Magical Thinking

There is so much I cannot accept

and my nonacceptance

causes me to not want any of it

when my imagination mirrors my reality

I’ll accept that

until then

I’m living in my dreams

but a strange thing has been happening, recently

my dreams are coming true

and it’s beautiful

they aren’t the dreams of most people

so, I don’t expect most people to understand

but I wouldn’t trade this feeling for any other

it’s not about getting what I want

but it’s about being able to

and being able to

is what I want

it’s kind of like a competent incompetence

some invisible skill

that I can’t take credit for

but I do secretly

most would say I’m just lucky

or it’s magical thinking

but when magical thinking really works

it’s real

and I wouldn’t trade it for anything

not a big empty house

not a flashy new car

Who caused us to want these things?

I’ll just spend time alone with my thoughts

my most cherished possessions.

My Longest Summer

People often complain of not having enough time

because their lives are jam-packed, full of things to do

my life has gotten this way…

but more often than not

there is nothing planned

and rather than crossing things off my list

I think about putting things on the blank sheet of paper

but nothing I might write, goes there

it seems like a horrible waste for the waste-paper basket

this happened the summer after my first year working as a professional

I had no friends

no commitments

only an endless summer

everything happened in slow motion

I had no cell phone and no watch

I literally kept track of the time by looking at the sun

I didn’t even know what day it was

I found myself doing the things that I did when I was 12

My whole life was in front of me

I checked Facebook late at night

to watch the progress of high school friends

they were married

some had kids

and I stayed up late into the evening

trying to discover who I was

each morning, the summer light would filter through the blinds

and it seemed like it would go on forever

I was writing a novel about magicians, with such belief and enthusiasm

I was reading old books in the study, that hadn’t been read since 1962

I was part of a different time

or time didn’t exist

I walked in the woods by the river

remembering my growing up years

I went on a date, on a boat, with two girls

I read a book that taught people how to make a living working 4 hours a week

I followed my gps, even though my gps was 15 years old

I got lost, constantly

I was terrified of getting lost, so in a way, I conquered my fear

I met an old church friend and his parents with my mom on a beautiful blue lake where we took out their boat

I marveled at their modernness, their busy lives, their being hip with all things new

Whenever I try for that, it always seems forced

It seems like I’m never enough when I try hard or I spend time around people who try hard

I see the tenseness in their faces and hear the insincerity in their voices…

Many summers from now, someone I used to know may ask me what I did with my life

and I will have trouble answering that question.

Those Who Try

they play the guitar on the weekends

they were self-taught in high school

they thought they would be a Rockstar

as creeping age, creeps in

it’s a dying dream

they play at weddings

they play to ignore their tears

their life feels like it’s hanging by a thread

good job

good friends

good neighborhood

good schools

a boss who is pleased until they are displeased

reminding them

of their insecurity

when climbing up their thread

closer

it belongs to them

out of reach

dangling

taunting

laughing

while humanity is watching

until they aren’t

someone threatens to sever your line,

your carefully constructed life line

“to hell with them”

you release

for dreams

untied

it’s not for a Rolls or a Golden Glider

you must know, you tried.

Glide, No Engines Please

open air

few people step out into open air

ride your thermals like a swan of the sky

sleep

in open air

with no place to land

no place to rest

float forever

in open air

don’t be driven by a motor

burning toxic exhaust

don’t steal someone else’s fuel

the ground belongs to those who are rooted in it

taller than some

shorter than others

Fly above lonely trees

unpleasant seas

hostile cliffs

with dead drops

You see the sun

and shoot right through

a beam of light

a whistling swan

feathers that fly with faith in them

invisible

to those who don’t have enough

an engine has to land some day

it needs a runway

to take off

it needs

it needs

it needs

all we need

is open air.

Runner’s High

Where did the starting line begin

and when is the finish line?

How much distance is there between failure and success

and why do I even run?

Do I ever stop running from things or toward things?

Do we drown when we stop?

Sometimes standing still is where it’s at

watching the elk on the trail

in the dark

or admiring the moon

If you keep running, there is always the possibility of something around the corner

Push yourself past limits

There have been times in my life when I said, “Don’t try too hard. Put your time in.”

But the best moments are when I go all out

this puts people on edge

because they can’t understand why

“You should go the speed limit.”

“But I’m a race car.”

“You never went this fast before.”

“There was traffic; now the road is clear.”

“What do you want to do, cause an accident or something?”

the trail is a test, a test of my strength

some may say that strength doesn’t matter

we’re just going to lose it

but feats of strength

are necessary

it’s not about being strong

but about feeling strong

and I keep running on the trail

to test my limits

so I don’t have any.

Save Yourself

you aren’t perfect for the world

but you are perfect for you

people will tell you all sorts of things

people won’t be your friend

you start to discover you

when you begin to tell yourself things

you develop a lifetime relationship

when you accept and admire

the parts of you that don’t fit in

it becomes a magic for you

a magic other people can’t see

their criticism doesn’t get through

your happiness is real

you have foiled so many beliefs

you have given up on god

and found god in you

if nothing lasts

what do you do?

people want to be remembered

they want attention

and they want to take that attention away from you

let them

in the darkness, you find yourself

in the absence, you find substance

in the empty library, you find the truth

don’t listen to anyone

they don’t know why they do what they do

they will steer you without knowing why they steer you

they will try to find a way inside your head

and when they get there, they will become lost and crazy

pleading for a way out, but you won’t let them

it isn’t a door, they can freely walk into

it’s a maze inside your mind

regarding right behavior

don’t try

don’t read the gospel

but wait for the gospel to be read to you

you’ll know it when you hear it

because it will save you

you aren’t at work

and you aren’t at play

you are doing something nobody else can do

you are doing you.

