A Meadow’s Heart

From which eye sight will your wonders unfold? To bring you the world in tinted dreams. Clear and bright it will be placed in your path. But for the clouds that fog your heart, your mind would be divine.

Easily bloom the flowers; colors glorious, sighing in the breeze. Warmth humming in your touch, ears singing songs; the grace of the day shifts thoughts to times you must speak of how heaven senses life and love.

Shudder when earth’s rain soothes your skin’s passion; yet fires the soul of youthful dancing – prodding you to blossom full-spirit as one with another; giving rise to our time-worn search of love crying for a life-to-life so dear.

Arise oh sweet day with your siren’s song; bring forth the jewels of harmony, rush the morning moods like a newborn babe that gurgles innocently of the life that promises pain. Rest thy crown upon the breast of peace; know yourself, yet be kind.

 

Copyright (C) “Rainbows and Waterfall Men” – Roads, Paths, & Trails. All Rights Reserved

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Star stuff and God dust

When you wish upon a star, are you praying to god or God? Is it from the heart or your mind that you hope for an answer? Are they one and the same in time?

We come from star stuff say some wise folk. Others preach from dust we come and dust we go. Many wonder at the nature of life; so short does it shine – gathering within it time sublime while blind minds feast with no rhyme. Is there fire in the soul for both sights to please?

Out there, out there – in deep time somewhere – dare we dream of the journey of our beginning? Does that mean we start at the end; how should we compare? Will we know the peace of life that spills from within us? Shall we just bask in the dust sprinkles golden with truths many say we must.

When you wish upon a star, are you being real or trying to feel?  Is it from dreams hidden in your You;  sparking itself alive like mind-fire true. Glory! Star Stuff and God Dust – pray tell – it that you looking back from heaven upon yourself?  Or is it your heart telling you mind to get over itself and adjust.

 

“When your heart speaks, take good notes”  ——Unknown

 

Excerpt from “Rainbow Stories and Waterfall Men” – a collection of poems and prose.

 

Copyright(c) January, 2017. Roads, Paths and Trails. All Rights Reserved

The Gifts

Fan the fire in her eyes; nourish that dream in her heart –

Drench her mind in a golden ray of hope; as you wrap her soul in purpose.

Make sure she hears the wonders of time.

Guide her with the winds of passion;

Then give her your love to wear like a crown.

 

 

An excerpt from “Rainbow Stories and Waterfall Men” – a collection of poems and prose.

 

Copyright(c) January, 2017. Roads, Paths and Trails. All Rights Reserved

Looking out the window in the mirror

It was not something one sees every day. It was not a pretty site: his back was bent into sharp angles and his neck was marred with knots, ridges and scarring like leeches eating him alive. Contorted arms hung like scarecrow limbs. But what frightened him were the “black hole” eyes starting at him like pinpoints of pain. As he slowly looked down, he felt his knees wobble – legs rocked and leaned away from his control; he was – he was, inspired to think: what the hell? Why was this bright sunny day, blue-sky beautiful; with those puffy breaths of white clouds lazily hanging, drifting on the wind, showing him a hell-in-his-soul picture that was not real? What was his mind seeing if not God’s gift of a perfect day?

He rubbed his eyes as if to wipe away the foul image and thought as he sat down.  How many times had he stared out this window from his daddy’s favorite chair? It always nestled him in deep with its memories wrapped around him; comforting – familiar -filled with Daddy-Frye’s strength and sure-certainty that things would be alright with world. Why this morning had be been given such a horrid vision?  Who was saying what to him? He had to stand back up.  Had to get back up now! He leaned in close to the window ; touched it, rubbed the glass making sure it was solid, really there. Then he thought that maybe if he went outside and looked back through the window he would see his real world again.  As he shuffled and began to turn, he looked around and wondered why there was no door?

 

An excerpt from “Rainbow Stories and Waterfall Men” – a collection of poems and prose.

 

Copyright (c) January, 2017. Roads, Paths and Trails. All Rights Reserved.

Terrorism and the terror of terror

San Bernardino, California and the act of terrorism that shocked that city to its core, shocked me awake in a deeply personal way. I am totally pissed off!  My PERSONAL boots on the ground in the Middle East, pissed off! American military boots on the ground, pissed off!

