I Wake

- 7 min read -

I wrote this poem one day after staring at myself in the mirror thinking, “I have seen my face nearly every day of my life and it constantly changes.”

But trying to write about how your face changes throughout life seemed daunting. But waking up the next morning I realized that the world around us changes every day too. Sometimes very slightly, but always it changes.

Hope you enjoy.

I wake…
to bright lights and
unpleasant coldness that
gives way to the warmth of
my mother’s arms and my
father’s caress.
I sleep.

I wake…
to clattering dishes and
a diaper damp and soiled which
spreads as I climb the rail of
my crib and fall to the floor
and scream in fear.

I wake…
to jingling bells and
the smell of coffee and bacon which
wafts down the hall to my room
past the Christmas tree lights
and presents all for me.

I wake…
to gasping cries as
mom rocks my new sister who
is red faced and angry and
way too little to
play with me.

I wake…
to gentle nudges as
dad wakes me for my
first day of school which
fills my stomach with

I wake…
to quiet sniffing as
my dog, Happy, lets me know
it’s time to get up and
explore the world

I wake…
to silent darkness and
build universes with my
blocks, cars, and toys as
my parents sleep in their
room unaware.

I wake…
with tired eyes and
see my best friend sleeping
next to me after talking
all night and imagining our
lives ahead.

I wake…
to bulging sheets and
wonder why girls seem
so much more interesting now
and how can I get one
to like me.

I wake…
to creaking floors and
know my dad is getting
ready for work upstairs
and will soon come to
say ‘good morning.’

I wake…
to constant yelling and
stumble out of bed to
shower, eat, and catch
the bus to make it to
junior high.

I wake…
to urgent questions and
get up to help my baby brother
create new worlds of his own
while trumpet tunes play
in my head.

I wake…
to tormented sadness and
wonder why I’ve been dumped for
some guy so uncaring and selfish
who ends up hurting the one I
cared so much for.

I wake…
to loud music and
hit ‘snooze’ to gain more sleep
after working a night shift,
playing music and seeing friends in
one of many weekends.

I wake…
to a tossed pillow from my college roommate
to get me to stop snoring
just as my alarm sounds to
tell me it’s time to get to

I wake…
to gentle caresses and
soft kisses of my girlfriend who
reminds me it’s time to sneak out
of the dorm and make the long trek
back to my own.

I wake…
to insistent ringing and
discover my grandfather has died and
forgo spring break to say goodbye and
support my mom with her

I wake…
to clear skies and
a cold wind while my grandfather is
buried in a small box which is
stamped with the
tree of life.

I wake…
to frantic screams and
calm my bride down from
a lucid nightmare in which
I’ve left her cold and

I wake…
to giddy laughter and
my wife and I throw robes on
and join her huge family for a
Christmas event with kids from
1 to 92.

I wake…
to terrible news and
scream from the bottom of my soul
in anger and sadness that my
mother has passed on leaving
us without her.

I wake…
to pointy claws and
let the cat finish it’s kneading and
glance at the empty space in my bed
where my spouse used to
lay and dream.

I wake…
to clattering wheels of a garage door
and let my brother and his friend
harass me about sleeping in
my bed in our sister’s garage at
age thirty-four.

I wake…
to sheer exhaustion and
make it one more day of
working two jobs and taking
the responsibility of caring for
everyone else but myself.

I wake…
to creamy aroma and
find coffee brewing and
breakfast served with my
friend and roommate adding
hope and encouragement.

I wake…
to egyptian cotton and
a positive outlook as my
business grows, community expands and
relationships blossom creating
happiness unbounded.

I wake…
to timid questions and
let my love’s kids turn on
video games on a lazy
Saturday morning while
we snuggle up and sleep.

I wake…
to warm caresses and
a morning of lovemaking with
my sexy love who collapses and
smiles as her eyes close knowing
more adventure awaits.

I wake…
to gentle rain and
I ready myself for a holiday
with family, friends and dad who
shows up early and feel blessed
to have the time with them all.

I wake…
as an old man with inner contentment
and look back over my days to
see all the souls I have touched
and experiences I have had both
large and small.

I wake…
to a bright light.

I sleep.


Bonus verse for Buddhists and those who believe in reincarnation…

Think I’ll go again.

I wake…
to bright lights and unpleasant coldness that
gives way to the warmth of
my mother’s arms and my
father’s caress.
I sleep.

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