BrooksLooks @ Synergy

all was right with the world today
i was where i wanted to be
at times it comes together like this
along life’s trajectory

i know it will change again one day
as this sweet tide goes out
for now i treasure each moment
until that turnabout

such moments i know
will come and go 
lives are lived
through high and low 

though, all was right with the world today
i was where i wanted to be
i thank the Lord for days like this
and the gifts he gives to me

© Copyright 2017 Brooks Bradbury / BrooksLooks
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BrooksLooks @ Hamburger Heaven

Jimmy Buffet wrote a song about a cheeseburger in paradise, but he never tasted the flavor of the beef from cows raised in an unincorporated ranching community in northwest Colorado, at least that anyone here knows of.

Sand Mountain Cattle Company is raising a growing herd of Red Angus cattle on 7,000 acres including the rich Elk River Valley bottom land. Owners Doug and Adele Carlson and their two sons Danny and Kelly and their families produce a range of beef products for Steamboat Springs area restaurants, including the centerpiece of the sought-after Sand Mountain Cattle hamburger.

Their premium cattle are lovingly raised the all-natural way in vast pastoral fields along County Road 129 here in Clark. They are “grass fed and finished” on native Colorado grasses and forages without any chemicals or animal by-products, the way it should be.

All of their cattle are ‘age and source verified’ (i.e., well bred) and Danny, Kelly and Doug take turns getting up every 4 hours during calving season to head out to the barn to make sure “everything is in order”. They are expecting almost 300 calves to arrive this spring which tells you something about the virility of their stock.

Clark, Colorado itself is worthy of mention as a proud outpost town, midway between Steamboat Springs and the Wyoming line. This alpine community thrives along the western slope of the continental divide way up in the Rockies at an elevation of 7,000 feet. These conditions provide a heavenly destination for tourists, and a home for SMCC’s well-loved, grass-fed cows.

The town’s only store, aptly the Clark Store, is an old-fashioned general store that serves as the nerve center and the community’s cultural heart. Here is one place where Sand Mountain Cattle’s heavenly hamburgers are served in a true paradise, from the grill at the back of the store. The ‘American Burger’ is only one of the options on the menu, but it is clearly the best one.

Incidentally, the Clark Store makes world class buns, baked from scratch with special flour. Really! Heck, the cows are raised right outside the window, and that’s picturesque Sand Mountain in the distance behind them, usually snow-covered into July.

Get the picture? Sort of an ideal farm-to-table deal with tables at the edge of the farm. The future beef cows themselves are part of the view from the Clark Store making them easy to inspect while you wait for your hamburger to be prepared by Jim the chef / manager of the store or his sidekick, Diego.

The Clark Store is also where locals come for mail, alcoholic beverages, coffee, news and gossip. If the store doesn’t carry it, it’s a 20-mile drive one way into town. People from out of town think it’s quaint. Norman Rockwell would surely see the potential here.

Until you taste a Sand Mountain Cattle Company / Clark Store hamburger, you just haven’t lived. With all of this fresh Colorado air and wholesomeness cooked right in, there isn’t a better one anywhere. Sure, you can take a motorboat to Cabbage Key in Florida (supposed home of ‘cheeseburger in paradise’) or get off I-95 in New Haven, Connecticut to dine at Louis’ Lunch for their vertically cooked hamburgers—but I can tell you from personal experience that none of these burgers compare in taste to what Sand Mountain Cattle Company produces.

To enjoy one of their hamburgers at The Clark Store is reason enough to make the trip to Clark, Colorado out on the road less traveled. There is also some dramatic scenery, a Relais & Chateaux affiliated guest ranch, Orvis-endorsed fly fishing, awesome skiing in wintertime–and some fascinating characters who all call Clark their home. Bon Apetit!

© Copyright 2017 Brooks Bradbury / BrooksLooks

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BrooksLooks @ Hospitality Recruiters

As a young hospitality manager, you may have begun receiving calls from recruiters without knowing they could one day be instrumental in shaping your career. Perhaps you are very happy where you are and generally ignore their calls. I suggest that you will appreciate their calls the day you need them.

