I’m taking a poetry class for my Master in Fine Arts degree. I am not a poetry guy. However, I will be posting some of my poetry because I’m forced to write it for class, therefore you will be forced to read it. (Unless you delete it. Never feel forced to read anything unless it’s a contract.)
I never understood poetry. I’m not a big, “flowers and meadows,” kind of guy. Then I read some poetry from St. Johnny Walker in the Criminal Class Review and quickly found out that good poetry isn’t about flowers and meadows. It’s about real life, condensed down like a crack rock, so just the essence is left.
I also discovered recently how to read poetry. I thought each line was a sentence. I was wrong. Even though the second line in the poem has a capital letter, that doesn’t mean it’s a new sentence. The author chooses where he wants the lines to break, but I learned that you need to read to the period.
I’m posting this poem how I’m going to turn it in, but then underneath it, I’m going to post how I would read it out loud. I’m hoping that this will help the non-poetry people to read it easier.
The Clean-up Man
Pots, pans and plates piled up
Like a stone wall in a Dr. Seuss book.
Dried up sustenance that is no longer so
Sits on the stove begging to be wiped clean
Along with herbs and spices left behind by Emeril’s apparition
Who missed the pan. Bam!
Call in the clean-up man.
The Clean-up Man
Pots, pans and plates piled up like a stone wall in a Dr. Seuss book.
Dried up sustenance that is no longer so, sits on the stove begging to be wiped clean
along with herbs and spices left behind by Emeril’s apparition who missed the pan.
Call in the clean-up man.
This will be my first and last poetry lesson—hopefully.
I see a guy walk into the gas station with a bionic leg
And I say thank you for your service.
And he said I got hit by a train.
And as I’m flash-frozen there he says
Right now your face looks like mine did right before I got hit.
And he turns and walks away
Leaving me standing with my assumption.
The gravel parking lot looks like no one’s been there since the day it was built. Tall grass surrounds its outside. As I exit my car, a soft wind blows on my face and the white rocks crunch as I walk toward the dirt trail. A minute in and I’m surrounded by woods on both sides. The leaves rustle and sound like newspapers being crumpled into a ball.
I walk down the path and large roots stick out of the ground like natural speed bumps. I want to run but know it’s not the time or place to get careless as I descend into the tree covered darkness. The trail slopes downward and I begin to lose my footing. I look for something to grab onto to but there’s nothing there as I slide sideways for what seems like a mile.
I get up, dust myself off, and realize that I’m still on the path. I hear water but don’t see a stream. Birds are squawking alerting the other animals that an intruder is approaching and I begin to run.
I sprint like a convict who’s just escaped from prison. My heart is beating and my head is pounding and I look back to see if anyone’s following me. I know no one is, but your mind can mess with you when you’re in the woods.
The path winds for miles. I cross a train track and wonder if it’s still in use. The shinny steel on the tracks tells me that it probably is. And it makes me wonder where these trains go and what kind of bounty it hauls. And then I think, if I wait long enough, maybe I can jump on one of these trains and just disappear like you did.
You sit in the corner all dirty and dusty. It’s understandable.
We partied like rock stars last night.
I reach for your black zipper and slowly pull it down to the floor. I grab you by the neck and extract your from your soft black case that keeps you captive.
You were so raw and raunchy last night. The crowd was wowed as you bended and flashed brief moments of brilliancy.
I knew they weren’t your own moves though. They were borrowed from people much more talented and original than you player.
I’ve had a love affair with you since the first time I saw you sitting in a corner by yourself. I brought you home and tickled you non-stop.
The very next day my wife told me she was pregnant. She wanted me to get rid of you.
But now my daughter plays with your silky strings, and she’s glad I didn’t.
Your blue sparkles catch the light like diamonds scattered across the sky. Your steel whammy-bar makes you talk funny. The three knobs and pickups, when in-sync, can sound like a Mack Truck or an angel’s harp, but rarely in my hands.
That is, until last night.
1. My wife
2. My daughter
3. All my other family members
4. Hot dogs
6. Medium rare steaks, seasoned perfectly
8. Driving fast on back roads
10. Playing pool
11. Talking to people
12. Watching TV
13. Playing the guitar and ukulele
15. Using my brain
16. Ted Drews Frozen Custard
18. Seeing friends
19. White Castle late at night
20. Chili in the winter time
21. Last but not least, being alive
R.I.P. Grandpa Gray, who passed the day after Christmas 2010.
