Conversations Over Time

Conversations Over Time

A Poem by Michael G.

(from “Friendly Smiles in Autumn”)


Conversations Over Time

(from “Friendly Smiles in Autumn”)

I haven't always taken care

of the seasons as they passed

                    by my door.

For some,

I pulled the covers over my face

                   and refused them entrance.

I didn't want to waste time

              doing the things I now know

       needed my attention.

I neglected to nourish love

             when it needed a little encouragement.

I remained detached . . .

             looking toward other interests,

                   other thoughts . . .

and the price I was paying

             was way higher than I imagined

                   it would be.


with the cost paid,

and looking at what I got out of it,

I wonder if I made

             the best bargain?

Basement shopping isn't always

             the best place to find

                  the best deals.

Another season of growing . . .

                                and learning.

Other seasons

were almost as bad.

I didn't realize I was only getting one chance

                    at some things.

I always figured I could

                    make it up . . .


Such a waste.

I should have been doing



more than what I was doing.


feeling sorry and forgetting

                to pick up and go on

are lessons

some of us have to have

            repeated . . .

over and over.

Part of learning those lessons

                              may serve well

down the road to maturity . . .

               but it doesn't change

how desperate loneliness can sometimes

                       make you.


I hope I can help pass on

              some of the lessons I had to learn

                             the hard way.


I can make a breath you take

                            a little easier . . .

or at least know

              you can get a hug

of understanding

                         from me.

Either way . . .

looking back through

              some of my Autumns

                         will bring back memories

that don't deserve to be buried

                                        without a voice.



A friend once commented, my thoughts on the impossible questions showed what a,"brilliant man I am!” (Her words, not mine.)

“That, to her, the answer to those impossible questions is always 'whatever you say,' ‘you're right,’  'you're beautiful,' and 'I love you,’  those should cover it."

My reply was,

"You would think so, wouldn't you... but you are wrong.

For example: I said, "you're beautiful and I love you."  Using two of the correct answers you have pointed out.

But we went to a party and the white slacks you were wearing had that panty line thing going on, and the pink stripes in said panties were barely visible through them. Also, you could see your "I feel sexy" leopard print bra under your tan top.

(You were a hit at the party, by the way!)

Now, I happen to think the said panty line thing is cute on some people. It showcases cute and adorable. Well, sometimes it's cute and adorable, depending on the person. But that wasn't the answer you were looking for when, before the party you asked me,

"How does this outfit look?"

Now, I'm in deep trouble for not pointing out a few things, here and there. And I can forget about the sexy bra thing tonight, too."



Some things are sugar coated

to make them more agreeable

to get down.

I guess in some cases

that's a good idea . . .

but not always.

Some things

are better taken cold,

with no frills.

You take it for what it is

and you go on.

Some loves

are that way.

No frills or extras to spend time on.

There isn't any dancing in the moonlight

or walking quiet beaches.

They are the ones

that run in and out

of bedrooms

so fast . . .

you didn't even catch a name . . .

or had time

to remember a smile.

I'm sure there was one,

wasn't there?

The smile I mean . . .

everyone has a name.

Every time I thought

I knew something well,

someone would come along

and show me a new


different way of doing it.

The more I continue,

the more I know,

I need to know more.

(Slowly speaking . . . )

"The more I continue,

the more I know,

I need to know more."

I wish I had remembered this thought

every time I procrastinated . . .

or just went through the motions

of doing my studies in school.

For this reason,

I feel I must apologize

to each and every teacher

I had the privilege

of being in their class.

What would be the fun,

if once you learned something . . .

that was it?

Once mastered,

content . . .

satisfied with yourself . . .

to be used as pleased

then filed away . . .

forgotten until next needed.

Some live their lives this way.

They use and use some more . . .

until one day they find

there isn't anything,

or anyone left

to use.

Maybe that's why when you reach

the top of the mountain in your field,

you simply can't stay there . . .

because of the loneliness,

or because you gave away

all you had to share

to get there.

Being on top

is too singular for me.

I'd rather be

on the mountain . . .

but with friends.

High enough for a good view,

but not so high

we can't stand on the same ground


I sometimes do sugar coat

a thought here and there.

But, it’s seldom.

Most times I take and give

my facts as they are.

It might not be the most gentle of ways,

but, at least it’s honest.


with most thoughts thought

leaving the memories of them inside,

I feel the need

to relate a few,

here and there with you.

The coffee is fresh for now . . .

if you have some time

for listening

to some old guy




It's hard to acknowledge

all the friendships . . .

and the "moreships"

I've been blessed with

through my life.

I remember

in the second grade,

my best buddy then,

with his arm around my shoulder,

telling me we would be

best friends forever.

We both smiled

and readily agreed.

He moved later that year;

and, with him, went his name.

Sad in a way,

but a lesson taught about life,

though I was much too young to learn it then.

I'm sure he found new best friends

over the years like I did.

