I Call Him Brother 

cole_afterprocessing-web

Raised under the same roof we each earned our names, though I have always called him brother. Children of the sun, sprung from what cultured raised, carved bold under the gold pip of Africa’s scepter. The fiery flesh of that mighty watcher  colored us with grace, showered our shoulder with the warmth needed to see family in unfamiliar faces.

“I am because we are,” Ubuntu was sold to us, and value was offered in. Ubuntu was sewn in us with a power of greater kings, threaded into our souls in the taut threads of culture. We were thirsty, young tongues lapping up the streams of what was learned before us. We heard the drums of dreams from the bosom of the bearded men and the tongue of queens who wrapped there crowns around there heads would sing up the sense to stave off evil spirits. Under the same sun we each earned our names, though I have always called him Brother!

My brothers stubborn features refused to forget the blessings of home. Although the cold days and frosty nights of a new world made horse a voice that has forgotten the rhythms of home, his crown remains thick with the coils of a tightly knit family. I’ve never had to ask if Ubuntu remains known to him, his actions have always reminded me that home is never far from his graces. His tongue may be forgetful but the estuaries of his heart echo with the roar of the mighty rivers that nourished our mothers brothers. There is enough of him in us to always learn a new picture of home.

One day he asked me, “Whose brother am I?”

These were bitter seeds, they grew sour on my tongue as I watched him question his blessings. As I watch him question his world I am forced to swallow his truth.

“Whose brother am i?” he asked.

My Brother was lost.

You see it seems to some that he wears a counterfeit crown. Because their pictures of his brothers are painted by men, finite and foolish, they draw borders around love and leave him wanting for a home. They don’t know there is a brush whose strokes paint wonders into a mans heart, words are worth too little to count who is kin to your kind. Be kind to your kin lest your mind swim with waste as you allow tall walls to stifle the flow of a love that runs deep. Brother, they have mistaken prison bars for castle gates, yoked their eyes to there tongue, they have forgotten the warmth that recognizes family in unfamiliar faces, pay them no mind.

I am because we are. Their mothers brother might never have looked like us, every part of their soul shares our spirit. Raised under the same sky each of us must earn our own name, though I would always call them brother.

 

There Is Something Out There

silhouette-of-woman-standing-by-window-looking-out

 

There was an invitation into a new world lingering in the midst of her thoughts. Hidden pieces of new beginnings were showing themselves whenever she peaked through the cracks in her patience. There were clues scattered across the maps on her bedroom wall, maps on her bedroom floor showed her she could have the whole world at her feet. Somewhere outside the clean cut edges of her perfect life an adventure was calling out her name. The tall walls that staved off want grew into shades of grey that teased her wanting curiosity, a prison of propriety.

At first the fear took her by surprise, it unsettled her palate, she couldn’t swallow the notion of breaking the status quo. Before the outbreak of wanderlust, there was never a good enough reason to distrust the comforts she had come to know. Fine dining and freedom to spend, vacationing in the summer, five star retreats to hidden corners of the country. The world was gift wrapped for her personal consumption, yet every bite of the tailored dream failed to feed her appetite for living.

Away from the sequined dream, maybe she could drape herself in memories. She could trade the tapered heels, made for pedicured toes, for broad roads that didn’t fight her toes for comfort. The souls of her feet could feel the virgin trails of tomorrow that couldn’t care less for the latest shade of acceptance she’d painted on. She could learn that there is  plenty of room for her curious feet to stretch themselves out into undiscovered pieces of paradise. Maybe, just maybe,  she wouldn’t have to starve her spirit to squeeze into each seasons picture of beauty. Maybe she could eat her fill and feel no shame in feeding her heart.

Folding pieces of her life into her carry on luggage was an exercise in strength. Peeling through  the contents of her chest of drawers was a stark reminder of the world she was leaving behind. Leafing through her closet, weeding out outfit after outfit that would never feel at home away from the runways of her old life was enough to shake her ease. Weighing up time spent building this old life to the immediacy of its disappearance was enough to lead her to question the decision.

“What will they say?” She thought “They will call me crazy.”

