Why is it

that when we think we need something more than anything

We don’t get it

And when we’ve learned to live without it

for so long

it shows up


It’s then

that we question

if it’s even good for us

We quit caring years ago

and we kept on living

for reasons that can’t be won


we can invite these things inside

and accept them

for what they are


They become the things that others look at

when they see us

and their desires creep in

until they want what we used to want

They’ll strive and stop

but someone

like you or I

might continue

and they’ll forget their yearnings

in time


a reason why


A Tree that Lives in a Neighborhood Lawn

I walked under a tree

that lives in a neighborhood lawn

Seeing every generation

of kids playing there

Its wrinkled bark smiles at me

Green leaves offer shade

Turning to brown

and falling

Branches get picked up

and played with

Sticks turning into swords

and limbs getting climbed on

Hammocks are strung by tired teenagers

and Piñatas by parents of crazed children

What a tree

Every year

it grows

and pets get buried under its roots

It lives and dies

for others

Sheltering their souls

Remake Yourself

Remake yourself

Go beyond old ideas

Challenge your mind

with your heart and your soul

until you don’t know any limits

Sleep under the stars and gaze into infinity

Warming yourself with your own fire

Spend quiet moments in the dark

to find your light

and share it with others

Harness inspiration

and let it blow you to new vistas

Above the horizon

and across stormy seas

Fly so high

this earth can’t hold you down

So that you learn to land where you want

Let the breeze guide you

Soon you will be able to sleep in the wind.

Golf requires more belief than most major religions. -Intellectual Shaman

I was playing my final holes to decide if I would make the traveling team. Jeff teed up his ball with his Red-wing driver and sliced it into the woods.

“You suck,” Brad said. He pulled a 3 iron out of his bag and crushed it down the fairway.

I followed him with my driver; my ball landed in the trees. “It’s not looking too good for you,” Brad said. I drank an ice-cold Mountain Dew and contemplated my comeback shot. I had to hit it between two oaks. I choked down on my club and bashed the ball. It ran 150 yards and plopped onto the green. Brad looked disappointed. He crushed his drive on the next hole and a dog ran out of the housing developments and ate it. “Hey, that’s my ball!” He yelled.

“Jeff, what are you doing?” I asked. He was flipping through the rules of golf. “I’m just trying to figure out Brad’s penalty. I can’t find animal interference in here. Maybe it counts as a lost ball. That’ll be two strokes.”

“Why don’t you shut the hell up, Jeff!” Brad yelled. And my friend smiled behind his rule book.

The next par 4 was drivable, but it was a gamble. I teed up my 3 wood and hit a power shot.

“I hope you brought sun-tan lotion for the beach,” Brad said. And my ball sunk into the sand. The clouds began to shift and the winds blew. It was dark one second and blue skies the next. I felt like the sun was smiling on me when I grabbed my wedge. I dug in my heals and cut the beach with a smooth stroke and my ball lifted out of the sand gently, rolling towards the hole. It twisted along the green and dropped. “Eagle!” Jeff shouted. “Some hacks get lucky,” Brad said.

It started to rain, but we could see blue skies on the other side of the golf course. A rainbow appeared in the distance and Brad pulled out his 3 iron again.

“Why are you going to hit that?” Jeff asked. “It’s called golf course management; something you wouldn’t know anything about,” Brad said. He swung through the ball and the club flew out of his hands.

“Wow!” Jeff said. “The club went farther than the ball.”

“Shut your face!” Brad yelled. And Jeff laughed maniacally until his face turned purple. Suddenly, it started to hail and the fairways turned white.

“This round of golf is going to be impossible to finish,” I said. But 30 seconds later, the sun came out and melted the ice. If things couldn’t get any stranger, it started to snow. We all birdied the next hole and parred number 8. The sun set on the last hole with trees silhouetted against a blood-red backdrop.

We hit are shots and walked up the fairway into heaven.

“If you make the traveling team Jeff, we’re screwed,” Brad said. Something odd was happening to Jeff’s body. It went all rigid and his muscles flexed. He lunged at Brad and nailed him under the chin with a tremendous uppercut. Brad went down and then wobbled to his knees and puked. We finished our 9 and all made the traveling team.

I play golf with Brad or Jeff from time to time and they still ask about each other. It’s funny, when you hate someone, you remember them for a lifetime.

Lanterns without Lights in the Night

Minds want to know other Minds

Ships distant from other Ships

Looking where others are Looking

Seeing but not Seeing

Worlds separated from other Worlds

Darkness and more Darkness

Night after Night

If you want to be a better writer, take longer showers. -Intellectual Shaman

Where do you feel the greediest?

Where do you feel the greediest?

I’ve felt this way on the golf course

hungering for the perfect shot

an expression of style

under pressure

But recently,

it happened

in an old university library

Looking at the shelves




Knowledge at my fingertips


not the cheap stuff you find on the internet

but ideas that take a lifetime of searching




Rows reaching 500

My head starts to spin

I’ll major in chemistry, physics, philosophy, I think

the secrets of the universe must be mine

The librarian sees me

I’m holding 9 books

“Can I help you?”

“I’m just browsing.”

She looks at me like I’m insane.

And I walk back to a private room

passing several students on the way there

Nobody is reading

They’re plugged into Facebook


and Twitter

“I’ve wasted my life,” I whisper.

And I start to eat the words…

A ravenous reader

filling my head

with ideas

that have long been forgotten.

