high hopes

Image Credit: Xavier.edu

He lifts and presses his fingers in an intricate play of motion and sound, and creates a masterpiece of words in beautiful imagery.  The stories speak of pain and love, hard truths and beautiful fantasies, and he sends them into the world with high hopes.  He is proud of them.  They are like his children and he is setting them free to make their own way.

Perhaps his hopes, his expectations, were too high.

The current world is not kind to beautiful things.  Sometimes it breaks them up and tears them down.  Sometimes it merely laughs for all the wrong reasons.  Occasionally, and worst of all, the world turns its back on beauty, ignoring it and letting it wither away unto death.

“Such is the sad state of our times,” the talking heads cluck before giggling about the antics of the latest internet celebrity wearing a toilet seat necklace and upside-down pants.  “What can you do?  Pander to the lowest common denominator of popular culture or face the torturous agony of certain irrelevance.”

Though, in truth, the talking heads would never speak so eloquently.  This he knows just as he knows his words, his children, are going to struggle once they leave him.  That, however, doesn’t make it any less necessary for them to be set free.  There is risk, but only with risk is there the chance for greatest success.

Perhaps his hopes, his expectations, weren’t too high.

He lifts and presses his fingers in an intricate balance of characters and worlds, spun together for the entertainment of those brave enough to read more than the standard faire provided by the money driven words industry.  There was no profit formula.  There was no demand for demographics or tired plot lines.  But, there was plenty of hope.

After all, it costs nothing to hope.


Bloodied, bruised, broken and strung out after three grueling battles, you emerged from the fray when all but a few had written you off.  The odds were against you.  The world was against you.  But, your fans believed.  And you believed.

As the sweat of the jungle poured from your aching limbs, you advanced across the pitch towards a fourth foe.  You would not advance further.

Image Credit: AP
Image Credit: AP


Casualties took their toll and the probing speedy attacks finally found the chinks in your impressive armor, those weak spots where wars are truly fought and won, or lost.  Even then you battled on, refusing to accept that all hope was lost.  The odds were against you.  The whole world was against you.  Your fans believed.  And you believed.

If there hadn’t been a time limit on this particular battle on this particular day you would have found a way to regain the ground you had lost.

So hold your heads high, be proud of what you accomplished.  Enjoy the triumphs of your first battles.  Revel in the glory of having succeeded where so many others would have and did fall.  Care to your wounds.  Spend time with your families.  But, keep your swords sharp and your wits about you, because you will be called upon again.

And next time, though the odds will be against you, and the world will be against you.  Your fans will believe.  And you will believe.  That love of the game, that passion, that never-say-die attitude matters more than the rest.

Image Credit: Getty
Image Credit: Getty

cleansing flame

“What are you doing?”

Joe peered quizzically over Anton’s shoulder and watched, transfixed by fascination and fear, as his friend sparked the lighter into life.  The small yellow flame held steady, held the power to set them free, and held the capacity to imprison them forever.  Neither wondered how something so small could irrevocably change the world.  They too were small and knew they had the same possibility within them.

“Thinking about starting a fire,” Anton finally answered.  The words were passionless but his eyes danced with pain.

Joe looked from his friend to the flame and back again, “Why?”

Anton shrugged and snapped the lighter shut with a well practiced flick of his wrist.  “No reason in particular,” he muttered and looked into Joe’s face to see if his friend was going to read more of it than he should.  Anton didn’t need another lecture from his parents.  Not that day.  Not ever again.

He felt Joe’s eyes slide away, sheepish and dull.  It wasn’t what he wanted to see, but it was better than the fear that might have been there.

“Come on,” Anton jumped up, “let’s go climb the slide tower at the park.”

Joe perked up, relieved, and nodded in smiling assent, “Okay.”

The two kids raced down the block, their steps ringing in echoes on the suburban street.  Anton slipped the lighter into his backpocket for later.  Joe tried to push the whole thing from his mind, but would never forget the pain he’d seen in his friend’s eyes.

It hadn’t just been Anton’s pain there.  It had been the whole world’s.  The starving.  The dying.  The bullied and abused.  The hurt.  The sick.  Anton felt it all and couldn’t process it, couldn’t handle the darker truths of the world.  Joe knew it was only a matter of time before the lighter sparked again, found a fuel, and unleashed Anton’s desire to see the world burn.

Joe didn’t understand completely.  He didn’t feel like his friend did.  The darkness didn’t eat at his soul.  But, he did know that sometimes, like a forest fire, you need to raze what is existing to make room for change, for new life, for something better.

The thoughts clung to him, burned him, even as he smiled and laughed and screamed as he and his friend romped around the park.

love, lust

The whole world in a cup,
Wrapped in gold, glory.
A month long quest,
Of cheers, jeers,
Love, lust,

The battles call to me,
From the true green pitch,
Nations fighting,
Flags waiving,

Samba dance with a ball,
Ninety minute songs.
I hold my breath.
The whistle,

Urgent Message to the Future

To: Anyone and Everyone willing to listen.

Message:  Use the past as a tool.  Study it well.  Learn from our mistakes and do what is right.  Instil some common sense again.  Work with your neighbors and families again.  Have empathy.  Provide support.  Take pride in what you do.  Take ownership of what you do.  Survive.