Wednesday, October 18, 2017



 
--IN CASE YOU DIDN’T KNOW

 
…I never thought I’d say this, but the truth is:  I’ve got a lot of time on my hands.

…Sometimes people confuse me with Bobby Sands.  Go figure.

…Last night, those stars were shining like the lights on Broadway, and the moon had nothing on them.  Not a thing.

…If you really want to know how I’m doing, stop by here and try not to panic.

…I know it’s hard to understand the way I’m living.  But look—at least I’m typing something.

…I’m coming out of my cage and I’m doing just fine.

…I kind of give a damn.  I kind of don’t care.

…I’ve got soul, but I’m not a soldier.

…My brothers were soldiers.  I’ve always respected that about them.  Some of the sacrifices they made were life changing.  It takes a lot of courage to do what they did.  When others were doing everything they could to avoid the draft, one of my brothers enlisted.  After his four years were over, he actually re-upped.  Said he’d do it all over again, despite all the horror he lived through.  Now that’s a hero.

…I confess, whenever I hear the opening riff to The Killers’ song, “Mr. Brightside,” I get chills… He takes off her dress now…I just can’t look, it’s killing me.  I mean, yikes, right?

…WHEN HARRY MET SALLY wasn’t a favorite film of mine, but I do find myself thinking about certain parts of the movie, from time to time, like the orgasm scene (“I’ll have what she’s having”), like the theme--how men and women can’t really be friends.  I think that’s both wrong and right at the same time.  I’ve got quite a few female friends, some very close, and it’s all completely platonic and copacetic.

It started out with a kiss.  How did it end up like this?  It was only a kiss?

…What I thought was going to be the death of me was my saving grace.

…The rain keeps tapping on the window, trying to get my attention.  What’s that all about?

…I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being a little bombastic, if you’ve got it in you, if you’ve got the nerve, if you can back it up at least.

…If we were brave enough to admit it, we’d realize we’re all hypocrites.  I know I am sometimes.  (Hypocrite is a word Jesus invented.  I guess he knew what he was talking about, even way back then.)

He doesn’t look a thing like Jesus, but he talks like a gentleman.

…“Why?” is rarely a useful question.  However, most things start with a “Why?” whether we know it or not.

…I know we can make it, if we take it slow.

…It’s good to be successful at something, even if no one knows you are.

…”I mean, why does anyone do anything?”  (I interviewed a writer I really admire, and when I asked her [the lame, pedestrian question] why she writes, that was her answer.)  It was sort of a shun, but appropriately so, and very sage at that.

…Success is a heavy subject, like happiness—they’re two twin bricks weighing each other down, waiting for some grout to cement them together.

…When someone says they believe in you, what does that really mean?

…Drawing conclusions--reading between the lines--is probably a bad thing, but sometimes what’re you gonna do?  All you’ve got is what you’ve got to go on.

…A good question is: who really has your back when it matters?

…Ten thousand square feet is a lot of space.  No wonder I feel lost most of the time.

…When things start to matter less is when you know you’ve lost your way.

…If I tried, I could be thinner.  After all, we bought the treadmill for a reason.

…If I really tried, I would have written the great American novel by now.

…I’m trying to be a good friend to certain people I know.  I’m working hard at it.

…I just called myself on a cellphone but the message said nobody’s home.  Hmmm.

…I’m a real Nowhere Man, sitting in my Nowhere Land.

…When I die, please cover my coffin with books or pages.  Read a poem.  I don’t care if you totally understand it or not.  Just enjoy the music in the words.

…One of the things I’ve discovered is that most people hate talking about death, even if it’s not their own.  Right away they curl up and cringe.  Mortality is like politics and religion; a subject to be avoided.  Death is a scary thing for most people, yet it’s inevitable and right around the bend.

…It’s so quiet that my breath just said it was getting very sleepy.

…“I’m going to bed soon.  Don’t wait up for me.”--that’s a white lie I often tell myself.

...I like it when everyone’s asleep but me, when the lights are all off around the lake and I can imagine everybody slumbering peacefully, having fantastic dreams.  There’s a comfort in that.

…I realize I often come across as gloomy.  But that’s the thing about only reading words on a page—there isn’t a face, an expression you can gauge things from.  You can’t see my smile.  My light.  I’m mostly optimistic.  When my team’s way behind, I still think they’ll find a way to pull it out, even if my friends have switched the channel to Project Runway.  I believe my children are going to have happy lives, even if they’ve both been through some deep shit.  I believe someone will find a cure for cancer sooner than later, and I believe someone else will figure out how to stop global warming.  After all, we found a way to patch that hole in the ozone which was supposed to burn us up back in the ‘80s.  I believe in goodness even if I don’t always sound like it.

