And He Remembers


I wrote this in the late 1980s or early 1990s. I was going through a major transitional time in my life at that time. I was trying to reconcile my past while simultaneously planning for my future. I was a senior in college at the time.


He’s haunted by the choice

of what to do

in a year, a week, and today too.

Should he care or give a damn

or should he have listened to his old man?


He’s enticed by a vision

of a free flowing stream,

lots of trees, few people and

nights filled with dreams.


Apparitions of the dead loom large in his life.

They were wise, they were true, they were special.

Grandpa, Great Uncle Frank, Kevin and Uncle Ed.

Dead and buried but alive in his mind


He’s cutting weeds and baling hay.

Walking on the trapline with Duke by his side.


Lost in a forest not knowing

which way to go.

And of course Andy is there too

and he’s just as lost.


And Aunt Stelley is on her front porch

with a Bible in her hand.

Sometimes he hears her singing

take me to the promised land.


And there are so many others

who have come and gone

and he remembers.


Adams County in October

and the wind blows cold

through the cemetery.

He looks at cold slabs of granite

and the names invoke images

of those who use to be.


In the hospital with a pen through his leg.

Doc says “He’ll probably not walk again.”

But he did and does.


He’s on the phone asking

“When will you come home?”

But he never did and never will.


And he remembers Rod

and all the fun they had.

Rod was great and very talented

and is 17 forever.


Where is Brenda now?

Once so sweet and beautiful

and now distant and wasted.

She said she’d wait,

she said she’d try.

Why did she lie?


He carries groceries at Uhl’s IGA

and the customers comment

on the weather.


He’s in Honduras and bullets pierce the sky

and soldiers fight for a cause

they’ve long forgotten


And the barn is falling to the ground.

His Parents are growing old.

Both Sisters have children

and the baby is 22.


And little Heather is a mommy

with a baby in her arms.

And Dawn is a Freshman in college.


The tricycle is now too small

and the stars too far away.

And the old folks say

just take life day by day.


And he sees himself within the childrens’ eyes.

Little Lance runs towards him

but falls and scrapes his knee.

He picks Lance up and says everything is ok!

Lance then smiles and says “Let me down, I want to play.”


He retreats to his room

contemplating while staring at the ceiling.

What will become of him?

Time will tell.


The truth has been hidden

and the river continues to roll.


And at Gas America he authorizes someone for gas,

jokes with Todd and Terry and hands

the customer their Marlboro lights.


He finds he is a soldier

in a land without love.

He learns to kill

but says he never will.

And the black belt is worn

and Rick is all smiles.

The Blackbelt bows, walks away

and never returns.


The initiation is strange.

The flame is extinguished

and he is deemed a brother.


It’s 2 in the morning

and Russ is on the couch

with a Pepsi in his hand.

Pink Floyd is on in the background

and fish swim about the aquarium.


As a Freshman in college

he finds he is truly tested.

But time has passed

and the worst, including Dave,

he has bested.


And they smile with their false faces.

The pretend that they care.

But he has learned their game

and no longer has any need for them...

nor does he trust them.


And he’s locking doors

while all the others sleep.

He’s a walking zombie.

He’s in way too deep.


And the Omni doesn’t start.

His friends don’t understand.

He wants to run and hide

but doubts that he can.


The school bus is coming.

The headlights break through the fog.

With his lunch box and books he enters

and goes to school.


High school seemed important then.

But he now looks back

and snickers at how trivial it all was.


She treats him nice

and she is stable.

He likes her a lot

but finds he is unable

to trust her fully because

of previous experiences.


The canoe glides gently along.

A bridge comes into view.

A dead fish floats on top of the water.

The sun is setting.


Asia feels like I’ve come home.

I pity Tibet.

The body, once burned, is no more.


Tibet, a landscape much like the moon.

The bus continues to move along.

The wind whips coldly

and I can see forever.

A leper, a blind man, a hunchback, goiter, elephantiasis.

The Dalai Lama wins the Nobel Peace Prize.

The soul mate is met and both enter bliss.


They’re all getting married and moving away.

They’re slipping away.


America, work, anxiety, time, stress.

Eddie and Matt; It’s time for me to go.


Young but feeling old.

I will work harder but why?

it did nothing for Boxer.

I truly don’t know anything.

All things pass away.

Better enjoy them while you can

but I’m so busy.


We’ll meet again.

Don’t know where, don’t know when.


Go forth! Gurus along the path will assist you.

You yourself are a teacher and a student.

Right and wrong often depends upon our point of view.

Everything is interrelated.


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