She folded her last fabric of worry away and hoisted her enthusiasm onto her shoulders. She waved her way into her new adventure eager to learn her preferred shades of paradise. The world stretches itself wide enough to show her new ways to wear the emotions she thought she knew, new ways to wear her smile and new ways to fill the walk in closets of her mind with experiences tailored to her, no one size fits all when no mannequin can match the shape of your comfort. The set menus of luxury are gone now, she has the power to tailor her dining experience, feeding her heart and nourishing that organs that sprout the fruits of her truest intention. She was foolish to have doubted the calls to adventure.

 

The truth is that no dream, watered down by the trickling whispers of the crowd, will touch your lips with the sweetness once heavy in its touch. Once the notion ripens at the branches of your heart, sample its flesh unashamedly and allow your tongue to speak honestly of the sweetness there. You’ve pinned your smiles on the sleeves of others for long enough, how often will a round of applause be the sole reason your see fit to smile. You have enough living inside your heart to live twice over before waking up to a life spent. Don’t hurry to raise walls that slight the sight of sunsets and call it safety. Quiet resentment isn’t an acquired taste, flavour your soul accordingly.

Are you ready for your call adventure?

 

Blissful Nomad

 

 

 

Mi Princesa 

 

Dear Carla

I promised to be home soon, but now this home soothes nothing without you in it, I don’t know what’s keeping me here.

I came close to finding hope but there is no hope inside these tall glasses. It’s ironic, I thought they’d help me find my spirit. In times of grief these bitter spills make me less likely to stand up but more likely to stand myself. Your mother lost patience with my hatred for me a long time ago. I blamed myself for you leaving the way you did, I knew she did too. Her leaving was all she could do to keep herself from helping me finish my wicked work.

I was only gone for a minute, but I guess a whole life time can pass you by in a minute. Trying to make it right I have found myself writing again, sadly these ink blots are only crude maps of heaven, you’d have to tell me what it’s really like someday. The scattered lines on tattered sheets are all plotting my route to find you. I could read you all the new stories I’m writing just for you. Isabella and the shrew get to go on many more adventures, there all here in my notebook.

Your mother is safe with Abuela, she prays for you everyday. I know there are parts of you that are stained all over her hands and it’s hurting her, she has trouble letting you go. You had her smile, so you’re always on her lips, her eyes cry out the truest shade of you, I see more of you in her every day. My niña, please come home.

Baxter misses you too. He is happy that I don’t yell at him for sleeping on your bed anymore. I’ve found it easier to lay in it with him instead, he seems to like your stories just as much as you did. If you promise to come home I promise I won’t be mad anymore. Let’s draw our own Jurassic park into these hallway walls. I don’t like these new monsters I’m dealing with, they have teeth that eat away at my sleep. They don’t fade away easily, no matter how hard I rub at them. I’ve tried soaking them in something stronger than these bottles but they are always able to find me when I wake up.

If uncle Richie hadn’t called for that favour, and I hadn’t been quick to leave, my “I’ll be back in a minute” would never have meant you’d leave me forever. I still see your face looking up at me from the water. They were your eye but I knew you weren’t there. Your mother found us on the floor, I was holding you, robbed of my precious voice, my Princesa was now a story I’ve been repeating to empty room.

I’m Sorry!

Carlita, you’ll always be Papa’s little Angel. Watch over your mother and Abuela. I promise to see you soon.

Love

Papa

Jump 

There is no one there to catch me, but I would love to learn to fly. My eyes, playing along the loose edges of certainty, cliff faces and curbs, I’m courting a potent notion with intentions of taking flight. A featherless free fall that could grant a taste of freedom.

Leap!

How fine I’d feel, untethered from any holding onto earth. I have no desire to be held captive by these footprints beneath my feet. I’ll make my mark then leap, liberated in glorious flight until gravity decides otherwise. She is the stubborn voice intent on foiling any escape.

I Leap anyway!

