Cosmic truths or parlor tricks,
I don’t know, but
In the mornings,
We have a ritual of seeing what the stars
Have in store for us.

Today, my colleague handed me the paper,
I filled in his one square handout,
Shuffled the pages,
And started with Pisces, then Scorpio,
Finally, to Libra.

The first two had not a connection to my friends,
The third, mine, was old news,
But scary in that it sounded like the two-hours prior
Had been forecast by the cosmos.

I had gone running alone in the dark,
Traveling through old haunts last seen twelve years ago,
I ran just ahead of my demons, taking their souls as I went.

The stars knew,
They said so, tricks be damned.

Feeling good.

A friend said of The Doors,
“The most arrogant and pompous band ever,”
I didn’t have a counter
Even though I didn’t disagree
I couldn’t agree, either
Since my musical palette includes The Doors,
At least the well-known songs,
Which is like saying,
I kind of like Chinese food,
At least it felt like it sounded like that
Until I started typing the sentence,
Then it sounded like something a lesser Jim Morrison
Would write,
Absent the arrogance and pomposity,
The leather pants,
The heavy drinking,
And all that mystique that fueled The Doors.

I’ve been banging away at the keys all day,
Looking to tighten up a story
Several years in the writing.
It’s lost its way
Is right on track
Somewhere between Fitzgerald and Kerouac
Which is pretty arrogant and pompous, I think,
To put my writing up there with those guys
Or to judge one as most excellent and the other shit
So that I could conveniently fall between them.
I suppose an argument could be made
That the literary fortune of all authors
Is made on the edges of upturned noses,
Perhaps the same is true of other creatives,
The more arrogant, the more commercial,
The more bankable
Like my friend, I don’t think I care enough to get there.

Trending downward,
Not in a bad way,
Just easing into the days,
Semi-patiently waiting for a race
And then a change,
The next big challenge
That will require more patience,
Greater acceptance of ease,
“Belief in a better way,” like Ben sang,
So I can find another upward trend.

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.

Watching videos on YouTube,
The newest version of self-help books.
I’ve been gravitating towards Goggins,
But tonight, I’ll watch that biker guy,
The one who came in second, twice.

Today, I replayed his video over and over,
Just a mental rerun, a motivational loop,
Because this dude had every reason to be pissed off,
But somehow he was able to go positive and
Find inspiration after two tough losses.

“Feed the dog!”
That’s the attitude of The Seal,
That’s the attitude of the biker guy,
That’s the attitude I want to cultivate,
I’m hungry.

Master Fwap,
According to Frederick Lenz,
Said that there are places
Of great energy
On our planet.
It is there where
Creativity flourishes,
Innovation becomes reality, and
Motivation becomes effortless.

I’m not there right now.

The words are not flowing,
The ideas are not coming,
Only the desire to exercise is booming.
I love this place
For it is not the geography making me stale,
It is this place where the energy is building,
The frustration is percolating, and soon,
The flow will come.

I’ll be ready when it does.

Getting after it,
Feet turning over,
Lungs accepting cool air,
Gravity being denied,
Friction a partner,
Not an obstacle
Leaving our little group
Flying through a conversation
Barely able to explore
Why people make excuses
For shortsighted effort
Where the pain and suffering
Make for excuses too easy
To explain away
Hard work.

That’s what I learned this morning,
There cruising up Sickle,
Letting my competitive nature rise
In a way an old person like me
Would probably be advised to deny,
All in an effort to chase down
A couple of guys
Who chose not to walk
At the top of the hill.
The game was to get there,
Not pass or win,
Just to know
I could
Work hard.

Don’t say, “Calm down,”
Who we are is who we are,
The way we act,
Is who we are,
And I’m competitive,
Wanting to do my best,
Living in a culture where failure
Is sort of accepted,
So far as I “feel good” about it,
But I hate to lose
Because I think I didn’t work hard enough,
Unless of course, the situation or the opponent
Just kicks my ass outright.
I can live with that.

For a moment,
Because I don’t want that on me, Ricky Bobby,
I want to know I’m doing my best,
Pushing to the point where a little hill like Sickle
Can kiss my butt
As I keep running through the crest
Not giving those guys behind me a chance
To pass while I feel sorry for myself;
Or mollify my ego with a half-assed pride
That is a better called a false bravado.
I want to accomplish stuff,
Exhaling the noxious bullshit spewed by others and
Filling my lungs with the deepest breaths of oxygen
Hard work delivers.