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Archive for May, 2010

A small framed hand against window,
damp cool air meets with the warmth of Child’s breath;
and the dreams of youth and life are on those lips.

Young eyes peer out into a world blanketed with gray.
Gray as sheep’s wool, safe, pacifying and non-challenging,
A great soft gray blanket, the secret of this blanket, is that it is a killer.The dreams of youth and life are smothered deep within its fibers.

A tear rolls from the eye down the cheek and on to the tongue.
Curved reflection on pupil, wet, the teacher has turned away.

The dreams of youth and life have ended for the teacher
with one turn…

What for the young pulse that runs through the hand that leaves an impression on this gray world?

The child does not yet know
the power of tears
to cleanse broken dreams of youth and life.

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Before We could speak,
We had words

We could describe,
the floor, walls, and ceiling of our existence.
In those words there was no song.
No time

My smile,
and deepest escape into a self-made world of denials.
and Your fast feet ever running;
No time but for this

We three kings of avoidance,
of surviving.
In those words there are no songs,
no time.
And we could not speak….

Still calling for our songs.

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Living

Summer garden, warm breeze
Still cool shadows, chest moist
with dew, lay foundering into
the oldest unexplored forest of the mind.

Sounds from thicket
Sudden,
large brown hare

Thoughts to the neatly boxed garden,
And question of rabbit’s reality:
What if this box, this world, is all that will ever be known?

I would rather have been a bird,
Able to move through worlds
To fly by the whims of the wind…

Flying into mesmerizing reflection pool;

…Crack…

The Gardner’s hands gently scoop the little gray bird.
And it is laid to rest inside the garden’s gate.

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Buddhist Prayer

May all beings everywhere plagued
with sufferings of body and mind
quickly be freed from their illnesses.
May those frightened cease to be afraid,
and may those bound be free.
May the powerless find power,
and may people think of befriending
one another.
May those who find themselves in trackless,
fearful wilderness–
the children, the aged,
the unprotected–
be guarded by beneficial celestials,
and may they swiftly attain Buddhahood.

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The Turtledove Enigma

The year was 1977. Two crying children wrapped in white hospital linens are transported to a nursery. One of the children is comfortably positioned in an incubator. The other was shifted into another hallway, moving faster down the corridor towards a glowing exit sign. When the door flings open, light floods the creamy white of the hallway. In a strange way, the baby is like the man emerging from the mythical cave talked about by Plato.

Swishing sound fills the air. Hushed voices climb louder over the mechanical sounds of an awaiting chopper. My life journey takes its second turn in a life that within thirty years has been shaped by unexpected twists and turns. The reason I start here at the very beginning is because I feel compelled to write today about connections. You see, that brother, my twin, whom I left behind in Bridgeport City Hospital. as I was being rushed off to Newington Children’s Hospital for emergency surgery on a hernia, has built a life separate from mine even though we had the closest of beginnings that one can biologically have with someone. Our separate lives have been influenced by very different social, economic, and even political variables. He has lived on the street. I have lived in multiple homes. He has been abused and neglected. I too have suffered that…but because I was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, the system has paid a lot of attention to me even if only through labels. My brother has always gotten the scantiest of attention, and even that little bit that he has received has been negative.

Now, I’ve spent years analyzing this, blaming myself, blaming my biological family, and of course blaming the system for our separation and for the extreme differences in our upbringing. I have spent too long trying to find that love I thought we should share and hitting a brick wall. When I hit that wall, I always sought a substitute for my twin.

Most of my readers know that I was adopted by an upwardly mobile upper middle class family who, of course, have their own set of issues; however, even in those issues they have provided me with plenty of opportunity, even if that opportunity was not physically handed to me by them. Just being adopted and moved out of the system of foster care gave me a hand up. I acknowledge that. A lot of you readers know that I still talk to my brother on a semi regular basis. I talk to the mother of his child even more regularly. My twin is a drug addict. He is at the lowest point of his life, even as my adult life/professional life is just opening up.

So how does that make me feel? I think I understand that one can shape their own destiny, make their own way, and end up who they are because they’ve chosen that path. My brother Eric proves that some circumstances are not completely controllable, that fate is not black and white. However, I have a unique perspective, one that perhaps I want to ignore. I have a person who looks exactly like me, sounds exactly like me, flirts exactly like me, but somehow we are like mirror images. Drugs, loss, and a hard life have shaped him beyond recognition. I spent years trying to connect with him, like Peter Pan chasing his shadow. I see something that most don’t. I see the hardest of lives and the greatest of gifts reflected in two people who were born together and separated by fate.

What does this mean for you the individual reader? What does it mean for Huntington? You see, I lived the life that both plagues and makes Huntington a uniquely beautiful city. My brother is addicted to prescription meds and I’m sure a variety of other things. This past week, he lost one of his front teeth. Many of my friends comment that I have a beautiful smile. Well, my smile was his smile. Huntington has given me intellectual freedom. Marshall unlocked something beautiful within me. I have to wrestle every day with the guilt of being aware even as I watch my brother slip deeper into darker places. I think to myself, “What can we do?”

My brother lives in southern Florida. That is where a lot of our problems come from relating to drugs. This column is not to offer any solution, but for what it’s worth, it is to ask a question of my readers. What do we do? How do we help? And where do we start?

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