I can’t begin to count the takes offs that didn’t make, the break ups she couldn’t take, you see gravity is a crude lover who just won’t take “No” for an answer. She pulls at me with every leap, I feel her begging for my decent. I’ve  learned to time my leave from her, I heave myself from ever knowing her and count the feet until we meet again. It’s a tiresome dance that I endure until my legs have spent there strength, there is no excuse to settle for the prisons of stale foot prints.

Leap!

Inside these lofty bounds I see the power of possibility. My heart flutters around my chest, intoxicated with pure adrenaline. The never knowing has grown addictive, it has nurtured a readiness to fail. Now  I always look and leap, this way I can see her embraces coming. I never know the tangibility of a dream until the leap confirms it’s fullness. I could speculate and spectate but that’s is how mysterys stand untested.

So I Leap!

At my footings edge there lies a world of questions only bravery can answer. There are no new answers to these in the well worn tracks of comfort. I constantly test my courtship with certainty at the edges of reason, leaping into the haze to confirm the mystery of my possibilities.

Life is too short to settle for the prisons of stale foot prints.

Leap

Gone Fishing 

The waters edge was more lenient. He remembered watching on from the banks as long shadows cast nets against the early sun. Barely was the light free from its hiding had the men liberated their vessels from the shores and taken to the open water. He remembers hearing the merriment dancing up to the shore, carried so easily by a dawn yet to be sullied by the scurry of life. He witnessed from sturdy ground how these men worked through the days, only to row home well after the suns song was sang. He never would have imagined stepping into that painting, he was learning the fine details of each brush stroke that gave the pantomime of the morning maritime men an unknown appeal.

The old men teased his footing. A new comer to the fleet his feet stumbled atop the deck. Aged timber, coated with traces of the sea fighting its way on board. Buoyed over the thrashing waves, the torrents imposed their will. Holding on to mast, to stern, to hope, he had prayed for peace. He had pierced that film of fading color that kept him safe from the vivid shades of effort on board those sailed islands.

As another mess of tangled mesh was hoisted on board, the smiles around his frown confused his patience. How can their songs remain strong despite the empty crates? They had no quarry to proudly claim as the fruits of their labor. The deities in their music were the subject of ridicule on the shores where learned men took stock of reason, where was the reason and rationale to cheer and sing void of victory. Each barren haul was a dagger to his zeal. Taking stock of wasted efforts, he failed to match the tempo of seedless gusto, surrounded by madmen, he questioned his own sanity. The ships berth was the  death of a ruse well laid by a rose glow of his once pleasant mornings view.

The water danced them through the after noon as reel after reel of line was sent to the depth and summed back on board for inspection. The songs were unseen silk that bound the fleet into one. A brotherhood of men who wore smiles to taunt the mighty sea, the music sustained the length of the voyage and each bout of “Children of the Sea” was a subtle nod to each man braving the courtship of the currents. It could have been the sun, or the rhythm of the tide, but he felt an urge to sink into the cadence of lunacy. He found himself thinking less and feeling more, he forgot the cold gaze that quantified each second and just faced into the formless face of the day that names itself differently with each passing wind. Those men had grown old at the helm of these fleets, they have seen the sea and their bodies spoke the hidden language of the wash.

 

A sudden jolt incited a frenzy, the vessel swayed as though sea was calling it in. There was panic and hurried action as every able body man took his place by the netting and fought against the sea. All the young man could do was follow suit. Driven by panic, he heaved and pulled, picturing the fleet falling victim to the depth, fueled by fear. His mind was wild with worry, maybe the sea was calling for the men to make true their claims of bravery, maybe their merriment insulted their phantom deity. Spatters of panic settled into a joint effort, the men succeeded in liberating the nets from the water and with it a school of fish danced their bodies atop the deck. Aged timber, coated with the bounty of the sea, they had a claimed a victory.

The old men had learned the hidden language of the sea, they listened with ears that have spent years conversing with the tides, decoding the power of the deity’s gifts. There is a patience that only the voyage can teach, he was beginning to learn that. The young man carried the song in his heart, at the ships birth his heart echoed with another bout of “Children of the Sea”, born into a brotherhood that endures the tides of life.