Each year ticks by…

Each year ticks by

There is no longer the time to dream

Only to do

The world will ask you why?

It feeds on your doubts and desires

cutting away all inner insincerity

Until one pure path remains

You must go down it

because if you stray or stop

you deny your destiny

These things are better left unsaid

So that living becomes the lesson

And Why?

is never a question

that enters your head.

Chapter 1 Cat in a Box

Bryce was a confirmed bachelor and he enjoyed living alone, but his family kept trying to hook him up with women in the church. “Honestly Bryce, she has the sweetest personality and a strong relationship with God,” his mother said.

“Uh huh,” Bryce mumbled.

“Why don’t you meet her for coffee?”

He had a thousand reasons not to, but he couldn’t think of one that could cause his mother to stop asking.


“Wonderful. I’ll let her know. You can meet her after church next Sunday.”

Bryce wondered when people would stop treating singleness like a sickness that needed to be cured with their own remedies. They found women for him everywhere. One liked knitting. The other believed she could raise the dead. This may have been true, as she hadn’t showered in three days. She was vegan and totally opposed to modern living.  The last one talked about Satan incessantly. She got louder and louder until her sermon reached full crescendo. People began to stare at her in the coffee shop and then she whispered, “They’re actively cursing me.” In these situations, there was no escape. Bryce’s mother would find out if he left any of them abruptly and she would guilt him for months, telling him he deserved to be single.

His brother-in-law seemed to be the only one who understood. “Honestly, marriage is not that great. When you’re single, you can be selfish; but when you get married, you have to share everything. Have you tried online dating?”

“Yeah; but the women on there just want attention or a one-night-stand.”

“It’s difficult out there, I know. But it only takes one.”

“Thanks Jon.”

“Don’t mention it. Say, in the interim, have you thought about getting a pet. Your sister and I found this cool website that matches animals with your personality and ships them to you. There wasn’t a single animal in the United States that matched my personality.” Jon said this with pride. “The only place that has what I’m looking for is Madagascar and the Congo. I’m getting a monkey named Ralph next week. I hope he’s Ebola free. Don’t tell your mother.”

I thought about how my mother would take the news. She wanted grandchildren and her son-in-law insisted that his three dogs would do. Now Jon was getting a monkey. It would be her fourth grandchild.

“What’s the name of this site?” Bryce asked.


“Okay, I’ll give it a look. Thanks Jon.”

“Don’t mention it.”

Bryce went online that evening and put his personality into the computer: unsociable, introspective, adventurous within limits, kind, intelligent, and the list went on. Three hours later, he was half-asleep. He pushed the MATCH button. It began a super search. Nothing in Washington State. Nothing in the United States. “Jon will be disappointed that he’s not the only one,” Bryce chuckled. Nothing in North America. Nothing in Asia, Australia, or South America. “Wait, the data is doing something different now. Egypt; my pet is in Egypt. A cat; I don’t like cats. Oh well, how much do they want for it?” The price was listed at the bottom. “FREE; an exotic animal for free. How come? It does say I need to pay shipping and handling. I’ll do it. If it doesn’t work out, I’ll hand it off to my mother. She’s been wanting a cat.”

Bryce was excited all week. His co-workers noticed. “Did you get a raise?”


“Is it a new girlfriend?”


“What’s different about you?”

“I’m getting a cat.”

“Man, you’re going to be single forever.”

Bryce shrugged his shoulders and continued checking his email. Not much in his life was different. His own publishing house wouldn’t read the scripts he sent them. He was out of shape and he couldn’t get a normal date. He listened to self-help on the way to work and the way from work, but he just couldn’t get a break. When he got home, there was an enormous crate in front of his apartment door. It read THIS SIDE UP. Bryce entered and then lugged the box over the threshold. It was heavy and he could hear breathing inside.

Canary in a Cage

Joe walked the prison grounds like the walls couldn’t hold him. It annoyed the other inmates and made the guards anxious. But he kept counting; he was pacing out the yard.

“Hey you, canary, snitch on this.” A monster of a man grabbed himself and glared at Joe, but the absent-minded accountant just kept walking like he didn’t see him.

“Are you a snitch?”


“We kill snitches in here.”

“I know.”

Satisfied, the inmate walked away. Joe knew it didn’t help that he had a canary tattooed on the back of his neck. The moment word got out that he actually had ratted on the mafia, he was done. It would probably be gasoline in his cell or twenty stab wounds with a toothbrush. He tried not to think about it and he walked over to the bench press to pump iron. He needed to get stronger.

There was a basketball game in the gym. Maybe he could spot the right prisoner for an escape. It would be someone who could jump high and hang on the rim. This left out most of the white guys, which made things more complicated. Prison is mostly segregated by race, but social rules can be bent by a smooth talker.

Joe noticed the sunroof. There was chicken wire stretched across it. He shimmied up the basketball hoop and started to climb the rafters. The brothers saw what he was doing and kept playing. There are some things that bring prisoners together; escape is one of them. Joe grabbed the chicken wire and the staples pulled out. He ran the length of the roof, stopped to grab an old hammer, and looked for the cable that stretched across the razor wire. Joe put the teeth on it and let gravity do the rest. Sparks flew into his eyes.

CRACK. There was the first shot.

CRACK. And the second.

He cleared the fence and dropped to the ground. The trees were only twenty feet away.

He ran ten.


Blood blotched the front of his striped uniform. Joe was only two steps away from freedom and he willed himself to take them. He looked up at the green canopy and smiled. This canary had flown the cage.