Life, Liberty and Financing Happiness

Our consumer economy has grown accustomed to financing everything…homes, cars, education, TVs, mobile phones, vacations….you name it, capitalism and the market economy has created the opportunity to transform our seemingly endless hunger for consumption into a payment plan. It would now be considered a luxury, almost hard to imagine, to actually own your home. Most of us aren’t really homeowners. Our homes are owned by a lender somewhere, that doesn’t know us or care about us. 

Mortgages make up 67% of the average American’s debt and auto loans make up about 10% ….we have nearly 14 trillion dollars in consumer debt in the United States alone. What do we own anymore besides the abundance of trinkets and trash that are stuffed in our closets and storage units? Wait, we may not even own that given our 1 trillion dollars in credit card debt. 

The challenge is apparent. Consumerism has created the need to consume, whether we want to or not. As individuals, when our flow of income is lost or reduced, whether voluntarily or not, the dramatic cash decrease demands a drastic change in our consumptive lifestyle but unfortunately, we are unable to turn it off as quickly enough to avoid massive disruption.

The “capitalism tax”

Capitalism and the market economy have created a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” conundrum. The challenge is that nothing is really worth the asking price. Homes only have their value because of mortgages. What do you think would happen to the value of homes if the mortgage industry disappeared? Do you think a new car is really worth the asking price or more likely it is based on the monthly payment the average person can afford?

The closer you live to a location that has the allure of capitalism, the more it will cost you to go about your daily life….eat, play, survive. As the old saying goes, it is “cheaper in the country” and part of the reason is that you are physically further away from the trappings of capitalism. On the flip side, of course, compensation is normally less “in the country” as well. 

If your job (or business) provides enough inflow to support the “capitalism tax” than you will likely experience less impact day to day but you are also more likely to get unwittingly trapped. You make enough to get by, maybe even save a little along the way, but if a few things get out of hand, you can quickly end up with next to nothing.

Why is there a “capitalism tax”?

The financial services industry (i.e. banking, insurance, investments, lending) is in business to generate a profit and they pay their bills with your money so, in the end, the consumer has to end up with less than she started. It is basic math. 

They take little bits (or lotta bits) of your money, year in and year out. How do you think they can afford to splash their name on stadiums and museums? They can do all that and create ads to ask you “what’s in your wallet” and pay millions and millions of dollars in bonuses and manage to stay in business….with your money! 

Do you think there is a credit card that really and truly pays you back? It pays you back a smidgeon of what you paid the market economy to consumer more than you needed or perhaps, even wanted. 

Investment firms take their management fees on your money day in and day out no matter how well or poorly your investments perform. The market is tanking but they are still making money. Plenty of it.

Over the life of your 200k, 30-year mortgage, you’ll actually pay your lender nearly 500k, or 2.5 times the value of the loan.  

We are all paying dearly for the consumer economy that we have created and continue to fuel. Our current global pandemic in 2020 is showing us how vulnerable and fragile we all are.

So What Can You Do?

First and foremost, your primary goal and the best rate of return is to eliminate any and all personal debt. I know I am not the first person to make this statement and I know that in today’s society this is much easier said than done and again, because of the “capitalism tax” it requires a massive amount of creativity and ingenuity for many of us.

Next, is to eliminate and reduce any and all monthly obligations or do what you can to ensure that they can be canceled at a moment’s notice. You’d be shocked how many monthly obligations we have that we are unaware of because they are paid by ACH or a credit card.

Challenge yourself to live by what you truly need and find ways to create a “shared, bartered and found” personal economy. I have begun painting in earnest and I am limiting myself to using materials that I find or have donated versus purchasing.

If you have leftover money to invest and your employer offers a 401k, contribute up to the employer match. That is a guaranteed 100% rate of return once you vest (typically around 4 years). Your investment options will be limited. I recommend investing in the lowest cost possible index funds. I have completely exited the stock market, not because I do not think you can earn a return on your money, but because of the misuse and abuse of the market for gains that I believe are not in the best interest of humanity, and unfortunately, most consumers end up with less than if they had they invested in simple bond index funds over their lifetime.

Where to invest any additional funds?

Personally, I am focusing on the fundamental needs of humanity, a roof over our heads and food in our belly. There are various options I am considering through a type of IRA called “self-directed”.  SDIRAs is a type of individual retirement account (IRA) that can hold a variety of alternative investments normally prohibited from regular IRAs (i.e. banks and brokerage firms). 

Overall, I recommend investments that pay a return in some form of interest or dividend. We tend to live off of the funds produced by the assets we own during our lifetime and we have the option of leaving the principle to people or organizations that can put your remaining assets to good use. 

Imagine if…..

