Random Thought #27

My brother and I made games
Where characters moved from island to island
Over different kind of bridges:
Suspension, wood, rope, and stone,
And we drew and colored the playing board,
And different things we taped on playing cards,
Like a stone bridge looking very much like this,
And I come upon it here, and think

I miss my brother

Reroutes (3)

He worked a farm in summer
To save and pay for college,
Just sun and soil and sweat
He traded in for knowledge,

And though things didn’t go
Exactly as he’d planned,
He told his son that one day
He would understand.

The jobs were hard and varied,
His effort though, unflagging,
His son could never see.
Why work when pay is lagging?

And when the son was old enough,
He wanted his own brand —
Because he’d seen the toil
And didn’t understand.

In time he gained a family:
A daughter by his wife —
He knew there were no limits.
He would give those two his life —

And driving to the farm
His father’s buried on, he stood,
And said, “I understand, now, Dad.
And all of it is good.”


I drive here as I drove long years ago
When my old father chatted by my side;
He spoke of hist’ry, mining and the flow
Of his thoughts, ever brimming long and wide.

But now I ride alone in silent thought.
My father loved this land, and understood
That life is cruel, and time is precious bought —
And things that
Make you smile


(“Arizona” – 11-8-2014)


“You either own your mistakes, or your mistakes own you.”

You are almost five years old. We are walking through a shopping mall, one we come to every Wednesday night.

“We can pretend while we are here, if you’d like.”

“Pretend what?”

“We can pretend that this is a spaceship. These ceilings above us just slide back, and we can see the stars.”

“Are we going to Mars?”

“Yes, when you pretend, you can go anywhere you want.”

“…You can keep moving forward. When you do that, you may suddenly find yourself in a better place. But better places hardly ever come to us, we have to move forward to get there.”

There’s a message from you on my phone at lunchtime. I know you’re not working.

I also know you’re almost certainly still using.

Because you found a way, years ago, to take the ceilings off. To go to Mars. At least in your head.

I’m fifty-seven years old; you’re twenty-four now. In the six years since you left high school, you’ve given up almost everything and everyone you really loved to chase Mars.

And I had gotten tired, exhausted, from trying to carry someone who didn’t seem to want to move, forward or otherwise. So you left town to live with friends.

But I hear from you, ever so often, at lunchtime.

“Hey, Dad.”

“Hey. What’s up?”

“Have you been watching G-1 Climax this year?”

“No, I haven’t. How has it been?”

“Amazing. I had forgotten watching WWE how good wrestling can actually be when the performers just do it.”

“I’ll have to check that out.”

“Yeah, well I know you’re at work, but I just wanted to call sometime when I wasn’t asking for anything. Love you, Dad.”

“I love you, too.”

In my dreams, I’m still holding your hand, walking through a combination spaceship / shopping mall. I’m still trying, with everything I have, to make you see that you have what it takes to face life, to enjoy it, to thrive.

To show you that you can get rid of the ceilings that block out your real stars.

In dreams.

But, when I wake up, all I really have left is to love you.

Because nothing else has helped at all.

This Isn’t My Neighborhood Anymore

This isn’t my neighborhood anymore;
This isn’t the place where I start each day –
Habitual turn to come up this street
I lost awhile back when we moved away

But we raised our kids in a house back there,
And what seemed important then now seems small:
The hopes that we had, and the agonies –
They, none of them now, seem to matter at all

And as I drive by, I feel shuddering,
As though the last ghost just passed through my door:
It, all of it now, has just flown away —
This isn’t my neighborhood

Painting Dots

The house we’re in now’s not the one
In which the kids got bigger;
The little mem’ries I have lost –
The count’s too great to figure

For life’s a craft of painting dots
These flecks of hopes and prayers
That only form a picture when
There’s no one left
Who cares