Archive for April, 2012

She often looked away to another place, stretching her wings with a faraway look on her ivory face. Somewhere a faint voice called to her from a distant place that was drawing her nearer. I feared I’d awake one morning to find she was gone, so I cherished the moments we had left to share.
After she really had gone, I hoped I could accept and learn to understand.
Then the beckoning voice grew stronger and clearer. Soon would be the time she’d fly from here, for there was a tug at her heart she had to be nearer.
I remember the day, sunny and fair. The last there was for us there was to be…a warm day in January…
I held her close to let her know I loved her still. We sighed one last time and shared a glance in each other’s eyes. Then she whispered a message for me to share…the last three spoken truly were, “I love you…”
Then she raised her heart toward the clear blue sky. There was a tear in my eyes for I knew it was time we said, for now…Goodbye.
It was the hardest thing I’ll ever have to do—to raise my arms toward skies so blue, and feel that heart beating in my clutching hands. Maybe she felt me tremble at that moment when I realized I was to be left with only memories of the dearest soul I’ve ever known.
Then all the magic between us rushed through her fingers and mine…those fingers I wished I might always hold.
All in one instant, the last her hand was touching mine; there became fingers and soft feathers intertwined. I hesitated, and then loosened my grip—and my dove was but a flutter, an angel in flight…high above me soaring from sight. We both felt a tug at our heart strings as she left me there earthbound and faded from sight.
Some days I’m reminded of that fateful moment so long ago. And I want my soaring friend to know; I’ll be here as she left me; with a full heart, yet empty handed…with open arms.

I love you Momma, Matthew Lyle

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About me…

I am the kind of man who looks into your eyes, hears the melody of your voice, sees the curve of your back…and immediately I feel poetry.

If I ask how you are doing, I want to know, really.

I cry for my fellow man, for what he knows, what he doesn’t know. And for what he will learn. I cry for the winners, for the fleeing moment. For the forgotten there in plain sight.

I feel for the hungry, the lonely, and the over confident…for they too will soon be hungry for company, and loneliness will follow.

I pray for my enemies, for their lack of compassion, for the misery that consumes them. I pray for those I have hurt…for the souls who have hurt me. If karma does follow, I am being devastated already, and I feel the pain that will soon envelope them. I pray for compassion to replace their all consuming passion.

I care. I see the world through different eyes perhaps, and am so grateful for my perspective, and the words that soon follow. I am jaded some, yet still genuine.

If you want to know the truth, come to me…I will give it to you, and I will try to make it a kind truth.

Happy holidays, but just so you know…there are 10 other months that people need to be cared about too…and every day between every event, celebration, and holiday…You take care of the ones in red on the calendar…I will be there for all the days in between…With love in my heart…Matty

PS…I miss you Mom


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I’ve combined my thoughts from yesterday together for you on this Veteran’s day, 2010

You may have noticed I have been paying tribute and giving thanks to Veterans and current members of the military all day. You can go to my profile and see them all there.

Don’t forget to pray, and say thanks every chance you get folks…

If you choose to learn a language, or join a friend at their church next weekend, remember this: That you choose to learn German, Japanese, Italian, Russian or any other tongue. If you want to worship Buddha, the Koran, the Bible, Jesus, Jehovah, Satan, or nothing at all…remember, the only reason you have such choices, is because of young volunteers (and former draftees) in the military defending those rights.

Last Christmas, I traveled to the house of a friend and her son Austin. This spring when he graduated high school, Austin left for Marine Boot Camp. He is currently training in Twenty Nine Palms, California. I never looked on this young guy as a potential hero when he was 10 years old and playing paintball. But in light of becoming a Marine in the midst of two current wars, I can only look on in awe and say thanks. Thank you Austin.

Because I served only vicariously, (as a friend and writer many who did serve have shared with me their experiences)…When I lay down at night, I will recall their generosity, but I will share no common dreams with them. My four older brothers all served in the army while I was in high school and told me they had, so I didn’t have to.  Today, and all days I have a lot of veterans and active members to thank.

I am good friends with an elderly Chaplain who was a tail gunner on a B24 bomber for 30 bombing missions over Germany in WWII. I am also friends with an 80 something year old veteran of WWII who was in the German army as a 15 year old. He believed in the cause, until he found out it was unjust and un-winnable. His friendship is as true as the other. Good men in a bad moment.

