Saturday, August 27, 2016

You can't own hearts

All my life I've been searching for pebbles.
Some of them pretty,  some of them plain.
I picked them up all the same.

I'd peer at them and ask
"What are you to me?"
They'd tell me nothing that I wanted to be.

So I'd stick them in my pocket,
Or toss them in the sea
None of them meant very much to me.

Until one day a I found one that caught my eye.
I just had to have that pebble.
Or else I would die.

You can't own him and he can't own you.
Love is about giving, love is about truth.
And the only thing you can keep of any man,
Is the sweetness of his love and the touch of his hand.

So I picked it up.
I held it so tight.
This was the stone for which I would fight.

I took that pebble home
Said that it was mine.
Put it on a pedestal that was so very fine.

But I found that pebbles aren't owned.
(Much to my dismay.)
Or possessed or ruled in any other way.

You can't own her and she can't own you.
Love is about giving, love is about truth.
And the only thing you can keep of any woman born,
Is the sweetness of her love and the touch of her hand.

So she kept me In her pocket
And used me in her way.
Until the day I fit no more and she tossed me away.

That tossing created ripples,
giant waves of pain.
I swore that I'd never pick up pretty pebbles again.

But of course I lied
Because I can never look away
From all the many pebbles that come pebbling my way.

Searching for the special ones
that threaten waves of pain.
To see if it hurts when I hold them again.

You can't own hearts and you can't own souls.
Love is about giving, about becoming whole.
And the only thing you can have of any woman or man,
Is the sweetness of their love and the touch of their hand.

I've loved a lot and I've lost even more.
And the only thing I've learned,
Really the only thing I know. Is...

You can't own hearts and you can't own souls.
Love is about giving, about becoming whole.
And the only thing you can have of any woman or man
Is the sweetness of their love and the touch of their hand.

Yes the only thing I've learned, the only thing I know, 
is that you can't own hearts and you can't own souls.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Hammock Dream

In a hammock side by side,
Head to toe, toe to head
Watching you watching me.
Speaking of hopes, dreams, you.

Touching your foot, ankle, calf.
Your soft, sheathed strength beneath my hand.
You ask a question. I smile: "no".
It doesn't matter where we go.

Anniversary

My dad died a year ago yesterday. Thinking it would weigh hardest on my mother, I made plans to spend my day with her...you know, to help her through it. But she was having none of it. She spent her day busy with her normal activities and then when she came home she went to her room, turned out the lights and laid on my father's side of their bed. I went in and spoke with her for a few minutes until she made it clear that it was time for me to leave. She spent her time that evening with her beloved, shedding tears, talking to him, dreaming of them together, waking and remembering. I was not necessary or wanted.

So I went out with a friend. But after that was over and I was driving home I felt the weight of my father's loss pressing on my soul. So I went home, turned out the lights and like my mother, talked to my dad. And later, when I fell asleep I dreamed of both of them with me, laughing.

I don't believe you lose your loved ones when they die - they just move. As one day we will too.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Surprised

I was surprised by beauty again, today.
Though I did not see you,
nor did I feel the press and warmth of your hand.
You are so very far away.

But the beauty in your voice
and the grace of your spirit
surprised me anew.

I'm not sure why you hold my gaze so.
Except that in a life of tumult and travail,
where no one is certain and nothing lasts,
you seem truer, more constant.

You shine brighter,
piercing the darkness with your spirit.
And surprising me again and again.

I am grateful that here and now I
know you and am known by you.
And in the knowing can be surprised.
And in being surprised, find joy.

Known and Knowing

For my friend Megan

It is a strange thing to know a person
and stranger still to be known.

Undressing our fears and faltering hopes.
Admitting weakness and selfish intent.

Stripping away all artifice,
all the perfumed unguents with which
we disguise our souls.

To reach out across the chasms that separate us.
Alone in our mountain redoubts, safely dead.

To touch, to grasp, to cling
For to slip is to fall and in falling we are lost.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

A Clinton Parable

Anna Foster adjusted the photograph of her husband and children and sighed.  As the first woman and first black Chief Counsel for BigCorp, she was used to tricky situations but this was ridiculous.

"So why don't you lay the whole scenario out for me" said, Richard "Rick" Sanchez, her lead outside counsel and Partner with Smith, Jones and Lopez, the white shoe New York firm that handled most of Bigcorp's legal issues.

"Well you remember the Bill Winton case? You know, the guy that was Director of Contracting who was caught sexually harassing and abusing women employees, interns and contractors?"

