Sunday, October 17, 2010

Life Signs

I'm moving, breathing
I'm down here but I'm coming up
I live for believing
What this is worth will be enough

Look past all of these white lights
The dazzle shining at the height of day
The glamour that hides both blue and cloud
A noontime sun that never fades

Behind this mask you'll find my face
Look and it might begin to break...

Look for the life signs I hide away
Feel for the beat in this heart of clay
I'll believe tomorrow is better than today
So long as I'm still breathing

I don't know what they're offering
And crumbled rock could be my skin
Or bronze covered in verdigris
Still I'm breathing out and breathing in

When sound and soul are clamouring
When ground falls out beneath your feet
When fire burns or water drowns
Reach out to me and feel this pulse
It might be weak, but give it time
When light and noise both fall behind

You crumble in my arms and then
I crumble into yours
We find ourselves once more a part
Of strong and living stone
And wind and stream and master's hand
Will carve us into life again
And we will find ourselves, through love

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Uncle Dane

I'm an uncle! Welcome to the world, Max Kyle Hobson.

There's wonder still to be found here.


Sunday, July 18, 2010

So Soon

I still remember winter skies
The wind blown swift and chill
The glow of snow beneath the moon
And O, that it should pass so soon
While I return each night again
And find the peak of mem'ry flown
To ends that I shall never know

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

An Unlikely Expectation

I've been told once or twice that I have an empathetic ear. I've been pulled out of previously-made plans by friends - and sometimes strangers - who for some reason feel like they can trust me in moments of vulnerability or anxiety. I hear them out, and then I often take to saying what it is that I would find to be the most comforting were I in their place. Sometimes my words are unwelcome, sometimes they thank me and leave a happier person than when they came.

Then come the nights where I go up to my mountain, and I look at the stars, and I watch some of them blaze trails across the sky. Then I look out at the lights of a million sleeping people below me, and sometimes I'll tell them how I ache inside to hear what I would say to myself, were I in my shoes, and how tired I am of this noble farce and its lonely fa├žade.

They never respond, leaving me to ponder whether it truly is a selfish thing to ask.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Buried Child

We are children deep down
Buried beneath our proper faces
Which we turn and smile
Say pretty words that don't matter
We gossip in whispers so as not to offend
You tell me of her and how much she must like me
I retort with a tale of how he looks at you
And for the briefest moment, that shy child appears
In both of our eyes, peeking out with hope
As it hears exactly what is not said
What is not admitted or denied
(But never unconsidered)
What we won't say, what we can't
But what we dream to speak, and to hear

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Weeping Man

The Weeping Man

I die today, and you sustain me
Long after my heartbeat stilled
Through shattered dreams of Never-After
You grant me breath through force of will

When all I want is no rememberance
Of all that I have loved, and lost
You prove there's no price that you'd not pay
To spare even my dearest cost

I die today, and you sustain me
Beyond everything that I deserve
With a love and a pure understanding
I could never hope to return

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Diamonds & Dust

Once upon a time there dwelt a speck of dust alongside a busy road. This road was one of the largest and oft-traveled thoroughfares in the entire kingdom. Fat, wealthy merchants, grand princes, and pious bishops journeyed alongside poor peasants, tired farmers, and the unlucky victims of ill-fortune. The merchants and royalty, and even the majority of the holy men made no attempt to hide their disdain of the other travelers who oftentimes would beg for mercy (and maybe a coin or two) from the better-off. More often than not they received sharp words and maybe the occasional imprint of a boot for their pains.

One of these miserable street urchins was noticed by the dust speck every day as he sat alongside the road, his small hands outstretched as he begged for food or coins. He was just a small boy, never knowing what it was like to be loved and appreciated. He got more kicks than crumbs, and the dust speck watched every day as he bore this torment he didn’t deserve. He was not resigned to his fate, but always clung to the idea that something better was just around the corner, even as he slipped lower and lower into poverty and mistreatment.

On one fateful day, the little boy stopped a mighty ruler as he rode by on his horse, whereupon he pleaded with such fervency that the old man was instantly pricked in his heart, and he took the boy into his care.

Years passed, and still the dust speck remained at the side of the road. Every day, all he saw was the hooves, feet, and wheels of the busy travelers, and every day he witnessed the beggars as they cried for alms.

