A time to be Brutal; A time to be Kind

If there’s one thing that fellow Spectrumites put on themselves to function on a daily basis, it’s pressure. It’s not like that kind of peer pressure that we deal with in high school, granted, but it’s still pressure. Any chink in our social armor makes us feel like little things we miss feel like it’s the end of the world.

Like Forrest Gump said about shrimping, figuring out neurotypicals can be so tough, even confusing. When they ask for something to be done, they can be so vague in what they ask and when they want it done. It can be like two completely different computing systems: like an old school Commodore 64 trying to work alongside a Dell Computer, things get lost in translation. Neurotypicals worry about getting things done, but pay little attention to new; innovative ways of doing things.

That said, I recently told a friend’s satire class that writers should be brutal in what they write, which is true because the truth can be brutal, but it’s also necessary, even if it’s uncomfortable. On one hand, being brutal gives us the ability to become better, as artists, chefs, painters, writers, singers or people in general.

But what about being kind? What’s wrong with being kind, encouragement, being compassionate to Spectrumites. I live in a very welcoming community, one that understands my quirks, but even things happen where things get lost in translation.I know that I’m working on my self esteem and self confidence myself and that any critique can feel like the end of the world, like what I’m doing isn’t enough.

In doing searching for this blog post, I came across Chris Bonnello’s article, Five Tips for Handling Low Self-Esteem ad Worthlessness from his site called Autistic Not Weird, the article is in the following link (https://autisticnotweird.com/self-esteem/) and it helped me realize that being kind or compassionate to Spectrumites can mean a lot in thier lives, as well as my own.

Here are the tips with my thoughts on them in order:

1. Play to your strengths.

“Wherever you find the opportunities – be it at work, or at home, or socially or whatever- learn what you’re good at, and do it. Even playing chess was a nice reminder that I wasn’t entirely useless, at a time when I felt the rest of the world was trying to convince me I was.”

This tip has helped me find a job that gives me the chance to give my abilities a chance to shine, specifically my ability to focus on details that others might miss, or may not feel is important. Knowing your strengths and using them to your advantage can be a great way to find success in your life without hiding whom you are.

2. Other people are allowed to be wrong too.

Blaming everyone else for everything is an unhealthy habit. But it’s equally unhealthy to blame yourself for everything. Take responsibility for the mistakes you make, but don’t pin other people’s mistakes on yourself. No matter how confident they look when having a different opinion to you.

I have a nasty habit of blaming myself for things aren’t done to others’ expectations, like I mentioned earlier, it feels like one thing not done can be the end of the world, but I need to think of the C64 and the Dell situation, where it’s a case of “no harm, no foul.”

3. People suck, but you do need them.

But that was how I felt at the time. A load of well-meaning people – casual acquaintances, mainly – would say things that they thought would help me, but actually made me feel worse..

But on the plus side, at least I had people looking out for my interests. Even if they didn’t quite know how to help.

Neurotypicals can be confusing, but those who deal with Spectrumites can be the best allies that we can have, something I know firsthand. Those who deal with Spectrumites can help us bridge the social gap that exists, helping us clear up misunderstandings and can be there for us during bad times, which leads me to the last two tips.

4. Just because you’re having a bad time doesn’t mean life itself is ugly.

When things were bad for me, the good in life was difficult to see.

5. The Future is not set.

It’s easy to not see a way out of your troubles. Partly because, if you endure them long enough, it becomes a part of your normality.

Life is a crazy and complex thing. At times it may seem stale and predictable, but it’s really not.

I’m combining these two last tips into one, mostly because they both go together, since one bad day, one thing where everything goes wrong can feel devestating for Spectrumites, but that’s not to say that things can’t get better from there, hard as it may be at that moment. No doubt about it, life in general can be crazy, zany and unpredictable, but I’m reminded of a 2007 Disney/Pixar movie Ratatouille, spoken by the main character:

The only thing predictable about life, is its unpredictablity.

Just because life is hard doesn’t mean that you need to feel alone, especially if you have friends who like you for the person you are. I’ve been thrown some curveballs in my life, but with my friends and family, I’ve been able to move forward, it’s not been easy and it does take time, but don’t let minor misunderstandings feel like it’s the end, think of them as a new beginning to a better life.

