I stood from my chair,
Walked over to my sleeping dog,
The evening light from the front door
Still strong enough where I could clearly see
His graying snout and my wrinkled hands.

His heavy breathing was calming,
I took a moment to just pet him,
Thinking of the current madness,
Thinking back as far as I could,
Remembering what has happened.

Grainy memories of Tet and Watergate,
Adolescent patriotism versus Iran and Russia,
The horror of LA, the shock of space shuttles,
Disbelief during 9/11, and
Confusion as to how life goes on now.

History’s calamities painting an aging picture,
The past an unwavering indictment of our worst,
Even so in our present as germs infect lungs, politics, and decency.
Time seems to wreak havoc on society
Much like the grays creep into a snout and wrinkles into hands.

The moment was too beautiful,
This golden hour of light glowing with an ease of spirit.
I sat next to my trusty pit, his soul having been dipped in good,
Leaned my head to his ribs,
And listened to the easy sound of his breathing.

Man, things hit me hard today,
Not in an injurious way,
Not at all like that,

The summer got back into my groove,
Phish took over,
Not some quick hitters,
The long, one song commute kind of songs,
Aided with the repeat button,
So all I heard was the massaging sounds
Of the Jersey Shore.

Man, things hit me hard today,
Not in an injurious way,
Not at all like that,

Spinning got back into my groove,
Sweat took over,
When a Willem Dafoe lookalike
Taught the perfect class for the moment
Without all the bullshit bouncing on the bike,
An understated style, and music that was not the focus.
For it’s really about the ride, right?

Man, things hit me hard today,
Not in an injurious way,
Not at all like that,

I must have been breathing some rare air
For my lungs were full of inspiration from
Masters of their crafts,
Friends full of humor, and the gift of loving to learn.
I walked freely, talked about being excited by research,
And felt better about who I am,
Than I had in some time.

I’ll take these punches, man.
No hurts, no ouches,
All that.

Words are hard to find these days
Maybe they are lost in the breathing
Maybe gobbled up by a lack of interest.

A friend dreams, vividly I hope,
Once I dreamt, it was good,
Creativity flowed, life was easy.

Funny thing, hope,
When things are great,
It’s there, then it’s gone

Which is where my writing is,
Hopefully just lost in thoughts of fitness
Running, swimming, biking

A different dream, satisfying
Easier to manage, less compliant,
Hopefully, it will all come back together

That dreamy state, melding with the sweaty one
So I can get my swerve back on
For my writing could use a boost

“Poetic facts lay their claims on us.” Jason Silva

Limbs snapped, trunks broken
Storm winds tear at nature’s heart
Bones broken, lives lost
Letting go of hate’s ill air
Might just save us all

“You think you know where the boundaries are, but you see this stuff and think, if this thing I’m looking at is possible, what else might be possible?” Android Jones, from Stealing Fire, Kotler and Wheal (2017)

Running a race is something else.
Take a moment and see all that is there,
See the expanse of potential,
Recognize the commonalities.
Let it inspire for races tell of hope and
What is possible
When people get together.

Running is no panacea.
Just because a person runs
Does not mean they are fit.
Yet those who are not
Still must find a way to finish.
Perhaps that means keeping their breathing steady,
Slowing their pace, or getting with a good group.
They change, they adapt, they let the race come to them.

Running does not have to be rally filled.
Running does not guarantee allegiance.
Winning does not mean a damn thing
When the runner pushes the rules of competition,
Some call that cheating, but values vary
In the way powerful people act
So delusion lets politicians be politicians
While we watch rats ruin their magnificent race.

Years ago, I looked over a scum covered pond
At a green nearly two hundred yards away.
It seemed to me that a five iron
Might be enough to get the ball there.

I drew back slowly
Firing hard into the ball.
My follow through was right
And the ball held a perfect line.

The swing left me with little more than three feet
To get a birdie on this beautiful hole.
I steadied my nerves,
But still pushed the ball right of the cup. Par.

A gallery was standing on the balcony
Of the old dinner theater.
They smoked cigarettes and
Jeered me all the way to the next tee.

I thought the old place was a hotel or apartments.
My instincts were kind of right.
The place for acting and gluttony
Had become a temple for honesty and detox.

Twenty-five years ago the old building was tired.
In many rounds of golf, I wondered what went on there.
There were plenty of people shuffling about with despair
And there was a ropes course that was falling into disrepair.

The parking lot was open, although cracked and weedy,
But through the years there were always people.
Sometimes they yelled at me, sometimes they complimented me,
Always they had a look of desperation.

Two nights ago I drove by the old place.
It had been a couple of years.
The weeds were gone, the tired old building covered in youthful siding
The ropes course replaced by a new dormitory.

Still, though, there were people
Lined up at the guard gate.
They stood with clear plastic bags
Holding all of their possessions.

I thought it looked like camp
Or move in day for college
Except for the inspection of items
And the haste with which people checked in.

One family worked to empty their SUV.
Their faces sent me back a quarter of a century
When I saw their look of desperation
Like those on the day I missed my putt…

Each time I go past
The old dinner theater,
I hope all is going well for those there,
No one deserves those demons.