He’s my age
been that way
since I got my first job
He’s an asshole
but I like him.
Immediately, he was recognized
for being cool.
I was recognized
for being smart.
“Why don’t you get up and give a talk?” He asked
I was uncomfortable
I took impractical routes
on roads not taken.
He was pragmatic (Although, he would never use that word)
He gave a talk, during my second year of labor
a big hit, describing his early life as a juvenile delinquent—
how his special education teacher whipped him into shape
“Now, I have a wife,” he said.
She’s a special education teacher too.
At a summer conference, I asked him what he did with his vacation time
“I’m a ranger and I do helicopter rescue in the national parks.”
“How does a guy get to do that,” I asked.
“You have to know somebody,” he said with a smirk.
He has an emotional behavioral disability, but over the years, he’s learned to make it work
“What are you doing over your summer?” He asked.
“I’m trying to write.”
He smiled, a condescending smile (one of those bookworms—without a spine, he thought)
I won’t say, people have been underestimating me my whole life
because that’s not true.
People need evidence to believe in you
and I have won, several times, in my past.
Lately, victory has not sustained me—it’s my belief, in myself.
In elementary school
I was going to play pro basketball
In middle school
I was MVP
In high school
I was going to be a fighter
I broke a kid’s nose
In graduate school
I was going to be a writer
At work, I became a psychologist
During my Doctorate Degree, I would be a leader
Finally, I became a writer.
No wife, but if I do a couple other things right
it might happen.
This guy, I admire
is the interim principal at my school
He has talked to the right people
and made himself useful
whereas, I am only useful to myself
“Stop being so selfish,” my dad says
but I see time
through my own eyes…
What I have created in secret
What I have learned
on my own
and not what somebody else
was able to teach me.
I read during my doldrums
am I wiser?
I think by the river
I play golf to kill time
Can I reformulate my mind
what they want me to be?
I don’t know
In the words of a literary Rocky Balboa
“I’m a writer. We can’t change what we are.”
“You can change,” his wife says.
“All we can do is go with what we are.”
And I believe that.