All of the assets that we collected over our lifetime went up in a pile of flames when we died? Or were left to the good of the community vs our current mindset of “ownership”? We are inhabitants of this planet for a brief moment. We don’t own anything. This idea was created by humans and it will die with humans. It is all made up. It isn’t real. Let it go. Share. Give. Love. Be. In the moment.

357

And in this life
hailing from planet earth
wearing rose colored glasses
always drinking from a cup that’s half full
visions to reality
a world filled with dreamalities

Libra 1, ‘06
go ahead, play tricks
on my mind…

conceive, believe, action, achieve
357 large in my hands
when it rains, it pours like sand

go beyond the call
don’t care if I fall
no one can keep me down
If I feel like I’m gonna’ drown
just tap my mastermind
they’ve got the place, they’ve got the time

Small dreams, small life
be bold…young or old
don’t matter
silly dreamer…mad hatter
don’t listen to the chatter
in my head
go now, not later
be daring, be greater

357 large in my hands
strength and struggle
go hand in hand
make a plan
take a stand
be the man
I can be…

Dreams disappear
filled with doubt, filled with fear
will I stop
three feet from the top
of the hill…I’ve got to fill
my head with dreams
sometimes it seems
that my dreams are beyond reach
practice what you preach…break the mold
be bold…let go
of jealousy, envy and behold
the power that’s about to unfold
before my eyes
and don’t ever compromise my integrity

might take awhile
go the extra mile
but before I know it
I’ll arrive in style

10,000 times equals light
Failure fueled with fight
Will ignite
My creative vision

Go, go
Don’t listen to the no
No quit, no rest
Got to get my yes

5th Avenue

Walking down 5th avenue
In the sweltering heat
The hot city sidewalk
Melting under our feet

We enter the high line
Filled with wanderlust
I can see all around
Me’s and you’s and us

Then you go your way
And I go mine
I get a little jealous
Of the treasures you find

As I get closer
I can feel your embrace
I light up like a candle
When I see the smile on your face

Your feet fall gently
Over the end of the bed
My mind flows gently
Thoughts of you in my head

One more night
Of unending ecstasy
We’ll be back again someday
In NYC

Skies filled with scrapers
Streets filled with dreams
Colliding together
When the red light turns to green

A kiss

Wandering along a country path
In the distance, bright red tulips
Vibrant, warm and pulling me in
Like a lighthouse glows for her ships

Your lips as smooth as a flower petal
Your mouth, so hot it could bend metal
I’m tempted to ask if it would be too much
To give our lips the chance to touch

Hands pressed hard against hips
Standing on the edge of a cliff
Excited to think what might come next
Or if I hesitate, what I might miss

I look deeply into your eyes
So you know you can trust
That I am here to feel what I feel
Not here for greed and lust

Our warm heads and warm lips
Softly come together
We dance and sing and smile out loud
Like two birds of a feather

Will our first kiss be our last?
If it is, I want no regret
To enjoy it fully in this moment
Like a warm ocean’s sunset

Add It Up

What’s wrong with Johnny?
He used to be such a nice boy
Now that he’s a teenager
He’s lost the spark, lost the joy

He used to sit
When we asked him to sit
When we told him enough
He knew when to quit

Now all we get is lip
He never does as he’s told
Why can’t he be a nice boy?
Like when he was 8 years old

The teachers have had it up to here
They’re tired of all his silly stuff
There has got to be a way
For him to see enough is enough

Our boy Johnny has got us in a twist
No one knows what to do
Personally I just think he’s a teenager
You remember what we all went through

We wanted to be liked
We wanted to be cool
Anything to get attention
To be the most popular in school

Back to Two

You don’t want to know
What I’m thinking right now
Because if you did
You would be wondering how

How did we love?
What were we thinking?
Can we just blame it
On what we were drinking?

How did we got here
Where did we go wrong
So many turns
As we traveled along

The road of marriage
Tougher than we knew
We started out as one
And now we’re back to two

The sex was good
While it lasted
But we moved on
We just looked past it

We tried date nights
we had nothing to say
Seems we’re better
Going our own separate ways

How did we got here
Where did we go wrong
So many turns
As we traveled along

The road of marriage
Tougher than we knew
We started out as one
And now we’re back to two

But it’s harder than it looks
Our lives intertwined
Trying to unravel
The knots in our minds

We had ideas
Some grandiose plans
But it all fell apart
and I don’t give a damn

I’ve made my choice
No longer man and wife
Time for a new chapter
In this book called my life

How did we got here
Where did we go wrong
So many turns
As we traveled along

The road of marriage
Tougher than we knew
We started out as one
And now we’re back to two

Be Honest With Me

When I ask if you like it
Please be honest with me
Cuz if you tell me a lie girl
That’ll be the end of me

When I ask if it looks good
You know what I want you to say
Just tell me what I want to hear girl
I can’t take it any other way

Know you don’t want to hurt me
But I know we’ll never be free
Until you open your heart girl
And be honest with me

If there was no one but us
From here to eternity
And all I wanted was the truth
Would you be honest with me?

