Detours and Memories

My mind continues to present challenges in my everyday life or perhaps they could be better described as minor detours. The first emotion that arises when thimagese detour sign appears is one of frustration, I have things to do I don’t have time for this, yet I’ve learned that with a little patience something wonderful may revel itself.  Yesterday was just such a day, I had spent the morning sitting on my porch marveling at the beauty of a fine June morning. It was warm and peaceful, the sound of birds filling the air, I was feeling centered and at peace. I suddenly found myself captivated by how the air smelled and how the light itself had a certain feel; I knew I had a memory residing somewhere with this exact scent and visual trigger and set about to locate it deep in my childhood memories.

I finally found it deep in the file marked “Adirondack Mountains.” I’m instantly carried back to summer vacations, which when growing up always meant camping in the Adirondacks, a place so different from my home in a suburban neighborhood of Long Island. It was an escape from blacktop and concrete, a completely alien environment compared to the other fifty weeks each year of my life.

It amounted to my father’s annual pilgrimage to the cold trout waters of Northern New York, a duty he took very seriously. I, on the other hand, was not quite so enamored with spending hours in a twelve-foot aluminum boat or standing on the bank of a tiny stream engulfed in clouds of mosquitoes, the purpose of which was to catch a stinger full of eight-inch brook trout that I didn’t eat anyway. I look back wanting to feel the warm nostalgia of that childhood but at this point I’m not feeling it. I’m sure that were very enjoyable times deep in those woods; but now when I look back it feels lonely.

The thought that a particular memory could feel lonely triggered another detour into the nature of how we remember. Is everything now colored by my current reality, by my identity of today? Have my memories slowly evolved over the course of my lifetime? Do the feelings I recall actually exist as a part of the memory or are they added as seasoning when recalled.

I’m left to try and decide if I’m recalling those memories accurately, was that reality or am I rewriting history by recalling feeling that were not there, remembering them in a way that makes me feel better about myself.

I don’t know how to find the answer for that question and more importantly whether it makes any difference at all at this point. I have managed to spend several pleasurable hours contemplating this and I must say that I have thoroughly enjoyed the unexpected scenery on this detour.

Reflections on a Trans Woman’s Passing

In Memory of Brynn Kelly

I cry because I never met her
I cry because I knew her so well
She is the sister I never had
Her death, leaves me an only child

I could not have imagined her pain
Though I live some of it every day.
Her loss is felt by us all
Yet how anonymous her passing

I cannot understand why she could not go on
Although at times I feel exactly the same
The reasons are always the same
Even though we each claim them as our own.

She was a writer, accomplished at her craft
Yet unable to rewrite her own story.
What happens to all of her words?
Composed yet uncommitted to paper

Did they cease at her passing
Have they been lost to the world?
Or do they exist somewhere in the ether
Waiting to be discovered

Was there a time that day when just the right word
Spoken at just the right moment, in just the right tone
Could have rewritten the ending of her tragedy
Turning it into just another bad day

So much we will never know

An Extraordinary Price


For Transgender Day of Remembrance


They paid with their lives, for someone else’s unease
That the rage of a bruised ego,
Could only be repaid in kind with bruises dark and angry
That your damaged swagger demands to be healed
With a balm of blood, sticky and warm
That embarrassment could be fatal,
Defies understanding
From a maniac’s lust to destroy those apart
To those that find joy in the suffering of others
The dangers of this world are real
Real as the feelings that compel us to be,
And to be the persons we are
For rewards that seem elusive and a future unclear
We risk consequences, unforgiving and everlasting
We brave all this and a thousand other slights and indignities
In a quest to arrive finally at life of authenticity
The journey long, So many fall by the wayside
Each year the list of lives lost to hate and despair
Grows longer and longer
Each week brings news of another lost and then yet another
Each year we lament their lives cut short
We cry for the loss of their voices from our chorus
Each year we speak their names, remember their faces
And vow never to forget.