However, greater minds than mine tell us that this is what extreme Jihadist want: a holy war that can be twisted and characterized as a clash of cultures – of civilizations. The “West,” (whatever that actually means) representing a 21st Century vision that has mankind headed toward a future that binds us together and promises to achieve untold greatness and advances in science, medicine, engineering and more; against an 8th Century mindset that seeks to potentially subjugate one-third of humanity to a non-future soaked in the blood of an ideology that threatens to cause World War III – Armageddon.

I will take my chances with an outlook that saves the world from the negative effects of climate change, and then sets our species on the journey toward a golden age of discovery and accomplishments into the 22nd, 23rd, 24th and 25th Centuries and beyond: “Space – the final frontier.”

For those wedded to a “past” as a future – who am I to tell them that their vision of “life most wonderful” is wrong. But, to spill my blood because of their belief(s) is not a sacrifice I am willing to make.Furthermore, I will not for any reasons offer my values up for dismissal and devalued for the sake of some other culture’s narrow viewpoint and way of life. San Bernardino, California has surely prompted this vow and moved it to the forfront in the minds of many Americans.

Innocent people are dead before lives lived. Babies left without a parent. Families deprived of a mother or father, sister, brother; a life-long friend – the love of their life. Terror spread among the populace for illegitimate reasons. Terror launched against a city based on a religious viewpoint literally foreign to the vast majority of Americans.

This will backfire on those who seek to terrorize us for terror’s sake. Mark my words.

 

(C) 2015  Roads, Paths & Trails. All Rights Reserved

Don’t Pass it on.

Gossip. Shades of the truth. Bits and pieces of hearsay or innuendo- a juicy tidbit here; a little dirt there. What could it hurt? Besides, someone else will do it; why shouldn’t I get in my two-cent worth? And so it begins: a lie embellished, and relished. A reputation tarnished, a job denied – a child isolated. A secret world of whispers designed to hurt. Hate filled, fear-based, malicious jealous words that harm.

Don’t pass it on.

That could be you on the dark end of that lie; the rumor which could destroy your heart. And hope. God made it a commandment; this bearing false witness- but many still believe a friend because they are a friend. They would not tell me an untruth – that would be so uncouth of her or him. So you remain silent and cowardly in your loyatly to them.

Don’t pass it on.

Those dark whispers that bury the light of fact. Sometime a thunderbolt of decency will undo the vile; it may take a while – it may be too late many times.  The nastiness may have ripened on the vines. So the secret putrid slime of a lie blossoms in too many minds.

Somewhere it has been said that “rumors are carried by haters, spread by fools, and accepted by idiots. That statement alone should be enough for us not to pass it on.

 

“Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.”   ______Eleanor Roosevelt, former 1st Lady of the United States of America, 1932 – 1944

The Bo Dollar Kid

The story began two – maybe three years after World War II. My father (he was actually my step-father; and just a few years ago, I found out he would best be described as my “common-law stepfather” – if there is such a thing) had been home a couple of years after having served in the Army. This would have made me about five or six years old. I remember I hadn’t started kindergarten yet because I was born in March but couldn’t enrolled until September.

We lived on Caldwell Street. I even remember the address; I would share it with you, but there’s nothing there now but a vacant lot. Our home was a small caretaker house which was split in to two apartments. The three of us lived in the front half. It was a huge room with a tiny kitchen that had a cooking stove, ice box, a few cabinets for dishes, pots ‘n pans and stuff. Set off to the side, sitting in between the living room/bedroom area – and our kitchen, was a fair-sized black iron pot-belly stove used to heat the place.  I slept on a couch that sat beneath a big picture window which looked out on to Caldwell street.  At twilight time or a bit later (my bedtime was pretty early) I could hear people walking by talking, shooting the breeze; I’m guessing they were headed to the juke-joint – a tavern that sat on the corner. Our little caretaker house belonged to the owner. There was a kind of beer garden that separated the two buildings.

I don’t know how or when this whole thing started; my earliest memory about it began with me being shaken awake one night and taken to a strange place; a tavern is how I’ve come to think of it.  Inside there was a long counter and some tables; there must have been eight or ten of them – maybe more, set up in this huge room.  There were spittoons sitting by the tables and next to the high stools along the length of that dark wooden bar.  It looked just like the inside of the tavern next to our house (there’s a funny story that happened there; perhaps I will get a chance to share it with you.) The difference between the two was like night and day.  Like Black and White.  Which of course, they were.

