TL Kinney

Trying to change the world, one word at a time.

I Am Becoming.

We all start out soft and squishy and trusting.   Hurts turn into scars, scars into armor.

We all carry the weight of the past.  The struggle is in keeping the weight balanced so that it doesn’t pull the future into the hole with it.

Recently, I came literally face to face with a hurt that I thought had healed over.   I now completely understand the phrase “Knee Jerk Reaction”.

I was suddenly a naive kid again, broken hearted and betrayed.   I ran.

My higher self had disappeared, I was unable to see beyond my own flashbacks.  For days after, I was out of balance, talking myself off the proverbial bridge.

I said things about that person that I now wish I hadn’t said.

After a week of meditation and introspection, I’ve come to realize that sometimes you have to air the wound for it to truly heal.

I have to remember daily that the people in my life now are NOT the people that were in my life before.

The person that hurt me has their own weight to balance, their own past to deal with.   I wish them peace, as I seek it myself.

The person I am becoming will be able to see things as they are as they are happening.  She will know that the past does not dictate the future.

She will offer peace and forgiveness and know that there is always a better way.

Just because love or friendship has caused pain in the past, does not mean it will cause pain in the future.

I must not hold the past against myself and those I love.

I am becoming…  slowly.

Peace and love my friends.


Wee Poem #1

This is the Place

Future and Past become one, from here, they follow the same path

Every smile, every touch of the close ones

Now a hint of things to come.

The ghostly images play before me, old home movies on the wall

Silent, except in my head.

I can smell the weight of the past in the air like a summer storm.





Feed Your Senses!!!!

I was inspired just a few minutes ago by a very talented member of an online group I belong to.  She has been posting up some artwork for the group, and it’s quite good.

She posted out a question to the group that really got me thinking…  “What’s your favorite art form?”

Well, as a musician, my knee-jerk reaction was music…

Then, as a writer, my other knee said literature…

but after a few seconds of thinking, I realized that my responses were so anemic…

It seems an art form is only as amazing as the consumer’s ability to appreciate it…  there are days that I don’t feel competent to appreciate a blank white wall, let alone witness a masterpiece.

It dawned on me that my love of beauty in any specific form is directly proportional to the need (hunger) of the sense I would use to absorb it.

Maybe it’s my steadily advancing age (and wisdom?) that has taught me to listen, and know which sense needs to be fed.

Some days my eyes are hungry, some days my ears, some days my hands, some days all together.  All of these have two direct connections, one to the soul, one to the mind…

I hope that I am able to feed my eyes while they still see, feed my ears while they still hear, feed my hands while they still feel…  someday the gifts will be taken away, and the memories of these wonderful banquets will have to suffice.

May the hunger for beauty never be sated.

Thanks Dani for your art and your wonderful question!





Quid Pro Quo?

I am made sad by so many things these days… but I am also made really happy by so many things. It’s a weird position, but one I write off as the “human condition”.

One of the things that bothers me most is that folks (this is not necessarily a political thing mind you, it is universal and more spiritual) seem to be so willing to believe the words of someone they have never met and ignore the words written in their hearts and the small voice inside.

There is nothing more sacred in this universe than our relationship with our own soul, and nothing more profane than the willingness to give it away to someone or something that cares not for it.

In the professional world, there is a type of harassment called “quid pro quo” in which a person demands something from someone else in return for something the other person desires.

religion and politics offer us “quid pro quo” except the payoff they “offer” is theoretical and will be delivered “someday”…

I find it interesting that we (as the human race) are so willing to make ourselves victims…

then again, i just might be delusional


Long Game

I ran to the gas station this morning and met 5 people along the way.   You guys know me, I could have a good conversation with a tree…  it’s my nature to make friends I guess.

The gas station I go to every Sunday morning is right down the street from a mission shelter downtown.  There are always folks walking to the station from the mission for a pop or a coffee, and it always pains me to know that they are without some of the things that I take for granted.

This morning, there were two young-ish white men walking together down the street, and about 20 feet behind them were two also young-ish black men.  I went into the station and got my caffeinated beverage and paid for my gas.  As I was walking out, I greeted the two white guys.  They didn’t even look up from their feet (no judgement here, who knows what they were going through).  I saw the black guys walking toward the door, and I greeted them as well.  They smiled and returned my greeting, and we wished each other a good day.  I pumped my gas and got in the truck.  When I pulled out of the parking lot, the black guys waved and smiled, and so did I.  I rolled down the window and said “Stay safe fellas.”