It’s all right to try to be a better person; to strive to do better, I don’t want to overlook that point. By the same token, however, we should be as kind to ourselves as much as we are with our communities. It’s a delicate balance, one we should strive for everyday of our lives. Only by finding that balance can we function effectively in our societies, letting our voices be heard and never be afraid to let our light….

 

Shine On!!!

 

Advertisements

Throwback Thursday: A Poetic Riddle

Greetings from the Spectrumite Side!!!

Can I pose a question to all of my readers, when have you ever tried to fit in, but just didn’t quite feel that you really belonged? I’ve had that kind of feelings many a time in my life and it’s a lonely feeling, not knowing what club to join, not knowing what you like, what your passion is and all that.

This can be a depressing time for Spectrumites, when we don’t feel included, when we feel excluded when we want to belong. I can say that in my life,  I’ve only recently found out a lot about myself in the last 6 years, but there are times where I feel like I don’t fit, for lack of a better term.

According to the following article from SpectrumNews.org entitled Autism in adults often accompanied by depression, (with the provided link:https://www.spectrumnews.org/news/autism-adults-often-accompanied-depression/) Hannah Furfaro explains that:

Among individuals with autism, about 24 percent of those without intellectual disability have a depression diagnosis, compared with about 9 percent of those with intellectual disability. This finding supports a previously reported association between intelligence and depression in autistic people4. The work appeared 31 August in JAMA Network.

Among individuals with autism, about 24 percent of those without intellectual disability have a depression diagnosis, compared with about 9 percent of those with intellectual disability. This finding supports a previously reported association between intelligence and depression in autistic people4. The work appeared 31 August in JAMA Network.

 I should know about depression, since I have experienced it firsthand, that feeling of loneliness, worthlessness and feeling like you don’t belong. It’s those feelings that made me feel like my latest poem, entitled Enigma:

Enigma 

By Brian Liston

 

Engaging as a chameleon, stealthy as a spy, such is his life

Never really fitting into a world; no cookies to cut in square peg

In and out; drifting, slipping inside own mind, talking yet waiting

Gathering information as he goes, only those who know him understand

Mazes he goes through, figuring himself out one day at a time, maybe one day

All will be revealed; sorted out, all unfurled- all in due time.

Make sure to include us and not exclude us and help us all…

Shine On!!

Poetry Packed Out: A Time to Remember

As an artist, I always like to remember others in my own unique way, through poems I write when I think of their memories and the impact that person had on me, an impact that help make me the person I am today. I can’t help but do so, it’s something that I want to do for those who helped me in the past.

Unless I feel it neccesary to do so, I will never talk about politics at all, because politics is so confusing to me in the first place (think social situations to the extreme, where one thing that people disagree with could be seen as the end of the world, so to speak.) Anyway, I say this to explain why today, Memorial Day in the United States, is so important in my life as an Irish-American.

I write this not just because it’s Memorial Day but because my family has been in the Armed Forces, my brother is in the Coast Guard, my cousins, my Uncle and my Dad have been in the Army, my cousin from my Mom’s side was in the Navy, just to say a few, but my point is that, as an Irish-American and an artist, I try to keep this day as somber as I can, remembering the sacrifice that soldiers make every day.

We all, Spectrumite or not, deal with battles in our lives, countless battles, ones where our victories and even defeats can seem hollow. That’s the way it is in both war and peace, life goes on, even as the scars survive.

But that’s when we find something bigger than we are, something that makes us know that our fights mean something. Something that helps us during our darkest times, that thing is courage, hence the reason for my most recent acrostic.

Courage

 

Connections strengths, thrives in darkest times

Over bridges, battles even when all else fails

Ushering in new; better era of understanding

Realizing what really matters in life, inwardly

Altering all we know about others; ourselves

Giving, not taking for granted those precious to us

Everyday, everyway by word, deed, despite what may come.

I wrote this to ask people to show those who fight for us and with us respect, since soldiers are born from the battles we deal with, no matter what. Doing so will help us all heal from our scars, build us all to be stronger and help us all..

Shine On!! Happy Memorial Day to all who served!!

Enough is Enough and I only wish we could change time..

As a wrestling fan, today is a somber day for one sad; tragic reason, the death of the late Owen Hart, a member of the famous Hart Family, which is considered wrestling royalty in Canada, especially if you watched professional wrestling in the 80s and 90s as I did. His Hall of Fame brothers career notwithstanding, Owen Hart had a career to match the pedigree he was born into.

