30 November 2006

The Unconditional Path To A New Self

Wow, that title sounds like I should be writing a self-help book or should be asking for donations so that we can build a spaceship and ride a moonbeam to Vega...

The journey of the soul since its inception has been one of trials and joy, mostly trials, for that is the inherent nature of our lives. These trials are supposed to make us stronger and prepare us for the next one. Often times, it is not the case, and more often than not these days, as we do have a tendency to blame our failings on others. And by others, I do not necessarily mean other people (though they do top the list), but I also mean governments, institutions, and conditions. As it turns out, governments and institutions are comprised of people and they create conditions, so maybe I do mean other people. In any event, it seems that many of us cast blame upon these things, especially their conditions, whether real or not, treatable or not, or simply a good excuse and great party story. Now, I do not mean diminish or denigrate anyone with a condition that cannot be helped. What I mean is a general attitude of letting others take the fall for our own inability to struggle and prevail. Life is a mess, one filled with our mistakes and ones that others make for us and against us. Therefore, we have to understand this when we are on a path to understanding the self. We have to understand the inherent darkness and inherent light in us all.

For my part, I had been unable to for many years. I blamed my failings on my parents, my friends, my lovers, and conditions. I refused to look inward and cast any of the blame upon myself. Quite natural, I have noticed... at least in late 20th-early 21st century Western cultures. Some of it is politics. We see politicians cast blame and think we can do the same. We see corporations blame us for not spending enough money or for causing them to embezzle, so we blame them in return for economic reasons. We litigate, we harass, we hurt and we destroy. I embraced this way of thinking, and in doing so, hurt myself terribly as much as I hurt others. And that is one of the conundrums of this way of thinking. In the end, we hurt ourselves in hurting others. Unless, of course, you have no conscience. Only after I had done so much damage in my life and to others, did I even begin to comprehend what I was doing. And it took a long, long look into the darkest parts of my soul to see what I could do to change.

Even after climbing out of the abyss I found myself in, I wanted to use my condition as a crutch until I created a new path, an unconditional path to a new self, one that simplified the way I thought of myself and yet at the same time created (for me at least) a more complex but more rewarding view of the universe. This new path did not come easy, as few things do. I went on walkabout, literally and metaphorically, casting aside all I that I owed and knew and went for a walk. I kept walking until I could meet myself again and once that happened I understood. What I personally understood was only meant for me, but I did begin to understand what the universe at large meant and what I was doing to help myself and others... which was not much, really. Still, I did begin to understand that I could only blame myself for my past actions, my present condition, and my future. This has led to a most enlightening journey these past two years (almost 3 now) since I left Australia. Indeed, I did not really completely absorb the lessons of that journey until about a year later, when I started seeing my writings and journey as a whole, seeing my life as it should have been, as I want it to be. In life, in love, in friendship, the choice is now mine and mine completely, with no blame or guilt for others. I admit, I still think of the what might have beens and missed opportunities of life, but as one who love history, discussing what might have beens is only natural, and thinking of those things can help one learn for the future and continue to journey upon their chosen path.

For most of my life, I let conditions and burdens consume me and such trials altered where I should have gone and what I should have done. Regret? Of course. To say otherwise would be a lie, but one can move past such laments and regrets and say goodbye to a life that was made more of a burden than it should have been. My life is simpler now, one that does not need validation from others or a condition to define it, or to cast blame upon it.

Everything I have done has led to this moment... until the next one. It really does not get much simpler, or more complex, depending on your point of view :)

Have a safe weekend everyone.


The Ferryman

I suppose I am moderately interested in Greek mythos as understanding it helps one understand Greek History. In some ways, it helps one understand later times given the influence of Greek thought on our lives and our psyche. Part of this poem was inspired by reading a book called 'Sailing the Wine-Dark Sea: Why the Greeks Matter' by Thomas Cahill (whose other books in this series are just as good) and by the quote from The Odyssey that begins the poem (indeed the quote was the main catalyst). So what follows is a journey of a sort, my own interpretation of this Greek mythos and how it has affected me.

'The Ferryman'

'I should rather labor as another's servant, in the home of a man without fortune, than rule over all the departed dead.' --- Achilles,The Odyssey

Staring into me with those hollow eyes,
Expectant, and waiting as he has always done...

Mired amid this quiet shore
Peering into mists of forms eons gone,
I longed to hear immortal words
Echo across tepid waters,
Yet a barrier so enduring

Few have escaped its solemn grasp.

Sensing reservation within my spirit,
Indifferent, though patient as he has ever been...

Struck by such empty desolation
Unable to call to those I sought,
I yearned for a glimpse of a noble face
Breaking through unyielding night,
But filled with a promise so fleeting

Few have buried its enduring pain.

Knowing the agony all men feel,
Impartial, and waiting for me...

Resigned yet with some trepidation
Glancing toward all I had known,
I returned my gaze to the unmoving Ferryman
Constant since time immemorial,
Yet a will so imposing

I always understood what had to be.

Staring into me with those hollow eyes,
I placed the coin in Charon's hand...


Cold War Songs

Just as an aside, I was going to post something a bit more personal, but I lost my train of thought watching 'Clerks II', so I leave you with this little post here and the following post, a modified reprint of relatively recent poem... sorry, I'll try and find my thoughts in the morning. Plus, I'm a little angry, but I will go into that later.

Ok, this little fun post is a derivative of other song posts I have seen. Last week, there was a top 5 long songs, so I decided to go with another interesting variant, the Cold War. I got the idea listening to one of the songs on the list, so here goes:

1) 'Goodnight Saigon' by Billy Joel: A fabulous tribute to those that served in the longest 'hot' war of the Cold War... always love the helicopters in the background at the beginning and ending of the song.
2) 'The Russians' by Sting: Such a soulful song that really defines the mood of the Cold War and the ever impending threat of two nations poised to blow themselves to smithereens... thankfully, the Russians loved their children too.
3) 'Winds of Change' by the Scorpions: A song that really defined the end of the Cold War, and how I felt when I walked through Gorky Park, and stood in Red Square amazed that I would even be allowed to stand there.
4) 'Leningrad' by Billy Joel: Having been to St. Petersburg when it was still Leningrad (but just barely), this song is close to me especially in retrospect and thinking of how so much has changed... though with the new 'wars', maybe not.
5) 'God On Our Side' by The Neville Brothers: An old friend introduced this to me when I was in high school and it is more about war in general, but was made during the Cold War. It starts with the Civil War and ends with the Cold War, and a simple hope... 'If God's on our side, he'll stop the next war'. Fantastic song.

Honorable mention: 'Nikita' by Elton John: An interesting little song at the tail end of his 'Sleeping with the Past' album, but I always liked the imagery of the ten tin soldiers.


