Bend Your Knees!

Do you wonder how I feel?

I want to curl up in a ball.

Go to sleep and never wake up,

Except I don’t live in a vacuum.

There are family and friends,

My wife, of course,

At the top of the list.

If I left the state of things

Would be grim, full of sin,

And everything.

You look so thin!

You look so nothing,

So drab, so flat.

You look like you’re losing

All your fat!

You are mine and I am yours.

Made for each other

In heaven, by George.

We’ll go out together

Or maybe you first.

That’s the way you want it,

On earth.

I don’t know what I’d do

With myself.

Wrestle dust balls from the shelf.

There’s much to look forward to

In this life.

But I can’t remember

Any but strife.

There’s much to hope for,

Much to dream,

But all I want to do

Is scream.

We’ll make it.

Don’t you worry.

There’ll be lots of fun and flurry.

We will gather all around.

We won’t stop for any sound.

Come with me to the holy gate.

Promise I won’t be irate.

We’ll enjoy your company.

We’ll be sure to bend our knees,

Jumping off the side of the boat,

In the castle’s shallow moat.


Making Peace

Miles of smiles cramp my style.

I sing because I’m drunk, I say.

Nothing to worry about.

The same old message, coming clean.

The same old, same old everything.

Can you tell I’d rather be there?

Can you see the when and the where?

I care about her much,

All her loved ones and such.

I am just not in synch.

I’m trailing badly. That’s what I think.

If you’ve got a bit of luck,

You can help me get unstuck.

If you think that there is hope

I’ll be gliding down a slope.

I will trust the good God’s keeping.

You won’t catch me if I’m weeping.

I’ll make sure there is a gift.

It’s such a thrill. My face will lift.

We’ll provide a settlement.

Would you like a candy spearmint?


Happy knowledge spins a carriage.

Pumpkin cheeks smile upon you.

Loving words and soothing touches

Caress the soft skin and feed if hungry.

Watch him grow he’s getting so big!

Nothing but a joy to live.

Rocking chair gets lots of use.

Writing poems for your new muse.

Happy, yes, happy, yes, happy.

So True

Moving towards you, in a roundabout

Sort of way. I feel the weight of my fear.

No, Mom and Dad didn’t tell me how to

Speak confidently, converse about things

Like interests and hobbies, to discuss the

Issues of the day. So, what is important

To you? I want to know, so true.

Summertime (ch. 3)

A garden shed
Image via Wikipedia

Stephen was glad that it was summertime.  Although he was smart enough for his classes, he always wanted to do things differently
than his teachers told him to do, so his grades were pretty low.  Also, sometimes the music in his head would distract him to the point that he couldn’t concentrate on anything.  When the music started, his mind was enraptured, totally held captive.  It was like a physical journey that took exertion and stamina.  But Stephen was not in control, he just had
to keep up.  Otherwise, he was dragged along in utter confusion.  If he paid attention to it, it led him to some interesting places.  And he got some of his best ideas after listening to the music.  He had talent,
it just didn’t fit in with the syllabus, or even the curriculum.


After mowing the lawn, Stephen decided to take a ride on his bike.  His dad made sure he always kept his bike in the shed in the back yard so it wouldn’t be as tempting to be stolen.  So, Stephen headed out the back door and into the back yard.  Luckily, his dad didn’t keep the shed locked, so Stephen opened the door without any trouble.  But then came the trick, because that shed was stuffed so full of “junk”, mostly woodworking tools and materials, that getting to Stephen’s bike hanging on the wall was always an effort.  Stephen had one thing in his favor, he was very tall for his age of fourteen.  With a little stretching and bending, he grabbed his bike and pulled it up and over all the junk.  Then he was on his way out of the shed, across the back yard, and through the gate.  All he had to do then was cross the front
yard.  He approached the street while looking both ways, hopped on his bike, and took off down the edge of the street as fast as he could.

Wild Solutions (ch. 2)

Second family of solutions for the concentric ...
Image via Wikipedia

Stephen felt his feet getting a bit too hot and realized he had been walking a long time.  His turn toward painful memories had given him an even worse headache, and he decided to head back home. When he walked up the path to his door, his mother met him there and made a

crinched-up face before whining, “I told you yesterday that you were to mow the lawn today, and it’s getting hotter by the minute!” Stephen

wasn’t worried. Little things like this he could take in stride.  He said calmly”No problem, Mom, I’ll get right on it. I just need to change clothes.” His mom was satisfied and Stephen headed inside and down the hall to his room.