So there I was, roused out of a sound sleep; barely a year or so away from “toddler town,” standing in this loud, raucous, smoked-choked place filled with a bunch of drunken, leering White men yelling and screaming their heads off, and I’m trying to come to grips with why I was there.  Not only was I confused, I was scared. Really scared. The first time this “incident” happened, it was my father who took me to this place. I remember other times when my mom would take me.  I could sense that neither of them was happy about what they were doing; and what they told me I had to do.

It turned out that I was there to scramble, push, shove, and fight with other kids like me (my age and color) to grab as many Bo dollars that I could get my hands on.  Bo dollars that would be thrown all over the floor by those…….White men. Years later, I would assume that bets were placed on us. I’m only guessing, mind you – but it seems logical now that I think about it because of all the shouting going on.

It was ugly, brutal!  Little kids colliding, knocking each other over, pushing, shoving – clawing trying to get to those silver dollars.  There was hurt, pain and crying for all of us. God forgive me, but I was good at it. I was the best at it.  I’m sure that’s why I was shaken awake many more times to do it. Those Bo dollars were heavy; and they seemed huge in my little hands.  But I always managed to grab five or six of them before the melee ended.  How and why this disgusting, humiliating and demeaning practice came to be, is known only to those men who started the whole ugly spectacle. To be honest with you, this is only the second time in my life that I have talked openly about what happened back then. I have thought about it more times than I care to remember; sometimes fleetingly, always with shame – for me and my parents. It had to be low-down, gut-wrenching hard for them to live with themselves, having had to put me through that ordeal. I was a grown man when I finally asked my mom about it; even then she was still very uncomfortable talking about the subject. Who could blame her? But I pressed her and asked why – why did they make me scramble around on that filthy tavern floor in front of those White men hustling, fighting and grabbing to get a few measly silver dollars?

Henry would have lost his job, Frank, Jr.,” That was all she said.  And there wasn’t much I could say to that.

I would put it into context later in life because Louisville, Kentucky can certainly be considered “in the South” – some say even part of the South.  In the years after the WWII, not much had changed for Black folk like my parents – despite their contribution to the war effort.  Old Jim Crow still had a stranglehold on their lives and livelihood.  Somewhere along the way, my trips to that awful place ended; and then the only thing that would frighten me at night was peeking out from under my bed covers and seeing our black Felix the Cat clock with the swinging tail and swiveling eyes that glowed in the dark. It’s amazing that things that scare the bejesus out of a child.

There were several more years living in that carriage house apartment next to a park with the swings,teeter-totters, sandboxes and a view of the Louisville Slugger baseball bat factory where my mom worked. Life would be a mixture of good and bad for us during that time.  At one point, the house nearly burned down with me trapped inside. Ugly domestic collisions between my parents were not “Leave it to Beaver Time.”  And a case of child abuse brought on by anger and frustration will forever be a memory on my heart; but I forgave that parent many, many – many years ago.

There are several unusually good things I remember about life in that Caldwell street house: one I have only discussed with my wife. Another was about a different bunch of White men. They always dressed in white and would only come out at night and march through the neighborhood. My mom would wake me when you could hear them in the distance. We would kneel on the couch (that was my bed) in front of that big picture window and wait for them.

They were an US Navy Drum & Bugle Corp. band. The music was thunderous, soul-stirring; magical in its sound and fury as these men marched in harmony right outside that Caldwell Street window. After the sound of their songs and thump of their boots had faded into the darkness, my mother would close the curtains, kiss and hug me and tuck me back in to bed.  Sleep would come easily and deeply once I had covered my head and turned my back on that damned Felix the Cat clock with its swiveling glow-in-the-dark eyes.

I have never forgotten those times when I was shaken awake in the middle of the night either.

“Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.”   —-Unknown.

Copyright(C) 2015.  Roads, Paths and Trails. – Glimpses of a Memoir #1. “Songs I could not sing for my Sons.” All Rights Reserved.

NOTE: BO dollar is a term many coin enthusiasts think refers to a standard silver dollar. Many believe it to be the Morgan silver dollar. The “Morgan” was a heavier-minted silver dollar than those commonly circulated after the 1950’s.

Bo dollar was the “slang” description used among poor Black Americans when talking about a silver dollar in the rural South in the 1930’s and 40’s. Anecdotal and some written references confirm the usage of that term by African-Americans in western Tennessee and west-central Georgia during those same time periods.

On a personal note: Bo Dollar was the term I was most familiar with growing up in the 40’s and 50’s in Kentucky, Missouri and Indiana. To this day, I refer to silver dollars as “Bo Dollars.”