Bend

No need to defend
Or retaliate
Just be willing to bend
Don’t break

No fear of mistake
No need to pretend
Lay it on the line
Broken hearts mend

You make your breaks
And in the end
It’s not what you got
But enjoying the bends

Been burned before
Can you do it again?
Get back to the plate
Don’t break….bend

It is the luck you make
Not the luck you take
Be willing to bend
But never, ever break

Believe in yourself
Build a circle of friends
That will catch your break
And encourage your bends

Life is what you make
You control the lens
Not picture perfect
But enjoying the bends

Celebrate!

Celebrate your failures
Be grateful for success.
Both are part of the journey
Nothing more, nothing less.

As you think about your future
Enjoy this moment in time.
Step into your rhythms
And express your rhymes.

For you are the author
Of the way your life goes
Give it direction, take action
And go with the flow

Doomed

A house on the ocean
A ride with no top
A table in the corner
Champagn bottles that pop
Black leather boots
A four star hotel
Flying in first class
Living large, living well
A shiny gold watch
Clothes made to fit
The latest gadgets
Penning a #1 hit
Keeping the lights on
Cranking the heat
Expanding my footprint
Getting more square feet
Water in bottles
Games in high def
Taking more than I need
Throwing away what’s left
Making designer kids
Curing every disease
Bringing Mother Nature
To her knees
I’ll take it all
Sure you would too
What’s the harm in
Getting a little consumed
Mortgage our future
And fly to the moon
Does any of it matter
When we’re already doomed

Don’t You Get It?

You think birth is the beginning and death is the end;
The joke’s on you
You think there is a past, a present and a future
The joke’s on you
You think knowledge is power
The joke’s on you
You think you know right from wrong and good from bad
The joke’s on you
Your way of keeping order is borders and bombs
The joke’s on you
You think your issues and concerns really matter
The joke’s on you
The universe is laughing
Why aren’t you?

Dying to be Right

In a world filled with
Six billion views
We have labels
Like Muslim, Christian and Jew

We spend our lives
Searching to belong
But these places we find
Become the gods of right and wrong

We see it on the streets
We read it in the news
No one stops to listen
Just preachin’ their views

The war on terror
And the patriot act
Keep the fictions
Confused with the facts

Actin’ like redcoats
Did we forget Boston tea
Let them pursue their own way
Of life and liberty
History books tell
One side of the story
One man’s death march
Is another man’s road to glory

In the light of day
And the dark of night
We sell our souls
To prove we’re right

With bombs on our chest
And bombs delivered from flight
No one admits wrong
We’re all dyin’ to be right

Empty Vows

Tearing down walls
never knew existed
Ripping open new wounds
Wrapped around and twisted

Confronting our fears
Will we wither on the vine
Time only tells
If we fade or shine

Poured myself a tall one
Feels just right
Getting Drunk on being
Morning noon and night

Wake up with a hangover
A pleasure and a pain
A feeling we want
Again and again

Make no promises
No empty vows
No love to believe in
No way no how

No richer or poorer
A good place to start
It is the hear and now
No death do we part

Escape

Working on a plan
To escape, from this land
Hitting the bottle
Release the clutch, full throttle

Mind is set to go
feel the weight, moving slow
Stuck in a web
Hanging on til nothings left

Had thoughts before
Win the battle, lose the war
Fighting with myself
Put the gun, back on the shelf

Surrender to our ways
Stop judging, clear the haze
Stop waiting for better days
Stop waiting for better ways
Stop waiting, no delays

Flow

I was but a trickle of water
that became a small stream.
Feeling like a stagnant pond,
filled with mud, grime and algae, dead.
Ever in search, I began to flow
through the mountainside.
How could I have known
that your rapids were so close?
How could I have been prepared?
I wasn’t. I wouldn’t want to be.
I will trust the flow of the river of self discovery.

Good Old Billy Snorin

Big braisin’ Billy Snorin’
Looked like a lion roarin’
He would rock and roll
Push and pull
And before you knew it
He would grunt like a bull

Wacky winin’ Willy Waitor
Looked like an alligator
He would swing and twirl
Heave and hurl
And before you knew it
He would shine like a pearl

Sweet sassy Misty Hillibog
Looked like a fluffy, puffy dog
She would sit and kick
Beg and lick
And before you knew it
She would thump like a brick

Pretty pipin’ Patty Peppermint
Looked like a ginormous elephant
She would stomp and skip
Tumble and flip
And before you knew it
Should would snap like a whip
Funny fickle Phil McQuircky
Looked like a purple turkey
He would cry and wail
Then ruffle his tail
And before you knew it
He was locked up in jail