One afternoon, as the speck watched the contemptuous elite saunter by the hopeless beggars, he saw one of the passing lords stop his horse and dismount. Walking over to a little orphan boy, he took out a small embroidered pouch made of red silk, and whispered, “I know what you’re going through. Just as these diamonds came from dull black rock, so too can you rise above the poverty around you and become a mighty man.” He placed the bag into the child’s quivering hand, who opened it, spilling the ground with hundreds of tiny diamonds as tears streamed down his dirty face. One of the smaller diamonds fell unnoticed at the ground next to the dust speck, who recognized the lord for who he was.

Indeed, the mighty lord was the little urchin boy the dust speck had sat next to all those years ago. He had traveled with his savior out of poverty and into greatness. He had changed his fortunes and the sight of the hungry little beggar boy moved him into remembrance of the hardships he had faced as a youth.

The dust speck had, up to this point, been content with its insignificant existence. But when he saw the change that had come over the former street-rat, it was motivated to change its fortunes as well. The idea of something so wretched becoming so lauded appealed to the dust speck.

“I shall become like a diamond, like those he gave the little boy,” said the dust speck as he eyed the diamond at his side, “and all the world shall see me in my radiant splendor and adore me and worship me and place me in the middle of a grand crown.” Thus was the dust speck’s heart set: to achieve glory and wealth and recognition and change its fortune from uninspiring to undeniable.

The dust speck forgot all except for its ambition to become as glorious as a diamond. It no longer cared for any of the beggars lining the road, and it turned up its nose at the pious priests, the fat merchants, and the unfeeling nobles. Ever did it watch the diamond sparkle and shine with magnificence in the sun. And ever did its disappointment grow as it found it wasn’t turning into anything comparable to a diamond.

Then one day a thought struck it: The diamond’s glory was entirely given by the sun! If the dust speck could only somehow get the sun to make itself sparkle and shine in such a way, then its goal would be achieved, and then all the glory would be his.
When it was suitably windy and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky that could possibly disrupt its radiance, the dust speck threw itself into the air. The current carried it over the middle of the road and high above.

And for a moment the wind blew and lifted up the speck of dust, and to all who saw it, it sparkled like a diamond in the glorious rays of the sun. Then, finally, the wind abated, and the dust returned to the earth as mere dust.

The dust speck’s glory changed to anguish as it realized all that its greed had caused. Now lying in the middle of the road, the dust speck was trod upon by every foot that walked, every hoof that trotted, and every wheel that rolled down the long road.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


At one o'clock this morning, I got an urgent phone call from a friend who was out of town for the week celebrating his graduation at home. I've been very sick for the last few days (having been diagnosed with a variety of -itises) and normally would not have answered, but something made me pick up.

He was in a state. His girlfriend (whom I'd met once or twice before) had been in a relatively minor car accident with a man who may or may not have been drunk on some back road in Orem, and he pleaded with me to go help her.

A long time ago I made a vow that I would never again allow anyone to come to harm through inaction on my part, and I've always tried to keep to that code. And especially now that a loved one of a friend needed help, how could I refuse?

I called her up as I left my apartment and found out where she was. She was crying in the phone and I could hear a man yelling in the background. I told her I'd be there in a few minutes, then hung up and realized I'd forgotten my wallet inside. By the time I'd retrieved it, I was on the phone again with another friend who lived along the way. Even though it was so early, I was able to convince him to come help. I picked him up, and after getting lost once or twice we finally arrived on the scene.

She had been driving some old model of a Chevy tank, when they actually used steel instead of aluminum and fiberglass, and the man (about twenty-six, six foot, two hundred pounds) had been driving what had previously been a beautiful, white Mercedes Benz. It was now just a white Mercedes Benz with the front quarter of the passenger-side engine-compartment smashed in on itself. The truck, in the meantime, had only suffered minor damage to its rear bumper and a broken taillight.

Did I mention that the man was also holding a golf club? More specifically, a five-iron? No? Well, he was, and he was using it as a pointer, yelling at J about the damage to his car. I parked my car with the headlights shining to illuminate the area, and B and I got out and walked towards them.

J hadn't been hurt in the accident, and neither had the other man, who stopped his yelling long enough to shake my hand, where I was close enough to smell alcohol on his breath. That, along with a certain amount of inaccurate pointing done with his golf club led to the abolition of any doubts I might have had concerning his sobriety. Neither side wanted the involvement of the police or insurance, J because she didn't have insurance, and the man for obvious reasons. Still, none of the offers J made did any good in placating the man, who only got more angry as he studied the wreckage of his car compared with the relatively unscathed tank. He kept yelling at her, "Look what you [edited] did to my [edited] car! I can't believe this!"

