All posts by msktb

Michael Morton is a teacher, student, son, and father. He teaches at Quarter Mile Lane School in Bridgeton and in the Gear Up Program at Cumberland County College. He is an alumni of Rowan University. His children Emily and Dylan are also very involved the various community activities. As an former firefighter of the Gouldtown Volunteer Fire Company, Michael prefers to support his fellow fire fighters in innovative ways. In 2012, he ran for public office in my township. As the top vote-getter in that election, he pledged to uphold the Constitution as he pursued positive change for his community. He's lived in Cumberland County for nearly 30 years. He's been a second grade teacher for 6 years. Before that he taught early education at the district preschool (GOFECC) for a year. He taught 8th grade Civics at West Avenue School for a short period of time. Including his experience teaching special education in the Millville School District, he has taught for a total of twelve years. Currently Michael teaches middle school Civics in the Gear Up Program at Cumberland County College. As a former employee of the State of New Jersey, Michael has held the responsibility of case worker and juvenile probation officer. He is the first in his immediate family to graduate from a four year institution with a bachelor's degree. For this reason, his family is very proud of him and continues to support my efforts in community service.

Legacy

How will they find you?  In your last moments, what words will you whisper?  What is the meaning of life? Will your love come through?

People go by.  

And most will be indifferent.  Every caloric cell in our bodies exists for the purpose of interacting with the world. What we consume directly correlates with our exhaustion.  Our time here is as relevant as what we do with our hours.  We are bound until we come unwound…unwind(ed); and it only makes sense when we stop trying to make sense of it all.  

There are no answers…just more questions.  And the unresolved conflicts have value only to the conflicted.  

Conflict 

Inflict 

Re-trick

ReMIX

We get one shot till we are resurrected.  The weary don’t want to be resuscitated.  Even the mythical creatures don’t want to be among the undead.  

Zombies 

Some bees

Red trees 

Bad knees

Give me no surgeries.  I want to die when my number is up.  But only the good die young.  

I’ll live forever.  

In better weather…

Till death do us part.  

But when WE are gone, our legacy lives on.  

But I’m no MLK or Malcolm.  


What will your tombstone read?  Mine will be blank.  Shucks the rest of my fam is creamated.  I yearn for no urn. My ashes won’t be creamy.  After all, I like my coffee BLACK.   

My blackness will be blank.  My whiteness is more grey.  My grey hair, once bald, will curl like my toes–quite bare.  

Summer has fallen.  Autumn is autonomous.  December’s solstice has lost us.  Spring will sprung no more.  In our final years, we will reflect on the memories once met.  Our legacy will mean more to those who loved us most.  

So what will your legacy be?   It need not be poetry.  Even lost sight can see.  None of this was meant to be. 

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Catylist 

He was the catylist. He brought about an inadvertant change.  And her life would not be the same.  First in his mother, and then in the life of every woman whose life he touched thereafter.  

After every guilt-ridden argument he had with his mother (especially in his teenage years), he was left reminded that he was a complicated birth. “The doctor told me that I shouldn’t have you.”

“But you are our love child…”

“We wanted you!”

“And this is how you behave?!?”

And in true Oedipus psychology, he fell in love with a woman who is very much like his mother. He overlooked mental health and insecurity when he proposed. And their love-child was not only conceived in love, but raised with praise. He loved his daughter with his whole heart.  And that level of insecurity was too much for his wife.

He discarded the insecurity as jealousy. And he excused the jealousy to keep his own sanity; and by ignoring what he thought might be wrong, he enabled a woman who otherwise would not be able to get out of her own way.

He watched her destroy a relationship after relationship. She eventually partnered with his mother to collaborate and destroy his inner being. They wanted him to believe that he was crazy. Their private meetings were filled with how to manipulate him.

When he realized what was happening he confronted them both.  He refused to deal with the recent loss of both his brother and his father. He mustered what strength he had to assert his authority in his own life.

The fallout was immeasurable. This was his first lesson (of many to come) that he can no longer be too nice to the wrong people. He internalized that he created this problem.  He believed that the turmoil in his life was a direct result of him being kind for too long.