I was sitting at the red light down town, just thinking about the inequity of life, and how so many people will never know the joy of talking to folks for no reason than just being human, when I heard a little horn peep.  I looked up, thinking that maybe the light had turned, but it was the car in the lane next to me trying to get my attention.  I looked over, and it was a black gentleman and his two kids.  I rolled down my window and waved, and he told me he thought my tattoo was cool.  I said thanks and we chatted for a minute until the light turned.  I waved at the kids in the back, and they waved back, and we went on our way.

It really isn’t any harder than this guys.  All it takes is a little courage.  With all the crazy racial stuff in the news right now, it would have been so easy for all all of us this morning to stay locked up in whatever box we started in.  Those young men at the gas station, and that man at the light put themselves out there, and so did I.  Our reward was a little oasis of peace in a loud chaotic world.

Regardless of what side of the fence you sit on, could you really ever look a man in the eye, call him brother, then pull the trigger?  If I see a man’s (or woman’s) soul in their eyes, they become my brother(sister), and I don’t care if they look like me or not.  I will defend my family.  Sadly, right now I almost feel the need to defend my family FROM my family.

My heart is so sad, but new friends sure do make it better.  When you make a human connection, something magical happens.

Go make a new friend or two today,  I think that’s the only way we can win the Long Game.




So many possibilities…

So, what do you want to be when you grow up?

How many times did we hear that as kids?  I was always afraid to answer, afraid that once spoken, that would be my fate even if I changed my mind…

What if I don’t want to be a doctor, lawyer, fireman, cowboy, astronaut, rock star forever???????

So many choices, so many things I could be, could have been…

And 45 years later, I still have no idea.

I know who I want to be though…  and the list grows every day.

I want to be a good friend, a good aunt, a good partner, a good daughter, a good sister,  a loving and nurturing presence in the life of someone that needs it.

I want to do no harm, I want to lead sometimes, I want to follow sometimes.

I want to live life like a starving man at a grand table, voraciously consuming the sights, sounds, scents, and tastes.

I want to hear ALL the music.  I want to read ALL the books.  I want to drive fast cars and ride slow trains.

I want to speak ALL the languages and play ALL the instruments.  I want to drink cheap moonshine and Dom (not at the same time, mind you).

I want my head to be so full of memories when I’m done, that there is no more room.

I want to play hard and leave everything on the field, because the street lights will eventually come on, and Daddy will tell me it’s time to come home.

When that time comes, I want to go home exhausted and smiling, with scraped up knees and bruises from all the fun I had.

Isn’t that the whole idea?  Isn’t really just an awesome game of dress up?

So, whatever costume you choose, rock it!

I think I’ll be a rock-star pirate cowboy tomorrow…






Thoughts on demons

Throughout history we have searched for a way to pass blame or find excuses for bad behavior.

Every culture has it’s own version of the dark thing in the night that preys upon the innocent.

I do not doubt that some (if not all) of these dark spirits exist, and I know that there are some things, some really bad things, that are truly beyond our control.

I know only that in my 45 years on this planet, I have done far more harm to myself than they have done to me.

We have many names for the thing that lives in all of us…  addiction, rage, jealousy, fear

I am trying to take responsibility for my own self-sabotage.

When did i learn to fear following my heart, my dreams?

Every one of us fights any number of wars every day, on so many fronts.  The battles rage and the sound of the chaos drowns out the small voice.

The small voice is the one that says “you are good enough”, “you are beautiful”, “you are worthy”, “you are loved”, “you are precious”.

I have to struggle sometimes to hear it, but when I do, the “demons” lose their power over me, and I feel calm.

I’m assuming that I am not the only one caught up in this fight.

If you have not heard your small voice today, take a moment to try and find it.

I would stand beside you guys on the front line and whisper in your ear to help you remember.   Maybe if we constantly remind each other, our whispered words will overpower the sounds of chaos.

You are good enough, you are beautiful, you are worthy, you are loved, you are precious.

Let’s kick some “demon” arse today.

I love you guys.






So, a blonde walks into a bar with a rubber poodle…

I love my life.  I meet the best people and hear the most awesome stories.  I could not make this stuff up…

Last Thursday (I know, it’s taken me long enough to get around to writing about it), my band “Martha’s Mistake” played at an awesome local joint called the Taverne of Richfield.  We weren’t expecting a crowd since it was of course, game 6 of the NBA finals, and our beloved Cavs were in a do or die…

As we were setting up our gear, these 3 lovely blonde ladies walked into the bar.  One of them was carrying a black rubber poodle about 8 inches tall.