28 November 2006

An Epiphany

This particular piece actually fits my own philosophical debates concerning higher questions and sometimes higher answers. (and is an excellent continuation of the previous post) I wrote it in a fit of inspiration (hence an epiphany) while traveling along the Great Ocean Road in South Australia back in 2004. It was sort of a lead in to many of the issues that I have tackled since and hope to continue to explore, and what really lead to my writing many more poems in my travels that year in Australia.


All my yesterdays combine
at points hidden and seen,
in sweeping vistas and distant shores;
places I have longed for,
wanted, and still feel.

This fabric of being cries out,
desperate to understand these moments
counting on tomorrow's concealed joy.
Is it right to wonder
For what I know could never be?

Journeys into future's days
are lost in revelations of past beauty;
an instant of perfect harmony,
a resurgence of the unrequited,
worth the struggles, travails, and pain.

Within myself I have found
memories of the unknowable
reaching beyond time and soul
into the spiral arms
of a universe's welcoming love.

It lingers in us all...
our lives, our loves
our pain, and our sorrow;
borne from the cradle of time
yet rests in the currents of our soul.

I understand the truth
of who I might still be;
No longer waiting in a world of dreams.


26 November 2006

Evolution Of The Spirit

It is often said, and perhaps cliched, that life is a journey without a destination, especially for those of us who are continually wandering and wondering. Anyone who has traveled extensively understands the stirring in the soul that type of journey brings and with every journey comes an anticipation of the next one. Fromm personal experience, every time I have returned from one journey, I could not wait for the next one, and truly it is the process and not the arrival that always excited me. In a more internalized approach, that same journey applies to the growth of the spirit and the soul.

Where does it begin? How does one overcome? Truly, how does one keep going? And how do you get back to a forgotten life?

Perhaps I over think this type of journey and how my soul has changed in the last 15 years or so, for really, as a teenager, while I thought I knew a lot... I knew nothing and had no clue about life. That is something I wish I understood then. At least now, I understand that I still understand so little even though I yearn to learn and understand so much, perhaps even too much.I think whenever I get a little arrogant about what I do know, I remember the person I was, and restrain myself... some.

I have to admit, I am not sure how I have moved on and kept going. Maybe I am just too willful at times, maybe I want to see things through. Or maybe, I have seen what lies in the deepest dark of the soul and realize I needed to do more to affect change in my spirit. Still, I simply have no choice in the matter. And the curious nature of my own self forces me to keep searching, to keep seeking. I only know that I have been so close to the precipice so many times and would have been ok to leap, but again, that would be the easy way. I could have given in to darkness (and no, not talking about suicide, a different kind of darkness), yet I did not. So, am I stronger? Or just desperate? I wonder if that is how evolution begins, though, being borne of desperation... I know it is borne of pain, that much is certain.

Strange that I would write something like this after a rather nice weekend, but I had been meaning to write this for some time. I guess today was as good a time as any. Have a great week all and keep searching and striving.


24 November 2006

Sort of Post-Thanksgiving Things

I have yet to have my Thanksgiving... it is actually later today at my aunt's as my cousin Michael is coming home from Iraq for the holiday, so we are doing things a day late. Which is no problem, of course, and I got to watch football in peace and quiet yesterday, aside from my parent's dogs barking at every little sound outside, but that is what they do. Anyway, Cowboys slaughtered the Bucs, but the game was not as close I as I thought it would be (it was early), especially once the new savior of the Cowboys (at least to the media and common fan), Tony Romo took over (with some help from our improving defense) and riddled Tampa for 5 touchdowns and near perfect QB rating. The only real blemish was that we gave up too many inside runs and TO dropped a couple of easy passes. I later watched 'United 93' with my step-brother, which chilled me again, even though I had seen it in the theaters.

So, I wish everyone a safe weekend shopping, resting, or what have you... enjoy. It has been a good holiday so far, and I have not even gotten to the food yet :)

Actually, as of this edit, I did get to the food.... mmm... plus my folks are making more on Sunday (and there was much rejoicing).


22 November 2006

One Last Poem

I normally take a little time to explain many of the poems I post, which helps some, to the chagrin of others. Well, I have a lot to say about this piece, why it was created, and most importantly, who it is for. Some that actually know me (or might have read this in my writing portfolio on another site) will understand immediately, but I do feel the necessity to offer a little background, and how things have changed since I wrote this poem, some five years ago.

Thanksgiving, 1996, or I should say the day after Thanksgiving, as I had to work the actual day, was the last time I really spoke to my brother. I would see him briefly on Christmas, but we did not say much, and he was already celebrating. I do not recall much of what we spoke of... football, the upcoming Star Wars Special Editions, art, the usual... when we did talk. The best thing I remember was that he was smiling and laughing, but Jerry always had a smile or joke for someone, and a magnetic personality that drew others to him. I can charm a person or two with my conversational skills, Jerry could charm whole crowds with his laugh. In many ways, we were polar opposites. I was the cerebral, responsible one; he, the prankster, the comic, fun loving one. Even as athletes, we were opposite. I was lean, playing basketball, he would play football and baseball (but as a lumbering catcher). By 1996, physically, we had caught up with each other, I being not so lean anymore, he mostly the same, though finally a little taller than I. By 1996, we did not speak so much, though he was always supportive of family, showing up at my wedding, always playing with our younger siblings (getting them into trouble when I was watching them, straining things further when we were teens), the first to get a beer for relatives. Again, I relished my stoicism and intellectualism, Jerry simply relished and reveled. In the end, he was a fun person to be around even if the conversation was lacking. We were both passionate though. He about his art, me about writing, though our temperaments kept us from collaborating in comics, which was what he was best at. He was an incredible sketch artist, and I still have many of his works, as do my parents and siblings (my favorite being an Iron Man piece he did for me back in high school). He would have been a remarkable artist, far greater than me as a writer.

No one would ever see how great he would be as on January 18, 1997, Jerry passed away suddenly, from a combination of alcohol and a pain killer he was apparently allergic to. It basically shut him down and he went to sleep. Needless to say, the next week was a numbing blur and I could not fathom how my Dad got by, especially when he gave Jerry's eulogy, one of the most moving things I had ever heard, and did not stumble throughout it. His strength at that moment was astonishing, and all my strength... I realized how little I had, but did not know how it would affect me in the coming years. I was not his pall bearer, but so many of my relatives and his friends wanted that honor, I felt it right for them to do so. I watched, barely commenting at all as he was interred and waited. I thought I would have something to say if I was the last one to leave the grave site. I was, but I did not. I left, running away as best I could. In the end, the heartache and the pain would catch up with me, and the effects of which would cost me friends, and to some extent, my marriage (but like many marriages, it was a combination of things). The fact remained that I could not (or would not) face his death, and all that was left unsaid. One night, around this time of year, five years ago, I did. I started writing, thinking of all that I needed to say about our life that was.

