September 11 – A Day We Will Never Forget – My Personal Journey

It was sometime after seven when my phone rang. I was groggy and half awake but somehow felt the need to answer my phone. Kim was the on the other end frantically telling me to turn my television on. Without hesitation or knowledge of why, I did. She then began to tell me the cryptic pieces of information surrounding a plane going into the World Trade Center. It was moments later when I witnessed the second plane make a permanent impression in my mind. I soon hung up and continued to stare at the screen as my eyes got lost far beyond the scenes I was seeing on the television screen.

I sat silently and still on the floor, watching, absorbing, and reflecting as the news trying to make sense of this madness. Memories of my days on Wall Street came back quickly and I could remember my footsteps from the PATH train to Broad Street. Now that path is covered in rubble and smoke and the familiar sounds of taxis are now filled with screams.

After several hours, without knowing what to do or who to call, I played nine holes of golf. Upon completion, as I walked the final path to the clubhouse, my phone rang. I don’t know why, but had a feeling the news was not good. I had no reason to believe that the call from my parent’s home phone was good or bad news, but I knew. Maybe it was the day playing in the back of my mind or perhaps the knowledge that my parents rarely ever called me during the day. With a brief hesitation, I answered to hear my father on the other end confirming my notion. I received the news that my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Mid afternoon on September 11 as the world reacted, lived and digested what would become the most memorable day of our lives, I stood alone hearing the word you never want to hear in relation to a family member, friend or yourself.

Much of the next several hours were a bit of a blur. Sometime in between the hours of 8:00 PM and 10:00 PM I leaned on a rock just outside my apartment and looked up at the sky. My first thought was of the deafening silence filling the sky with only the view of stars shining. No planes, no helicopters, no sound resonating. Of course this being in the middle of a remote part of Oklahoma would not have shocked anyone but living seven miles from an international airport meant something else. How can complete silence send shivers down one’s spine? I don’t know, but the empty sound was the spark that drove me into a period of weakness and sorrow. I shed a tear as an entire day of devastation ran circles in my mind. Over and over I remember the calls, the videos, the commentary and through all that, it was the silence that sent me over the edge.

That was September 11, 2001.

One year and six days later, we lost her.

Fifteen years have passed, ten years older and more mature. The world as you and I know it changed that day, not in a temporary mode but a permanent way of life. It awakened us to the notion that we are all vulnerable. How often to we go to a movie and watch a blockbuster about an apocalyptic event and sit in awe at the wonder of Hollywood magic? Yet, to witness the unimaginable happen before our eyes wondering and praying that our friends and loved ones were not part of this madness is something not many of us would pay the price of admission for. I grew up in New Jersey, raised by two home bread New York parents. Spent some time on Wall Street living the American dream. Never in the midst of the madness known as New York City could I imagine an event so catastrophic ever happening in my backyard.

If asked what emotions went through my system that day, I would have to say shock, fear, heartbreak, concern, confusion and hope. I am sure you are thinking why “hope” in that list of negative emotions. Well, without hope, we have nothing. Everyday we live with the risk of tragedy whether it affects one person or thousands, yet each day we wake up to a new sunrise with the hope of a day filled with happiness and love.

September 11 was tragic for me in so many ways, mostly personal. I needed to feel hope that as a family we would be by my mother’s side supporting her, comforting her and knowing together we could beat this disease. As we come closer to the 10th anniversary of the day that changed our lives forever, I will be thinking about my mother and the struggles she had to endure so that we could have the blessing of having her in our lives.

My greatest tragedy of that day was not the events over lower Manhattan. It was that I was not there to hug and hold my mother when she received the news of the unwelcome visitor in her body. I’m sorry Mom.

I Need A Place to Hide Away – Original Poem

hide1I need a place to hide away
A solitary escape to call my own

Through the desert heat, rising waves and the highest mountain peaks
Battling the demons laughing along the way

I need a place to hide away, but I should first explain

I offered my heart in hopes you would find happiness

We are born into a world flawed by an ideology of innocence
An apple tainted by the first breath

Still I fought for redemption
To complete a great unknown and find a happiness never clarified in the handbook of life

I struggled, swatting away the gifts raining upon me not realizing the happiness I wanted for you was all in a single touch
The power of a shared journey was right before my eyes

The legacy is not in a trophy case or a plaque, but the memories that carry on

I pushed forward and now I know, I should have just shared in the blessing of the moments with you

escapeNow I need a place to hide away

To reflect; to seek a rebirth
In this place I will build a womb, nurture my wounded soul and cleanse my mind to the point where I first got lost

Now I have explained
Now I need a place to hide away

Truth – Original Poem

hand1Truth has no cost
No oppressors; no accusers
It is not bound by law nor governed by principles of acceptance
It is free of judgement

Truth: a wicked play on words
Often misunderstood and feared
It lives to be free, but hides from most

I have found truth
I have been hypnotized by love
I have experienced the idealism of a life complete

Caged by societies book of notions, rules and behaviors
Words twisted into law
Freedoms handcuffed to the fence of resistance

I have found truth
It shines in the stars
Echoes at the speed of light in moments of wonder

In the moments that touch us with the vigor of a rolling train
They move mountains; silence screams
In these moments time stops long enough for us to reflect on the importance

pic2Truth is in the education of nature
The emotional strain of mistakes made
Adorned by the gift of a heartbeat
Why do we wait for it to seize?

