Stumbling Ahead, Chapter 4

Then, something clicked in my head. “Hell,” I thought. “Why not? I can do whatever I want to do. It doesn’t matter, anyway. It’s all just a silly game. I’m in a fantasy land. I’m clueless!”

I got in the car and drove like a maniac, screeching around corners, zig-zagging from lane to lane, the usual, I guessed. I stopped at a corner store and bought a six-pack of Red Stripe, got in the car, opened a bottle, started the car, pulled out of the parking lot, then started chugging away. Michael looked at me with a concerned look on his face. “Dad, you’re not supposed to drink and drive!” “I know, Michael,” I said. “But right now, I don’t care.”

I slowed to a stop at the first red light, then, changed my mind. I floored the gas pedal, and we took off. We didn’t get far before I heard a police siren behind us. I looked in the rear view mirror and saw the flashing lights of a police car. But I wasn’t in the mood to stop, so I decided I’d do my best to try to lose him. I saw a dump truck up ahead, so, when I passed it, I took a sharp turn in front of it, then into a grocery store parking lot. I sped along, cutting across parking aisles, dodging other cars that were scattered throughout the lot. I took a sharp turn when I got to the end of the building, dashed to the back alley, then tore around the corner and through the back passageway. There were empty crates, a couple dumpsters, and more cars and a delivery truck back there. I twisted and turned around all the obstacles, screeched around the opposite corner of the building, then out into the next street. I took off down the road, then looked in my mirror. Nothing. The police car was gone. All that, and he wasn’t even behind me. I didn’t even hear a siren. “Weird,” I thought. “Did I lose him, or was he not even after me? Hmmm…”

I thought again, “Who cares, anyway!” Just then, I looked over at Michael. He looked terrified. He was hunched up in a ball, clinging to the side of his seat. “Dad,” he said, under his breath. “Are you okay?” “I’m fine, Michael,” I said. “How are you?” “I’m okay. Do you think you could drive a little slower for a while? I’m a little sick to my stomach.”

I said, “Sure, no problem. I’ll try to chill out a little bit, okay?” “Okay,” said Michael. “That would be good.” I thought to myself, then, “I’ve got to get a grip on things. I’m losing my mind.” Then, I started to phase out a little bit. As we cruised down the road at a respectable 45 miles per hour, I started having memories, at least, I thought they were memories. I really couldn’t be sure.

Anyway, my thoughts were of being in high school, at the prom. Nothing exciting was happening, really. I was sitting at a dining table in a big room. Next to me, sat my date. After a few minutes of just sitting there not talking, and bored, in general, my date passed me a little tablet. “Here,” she said. “It will take the edge off things.” Then, she said, “Put it under your tongue.” Although I had no idea what it was, or what she meant by that, I tried it. Then, things got kind of blurry. The room started to spin. I got dizzy. My next memory was sitting in someone’s living room, watching other teenagers passing a small pipe. It had sort of a sweet smell. My date from the prom was there, too. I couldn’t remember her name, but, somehow, she seemed important. “I wonder if that was my wife,” I thought. She did seem very familiar. It could have been a close friend or something, I guessed.

“I’m ready to go home,” said Michael. His words brought me back to the present, pulling me away from my “trip” down memory lane. “Hmmm..” I said. “Maybe, that would be wise.” Sometimes you need a twelve year old to talk some sense into you. I slowed down, pulled into a left turn lane, then orchestrated a u-turn, heading back towards home.


Rescue Me from Me


Are you the one,
And only one
Who comes to me
In the night?

Asking questions
In my dreams
Seems to be
The way of me.

Solving riddles
Is the way
To break free.

Walking in circles,
Dreaming in rhythm,
All of the day.

Running solo,
Crossing me,
Casting lots
Into the sea.

Do you ask me
Why I say this?
Are you tortured
In your sleep?

There is no end
To the questions
In my head.

Spying something
In the corner,
Smiling at me,
Oh, so softly.

So, what becomes
Of the mystery?
Where is this journey
Going to take me?

Will I ever
Escape the tragedy?
Will you rescue
Me from me?

Loving Each Other

Loving each other
Is sometimes hard to do.
We let our preconceptions
And stereotypes
Get in the way.

Our first, second,
And third impressions
Taint our view of each other,
As if, the few conversations,
Or lack thereof,

Are all there is,
Or will ever be,
To our relationship,
Or each other,
As individuals.

We forget,
That when we take the time
To really get to know people,
We discover that
We all really have a lot in common,

We are more alike
Than we are different,
And we can always find
Aspects of each other
That are interesting and important.

What are we afraid of,
Is it really that big a risk
To get to know each other better?
We’re just afraid of

What we don’t know,
What we don’t understand,
What we don’t accept.
But we will never know,
Until we try.

Our Inner Critic


Cruel sentiments
Sometimes boil over
Into conversation.
Our inner critic
Is contagious.

What we think,
And how we feel
About ourselves,
Sometimes gets projected
Onto others.

We have been criticized
By someone in our lives,
Someone who is
Very important to us.
And, so, we do the same.

