Divorce, Single Parenting, Dating, Sex, & Self-Recovery

poetry

The Off Parent – Series: love, kids, divorce, humor, release, sex

when you lose everything, love comes into focus

when you lose everything, love comes into focusLet’s take a new approach. Let’s go after local resident and legend Adrian Grenier and see if we can give him another successful show. Let’s feature Austin, SXSW, ACL, Barton Springs, and Formula 1, all as part of what gives this show gravitas. It’s going to be a must-see on HBO (our first choice), because the heart behind the show is writer and single dad advocate, John McElhenney. (Me.)

How would a tv show bring about real change in the family law that gives dads the old 70/30 shaft and asks us to accept that moms should be given the house, the money, and the kids? That’s the way it was in the ’50s. But the states don’t want to give up the gravy train of child support collections. That’s what makes up 80% of most Attorney General’s budgets. And it’s paid for by the government. The states are incentivized to assign child support to one of the parents and then they make their money based on the “money” they have under management.

If you would like to be an early script reviewer or a pilot test group member, please reach out to me via email here: john.mcelhenney (at) gmail (dot) com.

Enjoy. Blessings.

 


not enough kisses (a poem)

i already know there is not enough time
to tell you
now that i’ve found you
how grateful I am
not enough nights
to kiss you
not enough ways to say
i love you
we’re already behind
so i will do my best
each day of our time together
to let you know
you are beautiful
important
and loved

6-14-22


live from nipple (a poem)

Love Lives Here

Love Lives Here

i found myself at home
at rest
and excited at the same time
i could not lose
in the arms of love
so i learned to rest
open
breathe and stretch
streaming now


and she was (a poem)

and she was (a poem)

and she was (a poem)

and she was in front of me
today
like every other day
and today
i stopped
to praise her beauty
i forget sometimes
and her smile
transformed my being
into something more light
her warm embrace
even as I could not see her eyes
summer’s warming zepher
as the sweat drips
she is with me
lifting me
from the inside
a mood of unusual size
blowing through my body
as we dance
on the beach
in the snowy woods above Taos
in the warm waters
of Oho Caliente
and she is always here
somedays
i forget to see

5/12/22


perched (a poem)

the beautiful people at whole foods

the beautiful people at whole foods

once again perched among the beautiful people
and organic zuchinni and body wash
everyone is here
a food party and fashion show
scuffed sneaks costing more than a month of groceries
it’s high time in mecca
wellness and beauty
wine and craft beers
have taken center stage here
and today
finally
i am not seeking more than a thrill
and a pint of ice cream
made of air, cream, and sugar
the gourmet in me
knows that mac and cheese
is fancy or particularly healthy
but here
snaking through the aisles
with the scent of sandalwood
chanel and cut citrus
following a whimsical idea
towards the grain-free breakfast cereals
and a moment arrives
awareness of my own boredom
there is nothing i need or desire
i am complete
satisfied
and loved
the view is interesting
yet holds no promise

4-18-22


how to let you go (a poem)

leaving her

leaving her

how long will i look for a face
among the throng
roaming the whole foods beer section
and notice
an absence
missing in action
gone like yesterday
there is no metaphor that fits
and no messages coming back
too busy
chaos
still not one thing i can do about it
keep moving up and away
allow ‘if onlys’ to recede
and this ache in my chest
to inherit new meaning
no longer missing
but missing
big love
i knew once

4-6-22


as the night cools (a poem)

as the night cools (a poem)

as the night cools (a poem)

as the night cools
and the lights swirl in the waves
i imagine your voice
telling me something whispering
about spain
about kisses
about a moment only dreamed
a sad piano song jingles
rays of dying light merging
blue and orange
and stars that we can’t yet see
above people we miss
hearts we’d love to hug again
whoosh whoosh sound of water
as a boat destined for home
slices the glass-like lake
racing into the coming darkness
warmth of the day is done
the grass is cool and damp
under my feet
walking back towards
my solitude
i am amiss
cooler air is pushing day to night
and the dead sleep of the living
well played
ready for reset
on things i didn’t get to
lovers i didn’t call
and prayers
still spilled
as the night cools