B and I both began to sense that things were only going to get worse, and at one point J became exasperated with the man and turned her back on him mid-rant and put her hands in the air.

Apparently, this is the one thing you do not do to an angry, drunk man with a five-iron, which was proven when he started to attack the back of her truck with it, smashing the other tail light and hammering the bed and tailgate. I admit that for those first few seconds I was frozen with shock and incomprehension that a human being could behave this way.

That was shattered, however, when J tried to grab the man's arm to stop him from clubbing her truck, and this drunk, this filth backhanded her to the ground, then lifted his golf club at her.

I'm not a person who is easily angered. I believe that the truest definition of humility is 'power under complete control', and I constantly try to live up to that. My emotions are ruled and tempered by me, not the other way around. This is not easy, because I am, at heart, a very emotional person, feeling them deeply and strongly instead of fierce and sudden, like an ocean current vs. a gust of flame. That being said, I do not believe I have ever felt such a intense surge of pure outrage in my entire life as I had at that moment, watching J being knocked to the ground. There is nothing - nothing that is guaranteed to enrage me more than to witness violence done to a woman.

The shock and fear that had rooted me to the spot vanished, and before I even knew what I was doing I was moving forward, even as I watched him pulling back the golf club to swing at J while she was trying to get up from the ground. It honestly felt like I was running, and that the rest of the world was moving in slow motion, and after what seemed several minutes (and what could have only been at most a few split seconds) I found I was almost between the two of them. As the five iron came down, I threw up my forearm to block it, my momentum still carrying me forward, and yelled at B, "Get her!" The golf club hit my arm as I skidded to a stop between J and the man, but it wasn't enough to stop its motion, and the head hit me beneath the left eye on my cheekbone.

It didn't hurt (at least not then, I must have had more adrenaline in my veins than blood), but I certainly felt the impacts. It almost knocked me to the ground. It also made me much angrier. I'm not a violent person, but I think what I had suddenly entered was the instinctual "fight or flight", and there was no way I was moving from between this piece of trash and a woman.

While B scrambled to pull J to her feet, the man made to swing the golf club at me again with both hands, holding it over his head like he was about to chop a piece of wood. However, he was drunk, impaired both in judgment and reflex, and before he could bring it down, I grabbed the haft above where he was holding it with my left hand (which was also the arm he had just whacked) and pulled it down and to the side, throwing him off balance.

I can't remember ever throwing a punch in anger (except with my brothers when we were little), but before I knew it I lashed out with my right and punched him in the jaw. There was no finesse to it, and no experience to speak of, but it seemed to do the job, and he dropped the golf club.

Then before even I knew what I was doing, I grabbed him by the belt and the front of his shirt, bunched my legs together and hefted him into the air. My adrenaline by this point was in full force, as was the pain in my forearm, knuckles and face, and I could feel blood flowing down my cheek. I felt berserk. I am not proud of that.

I didn't throw him so much as push him through the air back the six or seven feet onto the hood of his car. He landed and cried out, and reached back to rub his head, but he didn't try to stand up or attack again. I picked up the golf club and bent it in half. I remember half-hearing myself say, "If you so much as look at her again, I will break you in two." Not something I'm usually all that prone to exclaim.

J was in tears, and B was looking rather surprised at me (heck, I was rather surprised with me). My adrenaline was still pumping, my breath was rasping in my bronchitis- and pneumonitis-wracked lungs, my body was literally shaking as I tried to calm myself, and my shirt was getting blood on it from the cut on my face (which was sad, since I really liked that shirt).

Without wasting another moment, we got J into my car (she was too shaken up to drive anywhere), B got into her truck (the superficial damage wasn't enough to hamper its operation), I used several tissues from my center console to staunch my bleeding, and we drove off. We didn't say another word to the man, who by now was sitting on the hood of his car. We didn't call the police, either, which may or may not have been wise. At that point I wanted to be done with the whole ordeal, and a situation with the authorities would only serve to make things much more complicated. In the end it was J's decision, and both B and I supported it.

As far as the man with the smashed Mercedes is concerned, he can rot.

We took J home and left her truck there as well, then I took B back to his place. I'm not sure how he'll respond the next time I might ask him on a late-night emergency. :P

Monday, April 5, 2010

Thank You

Thank You
D. Lawrence Ficklin

You've lived every one of your days
With small pieces of me in your pocket,
The parts that make a smile honest,
Bits causing nonsense tears.

This is strange
Because I've done quite well with my
Most-of-Me, hardly noting
That there was ever more, even more,
That the small holes in my person
Could be filled by persons other.