I love them both. Both taught me about forgiveness. Both taught me about the horrors of war. Both taught me to not forget. But mostly, they both helped me to heal the angers and fears I was brought up with…They need to meet, and one day shall…where there are no judgments to endure…and they will embrace, and find other; better things to talk about. That is what they taught me…

If you have a memory that haunts you from time to time, a moment that wakes you in a cold sweat from a life event…stop and think about our veterans and current members of our military that have years of such horror to live with and carry around for the rest of their existence. And know too they can only truly relate to those others who went through it with them, and that many of them were lost in the midst of it all.

When you’re on your boat, burning all that gas and just soakin up the suds and sun, remember there are and have been military folks at sea for months on end, being tossed by relentless wave and wind. They have superiority of the ocean and air, but at a huge risk to life and craft. Their days are nearly without end, smiles from loved ones are but memories…All so you can spend carefree days in the sun…

If there is warm sand between your toes, and you’re enjoying it…keep in mind there is a member of our military, man or woman, in the heat of a desert far from home with combat boots in hot sand, with hot rounds coming and going all around ’em. They are not having fun, nor are they aware of your bliss…but still they continue to do what they do, so yours is safe and without fear…

Matthew Landsman…Your humble scribe… Thursday, 11 November 2010armyboots

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I’m gonna step out neath those dreary grey skies. Look up to the heavens even if rain gets in my eyes. I’ll let the rain mix with my heartfelt tears. I’m gonna ask for a way to comprehend, pray for a break, some serenity. I’m going to beg for this endless night to come to a peaceful end.

There’ve been hails of bullets, preceded by packs of lies. Even some of the folks that are supposed to be reporting “The News” are twisting the truth, when they aren’t fabricating out and out lies.

I’m not a baby or even naïve, I just can’t quite figure out what I should toss aside, or embrace and believe. I’m even confused should I pray to God, or be politically correct and instead put out “positive energies”?

The devil’s on the loose in some weak minded soul’s trigger fingers, stealing the traces of serenity and decent sleep that are left to me. We gotta look to each other for a place to lean, for warmth and support while our souls are left reeling and reaching. I’ll reach for you…and you for me.

I can’t help but think of the moments after 9-11 began to unfold, when I knew no strangers and welcomed anyone seeking a shoulder to cry into…any pleading hand to hold.

Friends, I am tired. I’m afraid and angry, and I too feel your pain. But my faith won’t fail…it might wobble and bend under the strain…I am not made of sugar and won’t melt in the rain…

I’m headed for a mountain top, so my voice is closer to the heavens and will be heard when I cry. I hope to see you there next to me in a show of unity and collective strength. This is no time to hide from the wind, to turn away from your fellow man…I have enough faith to sustain a few of you, but lend me some of yours whenever you can.

Remember, the minutes of sunlight are getting longer day by day, and if we let God see us coming together in the hours between dawn and dusk, perhaps he’ll protect us during the darkness and approaching light. Come together folks…Our collective hope, faith, and love will prevail…

Matthew Landsman 01/08/2011


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There are only memories, where a garden used to grow. Some days I think she’d like to plant a flower here, a snow pea there. Mostly she just rests and remembers…but her memory isn’t always clear.
The rows she sowed still remember her, the touch of her fingers, and the feel of her hands. But the recollections of springs of the past are fading fast.
You will do well to find the roses you hung to dry long ago. The connecting again with some memories will one day be all that’s left to know.
And though the fields have gone to weeds, long ago forgotten the touch of tilling, the water, and the seeds…There is the scent of green, of life of love. It lives on in you…you are the flowers now…grow proud and tall…
by Matthew Landsman

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Come Midnight…

Come midnight…the chill will descend from the North and the West, bringing frost to the pane and spent leaves beyond my porch.  Come midnight, there will be a breeze come visit to usher away the tired memories…to waltz off with the fickle lady who left me to weep with the tattered resolutions I tried to honor and romance starting at another midnight of a tired year ago. The lady called Eve, who visits but once a year, who urges me to raise a glass, to toss away the last three hundred sixty four, and sweep them aside out a seldom used door.

I will do so with a small reservation, a tug at my heart…and a quiet knowing smile…cause she was a sweet year, a collection of smiles and sighs…of both kinds. She gave me new reasons to laugh and to cry, friends to embrace…some to bid adieu for the time being, one to eulogize. I added to my collection of dried blossoms, of over-read notes, of songs to remind me of all of those things…and prayers to help me forget.

Come midnight I will have marked twenty four new year’s passing without champagne…perhaps a nod, a hug and a private tear. Come midnight there will have been fifty two, whether I marked them or not…and the knowing too that in two weeks passing, ten years since we said goodbye to Mom.