Silly slitherin’ Seymour Sillamanous
Looked like a furry hippopotamus
He would scratch and sniff
Like spaghetti, then stiff
And before you knew it
He was gone in a whiff

Fussy flippin’ Franky Fallibra
Looked like a five legged zebra
He would huff and puff
Then strut his stuff
And before you knew it
Enough was enough
Smooth n’silky Mira Matterhorn
Looked like a golden unicorn
She would jump under and over
A four leaf clover
And before you knew it
The story, was over

Hmmmmmm

I love fluffy pancakes
They make my belly smile
I like to sip a latte
And chill on the porch for awhile

Beignet and I go for walks
It’s good for our physical fitness
It also gives her the opportunity
To take care of her business

Jenn and I go to the beach
And run our feet through the sand
Soak up a couple of rays
Get a little tan

I always dream big dreams
They make my heart race
Who will I meet, where will I go,
Ooooh, maybe outer space?

Life sure is fun
If you stop and chill for a sec’
Maybe you should try it yourself
Go on…what the heck!

Ideas

Ideas are cheap
Plenty for sale
Need a sure bet
Got one that can’t fail

Take a dream
Sprinkle it with love
Wrap it in hope
Let it soar like a dove

Give it plenty of sun
And a little shade
Trim it every so often
If you notice it fade

Tell everyone you meet
Don’t keep it inside
It won’t have a chance
Got to give it a try

The dreams that succeed
Are the ones that don’t quit
I think someone said
Survival of the fit

Dreams are not measured
By profit or loss
But a life without dreams
Pays a heavy cost

So dream big, dream often
You must sow to reap
Now that’s an idea
That doesn’t come cheap

I Am Not

I am not who you think I am

I am not the food that I eat
I am not the clothes that I wear

I am not the words that I read
I am not the words that I write

I am not the looks that I give
I am not the looks that I get

I am not your opinions of me
I am not the opinions of myself

I am not my strengths
I am not my weaknesses

I am not what you say I am
I am not who you say I am

I am not the air that I breathe

I am not who I am with you
I am not who I am without you

I am not what you said about me
I am not what you say about me
I am not what you will say about me

I am not as bad as you say I am
I am not as good as you say I am

I am neither here nor there
I am not round or a square

I cuss and moan but I swear
That I am me and I am here to be

And that is nothing

And that is all

It Doesn't Really Matter

Only I see what I see
Only I feel what I feel
Only I can say what is pretend and what is real, to me

You think what you think
You say what you say
But it is all just noise anyway, to me

What gets under my skin
Does not matter to most
Do you believe in spirits and ghosts, like me?

What brings tears to my eyes
Can hit in a moment’s breath
Do you believe in life after death, like me

What sends chills down my spine
May not happen to you
The moment when old is struck by something new, to me

What fills me with sadness
Floats softly through the sky
It returns for a moment and whispers good bye, to me

It doesn’t matter
It doesn’t matter
It doesn’t matter, to me
No nothing really matters, to me

Like the Guy

Love you, like the guy
Whispered mom
as she said
good night

Sunny beaches
Ocean embrace
Never ending smiles
On our face

First time hellos
A game of cards
A quiet stroll
Cutting through yards

Heads on the pillow
Feet finding the other
Hands wandering
Under the covers

A long walk to the rocks
A dive from the sky
Wall mounted mirrors
And a hot tub at night

A sleepy shack
And coconut cake
A simple new toy
Makes my body quake

Black mountain waterfall
Cozy cottage nights
Beauty abounds
Smells, sounds and sites

Long trail home
to my shack on Lincoln
Dogs, cats
And red wine drinkin’

Fun, play
Floating with ease
A life of adventure
However I please

Look at Me!

Hey, hey look at me
That’s my face on your tv

Trying for a shock
Looking for a draw
Hell, I’ll flash anything
Here, hold my bra

Too many channels
And websites to choose
Can’t get no attention
So don’t go and accuse

Me of doing something wrong
Just trying to make a livin’
If you can’t earn it
Then you got to start givin’

What the people want
And who is to say
What they’ll want tomorrow
What they want today
You can judge and preach
Things ain’t what they used to be
Maybe we are getting closer
To our own truth and honesty

There is a sinner and saint
In everyone of us
No matter what tale you spin
Don’t get bent and cause a fuss

We’ll go in circles
Until our time is through
Then the next beings can begin
To fear what they will lose

Lost and Found

I searched high and I searched low
I searched in places I didn’t want to go

I walked the streets
I walked in the park
I walked with friends in the light
I walked alone in the dark

I talked to a therapist
I talked to a whore
I talked to my friends
Who just wanted to talk some more

I played with a basketball
I played with a guitar
I played with a knife
That cut deep and left a scar

I dreamed of being rich
I dreamed of being a star
I dreamed of beautiful women
In my bed, both near and far

