BrooksLooks @ Knowing the Difference

To Adrien and John,
On your Wedding Day

it’s only when we live enough
to know our soul’s true place
that we come to know the difference
‘tween each false and friendly face

in time we find a place like home
a place to make a stand
finally safe at home at last
life reveals its master plan

you’ve known some roads plenty rough crooked ones from there to here
you’ve lived enough
through joyful times
and when you fought back every tear

you realize they’re behind you now
life’s back up to speed
it’s your soul, your family
that are all you really need

take strength in family provenance
find strength in all our love
we’ve never been more proud of you
as you go forth, rise above

there are quirks in every family
relatives who understand odd
we all mean well in reality
smile and pleasantly nod

it’s only when we live enough
to know our soul’s true place
that we come to know the difference
‘tween each false and friendly face

in time we find our home at last
the place we’re meant to be
it’s clear you’re here, the past long past
today we celebrate you and your new family

© Copyright 2015 Brooks Bradbury / BrooksLooks / All Rights Reserved

BrooksLooks @ Crazy and Cruel

CRAZY AND CRUEL

HE WAS CRAZY AND COOL
THE TALK OF THE SCHOOL
HE WAS COMPLICATED
CONVOLUTED
CRAZY AND COOL

THHOUGHT LIFE WOULD BE A BREEZE
UNTIL IT BROUGHT HIM TO HIS KNEES
HE GREW UP FAST TO HIS SURPRISE
LIFE HIT HIM BETWEEN THE EYES

HE WAS KNOCKED DOWN
DEVASTATED
LIKE A FOOL
DISCOVERED LIFE WAS COMPLICATED
CRAZY AND CRUEL
IT WAS COMPLICATED CONVOLUTED
CRAZY AND CRUEL

IT CHANGED AGAIN WHEN HE WAS FORTY-TWO
A COURT TOOK HIS SON
AND HIS DAUGHTERS TOO
LIFE REMOVED HIS DAD DISGUISE
DRAINED THE TEARS FROM THOSE BLUE EYES

HE WAS KNOCKED DOWN
DEVASTATED
LIKE A FOOL
HE DISCOVERED LIFE WAS COMPLICATED
CRAZY AND CRUEL
LIFE IS COMPLICATED CONVOLUTED
CRAZY AND CRUEL

THEN SHE CAME ALONG IN A BEAUTIFUL WAY
LIKE FIREWORKS ON A SUMMER’S DAY
ELEGANT STRONG, SAVVY AND WISE
ACROSS NIGHTTIME FIELDS OF FIREFLIES
THE SPARKLE CAME BACK IN THEIR LOVE STARVED EYES

TWO HEARTS SETTLED DOWN
DISCOVERED HOW LOVE CAN BE PROFOUND
BUILDING A LIFE ON SHIFTING GROUND
EVERY FIRE NEEDS PLENTY OF FUEL
IN SPITE OF IT ALL IT’S STILL THE RULE
THEIR LIVE’S ARE COMPLICATED
CRAZY AND COOL
SOMETIMES CONVOLUTED
CRAZY AND CRUEL

© Copyright 2014 Brooks Bradbury ǀ BROOKS LOOKS

BrooksLooks @ Rising Above

RISE ABOVE
Brooks Bradbury

we sucked the marrow out of life back then
took crooked roads that brought us back again
found our way into strange new lands
said goodbye to our best laid plans

and it ain ‘t easy but we rise above
remember all we have’s our own sweet love
try to hide it on our faces–life’s true toll
we all know the times that try one’s soul

ain’t no telling what’s to become
ain’t no telling now where we’re from
ain’t no telling down from up above
all we know we’ve got’s our own sweet love

dancin’ to the beat of our distant drum
still, life keeps pushin’ us all around some
and it ain ‘t easy but we rise above
we keep believin’ and we rise above

i miss sweet desert mornings
on the chaparral with you
Chiricahua cowgirl what will you do
you’re my only home, my sanity
Chiricahua cowgirl come set me free

and it ain ‘t easy but we rise above
remember all we have is our own sweet love
try to hide it on our faces life’s true toll
we surely know the times that try one’s soul

will we ever finish this human race
are we going forward or stuck in place
will there ever be a fine new age
or more and more rage until we turn the page

and it ain ‘t easy but we rise above
remember all we have is our own sweet love
and it ain ‘t easy but we rise above
remember all we really have is our sweet love

