It’s more than just a writer’s block that has stopped me.
This malaise has reached into every aspect of my life,
Work, hobbies, relationships
All halted for the time.
What is left is a narration
to describe where I am without artifice.
Artifice, malaise, labored word choices
Hiding the frustration.
Used to mask the transition from mid-life to…
Change in hair styles, earring, trip to a place of my youth,
Hitchhiking, climbing mountains, performing again.
All of these things cannot hide the fact
that my life
to this point
has been unexceptional.
I wanted to be so much more
by this time
in my life.
Friends would say,
You have done a lot
You are teaching and helping to mold future generations,
You have a good job, a car, a dog
You’re contributing to society.
You have great kids
You’re a wonderful, caring father.
Consider yourself lucky!
And I thank them for their kind
And generally truthful words
But is that what I really wanted
Or are these situations that I have fallen into
And did well because I do things well?
Is it time to make a break?
But what do I break from?
What do I break to?
I stop myself.
There’s fifteen years left on my mortgage.
And three years of car payments.
I sit at the coffee shop,
Quietly, desperately drinking my
Iced coffee, no sugar syrup, soy milk,
Watching the other patrons
Fiercely living their unexceptional lives.
Teenage girls debating whose parent is worse.
The business person conducting deals while surfing the internet.
The gym junkie with Yahweh tattooed on his arm.
Did he even read the bible?
The old testament forbids tattoos.
Is he taunting the god of the ancient Hebrews or praising him?
Why is this even a question that I am concerned with?
I feel like screaming at the top of my lungs,
“Wake up people, time is fleeting, and your days have almost passed.
If you do not hurry, you will soon find yourself,
Drifting on the angry sea with no hope of salvation!”
I stop myself. The words sound stupid.
My thoughts sound stupid as soon as they are formed.
Besides those words seem more for me than them.
My head hurts.
Face falling hopelessly into my hands.
Good catch, again and again.
I rub my temples
I close my eyes.
But my helplessness does not go away.
It remains although I cannot see the people.
I still hear them.
Hearing the music that is supposed to be hip.
The clamor of the too, too caffeinated child not much out of diapers
But who is frequently offered too much sugar,
As a bribe for his silence,
By overweight caregivers
Who consume too much sugar and too much caffeine.
But who am I to disparage these people?
Maybe somewhere is this confusion
There are the seeds of exceptionality.
Maybe thirty, forty years ago
I was sitting in a bar, or restaurant, or park,
And I was given the magic beans.
I did not see the value of them.
And I tossed them away.
Tossed them away without a moment’s thought.
Which in an instant condemned me to this coffee shop.
How many seeds have I thrown away?
How many chances have I missed?
How many chances do I have left?
The shop has quieted down.
The preacher trying to save
The Yahweh boy sits quietly
As his student uses the bathroom.
An old woman waits for her husband to bring their tea
Lost in a bitter sweet moment they once shared.
The barista stares at a syrup dispenser.
The rush has ended and his mind is drifting
Only for a moment
Before his shift comes from the back
And he snaps to attention again.
My headache has receded for the moment
The voices have grown softer.
They never go away.
They are the ghosts of the dreams
I once had.
Reminding me of the greats things
I planned to accomplish.
Reminding, chiding, taunting.
Never letting me forget.
I have more things to do.
I get up to go
Walk over to the condiment bar
To throw away my cup.
On the counter
Are three coffee beans
Maybe there is still time.
I pick them up and put them in my pocket.