 

Silence

It’s a soft cloud that settles after so much rain, after the tumultuous applause of tongues simmers away to allow a mist to claim the room. It’s a safe place sometimes, it saves our grace when there is chaos and there are too many decibels to deal with, held softly it grants a respite from the stampede of life’s less tranquil spectrums. Silence slides through empty homes when life is spent, when days are sent to slumber, it paints into the night a thin slip of light that allows the smallest lungs, from beneath the blades of grass, to serenade the night.

Sometimes silence thunders, it harbors echos of a life already lived. When the traffic of everyday is drowned out by silence, inside us, the cannons of old wars reverberate their anguish. The dialogues that refuse to die, live inside the quiet moments that still the senses. Silence rouses the nocturnal voices that are rested while the world of sounds is active, the voices that find you when the world around you pauses for rest. Silence is never silence, the echos are waiting, silence allows for another spectrum of life that has no opening for anyone but you.

Allowed to its share of life, silence is a loving gesture, a needed gesture. I could dance in the cacophony of my senses wildest celebration for senseless stretches of time, however the constant crashing of waves eats away at my shores. When the waves simmer and still their frenzy for a moment, a host of game is invited into the flow, and for a moment I can take stock of my quarry. I can see what it is that is attracted to to swim amidst my flow. When we get busy living it’s hard to see what we are drawing into our intimate space, I take the quiet as a cue to watch for the elements that thread through these echos of a life lived, I thin the heard accordingly.

In listening to the sounds of silence, I have learned the rhythm. The ebb and flow of the outside world bleeding in, of my inside world beating out. I listen, and move my feet to the hidden cadence of that harmony.

If we were having coffee right now …

If we were having coffee right now, I would have my order of caffeine at hand, mixed with enough caramel to make the kick bearable. I would take my triple chocolate muffin and whatever scraps of paper I was carrying around that day, and I would sit them right next to yours in a quiet corner of the cafe. I’m guessing it’s been a while since we last saw each other, so we would ramble along for a little while, so much to say yet so little time. I’d be happy we finally found the time to have our sit down, your schedule is as busy as mine, sometimes they simmer out for long enough to grant us our fix of caffeinated froth and friendship.

If we were having coffee right now, I would have to tell you all about my writing, about my thoughts, about my make shift epiphanies and everything that is new with me. Its no secret that I decided a while ago to write my way into old age. I would inundate you with stories about the poetry slams and open mics that I’d been to and all the ways it was very much the drug that made the chaotic mesh work of everyday bearable. The thrill of working those crafted syllable into the air, the silent crowds hovering under this mist of my uninhibited truths. My writing is going well, it’s not great but it’s good. I would have to mold it into some kind of palatable excuse for my vanishing for months at a time.

If we were having coffee right now, I would have to tell you about my latest challenges. About how I might be veering away from the baked goods that we loved so much, maybe I’d still be a vegetarian at the time. I would tell you why I’m leaving these things behind, it’s wouldn’t be because I loved them less, but because my limbs had started to feel heavier, and running after some semblance of freedom is tiring work. All the training I’d been doing has highlighted the thickness around my bones, and a heaviness in my heart, a few less cakes, a few less pints of our weekend elixir and a few less dances in the company that pioneered our friendship. This should not confuse you with lack of presence. Name the time and place and I’ll be there with my dancing shoes on and you will not be robbed of any part of the man you knew.

If we were having coffee now we would most likely be in our home town. Since moving away from everything I rarely show my face in the old neighborhood, but you’ll always be reason enough to swing back to the familiar stone faced towers that played the back drop to so many summers. The place that has catered to so many memories, too many “one drink” outings that spiraled into an insomniacs paradise.

If we were having coffee right now I would be counting the hours in empty servings of coffee that would begin full but would end as hollow cups filled with the residue of laughter and reminiscence. If we were having coffee right now I would dread any goodbyes. I’d be watching you piece together the phantom days that tie the faded goodbyes to our pleasant hellos, always weary always wise to the traces of the epilogue of our dear dialogue.

One more coffee for the road. Sadly there are no to go cups of you to help perk up the lethargy of your absence.

No Farewells from me.

Just goodbye for now.