Tag Archives: Birthdays

New Poem for Review

Just a poem I’ve been working on, in its un-revised state.  I would appreciate any comments, suggestions, and/or criticism.  By the way, I’ve figured out how to single-space in WordPress!  You have to hit shift+enter between lines. 🙂

Birthday Bottles

This year, the candles snuffed out,
the empty iced tea pitcher tipped
by the breath of the coming storm,
and the remains of of a homemade cake
were left in the center of the warped picnic
table.  I sat alone under wizened maples
with growling thunderheads
blacking the moon and stars.
Other birthdays came to mind
when the first lightning crashed
from ground to sky, thrashed
through thick  clouds and beyond.

Your present’s in here, he’d say with a wink
then head off toward the garage,
a slight limp in his left stride.
When I’d follow, there’d be a bottle
of amber sitting on a workbench,
sporting a multi-colored bow
on black label with pride.
I used to crack the seal, lift the glass
to silent lips, swig a large swallow,
then slide the bottle to his side.
While family noises sounded outside,
we’d celebrate with fiery shots,
that misted and distanced us
from the burning on our minds.

This year, the lightning flashed as I
played our ritual in my mind, then
thought of the broken people
he’d left behind.  I glanced at the Coke
in my hand, raised it rueful
to the sky and whispered, Thanks, buddy
as I headed inside.

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Posted by on July 4, 2011 in Writing


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There’s Healing in Those Riffs

My twenty-ninth birthday just passed this week.  This was the first birthday without him.  Without the bottle that was a standard birthday procedure.  Without that joke about me getting older, and my old stand-by response, “I’ll never be as old as you,” while smiling sweetly.  Without that playful interaction that made me feel like part of the family, instead of an outsider.  I miss him, more than anyone could ever have imagined.  Though the blood wasn’t there, the bonds of family were placed upon us that very first day we met.  He was never afraid to be mad at me, just as I never hesitated to tell him what I thought.  We never pussy-footed around like the rest of our family does.  Maybe I wasn’t his blood sister, but he treated me just like one. 

Tonight, I’m going to see Avenged Sevenfold in Wilkes-Barre.  The tickets were a part of my birthday present, although I got them well in advance.  It seems fitting to me.  After all, A7X holds a very special place in my heart.  I bought their album, Nightmare, the night Donnie died.  I watched this nightmare of a scene unfolding, while thinking how ironic it was that I just bought an album with a startling connection to what I was experiencing.  Any Avenged fan knows that Nightmare is a tribute to The Rev, who also died a senseless death.  The things you think of at a death scene.

A month after he died, I saw them at Montage as part of Uproar Tour. The fourth ticket, meant for him, went to my niece.  I spent that night missing him; the kind of missing someone that makes breathing impossible as the weight of every heavy thing you’ve ever said sits down in the middle of your chest.  But, when Avenged came on, some of that weight went away. The energy and honesty in their music is how hard rock should be.  They’ve always displayed an intelligence in their lyrics that question some heavy things, like politics and now the absence/presence of God.  They are the type of band that makes you believe again.  Believe in the music, and the power it has to heal you, to change things, and to make a difference.  I wish I could explain how connected I felt, through the raw feelings they displayed on stage.  They were missing a band member, and I was missing a brother, and for a moment, I felt as though I could reach out and touch the music when they put it out there.  It was real.  It was healing.  I’m looking forward to that feeling again.

Donnie, I’ll be thinking of you again tonight, and the night after, and the night after.  I wish you could see the impact that you’ve had on others.  I think you’d be amazed at how much difference you really did make.

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Posted by on April 29, 2011 in Life


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