I looked around the corner
I looked under the bed
I looked in my body
And I looked in my head

I learned how to read and write
I learned about greed and spite
I learned about the birds and the bees
I learned that life isn’t black and white

I felt the earth shake under my feet
I felt the rain pour on my face
I felt a calm flow through my bones
And felt fear leave without a trace

I listened to my teachers
I listened to the man
I listened to the fortune teller
Read the lines on my hand

I looked and I learned
I wanted and I yearned
I asked and I talked
I listened and I walked
To find myself
Only to discover
That hiding under the covers, all along,
Was me

Mother Nature

Mother Nature does not care
If you are rich or you are poor
She does not ask permission
To release her powerful roar

You are foolish and silly
To think you can cage her
Sooner or later you will be reminded
That she is Mother Nature

She will destroy what you create
But to her she is simply breathing
She does not judge or question
What she is taking or what she is leaving

For you love to be near her
Though you know some day she will bite
You can not help but get closer
Lulled to sleep in the still of the night

She teases and you fall prey
To her gentle, sleepy breeze
You try to put a wall to stop her,
But she brings you to your knees

You sit around and blame each other
About the destruction that she brings
But she is simply playing her song
This is Mother Nature when she sings

Sometimes you love her tune
Sometimes she sounds off key
To her it is all music
Just Mother Nature’s melody

So keep trying to defy her power
As she gathers strength during your
sleeping hour

For she does not judge, lust or hate,
She does not rattle or retaliate
No, she does what she does

Not for reasons, just because
She must breathe and be
Just singing her sweet melody

NICU

All these alarms
Crying and screams
Trying to make sense
Of flashing screens

Desats, art sticks
Vents, PDAs
We would do anything
To make them go away

Too much information
All we want is hope
Like learning a foreign language
Tied in knots like a rope

Adrenalin keeps us running
Friends say “Anything you need”
Our wish is simple
A blooming flower from this seed

We desperately want to leave
But hope for a long stay
A one-of-a kind roller coaster
That takes our breath away

Not a second of regret
Never a thought of “why me”
This journey is a blessing
This is our destiny

Ode to Beignet

No matter how upset I am
No matter how tough my day
I know I’ll get a hug
From my Shug, my Beignet

She’s a loyal friend
She’ll be with me ‘til the end
She’s the perfect cure
For a heart on the mend

Even when I feel down
One look at her and I melt
I feel my spirit lifted
I forget the pain that I felt

She’s not a complex creature
Trying to find the words to say
All she wants is a belly rub
She’s my Shug, my Beignet

So when you see us together
be sure to stop and say hi
Cause I’m sure when you meet her
You’ll feel the same way as I

Now she’s not perfect
But she’s as sweet as tea
With a name full of sugar
What else could she be?

She always wants to please me
Even when she’s bad, she’s good
She’ll always be my Beignet
She’ll always be my Shug.

Opinions

Opinions are like snowflakes
no two are ever the same
and it is easy
to slip and fall on them if you’re not careful.

Our Magical Reece

You came before the due
But knew the time was right
It was a day for giving thanks
The chance to show your fight

Life is a journey
Not a destination
We are in awe of your will
Filled with fascination

Every day is a blessing
Learning something new
A breath, a yawn, a smile
Carving a path only few

Patience is a virtue
You’ve got it in spades
We stare at you for hours
Reece, we are all amazed

It’s not where you start
But how well you play
With you we have learned
To let you lead the way

A fighter through and through
There’s no stopping you
You won’t believe the stories
We promise they are true
We felt the fear inside
But knew you would be fine
Like sunrays on the ocean
We can’t wait to see you shine

Like a crystal clear diamond
Perfect cut and clarity
Those eyes make us melt
Our spirits move like the sea

We are blessed by your presence
Grateful for this chance
We treasure every moment
We appreciate this dance

Born of hope
Raised on possibility
The world is your oyster
Go on and see what you can be

Press

It seems the harder that I try
the more I start to press
My body starts to fight itself
mind can t seem to rest

I swear next time will be different
next time I ll change
But when the next time comes around
seems to stay the same

I’m twisted up in knots
I’m moving fast but going slow
I’ve got to loosen up my grip
I’ve got to start letting go

My mind is focused on the prize
arrow pointed at the eye
But somehow I lose the nerve
lose the will to try

I know I’ve heard this before
keep working hard you ll get the call
But the more time I seem to spend
more I seem to fall

Maybe the time has finally come
hear what others have to say
And stop listening to my head
let my feelings lead the way

Real

Another day, another dollar
Am I getting closer to heaven

Another day, another dollar
Am I getting closer to hell

Another day, another dollar
All will be forgiven

Another day, another dollar
If not, it’s just as well

Are we destroying our planet
I’d give you odds that we are
Need more water we just dam it
Better find a new star