© Copyright 2014 Brooks Bradbury ǀ Brooks Looks

BrooksLooks @ Delirium

DELIRIUM
Brooks Bradbury

YOU TRIED TO LEAVE
YOU SOLD YOUR SOUL
NOW IT’S YOU WHO’S IN THE HOLE
SEEMS YOU WERE JUST A BRIDGE FOR US
A HERE-TO-THERE WITH TOO MUCH FUSS
YOU TRIED TO GET THE SHIP TO SINK
NOW IT’S YOU WHO’S SUNK, ‘S WHAT PEOPLE THINK
YOUR MACHINATIONS WORE MIGHTY THIN
NOW YOU’RE OUTSIDE LOOKIN’ IN
LET ME GET MY VIOLIN
NOW YOU’RE OUTSIDE LOOKIN’ IN

WATER RISING IN A SHIVER
YOU HELPED US CROSS A LITTLE RIVER
YOU ROSE AND PEAKED A SHORT TIME LATER
WE SMILED AT EACH ALLIGATOR
AS WE REACHED THE OTHER SHORE
YOU TAPERED OFF TO BUT A SLIVER
OVER SUCH A SLOW AND GENTLE RIVER
BOTH SIDES OF YOU ARE NOW MUCH CLEARER
TAKE A LOOK INTO THE MIRROR
HOLD OFF ON YOUR FINAL BOW
YOU WERE BUT A PATH FROM THERE TO HERE
A BRIDGE ACROSS THEN AND NOW

YOU TRIED TO LEAVE
YOU SOLD YOUR SOUL
NOW IT’S YOU WHO’S IN THE HOLE
SEEMS YOU WERE JUST A BRIDGE FOR US
A HERE-TO-THERE WITH TOO MUCH FUSS
YOU TRIED TO GET THE SHIP TO SINK
IT’S YOU WHO’S SUNK, S’ WHAT PEOPLE THINK
YOUR MACHINATIONS ARE MIGHTY THIN
NOW YOU’RE OUTSIDE LOOKING IN
HOLD OFF ON THAT GREAT BIG GRIN
NOW YOU’RE OUTSIDE LOOKING IN
I’LL ROSIN UP MY VIOLIN
NOW YOU’RE OUTSIDE LOOKING IN

LIFE’S HARD ENOUGH WITHOUT TWO FACED LIARS
PERHAPS THEY SIMPLY CROSSED THEIR WIRES
BUT LIFE CAN BE A LOT MORE FUN
NOW THE BASTARDS ‘R ON THE RUN
CAN FINALLY SEE THE SHINING SUN
NOW THE BASTARDS ‘R ON THE RUN
TRAPPED IN THE SILKY WEB THEY’VE SPUN
BASTARDS ARE FINALLY ON THE RUN
AND OUR SPIRITS WON’T COME UNDONE
NOW THE BASTARDS ‘R ON THE RUN

© 2014 Brooks Bradbury | Brooks Looks

BrooksLooks @ Additional Therapy Required

Additional Therapy Required

They were the matter-of-fact, high-wire requests every local innkeeper and inn-team fielded and responded to over the course of a frenetic summer in the Berkshires.

These were life’s serendipitous brushes with greatness in sweet and personal ways. People serving people. If we took too much time to think about each of these moments, we could have flirted with even higher levels of stress knowing that if we screw “this” up, the whole world would surely know!