As I type this, I’m watching the 1994 WWE King of the Ring, which, in its heyday, did so much in the careers of so many wrestlers (HHH, Stone Cold Steve Austin and Bret “The Hitman” Hart among others.) In 1994, Owen won the King of the Ring and it launched his ascent into the main event, even though he never won the WWE Title, Owen won every other title (the Tag Team Title, the Intercontinental Title, the European Title) with the talent, psychology and in his later years, the intensity to take him far. To distill his career in a single blog post would simply be an injustice to him, but suffice it to say that his body of work could speak volumes of what he could do.

That was until May 23, 1999.

From a wrestling fans perspective, this is a day that lives in infamy. During WWE’s Over the Edge pay per view, he (portraying his alter ego, the Blue Blazer) was to have been soaring through the arena like a superhero, for whatever reason, an accident occurred live and Owen crashed down over 50 feet to the ring post (all second hand info I find) and died while in the hospital.

For me, I knew nothing of this, as I always preferred to be surprised at what happened on the Pay per views, this was a time where technology wasn’t as “live” as it is now, where results were posted as they were happening. So I myself knew nothing until my older brother mentioned it to me as I went to school the following Monday morning.

It was the talk of all the wrestling fans at school and I couldn’t help but feel at a loss of what to say or feel. We mourned together, we dealt with this news together and we got stronger together, even as the scars still are there, a reminder of what lessons were learned in that day.

So this post is for you, Dear Owen, know that we the fans, miss you, we your fans love you, and we your fans will never allow you to be forgotten even when others try to dissuade us, so that your memories will help you, and us…

Shine On!!

Throwback Thursday: A Callback to Packing Out’s Debut

(Writer’s note: For those who wonder why I talk about my poetry and my poems, here’s the starting line for a segment I call Poetry Packed Out, which you can find on the Super-Blog!! Please enjoy and as always…

Shine On!!)

 

At the behest of a fellow artist friend Kelli Bickman, whose art you can see her at http://www.kellibickman.net/, she gave me the idea of doing an explication of the poems I’ve written in the past and present. I figured that if I’m doing this for the first time, I might as well explain why I call this blog The Autistic Super-Blog.

My debut poem for this segment, Autistic Superkid, is one that means a lot to me in more ways than one, it was the first poem I got published in Chronogram as well as being featured in an anthology of Hudson Valley Writers called Riverine (http://www.sunypress.edu/p-5213-riverine.aspx.) To a young autistic poet and be included into such giants of the community such as Da Chen, Barbara Adams, Phillip Levine, Will Nixon, Mikhail Horowitz and Orange County’s current Poet Laureate Robert Milby was (and still is) a very humbling experience and one of my proudest moments as a poet. So without any further ado:

Autistic Superkid

I am and have always been
The autistic superkid
I am one of the first
But not the last
And I am always trying to improve
I am an ambassador of two worlds
Half-citizen of Earth; Half citizen of Wallbrook
This is how I truly am
Even though it’s not how I look.

When I wrote what I now consider my signature poem, I was only discovering what my having autism was as a young adult, what limitations and challenges I’d have to face throughout my life. It was at the suggestion of my late college mentor, the Late Larry Berk, that I went to look up books written by the famous livestock engineer Temple Grandin.  She recounted in her books, Thinking in Pictures and Emergence: Labeled Autistic the very same challenges I was facing now and for that I wish to thank her so much for her inspiration (and for being so gracious for a photo with her.)

Back to my poem, that spark that was lit by reading Temple’s books, stoked by my late mentor’s suggestion opened up so many possibilities for me, if she could achieve that kind of success, then what’s stopping me from doing the same? I wanted to convey that struggle of fitting in and standing out into one poem, noting the challenges (like Wallbrook from the 1988 film Rain Man)  but also giving that same spark of empowerment to others like me.

I really hope to make this a fixture on the Superblog, so I welcome any comments and critiques, but I hope that my poem helps people to step out of the dark and….

Shine on!!!

Living up to A Legacy: Celebrating A Milestone

Today, dear readers, marks a day filled with questions and hopes for me, because tomorrow marks my 10 year College Graduation from a great school, SUNY Ulster. It was a day that I hold near and dear in my heart.

But perhaps, I’m getting ahead of myself.

