Ah, the shower,
That moment when oxytocin surged
Right after Tennessee’s dust settled…
In a truck stop of all places.

The hippie weekend was over,
Waking to a dripping tent was done,
Five dollars and fifteen minutes
Brought cleanliness to this worn soul.

It’s true, a saw buck can go a long way,
Never so true as it did on a Sunday after days in the dust
Being serenaded by the winds of change
And a lack of care for personal hygiene.

A Rubik’s cube puzzle of parking
Could not keep travelers land locked.
A rush to move up travel times
Could not prevent the risk of showering at a gas station.

Truth is it didn’t matter who went before,
The shower could have been a high school locker room,
But it wasn’t, it spurt a sort of water,
The kind meant to anoint those seeking relief from doubt and loneliness.

So it was back in ought-seven
When the foggy steam on the mirror and sweating tile walls
Gave clarity to this soul looking only for peace and renewal,
All that came for nothing more than a fiver in the greatest shower ever.

Here it comes,
I’d rather it colder,

Here it comes,
A run,
I’d rather it than what’s next,

The combo is best,
Snow and work,
They don’t play well together,
Leaving nothing but a day to run.

Watching these kids run
Without much reason
For me being there
Creates some distance on my part
From the purpose of their running.

They are so optimistic,
Hoping for the few spots available.
I’m grizzled, burnt, and apathetic,
Too bothered to care these days before tryouts.

Only one here tonight
Will be eligible for my team.
He’ll make it,
So will I
When the time is correct.

How about the ways that dreams
Demur to the reality that we live.

Dreams, the stuff of abstraction,
Giving way to the routine, the predictable.

Close your eyes, let the reels run,
Put to rest stasis, inactivity, all that is mundane.

Stay with the movie, the fantasy,
Right through the end credits before boredom returns.

How about the ways life conquers,
Defeating imagination, adventure, dreams.

Yesterday, I watched anime,
Sometimes I do that,
Not really understanding what it’s about,
Maybe because I’m too old,
Although, I did grow up on Speed Racer,
Which is sort of anime, I suppose.

This one was different than the others,
A music video of sorts,
A confluence of pop, country, and anger
With a message one of the songs suggested
I shouldn’t even try to figure out the meaning.
Of course, I didn’t listen.

Instead, a took a deep dive,
Free falling through each chapter, scene or song
And attempting to attach my meaning
The artistic expression before me.
My spin picked up its pace with the action of the show
Putting my heart rate and leg ache higher than usual.

I saw death,
I saw cruelty,
I saw the gratuitous ways we objectify each other,
There was hope,
There was revenge,
There was good rising to the top.

The end of the video came soon enough,
My hoodie was drenched in sweat,
Little puddles pooled on the floor under my bike.
I never knew I was sweating,
Lost in the video, absorbed by the music.
Tomorrow I may watch anime again.

Ah, you of quantifiable verbiage,
You counter of words
Where thirty does a better job than ten,
What have you done to my stuff,
The stuff I don’t really care about,
The words I’m compelled to write
That have no real meaning for me.
Self-reflections of a pointless exorcism
A releasing of soulless shenanigans
Fiction for the ambitious sour cream.

I’ll paraphrase, Red, the black Irishman
Who told a young upstart
To check whatever boxes needed checking,
To make the necessary notes,
To put whatever bullshit official paper needs
To be solid, and then leave him the eff alone.
That’s how I feel after reading your BS,
Your treatise of jargon that I would send back to you
If I had such authority.
I wish I cared enough to challenge you
To a duel of words where we summarized experiences,
Where we noted the precision of bullet points, and
Expressed the reality of classroom behavior,
Mine, yours, and theirs.

At least we got a good laugh
Out of what you wrote
To “cover” my(?) ass.