…Isn’t it interesting, or amazing even, how you remember nearly all of your school teachers?  I mean, like from 2nd or 3rd grade?  See if you can pull up their names in your head right now. 

…Mrs. Marshall was my 5th grade teacher.  She had long, salt and pepper hair, sort of looked like an attractive witch, and was quite stern.  I really liked her, though I don’t know why.  At one point, I must have done something wrong because she yanked my scalp back and almost broke my neck.  At another one point she paddled me through my jeans.  That was a long time ago, but I did really like her.

…I was such a shy kid.  I wonder how I got in trouble so much.  That’s something I don’t recall.

…Make the most of it.  That’s a good idea.  Really, isn’t that what life’s about?

…Life is short—that’s probably the most trite, and true, comment ever.

…Life is beautiful.  That’s definitely true, and it’s also the name of my favorite movie, as well.

…Buongiorno, Principessa!

Monday, October 16, 2017



 
--A BUSHEL AND A PECK
 

…I went to the doctor and guess what he told me?  He said, “Boy you better try to have fun, no matter what you do.”

…It’s difficult being truthful with your doctor.  That’s why I never go.

…I’m a fistfight that’s not going to happen.

…I don’t have peaks or valleys anymore.  I don’t get too high or too low.  Mostly I’m just pleasantly depressed.

…Things that don’t work today can work tomorrow.  One of my best friends recently told me that.  I hope they’re right.

…I’m going to put this world away for a minute and pretend that I’m not in it. 

…Everywhere you go, you’re the star of the show.

…Love’s got a funny way of keeping score.

…If you find your way back here, you might notice that I’m having a record year.

…Sometimes it’s best to just to let the book fall open.

…The spare (or despair) takes us in when we have nowhere else to go.

…All I did today was make a list of beautiful questions.

…When you’re alone a lot, you have to invent your own happiness.  It’s actually not that hard, if you try.

…Anytime it hails, I feel happy.  I love the thunderous rumble of it, the thousand white pebbles bouncing all over the place, the sound like convulsing, that feeling like the world is closing in but not quite.  It feels urgent, as if the sky is purging itself, yet in your mind you know it’s not going to last.

…The other day it started hailing.  I mean really hard.  I couldn’t hear anything other than the ping, ping, pinging, and my dog got a little anxious.  She thought someone was knocking at the door repeatedly.

…Hail is my favorite precipitation.  I’d like to lie down on the grass and have it bury me.

…In a lot of ways, music is the glue that keeps everything together.

…I’m slowly planning my survival.

…I go out every night, but I sleep all day.

…One of these days the dog is going to talk.  I wonder what she’ll say.

…Sleep and I have a strange relationship.  One of us is always greedier than the other.

…My neighbor has been my neighbor for ten years now.  In that entire time, he’s never said more than ten words to me.  I’m okay with that.  I get that people want their privacy.  As I’m writing this, he’s flying a miniature motorized airplane over the lake.  Mostly it’s on my side of the lake so that it looks like it’s going to crash into my office window.  It looks a little boring, but he really likes it.  He’ll fly that thing for hours and hours.

…Imperfectly perfect—do you really think there’s such a thing?  And if so, please explain it to me.

…Yes, please. 

…I don’t know if you know it or not, but your happiness makes me very happy.  Your success makes me glad.  Truly.

…I’m not tense.  I’m just very, very alert.

…There’s a really long trail—40 plus miles—not far from my house.  I usually run beside the trail where horseback riders have cut a path.  It’s easier on the knees and the route, while going in the same direction, allows you to see more things because sometimes you’re six feet below where the trail is.  Yesterday I was trotting along and right in the middle of the path was a cat.  At first I thought it was stuffed.  Then I thought it might be dead, though its eyes were open and it was looking at me.  I figured it would dart away once I got close, but it didn’t budge, so I ran around it, saying, “Way to stand your ground, Cat.”  He didn’t answer or look back.  Kind of strange, but kind of cool.

…This is where I usually find myself lately, a little past midnight.

…I’d go crawling down the avenue.

…Is it really better to burn out than to fade away?  I guess we’ll find out.

…I’m following your lead, so please be easy with that leash.

…The thing is, we’ve still got time.

…You’re the last thing on my mind (just ask Aaron Wright.)

