Friday, May 19, 2006

The New School

This belly is full of the new school
Before fingernails—
Joyfully scraping the uterine chalkboard
Before eye color—
Wherewith to bathe in warm lines of Frost
Before hair—
The follicles of protection, smell, and crush

This curve is the arc of the student
Fleshy stripes—
A wild zebra of growth
His horizon—
Contorting with waves of impatience
Inert pains—
Of hearing but not seeing the world

This firmness is a billion broken syllabi
The essay—
Whose thesis writes itself as your back is turned
The experiment—
Whose success and failure is logged with God
The last trimester—
That ends with the most blazing of final exams

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The Rifleman

I'd like to sincerely thank Colby Stead: a good friend who took it upon himself to spend some time with my family and me this past weekend at the Idaho State Service Rifle Championships. He took some footage of the event and compliled it into a video entitled "The Rifleman" that you can see here, along with other short documentary style films featuring individuals more gifted and unique than myself.

Last year I wrote a poem entitled Spent Powder, which you can read here, which embodies the beautiful bond that shooting has created between me and my Dad. Colby could have edited the film to communicate a varitey of messages from any number of family and friends, but ultimately what this breif glance into the shooting world became wasn't the technical or even cultural aspect of it all, but rather the personal effects it has had on a father and a son.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Remember Me

Maybe it’s a defense mechanism, all this picture taking. I’m surrounded by folks who spend small fortunes on film and dye cuts and acid free paper. We tell ourselves that it’s for our children, and our children’s children, and someday the generations will look back and remember us. They’ll know just what life was like, and that is sacred. And while all of this may be true, we deny the selfish underbelly its say.

The secret is, that it’s really for myself. It’s so I will remember. So I can use a little less faith, and by looking at a photo I’ll quell my fear that maybe I wasn’t there. Maybe I never was skinny. Maybe I never looked that good in a suit. Maybe she never did glance at me with love in her eyes. Let’s face it. The future generations don’t care all that much. Can you remember the last time you spend a tear stained afternoon going through your parent’s photo album?

I rest my case.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Dear Colby

Dear Colby…
That is how a letter starts, and if this were a letter
I could fill the lines with inch-thick travel logs,
Half-ripe reminiscence and an occasional emoticon—
That fearful undercurrent in my brain
Beneath the clever
Beneath the specific
Beneath every meaningful cog
Babbling, “Just as I suspected, the words aren’t doing it.”
But it isn’t, and the thing is
Mondays are gone,
David is gone,
Eagan is gone,
And I sometimes suspect that all that is left is memory
And I convince myself that it is so
To make new ones. And maybe not worth it.
And in the end only a heart will remain
Lying quietly in some well-swept alleyway neatly set aside—
And such is the nature of good intentions.
But I’m feeling romantic, because hard is romantic
And makes for good storytelling
Most people don’t like hard
But prefer a nice story about hard, so…
Once upon a time nature spent ten billion years
And made you
Bystanders all around noted that you used and reused
Tidy canvas bags at the grocery store
Carefully crafted buttons at the county fair
Cleaned up after other mammals’ piss when expected
But failed to note that
You walked very tall
Spoke softly
Looked at the world with a thousand pair of eyes
Two thousand and one lenses, and saturated notebooks with
Peculiar questions about God, love, death.
And this is the part of the story that is hard
You find miles of beauty on both sides of a spinning coin
Refusing to call, while in every direction people shout
Heads or tails.
It is so easy to pain over a thirty-year or thirty-millennia block
In nature’s investment.
Instead of the spinning coin and that lonely heart
In a well-swept alleyway
Neatly set aside
And full of music

Happy Birthday Colby! The Blakes love you. We hope you find all that you are looking for this year.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Mother, If I Only Knew.

When I was younger, twelve or thirteen maybe, my Mom brought me downstairs before school and made me watch “The Miracle of Life.” This was the first and only time I’ve had the actual birth of a child played out before me. The only precursor for me was You Were Smaller than a Dot—a cleverly illustrated children’s book that explained in the most tactful of terms that there is no such thing as a stork.

I must admit. It was pretty shocking. I’ve got to hand it to my Mom. She took matters into her own hands, whereas nowadays it seems many parents circumvent the whole teen pregnancy issue by closing their eyes, shutting their mouths, and pretending really hard that there isn’t an issue at all. Perhaps this video turned out to be the best type of sex education. It showed me that there are actually some painfully non-romantic consequences to exercising the bidding of my raging hormones.

Last week Christy and I attended the second of three Birth Education classes at Jordan Valley Hospital—where Christy will give birth. They showed us four videos of births—3 vaginal and one C-section. I’m still in shock. I’m trying to wrap my brain around the fact that this will be us in a month and a half. I’m trying not to think about all of the many mishaps that can occur. I’m trying to trust that Christy will be okay and the baby will be okay, and that I can be a man and stand there as a pillar of strength, instead of a jello-kneed bystander likely to collapse at any moment.

One thought that kept occurring to me again and again was “Thank you, Mom.” Yes, for showing me the video years ago, but not because of that. Thank you, Mom for going through this ultimate life experience to bring me into this world. If anywhere there exists a valley of the shadow of death, it would be in all of the proper and makeshift maternity wards across the world. Thank you, Mom. Thank you. I should have been a nicer son.