Delusions in the Desert

My head hurt. No, it was my side. I opened my eyes under the blistering sun and got kicked again.

“Wake up.”

She was wearing spandex and looked like she could run to the colony.

I was dehydrated and wanted to die.

“If you can’t keep up with us, you’ll be left behind.”

“You don’t know where you’re going,” I said.

She smirked, and held up the device.

Then they left, and an hour went by, or it could’ve been five minutes. I felt at peace, like I was getting a sun tan on a beautiful beach. I heard the ocean, and felt it washing into my feet; or maybe my body was just going into shock, but I couldn’t tell, so it didn’t matter.

I saw something silver flying above me, even though it was probably just my dying brain cells, and a few moments later I got kicked in the side again. So, I turned over to give her a piece of my mind.

And it was an alien, pointing a gun at me.

I reacted, grabbing my .357 Magnum from out of my pants and firing a round into her head. Getting up, I inspected the body. I was shaking. Purple sludge was draining into the sand and twenty feet away her silver space craft was waiting.

The Gentlemen’s Club

The answers to life’s biggest problems can be found where we don’t normally go. -Intellectual Shaman

It was a tired work day. Some employees were sleepwalking through their jobs and having nightmares. They didn’t know it, but they were troubled. Jon looked at them and they didn’t look at him. The answers were not reflected there. There is a hummm, a frequency, and everyone listens. He put in his earplugs and when that didn’t work, he visited the country golf course. It was raining. What possessed him to play in the rain? There was nobody out there, but him. It was like a different planet in a different time. There was no visible technology, just the storm. After 9, he was soaked. And when he went inside, it was the same thing—the pro didn’t look at him, the world didn’t see him. And when he walked into the restroom, the mirror didn’t reflect. He was invisible. At first, Jon was frightened. Being invisible meant that he didn’t exist, but the world seemed real enough, normal— the worst prospered.

As he adjusted his hair in the reflection he couldn’t see, he began thinking… I can still enjoy the game that loves me. He flushed and watched the water straining through the urinal cake. The room was green with golfers playing on the walls. They looked like gentlemen, not the half-desperate husbands who yearned for a different life. He put his hand on the brown door and looked over his shoulder at the black one. Was it a janitor’s closet? Jon walked across the restroom, half-expecting it to be locked, but the door handle turned.

Imagining to see mops and toilet plungers, Jon was shocked by the bright sunlight. It was like an enormous egg in the sky. Men were walking around quickly, tying their shoes, and adjusting their knickerbockers. Three of them tipped their caps to him. “Have you joined a group yet? We tee-off in five minutes.” Jon looked at his reflection in the mirror. He was no longer invisible. He belonged here. An old bag and clubs were stashed in the corner. He slung them over his shoulder and joined the group. There was a rainbow outside, even though it wasn’t raining. It was a reminder of where he had come from. The black door to the janitor’s closet was always waiting, where he could enter the world that didn’t see him.

Mad Dog

Steam floats across the mirror

and a hand wipes it off

proud eyes look at an evil face

that contorts to be good

and then droops back again

it shudders and quivers

what is good?

it seems that good is normal

and normal is mad

it’s a dog park with fences

walked on a leash

and trained to sit or stay

fed kibble when it wants to hunt

you can tell a wolf

it’s not a friendly dog

it can go it alone

or work in a pack

it has no master

it will starve for months

it’s wild and hunted

dangerous to those who fear danger

it runs between suburban civilized society

“Hey young man, will you help me out?” A woman in a wheelchair asks

and the wolf stops

“You’re that young man who runs every day.”

“Yes.”

“Why do you do it?”

He throws her trash in the dumpster. “I don’t know.”

and he doesn’t know why he said that

the mad dog becomes angry

no fat dog catcher will ever get the better of it

no civilized bitch

will ever seduce it

the mad dog is mad

because it is not good

good is normal

and normal is mad.

Sunrise Superman

Sunrise Superman

consumed by shadows

I stare out, into the sun

where an old man is walking his dog

by the city sign

his bulldog lifts a leg and pisses

on the red and white community flowers

smiling at his master

while his master smiles back

I smile at both of them

and then my light turns green

and I drive to the park

where I park next to a Prius and a Subaru

and I start running down the trail

man and dog stick in my mind

like a Zen moment

the lake is liquid glass

like a magnifying glass, reflecting the sun

and a younger man and his dog walk past

he is depressed

and his dog is sad

then the day turns dark

and there are lights in perfect windows

like candles in their holders

burning through the trees

as I walk into the middle of the lake, on the dock

on top of the world, surrounded by those candles

under a crescent moon, staring at all the planets and stars

Jupiter looks like it might fall from the sky

but it’s not a worry,

and I walk back

through thick fog

smelling a big cigar

seeing an old man, puffing

he lights it again, with a match

and smiles

in the dark

it’s a Zen moment

Sundown Superman.