Seven years old
Seven years old
Oh, Well! When the truth is out and the spell is broke, we conjure a different holiday joke. Or… don’t forget to eat those cookies. Jingle Bells, Everyone! – mh clay
That’s the true spirit of this day and one I strive to maintain and attempt to attain day-by-day. I truly try to freely give a sincere attitude of gratitude at every predawn morn I’m blessed to receive. I pray it, every day, knowing that everything I have, have had and will have is gifted and never a given.
The cognizance of blessings alone begets holier appreciations of what I do have. I know that someday I may not have all that I do. I may have more. I may have less. But right here, right now I have everything I need and daily I pray for and give thanks for…
A roof over my head to keep the heat in & my head dry on cold & damp gray days, to keep me cool and chilled on hot & humid summer days, sheltered and secured always.
These clothes that cover my mortal flesh & bones, sometimes fashionable, most time not, but what I got is usually sensible, always practical, definitely comfortable.
The food on my table to sustain the life force swirling in me and our fellow man that gives us animation, free will, and divine imaginations.
The labors we trade to get paid so that we can afford these aforementioned hierarchical necessities needed to live another hour, day, month, year.
A deep love in my heart for this precious gift called life and deep reverence for all who have come and gone & for those here and now, the nearest and cherished loved ones coloring my world thru these many moons so fine & divinely.
This deep-seated peace in my soul, my hearth, a source of retreat, of meditation, of experience, of expression.
I pray every day for these precious things to hopefully guarantee I do not take them for granted.
I pray knowing that even if it’s just me listening in, the reverence I have for these everyday blessings will always bring a deep-seated appreciation of these spiritual, material, creative, monetary & wellness prosperities.
I pray, with all my might to say the two simple words that, when sincerely paired, carry so much meaning and emotion:
But he did return.
He arrived in a box with a star spangled
and blood striped flag, draped with care.
When Johnny didn’t come marching home again (so long, so long)
They gave him a funeral welcome then (so long, so long)…
A warrior’s funeral.
Complete with a 21 gun salute,
a lonesome rendition of
Taps, and a
The same flag that came draped on Johnny’s coffin.
The boys held back tears, the men stood tall,
The ladies, one by one they called…
They mentioned Johnny’s name on the news.
They remembered his life and honored his memory.
They said they would always remember their hometown hero.
They all felt the loss
when Johnny didn’t come marching home.
Johnny didn’t enlist to be a cog in the great war machine.
But he knew the ultimate price
might have to be paid
when he raised his right hand and said:
“I, Johnny Citizen, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.”
When his Country called, he did his duty.
With a lump in his throat and with pride on his side,
Johnny went off to fight.
Let reverence and remembrance reign this day (so long, so long)
Remember the ultimate sacrifices made (so long, so long)…
He prayed every day he awoke alive,
and doubly so at night,
to live to fight another day, so help him God.
God was there on Johnny’s lips as he took his final breaths.
So were the fading memories of home.
So were mom and dad.
So were brother and sister.
So were friends and lovers.
And so was this final scene –
A warrior’s funeral.
Complete with a 21 gun salute,
a lonesome rendition of
Taps, and a
This is what Johnny saw as he looked up
at foreign skies.
He never asked why.
He knew this was his time.
He knew this was his duty.
Johnny said his last prayer
and his final goodbyes.
No fanfare, no fame.
Just another life given,
a sacrifice made
in this deadly game
So may we do our patriotic part (so long, so long)
Be grateful and thankful for this warrior’s heart (so long, so long)…
And remember the meaning of this day,
When all the Johnny’s didn’t come marching home.
Because this is worth reading on this Day…
Here’s to the day when no new boxes come home, no new flags are draped and folded, no new tears are wrenched from newly aching hearts. Thanks to Johnny O for these Memorial words! May we learn, at last, to practice war no more. – mh clay
When they (who? why?) are trying to erase your sense of place… – mh clay
On this day we give thanks. The origins and the traditions do not matter so much to me as does the attitude of gratitude. Yester tales of olden day feasts contrasted by modern day pigskin games and black Friday freaks are not what this day is about (to me).
On this day we reflect upon the blessings we’ve been blessed to have received. These can range from the bare necessities of shelter and sustenance, to extracurricular extravagances that an abundant life allows.
On this day we freely tell others what’s flowing deeply in our hearts, of the gratitude we feel for the love given and the love received. Our happy hearts are hard to hide today.