Since then, this poem changed me as a writer and changed how I viewed my family and life in general. I saw what I was missing (still see what I am missing at times), and knew I could not take it for granted. So what I have tried to do, at least that is my hope, is to honor his memory and legacy as an artist by becoming the writer I am. The following poem is as much a memorial as it is a beginning, our life that was and my life that may be.

'One Last Poem'

One last poem
One last little verse
A few simple words
Or a mere hint of a rhyme
Would that be enough
To forget that winter’s day?

We hardly saw eye to eye
even in that distant world
those resplendent summers where
we seemed inseparable,
and time forgave us for our innocence
but we did not care nor need to.
Games and toys and films of places long
ago and far away
let us linger for as long as we could
without worrying what had to be…

They caught up with us
and made decisions instead of asking
Not really selfish but focused on
doing the best with what they had.
Understanding had to wait.
We held on but it cost us
forging a false jealousy I never could
Tearing at the fabric of our hearts
Those wounds took too long to mend…

One last poem…
One last little verse
A few simple words
Or a mere hint of a rhyme
Could that be enough
To wish this heartache away?

A wedge became a rift and
seeing each other seemed
trying, making speaking even worse.
Sure we were older
and commitments got in the way,
but too much became unsaid.
Others tried to stand in the path
Leaving us to shuffle and avoid
Frustrating, giving in
Thinking we would have another day…

did not say much on that bone chilling morn
A numbness overwhelmed what was left
in my heart
not even noticing the rip in my soul.
This blank shell of a man faced
with that piteous lifeless stare
crushing my spirit for how long,
I did not care.
You always thought I had strength.
Not then…

One last poem…
One last little verse
A few simple words
Or a mere hint of a rhyme
Should have been enough
To bring comfort on that day…

Waiting till they were gone
And it was just you and me
Had to say something,
A word maybe two.
Just a reminder of our life that was
Yet thoughts of the words
Did not become a sound.
The anguish and burden too much
And instead of moving on
I moved away…

Five years gone
Thousands of tears shed
would think so much has changed...
Not really, yet
All that I needed to say I finally can
No help from others running my life.
The rift healed, alas too late
wondering if saying then would
Have changed all that was.
Except maybe I could have
Said this on that day…

One last poem…
One last little verse
A few simple words
Or a mere hint of a rhyme
All that I would give
For my friend that I lost
The brother I still miss.


Early Thursday Thirteen

Since I have another long entry to do tonight/tomorrow and a lot to do on the holiday, I though I would add my Thanksgiving posts tonight, a couple of hours before it is actually Thanksgiving. I would say it is Thanksgiving somewhere now, but that is not the case as in saying it is Christmas now, or New Year's now when celebrating those days early. Anyway, I promised I would do another sci-fi comparison in my edition this week: Instead of messing with 'Star Trek' or 'Babylon 5', I will lay out reasons why the new version of Battlestar Galactica is better than the old one. Of course, I have one big reason going the other way, but that is a matter for another time.

1) A more coherent plot and a less campy plot (though I could appreciate some of the campiness and oddness of the first series)
2) Better looking... and not just the Cylon women. I refer to production design and overall look of the series. I would comment on special effects, but that is not really fair, though I like the use of ballistic weaponry over energy weapons... gives it a grittier feel.
3) Writing... there is some excellent writing on the show, far superior to the original, and to most shows on TV.
4) Edward James Olmos as Adama. While I loved Lorne Greene as an actor, I think Olmos' Adama has more of an edge than the mostly paternal Greene version.
5) Baltar. This Baltar is more sniveling than John Colicos' original Baltar, but I really love his acting, especially in the first season delusional phase.
6) The Cylon plotlines in general. The Cylons are craftier, meaner, and crueler than before, not just a foil on the way to Earth. And they don't even think they are evil, which is quite cool.
7) Music. Ok, I loved the old Galactica theme, and the music from the movie/pilot, but the music in the new version is dead on with the tone of the series, really almost perfect.
8) Mature themes. The new BSG tackles more mature themes, mostly because TV and sci fi has changed. Originally, BSG was meant to be a TV version of Star Wars, with similar effects and scope. The new BSG is more realistic in scope when it comes to dealing with thematic elements.
9) Richard Hatch being in both versions... now only if they could get the real Starbuck back :)
10) Darkness. The new BSG catalogues the Cylons and the Humans descent into physical and metaphysical darkness so well, better than most shows do, and something the old series would never have attempted.
11) Cinematography. The way the series is shot, also a testament to the times, of course, is fantastic. It puts one right into the action, though I do tire of the flashback episodes (overused by far too many directors)
12) Boomer/Sharon. While I loved the old Boomer, this gender reversal role I really liked... yes, not a fan of the female Starbuck. Bring back Dirk Benedict.
13) Battlestar 1980: I doubt we'll see this again.

As before, this is certainly as tongue in cheek as my previous Thursday Thirteen, for I do enjoy elements of both series as much as I enjoyed 'B5' and the 'Star Trek' series. Ok, debate away and eat a bunch of turkey while doing so :)


21 November 2006

Past of Future's Days

Being quite the science fiction fan (as if anyone could have guessed), the future is a special place for me, one that I could always escape to in books, movies, television and writing. At times, I welcomed the future, other times yearning for it, but never really understanding it until it has passed. And like many, that is often times the case. Of course, as one who has a sense of history, I look to the past to understand the future as much as anyone can who loves both history and the history of the future (which at times sci fi can be).

Sometimes, one must glance inward to see what might become of us in the years to come, or simply to see if our lives were worth the fuss we made of them 20 years ago. Below is a poem that, like the future, has evolved over the years from a piece regarding writing, to an examination of self, to finally, the present hoping to see if it has all been worthwhile. One would like to think so, and I feel that I understand the future a little more and am even more optimistic about the years to come. And I suppose I should be thankful that science fiction is, by its nature, an optimistic endeavour, for it purports (most of the time), that we, despite ourselves, will survive to see our future's days.

'Past of Future's Days'

You were my escape,
My release from the doldrums of life
A place we shared...
Only us.
You knew where I could be.

You were a wonder,
Something I would always behold
Giving me respite...
Our vision.
You understood what I could be.

You were my joy,
Warmth in the cold of this world
Helping me understand...
You saw who I could be.

You were the future.
Am I all you thought I would be?