That's one of the beauty of friends.

They can be either permanent or temporary.

But in the moment of their closeness,

they are so very important . . . and needed.

I got to talk with one of those

"yesteryear" friends the other day.

I remarked how I would love

to go back to her basement,

and eat my fill of homemade jam

stored by her mom on the wooden shelves.

She said it was still there,

all I had to do was come.

What a treat!

No, not the jam,

though I'm sure it would still be good.

But, in a flash of conversation,

fifty plus years were erased,

and we were those two loving friends again,

enjoying each other’s company.

I don't think it matters

about the time or distance.

Somewhere in heart and mind

friends live, laugh, love, and care

for each other . . .


Looking back

I remember a lot about that young man

that raided homemade jams.

He did live, laugh, love, cried,

and learned so many things . . .

long before the summers of you.

Going back . . .

           way back . . .

                        to when.



I am thankful to have been brought up by a very loving family.

They nurtured and promoted all the things right and true.

They grounded me.

For all that I can only say thank you, over and over.

This is for them with the hope

I haven't failed in bringing my own children

up the same way.



I remember running as a kid,

too wet behind the ears

to realize

I was wet behind the ears.

The pleasures

                 of youth . . .

the innocence of those days

                               still surprises me

and causes a melancholy smile

to sneak across my lips.

Baseball, kites,

racing around the house . . .

never quite beating my older brother . . .

though I tried as hard as I could.

Home Run Derby

              with plastic ball and bat,

and real baseball games

               played in our handmade

vacant lot ball field . . .

              backstop and all.

Not too bad for seven and ten-year-old


Warm spring days

lazily turning to hot summer ones . . .

All I knew was the warm summer air

and sleeping soundly and hard at night.

Tree climbing became

                    an Olympic sport.

Along with bicycle riding . . .

                   both long distance

                              and sprint racing.

Honey bees,


and clover.

Bluest of blue skies

and ripe blackberries and plums.

Wild strawberries and

apples and pears.

We played


                          and marbles.

Every kid had a bag full.

     Steelies, crystals,

                  and cats eyes.

And then the giant, oversized ones.

Summer life

was good for growing,

        if you didn't skin your

                     knees and elbows too bad.



End of summer

usually came with a new pair of jeans or two

for the coming school year.

Still too warm for them . . .

they needed washing a lot

to get the stiffness out of them . . .

and still they were too hot

to wear.

Later, they would feel fine . . .

but not when new in the waning summer days.

I didn't mind school

so much.

I liked the science

and the English . . .


I had to work harder to pass.

Great cafeteria food . . .

though I don't remember

thanking the lunchroom ladies.

They smiled my way though,

‘cause my plate would always

be empty.

Except when we had liver.

And school

brought opportunities

to see . . .



now I can tell

of the crush I had on . . .


Her dark eyes

seemed to look straight through me,

whenever she caught me glancing her way.

I wanted to tell her

how pretty I thought she was,

and how smart she was

when she easily answered questions.


fourth grade boys seldom did

those things back then.

Then she moved across town

                                 to another school,

and I lost touch with her.

                                 I found out

I had a heart . . .

           and it could be broken.

I wish

I had known you around then.

You would have explained away

the hurt.

As it was,

I lived with it . . .

and didn't like it.

I saw her again,

years later.

We smiled and had a pleasant conversation.

Her eyes and smile

were as pretty

as I remembered . . .


even more.

Though I never touched on how I felt

way back when . . .

I think

perhaps she knew.

Looking back . . .

maybe I should have told her.

At least,

she could have had a chance

to either laugh at the idea . . .

                or smile

at a lost memory never born.



Walking to school,

on cold weekday mornings,

always astonished

it could get as cold as it did.

A small group

would walk together . . .

breaking the ice

on the puddles

as we came to them.

There would be excitement

as we passed

the old bottling company . . .

and the Sugar Truck would be

pumping in the liquid sugar.

Always a tiny drop

would leak around the big hose,

and we got

our free sugar rush.

It made the walking a little less tiresome.

The sixth grade

arrived . . .

and so did several new girls.

(Yes, boys do notice girls at that age.

It's just hard to let them,

or anyone else know.

We weren't ready to dive into

the unknown . . .  just like that.)

I was surprised to find

they had been there all along . . .

I just hadn't noticed.

Either heartbreak or age

I'll never know which, hid them from view,


they were in my sights then.


pretty green eyes,

short brown hair . . .

a little on the tomboy side . . .

a side I liked a lot about her;

and, wow, what dimples, when she smiled.

I really liked her . . .

and would sneak peeks

when she wasn't looking . . .

but she liked someone else.


blonde with dark brown eyes

always in pretty dresses,

made up her mind

she would be my girlfriend.

That surprised me.

A girl could pick a boy?

I was finding new stuff out about

love and relationships.

And though I put up a front,

I didn't mind at all.

If there was a line, Sharon was behind me.