On this day we feel the direct connect to our kindred spirits in this collective community of hearts and souls who also walk this same orb, who also breath this same air, who also see these same scenes, and who also dream these same dreams of peace, of love, of unity.
On this day I wish, as I do every Thanksgiving day. I wish that every day was designated as a day of giving thanks and not just today. But either way, at least we got one day, and for that, I give thanks…
…on this day.
editors note: With some said more, and others too much; here’s one we can’t say enough. Thanks! – mh clay
Half staffed flags used to be a rarity but sadly, not so much these days in this here land I so love.
I’m from the X’d generation that was born into believing that we were the best nation in the world but swiftly learned soon after, from perpetual disillusionments, the disappointing lesson that no, we are not.
We’re just the cracked & shedded skin of the glorious U S of A that we used to be.
These days “we the people” of these “united” States are quite divided between:
Left and right…
Brown and Black and White…
Dems and Reps…
Libs & Tea Partiers…
Haves and the eternal have nots…
Scientists and religious zealots…
Gun-toters and gun controllers…
Me too’s and their #’d accused…
Baby boomer gloom’s and millennial’s baby shoe blues…
We once stood united in our dividedness but the state of our current union is slipping below the summit and our half staffed flags are living proof that we are on our deathbed. Every day our symptoms get worse. Daily headline news crawls report on the condition this Nation is in. Each beat we get closer to the throes of death.
What this time has warranted this visual symbol of 1) respect 2) mourning 3) distress? Was it yet another sad school shooting? or a man-made and/or mother nature disaster? or a mass killing? or a domestic terrorist attack? or some dignitary death?…
I shake my head in disbelief at the immense grief and grave danger our country is on the precipice of experiencing. We are in the lousy care of loud-meowed fat cats who sit back, cleaning their teeth, readying themselves for the feast they are about to receive. These fat cat vs. mouse games they play, the battles they wage, these are the Wars that sit ominously on our horizon:
Second Amendment Wars;
World War Wars
… the list could go on if I wasn’t so mad and saddened by what I see. Sadly, this is our reality.
So now, when I see the all-too-common half-staffed flag, I think to myself – this display is not for anything specific but a general statement about the state of this dying divided union.
The red white and blue’s stunted ascent halfway up the pole shows how this once great nation of ours is on life-support, quickly dying and the half-staffed flag is in mourning for what we the people were and what that sickly Stars and Stripes once stood for.
Epilogue: I woke up today to see the flags once again blowing freely in the breezes, the sun rays kissing the withered edges, a lone bird perched proudly upon the mast and a feeling creeped in, awakening in me again a sense of hope and never dying pride for this land, OUR land, of the free.
Consider this. Choose hope… (Thanks to our Ed-in-Chief for his honest expose.) – mh clay
…you are a Vet for Life.
You raised your right hand and took the sacred oath of enlistment to defend the Constitution of the United States.
Your reasons for enlistment are as diverse as your ranks. Some enlisted for educational benefits. Some for monies to raise a family. Some were drafted. All served because of a sense of duty to our great Nation.
Some are city slickers. Others are country boys. Some hailed from Texas and Illinois, California and New York, and…
The fact is, you came from all over this great Nation of ours to serve.
Some were called to fight, eye-witnessing the horrors and destructions of war.
Some served in peacetime, maintaining the liberties most take for granted.
The fact is, you all served. You were ready, able and willing to put your lives down for God, for Country, for us.
Some did 4 year tours. Some 6… 8… 12… and a few went all the way to retirement.
Some went on to became teachers, designers, technicians, engineers, mechanics, electricians, truck drivers, public servants…
The fact is, wherever you went and whatever profession you chose, you carried with you the pride and legacy of being a Veteran.
You stood out from the crowd. Maybe it was the way you walked and talked that gave you away. Or perhaps a tattoo sporting your branch gave a clue.
More than likely it was the way you conducted yourself with discipline, with military bearing, with initiative. You have been instilled with Honor, with Courage, with Commitment.
The fact is, you ARE a different breed.
You ARE warriors.
You were, ARE and always will be Soldiers, Marines, Sailors, Airmen and Coast Guardsman.
The fact is, you are a Vet for Life!
You know the kinship of brotherhood/sisterhood.
You understand what camaraderie and esprit de corps are all about.
The fact is, you were THERE and you did do THAT.
Although some may not be as lean, mean or green as we you were in your glory days, you are a Veteran, still true to our great Nation, and always, always faithful.
The fact is, your ranks are as diverse as the Country you served.