4-3-22


losing the thread (a poem)

fallen on court

fallen on court

i keep losing the thread
how we could get closer
follow along the edge of the creek
looking for a shady spot
to rest
cast a fly or two
breathe in the sunshine
and crisp new mexico spring afternoon
but i am in texas
only recalling your hand
the soft sound of your voice
lilting easy laughter

3-31-22


i want you to know you are loved (a poem)

phone screen matrix

phone screen matrix

i want you to know
you are loved
i want these words
typed not spoken
to resonate in your heart
as you voice them to yourself
i can’t touch you
i can’t see you
yet, here we are
having a short intimate conversation
and while we are here
i’d really like to leave you
with a smile
and a murmur of confidence
that the love in your life
is enough
that your light
brightens may souls
who hover around
even if you can’t see them
as we can’t see each other
yet here I am
still clicking here in my moment
and you following along in yours
blessings
and wordle bliss
pointed at your happiness

3-30-22


just for a second (a poem)

breathe

breathe

walk outside right now
stop stop stop the rush
of this day and moment
and go breathe a cloud in
take a pause to collect
the pieces of your soul
scattered out along the rush
of this work
this adventure
this life

you know
there is no other chance
this is the big show
you should not be waiting
for some sign
if you are
this poem is the sign you were waiting for
don’t wait
go outside
stop driving so hard and fast
open yourself to the softness of an afternoon’s heat
to the smell of the cedar
even as it makes your eyes water
give space for god
or your higher power
to catch up with you
don’t hurry on
don’t interrupt
just listen to a few good deep breaths
IN
and
slowwwwly
OUT
pause
repeat

this break brought to you by war
nearby deaths
tornadoes touching down next door
and all that is sacred in our lives
but ignored
escaped through entertainment
missed with resentments and anger
this break
is the beginning
the opening
for your change to happen
now
right now

in this second
with each word of a poem
you are opening to the pause
the great pause
the slow inhale and exhale
the modern recovery act
i am only here as a friend
a lover
a colleague
in every interaction i hope to encourage
champion
and cheer
for your success
as we both learn to slow it all down
this work/life balance destination
and do it now
do it even if we don’t feel it
do it because it will take effect
more powerfully than any antidepressant
more than sex, or chocolate, or money
the pause
the connection with another person
may be the most two vital practices on the earth

with these words, these strokes of keys on a laptop
i am joining with you
calling for your moment of connection
with your inner voice
your breathing
and your tuning in and dropping out
of the furious pace of your world
please pause
please take the breaks you need
please celebrate those around you
at every moment
and know that i am with you
in this journey to aim our hearts
closer to the beloved
i am here
you are there
we
are
in this most sacred
now

3-23-2022


this little flitter (a poem)

shadow the cat

shadow the cat

tooth rough against my tongue
80’s rock vibrating my earbuds
and decaf coffee
to decrease the stimulation
in this simulation of a life
as art
as a poem
written out one breath at a time
open to the sunshine
and the rain
as it resets my compass
towards soul bleeding expression
of love pain magic sex sugar blood explosions

once inside
my mind
an image fires up
synapses that were gray
and lifeless
now engorged and lifting
each thought moves toward a word or a sound
or is lost in the bustle of work life love loss

i cannot give it to you
there is no word that would awaken your mind
as this thought has blasted mine wide open
a word-jam-orgasm happening at this moment
with this clicking of the keys
toto finds home again
and my mind is flooded with good vibes
and memories of other sunny mornings
and coffee that burned with awakening
and this fuel must give liftoff
towards a well-articulated planet
of love life art held between each inhale
alone or in a crowded coffee shop
each stroke and letter leads to another
i can’t seem to stop or edit this flow
even as i am becoming restless
ready for the next buzz of my amygdala
as the dopamine rewards even this little flitter

