Listening to winds blow,
Relaxing, watching the trees sway,

Listening to fireplaces pop,
Soothing, seeing the flames dance,

Listening to people cope,
Refreshing, hearing their strength,

It’s in the way things are taken,
Perspective, wanting the best,

For all of the talk,
Preparation, being ready for stuff,

Yet there are those,
Friends, making it through tough times,

Closer to home as well,
Family, propping me up each day,

It’s been the better part of a month since I ran with my friends. Last night, my phone blew up with a texting storm that pushed the boundary between laughing and gagging. The few moments of inappropriateness and the destruction of innocence brought a much-needed relief from days of monotony inflicted by social distancing. I’m not sure when I’ll be back around those guys again, but it was sure nice to hear from them. Hopefully everyone, everywhere, is being safe and able to avoid this virus. It would be good, too, if you checked in with all your lost peeps.

How do you get from
Chicago IX
With nothing more than
“Fans Also Like”
As a travel guide.
Let me tell you something,
It’s like a Steve Martin/John Candy adventure.

So here’s how it was,
I listened to Malcolm G, again,
Hoping to get my writing chops fine-tuned.
Maybe he helped,
Views and likes are the judges on that, I guess,
But in my search for a story
I decided to listen to

Chicago IX.

And I thought, how many songs
Would I have to listen to
By groups only found in “Fans Also Like,”
To get to AC/DC.
I wish I had written them all down,
I’d have an effen novel right there,
Probably close to eighty-thousand words.

I toiled in the 70s pre-disco clicks for a while,
Falling back into the supergroups of the sixties
And all the mind-bending vibes I grew up with.
The blues took over, grabbing my soul with deep claws,
I kept going backward, getting all the way to Robert Johnson
Where I felt like I might be at my crossroads until
Keb saved the day
Somehow getting me into 90s country,
The dudes…and they leached onto me
Like they had some slick producer orchestrating the list
So I would never get out of Nashville.
I jumped to the women, none of them helped,
I was country and again, just about to quit
When a text came to me from the depths of homebound madness,
A lip quivering message of surviving this pandemic
And trying to keep positive as the pestilence rages
All over the world,
Sa’Tan let me know, others were struggling with the toil
Of doing the right thing
And I found new energy in the devilish one’s predicament.

Hootie, I mean Darius, was my ticket out of Nashville,
And after another twenty or so minutes of clicking in the MTV era,
I stumbled into hair bands.

AC/DC had to be right there,
Vince Neil couldn’t do it. Sebastian Bach couldn’t do it.
Hell, even David Lee Roth couldn’t get me out of my
Self-imposed house of horrors.
Then, with KISS playing in the background,
After an interminable spin through obscure hair sort of metal bands
A fan of someone, it could have been Autograph or Krokus
Liked Jon Bon Jovi.

Oh, God, Bon Jovi, not my favorite band growing up
Van Halen…
I put “Running with the Devil” on, repeat at that,
Clicked “Fans…”

Effing AC/DC!

Looking back, Malcolm’s lesson today,
“Follow Your Curiosity.”

There you go.


silhouette of boy running in body of water during sunset
Photo by Samuel Silitonga on

The social side of running,
That time when lungs are full,
Legs aren’t aching, and
A stream of conversation is possible
Took a big hit this morning.
Our group, a very small gathering,
Jogged through the drizzle,
Guided by a foghorn-like GPS
Keeping us straight on our recreational drive
To have an easy Sunday run
With friends.

We were in denial,
We knew,
The streets were more empty than normal,
Conversation was about ransacked grocery stores,
Jokes were about self-containment and cleaning.
The kicker that brought everything to the surface,
Perhaps a non-wiped down contagious surface
Was the end of run high-five.
We all pulled a “swing and a miss.”
I didn’t even take my mittens off.

That was when I was sure that I was taking some time off,
Then another said she was out,
And another. Before long, our group of six
Was scattering, unwilling to stand at Starbucks,
But more likely resigned to the fact
That we should probably heed the warnings.
Don’t get me wrong, the running, the exercising,
The pushing of the boundaries of what we do
Will not stop.
We’ll just be alone when exercising.


So, I got in my car
Just as Tom Morello was shredding
His guitar on Bruce’s “Tom Joad,”
Which was good and bad, for my
Creative juices were flowing
After a fine meeting with some local writers
Who made an earlier conversation with my
Meathead friends I teach with, well
Not meatheads like Vinny Barbarino,
But we like to keep things pretty stereotypical in the gym,
After all, we are gym teachers,
However, they all know about my clandestine creative goings
And were wondering what I was doing tonight,
“Going to find my creative nerd side,” I joked.

Once I arrived at the new, old bookstore,
I knew I was not prepared
To even follow breadcrumbs for the creative nerd
I have so longed to become.
I knew nothing of most of the authors they spoke of,
My latest book is digital and read by the author,
Binky Barnes is kind of a hero of mine;
What impressed me, though, was the comfort the group had,
An appreciation for the process,
Not competitive, something I repress, but also fall prey to,
No, these folks are appreciative and welcoming,
Of thought, opinion, and status.
We should all be so “nerdy.”
I’ve got a long way to go.

The last year has seen a great deal of change,
A softening, greater vision,
My gym teacher friends continue to keep me sane,
Their banter filling that part of me needing
To be on the edge of hashtag mayhem.
Fitness friends inspire me to “stick with the plan, dumbass,”
As I return to a happier and more competitive place with exercise.
Some much for repression… Now, maybe, this new group,
Will unlock those doors only creatives seem to see,
The ones leading to unrestrained ideas
Somehow crafted into beautifully constrained pieces.
I’m excited by the prospects,
Absorbing the good vibe, and
Proud to be in touch with my nerdy, albeit, newbie way.

Hard to tell,
Life always looks down
When you’ve fallen to the ground
And the sorrows have been drowned,
Hard to tell,
How hard it is to get up
After tipping many a cup
And being forced to suck it up buttercup.
Hard to tell,
Yet it’s easy to know
How quickly weekends can go
When surrounded by a carnival show.
Not so hard to tell,
Peaceful is home,
Home is just down the way,
Away from all the crazy stuff up there.

NASA/E. Karkoschka (University of Arizona) [Public domain]
My friends are texting,
I have no idea
What’s going on.

I’m trying to decide
About buying a car,
I still don’t have a clue.

People on television are talking
About the bullshit in DC.
I can’t get my head around it.

Clarifications on the texts
Are leaving me in the fog.
Is it a birthday or here be dragons?

Phone calls from dealers
Are not at all helpful.
Can I get a car without rebar being inserted?

The government is doing what?
Come on…

More and more, I’m just a ring on Saturn.
There, circling,
Pretty much just hanging around.