…And a hug around the neck.

Friday, October 13, 2017



 
--LET’S MAKE EACH OTHER MORE BEAUTIFUL
 

 
 
This Evening
 

I’m still yours this evening.

There’s time for anything, really.

We could sweat and mush

our sweat against our slick

skins until our names disappear,

until the two of us

weave into one

while the moon pokes its silver

head through our toes.

I’m still yours this evening

and I like hearing you

say my name,

but really, I like saying yours,

the way I am now,

sitting on this gnarled

log in the dark,

facing three hills that look like

giant Hershey’s Kisses

waiting to be unwrapped

and devoured.

I’m still yours this evening

and I’m saying your name

and invisible night birds

are saying your name

and the hills and stars and

all earth is saying it, too.

We’re all saying it,

with arms open and chins tucked,

patiently wondering

where you are.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017


 
--HEY LITTLE BUG, COME HERE AND GIVE ME A HUG


Happy Enough


You took my pulse and told me, “If it was any lower you’d be dead.”

We sat in the waiting area, just us, ignoring the milk-colored marble floor tiles and the mahogany walls.

You said, “Dead men tell no tales,” and winked, with a mint julep sparkle in your celadon eyes, so sassy and sure.

You opened a can somehow, with what I don’t know, plopping out olives, sticking them on the ends of your fingertips before biting them off with your mouth and chewing.  Instead of swallowing, you stretched out your jaw, revealing a disgusting mush of slime while pointing at the mess with both forefingers in some kind of epileptic gang member sign.

“What?” I asked.

“See food,” you gurgled, saliva streaking down your cheek.  “Get it?  See food?”

I laughed a little because it was so dumb, because you were so silly and trying so hard.

You said, “Let’s try this for as long as we can, see if we go blind or not,” and crossed your eyes which made you appear scary, then, after a while, just a little nuts.

You said, “You’re gonna have to work harder if you’re gonna make it.”

You said, “Some of the best games are the ones you don’t buy at the store,” and curled your forefinger over the side of your thumb in the shape of a mouth and went, “Gabba gabba, hey! Let’s have some fun today!  Whaddaya think?”

You were a stage show.  Puppet master. Ventriloquist.  An odd anagram, but the very distraction I needed.

In those minutes and hours, you taught me how to snap my fingers, how to curl my tongue, make my earlobe twitch.  You taught me how to whistle.   You told me puberty was untrustworthy, but, “Do some research beforehand.   Get it?”

I didn’t.

After so long, you looked at the courtroom door and then I did, too, and when my eyes got misty you gave my thigh a sharp pinch but winked again.

“Motherfucker, toughen up,” you said.

I’d never heard that word.  It felt like a bolt, like some kind of freedom.

“It’s important,” you said.  “Really, I’m not even fucking kidding.”

You told me, “I bet he picks you and she picks me, but we’ll still see each other on holidays.”

You said, “Lots of kids have divorced parents, but most of them seem happy enough.”

When the door finally opened, you grabbed my hand and squeezed it, saying, “Go on now.  Smile wide.  Now’s the time, if ever there was one.”

I watched you falsely glow.

But because you were my big sister, because you were my best friend, I did what you wanted.

I sat bolt upright, at attention, and I smiled like I never had.

 

 

 

 

Monday, October 9, 2017



 
--HELLO, IT’S ME

 
…There must be a million times when I wonder how an airplane can possibly lift off into the air, and another million times when I wonder why the wings don’t break off.

…It doesn’t matter why a thing works, so long as it does.

…I have friends, but turbulence isn’t one of them.

…Sometimes when I’m looking at the moon, I wonder how many other people are gazing up at it at the same time.  Especially when the moon is full and brooding.  Especially then.

…The moon sure gets a lot of air time here.  I'm not sure why that is.

…Someone told me that vanishing is just another way of not wanting to be loved.  But I don’t know.  Maybe it’s the opposite of that.

…Either you’re there, or you aren’t.  There’s no close.  Someone also told me that.

…I’ve checked and nothing’s happening anywhere else right now.

…The calm before the storm is really just the foundation of life.

…Children like me, even the children of strangers.  It’s true, they do.  Really.  I can make them smile fairly easily.  I can usually make them giggle in less than a minute.  So that’s something I have going for myself.

…The end of the world can be cozy at times.  It’s distance that’s the problem.

…Most people’s relationship with windows is clear.  Mine’s a little muddy.  But does that mean I don't want a clear view myself?

…We’re all older now, but most of us are still running against the wind.

