8 Thoughts For A Young Man

  1. And then one day, you were free.
    You were away for a while though.
    Or, you were away long enough
    to not have the withdrawal symptoms.

    You were in the clear (So to speak)
    You had an out, if you wanted one.
    There was something holding you back.

    It seems this is the case for a lot of people we know.
    There was something that kept you from reaching out.
    But there was something there.
    I know there was

    Or maybe this is me being me
    Maybe this is just wishful thinking
    I watched you interact
    I saw you smile, and sure, you already had your mind made up.

I get that . . .
But let me ask you, what would have happened
if you chose to let go, just for a minute . . .
just for a moment, did you ever think
of giving this a shot
or maybe consider your life
in whole new way?

2) I had no idea where you went.
I thought they moved you elsewhere
but I was wrong.

No one told me what happened.
I showed up one morning
and saw the empty space
where you used to sit.

I guess I supposed you had to be someplace else.
I never knew you were removed.
I just figured wherever you went,
I just hoped it was a better place

And I always liked you.
Just so you know (not that it matters)
I just figured you didn’t like the program very much.
I didn’t think you liked the eyes on you.
You didn’t like the rules or the judgement
I didn’t think you believed
anyone could understand the thoughts inside your head,
which in fairness, no one can.

I figured you didn’t want to be told what to do.
You didn’t believe in much else.
As for the 12-step thing,
I just figured this wasn’t your deal
and I get why.

But hey, that’s fine.
I understand that.
At least you were honest

I wonder though . . .
What if you stayed?
What if gave this a chance?
What if you were more than just a case
of oppositional defiant disorder?
What if you were more than bi-polar
or borderline
or whatever is was you were trying to figure out?
Where would you be now?

What if you were just you without a mask on
or without the window dressing to hide behind
and without your guard up
and without thinking everyone had an angle?
What if you stopped wondering
which way people were coming from
and instead, thought more about
which way you were heading?
Where would you be now?



I go over the details in my mind
I think of the last time we spoke.
I can see the way you looked at me.
You gave me a hug.
Told me, “I’ll see you next week.”
At least I can say I have that much.

At least I said goodbye in some way
But what about your family?
What do they have?

You are only memory now
Just pictures and maybe a few videos
and a few scraps of you in your younger years
a young athlete
But that’s just it. You were young.
You were painfully young.
You were certainly too young
to think you had nothing else to live for
or that there was no other way for you to go.

And now you’re gone
All that remains are your pictures
and memories


White horse passed through membrane last evening
just a pinhole is all it took
to open up the doorway to another side:
Your mind flushed
Your body folding
your eyes close
and your head nods

More accurately,
your brain just told the rest of you to shut off
and you slipped away without even knowing it . . .

The tiny armies were too much for your blood.
The path they took went straight to your head
and shut you down
like a team of switchmen
de-energizing the switches
that work the main controls in our mind.

Lights out . . .

White horse disappears in bloodstream last evening
sunset closed like the nodding eyelids of a man
coming forth to slip into the feel of a nice warm bath

Just like that, the plunger pushed forward

and then you were gone.


I am thinking about you now,
smiling at the table where I’d see you in the mornings.
This is not to say you were always happy to see me.
(Sometimes you were)
This is just to say I remember you this way.
And I get it . . .
Where you were is mainly an unexciting place
but it was never dull.
That’s for sure

You might not have liked everybody
but you didn’t hate everybody either.

You were just stuck is all
you were stuck with the idea
this had to be you
this was all you could be
but you were more
You deserved more
You just never knew it.


June is about to close.
We are moving closer to the summertime,
the warmer months, the beach,
the shore, the long days and hot nights.
This is the best time for a 26 year-old to be alive

We were all there with you
which leaves me to question a few things.
Did anything we talk about mean anything?
Did any of this cause you to consider the fact
that there might be an easier way?

I take no blame in this but still,
I do wonder
if you had my number at the time
between your purchase and your departure,
would you have called me?
Could you have called me?
And if you did,
would this have helped?

I never wanted you to do anything you didn’t want to do.
I just never wanted you to become a statistic
at least not in the column


I never had the chance to say my goodbyes
but what if I went about this differently

See, when you left,
I believed this was to go serve a bid
someplace far away.
I thought you were going elsewhere
to serve more time

And it’s not that I wanted this for you
I would just rather think you were safely someplace else,
which you are now, in another program elsewhere
I would rather you here
instead of where you are now,
laying in a box at a funeral home,
awaiting a viewing,
so that those who loved you down here on Project Earth
can come and visit you one last time . . .
before you go.

I won’t say goodbye. Not ever

I’ll just say take care of yourself kid,
wherever you are.

Write me a postcard, if you can
or send me a sign
it can be anything
I just want something to let me know
you understood that I cared

Take care, kid.
I hear the waters smooth out where you swim now
You’re free
I just wish you were home and free with us


One last thought before I go
26 years old.
Pretty young

You know,
I got cleaned up two years before you were born.
I never forgot where I came from
I never claimed to be bad or worse
or tougher than anyone else.
I just went through want I went through
and I see no reason to go back out there
to do more field research
and find out, no, it really didn’t get better.

I wonder if I am too far out of touch
maybe I dream too big
Maybe I believe too much
(Or choose to)
Maybe I think I was sober before you born
and putting this into perspective,
I think of who I was at 26
and truly unaware of the rest of the world
and the rest of the life I would have.

When I was 26 though . . .
I didn’t listen to anyone.
I thought I knew it all
I was just a kid
I shook the wrong hands and did the wrong things
I admit to that.

It was only fate that kept me where I am
I suppose it was only fate that placed you where you are now
But dammit, you had a choice
I know you did.
And maybe this is all nonsense
Maybe you thought I was a joke or this is a joke.

But no one is laughing now
Not at all.

I just wanted you to be okay

Gonna miss you, kid

Be well

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