Invest in Patience

short stories

Some mornings are made for hitting the snooze button one too many times or well, not hearing all four alarms go off at all and jump-scaring yourself out of bed to start the day.

Some mornings are made of waffles popping out of the toaster and into your six year old’s hand while on the way out the door dressed in cowlick.

A two year old in need of a fresh pullup and a five year old saint holding the door open for you while you forget your keys only- the five year old has let the dog out and now we have to chase the dog down the driveway with a juice cup, human and coffee in hand.

Life Management Tip: In hectic situations where multiple things go wrong all at once, prioritize on urgency and pace your quality control until nobody has died and all is right with the world.

That’s motherhood. Resolve all issues in the most efficient way possible without anyone running into traffic or choking on a lego.

Life Management Tip: If You’re a Leader, Don’t Lose Your Shit

If the kids sense me panic, they panic. I have to keep calm and reassure everyone that nobody is dying and no beloved dog of the family’s will run lost.

I’m the only faith they know. Mom’s got it. And, the dog is fine. He’s more than fine actually, he’s a jackass.

Invest in patience.

Life is chaotic, and it’s hard to sort through which chaos is worth pursuing and which isn’t worth your energy. Life is gonna cause you to hit the snooze button from time to time. Life is going to make you tired. But, you choose what you invest your mental focus into. The house may look a little muddy today but, everyone is fine. I’m writing.

Invest in patience.

Last night, my six year old was having a day on the way to Delaware Park. He was outside of himself, frustrated with the world and he wasn’t in the mood for the playground. THE PLAYGROUND! He was irrationally upset and we could’ve easily gone home, wasted the night on unnecessary tears and crossed arms, tired…

Invest in patience.

So Oliver took Pax to the playground while Janek and I took a stroll. We talked. We played, “I Spy” on the way to sit down somewhere nice. Things calmed down.

I sat with my five year old son and our dog on the steps of Albright Knox Art Gallery and we played, “Which Color Car Will Drive By Next?”

We took in the view of Delaware Park, Do Ho Suh’s Karma behind us – sooo many people in the park on this beautiful summer evening… Some tourists drove by in a cab to snap a photo of The AKG. I thought, “This is Buffalo.” – and we played our silly game.

Sitting there, it may not have looked like I was actually doing anything to comfort my irrational six year old but, in hindsight… I was educating him on E.B. Green’s architecture, Frederick Olmsted and the works created by internationally recognized creators.

We continued scouting for purple punch bugs.

I spiked his interest to actually see the museum. I promised him we’d go to the next, “First Friday” and we made a date of it. The dog was becoming tolerant of park activity (he’s very anxious) and, I was hungry and had to pee something fierce.

And then my son took a deep breath and said he was ready to go back to the playground. Like, he’d gotten everything he needed to feel better and continue on with his day.

I was his, “feel better.” Me. He just needed me to invest my patience into him… that’s all any kid really asks.

He ran back into action and when it was time to leave he negotiated an easy exit for one last time down the big slide… and obliged.

A Train of Mindful Feedings in February

poetry, short stories

On a slow gliding torpedo barrelling down the Hudson, torward big city rumble – traveling alone. Riding a bit shaky, bumping off steel frames, strangers wear their grins.

Snow blanketing fields outside my window – lay peacefully untouched in the rarely seen plains of New York’s rural mass – impoverished back allies of forgotten sheds. A town’s mutated gene with a broken window, three rundown cars, some cluttered lawn mowers all meant for fixing – covered in angelic, glittering white.

The sun, a blazing ball of gold on Friday morning –bounces through skinny, sleeping trees and if I close my eyes, creates anxiety -A flashing red and white dance party –eyes widen relief – the tracks kicking up white dust below.

Friday. Our lucky American’s last laboring frenzy. Counting down the hours before a happy 5-9. “another night running late” – slamming cinnamon poison under mint rubber – feeling no shame, feet swell, legs warm – carrying up into your face flushing hot with reward.

On a train, with myself – some funky beats to block out talk – how nice not to talk – and watch – watch the sun rave with birch and pine until a massive willow who stands like wisdom – turns our fire briefly to night in a glimpse – and is gone.

The coldest month our north has seen in quite some time – not made for people’s hands to peddle or ponder – a femme fatal murderous winter –choking lungs into frozen ice boxes that hold no breath – she’s tallied tall numbers – our taker – and yet this train is full of souls in route to another frostbitten building holding heat – proving yet again, life demands no stopping.