Eating until you’re so full that you feel like you’re going to burst.
Then running from house to house.
Having fun conversations with family members you haven’t seen since the last holiday and regretting that fact that you never can get along with that certain one and probably never will.
Opening one present on Christmas eve, and then waiting until midnight to open the rest.
Watching your kid rip into her presents and be more interested with the wrapping paper than what’s inside the box.
These are the things that make up my Christmas List.
P.S. I have to hear this song at least once a year.
7. Name it—Write down exactly what you want to do.
I want to lose 40 lbs. Or I want to run a marathon.
6. Give it a deadline—I want to lose 40 lbs. by July. Or I want to run a marathon in August.
5. Review it—Get a Post-it note and hang it some place that you will see it everyday.
4. Seek help—get a coach, a trainer, a partner, a mentor, or anyone else who can help you with whatever goal you have set for yourself. They will help keep you accountable.
3. Small changes = Big Results—You don’t have to make drastic changes right at the beginning. The hardest part is just starting. Slow and steady wins the race.
2. Have Fun—If it’s not, you won’t stick with it.
1. Stop Making Resolutions—If you’ve been making the same resolution for the last 3 or 4 years in a row, consider the fact that you really don’t want to change. (At least not yet.) There may come a time when you’re ready, but it doesn’t have to be January 1st. It’s ok to not torture yourself year after year and start your new year off failing. When you’re ready to achieve whatever goal you want to achieve, you can use the other six ways I have listed to finally obtain that goal.
When I ran my first marathon this year, I gave myself six months to train for it. I couldn’t even run a mile without stopping a couple times when I first set that goal. I wrote down that I wanted to run a marathon on Oct. 3, 2010 on a piece of paper. I left the note on my dresser and I saw it every morning when I got dressed. I saw it laying there again every night when I charged my cell phone.
Once I got to where I could run six miles, I joined a running group and got a coach. Being active just became part of my lifestyle and I lost 37 pounds in six months. But for me, weight loss wasn’t the goal, finishing the marathon was. I crossed the finish line in six hours and fifty minutes, which is very slow, but I finished. And if an overweight guy with Plantar Fasciitis can run (or walk) a marathon using these principles, then I’m sure you can do whatever it is you want to do too. And if you don’t think so, then see Rule #1 and think about it again next year.
I’m a sucker for ads that make you think.
Last night my wife and I brought my 15-month old daughter to the mall to get her picture taken with Santa. My wife had been hounding me for over a week, so after putting off it as long as I could, I finally said, “We can go on Wednesday night.” Of course I didn’t know that it was going to be freezing rain and slicker than pig snot outside on Wednesday night, but my word is my word, so we piled into the car and headed out to the Temple of Consumerism.
We got lucky when I pulled in the parking garage and found a space right away. We unloaded the stroller and got the girl out of the car, made sure she was bundled up, and headed through the mall toward the chaos.
When we arrived to where Santa was sitting, I was surprised to see that there were only three children standing in line. The freezing rain must have kept everyone at home. But it must have been Bring Your Dog to the Mall Night because there were nine dogs in line to see Santa; six more than children.
There was a 6’ foot 4” man in front of us holding a fat Doberman pinscher by his thick leather collar. His wife, a manly looking woman, was holding a Toto dog on a leash. Toto started getting up in this Black Lab’s business who crept up behind us. Toto was sniffing and smelling the crotch of this Lab while his big brother Dobes sat and watched over his handiwork.
I thought Toto did a fine job, but Dobes looked at him when he was finished and nodded. Toto took that to mean he better sniff again, so he started the whole process over. Meanwhile my kid was getting a very good lesson on exactly what not to do when she meets a boy.
Since when did it become normal to bring your dog to the mall? I know it’s Christmas and you want family pictures, but you shouldn’t bring a dog to the mall unless you’re going to bump into things without one.
I kept looking around for signs that said, “No Dogs Allowed,” but didn’t see one. I wanted to ask one of the not-so-little elves about it, but they seemed like it was just another day at the mall. By the time we got to the front of the line, there were literally a pack of dogs behind us, who were barking away at another pack of dogs that were behind them. Apparently the second group of hounds was trying to butt-in line and the first group wasn’t having it.