20 November 2006

Tuesday Thankfullness

As it nears Tuesday again, Janet has another Tell It to Me Tuesday at http://www.theartofgettingby.com/ this one on what and why we are thankful in honor of Thanksgiving. She asked for 5 items and that we give some explanation of each. (I was going to do a similar post on Thanksgiving and a Thursday Thirteen to follow up my previous one, but I can do most of the post a few days early... no problem :)

1. My family- I know it is perhaps one of the most obvious answers for all of us, but I am always glad for the time I spend with most of them, not matter how trying they may be... and I am sure I try them as well. Still, nearly 10 years ago I lost my brother (and had planned to post something about him on Thanksgiving, which was the last time he and I really talked before he passed), my only natural sibling (the remaining 10 are halves and steps, but I love 'em all the same), and while I have moved on, his death reminds me to be thankful and appreciative of the time I have left with the rest of my family. Anyway, more about this on Thanksgiving.

2. My health- Again, another obvious answer, but I am rather lucky to have my health at all, having survived 2 excruciating neurosurgeries, one just to save my life and repair my damaged right frontal lobe, and the other to repair my skull fracture (which involved replacing most of my right forehead with a plastic plate). On top of that, I had to endure 2 shunts (and if you've had one, you know how painful they are) and around a dozen or so spinal taps. And this happened when I was 10. So every day since then has been a bonus.

3. Connections- This might seem a little strange, but I refer to the connections that are sometimes only possible in the Internet age. It is an amazing thing to connect with people all over the country and the world, even with those who may or may not agree with me or share my interests (I like to call those people Philistines, lol ). We are all the same and yet so different... so fascinating and wonderful.

4. History- Without history we cannot understand who we are or where we are going, again obviously so, but true. And the tragedy is that so many of us do not learn, but I am thankful for the opportunities history has afforded me to learn what needs to be changed and how to change it, whether I am in a position to or not.

5. Poetry - Without my affection and affinity for poetry, many of the good things in my life would not have happened. It has made me the hopeless romantic that I strive to remain, and has helped me understand my pragmatism and at times, cynicism. And most of all, it has helped me become the man I am, for good or for ill.

Ok, that should cover it... Again, some more posts forthcoming this week, and a special one for Thanksgiving Day itself. (and I'll try and refrain too much from football :)


19 November 2006

Glad To Be Wrong

I kept thinking the Cowboys would be stomped by the Colts, but I also knew this to be sort of a trap game for an undefeated team and the Cowboys matched up well. So, my gut was hoping for a Cowboys win and I thought they could win, just not that they would. However, I am glad to be wrong as the Cowboys prevailed 21-14, and could have won by more had our kicker not missed two field goals (admittedly long ones, but makeable). Of course, we now have a trap game in 4 days with our annual Thanksgiving game, this time against Tampa, a team we haven't played well against since the early 90's... back when Tampa was always bad.

So, go my team :)

I know transport you back to my more regular, occasionally literary ramblings.


18 November 2006


As I promised in a couple of posts prior, some malaise-filled political poetry (not really war poems as they do not discuss war per se). The following two poems are a result of my thinking the world is headed for a reckoning, whether soon, or in the near or distant future. The time is irrelevant, for it will happen. A bloodthirsty race like our own is only meant to destroy itself unless a change is effected. Unfortunately, history has shown we are unable to effect change, hence my thoughts on this reckoning. And as someone who has studied history, I understand the need for justice, and sometimes, the need for revenge; however, because I understand it does not necessarily mean I condone it. My pragmatic side sees the historical necessity, my more human side has to comment on it. Both poems ask the questions: Where does justice end and revenge begin, and who will be left after vengeance is satisfied?


Is that enough?
It should be.
Do you require another?
One Hundred.
Perhaps a little more blood?
One Thousand.
Shall I start digging the graves?
Ten Thousand.
What must the price be?
One hundred thousand.
Will there be a reckoning?
One million.
Should we stop now?
Ten million.
When shall we reach an end?
One hundred million.
Can you still count the graves?
One billion... more.
Is that enough?
It has to be.
We are all in our graves.

'Zero Sum'

They wait for justice's balancing scale.
Expectant yet patient,
Perhaps even confidently assured...
Though the answer would make one wonder.

Scars run deep upon a troubled world.
Bitter and prideful,
Certain in their judgment...
Hearing only cries which burden their shame.

We pay service to advice unheeded.
Polite but arrogant,
Set in unalterable ways...
Moving toward our righteous end.

A troubled world tires of such strife.
Though expectant and patient,
Most certainly and confidently assured,
The answer... makes perfect sense
To those who balance the scales.


17 November 2006


In my previous post, I discussed me accepting the fact I am not simply a historian, or writer, but just a poet... I guess technically a poet is a writer, but not all writers are poets. Anyway, I had touched on my much earlier works and that I had one or two that I was still comfortable with posting. I therefore bring you a blast from my past, with a couple of minor alterations. The following poem was written in 1994, somewhat on the fly and composed, really, in my head. It's also, for some strange reason, the only poem I've written that I can quote with accuracy (maybe it's because I write these down and can access them that I haven't taken the time to memorize them). Do enjoy (one hopes), and have a great weekend.


I have not the charm to bring you flowers,
Nor the wit to woo you with my laugh.
I have but a few simple words
That I speak from the heart,
And inscribe with a pen.

I have not the form of Adonis,
Nor the grace of a diplomat.
I have only the passion of my voice
That leaps from the soul,
And reaches beyond joy.

If I had the grace, the charm, or the wit
To win your heart, my dear
Freely would I give.
Words, though, are what I know
And my only gift to you.


The Poet

For the longest time, I have surreptitiously denied who I am. I have tried to be a historian (though I dearly love history), an author/novelist, a playwright, a director, even a seller of baseball cards and Japanese imports (anime). Most of the time, I have told people I was a student, that I was working on my graduate degrees at alternating times, though my goal is to finish them and perhaps teach... I think I would make a pretty good professor. At least I am told I would. Either way, even the gladness that teaching in college would bring pales in the shadow of the person I am and should be.

I have been writing more than half my life now, around twenty years if you count my writing up scenarios for roleplaying games, but around seventeen years otherwise. In those early days, I wrote mostly short stories and essays, though my teachers would tell me how poetic my descriptions were (and something I would hear from my history professors as well) and that I should try my hand at poems. I cannot even remember the first poem I wrote, though I remember for whom, and I suppose that is enough. I remember taking a portion of a class in high school regarding poetry, and my senior year we focused on The Iliad, but we never had any poetry assignments nor were taught how to write poems. So, it all came naturally... but I understand that is how it usually works.