I couldn’t let that go unnoticed…

As they got comfortable and ordered their drinks, I walked up and introduced myself.  I nodded toward the poodle, who at this time was in the middle of the table facing the stage area and said “so, a blonde walks into a bar with a rubber poodle…”

All 3 of them started laughing.

Evidently these 3 ladies are sisters.  Their aunt and uncle had owned a poodle who (and I quote) “was meaner than hell”.

When their aunt and uncle passed away, the poodle was left to the girls.  The girls then spent the rest of the poodle’s life trying to pawn it off on the other sisters.  I came to understand that the poodle only got meaner with the passing of time.

They would visit one another just to try and hide the dog at the other sister’s house and run away before she noticed.

When the hellish little beast finally crossed the bridge, the girls discovered that without the desperate need to rid themselves of the poodle, they were hardly ever seeing each other anymore.

The obvious solution?  Buy a fake poodle and pretend it’s real.

The end result?  A demented little game of hide the poodle, which gives them the excuse to get together, drink wine, and laugh.

Oh, and sometime in our third set, it was discovered that the little rubber dog was gifted with an incredibly loud squeaker (I believe the squeaker hole was located in an anatomically correct position, if you get my drift).

So, a first for Martha’s Mistake.  Instead of applause and whistles, we got squeaky calls from a tiny rubber poodle and his 3 humans.

And, the Cavs won, so the night was a great success!

Thanks ladies for sharing your night out with us.  I now have a whole new reason to laugh at poodles!







Help me remember the dragonflies.

When I woke up this morning, I wasn’t sure what to expect from the day ahead.

Yesterday I said goodbye (just for now) to a great number of people I had come to love as family.  I had watched their lives be forever altered, knowing that there was absolutely nothing I could do to make it better.  I am a fixer by nature, and nothing weighs heavier upon me than seeing the ones I love in pain.

So, I rolled out of bed like any other morning, went through my morning ritual, and headed out to the barn.  Sleepy, snuffly horses were waiting for their breakfast.

They always make things better, and this morning, my mare (Saoirse) was particularly snuffly and affectionate.  She always seems to know when I need an extra snuggle.

I went outside to fill the water trough while the ponies munched away inside the barn, and I looked to the sky and asked for the patience and wisdom to do the right things for the people in my life in the days to come.

I heard a strange little buzzing noise, and when I looked back down, a happy little dragonfly was hovering about 4 inches from my nose.  ( I adore dragonflies).

I said “good morning little guy”  and he zipped away, only to return a couple minutes later with at least 6 of his friends.  They fluttered around me and the water trough, landing on the fence nearby to watch me.  Their beautiful little bodies sparkled green and blue in the morning sun.

I didn’t think the morning could get any better, and that’s when a teeny wee red squirrel hopped up on the fence next to the barn and sat with a hickory nut in his mouth watching me.  I could see the wheels in his mind turning, trying to figure out how in the hell he was going to get to the barn without getting too close to me.

I just started laughing, expecting a blue bird next, and some campy Disney music.

For a moment, I knew exactly who I was, and knew my place in this beautiful world.  That didn’t last long…

The squirrel finally couldn’t take it anymore, and ran down the fence to the barn, promptly running into a dragonfly and everybody freaked out (except for me, I was too busy laughing).  Dragonflies zipped around frantically, probably convinced that they were under attack.

I wasn’t sure if the tears that came were born of relief, gratitude, awe, or laughter.

Thank you Father, for bringing me joy this morning when I needed it most.

If ever I get too blue, I need only remember the dragonflies 🙂

(you should have seen the squirrel’s face, it was hilarious!)







Lemonade anyone?

Today, I learned about dignity.

Let me start off by saying that I love my job, truly.  Then let me say that we had to lay off a significant number of folks today…

Here’s where the dignity comes in…

I have never seen a group of people, who could have been so divided by unfortunate circumstance, come together in love and camaraderie as I did today.

After receiving such life altering news, some of these amazing folks met the rest of us for an early lunch so that we could break bread together one last time.

Any one of these people could have exhibited a number of negative behaviors (completely natural and understandable if they had), but not one did.

We laughed, we hugged, we cried quite a bit (even the boys teared up), and we told each other many times of our feelings for each other.

I don’t have any super deep words of wisdom, no grand ideas…

I can only hope that when my day of adversity comes, I can be half the bad-ass these folks are.

They may never know the profound impact they have all had on my life, my work ethic, my sense of loyalty…

I have walked with giants, and I am so thankful to know them all.

Take time to listen to each other, to share, to tell people how you feel about them.

Today, I learned how to make lemonade.




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