Thursday, March 15, 2018

Not Broken - A poem

In honor of the fallen miners who died in our nation's mines in 2017. Shared and presented at two recent mine safety conferences. Candles were illuminated throughout the room, one for each of the men who died while just trying to make a living, feed their families and work until retirement.

While I am honored to be asked to do this, I look forward to the day when there are no candles lit and any words of reflection are recited to remember the dead of long ago, not the previous year.

Mining, surprisingly enough, is one of the safest industries in the U.S. Incredible strides have been made, but there is so much more to do. Too many unnecessary deaths.

Not Broken
~ By Tery L. Tyson 

I can feel the cracks, but I’m not broken
Heart aches each time your face comes to me
And your memory is more than a token
Of what I truly want to see,

You were a brother, father, son, and friend
One in a million, they say, “like no other.”
But its our spirit we wish to mend
As we hear “there was another.”

Mechanic, driller, laborer, miner and boss
Makes no difference, you are now gone
While we grieve, and cry at our loss
As we honor your work and life, we are drawn

Together in somber solace to remember
Your work, your life, your life and your LIFE
Means more than a candle as we seek the answer
To end the death, to end the pain; cutting like a knife

So that no more, a family will need to feel
The emptiness in each one of us today
Shared with them knowing in our appeal
There is more to do, more to learn, more to say.

Our purpose is true, right, unwavering and resolute
You will be the last of the remembered but never lost.
This is our charge, our duty, job ONE, no substitute
To keep you, me and others safe, no matter the cost.

Death of a Miner

Presented at a 2017 mine safety conference in honor of American miners who lost their lives working in our nation's mines the previous year.

Death of a Miner
By Terry L. Tyson

We shall never forget, you remain with us everyday
In your passing
And in our grief
You mattered; yes, this is what we must say.

You lived, loved, laughed and toiled
From your life
And from your light
Our memory remains unspoiled.

From you we look and indeed reflect
How to work
And how to share
As death fails to earn our respect

If was from you, and you alone
That we learn
Life’s hard lessons
Is more than just flesh and bone.

In this quiet, we hear your soft voice
"Guide sister, guide brother
Always away from harm
To always make the wiser choice.

We comfort your family, daughter, son
And hold them
Close, knowing
Our work here is not done.

May your death be one of the last
Tomorrow’s tears
Be shed only
For miners long passed

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Love and Flying Saucers

Love and Flying Saucers

I'm apparently on a love story jag right now. Below is a scene from a story that is not fully fleshed out but I liked the analogy one of characters makes about first sights and so forth. How is it that one special person can affect you so much that it can shake you to your core? It is outright interesting, exhilarating and a bit scary all at once. Such an event does remind us that we are humans, I suppose.

Maybe next week I'll write something less gushy, but for the last few months, romance has dominated my thoughts. Imagine, a man my age engaging in such frivolous mental pursuits!
Oh well, I do hope to finish this story someday.

Love and Flying Saucers

“I remember the first time I ever saw her,” I explained, “and without knowing it, that day changed everything.”

We had been sitting in the darkened tavern for the better part of an afternoon. Outside, rain continued to cause customers to run ducking in, let out a sigh and give a silly grin to everyone in the room as if to say, “hey, I made it!!” It doesn’t rain much in my neck of the woods, the southern California weather is as predictable as the phases of the moon – small gradual changes with the occasional surprise storm happening as often as a lunar eclipse. But here in San Francisco, especially at Pompeii’s Grotto at the Wharf, if you didn’t like the weather just wait 20 minutes, it’ll change.

My friend sitting across from me had known me for years. Unlike other male buddies, I shared a great deal of my inner thoughts and feelings with him and he likewise with me. It was a bonding without fear of being judged. We saw ourselves as nothing less than more fully evolved male type humans. Obviously.

A few stiff drinks didn’t hurt to loosen the tongue either, and both of us were definitely in the reveal-inner-secrets-mode. But this time was different. I was doing most of the talking and by observing the look on my face, he knew I had never been so sincere. This conversation was the back story of all back stories. If ever a straight man could reveal his heartfelt emotions to another, this was the time and place.

“How so?” he asked.

I knew the answer but didn’t know if I could explain it well enough with two martinis in me. But he asked so I tried. “Imagine that your entire life had been spent on an island. You were born there, raised there and everything you knew about the world was contained within that island. For all you knew, this island was the entire world. You’d be happy because you didn’t know anything else and thought that life would follow a particular pattern since that is what you were always told and lead to believe the world existed a certain way,” I began. “You think you understand everything…you’ve got the entire view of the entire world as you know it to be.”

“Where is this going, Tyson?” he groaned.

“Hang with my analogy for a bit, just drink your drink and listen,” I replied. Shifting in my seat and looking at the half-submerged olive in my glass, I continued. “Okay, so one day a sailing ship lands at the beach…NO, a space ship lands on the beach and out walks people that look like us but begin telling you things that make no real sense and pretty much impossible to understand at first.”

“They say that you’re living on an island and that the world doesn’t begin and end here and that there are many different places to see, things to do and people to meet. And they tell you that all of your ideas about the world are wrong and then they prove it to you by showing you pictures and movies and let you experience the world as it really is with some weird device that downloads all of this information to you in an instant.” I took a gulp of the cool gin and finished my point.

“Then after they take the machine off of your head, they stand back and say, ‘Well, whattaya think NOW, smart guy?’ What are you going to think, what are you going to do and how are you going to feel?”

He looked away and then turned to me and said, “Well, I probably wouldn’t believe them at first. Then I might be depressed that everything I thought was right, was in fact wrong.”

I smiled, “Exactly my point, my wise friend. Your comfortable niche and view of life and the world has been shown to be flawed at best because it was based on limited information. Eventually you’d be pissed either at your world for deceiving you or the space people for bursting your bubble and proving you were wrong all of your measly life. That’s what happened when I first saw her.”

“The moment I saw her, everything changed. The real world, a world of other possibilities came into focus and it scared the bejezus outta me. In fact, it still shakes me up now and again.” I said.

"So what are you going to do about it?" he asked.

"I don't know. I'll probably tell her about my feelings and how she's turned my world upside-down and then let it go. There are things you can control and things you can't..." I continued.

"But maybe me knowing that finally, I have met someone that fits the dream or whatever it was that the space bros showed me, exists, is enough."

I paused for a moment, chewed on the last, half-submerged olive, feeling the satisfying saltiness and tang wash over my tongue. "John, there's a million reasons why we can't be together and being a close friend is the only option I've got. It's the only option and it's better than nothing."

John nodded, "Yeah. Sometimes you aren't given all the choices you want, so you pick the best one on the list. Yeah, better than nothing. But, is it enough?"

"It's gotta be, John. Nothing does not include her beautiful smile, laugh, insightful words, thoughtful questions, deep listening, blue eyes that melt my brain and her powerful, confident grace. It's the whole package and if there was nothing, I would have none of that."

John slapped me on the back and smiled, "There ya go. You got that. That's more than most of us slugs get."

With that, I finished the last of the warming clear liquid and counted my good fortune. He was right, I was a lucky man, after all. The space aliens had given me a gift, a gift that dreams can be true.

Dreams can indeed be real, but sometimes you don't get to walk in them.