Want to make the world better
try to do the right thing
But we’re just human, not perfect
Oh the lure of cha ching

The rich find ways
To sell to the poor
But the poor end up with less
And the rich just get more

Not complainin’ just sayin’
We need to make a new deal
Change the game we’re playin’
If you want to get to what’s real

I’m just singing a song
From my own point of view
Don’t care if you believe me
Don’t want anything from you

The words that I write
And the stories that I tell
Is what I leave in this life
Come heaven or hell

Another day, another dollar
Am I getting closer to heaven

Another day, another dollar
Am I getting closer to hell

Another day, another dollar
All will be forgiven

Another day, another dollar
If not, it’s just as well

Reecie Peacie

You’re a lover and a fighter
You make my smile wider
You’re my Reecie Peacie
You love to kick in your bath
Blazing a miracle path
You’re my Reecie Peacie

You love to give me a wink
You look adorable in pink
You’re my Reecie Peacie

Your eyes are as blue
As my love for you is true
You’re my Reecie Peacie

You amaze me everyday
Where there’s a will there’s a way
You’re my Reecie Peacie

You love to give me a roar
Being your Daddy, there’s nothing more
You’re my Reecie Peacie
You’re my Reecie Peacie
What life’s all about
You’re my Reecie Peacie
Got to shout it out
You’re my Reecie Peacie

Relationship

Her heart was broken, into a million tiny little pieces, for she had loved,
and lost, again.
And then suddenly, she saw relationship from a different point of view,
and discovered that love can not be found or lost and that love is not what
she ever wanted
to begin with and suddenly her heart was no longer broken.
In fact it had never been broken. Her heart was her heart, beating reliably
without having to think about it,
and she was alive. Feeling all there was to feel.
Alive.

Say What?

If you had no gossip to spread
No complaints to make
No opinions to give
No judgments to pass
What would you have left to say?

Side Effect of Living

My life’s a passin’
One moment at a time
It’s almost over
Down to my very last dime

Too much time a thinkin’
Tryin’ to make a plan
Worryin’ about tomorrow
‘stead of being a man

Stuck inside this prison
The prison of my mind
Won’t give me an inch
Won’t give a stitch in time

It won’t always look pretty
Won’t go the way it should
Will go one way or the other
Take your chances, knock on wood

We got the same demons
We got the same regrets
The side effect of livin’
This is as good as it gets

Smoke and Mirrors

When business is booming
You can’t wait to take their call
Not so great, look like humpty dumpty
Sitting on a wall

All they want is a comment
But you can’t be reached
When your back is against the wall
Will you practice what you preach?

Not sure if that’s revenue
Flip the numbers, change the order
“no one really pays attentions,
we’ll just make it up next quarter”

Then the next quarter’s results come in
And the analyst says “not so fast”
So you huddle in a dimly lit boardroom
And pull some bullshit out your ass

You blame it on the economy
You promise to send the stock higher
You’ll say just about anything
To keep your ass from getting fired

Don’t worry if they drop the ax
You’ll still walk away with plenty of dough
In a few years they’ll forget this mess
Let you give it another go

And those employees that you whacked
And the investors that got torched
They had to take second mortgages
While you’re still smiling behind your Porsche

If there’s a lesson to be learned
About big biz and Wall Street
Their lips talk about integrity
But their wallets prefer to cheat

Spaces in Time

Trying to catch
a smile or hello
Tougher by the day
everyone on the go

Look in the mirror
I’m as bad as the rest
Still up to me
What I focus on next

Slow, quiet moments
Staring at the stars
Strolling on the sidewalk
Cruising in our cars

Fighting for yours
Struggling for mine
All slowly losing
Our spaces in time

Hanging on facebook
Sending a tweet
Gets in the way
Of the people we meet

Got more to do
Can’t stay focused
Busy, busy, busy
Oh Somebody help us

Searching for a glance
chance to say hello
stuck in the race
on your mark, get set, go

Pause for a thought
Take a deep breath
Dream a dream
And take it West

try to find
the white picket fence
will any of this world
start making sense

got gadgets and gizmos
to keep us connected
but these clever devices
are not what we expected

Stop Making Sense

The man tells you to be logical
Says it’s easy to see
Look at the world like I do
Then you can be as smart as me

He tells you to be practical
Don’t stretch yourself too thin
Do the same things that I do
I’m sure you’re going to win

He wants you to be agreeable
Tote the party line
Don’t bother thinking for yourself
He promises all be fine

There’s a haunting voice inside of you
Nipping at the corners of your mind
Know there’s more to life than meets the eye
You can’t ignore your thoughts this time

Don’t be afraid to be you
Don’t be afraid to stir the pot
Not all will agree with you
But now you’re calling the shot

Feel the urge to be radical
Stick your neck out on the block
Put one foot in front of the other
And you’ll never want to stop