When I first cane to SUNY Ulster, the experience was a friendly one, if a bit lonely for someone on the Spectrum. Changes were commonplace in a setting where routine was best, friends came and went, but there were no real people I could connect with. At the time, I really didn’t know what my plans were, I had my dream to become a writer, a well known poet, an inspiration to fellow Spectrumites, but I honestly had no set plan for me other than those.

That all changed when my late friend and mentor Larry entered my life, I felt like my poetry could improve with his guidance and he understood my concerns, having two sons on the Spectrum himself. He was well known as well, not just in the library community but also in the arts community. He made the arts feel more alive, like I could see arts from various parts of the world, hear accomplished writers, learn about the music of the works, all within SUNY Ulster’s Campus. To say he was a game changer would be an understatement, he made me feel like my aspirations weren’t just a dream.

He also was friends with another departed teacher, one who made Philosophy and Logic fun and relatable at the same time. The late Tom Davis was a teacher that was always optimistic, funny, topical but insightful in his own way, he always made learning humorous and as such, he was beloved by both students and teachers alike.

It was why Larry’s death in 2006 due to ALS (as well as Tom Davis’ passing a year later) hit me so hard. I felt they left me their legacy, one I wanted to share with those in my community in my own way. When he passed away, the Library where he worked adopted me into their family and it’s something I never want to lose or take for granted.

My Graduation is something that I’m very proud of; the memories of that day still keeping me going after 10 years, the ceremony, the party (and the encouragement of seeing my Library Family taking the time to support me in this new chapter in my life definitely helped, as it still does now.)

That said, my Graduation gave me questions that made me wonder if it was all worth it? I’m sure this happens to everyone who graduates College or anywhere for that matter: it’s the Super Bowl Question: You’ve graduates from college, what are you going to do next?

Upon reflection of these past 10 years, I can say that I’m happy for the choices I made, I’m happy of the person I became because of Larry (God Rest His Soul) because his example drives me to do better; to be a better person. My college experience and the things I learned gave me a different perspective, a deeper knowledge which I try to pass on to my fellow friends in the Agency. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a balance, but it does help to bridge what can be done and what does get done, a stark contrast from what opportunities people with disabilities had fifty to sixty years ago, where degrees were only a dream.

The bridges I’ve built to help others like me, the evolution I’ve made in these 10 years were worth it, sacrifices I’ve made, the harsh lessons I’ve learned were all worth the payoff that I share with others. I know that by doing so, I can help others achieve what they want to and let their dreams…

Shine On!!

Throwback Thursday: Ain’t no Thing like a visual thing!!

Ok, I have a confession to make, but this is very hard for me to admit….

Ok, maybe I was joking for just a minute, but this is something that I just rediscovered about myself that I felt was so natural to me, but I admit that I’m a visual thinker, like Albert Einsten and my Spectrumite mentor, Dr. Temple Grandin.

As she explains in one of her books that spawned the HBO auto-biography that bears her name: I think in pictures. As she herself explains it in My Experiences with Visual Thinking Sensory Problems and Communication Difficulties (which is visable here: https://www.autism.com/advocacy_grandin_visual%20thinking), visual thinking is:

…like playing different tapes in a video cassette recorder in my imagination.

Basically, it’s a visual encyclopedia of a Google Search which the filter is stuck on images and pictures instead of words and language. When I find myself driving in a new area or somewhere I don’t usually venture into, I’m always looking at Google Maps for a while to help me visualize where certain landmarks are so I don’t make a mistake while I’m driving. It also helps in my attention to detail at my job, where my attention to detail helps me see things that most people can easily overlook, as in the case of fellow Spectrumites such as Dr. Grandin, as she herself explains:

A brilliant autistic computer programmer told me that he visualized the entire program tree in his mind and then filled in the program code on each branch. A gifted autistic composer told me that he made “sound pictures”. In all these cases, a hazy whole or gestalt is visualized, and the details are added in a non-sequential manner. When I design equipment, I often have a general outline of the system, and then each section of it becomes clear as I add details.

