Go West Young Man

Go West Young Man

and read some books with the wrong ideas

then make up your own mind

and travel

into the fiery blackness of your own imagination

that doesn’t bend for anyone

Move with a sudden intensity

that shakes the very ground you stand on

Go West Young Man

and carve out a piece in the universe with the dust you were made from

like Prometheus, the father of worlds

eat the hate and enjoy the love

like an immortal being

delight in the darkness that makes it impossible to see the light

Somewhere

someone

feels like they can’t go West

because this move

might not make sense

the sun sets

with its back against you

you can follow it

but it won’t follow you

You will be Alone

where the shadows vanish.

Go West Young Man

where there is no law

but your own

Where people who need to feel important never go

there is no applause

there is nothing there

only a place you can call your own

Go West into something

that is hardly ever known

it is not for well-ordered lives

but for those who wish to break plates

and laugh

I’m going West.

Leading Teachers on Planet X

The gravity was different on Planet X, and with each step, there was an odd sucking sensation, like I was being squeezed; possibly it was because my suit was too small, or the teacher talk was turning me inside out.

“Owen is so slow, not really college material, kinda like this one.” I knew they were referring to me, but that didn’t matter. My thoughts would save me, if I could think, but they kept being interrupted.

“Do you actually know where we’re going?”

“Yes; we’ve got to cross the desert, it’s 140 degrees in some places; then we’ve got to make our way through the badlands. The good news is there shouldn’t be any alien life for at least 50 miles; that’s because nothing lives here; it’s a death zone. We’ll be without water for a few days and the sandstorms might blow us into the atmosphere.”

I could tell that was not what they wanted to hear. They wanted a motivational speech from their fearless leader, but I was afraid.

The desert was cracked like an old man’s face; there was no moisture, not even in the morning.

“It’s hot out here,” one of the teachers complained. “Aren’t we supposed to travel at night?”

“We can’t travel at night.”

“Why is that?” A teacher snapped.

“Because it gets dark.”

“But can’t you navigate by the stars?”

“No.”

“Then what are you following?”

“It’s kinda like gps. See that dot? We are the other dot.”

“Then why not travel at night.”

“Because it’s pitch black; no moon; and we won’t be able to see a foot in front of our face.”

“But won’t it get cold at night?”

“Yes; very cold.”

“Then how will we keep warm?”

“We’ll have to sleep together.”

“Not with you, you pervert.”

“Trust me, I prefer to be alone.”

“What? Do you hate women or something?”

To be continued…

Walking with Mom Around the Neighborhood

My mother says “hi” to other people

with kind enthusiasm

as we walk under white puffy clouds

around the neighborhood

We see the neighbor’s dog, drooling

“He’s just a puppy,” my mother says

“Mom, he’s an old man; that’s old man drool.

I notice that she is so fragile and small,

so loving and eager for life

she watches people and notices things

“What are you going to do, later today?” She asks.

“I think I’ll read Hegel.”

“Oh, you mean, Hegel.”

“No, Hegel; this is why I can’t talk right mom.”

“Oh, stop,” she laughs.

Growing up happened so fast

she was a good mom

and when we are home, I read her a poem

and my dad sits down quietly

listening to my words

I do wish I could bottle these moments

it’s a shame not be to be able to have them forever

we drink them in

and get drunk on merry times

they don’t last

and we don’t know them

until they’ve past

family is something we are searching for

and we know the degrees of separation

like the divide between close friends and those that are far away

it’s a Grand Canyon between us and the rest of the world

and family is close

sometimes, closer than we’d like them to be

we get hurt

when we see family go through sickness

and there is a sadness we have not yet discovered

So, I walk with mom, around the neighborhood

enjoying the moments at home

that won’t last.

When the Illusions Fade

I have hope now

like Samson

given back his strength

the world is weak

and few men are really strong

and the things that used to trouble me

no longer do

when you have the truth

and that truth is but a small slender thread

you can sow and sew and so

it goes

and the world does not allow you to explain yourself

it will be mesmerized

and that’s what it wants

to be entranced in a dream it does not understand

I have the secret now

knowledge and power are special things

they aren’t facts or positions

in the world

they exist outside of it

If you exist outside of the world

you start to see yourself

as god

and this awareness is granted to few

Many

will later say you were delusional

but the world is operating from illusions

it cannot understand

and their doubt

turns to disappointment

when the illusions fade.

The Mountain Inside

the mountain inside is growing

it lays quiet

far more silent

than a whisper

and the wind that presses against it

is absent from its mind

towns are built up against it

“How will we use this mountain?” they say

their time, is not the mountain’s time

they build up themselves

moved by their positions

while the cold hard mountain doesn’t move

it lasts

where rain and suffering

open its depths

to the truth

of time.