3-19-22


pulled under (a poem)

pulled under (a poem)

pulled under (a poem)

she pressed back towards the surface
the ghosts had released their hold on her legs
once more i was trying to rescue and restore
this is a dangerous mode for any man
and failure would mean death or something worse
loneliness again
loss
hopeless romantic suicide
there is no “fix you” in love
between lovers
we need balance
higher/lower is a trap
and a lie
we are together for a reason
and the lessons we learn
will be important
if we can quiet our own panic
and listen
just to hold
space
for the beloved

healing that comes from being in love
and holding the line between us
as a sacred bond
and agreement
this is how we love
without losing our own
minds

2-16-22


change of plans (a poem)

walking away from love

kissing her neck

i wanted her exactly as she appeared
i wanted a change
i asked
i prayed
love languaged
yelled
whispered
kissed
self-loved
inspired
lost
left
returned
left again
broke down
died
reanimated
to let go
one
more
dear heart

2-11-22


she could not be caught (a poem)

girl in paris

girl in paris

just as i remembered her
on the gay streets of paris
i was 19
she was 22
and spoke no english
we managed
in the morning
the eiffel tower visible
through the small steamy window
i had arrived
or
fulfilled a fantasy
and until this photograph emerged
from an old envelope of black and whites
she was no longer an obsession
yet the fires flared immediately
as if i was still a young man
she could not be caught
she said
men had tried
i was different
but wouldn’t slow her down for a second
of course
she was right
the next night
she didn’t show
even though i told her i was leaving
heading off to spain
and on to oxford
for my summer program
stratford and all that
the other photo of her
melted into dust in my wallet
after a few hot months
the next summer

1-17-22


The Self-Regulation of Poetry and Longing

OFF-songwriter

I understood something tonight for the first time. It came about after I wrote a post on depression and the artistic temperament for one of my other blogs. As I was explaining how my art is often a form of self-soothing, I cracked open a tiny window into my own current situation. I’m not depressed, but I am highly activated and in an artistic spurt. Tonight as yet another love poem (or poem of #desire, as I’ve come to call them) surfaced I caught a glimpse of myself, doing my thing. And I noticed the effect. The poem of longing seemed to relieve some of my sufferings. It gave me a lift even as I was expressing my dismay.

In touching the sadness in words I can begin to unlock and feel them in life.

By telling my story, even in poetry, I am giving voice and awareness to my inner voice, my inner pain. I don’t admit my sadness or loneliness much these days. I’m too busy, too creative, too “happy.” But tonight, something in the back story of the love poem signaled from my subconscious creative brain to my rational and self-assessing brain that there was a problem.

Again, it’s a poem. But as I look back on the two books of poems that have come out of this period of my life, I began to understand, tonight, that these were as much a narrative as my prose. When read in sequence, you can see the arc and trajectory of my heart out of darkness and into hopefulness. I even achieved several moments of “love.” Even when the relationship couldn’t hold the feeling, in the poems I captured a tiny sliver of the potential.

Women of potential. My muse.

And tonight, as I was writing this poem, about something as simple as noticing a woman’s dark shiny hair, I was also able to hear a bit of the ache that I long to medicate with a relationship. And barring that, a love poem.

In the act of desiring, in the writing of a romantic epistle, I am releasing some of the tension I feel. In touching the sadness in words I can begin to unlock and feel them in life. Again, I’m not sad, but I’m lonely. As creative and inspired as I am, my seeking is consistent and unanswered. I have learned patience. I have learned the language of love. I have taught myself to compose songs. And yet… I’m alone.

Another moment occurred this weekend that opens up a bit more of my thinking about relationships, and “what’s next” for me. I had taken a long Saturday afternoon to drive my daughter and two of her friends to the local outlet mall for her birthday. That afternoon, when I got home, alone, I was exhausted. After a quick nap, I arose and felt inspiration hit as I was trying to put down a song idea with my guitar and computer. An hour later I was one song richer, and again, slightly exhausted.

And at that very moment what I wanted was someone to share my song with.

It’s sort of romantic, and productive, all this being alone. But it’s not a condition I aspire to, it’s merely where I find myself at this moment.

