Advent Adventures: 24 Doors of December

“The Measure of My Dreams”

Dear Readers,

I’ve been on a bit of a mourn since this past Thursday when I heard the news that Shane MacGowan, lead singer of the Pogues and punk poet extraordianaire passed out of this world. Sometimes news has a way of hitting you in places you didn’t expect it to. This certainly did. It has affected me greatly and I’m still examining it as it unfolds. I never knew Shane MacGowan by way of personal introduction, but somewhere in the formative years of my youth he appeared on the horizon much like Halley’s Comet, a once in a lifetime event burning brightly and moving like a bat out of hell across the sky. He could be found at the intersection of my personal identity and the music that I was immersed in since I was a boy at home.

My father, Paul, was a lovely man and had an affinity for the sonic sounds that were his birthright being a second generation Irish-American. He paid it forward to us kids and the sounds of Irish Traditional Music were a fixture in our home throughout our growing up. Being of a time right after disco and when punk-rock was gaining a foothold and then the second wave of the British Invasion of music via New Wave, Shane MacGowan and the Pogues appeared to us and never looked back. They were something of a bridge between the Traditional Irish Music we had heard all those years and the new punk music that was forming up around us.

We were taking the sentiments of nostalgia and the memory of injustices that were inflicted upon our ancestors and were learning that we could take those things and allow ourselves the expression of some outright hostility and anger towards those that would do us harm. Our identity forging over centuries of toil and immigration still had a way to go. This punk poet brought the lyrical light of his cigarette to the fuse of our minds and let us explore the feelings of alienation, despair, anger, resentment and the complication of reconciling these within a framework of learning to be a bit of ourselves in a new world.

He made it okay to be brash and outside of societal acceptance and reminded those of us that didnt’ feel quite comfortable within our skin that it wasn’t only the beautiful people that held sway in this world. There was a place for anyone to shout out about the madness of living and that it was certainly more than okay to do so. There are too many words to share, too many songs, too many lyrics that emphasize what this artist has meant to me personally in my lifetime.

I was in my car and on my way to work when I heard the news of his death. I immediately started to feel tears form up and spill out of my eyes. The grief is too much, because I know what we’ve lost. I’ve held MacGowan in admiration ever since those formative years, and in my pantheon of irreverent humans with exceptional insight on humanity (which includes Shane MacGowan, Charles Bukowski, George Carlin, and Dave Chappelle) Shane was a legend. I’ve always been enamored by those that could convey the simplest ideas about our lives in the simplest way possible, but using clever direct and impactful words to express the pain we share.

Shane MacGowan was a rouser, he had no problem saying fuck you when it was needed, but better yet, he reminded us that under our vulnerability beats a human heart that loves and is always holding hope that better days will come. I will miss the possibility of him gracing us with more of his talent, but didn’t have to hold that sentiment too long, as I’ve just learned that there will be posthumous releases of new material.

I know that by many measures Shane was not a perfect man and suffered greatly through his battles with addiction, but I’m certainly glad that he came along, and would say that he is the perfect embodiment of the Irish spirit that resides in those back home in Ireland and within those that have gone out into the world for myriad reasons. Life may be ugly in spots, but it is worth living and all things are a bit more possible over the music of great friends sharing a pint.

Godspeed, Shane! Thank you for the music, the words, and the perspective.






2023 · Fall Poem

“A Proportional Fall from Grace”

“A Proportional Fall from Grace”

Coffee beans roasted to perfection

Patience paying off in some measure

The most welcome and most comfortable chill of Autumn

That can be handled with cozy blanket warmth

Looking for furnace noises with my ears

Metallic mechanisms and air tickety-tack and vibrate towards a low and sustained glow

Looking to toast the tips of toes peeking through shameful holes of worn-out socks

Myriad leaves get a whipping up red, get a whipping up yellow, and die in tornado dances looking both uniform and frenzied orange

Frost gaining momentary possession of glass surfaces

Then slowly sliding down as a weakening sun rises up

Up! Up! off a fire maize horizon

Seasonal smells advance as Canadian cold fronts push the remainder of Summer away to memory

Until we once again glow magnetic ablaze in the vernal majestic

Suspended somewhere in nature’s supreme transitional testimony to existence

Poems · poetry

“But, What About…?”


“But, What About…?”


Large swirling strokes empty the vigor from an eager elbow

Transmitting ideas forward to a fluid wrist and firm hand

Ideas that were born of a brain sifting sensory tides

Alive in the ocean of being

Flopping about while trying to tread for existence

Shapes become words to be seen or heard

Digested by othered others

So they can taste the pain of surviving

Spitting out or stilled around the cavern of speech silent

The sudden recognition of an unfamiliar object or particle within a familiar comfort

It can be jarring…

And recovery, doubtful


“Sometimes, You Can’t Make It on Your Own”


There are certain days of the year when I pause to reflect. Father’s Day is among those days. It is a day to be present, but also to remember the past, with grand hopes for the future.

