Sunday, April 29, 2012

Rehab Brings it All Back Home

Week 17

Rehab Brings it All Back Home


1. Here’s another Allan, and if you’ve been following, another who’s out of my life but not forgotten.

2. The beauty of poetry is that you really don’t know what you’re going to write until you do.

3. In retrospect, grade school was so full of everything. My life today barely keeps pace.

4. It’s so enriching to see talent and character for what they are, even if it’s decades later.

5. How I am shamed by Allan, who had so much more than I did that I thought was less.

6. What does stature mean to you?

7. Poise matters.


The other Allan,
who spelled our
name the same
way—unusual, that
a grade-school classmate
struck hard by polio
in sixth grade and
left an empty desk
among us for six months.
When he returned
with those clunking
leg braces and
elbow crutches
we welcomed him, I’m sure,
with fear on our faces.
He seemed none the less
for wear in class, as he
was one of our brightest,
with a technical bent
and shone in class projects.
He missed recess with us
and ate lunch alone
as the rest of us
scampered home.
One day I stayed back
and sat with him.
It was good.
I felt his aloneness
but no loneliness.
                        Remembering now,
our eighth grade
graduation picture,
there he stood full stature
among us boys in the back,
strong face, warm smile.
Where are you, Allan?

This blog is dedicated to my friend Randy Lewis,
Senior Vice President, Walgreen Co.

© 2012 Allan Cox, Allan Cox & Associates Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Struggle That Won’t End

Week 16

The Struggle That Won’t End


1. It’s weird sometimes, how we just fall into a conversation with either a friend or stranger.

2. Someone pulls the trigger on a thought they want to spend time with, and there’s a listener willing to take it up.

3. So here’s the opening gambit: Gossip can serve a good purpose.

4. A release valve, she seems to be saying. Lightens the load of anger that could get to boiling.

5. Realism in human affairs winning out over idealism—the better way.

6. OK, none of us is pure—a constant balm, a slippage inevitable.

7. But habitual, a carcass in the making, one’s own, to perfection.


We were just
relaxing on break
at a conference,
nestled in an alcove.
We’d made contact
by way of words
we spoke
in the larger group.
She says, “I’ve heard
there’s a social purpose
to gossip,
a good thing, you know.”
I said that sounds
like a journalistic tidbit,
a feature writer’s
cooking up a topic
for munching claques.
Later, I wondered further . . .
Hmmm, does it lighten
the load—in the bigger picture,
a societal safety valve?
How can it
when it makes me feel cheap—
speaking or listening?
Thoughts anyone?

© 2012 Allan Cox, Allan Cox & Associates Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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Sunday, April 15, 2012

When Life is Living in the Fold

Week 15

When Life is Living in the Fold


1.   The greatest gift in the world of love is the love of someone, not from someone.

2.   To be blown away permanently by a partner—ever and always—is psychic perpetual motion.

3.   To love fully is to be snapped to attention.

4.   When anger comes, as it will, it cannot, does not, have the heart to last

5.   We ask men to find their feminine side, but women were, at least in apparel, over and out fast with their masculine side.

6.   Being in love is to know you’ll never be alone, knowing how not to be alone.

7.   Yet love makes solitude rich.


How does he know her,
            that executive with eyes that shine,
                        and a giver’s pulse,
                                    with forgiveness in hand,
                                                and . . . so quickly hurt?

            but for her glance that holds,
                        the quick embrace,
                                    her heart-born touch,
                                                and . . . doubt a whisk.

but for her electrified hurl,
                        a toter’s arm and leg,
                                    her sure reach for what makes do,
                                                and . . . harshness that scuttles.

but for making good’s case,
                        hearing none but compassion’s voice,
                                    lighting up those drawn to her,
and . . . a will for worry.

but as mirror to his faults,
                        and gifts as well,
                                    a link—a bond, even—to those he cherishes,
                                                and . . . impatience that snuffs.

More, still, does he know her—
as a pilgrim, yes,
            believer in him and the powers,
            soul to him in love without words,
            and her the creator, hearth and home.
Love with her?
            Look at him see her right now, taking a nap, tiny triangle
            of her face covered by the crumpled sheet, eyes, nose, lips,
            serene, peeking pretty. If he ever walked out the door, he
            wouldn’t make it past the first step.

© 2012 Allan Cox, Allan Cox & Associates Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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Sunday, April 8, 2012

I’m Not Sure It Was What I Thought

Week 14

I’m Not Sure It Was What I Thought


1.      As the twig is bent the tree leans applies as to one’s early attitudes as to a parent a parent’s influence.

2.      Children crave order. If parents provide that, they’ve provided much.

3.      Every child born into the same family is born into a different family.

4.      What is it about your parents that you appreciate deeply? “Nothing” is not an acceptable answer.

5.      How have you gone your own way?

6.      What memories soothe? Which ones rankle or grate?

7.      How are you like no other person?


It seems possible
to overrate
the impact of
our parents
on who we become.
Models of virtue
give rise
to slugs and sinners.
Out of the homes
of reprobates and absentees
come swans and singers
who find and create
a wealth of environs
that nourish them.
Prediction readily defied,
what matters most,


is to claim in heart
what your parents
gave that you wove
wittingly, unwittingly
as you composed
your world’s walk

© 2012 Allan Cox, Allan Cox & Associates Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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Sunday, April 1, 2012

When I Looked and He Was Gone

Week 13

When I Looked and He Was Gone


1.      Who, long gone, still has a place in your memory bank?

2.      How did the separation take place? A move-away? Death? Illness? Argument and breach? Something else?

3.      What was that person’s gift to you? What was yours to her or him?

4.      Where is he or she now? Do you know? Does it matter?

5.      Is a regret for someone/something gone a bad thing? If not, what is its rightful place, and for how long?

6.      Donny was a mentor to me, taught me superior skills in sports, a good nature, a good picture of adulthood.

7.      Joanie Mitchell: “Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t what you’ve got till it’s gone?”


Donny floated into my life
as a lithe paper airplane lands on
a grade-schooler’s desk.

He was young-at-heart uncle to a friend of mine.
He settled in with us—
our coach, like a little league dad,
as we went at it—zealots
in our alley,
empty lot,
and on the dead-end
nearby street.

He’d been a star athlete,
and brought us
his care-filled tutelage
sprung from Apollo.

We shone.
We graduated.

When I began high school
he drove me there each morning
on his way to work.
We talked and belly-laughed—
about teachers we both knew.

Then came the sports and
the girls and the new friends
I chose to ride with
on the school bus.

One day,
as if the sun came up
for the first time,
I noticed.
He was gone,
then the light went out.

© 2012 Allan Cox, Allan Cox & Associates Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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