Humanist, Poetry
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Poem: The Year I grew Up

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This is a poem about growing up (not getting older) and realizing we all want to feel alive and beautiful

The year I grew up

This was the year I finally grew up
Like climbing a mountain; gasping at the view from the top
Moments of molting anguish and pain
Once in a lifetime’s enough, my heart couldn’t do it over again
Is it one of those wonders that our fathers have shared?
Yet never added the words, knowing the man tribe eventually go there
I wished the words had fallen on me in earlier years
A right of passage, filled with thorns, and roses
Looking for raindrops of wisdom: there must have been a drought
Was it the modern day metaphor and the ingredients I missed?
The sports car, the lover and dinners with tricks
Afraid to realize I’m no longer 36
Where did youth go, did it tumble away?
Did I think my body and youth would just be held at bay?
My time had come, I knew it was here, I was standing on the ledge; waiting
When youth took my hand and crossed me over the bridge
The warnings to stare straight ahead went unheeded at times
Like a child on his first day of school, watching his mom walk away
The ache of fear, the doubt of being loved stuck to my skin like oil
Would I reach for the moon, carving an unchartered path
Or would I shrivel and die in a red sports car crash
This was the year I finally grew up
And now that I’m here, I feel totally loved

Carl Meadows
January 23, 2014

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I was born June 13, 1967. I was raised in the town of Port Coquitlam, BC within metro Vancouver. I was a non-conventional boy winning awards for choreography, dance, and led many school performance numbers before grade 6. I also competed as a figure skater and was notorious for doing cart wheels on the ice. I was bullied all through my school years and ended up going to 3 different High Schools and didn't graduate from High School as a result. This was the era of no Gay Rights in Canada. I struggled with visibility, identity and self-esteem. I am one of the lucky survivors as most of my friends died of AIDS or committed suicide. I am a prolific Poet. I graduated as a Registered Nurse in 1993 and it was one of the proudest achievements in my lifetime as it defied all those folks who said I wasn't enough. It taught me that despite hardships, I could overcome insurmountable challenges. I am committed to making the world more compassionate and doing my part by celebrating LGBT contributions to the world. Every year my husband and I host a Fall Gala for 'Out in Schools' called the 'Carl and Les Fall Gala. Part of this vision is to make sure every student in BC has the opportunity to see their self worth through LGBTQ visibility, support and action to make the world safe for everyone. I am President for the Foundation of Hope whose vision is "a world where LGBT+ refugees can live safely and be themselves". We also support a Film Series at the Vancouver Queer Film Festival called "Migrant Voices" that raises awareness of issues surrounding Refugees, Immigrants, Asylum seekers and Migrants. In my professional life, I am a Registered Nurse and a Health Services Administrator in Health Care. I live with my husband and our dog Ted.

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