I am a father going on 12 years now. I became one late on a Thursday night in September of 2011, as my firstborn emerged from his place of residence, which he was stubbornly trying to avoid.

Maybe I became a father before that when my wife shared the news that the pregnancy test was positive. I’m not sure, truly.

I like to think I was predisposed to the job as I had a wonderful childhood experience at the hands of a wonderful parents. I saw how to do it. Had a front row seat to all the times that populate growing up.

Sometimes when folks tell stories they gloss over the hard times and highlight the great times, but to do that, in my estimation, really doesn’t give the whole story its due.

Parenting is really fucking hard. Grinding out life on the daily is enough to make even the most resilient of us humble. I saw the embodiment of perfectly imperfect perfection in my father.

I say this because on a day where platitudes, compliments, and the most prime of memories are featured; I feel it necessary to define the totality of the term father by highlighting the less glorious parts as well.

We are imperfect despite our inclination to not be so. We try our best, and sometimes things don’t amount to what was planned. Plenty of times we are given variables that are impossible to solve, yet we strive to come up with a workable solution.

Being a father is being a Dad. It is being present. It is being scared. It is not knowing all of the answers. It is sometimes finding the strength to cry when all around us expect us to hold the line.

Being a Dad is being a Daddy. Holding a tinier version of ourselves for a short time. It is partnering with our wives to keep these kids alive. It is to quell the hunger. Change the diapers. Hold the hands. Kiss the boo boos. Rock until your arms and legs are unable to move and they are able to go to sleep.

It is wiping up spills. Applying band-aids. It is to vanquish the monsters under the beds or in the closets. It is to wipe the soiled faces and hands. It is to keep them from harm.

Until they learn to do these things for themselves.

You spend the entirety of your parenthood learning on the job, and hope that on your worst day you still shine an example of life that they will remember and apply in their lives when they need it most.

Being a father, Dad, Daddy is a noble pursuit, and it is the best thing that I’ve ever experienced. I know I’m imperfect, as my father was before me. And despite knowing this, I can subvert my ego long enough to allow the love of my children to forgive me for this.

Because in the end, being present and loving beyond measure and trying your goddamned hardest is what it is truly is all about.

Being a parent is not a road to perfection, but the road of treasured learning and knowledge which hopefully can be paid forward and embraced by our children.

I hope my kids are watching, as I watched my Dad. I learned so much, that didn’t show up in my mind until much later on. I now possess an enormous amount of love and appreciation for my father for being the most perfectly imperfect father I could have asked for.

I wish a Hearty and Healthy Father’s Day to all the dads out there. If you ever feel alone, don’t. You are not. You have a legion of brothers with you in the trenches learning on the job that are doing their best to raise good people. You are part of something larger than yourself.  Do your best to be present, remember the past, and hold grand hopes for the future.

Poems · poetry

Summer Cottage

“Meta“ ©️C.P. Hickey 2023

“Summer Cottage”

Summer cottage

Back from the sea

Sand trails worn

Salty breeze

Past noon shadows

‘Round windows sneak

Lazy naps

Blissful peace

Sunset wonder

Horizon squeeze

Barefoot stroll

Soul at ease

Poems · poetry

“Garbage Poems”

“No…You Listen” ©️ C.P. Hickey 1986

“Garbage Poems“

Garbage poems find a home

Pouring from my pen

Garbage poems, parts unknown

Not an if, but…when

Garbage lines unrefined

Jumping to the page

Garbage lines of my mind

Bring this poet shame

Garbage rhymes passing time

Poet’s praying priest

Garbage rhymes human crimes

Shepard’s saintly feast

Garbage art does depart

A poet’s metered mind

Garbage art full of heart

If the bard’s inclined

2023 · Poems · poetry

“Writing Distraction”

“Flake” ©️C.P. Hickey 2023

“Writing Distraction”

Environment skews focus

Elusive ideas remain away

Cannot quite grasp it

Looming large but ineffable

Which is a word I learned in high school

From a young woman named Megan

Which I cannot remember if she spelled her name with or without an “h”

Old dial tone phones with Boa Constrictor cords

Kept us tethered in the wonder of an inconsequential connection

Each of us pushed towards an idea of what we were supposed to be

In spite, of the discomforts of not knowing how

I do not know that we ever kissed or held hands

But—I am certain the seeds of my later courting elegance were sown during these largely small distractions

Flailing at life

Learning to dance

Whispering into the molded plastic receiver of an avocado colored phone

Hoping against hope that my deepest secrets and desires were heard