”My room,” Stephen thought, “the one place I can be myself.” Stephen looked up above his meager bed to what was tacked up on the wall above it: Plans. Plans to solve some pretty heady problems.

but it wasn’t just the problems. It was the solutions, the wild solutions!

Family Friction

Picture of graves decorated with flags at Arli...
Image via Wikipedia

Two of a kind,

One that used to be,

And one that is now.

Time in a flip,

The old are young,

And the young are mature.


Then, darkness falls.

A deep depression and

A bit of dementia.


I tried to barricade

Myself in a room

In your house,

But it was your room,

Your house.


I had become an outsider.

We had grown apart.

The jolly trickster that

Was my grandfather

Had become an unhappy

Old man.

And I had hit a wall,

Fallen into a deep pit.


We butted heads

Until we made it home.

To the end, you were true.

And I would not appreciate

Your love and loyalty

For many years, long

Past your time to die.


As I sat in the car,

Listening to the 21-gun

Salute, I remembered

The stories you used to

Tell me about the war.


And I realized that time

Had taken its toll on a

Wonderful man, a man

That provided for a wife

And family and then

For another generation of

Five grandsons, all of whom

Adored you.


I know that despite

Our differences, you look

Down on me from

Heaven…and smile.

Rewind and Undo

Divorce symbol in genogram
Image via Wikipedia

In my head I paint a picture

Of some day walking free.

All my hang-ups and delusions

Laying in a pile behind me.


In my head I paint a picture

Of no more medication.

No more need to medicate

No more side-effects.


In my head I paint a picture

Of family bonds and closeness

No more driving forever to get there.

No more procrastinating that phone call.


In my head I paint a picture

Of what my family might have been

Had love and understanding been the rule

Instead of fear and loathing.


In my head I paint a picture

Of foolish decisions unmade.

Broken relationships mended.

Hurtful words unsaid.


In my head I paint a picture

Of all the things that I regret

Somehow never happening

And I can sleep better after that.




Carry on Tuesday #115

Sometimes I Freak, Part III

Sometimes I freak when I go to church. When you step into a church somehow you feel like you should be on your best behavior. That’s not really a Godly feeling or sentiment, since I believe that God accepts us exactly as we are, wherever we are, but that is how I was raised. In fact, growing up, my mother was ruthless in spurring me and my brother to get ready and stop goofing around on Sunday morning. What was important was looking good by being on time, behaving well, answering questions intelligently and in a spiritual way—basically, putting on a front. Lord knows my family was falling apart at the seams in every way, with my grandmother passing away, my parents’ separation and eventual divorce, and my mother’s undiagnosed mental illness. All was not well in the Bowman household. And those feelings come back to me today as I step through the doors of a church, any church, even one as positive, inclusive and accepting as mine. I wonder what deviant thoughts people suspect me of (well, actually, I am quite the skeptic), what deviant acts I am guilty of that separate me from other Christians and from God, what rebellion I am in that alienates me from the same. Going to church is something I want to do, but at the same time, I do struggle with these things every time, and it compromises my experience on the whole.

Sometimes I freak when I try to pray. Yes, God and I are not on the best of terms—haven’t been for a long time. In fact, except for when I pray with others—my wife at the dinner table and the occasional attempt at a weekly prayer partnership, my male prayer partner, something I initiated this year as an attempt to get closer to God because of my lack of an intimate relationship, and the occasional prayer with my Sunday School class and with the congregation in the sanctuary—I am not on speaking terms with God. I know after that enumeration of instances it doesn’t sound bad, but I guess I am a perfectionist, and I realize how far I am from any kind of daily routine which would bring me into any kind of genuine intimacy with God. Being alone with God is a frightening experience for me. Feelings of emotional and physical abuse from childhood along with visions of an angry Yahweh of the Old Testament conjure a being to be faced that is not the loving, caring Jesus that spoke to the disciples in the upper room that fateful night and told them that when we see him we have seen the Father, because he and the Father are one. When it’s just me and God (and I have to admit it is always the vengeful Father that I envision in my mind, not the gentle Jesus), I just freeze up. Gone are the soothing thoughts of “come to me ye who are weary, for my yoke is easy and my burden is light”. Instead it is a booming God that stares down at me and demands to know every sin I have committed and has come to punish me for them in some crazy sadistic way that makes me cringe and from which I yearn to escape. Not a great relationship, obviously.