And I'm slightly shocked,
Because all this time you've had me.
Without knowing, you've had my

But now you do. So let's do a trade:
My Rest-of-Me for your All-of-You
I think that is fair.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The New Addition

My mum and dad got off the plane in Hawaii yesterday and were greeted by my little sister, her husband, a tiny striped onesy, with the name "Hobson" stitched on the back, and the news that my sister is pregnant.

My parents are soon going to be grandparents, and I will be an uncle. The most awesomest uncle the world has ever seen.

But I already knew this. A little over a month ago I had a dream, and in this dream I learned that my sister was pregnant. She was holding a child in her arms. This fact hit me so hard when I woke up that I called Hailey the next day and asked her about it. At the time, she said no. A few days later, she called me back, saying that they had just found out that she was indeed pregnant. I had to promise to keep it quiet from everyone else in the family (especially Chase, since he can't keep his mouth shut on anything remotely confidential). It's good to now be able to talk about it.

Yesterday my mum called me at work, and told me that Hailey had told her about my dream, and told me a story that I didn't remember. She told me that when I was very young, and when she was pregnant with Hailey, I came to her and asked her when my little sister was going to get here. At this point, my parents had no idea whether mum was pregnant with a boy or a girl, and so she explained to me that they didn't know that it was a girl that was coming, that I might be getting a little brother. She says that I looked at her and said that an angel had told me I'd be getting a little sister. My mother didn't doubt it after that.

I was very young at the time, so young that I don't remember the exchange, but when she told me, I recognized the same certainty that I had felt in that dream a month ago. I love my sister, and I will always be grateful for the close bond that we have apparently always shared. :)

Congratulations, Hailey and Kyle! I'm looking forward to meeting the new addition, and teaching him everything an uncle probably shouldn't! :)


Sunday, February 28, 2010

Days Lived

Days Lived
D. Lawrence Ficklin

He’s lying again, trying to make a good impression
But he just can’t quite learn the lesson
Hang all the consequences
Scared out of his mind that someday you might forget him
No matter how many times you tell him
But he can’t believe your eyes
Even though he knows he’s worth so much more
Even though he sees he tries his best to ignore
And even though he loves he’s closing the door
So the way things could one day be
Just can’t be anymore

This is the twilight, part of you is dying
Don’t let the dark night lead you away
This is the moment, wake up and find it
Give your heart the chance to break today
See the dawn rising? The world’s kept its turning
It’s not waiting for you to get it all right
Trust in your footsteps, they’re leading you forward
Leading you onward, love is yours to take today

She’s bottled it up, tucked it away, made sure it’s hidden
Still sometimes tears can come unbidden
But she covers her tracks so well
She knows there’s more to life than what she’s living
But says her bruises need more healing
When already they’ve faded
Even though she knows she’s worth so much more
Even though she sees she tries her best to ignore
And even though she loves she’s closing the door
So the way things could one day be
Just can’t be anymore

This is the twilight, part of you is dying
Don’t let the dark night lead you away
This is the moment, wake up and find it
Give your heart the chance to break today
See the dawn rising? The world’s kept its turning
It’s not waiting for you to get it all right
Trust in your footsteps, they’re leading you forward
Leading you onward, love is yours to take today

How long can you hold your breath?
Will you drown yourself in shallow emptiness?
How far will you fall this way?
Will you live your life, or just its days?

Rain’s falling down from up above, the sound awakes me
It’s like the world itself is crying
One day closer to dying
There’s a life unlived, memories I never made
Truths that I have not yet told
It’s getting dark, and I’m getting old
Even though I know I’m worth so much more
Even though I see I try my best to ignore
And even though I love, nothing scares me more
So the way things could one day be
They won’t be anymore

This is the twilight, part of you is dying
Don’t let the dark night lead you away
This is the moment, wake up and find it
Give your heart the chance to break today
See the dawn rising? The world’s kept its turning
It’s not waiting for you to get it all right
Trust in your footsteps, they’re leading you forward
Leading you onward, love is yours to take today

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


D. Lawrence Ficklin
2.23.10 1:44 am

When first saw I the tracks before
My own feet where I trod
Upon the lonely, narrow path
Ascending up to God,
An envy grim and most severe
Took hold within my breast
My slacking pace quickened at once
I'd not settle for second best

For though I surely would attain
The goal waiting at the summit
I'd feel cheaply of myself
If I knew I hadn't won it
And beat all comers in this race
Holding aloft my prize
The others hanging low their heads
Jealousy in their eyes