But how the trees dance – how the snow swings in bouts of wind that blow like cotton softly – how the sun creates hope brighter than the white that blinds me – how the untouched plains remind me – beyond my stinging phalanges and nose – what our world is without my being.

Midnight Ride

poetry, short stories

We didn’t have much money or expertise, so we picked up some loaners from my parent’s place. They were Schwinn mountain bikes that had never ridden out of suburbia. I was not a bike enthusiast. All I knew was to click my gear on an incline. The less my chain popped, the better I got at it. I wasn’t a health fanatic, biking wasn’t for sport. But, I did lose twenty pounds that summer peddling.

We met at 11:30PM on Sundays downtown outside a local bike shop. Hundreds of people gathered waiting for midnight to hit, and then we were off like the drunk tor de France.

One of my largest rides was with a group of three hundred. We rode to City Hall’s circular path that sat in the off hours of Buffalo’s busy business bureau. One guy attached speakers to his bike, played indie jams we could all sing along to, and around and around we went…

Another night, we played follow the bad-idea-leader to Woodlawn Beach, (i rode over 40 miles that night). Our plan was to throw a big party to celebrate our arrival. We almost made it but, when the cops saw a circus of biking bozos barreling down an empty highway, they swerved us back to our Silo City.

Back in 2010, Buffalo was still abandoned with rusted fishing tackle and corroding brick. The Great Depression knocked Buffalo out cold, and for a while we just laid there sleeping. The streets were rich and hardly lit with historic artifacts and sleeping architecture.

We often stopped at the deserted train station, a crumbling landmark and drank Jameson out of flasks. Sitting on the steps, observing other’s dress. Some in costume. Some plain like me. A man nearly naked accompanied by his sneaks streaked gleefully through the playful crowd.

Colorful costumes blended into something sweet under a summer night’s sky in Buffalo June. Roman candles popped and sprang into the dark, infinite gloom above us. Not a suspicion of chemtrails to it, this crowd feared no consequence. These were times not yet analyzed by the consequences to our actions, just a bunch of rebellious souls freely pushing life into another gear.

As the hours turned into morning, the crowd would slowly start to disperse. If you made it to 5am, you rode to the docks- a thin strip of cement tucked into the lake’s armpit near the highway. We’d build bonfires on the disintegrating rock and cook hot dogs with canned beans to fuel up for our last labor toward home.

I was brand new and twenty, like a doll in a daze. Exploring the borders of our city, I was helped not to fear. Things did not make sense here; but, the high on a five speed cruising through the most desolate parts of town was worth knocking the kick-stand every Sunday.

Business Man, A Smell Not Suiting

poetry, short stories

January 2015

They call him Sly, and he’s slick like gasoline. Buzzin through a late night crowd, he’s on a pick-up for a buck before sleep. A few kids call on him but, not anything kind. “He called me a Punk!”, was the last grunt I heard before he threatened to lose his shit on those snot-nosed brats. College kids post kegger, insurance on Daddy’s buck saying things like “Get a job”, as if they knew what brought him here.

He’s the best peddler on the block. the least threatening of the bunch, in our Village of the Queen City where thick rimmed glasses pay for their beers on a 2-4-1 Tuesday night budget. He’s the last voice you hear before turning in for bed. A raspy reminder that not a thing’s been shifted under Apollo. A coughing call goes out to the last flannel shirt stumbling with final rounds. “Can I get two dollars for the bus?” is as soothing as a goodnight kiss to a mother’s youngest, spoiled pisset for all hazy-eyed locals in route.

His two and a half mile home stretches with bakeries, bars, and bodegas. Crowds jingle drinking tips in their pocket. They slip past Sly with a smirk- a feel-good exchange for their giving. They leave with a little self-humbling for better sleep. They don’t even see the other flunked fool with a burden to lose get suckered into giving another five behind them.

He likes Pink lemonade but only if you let him have it for free. Otherwise, he wants nothing but another buck for the bus to get to another street. And if you pass him you’ll see- he’s sometimes refreshed, sometimes sober, and sometimes -nope. none at all. But, he still likes Pink lemonade and if you got one, a Marlboro as well.

One time he told me about his grandmother from years back when. She was a bright, strong woman who took up nursing, married three men and outlived them all. She had a nice house in a better part of the city, when the trees were real Elm. She had plenty of children to keep the gene pool steadily flowing, and he remembered her like cake.

Another time, he told me he was a Vampire and swiftly darted off into the streets with nothing to fear but a phobia of garlic.