Catching Up With New Years

by | Jan 4, 2024 | Larry's Observations

Photo by Mark Tuzman

Catching Up With New Years

by | Jan 4, 2024 | Larry's Observations

Photo by Mark Tuzman

A commentary examining the velocity of our lives.

Two days after the new year has commenced, and I am still wondering what the heck happened to 2003. Thankfully, it went by at record speed, and I am relieved it did so. We need a break!

Never, have I seen a year so full of challenges and despair yet still find overriding hope that not only will transfer to the new year but expand this year to be one made of dreams instead of heartbreak. So, yes, I refuse to live in Heartbreak Hotel and have moved on to a better domicile! Let us call this one Friendship Inn and dedicate this year to one of improving friendships and life.

This year I pledge to be a better friend, better spouse and better parent, grandparent, and yes great grandparent (love you Paxton). How will I achieve this? The answer is rather simple—I will listen. I will listen better than I have ever listened before. I will listen to the words that said to me, I will fully acknowledge, understand, and appreciate what is being communicated. I do not see this as a resolution as just a better way to conduct my life. By truly listening and not keep trying to get my point across I will know whether a friend is hurting or happy. I will know what they want from life and what I can do to help them. This is what I want from life. This is what I can give to life.

The following poem dubbed Velocity explores life and professes my concept of friendship:


The velocity
of a bullet
can be computed
in deference
to distance traveled
also known as space
and then divided by time.

The velocity
of being on the
receiving end
of said bullet
can be figured
but once received
it is hardly
worth the
calculated effort.

the argument
that my bullet
is faster
than your bullet
hardly matters
if you are the one
being shot.

The velocity
of a rainbow
includes color
as well as the pot
of gold supposedly
at the end of it
and excellent depth

Whereas a bullet
has an intended target
unless shot accidentally,
a rainbow always appears
to be an accident of nature.
This is usually never repeated
except once when driving
from Palm Springs
3 (three) rainbows
magically sprouted
simultaneously from the sky.

Awestruck, we (as a race)
like to be hit by rainbows.
They do not hurt or
puncture and
always make you
feel lucky or blessed.
Additionally, there is
nothing frustrating
about rainbows and
they are not known to kill.

The velocity
of friendship
can easily and
readily be worked out
without disturbing factors
of weather or acts of god.

The speed of friendship
is simply determined
by acts of profundity
mixed with consistency
and divided by reliability
plus most importantly
the willingness
to take said bullet
whatever its velocity
for said friend.

The next piece is about self-realization:


My childhood was nothing to talk about
filled with clouds of introspection
and faulty wishes without backbone
I felt small and insignificant.

I wanted to be tall
standing up for myself
not stand out in the crowd
find me through the noise.

There were dreams I forgot to dream
and relevances I found irrelevant
I needed to detach my roots
from the soil of my birth.

O Joy O Joy – Life consumes time
and the friend I alway sought
stared back at me from the mirror.

The final piece in this issue is about friends passing:


Ache filled universe
– Sharp pain.

Cries filled with mourning
– Life gone awry.

A heart stops
beating and now
must live
in our own
– A death between friends.

This sudden
thrusting of fear and loss
no way to make up for
presence lacking
– Where does hope glimmer?

A spiritual heart never flags
never stops beating
corporal to ethereal
it is a rising
not a falling.
– A rising not a falling.
– And though your friend’s heart is still
it yet beats in your own.

Video and Song

And to top things off here is one of the best songs ever about friendship — Carole King’s You’ve Got a Friend. James Taylor made it a hit back in the day. But I like this version just Carole, her piano and her song!


Double Header

Let’s make it a double header with another of my favorite songs of all time—Stand By Me covered by the Playing For Change Around The World! I just love this song and this version although of course Ben E. King does a more than admirable job!


Lawrence George Jaffe

Lawrence George Jaffe

Lawrence George Jaffe is an internationally known and an award-winning writer, author, and poet. For his entire professional career, Jaffe has been using his art to promote human rights. He was the poet-in-residence at the Autry Museum of Western Heritage, a featured poet in Chrysler’s Spirit in the Words poetry program, co-founder of Poets for Peace (now Poets without Borders) and helped spearhead the United Nations Dialogue among Civilizations through Poetry project which incorporated hundreds of readings in hundreds of cities globally using the aesthetic power of poetry to bring understanding to the world.

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