I contemplated going out. There was a local band playing, and I knew the woman who books the club was newly single… But I was tired. Fulfilled somewhat with my creation. And still, aching for connection. So some of what I am longing for is simply being seen. Having someone to share my new book of poetry with. Or even a new poem. Sure, I’d like someone to come along who can trigger some of the “loving” sides of my poetry and songwriting, but I’ll settle for a confidant. Well, perhaps a cuddling confidant.

I know that I don’t want to become addicted to this state of longing. It’s sort of romantic, and productive, all this being alone. But it’s not a condition I aspire to, it’s merely where I find myself at this moment. And clearly, for a few moments more.

All is well. A new poem is written. A song released inspires yet another. My creative heart flows and flies.

And. Longs. For. Connection.

Sincerely,

The Off Parent
@theoffparent

*this post was written in December, 2014

related posts

image: the author, kristy duff wallace, creative commons usage


The Yoga Girl Next Door; What Is An Erotic Ideal, And What Is Real?

What would you talk about with a yoga girl?

What would you talk about with a yoga girl?

 

There I was leaning into her new red Prius, talking about PR and yoga and her plans. It was as if I had put my head into a spaceship and was looking at some Penthouse forum photo of “the yoga girl next door.” But there was nothing going on. She was a next-door neighbor, and I was asking her about her work and her Prius.

I’m guessing she’s in the 20-years-younger range. Blonde. Stunning body in black tights. Raybans. Biggest smile you’ve ever seen. And what would I have done with her if she had been asking about coming over later? (She was not.)

I’ve been dating.

As I walked the long distance back to my car after the kiss, I was erect as a bar of iron, and wondering how — in my fkd up state — someone else could be attracted to me.

This is the first “relationship” I’ve been in since my divorce. The other two were both in the neighborhood of one week, and that’s not a relationship, that’s a fly-by. The first one was the woman who slept with pit bulls. The second one had the prettiest smile you have ever seen, but she lived 80 miles away.

So I wouldn’t say I’m experienced. In fact, I would say I’m a newbie in the department of dating. And dating as an adult who’s about to cross into my 50’s, I have to say, things are very different than when I was last on the market. I’m different. The women are different. I have two kids and a schedule that imposes some initial absence regardless of how fast I want to go in terms of hanging out together.

Sure, I’ve got an OK Cupid profile. (Tried Match and eHarmony.) But I haven’t been working it. And from the depths of my aloneness, I wasn’t in any mood to be imagining or looking for companionship. In fact, I was flat out deluded about how far fked up I was.

Enter attractive 54 year-old woman on OKC that says, “Hey, why didn’t you respond to my last email?”

If warning bells are going off it’s only because she is into ME too much. Or more than I have ever experienced. She was telling me I was “much more attractive” than my profile over our first drink together. And in the parking lot, as I walked her to her new convertible Mini, she held up before opening the car and half-kissed me. We still joke about who kissed who, but she HAD been dating a lot. And she was prone to “trying out the kiss” in the parking lot, even on the first date. I had not kissed any of my “dates.” You tell me…

And as I walked the long distance back to my car after the kiss, I was erect as a bar of iron, and wondering how — in my fkd up state — someone else could be attracted to me. Was that in itself a huge red flag?

OR… Did she see something in me that was solid and cute and funny, regardless of how I was feeling?

Three days later, we were kissing on my couch as a prelude to the trip upstairs, where she said as she was unbuttoning my pants, “You don’t know how long it’s been!”

Two months later… Well, I’ve driven the Mini quite a bit.

Am I looking for some erotic ideal that is more about masturbatory fantasy and trophy wives that parade around the nearby HEB in their yoga pants.

But there is something that I am not feeling, that I think I should. As we continue and she confirms repeatedly how much I fit her picture of a prime fit, I am not sure. I did not have the euphoria associated with passion. I don’t crave her. Her beautiful blue eyes and easy laugh are wonderful, but for some animal reason, I would not pick her out at a party as someone I wanted to get to know. She is attractive. She is a bit older than any of my previous relationships. She is completely crazy about me.