The following are points of wisdom, now shared with you that are the result of personal experiences. This is to emphasize how important Hospitality Recruiters can be in helping you to transition out of situations–such as when an owner dies, your property is sold or the economy tanks–and into a new and satisfactory position. You’ll really appreciate your network of recruiter relationships when that day arrives.

  1. Why do I need to communicate with a recruiter when they contact me?

Unless you have a lifetime contract or you are independently wealthy I recommend you thank every recruiter who calls you and begin to establish a relationship with them.

If you are a young hospitality manager, I recommend staying in touch with those recruiters who show an interest in you. Make sure they have your most up-to-date information at all times and if asked, be sure to recommend other colleagues in your network that you feel may be interested and qualified.

  1. What if more than one recruiter is contacting me?

Then you are indeed a lucky person! Each recruiter can present new opportunities. My advice is to get to know each one, and nurture the relationship. Make sure they know exactly what you are looking for. You never know when it will be critically important. Build relationships!

  1. Do I have to tell each recruiter that I am working with other recruiters?

You will need to maintain a very high standard of discretion in working with recruiters, especially when you are working with multiple recruiters. You’ll need to make a judgement call in the event of a conflict, and be the professional. Let the other recruiter know as soon as possible that you are considering other solid offers. You will play games with recruiters at your own peril.

  1. What if I receive multiple offers, from different recruiters–how do I handle this?

The professional recruiter is well qualified and eager to help you negotiate the best compensation package possible. In the event of multiple offers at the same time, be up front about it and follow your heart to the opportunity that is the best match for you. You may need to pursue each offer almost to its conclusion until you are able to make a decision. These can be some real moments of soul searching.

Give feedback to the recruiter, and speak up if something doesn’t feel right. In the end. it’s your deal. Remember that the sooner you can give regrets to the other recruiter, the better and kinder it is. Who knows when you’ll need to reach out to that same recruiter in the future! You will be amazed at what a small community it is of hospitality professionals.

  1. How do I know if a recruiter can help me, and if they are trustworthy, honest and professional?

Word of mouth from your colleagues is important in getting to know the right hospitality recruiters. The Recruiter’s job is one of complete discretion, and they wouldn’t last long if they divulged information that jeopardized a candidate’s current position or future opportunities. Remember that they are generally on your side, are only paid when you are hired, and usually only when you are employed for a minimum period of time. In the event you don’t work out, they may be required to perform another search without additional compensation.

  1. What does a recruiter most need from me?

Honesty and integrity. A full disclosure of your skills and talents. Updated résumés and updated professional references. Referrals to strong candidates.

  1. Should I keep in touch with recruiters, or am I just bothering them?

If you are personally in a search mode, regular contact shows that you are enthusiastically interested in working with them. The recruiter will let you know if you are overdoing it. Remember that your other full time job is marketing yourself.

  1. How do I negotiate offers through the recruiter?

I have found that top recruiters are expert at this.They will help you assemble your minimum requirements for the job well in advance. Often, the recruiter will back away and let you handle the negotiation. Use the recruiter as a consultant and take your time. Much more goes into salary negotiations than just a few numbers.

  1. What if I feel the recruiter isn’t presenting me accurately?

Sometimes it doesn’t seem like the recruiter has a clear picture of your experience. You need to speak up, defend yourself or better present yourself to him or her. The recruiter is only trying to present you and your skills to their client in the best possible way. The ball is in your court. You should also have a complete understanding of the process the recruiter will go through in representing you to clients.

Don’t let a recruiter entice you with pie in the sky job opportunities or the fact that he/she will be blanketing your resume all over in order to gain greater visibility for you. This indicates the recruiter’s level of professionalism and how they go about their work.

  1. What if a recruiter doesn’t call me back?

Move on. Life is short. Be tenacious in introducing yourself to other recruiters that might be a better fit for you. You’ll find plenty of recruiters (and people) who aren’t interested in getting to know you, or who will make you feel like you don’t amount to much anyway. They simply need to weed you out from the pack as quickly as possible. Don’t take it personally. They have a job to do too. Be tenacious and move on.

Good luck!

© Copyright 2017 Brooks Bradbury / BrooksLooks

 

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BrooksLooks @ Tomorrow

20161012_151215Tomorrow

if we knew how fragile
this all was
would we still do
what everyone does

if tomorrow came
and this was gone
would a change in behavior
suddenly dawn

will wonton acts
of careless extreme
compromise
this beautiful dream

oceans rise
a species dies
fires burn
Nature cries

when do we
realize?