I started keeping a journal (a rather interesting wood and leather bound journal with paper that felt a little like parchment) that became more my poetry notes than anything else, being a bit of a romantic and eschewing actual events unless they were momentously important. The journal also was with my during my first trip to Australia and the poems contained within certainly impacted the journey. One might be surprised the effect of words... I know I was, at least then. The irony is that I think only a couple of poems from that time do I still consider any good. I occasionally read some of the older stuff with wonder and awe... how did she fall in love with me? The funny thing is, I've had to ask that question a few more times, especially since about seventy percent of my poetry (or at least the poetry I feel comfortable enough to show others) has been written since my divorce, more than five years ago. Maybe I was a lot more romantic then. No maybes about... I was. Perhaps my romantic enthusiasm more than made up for my ignorance in style and substance.

That, I suppose, brings me to the poet, no longer the romantic, just the poet. For a long time, I was not comfortable with calling myself one. And should I be able to? I have only published some poems in e-zines and in writing workshops. I have been told on numerous occasions that I should publish, and one day I might(really, I think I need about twenty or more good poems... I have about eighty or so now). And I do not know why I was so uncomfortable. I think, in the past, I was more comfortable, but in the past I am sure I did not know better. I could not fault myself for my energy and idealism, but it led to some situations that get the better of the idealism in us all. Now, I understand how to temper the romantic with a dash of pragmatism, and because of that, I am able to write political and war poems and more soul searching, more universalist romantic pieces. I admit to fond memories of the boundless romantic, but the words always seemed a little shallow. So, I became more focused on theme and structure and lost a little passion along the way. It took some time, as things like this often do, and I feel I have gotten back a good bit of the passion (for I understand now you cannot be a poet and lack passion), keeping my affinity for structure intact... or at least structure without rhyme. And rhyming is something I will always be working on. As for the rest, I do what I can and hope for a little inspiration now and then, as poets often do.

So, I leave you as Christopher Powell, the poet. Finally, I think I am ok with that :)


15 November 2006

Thursday Thirteen

I realise it is not Thursday yet, but it is in Australia and the Pacific Rim, so I must be channeling blogs from over there (and it is one of my favorite places on earth, sooo..). Anyway, I decided to participate in this exercise and put off posting some depressing war-related poem... I can do that any old time :) So now, I give you 13 reasons Babylon 5 is better than Star Trek. Just a quick note to the Trekkers: I am also a Trek fan, so don't get all twisted by this... just in the name of good fun and logical conclusions.

1. Plot, Babylon 5 had an actual story arc instead of self-contained episodes. (and we won't get into the convenient story arc Deep Space 9 manifested not long after B5 aired)
2. Shadows are far cooler than the Dominion.
3. Vorlons are far cooler and more enigmatic than say, Tholians and less annoying than Q's.
4. Some of the technological leaps are actually possible in 200 years, unlike, say teleportation.
5. Alfred Bester... wait, he was Chekov too.. hmm. But he's much cooler as Bester.
6. Purple vs. Green (if you've seen the episode you understand :)
7. Technomages.
8. Z'ha'Dum... one of the coolest, evil planets ever.
9. Star Trek: Voyager
10. Sleeping In Light... a much better send off than Enterprise.
11. A whole fleet of White Stars (how many Defiants showed up... not near as many :)
12. Vorlon Planet Killers and Shadow Death Clouds.
13. G'kar (may he rest in peace).

I hope I haven't confused too many people for not as many know about the goodness of Babylon 5. And in the interest of fairness, I will reciprocate for the Trekkers next week (assuming Thanksgiving festivities allow it.)


The Shade of Trees

I could call this a re-write, but I lost the original and all of it has been altered except for the title. It was necessary for me to re-write this even though I did like the original a great deal, but the meaning has changed, and in a lot of ways I liked this more. It is not exactly a new composition, but I had forgotten I had written it about a month ago, so reading it again is quite refreshing since I might have lost it to a little absentmindedness. And yes, both versions were oddly inspired by Gen. Thomas 'Stonewall' Jackson's dying words... 'Let us cross over the river and rest underneath the shade of trees.'.

'The Shade of Trees'

Wait for me...
Help me shield this distant heart,
Lest we forget
The words and wonder which
Brought us to such a moment
Beneath the enduring calm of
The shade of trees.

Let me reach to you...
Calm the burden of our souls;
Allow me to forgive
The troubles and trials that
Have plagued my mind,
And let us earn such
A welcome respite.

Wait for me...
And I will wait for you
Beyond the river's edge,
Amid the warm embrace of


14 November 2006

25 Songs

The previous post on 'Remakes' got me thinking about my favorite songs overall, and after reading everyone else's lists, I decided to demonstrate my narrow focus in music by throwing together a list of my favorite songs :) Note: This does not include instrumental pieces, but does include songs from musicals.

1. 'Piano Man' by Billy Joel.
2. 'Blue Eyes' by Elton John.
3. 'Hurt' (Johnny Cash version).
4. 'Wonderful Tonight' by Eric Clapton.
5. 'When the Man Comes Around' by Johnny Cash.
6. 'The River' by Bruce Springsteen.
7. 'Sunday Bloody Sunday' by U2.
8. 'The Music of the Night' (Phantom of the Opera).
9. 'Tiny Dancer' by Elton John.
10. 'Leningrad' by Billy Joel.
11. 'Turn the Page' by Bob Seger (and may the Metallica version burn :)
12. 'Angry Young Man' by Billy Joel (live).
13. 'The Rainbow Connection' by Kermit the Frog.
14. 'Point of No Return' (Phantom of the Opera)
15. 'Miami 2017 (The Night the Lights Went Out on Broadway) by Billy Joel.
16. 'The Last Song' by Elton John.
17. 'One' by U2 (and the Johnny Cash version as well).
18. 'Thunder Road' by Bruce Springsteen.
19. 'We've Got Tonight' by Bob Seger.
20. 'Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word' by Elton John.
21. 'Dream On' by Aerosmith.
22. 'The Saga Begins' by Weird Al Yankovic.
23. 'She's Always a Woman' by Billy Joel.
24. 'Vincent' by Don McLean.
25. 'Nothing Else Matters' by Metallica.

Ok, so maybe this is a little more eclectic than I let on, but I should point out that I only like one 'Metallica' album and two songs by Don McLean (but did he do more than 'Vincent' and 'American Pie'?).


