Love Knows Your Name

Love knows your name

You wear it on your sleeve

Like a pin or bumper sticker

Signifying

What you can conceive

Imbued with

All you believe

Gene G. McLaughlin 2014

Love Is What We Say It Is

Money is what we say it is

Paper or power or both

Life’s meaning is what we say it is

Winter’s stagnation or spring’s green growth

God is what we say it is

The center or nature or the all

The season is what we say it is

The heat of summer or cool colors of fall

Love is what we say it is

Passion or desire or hope that binds

Struggle is what we way it is

Something to overcome or accept in our minds

Rebirth is what we say it is

A continuation or the world born anew

The new year is what we say it is

May it ruminate quietly or speak in volumes through you

Gene G. McLaughlin 2013

Two Thousand Thirteen

Two thousand thirteen

Passed like a fever dream

This year containing

Love loss joy and rage

View time as a guideline

Not a cage

Gene G. Mclaughlin 2013

He Had Never Seen the Storm

The Eyes of the Buddha

When emaciation had taken its toll

His eyes were sunken in, closed, and hollow

The life slipping from them slowly

Understanding was no closer

All that was left for him was the end

The final stages of the suffering that haunted him

The hunger that held tight to him in these final moments

The desire and want and need

All would be gone soon

Nothing was left to take

Nothing was left to give

The last step was the loss of what he saw before him

The blood slowly coursed through him

He opened his eyes

The tree and air and grass and sun all were in front of him

This was the moment

Maybe this had always been the moment

Maybe this would always be the moment

There was color in the world

There was a color in all things

There was the dark red of his blood

There was the brown bark of the tree

There was the green of the grass

There was the golden yellow of the sun

There was the white swirling wind of the storm of existence

Lingering and circling in the air around all of it

There were his eyes

Through which his slowly diminishing life force met the storm

He faced the end

He saw the storm was not actually white

The storm was all colors

The storm was everything at once

The storm was always there

He had never seen the storm

Gene G. McLaughlin 2013

Live Your Life In Light – A Secular Prayer

Live your life in light

The shadows should only

Be occupied of your own choosing

Live your life in love

The limits should only

Be applied of your own decisions

Live your life with imperfections

Their existence only

Acknowledged by your own determinations

You were sanctified by evolution

You were sanctified from the start

You were sanctified by no ones decision

You are sanctified in whole or in part

Live your life in light

Live your life in love

Gene G. McLaughlin 2013

Within

Sometimes

I think ahead

Or dwell

In the past

Only in the now

Can I hear

The quiet hum

The nameless song

The beloved echo

Within

Gene G. McLaughlin 2013

Open Heartedness

Open heartedness

A trickling stream

Obscured by fog

Difficult to view

Slowly opening

Into a river

Burning like

The will of love

Gene G. McLaughlin 2013

22 Years

I.

When my father was my age

He had 22 more years left

He looked at the future

As an endless array of choices

Without death as an option

It was though

For good or bad

It always is

It is the boundary of

One’s vessel

Not it’s ripples

Across the inward ocean

It is hard me to view all of this

As an infinite journey as he did

Knowing what I know

Yet I will fight to view it so

To shrug off the knowledge of

Where the path to the ocean

Meets the water

Making 22 years into

A trans infinite journey

There is an eternity between moments

Endless ripples between the ripples

The ocean is never still

Even when there is no motion

Looking out from the shore

At the path’s end

II.

Sometimes there is a feeling of nostalgia

Even in the moment

It is an eerie flicker

Where you are looking back fondly

At what is happening in the present

There is no substance in the nostalgia of the now

There is only the ringing echo of actions as they happen

It is not the ripples of the action

It is the sound of what occurred

The feeling of the moment

Humming as it passes

The old and the new

Cauterizing at one particular point

Neurons dying

It always haunted me

Not from sadness, but from the dull ache of pain

The instant nostalgia of the now

It hurts from hunger

The desire to horde

The moment

The experience

To take something from the moment

That can not be taken

Because it is not mobile

The pain of attempting

Is tangible

What is created in the mind

Pales in comparison

It is the word that represents love

Not love itself

I was trying to win

To make a game of experience

To keep a score of consciousness

As if it were Monopoly or Risk

The ache it created

Persisted even as joy occurred

Over 22 years

III.

The past 22 years

Are recorded

As scraps of

Ancient paper

In the zipped pocket

Of an old leather bag

Receipts

Itineraries

Detroit

Dallas

Denver

A life once lived

Depicting only details

Of places and times

Flavorless

Yet true in a way

Having been there

The fading papers

Create a distance

That doesn’t occur

In my mind

Signaling and

Pushing me into the present

I shake my head awakening

And step out into the current timeline

Once again

IV.