© Copyright 2017 Brooks Bradbury / BrooksLooks. All Rights Reserved

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BrooksLooks @ Release

Release

peaceful calm
in wild spaces
far beyond
culture’s storms
into the quiet places
where nature
transforms

on a
guiltless flight
to sanity
sanctuary
sets me free

all it took
was letting go
in nature’s current
life’s wild flow
brought me
here to be
renewed
how much i’ve found
in solitude.

© Copyright 2017 Brooks Bradbury / BrooksLooks. All Rights Reserved

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BrooksLooks @ Inhospitable

Inhospitable

the roadside motel
has gone to hell
storage units with beds
would do as well

proud old brands
once defined service
now staffed with people who
make me nervous

bleary eyed
and short on smiles
we see the sign
after all those miles

we pull in

“reservations?”
well yes, we had plenty
but we couldn’t admit
just a room for night
and that would be it

“driver’s license
and credit card, room 334,
breakfast’s from 6 to 10
over there by the door”

underwhelmed,
i grab ahold of the bell cart
like a mule to a plow
push our luggage up the ramp
and in the elevator, somehow

in the morning
styrofoam greets us with
powdered eggs
and pork-ish sausage
with gravy dregs

liquefied syrup for coffee
is anything real?
selecting the banana
we drive off
in search of a meal

© Copyright 2017
Brooks Bradbury / BrooksLooks
All Rights Reserved

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BrooksLooks @ A Patchwork of People and Time

A Patchwork of People and Time

in a life of joyful moments
i recall those we shared now
your face appears to me at last and
all the moments we shared somehow

i ponder too the great catalogue
of all the interesting souls
those like you who came my way
those who left the biggest holes

perhaps enough of time has passed
to stop and start to measure
one’s accomplishments
and the lifelong work we traded
in the end for safety’s pleasure

now at last i add them up
and wonder where they went
those who’ve come and gone at last
both hell and heaven sent

i wish the moments lasted longer
and i came to knew you well
but time and tide were both against us
in a life ‘tween storm and swell

my life is quieter,  contemplative
with each one who now passes
i realize the moments were all like jewels
it’s the memories one amasses

my life is made of all those times
a patchwork of people and time
i remember you now once again
forever part of mine

© Copyright 2017 Brooks Bradbury / BrooksLooks

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BrooksLooks @ One More Thing

One More Thing

when my time has come
and i fade from view
do what you will
with what’s left of me,
then do what’s best for you

and one more thing
when i’ve gone
after my last day
buy single malt whisky
and find a piper
who’ll play

and if there is any
money left
spend more on the whisky
and less time
bereft
scatter my ashes
on a gentle breeze
in the woods,
near a brook,
or by some trees

take a sip
sit back and breathe
remember how it was,
how we used to be
then carry on
the best you can
here’s to you my friend
the last drink’s on me

no religious jargon
nor prayerful words
just humor and jest
and singing birds
it was the life i was given
i did my best
to many,
too quiet
out ridin’ fences
distant and odd
in tune with my senses

tho’ our earthly dance
has come to pass
i’ll smile down
(or up, as the case may be)
so tip your glass
for a moment or two
remember me

if you were among
the precious few
precious to me
and i to you,
i leave here
on the wings of your love
with your joy for support
to rise above

and one more thing
to those who think i’ve left
owing some debt
whether of the heart
or financial aid
please take a glass
take a drink
that bill is paid

and one more thing
if you still believe that
i owe you somehow
beyond one lifetime
after i’ve come to pass
it will be easy now
to kiss my ass

© Copyright 2017 Brooks Bradbury / BrooksLooks
All Rights Reserved

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BrooksLooks @ Dude Ranchers

In the Company of Dude Ranchers

We just hung up our hats at home after attending the 91st annual meeting of the Dude Ranchers Association in Tucson Arizona. Imagine a whole banquet-room full of America’s kindest people, a legion of fiercely independent and honest souls who through hard work and sheer grit run the great ranches of the West and welcome guests to a way of life and rich American heritage that you always hoped still existed. It still does.

