all that they earned
praying
hoping
the charring
so many memories are burned

the heat and the fire
brave fighters do all they can do
not enough
all gone
razed
none living today
will see it
anew