13 November 2006


I was asked this question on this blog: http://www.theartofgettingby.com about my favorite remakes... I assume one might talk about movies and tv shows as well as songs, so here goes in no particular order:

1) 'Sacrifice' first by Elton John, remade by Sinead O'Conner... really a great song made better.
2) 'Battlestar Galactica' Most of the remake of the series I really liked, though I quibble on the whole Starbuck thing.
3) 'Hurt' first by Nine Inch Nails but remade superbly by the great Johnny Cash. A superior version in every way.
4) 'One' first by U2, again later by Johnny Cash... a very soulful version, but I love both versions really.
5) 'Shameless' first by Billy Joel, later by Garth Brooks... again, I like both versions.
6) Do later versions of Star Trek count? Probably not :) (just TNG, I might add)
7) 'The Manchurian Candidate'. For some reason, I just liked this movie remake better than the original one.
8) 'Back in the USSR' by the Beatles, later by Billy Joel. I really loved a live version of this that Billy Joel did in Russia.
9) 'Great Balls of Fire' by Jerry Lee Lewis, later by Elton John... I saw this version live in concert in 1995 when both Billy Joel and Elton John played at Texas Stadium.
10) 'Dune', the Sci Fi channel remake, far superior to the mess David Lynch made in 1984, although I did like the music in the original one (and Sting was cool as Feyd).

Ok, that should cover it...


On Love

Yay, essay time... in a far earlier post (ok, maybe about 2 weeks or so), 'The Nevers That Consume Us', I took a more realistic approach to love and how we deal with love. In the following, slightly earlier essay (mmm... love my chronological displacement), I think I was more idealistic, but the romantic in me does not want to give up on that sort of idealism. Anyway, I leave things for you, the reader, to judge, as I continue to archive, and on occasion post an original thought or two. (though I did edit this and change a couple of things, so there might be an original thought hiding in there :)

'On Love'

Such is my love for thee do I so belong,That for thy right, myself would bear all wrong. --- William Shakespeare

The above line I think has summed up my nominal feelings about the subject of love, or it is at least the feelings and thoughts I should have about a complete love... perhaps even the love I wish I could have. Sometimes it is the love I lost, and then it has become the love I regret. On the whole, it is a confusing mess that makes me, more often than not, a hopeless and helpless romantic. It made me a person who has naively struggled with the hopes and dreams of my own love while bearing the burden of others. Therefore, the words of this sonnet by Shakespeare are applicable and the root of my ideals, and also the root of my conundrum. I have borne everything so that the one I loved would be happy at the expense of my own happiness. Love... or madness? In terms of unconditional love, then I should think that my actions were the truest expression of love, but the harm it did to myself was something deeper. It was a harm I did not even understand at the time. What, then, makes us do such things? The answer is simple. Love.

Being a romantic, I have done odd things for the name of love. I have composed sonnets in the middle of a crowd just to get someone's attention. I have read and sent poems to many a women if only to help them understand. I have driven all night across the country just so I could curl up with the woman I loved... three times no less. I left the one I loved because I needed her love, not her idea of love, alas, more than once. Still, what drives me is more what I can imagine about love, and about my ideals of love. Needless to say, reality is far different than what we imagine. If anything, I have become more pragmatic than I would like and yet, I cling to some insane optimistic ideal.

So therefore, I make myself suffer because I am a little too idealistic and hold myself and others to a higher standard for the sake of a love that might not be possible. Well, it is possible. Alas, the world did not see fit to allow it to continue in the manner it should have. And I then regret what I lost only to think to find it again but then lose it because I sacrificed too much for the sake of the one I loved. In the end, only the idea of love was left. Instead of staying together and enduring that type of agony; we walked away. Strangely, I have done that twice in my life, ten years apart. I often wonder what that says about me.

One should think that my experiences have made me bitter and remorseful. I should say that this is true to a degree, but it has only made me wary of what seems wonderful because I fear it could not be again. I am sure all romantics deal with this in their lives. It is perhaps their hallmark and the source of their great strength, in writing and creating emotion. And I refer to romantics in general, not just myself. Nor am I saying my words are any better than others. To me, the romantic has been through so much that they have no choice but to have an outpouring of emotion. It appears in everything they write, be it an essay, short fiction or a poem. It is a part of who they are and of who I am. The romantic has a connection with the emotion of love itself. It is both wonderful and yet deeply tragic.

It is said that experience is the best teacher. Therefore, I feel my experience has given me an insight into love that I did not have as an idealistic kid of nineteen. As a bit older and wiser man of thirty-three, I know better; however, when I write I long to be that boy of nineteen. That boy with stars in his eyes who knew what could be forever. Sometimes the man I am holds me back. I want to tap into that fountain of emotion created by connections beyond words. Connections to me that now seem to hit and miss, tempered by my own barriers; not wanting to be hurt once more.

Well, I think I have said enough of what I know of love, which is really not that much in the end. I hope you take from this what you will, which is more my opinion than anything else borne from experience. All I know of love is that it can be amazing and that somewhere, in the depth of my soul, I long for it to last forever.

"Only those whose lives are so brief can imagine love to be eternal. You should embrace that remarkable illusion... I think that it is the greatest gift your race has ever received. " --- Lorien, Babylon 5


11 November 2006

Another Day

I originally was not going to post this piece tonight, as I was simply going to post about Veteran's Day, but I read another post on another blog that really was in line with much of this poem. Indeed, the situation the blogger describes is quite similar to my own situation that prompted this piece. It all goes back to a question I asked in prior posts. Can I do more? I did not do more in my own experience and this inspiration made a profound impact on the way I perceive those in need. True, it is hard to tell who really needs help, but what if the one person we turn away is in the most need? Some times one just has to say 'Let me help'. I know I can't every day or every time, but what if there is not another day? It's tough, but then these sorts of things should be.

'Another Day'

Maybe today...

Walking right past
embarrassed for them
not me... just guilt
use it for booze dope
food? what if
no time will be late
make it to class... safe
mind on work away from
pleading that look

Perhaps this day...

Driving on by
wanting reaching maybe
light change look
away that sign
fake.. need work
we all do money so do I
lost just turn busy
poor myself what then
want to... run
not my problem

Let them help...

Not me
a step removed from the street
thinking it could be
sleeping cold begging
work handouts for
booze? to keep warm anything
something too proud never get
that way... the rich
their duty not mine
have little but nothing less
if not you
then who?

Another day... this day

No longer waiting gone
in the news frozen elements
no warmth blanket papers cold
dead not... my fault
guilt rampaging within did all...
nothing not even a word
wanted to did you
came today too late
overwhelming pity remorse
someone else...
did not

Maybe today...

They walked right past
watching them embarrassment
guilt no pride
just looking driving walking away
safer to run not think
but cannot run anymore
reaching out my hand

Let me help... today.


Articles of War

Since this is Veteran's Day (how strange it being on a Saturday. I think it has been awhile since that has happened... right, I know, maybe 7 years, but taking into account leap years, I really don't recall), I thought I would add a more emotional piece about what is left behind in war and how it can affect us, and those who fight. Of course, I wrote this on a Memorial Day almost three years ago but I feel it applies just as well to Veteran's Day. So now, as then, I respectfully dedicate this to those who serve and have served this nation in times of peace and of war.

