Go With The Flow

Joey and I are at McDonald’s. School’s out for the day and his basketball practice doesn’t start for another hour so I made use of a buy one get one free coupon and brought two fish sandwiches to our table. 

I’d take him somewhere besides McDees if I had more money. I’d fix him a home made healthy snack if I had a home. 

“It’s okay,” he says. “I’ll burn it all off at practice.”

And I bet he will. Coz he’s all in when it comes to his game. He’s all in. He’s there to play. He says, “I’m not there to be the star. My job is to asist, defend our goal and get the rebound.”

And he does. Most of the time.

Still, he is but twelve years old and the first hints of his transition to thirteen are making their appearance. 

His voice cracks, his moods swing and his baby fat has all but disappeared. 

His humor has matured and his wit is quick, natural and good natured. 

Still, he is kid enough to want to hang out. And he is not yet too embarrassed to hug me and say, “I love you.”

He and I have a good time and I am treasuring every moment of this year coz, once he’s a teenager, a lot of things are gonna change. 

How do I know? I know coz it seems to be what happens for almost everybody. That’s the way it happened for me. 

It’s the natural course of things.

Posted in 12 Step Meetings, Blues, Co-Dependency, Love, Memoir, Parenting, Poetry, Relationships | 2 Comments

Coz I Don’t Have A Gun And Johnny Is The Only Law I Know

I didn’t think today was going to bother me. But it did.

I didn’t think I was going to listen to His speech. But I did.

I called my friend and said, “Your Man just took the oath and talked His talk.”

“Yeah,” he said. “We all watched it at the store.”

“Cool,” I said. “You still have your bullets?”

“Do I…”

“Your guns? Still got ’em?”

“Yeah, still got ’em.”

“My Man let you keep your weapons? And He didn’t declare martial law?”

“Not yet.”

“Not ever.”

“So, you called to rub it in, did ya?”

“Sort of…”

Yeah, I called to rub it in coz, for eight years, my friend has been convinced the shootings at schools, in San Bernadino, Orlando, the incidents of Cops taking Black lives, of Cops being Killed have all been part and parcel of a plot hatched by Obama to take away “our guns and declare martial law.”

I called to rub it in coz my response to his dire prediction was always, “Don’t think that’s gonna happen but, if it does, I’ll be the first to admit I was wrong and you were right.”

I didn’t think I was going to call to say, “I told you so…”

But I did.

Posted in 12 Step Meetings, Blues, Co-Dependency, Love, Memoir, Poetry, Relationships | 3 Comments

Got To Go Now Coz Mickey D’s Is Closing

She said, “The temperature is perfect tonight. Perfect for sleeping on the patio. In the hammock. It’s comfortable.”

“And it’s not comfortable for Mike. Me sleepin’ on the couch.”

“He didn’t say anything but…”

“I understand. I do.”

And, I do. Mike is Janet’s boyfriend. They’ve been together a little bit over eight years. 

She’s known Mike all her life but fell in love with him a year or so after her life wuth me came to an end on Dec. 30, 2006. 

I let the tenth anniversary pass without mention. Though, I bowed my head and recounted the events all the way up to the dissolution of our relationship…to the end of what I was convinced would last forever…and the acknowlegment to God and to, no one else coz, believe me, they don’t want to hear it…the acknowlegment that I only have myself to blame…it was my doing….my fault…

Posted in 12 Step Meetings, Blues, Co-Dependency, Love, Memoir, Poetry, Relationships | 1 Comment

I’m Already Working On The Soundtrack 

Joey said, “Mr. S is going to text you about city league practice. He said he’d make me do twenty push ups if I didn’t show up.”

I asked, “How can he make you do anything if you don’t show up?”

“You know what I mean. He’d find me. He knows where I go to school.”

“But you told me you didn’t want to play city league.”

“Changed my mind.”

“Just for that, I’m gonna make you do thirty push ups.”

