Friday, May 29, 2009

If I Were Sagacious Solomon

my life is a green thing, a growing thing
one of plantings and pruning, dirt and fronds
the bud, the steam, the leaf

my life is a fruitful thing, a yielding thing
one of bounty and gains, crops and produce
the seed, the ear, the sheaf

my life is a bountiful thing, a teeming thing
one of children and years, unfolding and success
the eye, the tooth, the tongue

my life is a visible thing, a lamp-lit thing
one of season and time, allotment and age
the day, the week, the year

my being is a reflecting thing, a mirrored thing
one of chromosome and gene, flame and verve
the soul, the fire, the heat

my id is a quiet thing, a deliberate thing
one of compassion and regard, fancy and solicitude
the concept, the muse, the brooding

-Jay
5/29/09

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Its bare moments before 0530, and we've enjoyed a quiet night in the hospital. Melissa is typing away at her laptop, and I at mine, the lights are out, and I've opened the blinds to reveal the brightening outlines of the Timpanogos mountains. It feels like one of those sort of moments; the ones that happen right before a flurry of activity, the kind of moments that reveal themselves if you look for them. The mountains are quiet, and the room is as well, our city out the window still sleeps. I only hear Melissa's breathing, the whir of the computer running the baby-monitoring equipment, and the gentle click clack of two laptop keyboards.

I wonder at this place we're in--we've been here before; this same hospital the commonality between all our children, so unlike my own family, where all my seven siblings were born in different places, different doctors, different towns. Their birthplaces provide a sort of Blair road map; Texas, Idaho, Ohio, Georgia, so for me to have four children all born in the same city, in the same hospital, and even in rooms along the same hallway of the same hospital, is somewhat of a miracle.

The nurse has come in, she has been a sport all night; taken us under her wing and provided for both every necessity and every whim, even trying to make me comfortable by encouraging me to raid the pantry normally reserved for the mothers-to-be. Yes, she knew how to set me at ease.

And she's left again, we're back to silence; the easy kind now--the patient waiting kind that parents who have been here before feel in their bones. That gathering of will for the journey which Melissa has already begun, walking through the shadow of the valley of death, drawing back the curtains of the veil of eternity to being a soul into being. It is a sacred and holy time, and I feel the kindness of a loving God, one who knows our travails and pains, knows the sacrifice of a mother to her child as she brings her into the world.

"They're really close together now" she's just said, and the metallic whir of her lowering her bed accompanies the statement. I ask how big they are, code for how painful, and she responds with "the same as before". Our nurse hasn't checked again for effacement or dilation, I suspect hoping instead for progress and time; the doctor will be in by my estimation at 0700. And Melissa's just sighed, as if feeling my thoughts here, and agreed. She is trying this pregnancy without any pain meds.

The morning sky is a bright gray now, the gloaming ever brightening, the whites of the snowfields on Timpanogos picking up the brightness and highlighting the gullies and ridges of the mountain. Modern legend says that this mountain formed when a Native American princess, laid down after her true love had died; her grief was so strong that the gods put her profile into the mountain, if one only looks to the north part of the mountain, her profile is revealed there, and her long sweeping tresses.

And now the sky is lightening again, and Melissa feeling the effects of the pitocin. I ask her how she is feeling, and she replies "Really tired, and the contractions growing stronger." So I leave this entry, the time ripening, the sky brightening through the open blinds, and us waiting, expectant, hopeful, and full of prayer.

These are the moments of clocks and measurements, of dialogue and record keeping--blood pressure, contraction length, heart rates. Our nurse has come in one final time, making final adjustments to the microphones elasically attached to Melissa's belly. Her name is Shannon, and as she leaves we feel as if we've made a friend. Is everyone's experience like this? It has been for us these four visits in the past 6 years.

Duty calls me now, Melissa needs my aid. The sky has brightened considerably, and her contracttions are going big. I do not know if the doctor will be in at 0700 or 0800; Melissa is now on max drip for pitocin, and the day has just begun.

-Jay

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

For Graham (or Graeme, however you name will be)

I walked tonight, into work
Under the silence of the trees
I thought of you and smiled, son
wondering at your appearance

The moon hung above me
pale waxing sliver, in the sky
A thin slice of crescent white
hiding the greater black opalescence

oh tangible ghosts! I feel you
what waxing hopes you bring
to grow under these silent trees
my heart keeps time with your unborn one

storms were here but a day ago,
bearing down in liquid manifestations
wetting the earth, the loam
I felt the thunder crying out on the roof

And how soon ‘till her womb
releases its new grown life
gravity breaking those waters loose
but a day from now, a day.