Last year our girl did really well with Santa. She smiled right away and we got an awesome picture. This year it was waterworks. She cried as soon as Santa took her out of my hands. I took the girl back from Santa and sat on a little white stool next to him. I placed her on my knee and then I tried to lean backwards as far as I could to stay out of the picture. We never did get a very good one. The picture we settled on you can see her sitting on my knees and my hands are holding her around her waist.
Oh well. Next year I think I’ll just take the dog.
“Every 1000 mile journey starts with the first step.” –Asian proverb
The quote above has been used in more motivational books than anyone would care to remember, but it does ring true even today. Even with all the modern conveniences of today, a 1000 mile road trip is still going to be long. You have to plan for it.
You probably should make sure your car is mechanically well taken care of. You’ll want to have your oil changed and check your tires to make sure they can make the trip. You’ll want to make sure you have a jack, just in case. And you’ll definitely want to have a GPS or a map to help you get there too.
Before you take off you’ll go to the gas station and fill’er up. Plus you’ll get some snacks and drinks to take with you before you take off. You’ll use the restroom if you didn’t go at home. You don’t want to forget anything before you start. You want to be as prepared as possible so when you get going you don’t have to stop for anything. You want to go as long as you can without running out of gas.
It’s funny how a person will plan for weeks or even months before they go on a 1000 mile road trip, but they hardly plan at all for their life or their career, or their business. Matter of fact most people let their life and career happen to them. Like a guy driving around lost, too stubborn to ask for directions, they’re lost too and don’t know how to get on track.
The fastest way to achieve something is by setting a goal. Setting a date that you want to accomplish your goal by is very important. This makes your mind work toward that time frame. It’s ok to set your goals high, just make sure you give yourself enough time to achieve them. Tony Robbins once said, “People overestimate what they can do in a year, but severely underestimate what they can do in ten.”
Speaking of Tony Robbins, one way a person can get back on the road to a successful, fulfilling life, is by using a coach. There are coaches in almost every field these days. Whether you’re trying to learn about marketing your business more effectively, or trying to finish that manuscript, coaching is just one way to help you get your life or your passion back on track. They also will take your game to the next level. Almost every successful person you’ll ever see or read about has almost always had a good coach or mentor.
In the old days (10-20 years ago) coaches used to be called mentors. The good thing about mentors is they are usually free. Besides not paying them, the main difference between a mentor and a coach is the relationship. Mentors usually have more of a personal relationship with their protégés. Coaches on the other hand are usually about results.
If you need help with your business, there are many organizations willing to help you, often for free.
The Small Business Administration is one of the best resources for potential small business owners. This government agency helps entrepreneurs with business plans, obtains financing through guaranteed loans, and can also help obtain equipment.
The SBA has several different workshops to help with start-ups and can provide you with all the necessary forms you will need to start your business. Every major city in the United States has an SBA office. Look them up on the Internet or the phone book to make an appointment to go see them.
Chamber of Commerce
Like the SBA your local Chamber of Commerce is there to help you set up your business. They are usually more aware of particular things going on in the community that they operate in than the SBA. Because of this, you should consult them when you chose a location to set your business up in.
Your local Chamber of Commerce will undoubtedly be able to help you with the necessary forms and tell you what restrictions there are in that area in regards to your business. It is also a great place to network. Most of the times there will be other local business owners and local politicians at the meetings. This will help you get a feel for how businesses are doing in the area you are looking at.
The Service Corp of Retired Executives is part of a national non-profit association dedicated to entrepreneur education and the formation, growth and success of the nation’s small business. SCORE volunteers serve as “Counselors to America’s Small Business.” These counselors have years of experience and want to give back to their community. They have a wealth of knowledge and contacts in particular fields.
I have spent many hours talking with SCORE counselors and highly recommend using them. Many times they work out of the SBA office. To find where a SCORE Counselor is in your area look them up at score.org or consult the phone book. It is recommended that you make an appointment, although many time walk-ins are welcomed.
Remember, “Every 1000 mile journey starts with the first step,” but today you can do it in a comfortable car, with a GPS, and person who’s been there, sitting by your side the whole way. All you have to do is ask someone for help.