still it’s not over

maxresdefaultAnother “Pride” is under our belts; 48 years since the Stonewall riots, 44 years since homosexuality’s removal from the DMS, 2 years since we gained equal marriage rights and 1 year after the Pulse massacre in Orlando. We can legally declare our love for another and in the same day get fired from work or get kicked out of our homes just for being gay. Fifth Annual Gay Pride Day marchWe are harassed, molested and murdered while many still snicker, sneer and call us abominations for being alive. Parents still deny same-sex partners access to each other during illness, hospitalization and death. Governments still hunt us, capture us and make us disappear. The road to equality is extensive and we have only taken the first few steps.

m_1cohen-pride2017-4This year the City of Philadelphia added a black and brown stripe to the rainbow flag in support of our brothers and sisters of color who are just as marginalized as members of the LGBTQ community. In 1978, when the striped flag was first used in San Francisco’s pride celebration it included 8 colors. Pink was eliminated and then the Turquoise & Indigo were transformed into Royal Blue all to make mass-production of the symbol cheaper. Symbols are constantly being redesigned and changed. I welcome this addition to my symbol. It continues to show how inclusive the LGBTQ community can be. Now is the time for all marginalized citizens to join and work together for our shared Equality.

As the celebrations have grown, I have noticed amazing changes taking place. Where once it was only the leather-men and drag-queens marching, now it is everyone! All the colors of the rainbow are celebrating being themselves. The LGBTQ community has strived to be a welcoming one. EolaFountainWe need to continue to open our arms to everyone. We came together after Stonewall because no one else would stand up for us. WWIT?! Isn’t it time for our struggle to include all who are not treated equally under the law?

Pride Compositcut

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Why We Travel

RoadTrip17Route part1Fifty-five years ago my parents were married, beginning an adventure that ended way too soon. They had planned one final RV trek to visit Wyoming to see Yellowstone and Devil’s Tower then over to Mount Rushmore in South Dakoda. In their memory and to commemorate their 55th Anniversary, I have taken to the road in a rented Santa Fe to visit these places.

Tonight, I sit in a hotel room in Las Cruces, New Mexico watching my parent’s favorite TV show The Big Bang Theory. I’ve traveled from Clearwater, Florida through New Orleans, LA & Houston, TX arriving on the edge of the white sands dessert to begin my journey north.

Quote PostIt’s said we travel to come home with new eyes. Somewhere in the middle of Texas, while watching the landscape slowly transform from familiar to alien, I came to accept this new reality without my parents. I miss them immeasurably, some days more than others. Yet, as cacti and coyote became the norm of the landscape, I found them all around me. Happy Anniversary, Mom & Dad!!!

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Thunder

Imagine Dragons…

lightningsunset

This group constantly challenges my musical hear and I love them for it.  Each song is as unique as we’d imagine dragons to be. ff29c90f160d45626a8132d757a69cc1

 

Feel the Thunder (turn it up!)

 

 

 

sooner than you think

hqdefaultIt was during a daily update call with my Dad last year that he told me he had arrived at the rehab that morning to find mother on oxygen. “She not looking well at all, Michael,” was all he could muster.  With this unsettling setback fresh in my mind I knew I had to be there by her side. I quickly finished the required work needed to release the payroll that Wednesday morning so that by lunch time I was rapidly heading north to Heron Point.

for worse, in sickness

I entered what had been my mother’s room for the past two months to find my father and sisters, Cindy and Debbie, by her side. We shuffled around in that tiny space so I could get in to the bedside to say my hellos to mom. She was verbally unresponsive. But she squeezed my hand when I kissed her, letting me know she knew I was there. “I love you,” I whispered and her hand held tighter. I ended up sitting down beside her because she did not relinquish my hand. I gladly obliged.

IMG_6683I sat holding my mother’s hand for hours it seemed as waves of pain flooded her body. Every twenty minutes or so she would tense up,  squeeze my hand then pull it tersely down her body.  I asked my Dad about pain management.  He said the Hospice nurse was on the way and that no one in the rehab was authorization to administer her morphine yet.  The hospice nurse didn’t arrive until 8 that night, two hours after the staff moved us to a private room. By the time mom was comfortable, the entire family had gathered (except our sister, Kristen). Some were staying late that night with her, Dad stayed until a returned in the morning. On the way home that night I wrote this poem. Until now, only my mother has heard this.

