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Something Different

Fogarty Creek

Fogarty Creek

I wasn’t really sure if I wanted to post this here, but I wound up getting a bit of a challenge from an online buddy about my poetry – having to do with claiming to be “The Skald,” an Icelandic warrior poet. This photo essay and poem don’t really use any kennings or skaldic poetic techniques, but it is at least a poem 😉

Aiden Photo Essay-2-1

Aiden the "Cool"

In terms of “creative writing” I’ve not written anything at this new Skalduggery yet, and a combination photo essay/poem seemed just the ticket to get started! I’d like to write something easy, but not so straightforward, something simple, but not uncomplicated – just something that has at least a little meaning. Try not to take this in the traditional “confessional” vein, but rather a blend of fact and fiction that describes a time with my grandson.

It would be easy for a person to say that I am afflicted with a serious anti-authority  complex…. Well, screw them; it’s great to be right. The real problem is how difficult, painful, and downright mystifying I find human relationships. Mostly, I pretty much suck at relationships and have fought with, argued with, or disappointed virtually everyone I know and most everyone who tried to be my friend… and yet, I still have a few friends.

It is not difficult for me to think that I am a failed son, brother, husband and father, a mediocre sailor, poet, writer, and artist, etc. ad nauseam…. Well, screw me; get over it. I take the advice I’ve given my children; “keep on breathing and keep on trying, just keep breathing in and out.” The real difference here is that my children are succeeding – they are the blooms in this desert around me.

Aiden Photo Essay-4-1

Aiden the Agile

I can also imagine myself at the Benedictine Nursing Center, warehoused, waiting to die and desperately trying to wring some meaning from what has passed for my life. I worked at the nursing center for a short time on the Alzheimer’s/Dementia Unit while my grandmother was a resident of the facility. It became unbearably easy to weep for myself, for those I cared about, and those I was caring for – to weep for that THING we all have somehow lost forever and cannot hope to find.

Before one thinks this is some pessimistic exercise in futility, or a wallowing in self-pity, remember what I’ve told my children – “you are still alive, breathe in and out, be that courageous person that continues to breathe.” Even though depression, anguish, or despair may influence everything around you, EVERYTHING else is still out there – all of those small and good things. To me, this sentiment reflects my geography because this is so much like the Pacific Northwest! “OF COURSE it’s cloudy, but OOOHHH, look how the sun filters through the clouds and trees!” So then, I’ll breathe in and out and do my best because I’ll be in the ground soon enough.

Why the long schpeel? Because I don’t make real friends easily, and that history is important for my little poem about my grandson!

Things a Little Boy Can’t Say

Aiden Photo Essay-2-2-1

Aiden Completes the Log Walk

The ocean splashed and crashed
His little voice away, and I,
Just feet away,
Boomed my voice’s harsh sound that bound
His little body to the spot almost daring him not
To move toward the edge of Fogarty Creek.

His eyes, yearned to yearn –
His thoughts sought to seek an explanation
For wanting to want so desperately
To get his feet wet in that cascade of wild water…

And in he stepped,
Through my warning, and
Straight into my anger –
Soaking his shoes wet with it.


His eyes yearned, then teemed with tears,
His thoughts sought and failed to find an explanation
For his body’s unthinkable betrayal of desiring

To desire to sneak
Those sneakers wet.

My anger dissipated on the drive home –
The shoes were none the worse for wear –
And after dinner, while playing with his Legos, he said,


Aiden Photo Essay-7-1

A Gift From Aiden to His Mother


“Will you play with me?”

This was not forgiveness.
This had nothing to do with a young boy’s utter inability
To say what he most needed
To say
That day.

This was not adult explanation time.
Explaining something to a boy that needed no explanations
About my unjustified anger.



You see, there ARE things a little boy can’t say –
But not for want of trying.
There are things an old man CAN say, but
Ought to try not to…
So he will hear a simple offer of friendship.



“Will you play with me?”

“Aiden, there is nothing I’d rather do.”

Though he didn’t understand my watery eyes,
I’m pretty certain he understood my answer to his question,


“Because it is great to be breathing!
What a wonderful thing it is to be
breathing and alive today with you!”

So there you have it. The geographical location I used to choose my screen name for several sites, and the knowledge that even an emotional retard can look into his grandson’s face on a day like that – and be utterly changed by what his grandson believes of him. I can live the rest of my life on small moments like those.

Cheers all!

Categories: Creative Writing, Culture, Manhood, Poetry, Prose Tags:
  1. John
    September 20th, 2009 at 19:27 | #1

    Very cool. Even better than my haiku that got published a while back 🙂

  2. Mr. Grim
    September 21st, 2009 at 13:21 | #2

    Bravo my curmudgeonly old friend. Bravo.

  3. Jeff
    September 22nd, 2009 at 17:15 | #3

    If we’re to believe the ancient writings, over a thousand years ago a man of notoriously bad temperament had a gift for summing up the human condition by means of the “war-god’s wine.” His verses have lasted to the present day and inspired your on-line friend to issue that particular challenge.

    Without delving too deeply into my estrogen reserves and getting all slobbery, I believe Egil would have been proud of the storied lesson above and would have appreciated the impressive form in which it was rendered.

    how hard to pour forth
    from the mind’s root
    the price that Frigg’s
    progeny found,
    borne of old
    from the world of giants,

    unflawed, which Bragi
    inspired with life
    on the craft
    of the watcher-dwarf.
    -Egil’s Saga

  4. October 16th, 2009 at 17:54 | #4

    Thanks John 🙂 Haven’t really aimed at publishing much lately… other than in contests, and there, I seem to be a perennial “honorable mention.” I win only rarely 😉 But I sure like reading and writing the stuff.

  5. October 16th, 2009 at 18:07 | #5

    @Mr. Grim

    Curmudgeonly… yup, that would be me 😀 Thanks buddy. I appreciate the input… especially since you’re not a big fan of most poetry! Hope to put up a little more after that challenge from Jeff. Kind of got me entering a little more food for thought in my journal! Stay well friend, and the best to your little ones!

  6. October 16th, 2009 at 18:36 | #6


    Thanks for the challenge – got me off my apathy and focusing a little more on the writing I enjoy most. And that is perhaps the best bit of verse in Egil’s Saga!

    I’ll try to avoid the, er, umm, estrogen inducing verse from here on out 😀 Thanks Jeff!

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