Every relationship thereafter came with caution-and a fear of betrayal. He would trust strangers more than his loved ones. It did not take long for new relationships to deteriorate as a result of his mistrust.

He began to realize that building walls was not only good for keeping others out, but keeping the wrong element in.  He wondered if he was keeping the wrong people too close. So he removed his walls and let everybody in.  He had to be on guard more than ever.  He began to question everything.  

Questioning everything evolved into challenging authority or anyone who tried to have dominion over him.  He believed that only if he understood the world around him, he could be a part of positive change. All he wanted was to leave the world a little bit better and he had found it.

He knew that if he modeled strong manhood and effective leadership, his daughter and son would come to have the moral fortitude that others lacked.

He wasn’t wrong.  

He grew stronger.  His eyes opened.  He awakened to a world that loved…

He became excited and built new relationships.  These relationships were stronger and healthier.  He became discerning.  He began to choose his own destiny.  His energy inspired others. But he didn’t want to inspire as much as he wanted to help.  Instead of allowing his passions to keep him from the people he loved, he encouraged them to love life with him.  

He loved. He loved life.  He loved people.  He loved the creations that God formed.  He acknowledged bad things as necessary evils to evoke change.  

He became aware of his passion.  He prayed more.  He took better care of his body.  He considered the alternatives.  He explored his options.  He moved away from what he knew.   He became uncomfortable.  His discomfort became tradition until he learned to be more mobile.  Now he can’t stop.  He was once lured drama.  But he learned  that drama can inhibit. He wanted to focus more on growth.

He became a catylist for change by rejecting the norm.  He won’t look back.  Never look back…

Where Have All The Angels Gone…

When I was a kid, my grandmother used to tell me angels were all around us. When my grandmother died, my mother told me that my grandmother was my guardian angel. I haven’t thought about my grandmother in years.  But I’ve been blessed nonetheless.

For years, I’ve angli-fied humans in my life.   Every time I met someone who helped me see the good in the world, I’d dehumanize her in my own belief.  She must be heaven sent.

Angels appear and disappear.  Never really able to make a distinction, I felt a spiritual hug.  Preparing for the worst, and hoping for the best seems gloom (at least to predict unpleasantness).  But there’s always a calm voice whispering, “it’s going to be ok…”.  

Maturity and growth have offered me a new perspective.  I’m no longer used to that comforting voice.  And it’s ok.  Have the angels gone away?  Why is it that they’re never here to stay.  Angel, who are you comforting today?

Better Days

Ode to Amy

On a late-summer evening, as the streets begin to cover with autumn foliage my spokes whistle through the gentle breeze.  A bike ride at dusk and Amy in my ears, I experience a brief euphoria. 

Nothing was as it seemed.  It was all a mystery and maybe even a fantasy.  Surreal!  Waking from a midsummer’s dream, perhaps, the years passed so gently.  Nothing was as it seemed. And I am not harmed; not even by the gently lies. They could have hurt so much more.  Any pain I once felt is but a needle prick in a world of syringes and hammers.  

Even the things the I thought were happiness and bliss were merely a smoke screen. How could I have known?  And it doesn’t matter now anyway.  

The breeze blowing across my face reminds me of the gentle lips I kissed not long ago.  It made the news I received today a little less emotional. 

She’s finally engaged.  I’m glad.  I think we all deserve happiness.  And I am happy for her, and the one before her.  Whereas so many can not find the happiness they seek, it may be only because of the company that they keep.  

And then I hear this melody in my ears…”Our time will come...” One of many songs that remind me of another time, I shed no tears-which surprises me because I thought I’d be overjoyed.  Perhaps I’m underwhelmed until I sleep tonight.  

There are things that happen for reasons we will never know.  Accept that!   

If not for the signs that are prevelent only to me…BeautyBeyondBones and songs that only I seem to feel on SiriusXm and the colors I see when I close my eyes and the fragrances of flowers that aren’t real, and the people who whisper my name now that she’s no longer here, and…there’s so much more. 

The universe is talking to me. And I want to pretend that this journal entry is about an vocalist that I’ll never meet; and I want to write because I can not speak; and I want to close my eyes because I can not sleep;  and I write this now because it’s not too deep; and…


I am not the poet.  I am not any more than I have ever been.  And I can not be him or him or Him.  

