Savage Addiction

“Springfield Truck 10, respond to XXXX W. XXXXXX St. for a possible J4, with an unsecured domestic situation in progress” “Truck 10 copies, en route. Truck 10 will stage upon arrival, Dispatch, please notify when scene secured by PD” “Truck 10, update, there is no domestic, that was a child crying in the background, this will… Read more »

Under The Sea & Into The Soul

Today Facebook gently reminded me that precisely one year ago I walked into Hearts of Fire Tattoo shop to get some artwork committed to my body. It’s my take on a mermaid kissing an old-school deep sea diver, and while the artwork’s original, the design isn’t; when I first saw it, and saw it in… Read more »

Lift With Your Heart, Not Your Back

One year ago today I wrote this essay right here. It was about embracing your inner weirdo, forging forward through failure and a promise to be by your side as we stumbled through 2016. It was a story not of false hope but that through it all, we’d grow together. And the first chapters of… Read more »

For Every Man, A Sheila

“For last years words belong to last year’s language, and next year’s words await another voice” TS Elliot   The way he looks at her when we’re talking ABOUT her. The way that he describes his often broken past, the triumphs and shortfalls, his kids, his desire to be in Mexico RIGHT NOW, his unabashed… Read more »

A Muse Me

“Spend your years/ Spend your time/ With all these tears/ Not all were mine”* N. Rateliff, “Thank you” Gratitude and ego. Forever there is a balance to strike, these two dogs growling and circling in our minds, and in equal measure I’ve written about both. And, like lunar cycles, we will all go through phases… Read more »

L’eggo My Ego

SO much good is afloat. So much for which to nod our heads humbly and be grateful. According to something written down somewhere gratitude is one of the highest forms of passion, for the person that lives from a grateful standpoint is one without limits and limiting factors. I think I read that on a… Read more »

Everywhere Signs

Like a scene from some Norman Rockwell painting of the Midwest, I was sitting on the porch stoop enjoying some watermelon while lightning bugs began their twilight mating rituals, tiny Vegas signs beckoning members of the opposite sex with bright lights and the promise of a good time. It should have been more pensive, but… Read more »

To Soar Again For The First Time

“Did she push you off the cliff after taking the picture?”       -“Something like that, but not” “You’re still alive, that’s what matters. Although, knowing you, you’d just figure out how to fly on the way down, anyways.” It was singularly the kindest thing I’d heard in a while from an outside source, but… Read more »

Fire In The Soul & A Heart On The Run

“So, a fireman walks into a tattoo joint called “Hearts of Fire”…..” And thus begins a joke that has never been told. Mostly because it’s not a joke, but partly because the journey, like so many before, is unpredictable at best. It began so long ago, and the path has been so twisted and arduous,… Read more »

Paper Tigers In The Golden Cage

And another Sunday is spent at the firehouse, and with it, the promise of less radio chatter, fewer demands, and more time for the mind to roam across our own plains. Even our usual clientele seems less inclined to dial 911 on this day; it’s as though they are intuitively gearing up for a week of rampant… Read more »

Latest
  • Ghosts & Chaos

    THE rain falling outside the station office windows was a perfect background soundtrack to the task at hand on an Easter morning: editing employee evaluations over a pot of coffee. It’s Sunday, so the rest of the crew is enjoying the holiday in the various corners of our cavernous firehouse, watching movies, murmuring to their… Read more »

  • Soul Plane

    “You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks”           -W. Churchill “I wouldn’t say we were elite, no; when I look at things, though, I guess you could say I’ve had a pretty charmed life.” The old man had over 5000hrs. of… Read more »

  • The Navigator

    *insert witty, heartfelt statement about life being a journey, not a destination* “For all of your suffering No one gives a good goddamn It’s all about the money, son We doubt you understand”  R. Bingham A friend, a good and dear friend, came home the other day to be told her relationship was over. There… Read more »

  • Shelf Life

    “Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour and it seems like a minute. That’s relativity.” A. Einstein The first essay in this new year should be a song of unending optimism, right? In our conversation we each state… Read more »

  • Uninvited

    “There’s a man who walks beside me/ He is who I used to be/ And I wonder if she sees him/ And confuses him with me” -Jason Isbell, “Live Oak”   “I’m so sorry….” my voice never murmurs the words, but I’m sure she saw it in my eyes. I just realized where we were. This… Read more »

  • Till The Magnolias Bloom

    “I have a Goodwill gift for you.”  A casual sentence that sends my heart into atrial fibrillation. She’s thought of me. She pulled the trigger on a dime-store gift, which is, in and of itself, significant. There’s history there. Flea market, Goodwill, thrift store scores are greater than retail-bought; because of their randomness in this… Read more »

  • It Just Happened Today, Again

    Every year on this day, we are reminded of that most dark chapter of the fire service, and our nation; I’ve written more than a few essays on a fireman’s point of view on 9/11. When it happened I was a 26 year old side pocket, ladder-truck fireman, who’s only responsibilities at work included cleaning… Read more »

  • The View From Up Here

    Imagine if you will, you’re now a lieutenant. Scratch that. You’re a LIEUTENANT on the CITY OF SPRINGFIELD, MISSOURI FIRE DEPARTMENT, and that is an alleged “Big Deal” to the Administration of aforementioned department and now you have responsibilities. Real responsibilities with real consequences. One of those responsibilities, among the myriad arrows slung your way,… Read more »

  • Fully Sleeved, On My Sleeve

    The tones ring out, again, at 3am. People seem to have a lot of emergencies, real or imagined, at 3am. Conversely, my tolerance for people who abuse the 911 system is at an all time low when you’ve roused me from a two hour catnap because you’ve stubbed your toe and somehow convinced the dispatcher… Read more »

  • To The End, To Failure, To You & Me

    We filed in, the last visitors in uniform of the day. There is no good news on this floor of the hospital; people here often aren’t going home. Family members stand teary-eyed and solemn, holding vigil over their loved ones as they slip loose these earthly shackles and transition to whatever lies on the other… Read more »