Am I out of my element? Am I looking for some erotic ideal that is more about masturbatory fantasy and trophy wives that parade around the nearby HEB in their yoga pants? (Don’t they have to work? Um… No, they don’t.)

So I have a woman who craves sex and time with me. She does not play games. She has told me from the beginning how delicious she thinks I am. She even told me, after a lengthy discussion about my previous relationship history, that she wanted to learn how to give me the best blow job ever. (WHAT?)

The yoga girl next door represents a college-age fantasy. I am not of college-age. She is thin, beautiful, and I would assume, somewhat spiritual, being a yoga instructor and all. But she and I have nothing in common. Would I find things about her that fascinate me? Would she cook me a meal, come over to my house, and leave me with leftovers? (like a tame Penthouse Forum post)

My experience, thus far in my life, says no. My experience, thus far in my life has never had someone so crazy about me. I feel almost guilty about not being able to return the level of excitement about her. I am trying. I am stretching. I am exploring everything with her, to see if the animal hotness grows. I mean, the truth is, I was depressed beyond measure. And NOTHING sounded good. I didn’t crave anything, not even ice cream. So how could I expect my senses to crave this available woman?

Sincerely,

The Off Parent

*This post was written on Nov 2012.

< back to On Dating Again index

Additional posts:


spitting fire (a poem)

girl in a black dress

girl in a black dress

there she was in her little black dress
just crossing the bridge towards me
spitting fire
asking me to engage
or be enflamed to bursting


the farther i fall (a poem)

snowy walk alone

 

snowy walk alone

in the blue sky
the hope for a season of love
in the snowy nights
and stormy days
ahead
optimism points to yes
to you
with me

1-4-22


she is aspiration (a poem)

she is

she is

she is stronger than i know
more beautiful than i’ve had a chance to discover
reaching for her lover
with grace and a smile
to light 1,001 nights
beyond where i’ve ever been
and she knows
i am beside her
every step of the way
even as the course corrections may be numerous
this flight plan
is one we’ve both been drawing on our own
praying for a copilot
for the heavy weather
as well as ice cream sundaes
rainbow fkn unicorns
we are
she is

1-1-22


girl in waves (a poem)

girl in waves

girl in waves

she said my presence in her life
was no longer a priority
as she left for three weeks in hawaii
i stayed calm
as I stayed in her place
awaiting

her return
did bring a moment
of clarity
as i volunteered to give her more space
it was as if
we had been living to two separate worlds
me still loving as hard as i could manage
her establishing a different plan
that didn’t include me

i
showed myself out
still howling at the loss
and dancing alone
in the moonlit waves
closer to home
lone wolf
again

12-30-21


winter berry (a poem)

winter berry (a poem)

winter berry (a poem)

cold races in
whispers your absence
bed empty and disheveled
pillow tightly held
a wet winter day
beckoning to me
retreat
relapse
rest
release

12-29-21


drinking winds (a poem)

i drink winds
like a fabled monster
swallowing the ocean
i become bloated with ideas
dreams
songs
letters that beg
to be turned into a poem
i travel to find new breezes
i ask companions to join me
in the ecstasy
blowing
along
inhaling every second
trigger point
fingertip
tongue
laugh
waves arriving
waves retreating
and the moon
her tides
and mysteries
and blessing
just breathe

12-24-21


her cherry christmas kisses (a poem)

liz phair christmas

liz phair christmas

is it okay to lust after rockgrrls
who sling strats
songs of younger men
extraordinary women
with everything
i
desire

i
am
on a path
towards
open tunings
chord voicings
and
her cherry christmas
kisses

12-15-21


patterns (a poem)

patterns (a poem)

patterns (a poem)

l e t t
e r
s

patterns
expressing
e
         mo
                     tion

more random
than not
more clear at times
than syntax
overthinking

over
word
ing

this then
is not a love poem
as you might have surmised
but a
pattern of
lines
to
crudely outline

this word
vs
that sound
vs
love
hunger
lust
sadness
etc

another
completed
exercise
aimed at space
launched into this vacuum
via
bits
bytes
and the webby wonder we weave

12-09-21