Letter from sycamore creek

Passing time is like a great distance traveled. The memories are fading like footsteps in the distance. I can no longer imagine the words i wrote. I can no longer feel the comfort of knowing you.

I had a dream.

We would meet again as children. Before we were broken. Before we died. The damage not undone but would never happen. The rags that wiped our tears became the garments we wore. Worn and frayed, they were our only comfort in the cold.

And when i woke, all that remained were your soft and easy words…

Tu eres el mago de mis sueños.”

The man in the hat takes a walk

The man in the hat starts each day by stretching his arms and legs with an effort that makes his whole body tremble, contorts his face, and causes him to utter a rejoicing that is most befitting that effort.

Today the man in the hat takes a walk.

He walks east and after three days he comes upon a bench and sits down.

As he sits, a stirring wells up within him to know himself. He is at once alone but everything to himself, potential filled with both calm and ecstasy.

He was at rest. And in moments he was asleep.

In three days he woke. And seated next to him on the bench was another man.

When the man in the hat turned to look at this other man, the other man turned to look at him and said, “I am here to observe you.”

“Alone, you can not know yourself. So i will observe you and by looking at me you will know yourself. I am the womb and the spirit through which we will experience all our possibilities.”

The man in the hat does not respond, nor does he react, to the other man. He simply smiles.

Now the two rise and walk together toward the east and after three days come upon a bench and sit down. They embrace and fall asleep.

The hat

There was a man.

Sometimes the man’s head would feel cold.

And the man would put on his hat.

The hat warmed his head.

One day the man lost his hat.

He started walking in search of his hat.

In the search for his hat, the man met many other men.

And he would ask each of them if they had found his hat.

But without answering they would only look at him with a puzzled expression.

Dismayed by his inability to find his hat, he sat beneath a tree and thought.

And his thoughts soon turned to dreams.

In his dreams, the man saw himself walking in search of his hat.

When he woke from his sleep, the man stood, stretched, removed his hat, scratched his scalp, looked to the sky, smiled, put his hat back on his head, and started walking home.


I searched the sky for a sign of you and i came across a cloud of smoke.

You died before i could tell you.

Do you remember how we sat on the cold stone below the skyscrapers and ate our lunch together. And you listened sweetly with a smile as i dreamed of living on that homestead in Nebraska.

Well i’m almost there, Frances. Almost there.

A guy walks into this bar, gets a haircut and a lesson in civics.

After a detour into Colorado, i was back on 80 headed west. My first ride took me from Cheyenne to Rawlins where i was dropped off in town – right in front of a bar.

It was bright and sunny that afternoon. And as quiet as things were in town, that bar seemed like a good place to sit for a bit, have a beer, and relax before getting back on the road.

I opened the door to the bar and stood there for a moment while my eyes adjusted to the darkness inside.

And then, at the precise moment the place came into focus, the group of cowboys standing at the bar all turned toward the open door, straining to adjust to the blinding light pouring in from the street.

Oh shit, i thought to myself, this no longer seems like a good idea.

With two steps back and a turn to my left, i was gone. I was a few doors down the street before i was able to turn and see that no one had left the bar after me.

When i came upon a barbershop i decided to go inside and get a haircut.

Though there were four or five people already in the shop, i was first up and invited to sit down as the barber got up from his chair.

Unlike every other barber shop i had ever been in, this one was quiet. No jokes or talk about the weather. Everyone there was glued to the television set that sat on a shelf high on the wall near the corner of the room.

It was the slowest haircut i’ve ever had. It seemed like an eternity between snips of the barber’s shears. Everyone watched in silence and disbelief as Senator Dirksen coaxed a disturbing truth from the witnesses that day in May of 1973.

Two guys walk into a bar: a Christmas story

Our plans were set. We would leave early for midnight mass on Christmas eve.

We were 16, juniors at a Catholic high school, and in possession of newly purchased fake draft cards. And we weren’t really going to mass. Mickey and i planned to go instead to a bar a couple of blocks down the alley from where Mickey worked and conveniently in the same general direction as the church.

Dressed like little men wearing jackets and ties and displaying a shaky air of confidence, we arrived at the bar around 11 and went in through the alley entrance – just like one of the regulars.

We walked over to the bar where the bartender was busy washing glasses. There were only two people in the bar when we arrived – a man way down at the end and a bit in the shadows, and a woman about half way down. I sat at a stool. Mickey stood to my left. He leaned into the bar, placed his elbow on its worn leather edge, and glanced at me. I heard him quietly say, “OK. We’re in, everything’s cool, so far so good.”

Just then the bartender looked up at us and asked for our id.

We gave him our recently purchased draft cards.

He looked at us, then at the cards, and then again at us and with a bit of a smirk asked, “What’ll you have.”

I asked for a beer.

As the bartender started to pull my beer he asked Mickey what he wanted. Mickey answered, “Gimme a Sloe Gin Fizz.”

Just then the bartender let the tap slip from his fingers. He looked straight at Mickey, paused for a moment, and asked, “What are you, some kinda pussy!”

Uncertain of where this was going, i looked away. I turned to my right and caught the eye of the woman sitting two stools away. She was obviously listening to what was going on. She smiled, raised her glass an inch or two and said, “Merry Christmas.”

Christmas 1968