That might make me look like I’m a bit scatterbrained at times, but that’s not to say that I haven’t attempted to adapt and make my visual thinking a strong point for me in my life. But it hasn’t been easy to adapt at times as it can be a little frustrating when people talk about street names, route numbers and everything else. It just makes a simple thing like visualizing landmarks, prioritization and organization seem so much more difficult. The reason I focus on landmarks as I’m driving is because, quoting Dr. Grandin herself again:

An object that is not in the person’s immediate surroundings should be used for this visualization procedure. When I do this, I see in my imagination a series of “videos” of different churches or cats I have seen or known. Many “normal” people will see a visual image of a cat, but it is a sort of generalized generic cat image. They usually don’t see a series of vivid cat or church “videos” unless they are an artist, parent of an autistic child, or an engineer. My “cat” concept consists of a series of “videos” of cats I have known…To retrieve facts, I have to read them off a visualized page of a book or “replay the video” of some previous event. This method of thinking is slower. It takes time to “play” the videotape in my imagination.

Imagine if you’re a visual thinker and you try to translate spoken language into images: things get lost in translation, misunderstood and scrambled making visual thinkers feel lost or scatterbrained. It’s all because we need time to translate your words into images which are easier to digest and process, as Dr. Grandin explains:

Visual thinking is not a fast method of thinking. It takes time to “play” the “video.” I am unable to instantly access my memory. An accountant with autism wrote to me and explained that he had to think slowly at his desk, but he could solve problems that were difficult for other accountants…I still have difficulty with long strings of verbal information. If verbal directions contain more than three steps, I have to write them down. Many autistics have problems with remembering the sequence of a set of instructions. Children with autism perform best with written instructions that they can refer to, compared to verbal instructions or a demonstration of a task, which require remembering a sequence of steps (Boucher and Lewis 1989).

After thinking it over and reading this article, my scatterbrainedness makes so much sense now, it’s an eye-opener; a revelation that takes a lot of weight off my shoulders.

My visual thinking isn’t a bad thing, but it is something that I know I can work on among others things, but I need support during those times. In fact, that’s what all Spectrumites need, we need time to think about what needs to be done (checklists are perhaps a good idea.) If not, then we rely on instinct to get stuff done, both in life and at work. But with understanding and support, know that we can do better, improve and let our lives…

Shine On!!!

All about the Money!!! WWE MiTB Predictions!

Last time I did something like this, I was nervous, mostly because I’ve been used to giving my opinions on wrestling, I didn’t do so in public until Wrestlemania 35. Since I did a pretty good job of doing predictions,  I figured that I’d like to try my hand at it again and see where the cards lie for the 2019 Edition of WWE Money in the Bank.  

For those who don’t know what the Money in the Bank concept’s all about, here’s the layout: As many as six competitors fight in a wild brawl in the ring, with ladders scattered all throughout the setup for the show, the objective is to climb up the ladder and grab the briefcase (in at least one instance, the WWE Title had been on the line) for a future championship opportunity at the winner’s choosing within the next year. Two years ago, a women’s Money in the Bank ladder match was featured, a first for women’s wrestling.  This reward doesn’t come without risk though, but over 80% of the winners of this match have become champions, so the risk can be worth it.

But enough about the rules, let’s get down to the predictions for this year’s show:

Becky Lynch vs. Lacey Evans for the Raw Women’s Title and Charlotte Flair for the Smackdown Women’s Title: I figured to put these two together as one prediction if only to be the bearer of bad news: Becky will lose one belt at MiTB and I think it might be against Lacey Evans. That’s the bad news, but the good news is that she’ll retain over Charlotte. Let me be clear of this, I do like “Becky 2 Belts” (gotta show love for the Irish) and I do hope she proves me wrong, but history when it comes to dual champions aren’t on the side of the champion (Ultimate Warrior post WM 6, Diesel at Summerslam 1994 and even Kurt Angle in TNA to name just a few.) Perhaps, she loses to the winner of the Women’s MiTB Match, but it’s going to happen. Charlotte’s good, but it just seems too predictable, the shock would be Lacey winning and Charlotte losing. 

WWE Universal Title Match: Seth Rollins (C) vs. AJ Styles: This could be the match of the night, even on paper it just feels like a high quality match and both are deserving of being champion (unlike Brock Lesnar, who was just lazy as a champion.) That said, I feel like Rollins needs to win to keep himself strong, but not without a stellar performance from Styles.

WWE United States Title: Samoa Joe (C) vs. Rey Mysterio: I say that this will go longer than thier match at WM, with Joe retaining due to Rey’s son Domenick betraying him. I don’t know why, but to me, it just seems to have that “you know it’s happening” type of feel to it, which could mean a longer feud for Rey and Joe down the line.