On this day, Mary Tyler Moore might request a brownie sundae in the wee hours of the morning. Or Ann Jackson would require an impromptu ride back to NYC for husband Eli Wallach, who wasn’t feeling well.

Martha Argerich would require a well-tuned piano in her guest room. Such sweet sounds! Or Garrison Keillor could be stamping his feet because he was unhappy with his room.

Or Shimon Peres might prefer a bottle of Bordeaux this morning. No matter that his personal time zone was out of synch with Eastern Standard Time and local liquor laws.

Or Lyle Lovett and his band would prefer that our New England chef prepare huevos rancheros for breakfast at noon. Or Marlo Thomas might need some help setting up her off-premise suite this morning.

There was the moment James Taylor simply asked to purchase a newspaper. Or the night Ray Davies came to dinner. Or the time Buzz Aldrin required some technical help with his laptop.

The answer to such requests was always yes–of course–right away in the same way “How high do I jump?” was followed by “How long do I stay up there?”

There was that one day in particular when Marge Champion’s massage was the day’s top priority. That is, until Senator and Mrs. Ted Kennedy called from the road to request a massage therapist be ready on standby for their imminent arrival.

Oh, by the way “our limo is just passing through Worcester now.” This could be loosely translated as, “We need two massages the moment we arrive in order to make it to the grand opening in time.”

Yes. Of course.

It really was all very simple. Making it happen was what we always did. After all, a career in service is just that–a ministry of serving guests well and the daily dispensation of The Platinum Rule–serving guests the way they wanted to be treated.

It really isn’t WHAT you know at moments like this but WHO you know! In this case the Kennedy’s were well on their way and my loyal assistant Pam began the process of calling all the licensed, high quality massage therapists on our list.

All too soon, we arrived at the bottom of the list without success. Pam already knew it was time to bring out the big guns—for instance leveraging area massage therapy coordinators. I had to leave a message for my friend “LL”. She had her finger on the pulse of local massage therapy, although on this day she was busy like everyone else. I had to leave a message for her.

Minutes began passes like seconds as Pam had to resort to the “phone book”—we were approaching that desperate territory now somewhere between the rock and hard place. But at last, Pam found a therapist who WAS available right away.

About this point, I found myself taking a gulp of air—it was a male therapist who was available. Was he our only option? Yes. Did we know anything about him? Not enough.

In a moment of loneliness at the top, I gave the ‘go ahead’ not feeling quite settled with my decision. The therapist would arrive in 15 minutes and the Kennedy’s would arrive moments later. For better or worse, this die was cast.

Just then, the front desk reported the massage therapist and his portable massage table were arriving at the front door right now. I met him at the door and personally ushered him to the suite. It was show time.

I was cringing inside that the therapist’s appearance was not quite spa worthy as I walked him to the Fire House suite. There, I introduced him to the arriving Senator and Vicky Kennedy. It was a joy to see them as always, but now there were massages to attend to and their schedule was quite tight.

I left the three of them in the suite and I returned to my office still on pins and needles. Then the telephone rang. It was my friend LL. “Now you call!” I said, and she asked if I was able to find someone.

I told her who we found, and a deafening silence commenced on the other end. “What is it, I asked?”

“He was terminated for reports of improperly using his hands.”

More silence–as my entire career began passing before my eyes…

“What do you mean?!?”

“I can’t say anything more.”

As I hung up the phone, a feeling of dread cast its pall over my very life.

As happened frequently Kennedy family members would enjoy enjoyed a full and high profile stay and in this case, two days later they left before I could say goodbye. The uncertainty was unbearable!

At a chamber of commerce meeting a few days later, I had a chance meeting with a key Kennedy politico who provided my first chance to ask how the visit actually went. “Brooks, they had a wonderful stay as always!”

Not satisfied, I pressed for more feedback relative to the massage therapy. I was able to exhale when I heard: “The massage therapist was fabulous! Thank you for arranging this on such short notice! Ted and Vicky loved him because he was such a staunch democrat!”