Is your life filled with wanderlust
Do you wish it could be?
Trust me I know it’s possible
Just set your spirit free

Yes, there’s a haunting voice inside of you
Nipping at the corners of your mind
Know there’s more to life than meets the eye
You can’t ignore your thoughts this time

The Ache

There’s an ache
Won’t go away
Ask it to leave
But it wants to stay

Keeps remindin’
What might have been
Sends me off
To rememberin’ when

So, so small
But the ache is so wide
Trade my tomorrows
For another good-bye

I miss the tears
Want them again
A sign of life
Helps my broken heart mend

Wish I could bury
This ache in my heart
Takes me down
Rips me apart

Feel your presence
Every day
Your sister Reece
Makes it all okay

Oh my Graham
Oh my Son
A burst of light
You are the one

Differences made
Not measured in days
Pure and simple
Showing me the way

The Gift

So many gifts
Have been given and received
Most are quickly forgotten
A precious few, still please

Treasure the mystery
Inside the neatly wrapped package
So much possibility
More than you can imagine

Open it slowly
One fold at a time
Careful not to tear an edge
Let if breathe, like a fine wine

The gift is revealed
The mystery is gone
Feelings of anticipation
Are over, like a song

The Last Song

Fuzzy images in my head
Of a different life or maybe better off dead

Pushing through a mountain of snow
Got nowhere to leave got nowhere to go

I’m higher than a kite ripping through the sky
I’m lower than a subway screeching through the night

I found a place to belong
It feels right when I’m writing a song

It’s easy and fun and light to the touch
My mind in a flow my body a rush

Like the touch of your hand on the bare of my chest
Searching madly in the dark to find what’s left

search for words, search for glory
Nothing left, looks like the end of my story

The Mountains You Will Climb

You had a choice
And you took the road less traveled
Most get to stroll on the sidewalk
But you chose to take the gravel

You have the force
Feel it growing inside you
It is for your journey
It is there to guide you

Oh the stories they will tell
Of the mountains that you climbed
And the hurdles that you leapt
The doubts you left behind

Don’t give up on hope
For that is when we perish
It is the miracle you are becoming
That we all will grow to cherish

For life is a risk worth taking
Though we are tested now and then
We thank you for this chance
We would do it all again

For Reece and Graham, from Dad
November 23, 2006

The Obit

What will they say when I die?
What I was a kind soul, a good friend,
A pretty good guy?

Will they speak of my dreams
to make the world a better place?
Never afraid to take a chance,
to stare failure right in the face.

Will they say I was a good son,
husband and brother?
Will they remember I was always eager
to connect one hand to another?

Will they remember my easy going style
and the efforts that I made,
to help others be all they could be…
or will those memories fade?fade

Will they talk
about my struggles to focus,
going from one idea to another
a lot of hot air and hocus pocus.

Or that I was lazy, a liar,
a sneak and a cheat,
trying to pretend I was perfect,
avoiding sticky issues to escape the heat.

Will they know about my demons,
always fighting to break free?
Never sure if I’ll amount to any good,
always torn with who I should be.

No I doubt they’ll bring up the ugly stuff.
Keep those memories warm and sweet.
Another opportunity lost,
To acknowledge the beauty
AND the
beast.

This is When

We met in a bar room
A pretty typical start
For one night of romance
No risk of breaking our hearts
But we couldn’t let it be
We just had to try for more
And that’s when it started
This game of keeping score
This is when I would say I love you
That’s the way it’s supposed to go
But if I say I love you
What comes next, we both know
Started wondering what you’re thinking
Does you still think of other men
Will this spark become a love affair
That will tear me down in the end
My friends keep asking questions
Want to know what’s become of us
It’s a slippery slope we’re sliding
That leads to pain and jealousness
This isn’t what we wanted
No, it’s not what we planned
If we talked we could have avoided
Feel like a log approaching the dam
This is when I would say I love you
That’s the way it’s supposed to go
But if I say I love you
What comes next, we both know
I know I shouldn’t worry
Cause worrying won’t make it better
But I know I’ll need help
When it comes time to forget her
Yeh I know I’ll need help
Trying to forget her
This is when I would say I love you
That’s the way it’s supposed to go
But if I say I love you
What comes next, we both know

To the Top

You fight, fight, fight
To get to the top
and when you get there
You’re stuck, like it or not

You say it’s not about the money
You say it’s not about the fame
But there’s a haunting voice inside of you
That wants them all to know your name

Was it a moment in your childhood?
Was it a strike or something said?
What made you feel so insecure
That keeps you trapped in your bed

I know what you’re thinking
“Hey, give me a shot”
You get trapped in the game
Lose yourself, like it or not

You’ll get knocked from the top
Won’t see the gift you’ve been given
The chance to finally find yourself
The chance to really start livin’