When we ate lunch,

she sat beside me.

If we had to dance in class,

she was my partner.

Our teachers thought it was cute.

Deep down, I was pretty proud of it.

I don't think I ever told her thanks

for liking me . . .

I certainly didn't do anything

to deserve her attention.

But, graduation came, and I moved to another school.

I never saw Sharon again . . .

though she still brings a smile

when waiting, passing the time

standing in line ordering coffee

or any memory causing lines.

So many things would happen

                               in the autumns to come.

I would learn about the game called “spin the bottle.”

With her brown hair, dark eyes

                              and glasses,

I thought made her look

                              even prettier somehow.

I can still remember the plaid skirt she wore.

She had the most gorgeous eyes and smile.

And she did have perfect fingers.

They fit my hand just right.

Kennedy died that year.

I thought then

the world would never be the same . . .

                  and it wasn't.

My grandfather died the next spring.

He lived across the street

                         from my classroom.

I saw the ambulance pull into the driveway

                                         and before I could get there,

                          they were gone.

                 So was he.

A confusing year,

for someone still growing up . . .

                        and finding / searching for himself.



A summer spent working.

Mill work wasn't my cup of tea.

Too hot, too early,

not enough money . . .

and no time.

She went overseas . . .

a trip she was excited about.

I wasn't as thrilled

but we promised our love

for each other . . .

kept safely in hearts

until her return.

We endured the separation,

her better than me.

Sadly, we only made it several months

beyond her return.

Though it was on again,

and off again . . .

we had changed.

She had gotten smarter . . .

and I hadn't.

I found a jealous streak

that caused me to hurt.

The heartache of the fourth grade

didn't even compare.

But recovery came,

and we graduated as friends.

I'm proud to call her a friend today.

But sometimes . . .

the melancholy smile returns.



“The thing about pals,

you always know they are there . . .

even when they're not.”



The military taught me

a whole different set of values . . .

and beliefs.

I always loved this country

and what it stood for in a world at the time

when standing for something

might mean sitting in protest

or standing with other like-minded believers.

People who went off to find themselves,

lost themselves in mind-bending ways.

Strange time to live . . .

strange time to serve.


we lived in a country

where you could be free to be.

Some of us though,

went off to war . . .

and we were proud to do so.

Fighting for the right

for you to be free to disagree.

For some to be able to curse our flag

and the man wearing the uniform.

That was hard,

but easier than to be called a killer of children

and spat upon.

We still fought . . .

some came back whole.

Some just came back.

Some . . .

friends . . .

didn't come back at all.

There's a wall in Washington

with their names on it.

I can't make myself go see it.

Perhaps, one day.

They deserved so much more

than what life gave . . .

and took from them.


not old enough to vote,

gone before they could

give their voice to a future.

Politics can fly in the face

of a person in uniform sometimes.

He might not like the rules . . .

but he'll play by them . . .

and silently hope they are right.

There is a brotherhood reached,

no matter what branch you served

the bonds are close

and you know the one beside you

will give everything if needed . . .

and he knows that of you.

Left unsaid

for the most part . . .

but always there.

It certainly gives pause

when you are staring at a nuke

not thirty feet away,

waiting to be loaded

under the wing of the bird

that can and will deliver

such a game changer,

because that's what we were there to do,

if need be.


I thought they would be bigger




I hope I never become a burden

in the Autumn and Winter of my life.

I hope to never feel I know so much

to tell you how you should be . . .

and how things should be.

If I ever get that way,

tell me . . .

so I can fall on my knees

or find the nearest church

to pray for forgiveness

for such transgressions.

This evening,

The air feels cooler.

Even though Indian Summer is in full swing

and control.

Like many things,

it's just a false front

of what really is and will be.

That's okay with me for now.

I don't want to put on long sleeves

and wear socks,

and have the mind set

that a hoodie is the right thing for wearing.

My feet have long become

accustomed to the freedom

of my flip flops,

and loafers when I have to dress up.   

Let me still have walks along the beach.

Let me still see sunsets

and not think about how close

it’s getting to bedtime.

There's still plenty to do

before the end of the day.

Maybe write a verse or two

and have a glass of wine . . .

      . . . or two.

Sunsets can be inspiring that way, sometimes.


I'm old enough to know

when I need to sleep . . .

I think.


© 2017 Michael G.

Author's Note

Michael G.
Thank you for reading my work.
This piece is interwoven throughout the book, "Friendly Smiles in Autumn," as a explanation to the poems. It helps bring time and life, and different conditions together.

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Sir, iam glad to read your heart's unfulfilled desires, your mistakes, your experience, your mind, your regrets and reality....

There are also quite a many things in my life for that i regreted.... And quite a few matched with yours....

Its really is important to have someone experienced who had faced time's hard ship, constantly watching over. To make life less regreted.

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Added on August 3, 2017
Last Updated on August 3, 2017


Michael G.
Michael G.

Holden Beach, NC

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