If you hadn’t noticed, a Renaissance of American guest ranches is underway judging by the DRA’s 100 members. Perhaps it is because we as a nation have never needed a digital detox and a real vacation more than right now.

And if you are looking for authentic experiences, you’ll find none better than right here on these ranches surrounded by open range and the safety of our own country. Out here there is a dude ranch ready to welcome you to some of the world’s most beautiful and jaw dropping locations right here at home, generally offering an all-inclusive price. 

When you bring your family to a dude ranch, you’ll find a wealth of activities to participate in either individually or together. After dinner, you’ll turn in early every evening. Fresh air and wholesome fun has that effect on everyone. 

Each ranch (and rancher) is unique in its own way, with home-grown traditions and style. All of them have horses to ride, trails to explore and a staff of characters you’ll enjoy getting to know from wranglers to housekeepers, to cooks and ranch hands–each provides genuine hospitality shared from the heart. 

At the end of the conference, the DRA’s pioneering members, past presidents and Hall of Famers were warmly celebrated with standing ovations. An elder of the group, a cowboy poet took the podium to mark the end of the evening,  reciting his poem about all the love he had for his ranch and ranching. 

We left with a warm feeling knowing that the D.R.A. represents the very best of our country, and a hospitality force to be reckoned with. As new members of the group we now proudly ‘ride for the brand.’ Sure hope you’ll look us up and come rediscover today’s still Wild West. Bring your boots. 

See you at the Campfire. 

© Copyright 2017  Brooks Bradbury / BrooksLooks. All Rights Reserved

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BrooksLooks @ Mother’s Birthday

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOTHER

mom, the life you gave me

is a little older today

and in those decades now gone by

we’ve both come a long, long way

i’m still the same old person

you raised me up to be

those sacred days of childhood

are a die since cast in me

your lessons remain most precious

and resonate still today

your unceasing love above it all

helped a son to find his way

from my first taste of wildness

exploring out past the backyard wood

the joy i found in new frontiers

and knowing that I could

go way out there beyond the fields

and return to a nurturing home

gives me joy yet today

comfort wherever i roam

my heart still full of adventure

across trails trod far and wide

the love you given me since then

remains a treasured gift inside

i know i’ve let you down some

even though still unavowed

but i hope there were some moments

when you felt really proud

Mom, all these years gone by now

are a tribute to what you’ve done,

the sacrifices you made for me

still reflect in the life of your son

when the day arrives and one of us

must tell the other goodbye

a heavenly adventure will unfold

in the tears of an endless cry

© Copyright 2016 Brooks Bradbury / BrooksLooks / All Rights Reserved

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BrooksLooks @ Alpenglow

Alpenglow
Brooks Bradbury

new calves play
jumpin’ around
horses graze
in fields of green
columbine bloom
crimson and blue
wildflowers pop up
in between

river flows
too fast to fish
but as the sun comes down
we’ve got our wish
Colorado
in the alpenglow of evening
each sweet sundown,
Colorado

farmin’ thrives
and ranchers strive
to make the livin’
their father’s did
a finer home
they’ve never known
lucky to grow up here a kid
as the sun comes down
i’m glad we did
find home in Colorado
another sweet sundown
of alpenglow
Colorado

thankfully
the wild west
is still the best
a perfect match
for wanderlust
and bravado
i think of the old days
now and then
as the sun comes down
i let it go and i rise again
grateful now to
call it home
Colorado
another sundown,
sweet alpenglow
Colorado

maybe this is it
and our live’s end here
on these dirt roads
in each passing year
the sun comes down
on this small town
and we’re glad it’s so
Colorado
sweet alpenglow
in Colorado

here in the mountains
we left it behind
up against
the great divide
saddled and tacked,
ready to ride
got ourselves
a brand new motto
as the sun comes down
we’re livin’ it up
out West
in the sweet alpenglow,
of Colorado

© Copyright 2016 Brooks Bradbury / BrooksLooks / All Rights Reserved20161012_151032

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BrooksLooks @ Moved to Tears