Come midnight, nothing will change, and at the same time; nothing will be quite the same. I am grateful; I am weary, wiser, and a little worldlier than this time a year ago.

Come midnight, I will remember I forgot to buy a new calendar when the leaves were turning, but none the less a new, but slightly older lady will accompany my plans and signatures. I don’t know whether I’ll make her any promises, but I plan to spend times with her clear eyed and sober, full of good intention and with respect for the times she’s given and will give to me…Come midnight…Please come, midnight…and accompany me.

Happy New Year friends. And hey, God…come midnight and come morning, my friends who fight the good fight as dawn approaches, still need you at their side. Come on midnight…I’m waiting here on you…

Matthew  12/312011


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frosty panes

And should this day extends its hand, I will take it into mine…and hope it leads me where I hadn’t planned…I will forget the winds and cold and headlines…and escape to a memory, a moment I’d misplaced…and the warmth of a friend…Cling to the reassuring sanctuary in the breeze of a familiar song…and forget how winter nights can be so long.
And should a stranger’s smile make my heart skip a beat, and remind me that happy hours are often made up of memorable seconds here and there…I will be grateful and glad to have collected enough of them to make for a happy day…Remember too that this spring’s roses are huddled in slumber neath the snow and spent leaves of fall…
I’m gonna run off with the offerings of this day, and hope you’ll do the same…Matthew

porch snow
Matthew Landsman 01/08/2011

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My response to the cliché …’you can’t live in the past…’
It is my past that taught me about tomorrow. It was my past that gave me failure to turn to future victory. My past that gave me every embrace and smile from my mother, to sustain me through all my tomorrows. My past that nourished me and gave me all my height and every ounce of sinew, that I carried to field of hay, field of play, all the strength to heft tool and toil for long days in both chilled air and heat.
It is my past that brought me all the smiles that I recall as I hope to find new smiles today. My past that urges me when I am shadowed with doubt, and look to the reserve of memory that tells me in fact; I can. Because I have. And I know I will again. It is my past that proves to me, that educated me with lessons hard and harsh, with tough love and subtle reminders.
It is every moment of my past that I am a cumulative result of. My failings taught me to live and learn. My winning moments taught me to be gracious and to always look back. And my losses taught me to be kind when I did win…for the victory isn’t in humiliating and demoralizing others…It isn’t done when I have won. It is done when I have helped the one who tried and fell short, to rise again and learn to enter the arena another day. My past of mixed results has made me a better man.
My past gave me a child, and ushered him away into the world. My past made me a father, and gave me the need to father, even if not my own. The past also took away some fathers from those kids for which I rise up to fill that void. The failings of others are the opportunity for me to rise to the occasion and help give a kid a future. I know this, because I live in the past. Their past…
My past nearly ended me, and drove me to my knees. It saw me torn and broken. The arrogance of youth is soon lost in a sea of humble…an ocean of humiliation. I hold those crevasses of foolishment close to my heart…so I never return to that stretch of road. Those moments are the ones that continue to remind me how fortunate I am to be among the living. I live in the past, so I can continue to live. I got sober in my past, and that moment is revisited often.
Something about my past shines with a recollection; that no matter the darkness of the hour, of glow of jubilant hours, I have always found my faith kept me afloat, reminded me to be grateful. I haven’t always embraced those moments when I probably should have, but the essence has followed me and waited there with open arms, an open mind and heart…healed me, forgiven me, schooled me and loved me without fail. I don’t live in the past, but my past lives on in me.
My past gave me teachings from my parents and the world around me. God followed and accompanied me, even when I lived some days with reckless abandon. No matter how my past has been taken for granted, I never found myself abandoned. I don’t dwell on my past; I let it teach me the moral of the story. And remind me of those things, people, and moments I like to revisit, but not to reside there anymore.
Welcome to my past, I’ll learn what it taught me; tomorrow. MLL

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Nearly summer. We had the first dose of heat in the last couple of days. I see the entire community is in full blossom and pristine new leaves. I see bare feet and bicycles and open windows and doors. I feel the kids anticipating the end of school year and that old restless feeling of springtime and being cooped up inside.
I was reminded of things I miss, people I miss, places I thought I’d forgotten, and songs I couldn’t get enough of…
And suddenly it dawned on me; I want to run through sprinklers again.
I want to wake up a few minutes after dawn, and pull yesterday’s tee shirt over my head. Before anyone else is awake, I want to turn the TV on and have the volume way down low, I want to watch Aquaman, and the Monkees in black and white, all while eating cinnamon toast and a bowl of cereal with farm fresh milk. The kind we got in the glass gallon jar with a few inches of thick cream on the top.
I rarely wore shoes, and could run on cement. Once I learned how to ride a bicycle, I was all over our little town. Tragedy was a flat tire, darkness and still a ways to get home. I was scared of the dark…not like today because I KNOW what is out there, but simply because I didn’t. Dark was dark, and that was all.
I want to go barefoot all day again, over gravel and hot blacktop, and cool grass and through warm mud puddles. I even want to stub my toe the old fashioned way and walk home on my heel and bleed like a nine year old tough guy.