WWE Title Match: Kofi Kingston (C) vs. Kevin Owens: Kevin Owens is a great heel and he was a great Universal Champion, but I think he’s better being the chaser for the WWE Title, because Kofi Mania has been on fire since Wrestlemania 35, I’d like to see Kofi Mania continue for just a little bit longer (Summerslam, perhaps) but I just have this feeling that Kevin will win, somehow.

The Miz vs. Shane McMahon inside a Steel Cage: This could be a good match if only for the high spots that could occur (and a great deal could come from Shane, if Wrestlemania was any indication.) That said, it feels like Shane could get a trip to MizneyWorld (old reference, but you get the idea) because I think that the Miz could get the win that was taken from him at Wrestlemania.

Roman Reigns vs. Elias: Roman Reigns has been booked strongly as of late since he came back from his leukimia diagnosis, picking up a victory against Drew at Wrestlemania, that said, I feel like Elias has been hot for a while, but even he won’t be able to quell Roman’s fire to win, so Roman will win, but it won’t be easy.

Men’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match: Sami Zayn vs. Ricochet vs. Drew Mcintyre vs. Baron Corbin vs. Finn Balor (IC Champion) vs. Andrade vs. Randy Orton: This has all the makings of a great match, with high spots galore and anyone would be a good choice to win…..except (Baron “Toxic to the” Corbin.) Finn doesn’t need the victory to win, since he’s the IC Champ so it’s a zero-sum game. Randy’s won before, Corbin’s won (and lost) before. Ricochet has been impressive, but to me, Drew and Sami are the best options, but since I have to choose, I’ll go for Sami only because it would further his storyline.

Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match: This is a tough one to choose as well, since there are so many ways that this can go, again, everyone in this match is worthy of winning it. Bliss and Carmella have won it before, Mandy Rose still feels new as does Ember Moon, but in my opinion, if Bayley can’t win this one (a shame since I do see myself in her), then my second choice would be a surprise….Dana Brooke, simply because of the fact that I feel she’s due for a change, what better way to do so than with Money in the Bank?

Smackdown Tag Team Title Match: Daniel Bryan and Rowan(C) vs. The Usos: While I do like the Usos right now, they are both over as heck right now, but they are on RAW so I’m thinking Bryan and Rowan will win, but not without a heck of a fight from the Usos (and interference from the Revival as payback from RAW.)

WWE Cruiserweight Title: Tony Neise (C) vs. Ariya Daivari: If I have one wrestling weakness, one where I need to focus more on, 205 Live is that weakness, based on that I’ll call that Neise retains, saving the loss possibly for Summerslam.

So, there you have it, my predictions for Money in the Bank 2019, in all fairness, though, the people who inspired me to come up with my predictions are the hosts for a great award nominated podcast known as The Wrestling Court, both Julian and Rob are knowlegable about the business and humorous as well, so please feel free to check them out at this link: https://thewrestlingcourt.podomatic.com/ and at thier base site known as Alternative Mindz (http://alternativemindz.com/) for everything about comics, movies, entertainment and other stuff as well…

Be great to each other and as always…

Shine on!!!

 

 

Poetry Packed Out: The Merit of a Mother

Happy Mother’s Day to all of the mothers that are reading the Super-blog!! This post is a tribute to all of you, Mothers, GodMothers, Adopted Mothers, Mothers-to-be as well as the fathers who play both roles, as a way to say thank you to all of you for all you do for us, your children.

My definition of a mother is someone who is strong, even when that strength is at its peak, Someone who knows that she can do it and wise enough to know when (or if) she needs help. One such person was my best friends late mother: she was hope personified, she had faith in God, kind to her family and friends, strict when she needed to and strong when she had to be. This was evident in the battle that took her life: a battle with breast cancer, hence the imagery in my tribute poem to her, called Gentle Pink, which made her daughters cry when I recited it to them, so without ado:

Gentle Pink

 

-for the memory of Beverly Defino-

 

Gentle pink

wind calls out;

tells all that can hear

the broken hearted;

discouraged athelete

a sick person:

Even as enemies close in,

times when hope

seems

distant,

promise me

one thing:

That through it all,

to never give up.

My wish

helps

all in need,

battling whatever comes,

knowing

heroic fight

with its ardious

difficult

trials,

all too well.

