rain

There’s something broken in me
Something small that hurts large
It barely takes a breath to knock me to my knees

I am broken.

It’s a hurt, a pain, and years of memories. 
The difference between “i love you” and “I’m in love with you”
has little to no meaning.

Love doesn’t matter. Love was meaningless.
all that remains is all that breaks
my heart. my soul. my life…

I hate this brokeness…caused by love…caused by your rejection. 

So i look back. to go back. to see the path and repair what remains
yet back looks black and
back is black and white

i can see clearly now
picture perfect rain is falling down
i look back and see nothing
i look forward but am blind
rain is the only direction i see

down.

rain

I got a voucher

I boarded the plane with a child
in my seat so I offer to exchange
window for middle
I’m a father myself, you know.

What do I care? It’s 2 hours to LAX
the attendant offers me the isle at 23c

but it’s closer to my boss and
i want a triple vodka and no worries as
that’s the best for drinking
too much, with out care

they say it’s suicidal to drink yourself to death
but i’m dying anyway

someday I’ll kick this habit
someday I’ll acknowledge my reality
and will never deny myself a drink again

for now though I’ll squeeze in
tucked between two strangers waiting
until my drunk arrives.

It’s just a carpet convention after all.

I got a voucher

Lies

“You believe a lot of lies about yourself”…

He grabbed his coat and notebook and walked away. His words, however, stayed.  Seated at the table with me.

“You believe a lot of lies about yourself”…

It wasn’t just the words but the way they were spoken. Matter of fact. A statement. Not a question of “do you?” or a suggestion of “you may” but simply a fact: “You believe”…

And lunch was over and the statement wasn’t made for me. No. It was a fact for him. As though he found the clarity that I was seeking. As though he could see there was nothing left to say until I could see…

I believe a lot of lies about myself.

I’ve often said, there is no reason to be offended. If someone says something about you that is true and you don’t like it, change it. If what they say isn’t true they’re a liar, and you should never listen to liars. But…

…what am I supposed to do when I’m lying to myself, about myself?

In 2014 I ran the Portland Marathon. All of it. I trained for months and months, each weekend pushing myself further and further. 12 miles, 14 miles, 18 miles…I don’t quit. I am not a quitter. I will not quit. 20 miles…

When race day came I knew it would be a challenge and I knew I would finish. For the first 18 miles my body felt great. I ran with a smile and clear mind and nothing was going to stop me. I don’t quit. I am not a quitter. I will not quit. 20 miles…my body starts to breakdown. On this gorgeous Sunday morning people were literally dropping out and literally falling to the ground, laying face down on strangers lawns and calling for me to join them.

By mile 24 I was broken. Not just physically but mentally and emotionally. I felt as though I could not take another step forward and I also knew I could not quit. I will not quit (I can not take another step). I am not a quitter (I want to die).

Mile 25 passes so slowly…and death does not come.

For the final 1.2 miles the streets are lined with people offering encouragement and I hate every single one of them. “You’re doing great“, “You can do this“, “Awesome job, Johnpaul“, but I just want this nightmare to end and I don’t believe a word they are saying. No…worse…I refuse to believe. They don’t know how I feel. They don’t know what I’m thinking. Great job? Not to me. I can do this? Not to the standards I have set. Awesome? Fuck off.

I realize that I’m nearing the 5 hour mark and I tell myself to keep moving. Make it under 5 hours and you won’t be embarrassed, I tell myself.

Downtown Portland.
The streets are packed.
1,000 of people cheering.
Yet I am alone.

I have one corner left to turn and I see my children standing there. I’m too broken to move any faster and still they bring me love…for one brief moment I feel a sense of pride. My children are watching me run. My children believe in me. My children will be proud…

I round the last corner  and see the race timer… 5 hours, 3 minutes…I start to cry. Head down staring straight at the street I cross the finish line. 5 hours, 3 minutes, 20 seconds…

A race volunteer tries to put a medal around my neck but I just grab it in my hands. I decide in that moment of brokenness that I failed and I will never wear this medal. I go home still holding what has instantly become a symbol of failure to me…I hang the medal with my others and fall asleep…

I have ran countless races and every other time I was given a medal I would wear it proudly and say, “They don’t give medals to losers” and then I would tell my kids that I won (for which category I’m not sure… No… probably not fastest time, son, but perhaps I was the fastest mid 30’s male wearing blue and black? The details aren’t important…I’m a winner).

And yet:

“You believe a lot of lies about yourself”.

Lunch is over so I grab my jacket and notebook, walk slowly to my car, drive home, and put my 2014 Portland Marathon Medal around my neck for the first time and I tell myself:

“Don’t believe the lies”

After all, they don’t give medals to losers…and that’s the truth!

Lies

Waves

i sense a distance growing between us
as the waves of childish passion recede
we are still standing on the shore
together
and healing

it feels appropriate to move to the side
giving each other space
to grow. hurt. heal.

and the great things about waves
they always return
and we will still be standing
healthier. peaceful.

alone or together. in strength

Waves

J Wept.

Jesus wept.

Short, to the point. Perhaps poetic…perhaps…
Mostly for the Jesus part and less about the weeping.

Johnpaul wept.

See…not that interesting. Here the tears overshadow the man.
And no one is turning the page.

Jesus probably did a lot of things (assuming he did any at all)
But, “Jesus threw a blanket on the back of a donkey, got a boost from Thomas, hopped up, and rode off into the sunset” is far to mouthy. Even if he was weeping the entire time.

Jesus hopped.

That’s how I would tell the story if I were a first century writer pretending to know him.
“Keep it vague”, I would say to myself, “let the reader decide why”. But I don’t know him.
And won’t pretend as such.

J Wept.

I’m wishing

I wish “I Love You” would be enough. Not the words of course, anyone can say them. I wish MY love would be enough. For you and me. forever. I wish your love for me would fulfill all the requirements that forever desires. We love each other deeply, I wish that were enough.

So many souls are wandering alone without a friend to hold. So many people have made the commitment to spend eternity together. So many have said “our love is enough” and foolishly rushed into mediocrity. But I love you isn’t enough. And you love me isn’t enough. And all the nights we spend falling asleep together laughing peacefully in each other’s arms…and yes, all the peaceful moments that we share….the way you relax my anxious mind and allow me to be…the way you silently caress the back of my neck while accidentally missing your turn…the way we keep on driving and singing or talking or in silence…it…isn’t…
Why isn’t our love enough? Why can’t it be guaranteed? Why?

Lighting just struck outside the window of this plane that I am on. And lighting strikes remind me of how people fall in love. Quickly. With a flash. And often followed by loud rumblings. A moment of perfection in a time of desperate need. Bright lights shooting through the soul. Electric connections buzzing in every inch of your body. A storm of emotions drawing two people together. Protecting each other until the storm passes.

Followed by quiet…

But we didn’t flash. We didn’t find love in the lights we found each other in the slow. Walking. Drinking tea. Daily texts. That’s the love that lasts. That’s how we know we can be forever. That’s how…

Life dictates what lasts forever as love stands right behind. So I can hold your hand in Ohio and I can long for you deeply from Oregon and still life whispers in my ear, “distance”.

Life give us please, that chance. Let us prove ourselves.. to ourselves… and find fulfillment in forever. Don’t take her away. Further than she is.

I wish our love was enough. I’m hoping life gives us a chance.

I’m wishing