I read this to her the next day shortly before she passed away.

SOONER THAN YOU THINK

Sooner than you think2

 

How do you say Goodbye to your Mother?

MomBeautySchoolIt is never easy to say that final “good-bye” to someone, especially when it’s your mother. When it finally set in last year that her days were growing short, I wrote the below words and read them to her. Her first reaction was to tell me she wished she could have been a better mother, given me and my sisters so much more. I looked straight into her tear pooled eyes and said. “No Mom, you are a great mother.Mom-most receint  As children we may have had many wants, but it was you that made sure all our needs were fulfilled. You gave us your unconditional love.”

MOMDadDanceShe was emotionally drained yet was able to whisper, in her own unique raspy tone that I miss so dearly, “You have been the best son a mother could have ever asked for.” It was then I broke down and we held each other until we both stopped sobbing. We spent the next hour lost in conversation, like the many we had had over the years. We didn’t even notice dad and Ezra had returned to the room, we were laughing through our tears.

I love you Mom and miss you more than anything.

Dearest Mom,

I never thought in a million years that I would be writing this letter to you so soon. In my mind, I have been working on my grandmother’s letter for years, but life never goes as we plan so here I am trying to come up with the words that express all the feelings I have for you inside. How do I tell my mother what she means to me, how do I express those feelings to her?

I love you and because of you and your life, I have life. Everything I am is because of you.

One of my earliest memories of us goes back to the days when we lived in Town-n-Country. It was summertime and you took me to a new place, the library. It was a small space in a strip mall on the corner of Hillsborough Ave and Town n Country Blvd. You always had books for me at home, Dr. Seuss- Go Dog Go, ABC & 123, Green Eggs & Ham, to name a few. You read to me all time which helped me learn to read even before I began my formal education. You and I shared an intimate relationship with the printed word.

Stepping through that diminutive door into my first library was magical. My eyes opened to the endless possibilities of life. You ushered me into the children’s section letting me loose to browse the books on my own (telling me to take my time and that you would be ‘just over there’ finding a book for you to read). I started looking through the books that were similar to the ones we had at home, finding hundreds of them. When you retuned you found me on the floor with a half a dozen or so books trying to figure out which one to read first. That’s when you told me we could borrow these books and bring them home. “They wouldn’t be ours but we could have them for a few weeks at home to read”. I was ecstatic and I borrowed every one.

It didn’t take long to read those borrowed books and we found ourselves back at the library the next week and every week after all summer long. I quickly outgrew the picture books and found the young adult section where the books were filled with words more than pictures. You explained to me that in these books we (the readers) were required to make our own pictures in our minds. It was the author’s duty to paint those pictures with words and the reader’s imagination to create them. You let me pick out one of these new books for us to read together. That first book was “Stuart Little.” It was the cover that captivated my young imagination, a little mouse paddling a canoe through the grass on a river. That week we explored Stuart’s story together. It only took a few days to read that story. I remember reading it over and over again myself before we were able to return to the library for more. These new books were amazing, I was able to travel to far off lands, into outer space and beyond. Soon one book became three and then six and more. My thirst for reading has never been quenched.

My love for reading sparked a love of writing. Over the years I have attempted to express my life’s experiences through those very words I’ve been reading since I was a young child. But today those words escape me, there seems to be no words that can express the love I have for you. That love is infinite and holds no bounds.

I know each of us is on our own journey in life, the books you introduced me to have expressed that much. I cannot begin to fathom where your journey is leading next. It’s the one journey we all take yet no one has returned to write that experience down. Just know that I love you and one day I will make that journey to be with you again.

Your loving Son…

MomCollage

 

Lost in a Coccoon

My mother came to me in my dream last night, we talked and laughed together until we cried… she was the Mom from my childhood, around the time this song was first popular.  

 

Love dares you to care for the people on the edge of the night

And loves dares you to change our way of caring about ourselves

This is my life…..