Moved to Tears
Brooks Bradbury

they move from
the Bay State mountains
south to Connecticut’s shore
move to the land
of bratwurst and cheeses
to Sheboygan and back
to the Blue Ridge for more

move to the land
where the roadrunner races
where ocotillo grows
in wide open spaces
south and east
to the land of the pine
moved for a time up in old Appalachia
moved to the Smokies in North Caroline

at last they movedWest
in hopes it may be
a move toward home,
and sanity
Colorado
along the great divide
where the air is clear
and the views open wide

if you add up ‘em all up
all the beginnings and ends
the sad goodbyes
to new-made friends
and all those years
and unknown fears
moving trucks
and changing gears
you’ll know why now
they’re moved to tears

how many times
is their furniture stored
or tied on top
with a bungee cord
how many moves
can they really make
how many cross country
drives can anyone take
how many towns
will they call home
how many accounts
in how many banks
will they call their own
oh the packing tape
on each cardboard box
new license plates
and primary docs
when home was a rental
and a P.O. Box

through address changes
and open ranges
following their hearts all those years
if you asked why they did it
they can hardly say
they’ve already been moved to tears

maybe it’s the new American way,
to follow work where it is today
paycheck gypsies on the run
crossing the country in search of one

for the pact is broken now
loyalty long gone somehow
businesses cutting every cost
without knowing what was lost

if you add up ‘em all up
all the beginnings and ends
the sad goodbyes
to new-made friends
and all those years
and unknown fears
you’ll know why
they were moved to tears

© Copyright 2016 Brooks Bradbury / BrooksLooks / All Rights Reserved

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BrooksLooks @ A Poet’s Prescription

A Poet’s Prescription
Brooks Bradbury

thank you for sharing
these moments with me
for reading words
arranged
mindfully

a poem can convey
what a poet might say
how they think about life
how it all goes
peacefully pondering
it’s ebbs and flows

here in the present
where the real gifts
are received
true presence is ours
if only we
b r e a t h e

the randomness
of our connection
how you wandered by
perhaps seekers
of joy and wisdom
in time, coalesce
ally

if you’re still reading
in search of a clue
i sincerely hope
i’m getting through

if you’re here biding time
you may appreciate
the message and
that a few of the words
actually rhyme

here is the thing
a poet might say
as each of us
wanders about on our own
learning and
searching
sometimes astray

poets
recommend
reading
a few poems
on the way

© COPYRIGHT 2016, Brooks Bradbury / BrooksLooks

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BrooksLooks @ A Career in Independent Hospitality

A Career in Independent Hospitality
Brooks Bradbury

1. It will bring you to places and present you with situations you have never imagined.

2. Whatever you give, it will ask even more of you–and challenge you each day.

3. The costs are high, and the rewards are too.

4.  You will come to know amazing people from all walks of life, and you will realize that serving everyone well is your life’s work.

5. You will become very familiar with HVAC, refrigeration, plumbing, electricity, cleaning procedures, laundry chemicals and the world of maintenance while developing an intimate working knowledge of sewers and septic tanks. Your knowledge in these areas will be tested when you have a full house, often on a national holiday.

6. If you’re lucky, you will savor some of the world’s finest foods and beverages.

7. If your staff is happy and respected–you will be too. Make it your personal mission to compassionately help people to get where they are going.

8. At times, you may regret your career choice but you will get over it, realizing that your chosen field is the most dynamic and exciting career path you could have chosen.

9. Networking is your second full-time job. See #10.

10. Remember that hotel owners are like everyone else–they will retire, get bored, decide to sell and die–not necessarily in that order. See #9.

11. As soon as you get comfortable,  expect change. Be ready. Be flexible.

12. Your life partner (if you are lucky enough to find one) will be challenged in extraordinary ways by your career choice. 

© COPYRIGHT 2016, Brooks Bradbury / BrooksLooks


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BrooksLooks @ Something Gave

Something Gave
Brooks Bradbury

red blood
on a white hot sidewalk
officers in blue
an outline in chalk

lost in the cracks
humanity cringes
at the unravelling lives
of souls on the fringes

disenfranchised
sanctuary lost
forgotten and hurting
the real human cost

here evil moves in
like an angry flood
a price is paid
in innocent blood

red blood
on a white hot sidewalk
officers in blue
an outline in chalk

© Copyright 2016 Brooks Bradbury / BrooksLooks / All Rights Reserved

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BrooksLooks @ Drones

Drone BB

When the Drones Flew Over at Night
Brooks Bradbury

bloodshed flows from countless hearts
in collisions of religious might
a techno-precision response unleashed
and the drones flew over at night

human kindness is threatened
an epic battle is on the rise
evil’s rampant rage now fully engaged
by madmen in islamic disguise

dressed in their very best suicide vests
believing their way is right
people die and the bombs rain down
and the drones flew over at night

i wonder if we will know
at the end of this epic fight
what the jihadis thought looking up
when the drones flew over at night

© Copyright 2016 Brooks Bradbury / BrooksLooks / All Rights Reserved

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BrooksLooks @ Knees, Please!