'Articles of War'

In an instant...
Leaping racing to their doom
charging into a deadly space
hearing a simple primal call
clinging... holding to
a peace pushing back the fear.

A promise...
Clawing hanging on the surface
wrapped within rapid thoughts
dodging traversing shattered earth
sensing the ultimate price
desperate yet determined to
honour more than words can know.

Throughout the carnage...
terrified elation for an eternal moment
torn asunder in mere seconds
cursing yearning toward a ruin
broken mangled by a thunderous end
unable to grasp
a smoldering remain of a once beating heart.

In an instant...
ten thousand photographs...
ten thousand smiles...
fragments of promises laid low
but never forgotten
buried beneath an eternal no man's land
interred within the deadly space of time.


Stranger Than Borat

Because I have no life, I decided to see a couple of movies tonight. And I rarely comment on most movies I see... I leave that to those more eloquent than I in the field of criticism(I can critique when I want to, but I always seem to leave out details that other reviewers like to include). Anyway, I saw 'Borat!' (and I won't go with the full title here, but if you know about it then you know about the crazy title too) and 'Stranger than Fiction'. First off, 'Stranger than Fiction was quite funny and amusing, and I enjoyed it a great deal. More romantic than I thought it would be, but it had some good acting and a rather quirky plot. I do recommend it, perhaps more at a matinee or student rate price then doling out the normal extortative rates.

Now 'Borat!'... I'm still laughing. I was laughing about it while watching the other movie. I haven't laughed that much in ages. I will still be laughing tomorrow. It was so obscene (at least in a very, very farcical sense) and hysterical at the same time, I had to comment about it. Also, Sacha Baron Cohen (who plays Borat), did a nice job with the social commentary because some of the funnier bits were people's reactions to Borat and how they revealed their own social quirks, to be nice about it. And for a movie that is only 84 minutes long, it felt longer, but in a good way. While it was occasionally squirm inducing, the remaining moments more than made up for it.

Alright, that is enough for now. Hopefully, the convention will be better tomorrow (as today was not as good as I would have liked). Everyone enjoy the weekend.


09 November 2006

A Case of Celestial Indigestion

I actually wrote this poem because of a case of indigestion, yes, art imitating life. I have also written a poem after a concussion mixed with a hangover (a story for another post), but sometimes when you don't feel so well, you come up with something... um... something, I was going to say poignant, but I am not sure this qualifies. The poem did inspire a short story (or long short story, or short novella) of the same name that I may post sometime (but it is rather long). At any rate, I still like this quirky poem, maybe someone else will too :)

'Alternate Lives'

The moment fades...
And choices are made.

A door opens and another closes
Maybe a window slams shut.
A spill causes a spark that sets
a fire...
Infinite times infinite times.

But once... it never happened.
This time, it did not occur
Mayhap it happened but merely
slightly changed
Repeated times infinite times.

A decision lingers...
And what must cannot be.

A tumble down some stairs
Or a slip across a floor.
Alters a meeting of chance
Or another's destiny
Infinite or even divided this time.

But once.. it did happen
Frankly, it did occur.
And really it could have happened
Although slightly changed
Infinite and divided several times.

Call it whimsy
Call it hope
Or even fantasy
Still, what is
was not and, in the end,
may be.

A thought is altered...
And nothing is said that should.

A plane lands on time
Another canceled or delayed
A car decides to stall
On the other hand, works just fine.
Once, twice, or any number of times.

These things could occur
And certainly should...
were supposed to happen
Yet, it multiples instead of divides
Infinite times infinite times.

Is it lunacy?
Is it fallacy?
Or just indigestion?
Maybe, one day at the edge of time
it was
Perhaps even celestial inebriation.

A life is changed...
Except it is not.

A kiss that leads to more
Hugs that mean just friends
Hope replaces misery
Or life remains the same
Repeating infinitely upon a
Inverted fractal a couple of times.

Some know truth that seems a dream
Others wonder about old cliches.
Joy comes with the wisdom
Of seeing lives that could
or could not be.
It happens in an instant infinite
upon infinite times.

Call it what you will
Call it complete lunacy
A ridiculous extant of an epiphany
fueled by hopeful delusion
Infinite times infinite times.

Or it could be indigestion...
Darn anchovies.


08 November 2006


This is a slight continuation of the last post, more dealing with our honesty than anything else, but to me, not saying anything when you should is about the same as flat out dishonesty. My original introduction to this poem read: A graveyard near a road paved with good intentions...


'When a man lies, he murders some part of the world.' -- Merlin, Excalibur

Who is the murderer facing me?

Simple white lies, protecting from harm
Innocence for innocent,
Deceiving with such ease.
Double-speak, double-talk
All the same...
Buried beneath an ethos lost,
Honesty and integrity replaced
By concealing the blame.

Clandestine engagements, compounding the shame
Ethics dismissed,
Personal honor tarnished, becoming
A joke, an exception
In so short a time...
Laid low with good intentions,
Sharing the same road
Paved by our words.

I know the murderer
Waiting in this graveyard of deceit,
This agony of lies.
I see him... staring back at me.



I had been thinking about this over the elections and always wonder how much a difference these elections make in the face of the complicity of our times. I find it is a close cousin to duplicity and apathy, perhaps closer to apathy though I have read about plenty of duplicitous complicity in many histories. Of course, if you stay quiet due to apathy, is it the same as being a willing participant? Just as important (at least to me I guess), are you the person that is willing to sacrifice some (or even one) for the sake of many, and to that end, willingly do wrong for this good? Or does it give you pause? No matter the outcome, I should think that it would give anyone pause, yet it does not. That much is apparent in the past, present, and likely the future. Now I understand that most of us do not have to face such decisions and questions, at least on that scale. But the little things matter as scale is only as important as we feel it needs to be. So to those not really involved in world changing decisions (I might digress that every decision, no matter how small shapes our world, but I guess that is a discussion for another time), apathy, selfishness and duplicity are what actions that may, or may not matter.

In the end, I see history and the present day as rife with those who do nothing when they could do more... so, can I do more? Can you do more, and do you want to? I suppose the question remains, what can I do? Sometimes it might be as little as voting, or it can be extending a hand to those in need, simply saying 'let me help'. While we might make far reaching changes initially, it is possible that those we help might change the world, or simply the idea of right action fosters more change. My optimistic side would agree to such a premise while my pragmatic side understands the necessity of doing a little evil for greater good. And sometimes being complicit, not saying anything, has resulted in a greater good though the actual decision to do so might have been innately wrong.