A handwritten thank-you note followed from the Kennedy’s as it did after each family visit. I was breathing a little easier. A few days later, an article appeared in the local newspaper detailing the charges against the massage therapist. Somberly, I faxed it to LL. I don’t know about the massage therapist’s career, but mine would happily go on.

Somehow, a bullet was dodged! Joyful moments of service to others have always provided amazing dimension to life. Such is the pleasure of hospitality and a life spent serving others well.

© 2014 Brooks Bradbury | Brooks Looks

BrooksLooks @ Crucible

Crucible

CRUCIBLE

ON SANITY’S LAST HORIZON
FIERY FLAMES BEGAN TO RISE
TENDER HEARTS BEGIN TO MELT
TEARS POUR FROM STEELY EYES

THESE ARE DAYS OF TRIAL BY FIRE
SITUATIONS DARK AND DIRE
ANY SPARK COULD CAUSE IGNITION
INTO A CODE-RED CONDITION
WHITE-HOT SEARING
DANGER THREATENS
THE TIME HAS COME
THE HOUR IS NEARING

FORCES PULLING THIS WAY
FORCES PULL AGAINST
HUMAN ANGST AND HEARTACHE
EMOTIONS WILD AND INCENSED
IN MATTERS OF THE HEART
BETRAYALS AND BROKEN TRUST
TRAITORS TURN TO LEAVE US
OLD LOVE TURNS TO RUST
PROMISES ONCE MADE
ARE NOW ONLY ASH AND DUST

IN A CRUCIBLE
WE NO LONGER FEEL
FORGED IN FIRE
LIKE TEMPERED STEEL
CAUGHT BETWEEN LIFE’S FORCES
WE BOLDLY SOLDIER ON
VIVID WILD DREAMSCAPES
PORTEND A NEW AGE DAWN
ALL WE KNOW REFORMS, RESHAPES
CHANGE IS OUR NEW NORM

WE STEP OUT INTO THE FUTURE
EMOTIONS OVERDRAWN
BRAVELY FACING EACH NEW DAY
AND EVERY RAGING STORM

WITH FIRE IN THE HOLES
OF OUR CHROME ALLOY SOULS
GALVANIZED HEARTS
AS TIMES TURN TRAGIC
FORGED FROM METAL PARTS
WE KEEP FROM GOING INSANE
STEERING AWAY FROM OPEN FLAME
LOVE’S ALCHEMY WORKS ITS MAGIC
OUR BLOOD TURNS MOLTEN GOLD
RELATIONSHIPS TURN TRAGIC
THE END TIMES, TURN STONE COLD

WILL THIS BE OUR FINEST HOUR
OR A TIME NOT ONCE FORETOLD
WILL WE RISE TO NEW OCCASIONS
OR WILL WE REFRAIN
ARE WE BOLD ENOUGH TO KEEP
OUR HEARTS AND SOULS
FROM MELTING DOWN THE DRAIN

IF WE CUT THE FUELS
THE CRUCIBLE COOLS
POURED OUT ON LIFE’S CONVEYOR
MOLTEN EMOTIONS
OOZE OUT
LAYER UPON LAYER

SOLIDIFIED LIVES REVEAL
HEARTS ARE HARDER
AND HARDER STILL
FULLY TEMPERED
LIKE GLEAMING STEEL

IN A CRUCIBLE
OUR HEARTS BECOME FUSIBLE
IN A CRUCIBLE
THEY MELT TOGETHER
TOWARD A FINAL DAY
IS IT POSSIBLE
SUCH A PRICE TO PAY
BEYOND THE CRUCIBLE
WE FIND OUR WAY

FACING LIFE’S PYRE
THE FLAMES RISE HIGHER
WE COME OUT STRONGER
ETERNALLY STEELED
HEARTS FUSED FOREVER
FIRE-ANNEALED

© 2013 Brooks Bradbury / BrooksLooks, 1 December 2013
http://BrooksBradbury.com