There are too many things to think about
There are too many ways I dream to be

-Michael Bruner, Cartoons Are My Life

It seems selfish to talk about my hardships
They are so insignificant
Bullets rain from the sky killing too many,
The government fails to act on common sense measures
To facilitate a safer planet, and we wait for the next one.

On a different scale, Tom Petty wrestles with life,
Pretty much telling whatever stopped his heart
That he won’t back down.
All I can think is that he meant so much to me growing up and
How much greater his loss will be for his family.

When I dream of where I am,
Lost in the clouds of doubt, boredom, or plain old bitchiness,
I need to take a moment to realize that someone, somewhere,
Is dealing with much worse than I’ve ever known.
Be well Vegas. Be well Petty family. Be well, everyone.

Many years ago
I made a move to teach
At a high school.
After elementary school and middle school,
I figured I had seen just about everything.

I hadn’t.

Besides the normal school stuff,
I got to learn a whole new faculty.
One man was a longtime teacher
Who was nearing retirement.
I only knew him in passing, but he was always around.

He ran the hallways during his planning.
His choppy steps were quiet
And he always listened to something
Loud enough on his headphones
To bypass his downgraded hearing ability.

After he retired,
He stuck around.
Using his guile and experience
From teaching the hardest of students
To manage the toughest of all teaching jobs, the substitute.

And he ran.

After a quick Clark Kent change,
He was out of his bow tie
Making his way around the building
With a pace perfect
For memorizing his lines in the script he carried.

I never knew he was an actor,
But he was great,
Never letting on that he had cancer,
Never suggesting that he could not beat it.
His anger seemed manageable as he reasoned with his struggle.

Yet, he remained upbeat
Running as much as possible,
Reading during quiet moments between classes,
Standing through the rigors of standardized testing,
Acting as if he was on the mend.

We last spoke about two weeks ago.
He did some quiet judging of education,
How we are missing the importance of what we are
By focusing so much time on testing
For he had been a man of relationships, no matter how difficult the student.

Word came today that Kirk passed away.
Cancer took a good man away from us all too soon.
He lived with a dignity and honesty
Few will ever approach.
So long, Mr. Fetters…


Talking about the past can be a difficult thing.
Especially, when the present is filled with grief.

Back in high school, the Rams were a tight group.
Then, 14 got sick.

Physical problems brought pressure to his brain
That robbed him of life.

Always a cool cat, 14 carried his smile Magic-style,
Even on that day when we visited.

His body was weak and voice strained,
But he lit up when we entered the room.

“Yo, Sweet Cock, what are you doing, boy?”
He asked with the biggest grin.

I was crying inside
Because even at sixteen, you know.

The day 14 went to see the Lord
Was crazy cold with the brightest sun.

I cried on the church steps outside
Because at sixteen, you just don’t know what to do.

And like that
Life kept on going…


Today word got out about 42,
Who lost his struggle against cancer.

He was tall, skinny, and quiet
With a soft shot that was nothing but buckets.

He carried himself with class
Never getting caught in the drama of high school,

But he knew, knew he was a baller,
And let the nets do his talking.

We drifted apart after the season
Not to ever see each other again.

Yet, I’m bothered by this news
For the same reason.

42 was a good dude and those who know
Say the same about him today.

He leaves his family much too soon
And I hurt for them

But thinking of that gawky kid, all elbows and knees,
Makes me smile for getting to be his teammate.

And like that
Life will keep on going…

14 & 42

I hope Troy and Alan will cross paths,
Maybe even get in some pick-up games.

14 feeding 42…

You must have been eluding a predator,
Losing sight of our house.

Did you realize that it was too late
To change course?
Did you not have time
To brace for impact?

I watched your last breaths,
As you gave in to the inevitable.

Did you have a nest somewhere
With others counting on you?
Were you leading your enemy from them
To keep your family safe?

I took hold of you
As your soul took flight.

What did I know about
Your beautiful build?
How could you carry such colors
In the harsh realities of living wild?

You were still warm,
Bending in my hands without any resistance.

Should I have buried you
In the tall grasses behind our house?
Why did I keep hearing
“Let the coyotes eat?”

I gently placed you at the edge of the woods,
Thinking nature would know better what to do.