Sometimes I freak when I open the Bible. I’ll admit, it’s intimidating. Yes, there is a lot of wisdom there. Yes, I believe it is divinely inspired. Yes, I believe there is potential for healing, instruction, direction, inspiration, grace, forgiveness—all that. But you know what else there is? God. He is there, waiting, behind those words. For what? I don’t know. But the potential scares me. I have read the entire Bible many times over, and if there is one thing I know for sure, there is power behind those words. And the thought of being overpowered, perhaps in a scary way, is what keeps me from those words. I have been overpowered, many times, in absolute terror, and I have run from figures of authority, figures who were supposed to be trustworthy caretakers, symbols of love and support, that have turned on me like a viper lunging for its prey. Is God like that? My intellect tells me no, but my heart, and my body, are not so sure. After all, if humans, blood, family, can be tyrannical, how much more can God? And there is something else—God is all powerful. Do I want to surrender myself to an all powerful tyrant? Do I want his thoughts to be my thoughts? No, not by a long shot.

Sometimes I Freak, Part II

Sometimes I freak when I walk into a room because I know I will be in that room for the next 8 hours and be faced with tasks with impossible deadlines and impossible expectations for how those tasks are to be done. Yes, I’m talking about my job. I am an indexer and an administrative assistant. Well, I can handle the latter easier than I can handle the former sometimes. As an indexer, I create complex reference material for legal material that is published by my company. The only problem is that most of the time either the job comes to me already late or, if it is on time, it still must be done yesterday because we don’t have enough people in our indexing department to handle all the work that comes from two or three times as many editors and is proofread by twice as many proofreaders. Yeah, we indexers are the red-headed step-children of the Supplement Department. And as far as the administrative assistant duties, well those have to be kept to the minimum, despite my boss’s duties which are enough for three or four people, her being the Indexing Supervisor, Deputy Director of the Supplement Department, and serving practically full-time as a regular indexer, just to keep our inventory moving for those impossible deadlines. And let’s not forget the impossible expectations. No mistakes. This, despite jobs that come to us full of mistakes and in styles that vary almost as much as the thousands of customers we have. It’s fun stuff, really.

Sometimes I freak when I go to a party. “Why?” you ask. “Parties are fun!” Well, they are partly fun for me, but it is very inwardly forced. First of all, remember that I am an introvert. Second of all, did I mention that I am bipolar? Well, if I’m in a good mood and manic, it’s cool. I can move with the masses. But if I’m depressed, anxious, or in a mixed episode of manic-depression, meaning I’m depressed, excitable, anxious, sad with racing thoughts and intense energy—not a good recipe for party-going. And I really can’t control how I’m going to be. I don’t like crowds, and I don’t like pretending to be happy when I’m not, which is exactly what people expect of you at parties. Otherwise, you get lots of questions like “Are you okay?” and “What’s wrong with you?” More fun stuff, I assure you.

Sometimes I freak when I visit family. And this goes for blood-relatives just as much or more than in-laws. Visiting family is really a mixed bag for me because I live pretty far away from my blood-relatives so I have to use annual leave, and either have to drive a long distance (from North Florida to South Florida) or fly on a plane (San Rafael, California for my aunt, uncle and grandmother or Rochester, New York for my brother and his family). So I’m taking a vacation to see people I want to see because they are my family, but who I don’t want to see because they are my family. Wouldn’t it be fun to take a cruise, just my wife and I? Or travel to the Grand Canyon or something by ourselves? The last three big vacations I took were all with family: San Rafael, Davie (for my dad) and Miami (for my mom), and then a while back there was the big trip to Disney World with my wife’s whole family. In between, I did go to New Orleans for the Jazz and Heritage Festival which was headed by Pearl Jam (I’m a big fan), but there was the fact that we stayed with my friend’s family and spent some time visiting other family members—always got to be some family in there. That was okay, of course, because my friend is like family to me, and her whole family is so gracious and welcoming that you feel like one of their family, but then again…they are family. There just seems to be no escaping it.

(To be continued…)