…If somebody tells you the same thing twice, it usually means they’re not sure.  Three times, well…

…My problem is I’m selfish at all the wrong moments.  My problem is being selfish at all.  I’m not proud of that.

…In it for a penny, in it for a pound.

So quiet you can hear a pin drop.  Yep.  That’s what it’s like right now, at this very moment, in this very place.

…If it was easy, everyone would do it.  That’s one of the sagest things my father said to me.  I think about that a lot when I’m struggling with something.

…What I learned running the race on Sunday with my brother, who is much faster than me, is that certain people, in certain situations, can make you perform at a level you didn’t think possible.  However, it doesn’t always mean that’s enjoyable.

…Nobody knows what’s coming.  Even palm readers get it wrong most times.  Even the Mayans did.  Certainly the weathermen do.  So what makes us so smart, so sure?

…One of my favorite movies is “Big Fish.”  There are a few scenes where different kids go up the spooky fortune teller lady (played by Helena Bonham Carter) and when they look into her eye, they see the future, or rather, how they will die in the future.  I don’t think that’s anything I’d want to see.

…Supposedly people with a missing limb often forget it’s not there and will involuntarily scratch at the open air where the limb once was.  That’s sort of like me when my dog’s not here.  I keep looking down, looking around, searching out her bright, brown eyes.  I’ll admit, I'm a bit crippled by her absence.

…It’s amazing how someone can transform your mood with a genuine smile shot your way for no particular reason at all.  In that way, it’s a bit of magic.  And in a way, then, we’re all magicians, whether we realize it or not.

…Whether child or adult, one of the best things someone call tell you is, “I love you to the moon…and back.”

..To be missed greatly while still alive, now that’s something.

…For everything, there is a season.  A time to live, a time to die.  A time to laugh, a time to cry.  A time to do the Bunny Hop in your underwear.  I mean, why not?
 
...People should smile more.  That's from Newton Faulkner. 

...I think Newton should be the next Dalai Lama.  Can I get an, "Amen?" 

 ...It wasn't until about 12 years ago that I learned 'Amen' meant, 'So be it'.  You probably knew that long ago, but I didn't.
 
...Tomorrow the sun's going come up, I just know it.

…Life is beautiful.  I still believe that.
 
 
 

 

Friday, October 6, 2017



 
--YOU CAN’T UNSEE IT WHEN YOU LOOK LIKE THAT

 …In a couple of hours, I’m headed to the great state of Kansas, a place I’ve never been.  Gonna run a little race on Sunday.  Gonna hang with my big brother who lives there.  Probably gonna see some corn fields, or dried up ones.  Gonna read some, write some.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend, and here are some things I like on Friday…

“Perhaps we should love each other so fiercely that when others see us they’ll know exactly how it’s done.” –Rudy Francisco

"When nothing is sure, everything is possible."- Margaret Drabble

 "In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer."- Albert Camus

"To do the useful thing, to say the courageous thing, to contemplate the beautiful thing: that is enough for one man's life."- T. S. Eliot

“I think the American Dream is everybody’s dream.” Ralph Lauren

"If you just keep playing, keep believing and have some faith, something good can happen."- Washington Redskins coach Norv Turner, whose team became only the second in NFL history to win six games after losing the first seven games of the year.

"Doctors and scientists said that breaking the four-minute mile was impossible, that one would die in the attempt. Thus, when I got up from the track after collapsing at the finish line, I figured I was dead."- Roger Bannister, In 1952 after breaking the four minute mile (1929)

"All big things in this world are done by people who are naive and have an idea that is obviously impossible."- Dr. Frank Richards

"We act as though comfort and luxury were the chief requirements of life, when all that we need to make us really happy is something to be enthusiastic about."- Charles Kingsley

"To be what we are, and to become what we are capable of becoming, is the only end of life."- Robert Louis Stevenson

Wednesday, October 4, 2017





--MY HEART IS A POOR JUDGE

 
 
In the Distance
 

I can see you in the distance

between the pregnant moon and

last lonely hill.

Every star owns me tonight

so my shame will have to wait

until morning.

And who knew the ants and flies

could do without sleep,

busy husks landing everywhere

but my pupils as if

I am a corpse or carcass

rotting in the New Mexico night.

Yet I can still breathe and

I can see you in the distance.

You’re skipping on a beach,

the sun is your best friend,

our daughter’s still alive,

we’re still married and

you have never looked more lovely.

I can see you in the distance

where you live now,

where you always are now,

finally happy, finally healed.