Monthly Archives: July 2014

the corner

No matter how far you’ve traveled,
The distance you’ve placed between you and your past,
The amends and erasures,
The changes you’ve made
Which are now habits,
And the difference you’ve since become in the world…

You will again inevitably stumble around an
Unsuspecting corner in which you are
Forced again to see the depravity
You’d called home
Where you once believed you were living
But indeed, were already dying
In the coffin, silently
Begging for another nail.

At that moment,
You’ll yearn for the next corner
And vow to make its approach better armed
With greater humility
And the irrefutable dignity
You forgot you had since earned
From that same, shameful street.

Remembering that addicts still stumble.

My brother’s keeper

In just the right place, at just the right time,
He caught my eye and called me.
“I’d like you to meet a friend of mine.
He really needs somebody.”

He said “I kinda need some help.
I’m wondering what you got.
I haven’t much, but three days clean
But for me that’s quite a lot.”

I said, “What’s up, my name is Don,
I’ve been where you are too,
I should be gone to prison
But today I’ll stand with you.”

We spoke the language addicts do
And quickly made a bond
He asked me how I got this far
I said “No magic wand.”

New on the scene and over zealous
He was hardly apprehensive,
Wanting one more day, and of me jealous,
Scared and aptly pensive.

I said “Advice?” He said “For sure!”
So I went on to tell him
“For what you got, there ain’t no cure”
I had no line to sell him.

He listened to my story.
And feasted on each word.
He was ravenous and hungry
For all that he had heard.

I wished him well and shook his hand
He countered with a hug.
Then thanked me for my sincere words
Which spared him from the drug.

And at just the right place and at just the right time,
Years later, less in danger
That friend I’d met with a story of mine
Was asked to help a stranger.

I haven’t met you yet…

I haven’t met you yet…

but I glow inside knowing you’re thinking of me right now.

Planning what we’ll do after work tonight and what you’ll make for dinner

because you’ll probably beat me home and you’re a great cook and

even better at surprises.

 

I haven’t met you yet…

but while my birthday is months away, you’re already making secret plans.

I haven’t peeked but I’ve noticed the little list you keep of things I like and

how it’s been a long time since I’ve been on an airplane.

 

I haven’t met you yet…

but I smell you sometimes in my clothes and my pillows and way down deep

under my sheets at night where only me and my dog have slept.

And he wouldn’t mind at all sharing  me and my bed with someone like you

at some point.

 

I haven’t met you yet…

but i’m sure you look incredibly sexy with your mind all caught up in a river

of thoughts running deep and wide and long about everything, everyone, and the kinds of

things that make a difference for you, me, us and the ways of this world.

 

I haven’t met you yet…

but something about you makes me want to write with words I never use, like “amazing,”

and not really care so much that my grammar is perfect because you’re so ravenous

to read even my first drafts as if they were my final all because

you share my thoughts and you want to make me look perfect.

 

I haven’t met you yet but…

you make me cry, laugh and care in such extremes that it kind of hurts to stretch myself

that far. But you remind me that things like that are worth it.  And I know they are,

and I can trust you.

 

And if by chance we never will,

I want you to know how much I’ve enjoyed just dreaming that one day we might have.

And of the memories we would have.

And of the fun we could have

made together

since that one day we first saw each other and stared just for a moment,

wondering if it was really, finally,

You.

LMSM,

Don

Fame and the Fine Art of Being

 

IMG_7816 IMG_7817

When you lose someone, the remnant of memories can be difficult to reconstruct.

Photo albums, home movies, funny stories and touching recollections are usually the best and only ways of remembering.

But I am the fortunate one.

Growing up, our family lived in many homes.  On average, we never stayed in the same home but for a couple years or so before it was dolled up, decorated, built out and outlived for the ever clever, upwardly mobile and on the move Miller family.  Friday night through Sunday night, weekends were projects to improve, expand and create a home that was truly a piece of art eventually sold to the highest bidder, moving us on to the next residence and a flow of new ideas and projects.  As kids, we didn’t know any different. Weekends were made for maintaining our home and building things together. It was our fun.  Our way of building a family.

Built-ins, barbecues, patio covers, flower beds and a host of uniquely-designed creations usually began as a sketched design on dad’s easel.  His artistry went beyond the hundreds of canvasses to which he’d lay his brush nightly after a long day of work.  He could take any idea and give it life and dimension that inspired us all.  “Hey dad, I have an idea,” usually was a prompt for him to grab a pencil or marker and any writable surface nearby to join you in the adventure of making your own intangible a virtual reality.   It was a thrill that we all had taken for granted back then.  To sit with dad in one of these creative sessions at home or in the office was to learn a unique visual dialect in the language of his art.

School projects, science fair exhibits, scouting merit badge endeavors, homecoming floats…even campaign signs for our school politics…all were more than a few notches above the rest.  We always won and the accolades were commonplace.  Miller kids were the envy of the classroom project.  Everyone wanted to be on our teams.  But when you grow up with someone famous, you don’t know it.  It’s just normal.

Being the son of someone famous has never really sunk in.  Dad had private audiences with Elvis Presley on many an evening after his show to help him visualize some of his personal projects.  Political leaders, superstars and virtually every Las Vegas resort and entertainer has called upon my dad at some point in their careers. His art hangs in galleries and homes worldwide.  But I just knew him as dad and he never attempted to impress anyone.  Funny but only now as he is facing his exit from this world and into a much better place are people realizing how truly accomplished he has been. And that includes me.

He always taught us to bring our ideas to life.  Mine is done in words and prose.  I can only paint my pictures with a pen or keyboard.  My colors and textures are syntax and grammar with shades of wit and humor  meticulously framed in borders of hope and mattes of inspiration.  I create moods and lighting and beauty for others much like my dad did all his life. But even so, I will never be famous like my dad, but I will always be happy because of him and his fine art of being.

Many times as a young man I would watch him at his easel or table creating.  I’ve lost track of how many times I silently admired the flow.  His mind conceived an image which traveled down his arm, into his hand and out through his fingertips in one continuous movement of extraordinary creation and I always wondered if I might be blessed with such a gift.

But a painting, a drawing or a sculpture are mediums more powerful than my words could ever describe.  And to a little boy’s heart, an elaborate landscape of molded colored mountains and tunnels and trees and buildings for a toy train set is a prize I have often remembered.

In our family home, the walls would go up first and I always wanted certain pieces in plain view.  Some of his creations were the kinds into which I would stare for hours, scanning the sometimes hidden details he would include like the prize in a Cracker Jack box if you dug deep.  They would transport me to a time and place we once traveled or a stream we once fished or a past American era about which he’d studied and more than once dreamed of living.  During my rougher times even today, I can stare into a favorite piece and lose myself in his thoughts and dreams and again be at his side watching its creation as I did countless times as a boy. Those are moments that satisfy my soul yet have only recently come to fully appreciate.

We often think of fame as something afforded the stage, screen or simply, one who cleverly seeks it at the right time and place in history.  That is not fame, that is celebrity.  Fame’s roots necessarily run deeper with heart, meaning and lasting purpose.  While celebrity shines for a moment, fame, like art,  endures posthumously and forever influences.

So without brush or canvas, I hope to use my words and stories to bring joy, tranquility and light now and long after he is gone until we are reunited as a creative team once again.  Until then, it’s just me and a really tough standard to live up to.

But dad, I promise to try.

I love you so much.

LMSM,

Donnie