 

Faith,

love

may seem

insignificant

in world deluged

in dismal news.

Those small things

done out of love;

kindness

mean so much

in the long run.

 

Love

from all who love you

inspires;

radiates itself

to others;

permeating

throughout life’s

peaks and pratfalls.

 

“Gentle wind,

those who get

the message

say silently

as if in prayer

“We know

words so heartfelt

how much you care,

even now,

you inspire

humble people

with your

faithfulness;

courageousness;

precious jem

the gifts

we celebrate;

guard

we will never forget

nor the memory

you leave in us.”

 

I figured I’d do a two for one blog post because there’s one person I wanted to acknowledge on this Mother’s Day, my own mother. My Mom is the kindest, selfless and thoughful person I’ve known in my life (and most of hers.) She loves her family just as much as she wanted to help her community, willing to do St. Patrick’s Day parties in our family business for so many years, a business she took over from my father.

An example of her selflessness manifested when she helped out (and took care of for a time) our Aunt Mary Mahoney, who lived in the same town after living her life in Ireland, but couldn’t go shopping on her own, hence what my Mom did for her. It’s something I do to this day at my job when people that shop for two families. I always try to keep them separate to make life easier, since I know firsthand what a problem it can be to sort two separate orders. With that being said, I present the second poem in this post:

 

Russell Street

 

-to the memory of Mary Mahoney-

 

I.

Two orders

come onto the

conveyor belt.

Before he bags,

the customer tells him

to separate them,

says she’s buying for two houses.

 

Bagger’s reply

“I’ll treat them as

I would my own family.”

His eyes

reassures her;

he means what he says,

they seem to say.

 

II.

Chieftain music plays

elderly woman lies in her chair,

blanket draped as

she listens,

eyes closed;

the music seemingly

transporting her

to a simpler time.

 

A woman

and her son

enter the house,

bags in their hands.

Elderly woman’s eyes open

happy to see her company,

she’s been expecting them.

 

As the friends talk

over tea,

“O Danny Boy” plays

in the background,

suddenly the elderly woman

sing

with the friend and her son

as her only audience,

listening

appreciating

every single note.

 

The son sits

mesmerized,

how much kindness

his Mom

has for her elderly aunt

to do what she does,

how each takes pride

in what life has given them,

Something he does,

Appreciating

more so now.

 

For those who mourn because their mothers aren’t around, know that I join my thoughts and prayers with you all, just as I celebrate those who have thier mothers around. I ask for those who do to be kind and caring to those without, invite them into your houses, show the compassion and kindness to them that they may need during this time, knowing that our example will help them all heal so we can all find the strength to truly..

 

Shine On!!! Happy Mother’s Day again!!!

 

Poetry Packed Out: Sing Us A Song!!

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a fan of a birthday boy today, one whose music spans several decades, whose songs are classic, such as New York State of Mind, Pressure, Uptown Girl, Only the Good Die Young, The Stranger as well as my personal favorite You’re Only Human (Second Wind).

The birthday man is the Piano Man known as Billy Joel, whom I discovered early in my life, but I thought it was Billy Idol, to my ignorance admittedly. Once I made that correction, I figured out who made the song I consider a favorite of mine. I know I spoke about depression in the last post, but I didn’t mention what songs can help me deal with the doldrums, the bad days, the days that don’t go right, Billy Joel, thanks to You’re Only Human (Second Wind) had shown to me in sing that I wasn’t alone in my fight, having been through it himself many times before, it’s just so upbeat that even to this day, I can’t help but sing to it in my travels. That was my start to listening to Billy Joel, which made me dig deeper into his work, hence where this poem came into play:

Maestro of Music

 

-to Billy Joel from a longtime fan-

 

Long Island laments

of Brenda and Eddie

Manhattan musings from Dodger.

Blues from Billy the Kid,

both the major,

minor keys;

highlights from the Hudson Line

got a lonely listener

through many a busy night

both the good and bad.

 

Those songs;

your creations

speak of love,

war,

life in general,

getting your Second Wind

during life constant letdowns,

like saying

Goodnight

to an angel;

to someone taking their last breath.

So, this is my birthday present to a Hall of Fame music artist, one whose impact allows us all to..

Shine On!!! Happy 70th Birthday, Billy Joel and thank you!!!