I want to eat my grandma’s apple pie, and have her ask me to go pick out a cucumber and a head of lettuce from the garden in her back yard. And I want her and my Momma to be having coffee together, and wondering if I’m ever going to grow? (I was a pretty small kiddo.)


Back when being 60 was real old, and the guy at the gas station actually came outside, and worked for a living and checked under the hood. And when the pump dial stopped turning, he “topped it off”. I want to marvel at muscle cars again…when they were brand new and only worth $3000…not $50,000.
I want to ride in the way back of our 1966 Chevy Belair station wagon and lay on a blanket…watching the stars out the back windows till I fell asleep before we got home…after a long day at the farm. I want a grandpa again. I want to explore his farm again…and smell the smells, and see dust floating in sunbeams. I want to ride on the back of his tractor and watch him roll a cigarette with one hand. I want to watch my uncles stack hay and feed cattle. I want all the adults to talk for an hour between the back porch and pulling away in the car.
I want to have a day with no plan, no goal, leave the house with sleep in my eyes, flyaway hair, seventeen whole cents and a Hot Wheels dragster in my pocket, a Band-Aid on my stubbed toe (for the first half hour), eat a chic-o-stick for lunch, hang out with my friends from dawn to way after dusk…and I want to run through sprinklers again. Oh how I want to run through sprinklers again.
Matthew Landsman, circa 1965 to 1971


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The cold pillow sets there next to me…the empty spot where she used to lay. The tired yard shoes, worn gloves, and ragged coat she wore to tend to garden and chore…she would leave them next to the washer, just inside that squeaky back door. Her keys hang there on a board with hooks and notes and paintings called tole.
She wasn’t a terrible driver, but she somehow seemed to get lost a lot…and on the way she’d go junkin’, especially Friday morn. I think she wandered and reminisced to songs of old, looking for yard sales and old friends to pass the time away…window shopping and chocolate dropping and being happy with things she had. She looked around and saw the half acre yards that others had to mow and knew she’d get tired of all that after a week or so. She was so much more than what others collect, polish and protect.
She was dry flowers and baby showers and dusty bottles of rainy day wine…clothes she wore when she could fit in them, and clothes she wore when she was happy just being who she was. God’s girl, whether she felt skinny or a little bit more.
She is still here…on the radio station that was hers. And those songs that would bring her cheek to mine on a worn spot there on our living room floor. She is here in the reflections in our coffee cups…I’ll keep hers next to the pot, on a napkin, upside down…just in case she happens around. Here…in the way the lid never quite got settled straight on the container of flour. I miss her baking…as will our children. She lives on in their smiles and mannerisms.
She had a way of sensing another’s tear about to form, and touching a cheek to capture that drop on its way down. She had a prayer in her fingertips, a reassuring song in the quiet look from those kind eyes. She could look out on a cloudy day and remind us all that sunshine through a mantle of green is only possible because of darker days and rains. She was all those things and much more.
But in quiet moments I will remember walking with her, and the sharing of dreams. Knowing which parts of her hurt a little more when the clouds were swelled with rain. How she would tear up a little when she heard a special song, or read something written in her grandma’s hand. I will recall her scent…that little bottle that reminds me of embraces and love that she sprayed just above her heart. Oh how it lingers still on the sweaters and coats she wore. I will keep them hanging there where they belong…and give them an occasional spray to refresh the hugs and love there.
But mostly, I will be grateful for the memory of her breathing there on the pillow next to mine, keeping her vows…making mornings worthwhile. I will recall midnight talks we had quietly after our kids were asleep. And I will feel her watching me sleep…on those nights she came to me late, after time spent pondering, folding clothes, and things she was always did to make ends meet. She was special like that.
And every day when I make the bed up, like she always did…I will fluff her pillow again…and hold it to my nose and breathe in her essence. And when I lay me down to sleep, I’ll look over there at the cold pillow setting next to mine…and I will give thanks and recall all those nights when her pillow was yet warm.
Matthew Landsman 03-2012

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