Both moons and wombs offer
swelling hopes, and pregnant prospects
each growing in their expectancy
dilation over time into round fullness.

We wait for the changing tides! A few more hours
‘till her scheduled induction
and our longed for introduction
for you, fourthborn child, and brand new hope

-Jay
5/25/09

Monday, May 18, 2009

Bastards. They always cancel the good TV. Call me pessimistic, but it is true. Start with Gilligan's Island; 3 years of broadcasts and then nixed. The thing that saved it? Syndication. Point of fact, I was born in the 70's--I most likely would not have been exposed to this show at all if it were not for syndication (but that discussion is not for today). What I really want to ask is why the recent trend of good shows being canceled before they are allowed to really develop. Before I lose you here, M*A*S*H was an eleven-year series about a three year war. Do you think they exhausted the material? I bet if they really wanted to, it could even be revived. Why? it was a great idea, had excellent writing, has scope, and made us laugh (it still makes me laugh). And it was allowed to develop.

It would seem that I am a fan of shows too late--that I come into them after the fact that they have had their heyday run. As I stated above, I was not around for the premier of Gilligan's Island or for Green Acres. I wasn't even around (for other reasons, commitments mostly) for the premier of a few other shows which I like; Firefly, Battlestar Galactica, Jericho, or Chuck. And I came into them later--a friend bridging the gap for me with a DVD, or getting me to watch the shows online.

Don't get me wrong, I love syndication. I do want to ask why the numbers game is so damned important that a station will pull the plug on shows as compelling as the three modern shows I mention above. I am new to all of this, new to the TV rankings, how funding is allocated, how costs are tabulated, where calculated viewership translates to revenue. Brilliant suits with college degrees whisper into the ears of the presidents of TV companies, words of honey and unfortunately sometimes hemlock. They have the education which justifies, I just have a measly remote in my hand, a non-universal one at that.

My wife recently got an invite from Nielsen, "The TV people for the last 50 years!", to participate in their program. They sent an envelope with 5 crisp dollar bills and a plea to take their test. She did it, and I hope they pick us, because I will not watch a single banal reality TV show. No, not a one. I will watch stuff that is well written, has scope, and none will have a single person singing, losing weight, shagging older women, living with room mates and arguing, or anything else the current networks offer in the realm of reality TV. Hell, I ride motorcycles and HATE American Chopper.

I guess I should feel out of touch, as people love shows like American Idol. I could give a rats ass, honestly about who the next big thing will be in music. When I sit down in front of the TV or the computer, I want to be entertained, not get all the greasy bits on who voted whom off the island. I have three kids under ten; they offer the best reality one adult married male can need.

If for some crazy reason Mr. Silverman reads my blog (I am more likely to be bitten by a shark in the land locked state of Utah than that may happen), please keep Chuck. Do something right. The other networks already effed up Jericho and Firefly, you can go down in history as the guy who saved the show and turned it into another one of the greats. An Everybody Loves Raymond but with sexual tension and an Intersect computer.

Hey it could happen!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

I've always been a bit of a late bloomer. I suspect it was the 21 days past term I went; the fact that I arrived late into the world, that late would become my lifelong shibboleth and war cry.

I was always behind in school, suffering from not only poorly developed ability to focus on anything but reading great books, but interpersonal skills with the opposite sex--I badly wanted to snog, but couldn't make the quantum leap from basic conversation to make out to save my life. Instead I stumbled along, wondering which organ had been broken and where, and how I was to bridge the great gulf to ever have sex with anyone in adulthood. Point of fact, I made out with a girl, and this is no lie, for the first time in college. COLLEGE! Her name was, and probably still is, Amy. Her last name eludes me at the moment, but I can still remember our first kiss--I with lips puckered (and probably a squinty debonair look on my face which I'd figured was passionate) kissed her open mouth. Her teeth to be exact. Our relationship was all about kissing, there was the terrified talking which I interspersed between the smooching; I was wondering if was doing it right, and rather than straight out asking her if it was working for her, I made conversation. We snogged for a week solid, fogging up the glass of her green Dodge Neon every night after classes, for seven days solid in my stepfather's driveway. My mom slept inside, unknowing a tiny romance of one was budding out in the drive.

