After writing a few short stories and a few other things in college (none of which I tried to do anything with or are really that good anyway), it was actually poetry that got me back into writing after some time away from it back in the early 2000s. I had seen an ad for some poetry contest and decided to send one in called Divinity, which I had written randomly. It was published in a little collection in mid-2003. It wasn’t anything fancy but seeing my work in print was pretty cool at the time. I actually only bought one copy of the book it was in and signed it and gave it to my mother. I don’t even know where one could find that collection anymore.
I think sometimes and I don’t understand
The belief simply known as God’s divine plan.
The span of eternity already foreseen
Each person a destiny, but what does that mean?
Because I look sometimes and I just don’t see
How divine it is to sleep in the street
Or to feel the pain, anguish and hurt
As a loved one is lowered into the dirt.
I listen sometimes to the cries and the screams
Of the children that suffer and just when it seems
That the pain is over and the agony slain
We lose again, through planning He gains.
Parents and children, this plan includes all
He even steals heroes as trade centers fall.
How far will it go? Does He even exist?
Do prayers really matter? Does the plan ever miss?
What if this plan of so-called divinity
Is the thing that created all of this sin in me?
If you wake up tomorrow, cherish your time
For your turn might be next, isn’t that divine?
The publisher and editor seemed to like it so they asked me to do another one for a “Best of 2003” collection they were putting together. At the time, I was getting ready to move to Florida to live with the woman who would eventually become my wife and the mother of my children (she’s only one of those things now) and was leaving the only home I’d ever known, a town some of you may have heard of called Peoria, Illinois. It was a scary situation but something I needed and wanted to do at the time. So I sent them this and it was published in early 2004. I ended up coming back to Peoria after a few years but this was still something that meant a lot to me back then.
There’s a bend in the road and it comes into sight,
It’s best in the evening when the sky fills with lights.
Twin Towers downtown but not the city you might think,
Down fifteen steps to where I go for a drink.
The neighborhood I grew up in, the playground in the park,
Playing baseball with friends in the street after dark.
The first girl I kissed, a mother’s embrace,
After the worst day of my life, all here in this place.
Where I first learned to love, where I first learned of death,
Where I first learned to drive, where I took my first breath.
Where I’ve lived forever, where I’ve made friends for life,
Where I’ll always come back to, where I met my future wife.
The people, the places, the things that I know,
All left behind because it’s time to go.
I’ll miss everybody-my family and friends,
Time for new beginnings and time for the end.
This is my home but it’s time to move on,
I may be leaving but I’ll never be gone.
Poetry is something I’d like to go back to at some point but just haven’t taken the leap yet. I’ve often thought of using poetry to write a children’s book or two for my kids, so perhaps stay tuned for that in the future.