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From 20,000 feet, the lines are straight.
the world is in neat patterns
with the white headlights heading in one direction
and the red tail lights, obediently traveling the other

dozens of creeks converge and streams merge
into the river whose meandering still makes sense
and the interstate crosses via white bridges in parallel lines
at a point most efficient to their final destination

From here, cities make sense too
I can spot a school by the football stadium
and the streets laid out in a grid
with an occasional flourish of gated suburbs

the earth is a patchwork
a quilt of work and technology
where dirt road meets gravel
meets asphalt meets concrete
all at ninety degree angles

mathmeticians must have had this vantage point
geometry was made for this
relationships weren't
relationships are messy and this is orderly

I think I like to fly
to make the world feel orderly and organized
for just a while
till I come down and navigate the airport
heading for home
and living with people
the crisp, clean, do-over didn't take long to foul
This is not so new after all
I'm not much different
so why should this be?

And the money's already spent
So that isn't new either
the guilt is  familiar, the blame, harsh
the fool standing in the corner behind the closet door
with the full-length mirror
laughing and crying

Fresh starts have become stale
and pathetic
how many of these do I pretend to get anyway?
I'm "on to" myself and usually I'm the last to know

I guess it came faster this time.
the blemishes, weaknesses, the charade
Better act quick
And find a fresh start.
Most moments in our lives pass unnoticed, without remark or consciousness.
Then, there are those that mean something, or that we choose to mean something,
   that become a placeholder for our lives, to add meaning, understanding, passage
    a demarcation that bestows significance
My daughter graduated, under rainy skies and cool breezes.
The white tents in the grass flapped empty and lonely like a cancelled wedding
We sat in a loud gymnasium rather than in the grass quad surrounded by trees
I was there with a thousand other proud parents;
I circled her name in the program.  I waited for the moment when it was to be called; being    
   slightly afraid I'd miss it
And I whistled and yelled, but I don't think quite enough.  I didn't seem to mark the moment.
It was a moment, and I knew it, expected it, wanted it to be.
   so badly.  
Bittersweet.  I like that word, it explains life so well.
I like the idea of bittersweet and I wanted to have it envelope me that day.
I tried to hold on to it.   Like a good dream that comes too late in the morning and wont be prolonged quite far enough
I wanted to hold on, to understand what it meant.  I knew it meant so much,
   or, at least, I wanted it too.
I held on to understand what this meant to her.
I held on to remember my own graduation and the dream I then only fainty realized I had just experienced in my four years of college
I held on because I know her next steps take her further away.
I held on to feel what she felt in the mixture of joy, relief, sadness, confusion;
   all that goes with parting from friends who alone know the exerience you shared.
I held on to make sense of my life.  Making sense of moments makes them meaningful.  
I want life to be meaningful
I wish I would have written something that evening.  In the full emotion of the day.
I thought about it.
And now, like that dream, it is fading into morning light.  I can't remember all that was, or seemed to be, profound and important as I watched my daughter those two days.  
I want it to mean something enduring, symbolic and permanent.  
I want my life to be important, to reflect a famous quote from someone, to be in granite.  
Not so everyone will know it mattered, just so that I will.
I planted flowers
  Fixed the floor
Worked for hours
  Painted the door
Re-grouted the tile
  Sowed some seeds
Rested a while
  Then pulled the weeds
Painted the halls
  The carpet is new
Washed the walls
  And baseboards too
Removed the clutter
  granite counters were bought
Replaced the gutter  
  'Cause the old ones were shot
I stand back and see
  the results of our work
mumbling softly, Gee
  You're a stupid ****
Shiny and new
  The house is a show
Prepared for a view
  By people we don't know
Our home's at it's best
  And everyone can tell it
So now we can rest
  And the realtor can sell it!
I cleaned out an old drawer
of odds and ends.
    paperclips and the door to a battery case on some remote
    an orange candle stub, from Halloween I think
    batteries and four flashlights, though only one worked
    and parts of things I'm sure made sense to keep at the time
          I have no idea what they are now

I cleaned out an old drawer
  of things forgotten
      my daughter's picture in a setting unknown
      a letter of gratitude from a friend, for what?
      a postcard from Barcelona
      graduation announcements for a friend's child
           I don't think I sent a gift

I cleaned out an old drawer
  of memories and my past
     a ticket stub from an evening with Isabel
     a newspaper clipping of my son in scouts
     old mother's day cards from the kids
     New York City subway map from October 2001
         Memories of adventure and affection

I cleaned out an old drawer
  and sorted, discarded and remembered
     batteries went together in a small box
     old fortune cookie notes in the trash
    memories dusted off and replaced
        out of the drawer and back into my heart

My life has cabinet drawers
   stuffed with junk and trash mixed with treasures and tools
I think I'll clean my cabinet more often
     To organize things that I've needed
         like my mom and dads enduring affection
         kind and playful  friends'
     Throw away useless things
          like anger, resentment, and regret
          to make room for treasures
    And to be reminded of what has been
         a real childhood of play and discovery
         magical children  and the wonder of them
         my beloved's steadfast love and respect
I cleaned out an old drawer
        and found some peace.
He undertook
  Such a jolly folly
To search for his heart's twin

O'er plain, and peak
   Never sparing daring
Mad quest he did begin

He careless spent
  All his funny money
For he spared no expense

Heard of a man
   said to uncover lovers
Without a recompense

"He's only known
   as the Giant Bryant"
For there were none bigger

So off he went
  For how dare-he tarry
With the greatest vigor

Within one moon
  He did righted sighted
The giant's stone castle

And cautious stepped
  Midst the towers flowers
For he was quite facile

With guarded prose
  Lest he adverse converse
Relayed his quest of years

And though none be
  A more mighter blighter
Tall Bryant shed six tears

"Your search for love"
    Reflects gallant talent
And will surely quench thirst

In yonder vale
  In a deeping sleeping
A daughter who's born first
A true love's heart
   And hair flaxen waxen
Braids tressed with a blue fleur

She longs for love
    To keep-her deeper
Hope steels her to endure

It was just so
  For he found-her sounder
In the vale with fields green

Her braided hair
   In breeze saving waving
With the suns golden sheen

As he held her
  In their blissing kissing
Knew he'd ne'er search again

For in her eyes
   Shown a growing knowing
Reflecting his hearts twin
It  felt,
     like a dream remembered,
a gift bestowed for no reason, save mine.
Conscious discovery yielding an oasis
     from tempest or doldrum.
     Without the energy or tension of a search
     No plan born from need or design
     No thoughtful execution of a magazine get-away
Luxurious coincidence, well cherished

Faithful lawn chair positioned for comforted discovery
     A bath of sunlight and blue, still skies
     Occupied birds singing faint chorus to joy and spring
     Not begging for attention or warning, lest they disturb.

A cool spot found beneath the sheets by my wandering toes
     When warmth has stayed too long and threatens to be wearisome
     Lounging in the arms of my beloved, just longer than expected
     The sweet kiss of familiar lips full and lingering

Chance audience to a little one's discovery
     When no one is watching, a glimpse
     the unfolding world of a child
     Echoing back to wonder and a reminder

The observed gait of a cat in  open grass
     Her movement and mechanics newly seen
     Exquisite design for her own purposes
     And a glimpse into a world that is not ours

Not demanding attention
     They pale my designs and grand efforts
     They embarrass the clumsy media
With the slow fall of a reddened leaf in autumn
     Dancing this way and that to find its place on earth
Inviting me to see
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