As I hurried along the path
What thoughts did fill my mind!
How they'd hold me in regard
What glory I would find!
Lauded, praised, held in esteem
By the angels and the Gods
If I could make it to the top
Before all the other sods

And before long, what did I see
But my elder brother there
Clearing brambles from the road
Moving slow with calm and care
And as I neared I saw how worn
In feature, yet bright in eye
My brother did not cease his work
And such a fool proved I

For as I passed him by in glee
I felt the brambles beneath my feet
This price I'll pay, said I to he
I won't taste your defeat!
And with a laugh I continued on
Noting the sorrow in his face
Oh, fool was I to be so blind
To think this life a race!

It was not long before my feet
Were staining the pathway red
On root and stone I dashed them
Yet on hand and knee I fled
Away from ambiguity,
In pride, in fear, in doubt
That I could make it to the top
That I had sufficient clout

And when at once I was spent
From briar, thistle, thorn
From beating sun, in my lament
I begged for death and mourned
That I could be so prideful
As to move along in shame
Leaving behind the hurtful things
For those who followed along the way

Then as I lay in the spiny brush
I heard footsteps drawing near
And the hands that took me from the ground
Wept their sharp, red tears
They carried me back to the trail
And as I weakly turned my head
To look behind, what should I see
But more footsteps wetly red

Thank you, I said with grateful heart
And when the path at last appeared
He laid me down, and closed my wounds
And said, There's still more to be cleared
He smiled at me, still bright of eye
Though I know he must have wept
As in drawing me from thorn and brush
He had himself been scratched and ripped

And with that smile he bade me rest
Then turned once more away
To clear the path of all its hurt
For those who followed along the way

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Road to Happiness

I've become good at doing what is needed to be done instead of what I want. I like to think this is because, more than most things, my focus is Intent. If people understood even their own motivations a little more clearly, if they Knew themselves even a little better, I am sure they would find such peace as to make any needful decision a simple choice.

Because of this, some people who do not know me have sometimes called me cold or apathetic, unfeeling, uncaring. I do know that when such a situation arises, I put on a mask, I do not show what I feel. I cannot, because there are some decisions that cut you down to your soul, that burn and ache and hurt and make you want to scream out for mercy from a God who you feel might not even hear you, and how could showing those feelings help anything? Already after the fact, you're left wondering if it was really the right choice, if it is what you truly needed to do, because how can the right thing hurt so bad? Tonight I have a bitter taste in my mouth, and I cannot drown it out with anything.

The killer is it didn't have to happen. I could have been stronger. I could have been more. If I had been a better man, I would need not have crossed this bridge for perhaps a long, long time.

But I cannot compromise you. Not anymore. So I made that decision. I'll stick to it. You have decisions to make, too. By God I hope you do make them. I hope you can do what's right, instead of what you want. Even though it hurts. Especially if it hurts.

Because, like I've said before: the hurt is worth it. It had better be.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Blue and Black

Blue and Black
2:09 am, February 2, 2010

As high as God will allow, he stands
Back to the world, artificial lights
There blinking and glowing, the sky above orange
Eyes reflecting moon, and star
And the black sky clear, and cold, and clean
He can smell it in the air, the wind carries it
All those fallen snow dreams, the icicle hopes
Broken beside the road, turned to slush and mud
While only a few steps away lay the whitest drifts,
The purest that has fallen
He wonders, Where did I fall?
In this night where the black sky glows blue
From the stars and a moon just beginning to wane?
And he cannot give the answer.
Because he cannot see the wind
Making his fingers and lips as blue as the sky
That would be black without the moon
That would be hollow without the stars
That could not be touched where he stood
Even if God allowed it

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Willing Debt

The Willing Debt
D. Lawrence Ficklin
1.23.10 9:40 PM

The price paid, begrudging none
The True Debtor knows the cost
Parts willingly, and would again
Should ever more be required
Feeling each moment that more is owed
Though so little, so little is asked

Giving all, every drop
Of heartsblood for the cause
For none greater exists
Nor could such ever be risen above
Always asking, What more, what more
Can I, to you, bestow?

And the smile, the touch, alone
Are the given response
Satisfying, overwhelming
The True Debtor, with luck unmatched
Pays again, 'til naught remains
But neither fades nor diminishes

And so Love moves the two
Each feeling the debt
Each paying their all, their all again
Until it cannot be said to whom the other belongs
Until they cannot be told apart