Perhaps We’ll Meet Tomorrow

If you learn from your failures,
Then I must be a learned man,
For I have failed at almost everything
With which I’ve tried my hand;
I like to consider it experience,
But that is being rather kind,
It’s just that the thing I am good at
I have yet to find.

If what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,
Then I must be stronger than an ox;
I have had a few incidents
Which should have landed me in a wooden box;
Through illnesses and accidents
I somehow manage to survive,
I guess I am a lucky man
Just still to be alive.

If the grass is always greener
On the fence’s other side,
Then getting to the greener grass
Is something I have never tried;
I am always fat, dumb and happy
No matter where it is that I might be;
Maybe I don’t know better,
Or it’s just my childish naivety.

If each journey begins with a first step,
Then I have first stepped an awful lot;
I have been on many journeys,
Some of which I have forgot,
But, wherever my travels take me
I am always happy in the end;
The paths have always led me
Towards making a new friend.

Perhaps you have witnessed some of my failures
Or, prayed for me when I was ill;
Perhaps you have visited my less greener side
Helping me with the grill;
Perhaps we have met on one of my journeys
And I now count you as a friend;
Or, perhaps we’ll meet tomorrow
So another verse I can begin.

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Reincarnation

I looked into a future I will not live to see
I noticed many branches upon my family tree
Children of my children having children of their own
A multitude of relatives from the seeds that I have sown

I saw in the future a boy who shares my name
He looks exactly like me; our smiles are just the same
I looked into his soul to see what I might find
And noticed that his spirit is the spirit same as mine

When I woke from my trance and the visions had all cleared
What happens after death, no longer have I feared

The Voting Public

We are all but prisoners of our own mind
Locked in jails built from biases we hold in kind
Because we lack self-esteem
We can be told of what to dream
To the gallows waiting for us we stay blind

We are all but pawns in a bigger game
Willing to make sacrifices for another’s gain
It doesn’t matter right or wrong
To our lies we hold on strong
While Kings and Queens own the chess boards just the same

We are all but passengers along for the ride
Unwilling to make compromises with the other side
We wouldn’t dare travel across the fence
Slinging mud is our first defense
Falling victim to an unsubstantiated pride

Fears From Intolerence

I am sitting at a crossroads in my complicated world
I was born as a boy but I was meant to be a girl
Scores of people are mad at me for wanting to change some of their rules
They fear me as some pervert based on the restroom that I choose

I am happy for all of you who were born the gender you feel inside
Knowing a mistake was made with me is just something I can no longer hide
I don’t mean to make you uncomfortable by standing up for my civil rights
It is for our own safety that we are willing to fight these fights

Believe in this truth when these words I say to you
Drawing more attention to my differences is the last thing I want to do
I just want to have the freedom to live life as I was meant to be
And not have fears from intolerance define the world for me

Pandemic of Hatred

Herded into a small city sector like sardines into a tin can;
Encased by constructing surrounding walls so they cannot get out again;
Imprisoned in their home country for the crime of being a Jew;
The history of the Warsaw ghetto is tragic, but it’s true.

A pandemic of hatred for people who share a common creed
Requires vitriol fed to the masses for it to multiply and breed;
You would have thought lessons learned from a history that is not so far behind
Would make it impossible for this virus, enough hosts for it to find.

Yet, in this country we think superior to all other countries in the world
The illness has returned; fed by political banter it now builds;
History forgotten repeats itself, the wise men often say;
I had hoped I’d never live to see another pandemic like this in my day.

Shooting for the Moon – A Short Story

It was that time of day, too late for lunch, too early for dinner, when the food court had plenty of empty tables and chairs, when Thomas, with his tray of tacos and a drink, approached a table with a young man who was visibly distraught with streaks of tears running down his cheeks.

“Mind if I join you,” asked Thomas.

The young man simply shrugged his shoulders without looking up.

Thomas sat down.

“Anything a stranger can help with,” he asked.

“The stranger can mind his own damn business and go sit somewhere else,” mumbled the young man.

“Yes, yes, he could,” responded Thomas.  “It’s just that one day I was feeling sad, troubled and full of fear when a complete stranger helped me put things into perspective and find the courage to carry on and meet my challenges head on.”

“Not today, old man.  Not today.”

“Ah, but, that’s where you’re wrong,” said Thomas.  “It is today.  See, you are that stranger. “

The young man looked up at Thomas for the first time as Thomas continued: “See, I just got some rather awful news from my doctor today.  Seems I have an advanced form of cancer and, I’m afraid, the doctor tells me I’ve only got about six months to live.  I have been delaying going home to tell my wife the sad news, walking around the mall feeling sorry for myself and cursing God for being so unfair.  Then, I happened to see you and I thought to myself, ‘Thomas, you are seventy-two years old; you have lived a long, happy and rewarding life, you have nothing to be so sad about.  Just look at that young man; who knows, he too might have the very same sort of bad news and yet he is so young; he hasn’t had the chance to live the wonderful life you have lived.  It could be worse’.

“Seeing you helped me put my bad news into perspective and to come to the conclusion that I am not going to sulk and be sad and feel sorry for myself the next six months.  No, I am going to make the most of what I have left and, in fact, I am going to fight this damn cancer and to hell with what the doctor says, I am going to get past this and win this battle.

“See, you are that stranger and today is that day.  So, I just wanted to thank you for helping me.  That’s all.”

The young man stared at Thomas for a while before stating, “I am a heroin addict.”

“Yeah?”, Thomas replied.