Amy broke up with me, and I later found her father (a nationally syndicated author, Joseph Walker...there's her last name!) had published an article about "promises we couldn't keep" or something along those lines, about us and our dating. He'd called me "purple and passionate" and may have even alluded to me being gay (something about how she wore overalls often and I'd told her they were really great), to this day I am not sure; I must go dig out the newspaper clipping, I am sure it is in a box somewhere. Now, to be totally fair, I did have a couple of gay friends. I never, ahem, followed their lifestyle, but it apparently confused her enough to fall for another buddy from one of our shared classes. At least that is how it seemed to me back in the year 1997, twelve years ago. In five more years, that will be half a lifetime ago. With the way they seem to pass like the sweet sound of an alto sax in a window while walking, those five years are next to nothing.

Thankfully God has a plan for all of us, and I learned a little bit about life and where I wanted to be. This involved stumbling about for a number of years, dating and learning what to say and what not to say, how to be respectful, how to truly love. I daresay I made enough mistakes to fill two lifetimes, and this thankfully resulted in no children conceived out of wedlock, or addictions to chemical substance. The end result (as of 0335 on May 13th, year of our Lord 2009) I stand before you all a strangely learned, albeit via the dusty back road route, man. I am a husband of seven years, a father of a soon to be fourth child, my third boy. I work as a manager over nearly two dozen people, and I know how to relate to them. They vary in demographic from Uber-nerd computer gurus, to close to retirement chaps who worked on computers while I was still a gamete. Yes, that strangely awkward yet earnest eighth-grade boy in hand me downs who wore his sister's Guess shorts to school one time (thinking they were obviously heterosexual enough to pass, silly me), is now a manager of some 7 years. He makes three monthly car payments (well one is a motorcycle, just to be fair), and is the epitome of a hard working red-blooded American male. I take out the trash. I mow the lawn. I hug my babies, I wash the dishes, I fold laundry.

It just took a little while to get here.

I suppose this story is not unique, and if another person or another 2 million persons have lived it out, then so be it. But this is my story, and as such I have claim on it.

I am grateful to God for the way he has allowed me to learn things at my own pace. I am grateful that the boy who was so unknown to himself can be fully understood by the man. I am grateful to the mother who carried me those extra 21 days, and who still to this day sees the potential residing in these five feet seven inches of clay. I am most grateful to the woman who I married, Melissa, for not being my mother. Not because of conventional thinking in that regard, but for being herself--her strengths, her drives, her passions, her honey-do list. She is my soul-mate, if one can believe in such things--it is to me as if God knew she was coming, and had to shape the boy into the man so he would be deserving of such a one.

And again, for that, I am most grateful to Him.

Thank you God for allowing me to take the back road and grow at my own pace.

And in closing, lest you think I am about to be translated straight up through the heavens (I did say I do laundry after all, what woman doesn't love a man who cleans stuff) to the nearest cloud and harp, let me advise you I still fart. I still get ear and nose hair. I have my father and grandfather's bushy eyebrows. I still have moments where I feel downtrodden, and I still get frustrated at a busy work day. I still hate poopy diapers (I tell my daughter she shouldn't hate anything, but I should make an exception to my lecture and mention that poopy diapers are fair game), I still hate cleaning up vomit (and will append that to the lecture list). I still struggle with wanting to go to church when it is 0830 on a Sunday.

But despite all this and more (much, much more), I am grateful for this life oh God. Thank you my Heavenly Father for each experience in life. Thank You for allowing me to make it in my own way, and guiding me, stubborn man that I am, to my wife and kids.

Finally, I can gladly report that my kissing prowess, which developed at such an atrophied pace, according to the only woman who matters in my life, is pretty damn fine.

And that conclusion is a pretty good one

-Jay

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Maple

The leaves have sprung on me again and I note,
a subtle vernal joke unspoken
oh how I studied them, these past weeks, scrutinizing each
and to have them slip into existence unobserved, laughing!

The buds were just there! I'd barely measured them
yesterday, using the tip of a single nail
mere blisters of spring, still wrapp'd in their cocoon
waiting patiently for the last frost to pass before emerging

The tresses, dryad locks, still hang limply this evening
as wetly emerged Heliconiinae
clutching and trembling in the breeze~too frail yet for turgidity
each leaf hangs on, bastion of each branch, awaiting reinforcement

The unfoldings! Each frond from bent blintzed grafts
tiny packaging breaking forth
into sails and wings on a fixed thing, rooted and unmoving
a juxtaposition~frailty and hardwood, both wing'd and anchor'd

-Jay
5-6-09