Annie & Riley

He was sitting under a tree
with a journal on his knee
and writing another line
Up walked Annie Jean
with hair so fine and clean
to talk with him under that Georgia pine

She said, “Hi, I’m Annie Jean
You know my friend Kathleen
We all are in the same English class”
He said, “Hi, I’m Riley”
then he looked down shyly
as he pulled out a couple blades of grass

He was awkward around the young ladies
She asked him if he had plans for Sadie’s
He looked at her and asked “What’s that?”
“It’s a dance, silly” she responded
On his “OK, I’ll go with you,” they bonded
Then walked up his closest friend Matt

Riley gave Annie the number to his cell
They exchanged emails as well
She said she’d call him later on that night
As she got up and said her goodbye
Matt asked Riley if he was high
To Matt, it didn’t see quite right

Annie & Riley went to Sadie’s and Prom
Their relationship was very calm
but it changed as some eventually do
Annie was driving late that summer eve
The other car, it didn’t weave
And Annie’s life was through

Riley graduated the following year
and couldn’t choose school or a career
So he ended up working on a farm
At night he’d go to a cafe’
and he’d stay late writing away
He just didn’t want to do anyone harm

Riley still goes back to that Georgia pine
every year with a nice bottle of wine
and thinks about what could have been
He ponders on the plans they made
that afternoon, in the shade
and the fountain’s reflection shining on her skin.

2009

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I’m Inside of You

When you wonder if you’ll make it through
When you ponder the reasons why
When you discover a fault of yours
When you are barely getting by

When you see what lies ahead on your path
and you’re not sure what you’ll do
At every single depressing time in your life
know that I’m inside of you

Waiting to be uncovered
Waiting with bated breath
I’m inside of you forever
Even beyond your death
Hand it all over to me
All your worries and fear
Dig deep within
That’s where I’ve been
Ready to make
those things disappear

When all the pain you felt has gone away
You will doubt me and it will return
but I’ll be there to destroy your thoughts
and soon enough you will indeed learn

Whatever you do and wherever you go
I’ll remain even when you think it’s untrue
It’s not difficult for you to call for help
Just acknowledge I’m inside of you

Waiting to bring miracles to your soul
Waiting to empower you and make you strong
Even when you think you don’t deserve it at all
Know that what comes from within isn’t wrong

I am your song,
so sing me
I’m in your family
and those you don’t love too
Proof you need is
the love you give them
that is created because
I’m inside of you

Proof you need is
the love you give them
that is created because
I’m inside of you.
I’m inside of you…
I’m inside….

2003, Revised – 2018

Camping with Gramps

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We were born in the city
Didn’t know a Rainbow Trout from a Bass
and we grew up going
to different schools and attending mass

But our parents agreed
to let us spend time in LaPorte
We weren’t at a sleepaway
or some high-class fancy resort

We were with my Dad’s Mom & Dad
They lived in an A-frame cabin alone
Far from the crowds and traffic
They had an old radio and rotary phone

But it wasn’t all that we looked forward to
It was all the adventures we loved to do

While camping with Gramps
We got to learn how to fish in the streams
He’d encourage us to dream big dreams
of catchin’ big ones to gut and cook
We were livin’ life not readin’ a book
While camping with Gramps
We got to know him and his worldview
He taught us everything he knew
He showed us nature and paintings
He told us to value people not just things
Gram taught us Cribbage
and I read her books & liked all her stamps
But what I loved most of all was camping with Gramps

And my older brothers
they outgrew going so I went with cousin Dave
Gramps would tell us
to go out by ourselves on walks and be brave

We’d drink straight from the cold creek
on those scorchin’ summer days
We’d chase butterflies
and appreciate the sneaky bears & bluejays

And we played tennis on a court we helped make
But we always ended up goin’ out towards the lake

While camping with Gramps
We got to learn how to fish in the streams
He’d encourage us to dream big dreams
of catchin’ big ones to gut and cook
We were livin’ life not readin’ a book
While camping with Gramps
We got to know him and his worldview
He taught us everything he knew
He showed us nature instead of paintings
He told us to value people not just things
Sure Gram made us dinner
and I read her books & liked all her stamps
But what I loved most of all was camping with Gramps

What I loved most of all was camping with Gramps.

January 2, 2018

All Kidding Aside (The Mama’s Boy Song)

I’ve always been a jokester
The class clown, The life-coaster
The kid in the back lookin’ out the window

And when I got to High School
I was the scrawny geek in the pool
who was awkward, teased ‘n called a weirdo

The girls liked me but didn’t see me that way
I was a kind of friend they’d talk to all day
I was a mama’s boy who tried so hard to be a man
Lookin’ back I did too much crazy stuff
Once I started drinkin’ I couldn’t get enough
and even tried smokin’ cause it made me look tough
I got addicted to being someone I didn’t wanna be
And all kidding aside, that’s when she met me

She saw my wardrobe – my suits and ties
And much to my chagrin and my surprise
She stuck around, I must have done something right

She doesn’t laugh at all my silly jokes ‘n pranks
But when I do stuff around the house she says thanks
and our safe haven is our master bedroom at night

I don’t wonder why them girls didn’t see me that way
As I listen to what the love of my life wants to say
Guess being a mama’s boy is what she wanted in a man
But I look back on doing all that crazy stuff
All that drinkin’, smokin’, and actin’ tough
All that pretendin’ to be who I wasn’t supposed to be
All I can say is I feel blessed and oh, so free
All kidding aside, this mama’s boy is finally happy.

All kidding aside, this mama’s boy is finally happy.

2017 – New Year’s Eve

KDG

He was his aftershave, he wore Mom’s favorite – Bay Rum
He was his passion, coaching – Great advice, he gave me some
He was his religion, a Catholic through and through
He was his parents who survived the Depression and World War II

He was that one room schoolhouse he went to – Emigrant Gap
He was his favorite San Francisco 49ers baseball cap
He was all three boys of his, that includes yours truly
He was more than a slight improvement to our family tree

He had a smile that brightened even the saddest of days
He made time for me a lot, we’d go on little getaways
He was the only Father I’d ever wanted and had
He liked it when I called him “Pops” or “Dad”

We both were right handers, unlike my Mom & brothers
When he was with me, he wasn’t thinkin’ ‘bout his druthers
Now I look at both my daughters and I hope they’ll see
The Dad I’ve always hoped I could be

He was those cashmere V Neck sweaters he’d wear a lot
He was those aloha shirts he wore when it would get hot
He was the kind of man who was always cookin’ up a plan
and he was a dedicated San Francisco Giants fan

He was that man who many went to for advice or just to talk
His point of view was like the cliffs near the Boardwalk
He was the deck he built with Gramps when I was a child
When he was laughing, I’d laugh, and when he smiled, I smiled

When he was in his bed during his last dying days
I’d look at his eyes, he had a glossy gray gaze
There were stickers with visitors names up on a board
On the last day I saw him, I told him he should run to the Lord

His initials were KDG, his name was Kenneth David Gray
He is a huge reason why I am the man you see today
He taught me about tennis, about how great life can be
I was so glad he was alive to enjoy my family

Now, my daughters, they talk about him, they miss him a lot
For he was our fearless leader and yet he wasn’t a big shot
He was a good man through and through, did the best he could
I am thankful for what he taught me during my childhood

And as I sit here tonight in the front room of our house
I think about the time he introduced my girls to Mickey Mouse
I think about all our good times and memories
He may be gone for good, but he’s guiding me

My Dad, My dear Father, My good friend – Good ol’ KDG.

2017

Inspired by my Father, Kenneth David Gray. I think that says it all.