29b8fadb65d37f675fe89c9662c82f26-1.jpg

Made a Deal with My Knees
Brooks Bradbury

always heard you’re the first to go
but you’re still here and all i know
you’re a little sore and this is real
promise me a decade more and
i’ll make you one sweet deal

i promise that we’ll sit and rock
i’ll think of you around the clock
knee massages every day and then
we’ll stay in bed from 10 to 10
won’t trade you in for man-made parts
i’ll play more sports like cards and darts
eat less food and drink less beers
please, oh please,
just ten more years!
i beg of you my dear sweet knees

you’ve never had one bone to pick
held me up through thin and thick
protected me as kneecaps do
took my abuse, stayed flexible too
all the while, I regret
how often i’ve looked down on you

ten years from now we’ll sit and rock
i’ll think of you around the clock
knee massages each day and then
we’ll stay in bed from 10 to 10
won’t trade you in for man-made parts
i’ll play more sports like cards and darts
eat less food and drink less beers
please oh please, just ten more years!
i beg of you my dear sweet knees
let’s just see what we can squeeze
from you my standard issue knees

arthroscopic? not for you!
if you can make it ten years through
and after that we’ll stop and rest
and i’ll remind you again
how you’re both the best
i come to you on bended knees
make a deal with me
oh please!

© Copyright 2016 Brooks Bradbury / BrooksLooks / All Rights Reserved

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BrooksLooks @ An Ancient Trail

Dark Matter


On An Ancient Trail

Brooks Bradbury

where it leads from
and where it leads to
on an ancient trail
narrow and true

footprint on hoofprint
path worn and clear
evidence of the Appalachian souls
who passed by here

compacted in the sunken earth
stones smoothed from hike and climb
why did this ancient trail survive
on a remote divide, after so much time

perhaps it was what wasn’t here
found on these high trails
knowing souls come to find peace
far from their own travails

i keep moving forward
along fields and split rail fence
following my heart to joy
this path life’s recompense

out on the trail less traveled
finally nearing its end
nourished by nature’s magic spell
and ready to walk again

© Copyright 2016 Brooks Bradbury / BrooksLooks / All Rights Reserved

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BrooksLooks @ But Did I Really Live?

But Did I Really Live?
Brooks Bradbury

it took too long
to really see
time rushing
through the sieve
there but for
God’s grace
went me
but did I really live?

i vow to do much better
in the moments that remain
live with gratitude
on purpose
while i remain here
somewhat sane
i’ll suck life’s marrow
so to speak
while my own joints
have less to give
they may grind and creak some
but did i really live?

encourage me to do it all
while i really can
we’ll have a ball
share every gift
forget and forgive
so we don’t wake up
toward the end
and ask the other–

did I really live?

© Copyright 2016 Brooks Bradbury / BrooksLooks / All Rights Reserved

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BrooksLooks @ Little Lives

Little Lives
Brooks Bradbury

no one knows
how any soul
could live
by limiting their own
pushing exhausted
onward strives
life’s victor alone
let us dream big
out on the edge
and let us not lead
little lives

and after striving there
up on life’s high summit
through its depths
and painful dives
will we sit back
reliving memories
while actually living
little lives?

let us learn to
forgive ourselves
for wasted moments
and wasted days
in spite of what life
conjures, contrives
and all the ways
we lead little lives

this miracle of
spinning atop
a sphere
near a sun
just a moment of life
even one on the run
an incomprehensible gift
reason never to squander
moving a poet
to muse and ponder
of how we must live on!
whatever the universe
provides or connives
reason enough
for us to avoid
ever leading
little lives

© Copyright 2016 Brooks Bradbury / BrooksLooks / All Rights Reserved

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