“So scared of growing old/ I’m only good at being young.”
Candy bar wrappers and Mountain Dew cans
and packs of cigarettes we’d sneak down
a Carolina back road. The days of our youth.
You’re only seventeen once.
The radio played I remember running through
the wet grass, falling a step behind.
For us, it was a dirt road, twenty miles
per hour, skipping class because
consequences skipped us.
In the winter we made promises we knew
we’d break in the summer, just like the
hearts of shy girls we pushed into the pool.
You’re only eighteen once.
The first time death blew its cold, violent wind through my forest I was 12. I soaked it in visually as my grandmother’s already small body withered into an unrecognizable mess of blankets and tubes hooked to beeping machines in a cold room. Her mind was gone for months, if not years, and now the smallness of her would be swallowed up along with the faded memories of her days teaching, playing piano, and wearing pretend Sunday smiles for church as a pastor’s wife.
No moment in life is more sobering than when you know with full certainty you are…
Suicide, the word alone, seems almost not violent enough. Not that all death is, but when someone grasps their very own fate right in their hands and chooses to end it all, it feels like it needs more than just a word.
The comedic genius Robin Williams would have turned 70 today. It’s still impossible to believe he took his own life. Few things fuzzy up the mind like someone who was so full of bright energy and endless laughs could succumb to the demon of depression. …
When I was a child, a tween perhaps, I idolized Shawn Kemp.
Who is Shawn Kemp, you ask? Only the filthiest, nastiest, most dynamic dunker in NBA history. At least in my opinion.
Kemp was a power forward for the Seattle Supersonics in the 1990s (yes, Seattle had an NBA team once) and made dunking a basketball an artform.
He caught alley-oops. He did one-hand windmills. He taunted the guys he dunked over. Shawn Kemp was the most fun player to watch (I see you Jordan fans rolling your eyes).
I had Shawn Kemp posters on my wall. I had…
I stood once as a groomsman for a friend,
a man about to marry a blond we both
worked with, though one might argue
he was a boy marrying a stranger
he partnered with in learning how to
flirt at a cash register while selling books
written by men who died centuries before
cash registers existed. But not centuries
before flirting existed. They probably said
fancy words to damsels in blue bonnets,
not ones they worked with since, of course,
women couldn’t work back then.
Those men, buried in cedar boxes
in hallowed meadows among other
weathered stones might have used
A few days ago I spent roughly thirty serene minutes in a hammock I was gifted on Father’s Day 2020. It was the first time I used my hammock since that very Sunday when resting in a hammock felt more a necessity than a luxury.
As my wife and I (and the family dog) vacationed in a tiny home in the North Carolina mountains, the opportunity arose for the hammock to be dusted off, unpacked from its sack, and strapped to two lumbering trees that thrusted out over a swift creek in the backyard of our Airbnb rental.
There’s a, shall we say, unsettling scene in the 1987 big screen thriller Fatal Attraction. That movie starred Michael Douglas and Glenn Close. Michael Douglas plays Dan, a married man that has a relatively brief affair with Alex, played by Glenn Close. Michael Douglas’ character Dan thought little of the affair. Glenn Close’s character Alex felt a much deeper, darker connection.
In this disturbing scene — and mind you, the movie has its share of them — Dan has, once again, let Alex know their affair was a mistake and he wants nothing further to do with her. Alex does…