I did not know I loved myself

Until I stopped in the moment

It is hard to exist

Without ghosts

Echoes

Memories of TV episodes

Passages of books

Lies you told long ago loves

Truth’s you put in drawers on slips of paper

The moment is always there

Throughout time

It does not hide from you

You can step into it

I do not always love myself in the moment

It is not permitted

Or perhaps not possible

There is no grand revelation at the end

Just one purposeful breath after another

No nostalgia

Just survival

Not 22 years

Just today

Gene G. McLaughlin 2013

365 Playlists

Every day she used to go running.  It was never his thing, but she loved it and said it centered her.  He hadn’t paid much attention to the routine.  It all took place before he got out of bed each morning.  Each night she would head to bed and put her things out for her morning run.  Her shoes.  Her socks.  Her running shorts and the other clothes of the ensemble.  A hair tie.  Her earbuds.  Next to it she would sit her phone and charge it.  When he would go to bed he would see them sitting on the flat top of the chest before sleep.  It was difficult for him to sleep in the bed now.  He would try sometimes, but the emptiness of it when he entered the room was often too much.  The quiet of the room sounded like loss to him.  There was no sound of her breath and no rustle under the sheets as he got into bed.  Just quiet.

In the months after she died he had noticed the things she did and he never knew she did.  Cleaning spots of the toilet he didn’t know existed.  Buying spices he knew nothing of, but missed every time he made tomato sauce.  Paying bills that would come to services that were her domain.  As time went by the things that were missed became less.  He would check her email and get things in the mail occasionally, but eventually it was quiet.  It bothered him to have those things dwindle to an extent, but he knew that the ripples of her actions were fading from the world.  This was the way of things.  She would not be forgotten, but her movement was no more.  The kinetic of it was over.

One day he checked her email and received a notification that the credit card used for her Spotify subscription was expiring.  He had no idea what Spotify was, but he followed the link in the email.  A music subscription service.  He downloaded the application to look it at it and signed in under the password she always used for anything of this type.

He looked at the service.  Music of all types available to stream or download.  The profile was tied into her Facebook account and her sunny photo was there on display.  He smiled and felt the familiar taste of sadness and joy at seeing her alive with a digital glow.  It wasn’t something he had faced with the death of his father.  He had no digital version of his own to remain out there.  She was a women of the modern age though.

He clicked around a bit and noticed the section for playlists.  He clicked.  There were 365 playlists.  One for each day of the year and her morning runs.  He had a thought that seemed to be both corny and necessary.

The next day he got up early and listened to the playlist for that day and attempted to run.  He didn’t make it far, but he walked a bit.  The next day he did the same thing. It became a routine for him.  When he listened to the playlists he tried to read meaning into them or trace them back to things he knew.  He created narratives around some days and some days just seemed seasonal.  He had no idea of if Journey in April on the playlist mean what he attributed to it.  His mind drifted over thoughts of her and what she had done during these times and what had caused these songs on the playlist.  It entertained and intrigued his mind.

Eventually one day he sat outside bench outside his home after his run.  He was drenched with sweat and his mind was ruminating on what the playlist he listened to meant.  He was thirsty and arose and walked into his house and and into the kitchen.  He opened the cabinet for a clean glass and filled it with water.  He opened up the drawer he kept his keys in and went to put them in.  He noticed a small piece of paper sticking out of the back and picked it up.  It was an old picture of him and her.  He looked at it and memories of her came flooding back.  He realized he hadn’t thought about her in months.  Not really.  He had been creating someone else in his mind through these playlists all this time.  The playlists were a codex, a mystery, but most importantly not a person.  They were collections of songs.  That was all.  What he had been doing was a daydream to entertain.  Nothing more nothing less.  The person who he loved and shared his bed and life with was gone. He was building a MP3 version of her.  He decided he would keep up the running, but create his own playlist tomorrow.  He had the real her once.  Nothing else would do.

Gene G. McLaughlin 2013

Know You Were Loved

This all happened

Despite our best attempts

The world closed in around us

The world became too big for us

Both at the same time

Intention was not part of this

It was just the flow of existence

Know you were loved

Do you believe us absent?

This is not the truth

We are still here

We just can’t navigate

With the ease or the agility

That we once could

Know you were loved

We do not keep secrets

Even if it seems that we might

We are silent on subjects

Because we know nothing of them

We would share all we had

If we had the information

We have the inclination

Know you were loved

There is little among our possessions

We would not let you take from us

We do not hold them dear

Those things are plastic and paper

If we hold them close

It is because they remind us of you

Or some other memory of you

Close to our hearts

Know you were loved

You were loved in the first thought

You were loved in the creation

You were loved in all the moments

You were loved in all our breaths

You were loved in all our failures

You were loved in our sometimes successes

You were loved in our last thoughts

Until the very end of us

Know you were loved

Gene G. McLaughlin 2013