I have found truth
For all others, I am sorry

We Should Have Done This A Long Time Ago – Original Poem

Roys-Motel-Route-66We should have done this a long time ago

This road trip
This journey together of discovery

Without the shackles of life and only the stars and the wind as our guide

We should have gone barefoot on the sand letting the ocean current caress our ankles

The voices of leaders will show us the path
From King, to Buckley to Twain, their spirits; their vision lives on

Together we will laugh and cry without limit

Free to dance alone with the sunflowers
Sing on Beale Street
Bathe in the Mississippi
Scream from the tip of the arch
Revel in Route 66
Echo in the Canyon so grand
Salute the Presidents looking on with pride

We should have done this a long time ago

You and I
Kindred spirits who found a way to get lost along the way

In the darkness, we found light
imagesWith breath held under the depths of black sea bottom we survived to witness another sunrise

Now I see the endless highway and all the roads that will tempt us along the way

Start the ignition, leave the map behind and trust ourselves
It’s our time now
Just you and I and the melody of exploration

Undiscovered Self – Original Poem

folly1Am I really who I used to be?
I am who I want to be?

Songs of yesteryear playing in my head
A merry-go-round of familiar faces reminding me
Reminding me of the paths I did not take; the roads I did not pave
Each turn I reach out for the comfort of another heart

One that wrote me the letter that sits in a box
Those words still ring true today for another

Love is a splendid demon filled with fire and rage; subtlety and pleasure
Like a bed of roses, it teases me with its fragrance and cuts me with its thorns

The blood is dry now, no longer flowing through my veins bursting in scarlet red

I sense you
Holding on to me, holding on to you
It is a sensation I have not felt since we walked the beach alone, tickled by the stars
The waves reminding us of second chances, always returning to the big blue sea

Am I really who I want to be?
The answer is in these tired eyes

A warrior without armor, vulnerable and exposed
A fighter with no hands, void of the power to retaliate
Spited without being wronged

I look behind at my shadow
un1An outline of who a used to be
I look ahead to a blank sheet waiting to be written

Am I really who I want to be?
This is a question for the wise men resting on the mountain tops

For now, I take comfort in the undiscovered self

Sadness in My Lover’s Eyes – Original Poem

sad1I see the surrender in my lover’s eyes
A sadness co-exists in her unspoken lies
I can only sit back and empathize as I remain paralyzed

Words cannot penetrate the darkness as trust is but a cliché bottled up in her childhood castle

I want to fill that vacancy; to penetrate that black hole and find your lost happiness on the other side

This is the dream I have for you
A dream of promise, not defeat
A dream fulfilled by a revelation of the holy spirit written as a pledge

A burst of happiness can hydrate this depressed dehydration

Still the white flag is raised, waving beyond the pupil
Lost and despaired

Choose
Choose between the madness you call reality and the potential of a new beginning

Walk with me, barefoot and free
sad2Walk with me toward that warmth
It is a golden age we set forth to
Enlightened by love; empowered by trust

Let go of defeat and be not led by perils

Break these shackles with me
Break, breakaway

Now Run
Don’t look back
Run away from darkness

The Flight of Captain Mark: The Day I Earned my Wings

wings1There I was, a boy of no more than seven walking through that corridor to that wings vessel and seeing an outstretched hand holding the wings I’d been waiting for all week long.  There it was the symbol of Eastern airlines with gold wings spread ear to ear.

“You earned my wings young man.” she said with a smile. I had.  I closed my hand as tightly as I could. I wasn’t going to lose these.  I was an honorary captain about to fly up into space and come back down at land at Disney World.

Yes sir, Captain Mark will be leading this expedition to the great unknown.  Finally, after what seemed like hours of waiting for all these people in polyester and plaid fumbling with their leather boxy things,  I got to my seat.  I pinned my wings on and bounced for joy.

It was official.

I lifted the metal ash tray door to unlock my imaginary intercom and welcomed the passengers to their flight.

My mom and dad didn’t seem as confident in my flying abilities as I did, but then again who had the wings.

Mission control, we are check for take-off.  The light above my head lit and beeped assuring me all systems checked.

Time for one last system walk through.

  • Tray table latch, check
  • Cushion seat, foamy, check
  • Arm rest, mobile, check
  • Magazine with Farrah Fawcett check
  • Fan, check
  • Seat belt fastened, check

Houston we are ready for lift off, wherever that magical place of Houston is.

Time to let my wings take flight.  Buckle up folks.  This may be a rocky liftoff, but you are now in good hands.  Captain Mark is here to take care of you.

wings12