"Yeah, ugly case. But I though he'd left the company at the end of that year and then was convicted of perjury in connection with one of the civil cases that he got hit with, right?"

"Right. Well this is about his wife, Hillary. She was a Contract Administration Manager underneath him during that time - I don't know why she didn't divorce him, Lord knows I would have."
"Go on", Rick said cautiously.

"Well anyway she was a top performer and the CFO really like her. So when Bill took the package he wanted to elevate her to the top job in contracting. Fortunately we talked him out of it because besides the bad optics, she didn't have the requisite legal training - we've always required the person in that role to be a trained lawyer due to the tricky contract interpretation and negotiations needed."
"Yeah that makes sense, you put that fast track guy Barry wosisname into that role"

Anna nodded "Yeah because Hillary cut a deal with the CFO.  If she would go get her law degree, then when she was done, Barry would go on to some International assignment and she could slide right into the Director slot. Now there was no formal promise but it was understood so long that she did well at school, she'd be top dog.  And crucially it was known publicly."

"So how'd she do?" Rick sighed, absentmindedly flicking imaginary lint off of his knee.
"She did great but it's what she did after school hours that's at issue."
"Whaddya mean 'after school hours'? Did she have a part time job?", Rick leaned forward.

Anna sighed "Well sort of.  You see once she got to Yale some of our largest contracting partners - vendors, customers, distributors started wining and dining her and her husband. And - evidently this was her or Bill's idea - they began inviting one or both of them to their offsite meetings at resorts, providing all expense paid trips for them."
"Hmmm, I don't like where this is going."

"Well it gets worse. They'd go to these events - during the week when Hillary had class, Bill would go - and they would be asked to give a few remarks to the 'troops' of these companies about 'contracting'. And here's the kicker: they were paid between $2,500 and $3,500 dollars "Honorarium" for their talk.
"Wow, five to seven grand an hour? I'm going to have to raise my rates." Sanchez exclaimed. "So of course you didn't rehire her, did you?"

Anna got out of her chair and walked over to the window, she turned and said "we did rehire her. As a matter of fact she's now our new Director of Contracting"
"Where did Barry go?"
"He's doing some make work thing over in the Golf Products division, you know these fast trackers".
"Don't I though.  So you're telling me that the CFO rehired her and put her in the Director's job even after all of the payments and luxury vacations companies gave her?  How much money are we talking about here?"
"At least $400 grand and possibly much more and that doesn't include the freebies".
"Holy cow!!" The woman who took upwards of a million dollars in payments and vacations from.....how many companies took her up on this?"
"Well over a hundred - all of them major hundred million dollar and above contracting parties with BigCorp.  Every single company with a billion dollar annual relationship had her speak, some of them two or three times."
"What did she say to them"
Anna's brow wrinkled:  "She won't say, she says they are private meetings and are none of our business". But it gets even worse."
"How could that be possible?"
"You remember Bill, her husband and first Bigcorp executive ever convicted of a felony for actions he took while in office?" 
"Yeah"
"well she's 'hired' Bill as her co-Director.  We're not paying him of course and we don't want him in the building for obvious reasons but she has him travelling to all the major contracting players - you know the ones that bribed them - doing what she's calling 'partner outreach and relations'."
"You mean shaking them down for more?" Rick questioned with a shocked look.
"No, not likely. That would be illegal rather than just incredibly sleazy, I think what he's doing is gathering requested favors that they owe these companies for the consideration they've already received." "But I can't prove that", she added.
"OH. MY. GOD what a mess" 
"Your'e telling me, I'm thinking of resigning in protest" Anna said quietly.
"What? give up the job you've worked your whole life to achieve?"
"Yeah. But I achieved everything I've got by playing by the rules and if BigCorp is going to be run by people like this I don't want to be a part of it. Because it's inevitable that an organization that would knowingly tolerate this kind of corruption has got to be riddled with many other criminal activities. 
I've gotten wind of some but I don't have the resources or the political position to hold all of these......these...Gangsters accountable. I hope I can count on you as a reference?"
"Sure, although after I tell our managing committee about this, my job may be on the line because there's no way we can afford to do work for such a corrupt institution."
"I understand completely"

After what seemed like an eternity of silence Rick stood up and said brightly: "Well" I think I'm going to go get drunk, care to join me?"
"No I'll stay here. Happy drunking."

Anna sat back down in her chair and toyed with her family's pictures again. She had given her life to Bigcorp and now it was all turning into a corrupt lie. She brushed away tears and taking a deep breath called out to her EA to come in to review her resignation letter.