To Err Is Human, So Err Sincerely

Never miss an opportunity to take yourself out of an unhappy place just because you are too busy sticking to a past decision to see that it is that decision that made you unhappy.

The true measure of taking charge of your life is not only the courage it takes to take action when the outcome is uncertain and support is scarce, but also the honesty and humility it takes to admit it when that leap of faith you took doesn’t turn out well, and retracing your steps to try again.

The Miracle That Has Your Name On It

I think the people who make decisions based on percentages and statistics lean towards the idea that our lots in life are passed out at random and there is no greater power we can call on, one who knows our individual paths and can distinguish each one of us from the rest. But if the numbers say there is only one chance in ten thousand for something to succeed, but that one chance was meant for you and your story, why should the 9,999 chances of failing matter to you?

Improv

We are the exception

in a world where lies and deceit
are socially accepted,
even expected,
we told the truth
we were the truth
raw and unrehearsed
rough and untrained

where people shield their hearts
and build their walls to keep
reminders of their failures
from touching
their sanitized wounds
and dressed egos,
we chose to be vulnerable
our needs undisguised
our weaknesses naked
and shivering at the touch
of the opening bars
of romance in the background

and the nature
of the only kind of love
we ever knew how to give
conversed in simple words
unscripted and unadorned
like a broken-down jazz piece
played from the depths
of a soul
with only the darker half
of the starving night
for an audience

it was an outtake,
the way we fell in love,
full of ad-libbed lines,
uncertain timing
and odd notes
thrown in
at the spur of the sweet moment
just because it felt right;
it would never have made
the producer’s cut
but it was a flow
nobody could recreate
and it was ours

Set against a Leonid Afremov Backdrop

So many times I have
awakened within a daydream
only to realize
that we’ve made it,
we actually made it;
so many times I have marveled
at how far we have come,
more than the oceans
we have crossed,
the miles we have flown
across the face of the sun,
but the continents
less tangible and
more difficult to overcome:
chasms between cultures
and thousands of words’
worth of bureaucracy
and we faced them all
like bullets,
sheltering each other and
walking fearlessly
across the battlefield
in steadfast synchronicity
from opposite ends
of a story
whose beautiful ending
is written somewhere
in the middle,
tucked among dogeared pages
in the shape
of our darkest torments
and typeset with promises
received and treasured, then
broken and discarded, then
rescued from the heap
of the ashes we have
repeatedly risen from,
to serve as reminders
that the many times
we gave ourselves
and the many times
we came so close to becoming
what we’d always feared
are worth retelling
if we give a little bit more
for every second chance granted,
after all, life is only
as large as we make it
and we have to turn ours
into no less than a legend
that our great-grandchildren
would want to hear every night
to tuck them in
and help them dream.

Pièce de Résistance

Sometimes I get asked if
I’ve always known I would
or wanted to
leave it all behind
for love,
this love,
or some love, and
whether I think it was worth
being in a place where
I have to start again
from the beginning
with nothing but my name
and my history
and my favored virtues

and I guess I have
believed with all my being
that my soul and what
I have to give
are worth something
and at some point, life
would ask from me a gamble
whose stakes were
proportional to the caliber
of my character
and somewhere
there’d be a moment when
it is all that mattered

and there has always been
the wish to measure up
to that kind of transaction
with destiny,
not to get out
of where I used to be
no, escape is for cowards,
not to possess or be possessed
who I am is bigger than that,
but to have love, real love,
love as it was meant to be had,
with strength and purity,
and to look that moment
in the eye and acknowledge
with all the honesty
my heart can stand up for,
that it is a difficult choice,
that nothing in this world
is guaranteed,
or reversible,
or without consequence,
and still tell that Guardian
who made of free will both
solid rock and question mark,
who is always listening,
who laid the pieces down
before I ever read the words
before anything had meaning
then asked me to choose,
…..I take what’s mine
……….and I own it,
and whatever follows
will all be but
the next ocean-deep dawn,
the next uncharted road.