Reactionary as I am…not! Nor will I be.  

Twilight plays in the background.  Dusk is in the rear view, and my bicycle reaches its home.  I am happy.   Not for me.  But for you.  

her Roeck

What we want is a reflection of who we are. Why would you want someone who would give so much of themselves that they would neglect their own needs? What is it about someone who is so forgiving and so giving that they would neglect themselves? How desirable is a person who would forget their own needs? Are their gifts so great that it’s possible to overlook their own self-care?

A firefighter who goes into a burning building to save another (without putting on his protective gear) is no more likely to save the victim then he is of becoming a victim himself. Although it seems heroic, it borders on the careless. More often than not such a hero will need to be rescued as well.

Women who want a man to put her needs before his own may be overlooking the fact that he may not be able to take care of anyone’s needs for a larger period of time.

“Here’s a nickel’s worth of free advice…”
Ladies reconsider what it is that you seek. Gentleman think twice before you leap.

The Ultimate Rejection

Women refuse men all the time. They refuse eye contact; they refuse conversation; they refuse any acknowledgement of anyone with whom they are not interested.   Men don’t refuse as often.  But men are hunters, no?   They seek out and find partners that are suitable. The are rejected sometimes (some more often than others). Charismatic men know how to mold and shift those rejections into challenges and opportunity.  Those less skilled often give up. 

Women however get to choose more often.  Now, there are surely some women who are thinking, “not me…”.  We are subject to the standards that we set for ourselves.  Some of us have high standards and refuse to settle for less.  With that decision comes periods of loneliness abbreviated with occasional opportunity.  Others have lower standards.  Those people to whom less is given, less is required.  And those whom don’t demand as much are seldom disappointed.  

But there’s more…

There’s the afterlife (said in my Prince “Let’s Go Crazy” voice). 

There are folks like you and I. We have flexible standards.  We reserve the right to change our minds.  We say “no” sometimes to the invitations we receive.  We celebrate those people we allow to come into our lives by giving them our time, attention, and devotion.  And in between we wonder how things could have gone differently if our decisions conflict with circumstances outside of our control.  

It’s natural to wonder why things didn’t work out.  It’s reflective to suppose how things could have had a more favorable outcome.  Weither we realize it or not, we are building relationships daily.  Each one is an opportunity to change our lives; to build on our experiences; and to create positive outcomes.  

But there are negative experiences too. We reject those (hopefully).  

The ultimate rejection is not when we say “no!”   It’s when we shun a relationship or when we shut someone out of our life.   When we refuse to communicate with them…

When we refuse to perpetuate a relationship…

When we insist on ignoring someone that wants to be in our life…

When we find contentment in never talking to them again…

This is the ultimate rejection.  

Prioritizing, Baby

She said, “you’re not paying attention, honey!”

He didn’t respond. 

“Hun, can you hear me?!?” she exclaimed. 

He didn’t mumble a response.  He straight up ignored.  He was not tired.  He was not distracted.  He was energized. He was FOCUSED!  And he was prioritizing.  He was re-prioritizing.  He was analyzing. He was reflecting, planning, and doing.  

What he wasn’t doing was explaining his moves. He no longer extended the courtesy of sharing his thoughts.  He was no longer afraid. Therefore their were no more “concerns” to mull over. 

He was taking back his life.  He was unapologetic.  He was assertive and no longer cared about the negativity, nay-saying, or the bull!  He recognized that there’d be fallout from his new approach. He was unmoved.  It was a consequence that he was willing to take.  There were no more “risks” because everything now was safe.  

He’s grown.  Few people understand his new walk.  He’s tightened his circle.  It’s so small now that it merely a dot.  And he’s good!

Her voice faded to the background as his own conscience echoed in the foreground.  He was consumed in his thoughts.  His actions were a slalom on a high-speed race course.  Analogies and alliteration drove his pen. His sketches resembled Dream clouds and flow charts.  

His life was his own.  His business was not his life.  Instead, his life became his business.  And for the first time in 43 years, he felt alive.  

(To be continued)