Not A Confession

Writing is one step removed from the world

but that’s not enough

someone I know might read it

So, what is needed is an intermediary who speaks to another intermediary

who speaks to the public

on my behalf

the problem is, we need real conversations

and speaking to intermediaries all the time

gets boring

so, in all honesty, this is not a confession

but just a swirling bit of emotion while I’m half asleep

I don’t think it’s a window into my mind

but if it is, I would be worried…

When I told my first girlfriend that it wasn’t working out

she was stunned

I felt sorry for her because she had been looking for me at school that day

but each time I talked to her, it was like nails on chalkboard

then she started calling me at home and talking about cats

she got her friend on the line

and we had a three-way

conversation

that made me think of suicide

“those sound like nice girls,” my dad said

I felt like they were draining my life force

one syllable at a time.

when I spoke those last words to her

she was shocked, and I was relieved

she found a guy I knew

who was competitive with me

“Can I date your girlfriend?” He asked.

“I don’t care,” I said. He thought he’d won

and as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized this is how the world works

there are those who think they’ve won, while the rest of us watch the game on the sidelines

enjoying great entertainment.

When I was younger and angrier

I fantasized about blowing up the whole thing

but now I clean my apartment, go to work, and take out the garbage

I try to understand people by looking at their trash

beer cans, pizza boxes, dishwashing detergent, and old furniture

I think they’re probably unhealthy

we’re all prejudiced,

but if you can see them

in the same way as you see their garbage

you’ve found something

and it might be yourself.

The Boy Who Became a Man in Bed

There is something timeless

about traffic

washing through

wet streets

and I’ll be listening to it

when I’m an old man.

I’ve been protected

on this bed

resting

my whole life

I can’t rid myself

from it

even with its crooked frame

and broken springs

It’s old

in new apartments

and all of my good ideas

come from it

I’m a bachelor

so, I eat my meals in bed

I create life

on it,

watch movies

from it,

and love my lumpy mattress

If I can sleep through life

and dream

and those dreams waken

something real inside me

I’ll get out of bed for that

but until then

I’ll just lie here

and rest

the things of life

don’t interest me

magical mornings do

with the sun shining through

and I’ll die on my bed

waiting for that.

The Nice Guys Won’t Leave Me Alone

My old man asked himself an honest question

but didn’t answer it

“Why are dysfunctional people attracted to me?”

I went to church

that evening

hoping to talk to someone

new

I am a year older than the youth pastor

and he jumped

when I spoke to him

“How’ve you been and what have you been up to?” I asked.

He told me about his humble job

of conserving electricity and managing the grounds

about coming from worldly origins, and changing his name

He spoke of Jesus and he was a nice guy

but I couldn’t talk to him

He was too busy being a nice guy

I went to the food table and loaded my plate with broccoli

avoiding the chips and soda

I looked around the room of young people

10 years younger than myself

feeling like I had stepped back in time

to a place I didn’t belong

there was a young man, sitting at a table, with his girlfriend or wife

So, I decided to introduce myself

he didn’t want to talk

we were different

and a guy named Andre sat down next to him, instead, and started talking

they busted each other’s balls and then exchanged numbers

I was disillusioned

a nice guy walked over to me with an exaggerated, smiling face

“Do you hike?” He asked.

“Yes.”

“Well, let’s exchange numbers after the service!”

“Okay,” I said.

I was disappointed in myself

I didn’t like who liked me

Right before the service ended

I snuck out

and when I got home

my dad was talking to a fat man with hair down to his waist

“Rich just won’t leave me alone,” my dad later said.

And I sympathized

“The nice guys won’t leave me alone.”

Where the Shadows Don’t See Me

the strangers that we know

wander in and out of our minds

we see them

and they don’t see us

it’s like a dream

where some are awake

and some are asleep

the past is a dream

that I remember

but others have forgotten

this blend of reality and fiction

imagination and longing

is a different dimension

like the voices inside our heads

that tell us things that aren’t real

a dream inside a dream

a disguise where we can hide

I am a telephone call away

but nobody calls

in the night

I hear ringing

but it’s only my alarm

waking me to another

sunshiny day

where the shadows don’t see me.

Because I Went for a Walk in the Woods…

I’m a lover of being alone

and I have come to be continuously disappointed

in the company of others.

It wasn’t always this way

but as we get molded into things

that cease to be alive

and we escape on a mattress full of grapefruit peals

and Chinese food containers

and movies with the same ending

getting away

gets old

Escaping

used to be easy

but now it takes so much more

to forget.

I don’t want to be known.

I don’t want to be understood.

I don’t wish for a better time.

Amnesia

is preferable

and I think of escaping, life

Sleep

is what I look forward to

a little death

every night

when I cease to exist

when there is nothing

and what beautiful nothingness.

It’s 6 in the afternoon

when I go for a walk

in the woods.

I feel like a zombie

numb and awkward

entering the wrong habitat.

There is no one there

and the trees are making sounds

sharp, groaning, cracking, sounds

the leaves are moist, yellow, and brown

falling to the ground, to the sound of silent music

the air is damp

when I start walking

and the red backed beetle

looks up at me

spiders weave their webs

and the falling sunlight flickers through the trees

in a different world

Suddenly…

I want to see family

and I leave the woods and visit home

and home is happy to see me

the dog pees on the rug

my parents ask me how I’m doing

and I’m doing very well

because I went for a walk in the woods.