No, you’ll fight, fight, fight
To get back to the top
But you’ll find that no one cares
And you’re stuck, like it or not

Truth

Searching for truth
All we find is fiction
Different points of view
Different definitions

Truth is what happened
Not what we say
Can’t trust our words
With opinions in the way

Truth is a weapon
Mightier than the sword
Keeps us in line
Spinning tales we can’t afford

There is no truth
We are a pile of lies
Don’t like the way it looks
Put on another disguise

So little time, so many worlds
Some we see, others we hide
Can’t trust ourselves
No where we can confide

We are scared of the truth
And what it my reveal
Loose lips sink ships
Not how it looks, but how we feel

Feelings show the truth
A picture in need of no words
Shows a simple point in time
No matter if it helps or if it hurts

The truth hurts
and it heals
It wins
And loses deals
The truth is hard
and it is soft
And you think you’ve found it
But at what cost?

This is just one man’s opinion
So take it with a grain of salt
No closer to the truth
No one to blame, no one’s fault

It just is what it is
And not what it’s not
Don’t remember what I said
No worries…I already forgot

Ugh!

I don’t like you
You’re not very nice
If I’ve told you once
I’ve told you twice

You are slow
One speed Nick
Teach you a lesson
Show you a trick

Open doors
Take smaller bites
Check for bed bugs
Turn off the lights

And you smack
Those potato chips
Wipe those crumbs
Off of your lips

Think of someone
Other than yourself
Better shape up
Or you’re bound for the shelf

You don’t get it
Why don’t you listen?
Big as a barn
But you keep missin’

The point,
Of it all,
Not if you rise
Not if you fall

You’re irresponsible
Can’t make a buck
If it wasn’t for me
You’d be out of luck

You’re not funny
Why can’t you laugh?
Good with numbers
You do the math

Chances,
I keep givin’
Look at my life
What am I gettin’

Short,
End of the stick
There’s a whole litter
What did I pick?

You mumble
Can’t hear what you say
Same ol’ crap
Different time, different day

Solutions,
Not what I need
Spelling is obvious
Why can’t you read?

The writing
That is on the wall
In the summer, winter
Spring and fall

You are dumb
D U M B
Stick with your lattes
I’ll keep my chai tea

You are weak
Can’t feel no muscle
You’re full of jive
But missin’ the hustle

I can’t stand it
When you complain
Stand up for yourself
You take the blame

Your promises
To me they are useless
I want results
Not more excuses

I’m sick
And I’m tired
I’ve had enough
You’re fired

Wondering

I’ve been wondering
What life is about
Some days, want to keep it
Other days, throw it out

Why are we here
Taking up space
Starting to realize
We are rats in the race

I sit and wonder
Are we part of a plan
Intelligent creatures
Maybe just a grain of sand

A flash in the pan
A glimmer of hope
Go back and forth
Just depends on the scope

We say it’s all good
But are we for real
Looks different from here
Gues it depends on your deal

I’m trying to understand
make sense of it all
My mind spins tales
Of my rise and fall

They say life’s a journey
Not about where we’re going
I feel stuck in the back seat
Restless not knowing

Gone before you know it
Knowing don’t help a lick
Why am I trying to figure it out
When it’s all just a magic trick

What Have I Become

Who am I?
What have I become?
My heart, cold and bleak
Like a total eclipse of the sun

Always a dreamer
Head in the clouds
Now feet firmly planted
Want to scream out loud

This is not me!
Surviving day to day
Playing small
Steering clear of the fray

What will it take
To get back in the game?
Bring back the vision
Stop passing the blame

Be my commitment
Back to possibility
One step, then another
Be who I can be

Getting Old

When I get up in the mornin’
My back is achin’
Can’t get through the night
Without something wakin’

Me up from a dream
I had those
Now my world is so small
all thorns, no rose

Green grass and open fields
I used to feel so alive
Now it’s day to day
Just trying to survive

What used to take a minute
Now takes a day
Wouldn’t take so long
If I wasn’t stuck in my ways

Please don’t call me mister
I don’t fit the role
Save it for when I’m sixty
You know, like when I’m really, really old

Oh, to be a kid again
Full of curiosity and wonder
Let go of your rain
And grab life by the thunder

Stop the complaining
And cut out all the worry
You’ll be dead soon enough
So don’t be in such a hurry

Eat your fruits and veggies
Get plenty of sleep and exercise
Everything in moderation
Will help you realize

The dreams that are buried
Deep in the corner of your soul
Let them see the light
And you will again feel whole

Like a kid
In the candy store
Where you can’t get enough
And you want more, more, more

And no was only no
Until you heard a yes
And you didn’t care any more
And you didn’t care any less

You were just living in the moment
Didn’t know any better
You’ve got one life to live
So go on, go out and get her

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