“Yeah.  My parents and sisters were coming over to my apartment this morning to take me to rehab but I snuck out before they got there.  I came here looking for my next fix but the little shit wouldn’t give me any because I have no money and already owe him too much.”

“Sounds awful,” Thomas offered.

“It’s hell.”

“So, what now,” Thomas asked.

“I don’t know, you got any money?”

“Sorry, spent my last $5.00 on these tacos.  Want one?”

“Sure, I’m starving,” replied the young man as he accepted a taco from Thomas.

“You know, you are lucky,” Thomas stated.

“Yeah,” the young man responded with some anger in his voice, “what part of my story sounds lucky to you?”

“The part about having parents and sisters who want to help you.”

Thomas continued, “You know, the thing about rehab is, you can always just drop out if the timing is not right for you.  You give it a go and if you are not ready, you drop out and go back to being a junky until the next time.”

“Been there, done that,” said the young man.

“So,” asked Thomas, “why not give it another go this time?”

The young man just shrugged his shoulders.

“I’ll tell you what,” Thomas suggested, “I can’t put off going home and telling my wife the bad news any longer.  Why don’t you call your parents and tell them where you are and I’ll call my wife and tell her I am on my way home.  Both of us will start our battles right now, today.  I’ll fight this damn cancer and you fight your addiction, then, six months from today we will meet up right here at this exact same spot, at this exact same time and see who has won their battle.”

Thomas took out his cell phone, opened his calendar app and said, “By my calculations, six months from today is July 20th.  Perfect, moon walk day.  We meet here on July 20th at 3:00 pm and share our stories.”

“Moon walk day?”, asked the young man.

“Yes,” said Thomas, “In 1969 Neil Armstrong from Apollo 11 became the first man to walk on the moon on July 20th.  So, we will meet up again here on that day and see which one of us made it to the moon.  Deal?”

“You’re crazy, old man,” the young man chuckled.  “Sure, deal.”

Both men then made their phone calls:

“Hey, Mom, this is Josh. I know, Mom. I know. Mom, I know. No.  I’m at the food court in the mall. I know, Mom. Mom!  Look, you can either come and get me at the mall or sit there and lecture me on the phone, it’s up to you. I will. I’ll be here.”

“Hi, Honey.  Oh, I’m just taking care of a few things.  I stopped to have a late lunch and am talking with this fascinating young man.  I’ll tell you about it when I get home.  I’m fine, we’ll talk when I get home.  And, Dear, I love you.  And thanks.  Just thanks, that’s all.  Okay, see you soon.”

“Everything good?”, asked Thomas to Josh.

“Yeah, everything’s good.”

“Great, now let’s eat these damn tacos.”

SIX MONTHS LATER – JULY 20th

Josh arrived at the food court a few minutes early and bought a tray of tacos.  He sat down at the assigned table, waiting in excited anticipation.

An old woman walked up to him and asked, “Are you Josh?”

“Yes,” Josh replied tentatively.

The old woman reached out her hand with an envelope and said, “My husband asked me to give this to you.”

Josh took the envelope and removed the piece of paper within.  It read:

“Dear Josh,

Seems I will not be making it to the moon after all.  Although the Doctor said I possibly had six months it has only been six weeks but my journey is nearing its end.  I meant what I said in the mall that day, meeting you gave me the inspiration to push on; but, it also gave me the confidence to accept my fate and realize that I have nothing to be sad about – I lived a full life and I have lived these last six weeks without sadness or sorrow.  I only hope that my last trip to the mall, that day we met, was a good day for you and that you have met your challenge and are walking on the moon.  I have been rooting for you every day.

If it didn’t work out for you this time – maybe the next time – it was after all, Apollo 11 that finally made it with a number of previous missions necessary before reaching that final destination.

Good luck with your life and always shot for the moon.

Your stranger from the mall,

Thomas”

Josh wiped a tear away from his eyes and, looking up to Thomas’ wife, reached out a coin that he was holding in his hand.

“Here, I was going to give this to your husband, but I would like you to have it,” Josh said.

“What is this,” Thomas’ wife asked.

“In the program I am in, we get chips for certain milestones we achieve.  This is my ‘Six Months Clean’ chip,” Josh explained.

“Oh, no, that is special, you should keep that,” Thomas’ wife said.

“No, please,” Josh persisted, “Thanks to your husband, I will be getting more of these in the future.”

“Maybe,” Thomas’ wife suggested, “You could give it to him yourself.  He is in St. Joseph’s cemetery on Elm St.  Grave-site number seven twenty.”

“Seven twenty,” Josh repeated.

“Yes, do you want me to write that down for you?”

“No, ma’am, that’s today’s date.  Moon walk day.  I can remember that.”

“Oh, so it is.  That’s very clever of you to think of that,” she said.  “Well, Josh, good luck to you.  I know Thomas would be very happy to know you are doing well.”

TEN YEARS LATER

Josh laid his “Ten Years Clean” chip on grave-site #720 in St. Joseph’s Cemetery today.

The Ability in You

Yes, I am but a pebble,
Yet, ripples I can create;
Even a single grain of sand
On an endless beach
In the right oyster,
A pearl can make.

The entirety of this infinite universe
Larger than the wildest imagination can possibly comprehend,
Was ignited by a single atom
Too small to be seen by the eye of man.

If you believe that you are but a pebble;
If you allow yourself to just become one grain of sand on a crowded beach;
If you don’t believe your atom can ignite a Big Bang;
Then, making a difference is out of reach.

Do not put limits on your possibilities,
Although that is what others may try to do;
Create ripples,
Become a pearl,
Change the world,
I know you have the ability in you.