I catch the critical words
Before they reach my mouth,
They are not what I want to say.

It is so automatic, though,
That sometimes, it bursts out,
Until it is too late,
And, like someone once did to me,

I hurt someone
With cruel words,
Insensitive, critical, judgmental.
And, most of the time,
I don’t really mean it.

It just pops out,
Because it is part of who I am.
It doesn’t matter,
If I reject it as wrong
In my head.

I must take responsibility
For my harsh words,
My condescending attitude,
My cruel disposition.
I must admit my mistake

To those whom I hurt.
Even if it means,
I am going to be
Knocked down
A few pegs.

I don’t need to be
High and mighty,
I need to be humble,
Honest, compassionate.

I need to be,
Just me.

The Small Comfort of Secrets


How are you?
Slowly, you answer:
“Fine. How are you?”
Is that all we have
To say to each other?

Sometimes, it seems,
We hide in the small
Comfort of our secrets,
Never daring to shed
A light onto our struggles.

Sometimes, we don’t
Want others to know
How we really feel,
Or what we really think,
About them, or anything else.

We’re afraid to admit
That we have weaknesses,
Afraid to show
All our flaws, our doubts,
Our insecurities.

What’s funny is,
That we all have
Lots of problems and issues.
We all doubt.
We wouldn’t be human if we didn’t.

So, is it that we think
We have to be super-human?
Perhaps, all the crazy ads
And beauty magazines
Make us think this.

When we were raised,
We weren’t permitted
To be human.
We weren’t allowed

To be less than perfect.
We were punished,
Maybe, even constantly,
For sharing our feelings,
For asking for help.

We weren’t encouraged
To think for ourselves.
We weren’t allowed

To doubt, to fear, to cry.
We couldn’t express ourselves.
We weren’t allowed

To be creative,
To experiment,
To just be us.
It is a sad culture,
That does not allow

For children,
Or adults,
With problems.
We need to embrace
Each other’s issues,

To encourage each other
To be honest,
To be sincere,
To come out of the closet,
To be ourselves.

Tell me the truth.

Searching Beyond


Must drink holy water.
Must open eyes in wonder.
Must follow special list.
Must remember what I missed.

Do you agree, silently?
Do you see the riddle inside of me?
Do you keep some things to yourself?
So, you put your feelings on the shelf?

Come, and go to the end,
All we know and comprehend.
Capture moments in grief and bliss.
Become all that you dreamed of this.

Let’s detach and rev it up.
Let’s tidy up, then pee in a cup.
Are you well-formed, cute little pup?
Or are you little, sneaky and totally messed up?

Holding hands in a circle, now.
Closing in, they take a vow.
Guess what I have on my mind.
What you seek is what you’ll find.

Being Me


Enter here, the sign says.
Enter where? I think.
Enter me, or enter you?
Enter him or her?

Be here now,
Is what they say.
Be yourself, they say.
But, I am me,

All of the time.
It is just that
Sometimes I am
Better at it than others.

Sometimes I am me
Being you.
Sometimes I am me
Being him or her or them.

Sometimes I am me
Being it.
Those are the worst times.
When I am being an object,

I am being
The furthest from myself
That I can be,
Even when I’m still me.

Help me to not be me,
Being something
Less than human.

Help me to feel,
Help me to think,

Help me to be free
From manipulation
And conformity.
Help me to be true to me.

A Dream Come True


Here, you find
What you’re looking for.
But, will it be
What you need?

Perhaps, with luck,
It might be
What you have always wanted,
Or, at least, what you thought you did.

Now, it’s here,
And, perhaps, it is not the same
As your fantasy.
It is not what you dreamed about.

Then, what is it?
Is it just a distraction?
A passing phase?
A mistake, even?

We build up our expectations
To the highest of peaks,
Hoping, wishing, yearning…
But when it comes, we realize:

It is only an illusion.

On Our Way There


Leaving here,
I get to there.
I think about it:
I’m going somewhere.

Somewhere new.
Somewhere clean.
Somewhere happy.
Somewhere free.

Maybe we will all
Go there some day.
Maybe I will see you
Again and say,

I love you.
I really do.
Let’s be friends.
Let’s walk on through.

All this craziness
All around us
Sometimes feels
Like I’ve missed the bus.

All this violence.
All this dying.
Sometimes makes me
Feel like crying.

But I know that one day
It’s got to end.
One day there will be peace.
We will all be friends.

So, let’s make a toast,
To tomorrow, then!
Let’s celebrate
An end to sin!

Let’s go forth
Feeling free!
Let’s be who
God made us to be!


Simple savvy sorted slip
Angel smorgasbord reality
Rainbow realm absolute
Tangle tangent manger
Tell tall meager temple
Tunic terrible teepee
Envelope reading down
Teach lick rowdy rift
Tube sickle sending orb
Rufus toothless super
Maybe inside sip swords
See moose morphing
Apple stepping starting
Separate same sickly
Started seeds same stick
Stacking roof hit swath