The fact is, when you hear the opening lines, “Oh say can you see…”, you stand at attention, feeling a sense of tremendous pride, knowing that you and your Brothers and Sisters in arms did your part in serving the United States of America.
The fact is…
I work for the Exchange (aka AAFES). We recently welcomed home all honorably discharged Veterans back to their military family thru the new online shopping benefit.
As part of our efforts to get the word out to a great Nation filled to the gills with my fellow Veterans, the Exchange became a sponsor of ESPN’s Armed Forces Bowl. One of the perks of this sponsorship is that we have not one, but TWO commercial spots that will air on national TV during the game. This will be the first time the Exchange will be showing national ads!
As we were coming up with concepts for these historic adverts, my boss asked if I had any poetic copy I could write for one of the spots. Of course, I enthusiastically said “YES!” Not only did the powers-that-be like my poetic copy, they also liked my voice-over work and decided to use both in both ads and the fact is… the rest is history! – jo
The anticipation of the fat man’s arrival sits thickly, come somewheres ‘round mid-November.
You better watch out
You better not cry
Better not pout
I’m telling you why…
Word on the street is it’s best yo watch out cos He’s comin’ back ‘round to town. The weakest amongst them weep and cry out in fear. They start to panic, knowin’ He’s near. A quick come-to-Jesus moment and their pitiful pouts turn to saccharine shouts of fabricated goodness and wholesomeness. But the Fat Man; oh, He knows by the tingle on of His chubby crimsoned nose that this is just a plotted ploy to get on His good side.
He’s making a list
He’s checking it twice;
He’s gonna find out who’s naughty or nice…
Oh, no, no! Ol’ Kris “Fat Man” Kringle is too cool to be fooled or foiled. He steps up His stalking game, lurking behind every shadow to see if this crew of misfit naives have been angels or devils. Of course most are a blended mix of both. That don’t matter much cos when it comes down to it, the Fat Man’s list has no wiggle room. You’re either Naughty or Nice. Period. No grays on His listed inventory of souls. Only black and white.
He sees you when you’re sleeping
He knows when you’re awake
He knows when you’ve been bad or good…
Oh, He sees how the sheep sleep fitfully with trembling visions of the unthinkable repercussions prancing in their heads. When they awake from their long winter’s slumber, He’s there, too, watching and waiting, baiting them. The Fat Man is tireless in his trailings, noting the things they do and don’t do. The Fat Man demands goodness! He will stop at no end to ensure His holiday bidding be done!
So be good for goodness sake!…
Ready or not, the Fat Man IS comin’ to town real soon for His annual Judgment Day. And all you naughty souls best change your ways and pray to baby Jesus that you still have time to make His Nice list.
…the Fat Man is coming to town!
Want candy or coal? Let’s be nice this season; lessen your carbon footprint. Ho, ho, ho! (Thanks to Johnny O, our Chief Ed and Master of the Swirl, for this Holiday warning.) – mh clay
If these well-worn, war-torn, badly sand beaten, sad looking field boots had a voice, the tales they would tell of scenes they had seen when they once enveloped this grunt’s feet. As I pulled these battered boots from an old forgotten box of Marine Corps memorabilia that I was sifting thru, this duo spoke to me and presented the keys …
Things aren’t like
They used to be
Simplicity is a rarity
Distractions of all kinds
Threaten to sway
The things we say
Or dare not
points of view
Dulling all our
Just trying to cope
And hang on to hope
Nope. I’m through.
Things don’t look like
They used to look
It’s rare to find
An open book
We’re mindless drones
Noses bent to phones
Oblivious to the swirling
Mad world that’s unfurling
All around us
Hypnotized by the eye
Of the corporate beast
Who feasts on our meat
And pickpockets our souls
No. I’m through.
Things don’t feel like
They used to feel
The fuzzed up line
Between fiction and real
Has got us twisted
In some unreal reality
All the while technology
Messes up our psychology
For made-up maladies
Manufactured by the pharmaceutical
Companies owned and
controlled by this so-called
Society we call democracy
It’s a fucking travesty.
Not me. I’m through.
It’s due time we
Let loose of the line
Cut the tie
That binds our minds
And blinds our eyes
Make us a society
That’s yours and mine
Say enough is too much
Kick this crippling crutch
And touch reality
Taste it and see it
And really feel it
Be all up in it
Seeking and finding
Colliding the new world
We got duped into buying
With the old world
We thought was dying
And was long lost
All we need to do
Is say we’re through.
Yes, we are! (Thanks for these encouraging words from our Chief Ed.) – mh clay