I end with a strange question, but one that I ask all to consider (and I will illustrate it further in the next post), is doing right, being honest, always the right thing? Or is it ok to be complicit and let things happen, simply saying it is not my problem? To me, the latter dominates us, and it is harder to simply be the good people I know we can be. (if, of course, you feel that we are innately good... I certainly want us to be innately good :)

Movie Quote Answers

Ok, it has been a week on this, so I figure I might give out the answers... plus, what I was going to originally post I lost, so this is as good a time as any to post the answers:

For posterity's sake (and so that no one has to scroll back to the original post... unless you just happened to be scrolling through my blog for the sake of.. um, scrolling :) I have posted the original quotes... the answers will follow below them.

1) 'Let us cross over the river and rest underneath the shade of the trees'.
2) 'If you think this crowd is ugly, you should see the dancing girls.'
3) 'War will make corpses of us all.'
4) 'The dead know only one thing. It is better to be alive.'
5) 'Deserve's got nothin' to do with it.'
6) 'Why do all my generals want to destroy my bridges?'
7) 'I will tell you how he lived.'
8) 'This is the end for you, my Master'
9) 'You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.'
10) 'What the hell are we supposed to use, man? Harsh language?'

1) General Thomas 'Stonewall' Jackson, Gods and Generals (also his real life last words).
2) Fozzie Bear, The Muppet Movie
3) Faramir, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
4) Joker, Full Metal Jacket
5) William Munny, Unforgiven
6) Field Marshall Model, A Bridge Too Far
7) Nathan Algren, The Last Samurai
8) Anakin Skywalker, Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
9) Inigo Montoya, The Princess Bride
10) Frost, Aliens

Perhaps next time, I won't be so war/historical movie heavy, and maybe I might go with a different soundtrack. Or maybe I might do some general trivia, as opposed to movie only. I'm not quite NTN, but I know my way around a few Trivia Pursuit games.


07 November 2006

The Dream Of You

I thought I would switch gears in the poems at least and add one of my more romantic poems, though it is a conceptually romantic poem meaning it was not written for any one person, but an ideal itself. I suppose I wrote it more as a gift to the universe at large and how it relates to the women I have known, those that I know and the ones I still have yet to meet, including those who read this post.

'The Dream of You'

Wanting for nothing,
Waiting for...
Moments of transition,
Hopes of realisation
Bound in the dream of you.

Listening to melodies,
Seeing tomorrow
In the warmth of your smile,
The passion in your heart
Borne in the thought of you.

Forgetting the present,
Forgiving the past
Within the grace of your words,
The tenderness in your eyes
Revealed in the soul of you.

Wanting for nothing...
Bound in this dream of you.


Decisions '06

No early returns yet, and probably not for some time, but that is ok. Other friends have already blogged about Election day and that you should go out and vote and they have said it far better than I could have. Here in Dallas, it is a lovely day and weather should not stop you from going out and enjoying the privilege and honor of voting. I think tonight will be interesting. I hope Friedman will prevail in the gubernatorial elections, but I think Perry has the edge in the end. Who knows? In Minnesota, Ventura was thought to not have a chance, and yet he won as an Independent. The returns will tell and let's hope we do not have any glitches with all the new electronic voting machines being used this year.


06 November 2006

Therein All The Honor Lies

The following is one of my longer poems, and I would technically consider it an attempt at an 'epic' poem, since it sort of follows a story (unlike my other rather long poem 'Commentaries on the Burden of War' which is certainly not epic by any stretch). I wrote the first version of this (long since edited) in 1992, which was really the first part of the poem. I finally re-wrote the first portion and tied it to two similar poems (again re-writing a little for some unity of theme) in 2003. So, this is one of my most edited pieces, mostly due to making it consistent and turning it into something that follows a story. And as far as inspiration, I was actually inspired by some accounts of the Mexican-American War, though the opening quote from the Civil War fits just as well.

'Therein All The Honor Lies'

"Soldiering has one great trap. To be a good soldier you must love the army. To be a good commander you must be willing to order the death of the thing you love. We do not fear our own death, you and I. But there comes a time... we are never quite prepared for so many to die. Oh, we do expect the occasional empty chair, a salute to fallen comrades. But this war goes on and on, and the men die, and the price gets ever higher. We are prepared to lose some of us, but we are never prepared to lose all of us." --- Robert E. Lee to General Longstreet, Gettysburg


They charged through the smoke and dust
No glory... simply because it was ordered so.
It was not for the conquest of new lands.
They fought because I said go.

They raced up the ramparts through the hail
Of lead wavering only in the arms of death.
No decisive battle nor desperate last stand
Not even freeing our fellow man.

They stormed the defenses of the wretched fort,
Dirt blasted by falling shells.
Slaughter prevailed on both sides of the line.
Not how I thought it would be.

They fell above the battlements of the old fort
Muskets sending them into the arms of death
Not as I planned... not for glory
Not even for the conquest of new lands.

Dead... Dead because I said go.


Blood stained the walls of the shattered fort
Life once vibrant gone forevermore.
Their hopes and dreams lost to time
for what?
A dusty outpost in the deep of dark
A name not heard until today
Remembered because it was ordered so.

Voices cried from the depths of the fort
Begging for mothers and cursing God above.
Their agony and heartache a cross to bear
for what?
Blind ambition and a manifest dream
A swelling of pride until this moment
Battered into fragments by empty desire.

I wept atop the lonely ramparts
Wondering how this horror could be
The cause should have carried the day
and yet,
The deep of dark overwhelmed my spirit;
Victory brushed into the charnel pits
Where gods and generals must glare
To face their men another day.


They saluted within the rebuilt fort
A battered flag raised high
Objectives met and spirits soared
No want for glory, not even
Freeing their fellow man.
They answered when called
For the hubris of a few and the
Dignity of a nation.

They paraded beneath the quiet walls
Toward a field stripped bare
Smells still overwhelming
They neither wavered nor cared
Fallen heroes are remembered
Friend and foe given their due
While the living bear witness
To what was and what must not be.

I stood in the darkness
Watching them march into the fort's embrace
Filled with a solemn determination,
New defenders hoping to make a difference
For the glory of a nation; perhaps the
Conquest of new lands.
Maybe even freeing their fellow man.
It will not be as they imagine.

So many dead...
The next time I say go.


Always In Motion, The Future...er, I Am

Ah, the wisdom of Muppets, at least 900 year old Muppets as it applies to real life. As I am constantly on the road, I seem to be constantly in motion, which is consistent with an earlier post on the subject. Anyway, I am finally back from Destin, and I will say it was a great convention experience amplified by the fact our totals were triple last years (and last year's wasn't horrible). So, it was a well timed boost as we need to reorder for Wizard World, which is Friday (or Thursday to set up). Thankfully, this one is mere minutes down the freeway (about 6), so I should not be too weary. In any event, just a little update as I am now going to attempt to sleep since I did the lion's share of the driving on the way home.