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Fresh Paint

woman-against-wall-painting_wallpaperThe wall has fresh paint
Opaque in color
To drown out her screams
Both varied and innate
Perfect background for pain
Colors sliding down
Mingling with her tears
A crack in the facade
Perfect in its flaws
Waiting for a second coat
The darker imitation
Belonging to another
Yet bleeding through
A reality of change
She sits back to that wall
Breathing in and out
The blending of selves
Past into future
As the colors dry
In myriad striations
That mirror her soul
Like so much fresh paint.

April Snow

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thI try my hardest not to think about my time working on a farm. You can understand how me, a city boy, blanches every time a farm animal is mentioned, right? But my children are different, and I think they get it from their mother (who is a bona fide country girl through and through). They walk around here barefoot, they like Travis Tritt, and they like all things farm-related. Of course sometimes they might like things they don’t really know too much about.

Hmmmm. As always, Lexi and I have a lot of our most compelling conversations when it’s my bath night, and tonight was no exception.

Me: What did you do today?

Lexi: I had fun with the animals.

Me: What animals?

Lexi: Um, there were goats, and a llama. And my cow.

Me: You have a cow?

Lexi: Yeah, I have a cow. He puts out the fertilizer.

Me: Your cow is a boy?

Lexi: No, silly. He’s a girl.

Me: Uh, okay. How does she put out the fertilizer?

Lexi: You know.

Me: I do, but I’m not sure you do.

Lexi: Of course I do. It comes from his milk.

Me: His milk?

Lexi: Yeah, but first you have to get the milk out of him. Continue Reading »

Dating by Numbers

Okay. I will be the first to admit I haven’t dated all that much in my life. By the time I was dating age (i.e. 17) I was finally a senior in high school, but I was going to a large public school where I knew pretty much no one, and I was afraid to approach most girls. The one girl I got up the courage to ask out laughed in my face, so that wasn’t a good batting average for me. Needless to say, I didn’t ask out another girl from school that year.

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Dating myth: Flowers win the girl over.

However, I also went to church, and my mother was always suggesting I go out with one of the good Christian girls there. But so many of them I had grown up with, and it would have just seemed weird to want to court one of them. Well, except for this one girl, but she treated me like a brother, and I didn’t have the hurt to damage that relationship in order to try and craft another one out of its ashes. There was another girl, though, who was relatively new to our church, and I finally just asked her out.

GIRL #1

She had short, dark brown hair and a smile that never left her lips. She was also world-smart, meaning she didn’t come originally from a church family. So she was not really the sort of girl the preacher’s kid was supposed to be going after. I suppose that made her more appealing in my eyes. I asked, she said yes, but it was the date that never happened. That seemed to happen a lot to me for some reason. Just say no if you don’t want to go out.

GIRL #3

Me and Girl #3, we actually went on a date. Seven of them to be precise. I was 20 at the time, but a lot more world-weary than I should have been at that point. We met first online, and our initial phone conversation was horrendous. But we still met in person, which was a good thing, considering we hit it off from the start. We met, we wooed, we made exchange of vow. And yeah, as you can imagine, things went much too fast. I guess it either went nowhere, it went too slowly, or it accelerated swiftly back then for me. I think I scared her away. But those were a nice seven dates. Continue Reading »

Monument

The Sharing Game

children-sharing-sweetsDo you remember the Barney catchphrase, “Sharing is Caring!” and how he used to always espouse the joys you can get from not being selfish? Well, all of that was just an extension of your mother telling you that it’s always good to help out others who may not have what you have. And you know in the back of your head you were probably saying something like, “But it’s mine!” Well, I feel your pain, but perhaps your mother did have a point.

When I was a kid we lived at the end of a block of rowhouses in Southwest Philadelphia. Now, a rowhouse could have been seen as a detriment since the walls were so thin and were all connected, but my mother used the situation as an opportunity to teach a value lesson. She said that since our walls were “shared” we could share other things as well. I guess it was an attempt at helping to make a closer knit community in the middle of what was a depressed area.

And share we did, but it worked both ways. That’s the glory of sharing. Instead of being covetous of what someone else had, we took turns having it all. But in order to truly share you need two or more people who can understand the bigger picture. That’s why so many kids can’t share effectively without getting angry, possessive, or suddenly unsure about what taking turns really means. Continue Reading »

Every Picture

Every picture I’ve ever seen of myself tells a story. Sometimes that story is a wonderful one of redemption and joy, but other times it’s the story of a boy fighting against himself, trying futilely to get somewhere. Still other pictures bring back memories of times and people that have been long gone. Some names I don’t even recall, but their faces ring true all this time later. We had that moment. We shared at least the amount of time necessary to seal that memory behind glass for the world to see.

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Me and my big sister.

Out of all the people I’ve taken pictures with, the one who appears the most in those photographs with me is my sister. We are only 15 months apart in age, and many people assumed we were twins back then (much to her chagrin — she’s the older one). But we took a host of photographs together, many that still exist to this day. I think it’s because our parents (but mostly our mother) decided she wanted to chronicle our growing up years. Isn’t that why most parents pick up a camera in the first place?

I have pictures of us from Florida, with huge Mickey ears plastered to our sweaty foreheads. And there are pictures of us at Dutch Wonderland, posing next to Barney Rubble, looking like rubes. Still other pictures are random ones from around the house in Southwest Philly, us posing by not posing. Mixed in are also the stock photographs we would take every few years in the back of the grocery store where the picture people would set up shop. I wore ties for those. I am smiling in all of them. I love my sister, and it shows through even back then when I tried to be mewed up to my heaviness. Continue Reading »

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