Fireworks Over Downtown Chicago

You were also looking for forever
when I first found you
you have that kind of heart
the world no longer believes
to still be in existence
diamond in the rough
fashioned after opal fire
and born of dragons
they don’t make men like you anymore
yet somehow you survived
a lifetime of reasons to
transform into something colder
and the capricious winds of chance
brought you to my side
like some kind of miracle
you were looking for love
when our orbits first touched
and I remember thinking
none of the things I thought I knew
would hold any water
with a wild card like you
this was a whole new different game
and I was dealt a totally different hand
you were the ace of spades
and I was the queen of hearts
and this was our turn,
the kind of certainty
that doesn’t come twice
and we had one dance to do it right
in a romance older than time
you were so rare, so rare
all the things in the world
made sense on your arrival
and nothing really prepares a heart
for a blazing and brilliant love
that defies the expectations
pruned by a culture of compromise
but the heart adds up to nothing
if it can’t be bold where it matters
and gamble upon that recognition
that this is the best thing,
the greatest find,
and rise to the occasion

Anthem

I used to have a promiscuous heart
like Taylor Swift
what you know about me now
is the work of six thousand nights
of inevitable reckless choices,
of dancing with devils
to the tune of promises never spoken
but implied, tucked away
among the beguiling notes
of romance and possibility,
of intoxication that didn’t seem to end
flirtation and addiction to pleasures
and substances I could not see,
that got under my skin
and altered my state of mind,
kept me awake
and my heart beating, beating
unapologetic and sincere,
of days when the world
was molten gold on fire
with brilliance to rival the sun
and diamonds were nothing but legend
and the street was littered
with broken hearts that sang
songs of identity and rising again
and the sky was never just sky

Oh, how I’d love to say
I was molded to perfection,
that my red-painted town of a story
was all minutely crafted by fate
to give me all the secrets
and see me emerge
at the end as a butterfly
with alchemy etched on my wings

but see, everything happened
by accident, and sometimes
a blind swerve at the last minute
is all that saves you from disaster,
and finally I crash landed
into Heaven,
the same guitar-caressed anthems
worn on my sleeve like I was
never meant to learn my lesson,
with my heart, somehow, still intact,
and I came face to face
with love, my only master

She’s No Disney Princess

And through all my jadedness
and confessed intimacy
with shadows,
I believe in love,
and believe
it transforms from within
like benign poison,
like surgery on the soul,
crafting miracles and open doors
where the limits of the body
and the incarnations of fears
have put up defenses for walls,
and the way love
makes us see what we see
that is otherwise ordinary
is a mirror,
and we are everything that
we’ve never noticed about
the world before,

and I believe chance is
love’s fairy godmother in disguise

for we all have broken parts
that will never be repaired
even by all the magic
romance and second chances
have to offer; we can only
dance around them
accompanied by music
that doesn’t really last
and they will come to overtake us
and clothe us back
in tattered rags and
sooty memories
at the stroke of midnight.
But love that is true
has always been our birthright,
and fits like a glove the hand
that in turns brandishes the flaws
and casually covers them
with hopes of a happy ending
and the dance is always
a dance worth remembering

Your Hands All Over My Pages

Love, do not be jealous
of the verses I wrote
for the ones who came before you,
they were prologues
of heartaches I turned into art
with the clumsy skill of a heart
under the weight of all
that I thought I couldn’t survive
know that I’ve known how to love ardently
from the beginning
and I did not lose myself
know that I have been sure before
and have had my certainties mocked
yet I would gamble again

love, a lot has happened in the night
fights broke out and many have gone home
and the music and conversation
have devolved into noise
but my shoes are still on
and I have saved you the last dance

Stay for the Fireworks

And while it’s true
that knowledge of self
is required before
you can love,
truly love,
you must also have a
healthy faith in the unknown,
an appreciation for the wind
that blows from you know
not where, that stirs
the sea and leads it
to strange shores where
you may never see the sky
in the blue that used to
be so familiar you thought
it universal.

The silences, as much a part
of the music you so love
as the notes, as needful
of mastery, of audience,
the truths yet to be
discovered, with which
a spirit in harmony with
its own unfolding story
needs no prior encounter
to call itself prepared
to form a lasting covenant,
the setting of a movie
that provides more
than a backdrop,
more than a vessel
for things to happen in,
but acts as a character
of sorts in the plot,
with caprices and charms
and can, in turns
be friend, then foe,
then a mere face in the crowd
you pass somewhere
in busy downtown,

all the roads you’ve never walked,
all the winters that didn’t fall,
the stones you left unturned,
the what ifs and changes of heart,
and the voices of chance
both listened to and defied,

are in your hands,
pieces of the same puzzle.
And the knowing of self
breathes in the pauses where
more beauty is possible.
Embracing the not knowing
is part of it.
So is kissing your fears.
So is trusting the part
of you that’s been wrong
so many times before.