Under Pressure

 

A Warren Report

washingtons-birthdayAs the country pauses to celebrate the birthday of our First President, in what has unofficially become known as President’s Day, I take a few moments to reach out of my cocoon. I haven’t had many complete thoughts to get a coherent blog out, even for myself. Yet, what was I thinking? Not much, everything, nothing at all, yes… I have been going through my parent’s papers.

cd1010056-7Steeped in the music and culture of 1962, the year my parents married, the last golden year of America. They were 21 and in-love, about to embark on an amazing life together. Dad was in the US Army and Mom had just graduated with a Cosmetology license. Collecting their life in photos, music, papers has lead me to deeper understandings of their past.

20140909_132408_zpsda96cee0In their record collection I found two albums by a Rusty Warren. This brash broad bounced her boobies blazingly through the bald boy’s band. Laying a foundation that many entertainers have built upon. Ms. Warren was a trailblazer. I recommend a viewing of these two clips to help celebrate your “Presidents” Day!

Trailer for– Knockers Up! Rusty Warren

Rusty Warren Bounce Your Boobies (A Patriotic Song)

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Walking the Edge at Midnight…

lonely-benchAt the end of a road called Sunset Point is a park known as Edgewater. There along the path that lines the shore is a space in-between the Welcome to Clearwater & Dunedin signs. A place I like to call, No-Man’s Land.  It is where I go when I need to think.

alt19There is no better spot to empty my mind than this space at water’s edge. It is my bubble, the land between the cities, full of emptiness and darkness. Here I can bend reality and test all the possibilities. During tonight’s midnight walk  I pondered my future and the choice before me.

long-road-01“Live for today, tomorrow is never promised.” I’ve heard this a lot lately and I lived it through my Dad. While going through all that my parents left behind, I found something my Mother never finished. All the signs have been telling me to compete it. So, my sisters and I are in the beginning stages of getting that business done. I’ll be able to disclose more when we get closer to completing mom’s task. WWIT, that walking an Alternative highway at Midnight would bring me solace. More to come…

 

Brightly Shines the Sun

imbolcThere are many proper moments within a season to embark on a new adventure. That moment for me is Now. Today has been cosmically wired as a day for beginnings- This is the season of Candlemas, Imbolc, Chinese New Year, Ground Hog Day and the New moon… All signs that rebirth is about to begin on earth as well as in my life.   

happy-new-year-of-rooster-2017-vector-designIn ancient days, this was the time when a village would begin planning the upcoming growing season. I must also plan for my growth in the coming year. While the chains of corporate America shackled me for nearly three decades, it stagnated my ability to creatively write. This has now changed, the shackles have been removed. I am unhindered and ready to work on ME, on my roots and my foundation.

groundhog-day-background_23-2147532213My future is absolutely in my hands now. Staring at this blank slate, the size of the nothingness is massive yet so small. If there is one lesson I have learned from 2016 is that nothing is promised and it can all end so very fast. I used to cling to my job for security and thought it was what I needed to be alive. Now that it is gone, I feel more secure and alive than ever. Now is my time to shine- get your sunglasses ready!

all there is- these beautiful minutes we wait on…

Duty of a Grandson

cool-text-203522098114774Today I begin my duties as Power of Attorney (POA) for my grandmother. With her only son gone, she’s been panicked that her home and savings will be lost to inheritance tax or court costs if she passes away before her affairs are in order. At 98 she has her way of seeing things, the death of her son put a huge wrench in her life plans.

I introduce myself to her bank. With the durable POA in hand I need to add my signature as authorized on all her accounts. I also need to access the contents of her safe-deposit box. She wants to make sure I know where everything is and what do to. She is putting a lot of trust in me, I never thought I’d be in this situation.

While I am at the bank with these tasks, I have left her the following samples from WWIT?! to read. Yes, it’s taken 7 months for me to get printed pages to her. I promised her the font would be large enough for her to read. I figured if I’m going to be deep in her life, she should be a part of mine too. I’ll let you know what she thinks!

The Pulse of Pride

a new Dad for Father’s Day

In My Silent Times

The Dad Trilogy #1- (Games People Play, The Name of the Game, What’s Love Got to Do With It)

Cancel Chemo, I’m Going Fishing!

As I Face Uncertain Futures