“You can’t make me do anything.”

“Got a point.”

“I won’t go you don’t want me to.”

“I want you to do what you want.”

“Then, city league it is.”

Joey’s telling me this while I’m driving him from St. Margaret’s to his granny’s. 

One more half day and he’ll be on vacation till 2017. 

His eyes are closed but I know he’s awake.

I ask, “What’s up? Somethin’ on your mind?”

“Just thinking about how cool this will be when the movie of my life is made.”

“This what?”

“This scene. This episode where you, the homeless guy, dedicate your life to making sure I get to school and basketball practice.”

“This is a scene?”

“Not yet. But it will be when I’m famous and the movie of my life is made.”


Joey reached over, patted my shoulder and said, “It’s going to be the best movie ever.”

Posted in Blues, Co-Dependency, Love, Memoir, Parenting, Poetry, Relationships | 1 Comment

Twelve Feet Tall and Basket Proof

Joey’s on his school’s basketball team. He’s in sixth grade and he’s six feet tall.

He asks, “What if I grow a foot for every year I’m in school?”

I say, “Then all your hoop dreams will come true.”

“Even if our team loses every game?”

“You’re losin’ every game?”

“So far.”

“Won’t matter. Just keep growin’.”

“By the time I get to college, I’ll be 12 feet tall. I’ll be dropping it through the net. Forget the dunk.”

“Forget college. You’re gonna be the highest paid pro-baller ever.”

“Money isn’t everything.”

Joey’s coach walks onto the court for their pre-game warm up. The team is only ten deep with six fifth graders. Power forward, Cisco, will be going to high school next year. Two more are classmates with Joey.

On average, they are the weakest, youngest and shortest middleschool team in the county. They are a team that’s always outnumbered… always outgunned. But they are never out gutted. 

These boys, right down to the runt of the group, know how to hustle. They know how to scrap and they are not afraid. There’s no quit in these kids. They play every minute of every game. Their last drive as hard as their first. No matter the score, they’re playing to win.

And, one day, it’s gonna happen.

Posted in 12 Step Meetings, Blues, Co-Dependency, Love, Memoir, Parenting, Poetry, Relationships | Leave a comment

I’m Fine, Really

The rain is wonderful. Gray sky all day makes me way drowsy. 

Janet told my sister I was homeless and sleeping in her backyard. 

My sister sent me a text. It read, “If you need a place to stay for a little while, you can stay at my house.”

I called and told her, “I’m fine. It’s not as bad as it sounds.”

And, it’s not. It’s not bad at all. Not near as bad as living with relatives. 

Besides, I’ll be able to sleep on Janet’s couch tonight. 

Inside her house. 

Away from the rain.

Posted in Blues, Co-Dependency, Denial, Love, Memoir, Poetry, Relationships | 3 Comments

Revisionist History

I voted for the first time in 1972. Nixon won his 2nd term that year. He won by a landslide. I cast my ballot for George McGovern.

A couple of days after that election, I dove into the  dumpster located behind the Riverside County Democratic Headquarters and came up with a small cardboard box filled with never used McGovern for President bumper stickers. 

I put the box in my duffel bag and forgot about it…until Watergate.

I forgot about it until Tricky Dick was disgraced and his flunkies were busted. Then, one miserable 6:01 am, right after I walked into the Party Time Barroom with just enough change to buy one beer, anothet guy took a stool and started to gripe about our “criminal and chief.” 

He said, “I wished I never voted for that son of a bitch.”

I drained my glass, slammed it down onto the bar and I dug into my bag. After half a minute, I pulled out one bumper sticker and said, “Here, put this on your car, if you’ve got a car, and it will say to the rest of the world, ‘Don’t blame me.'”

The guy smiled, took the sticker and told the bartender, “Double shot for my friend, here.”

That day, that night and into the next morning, my bumper stickers were a big hit. And all my drinks were free.

I don’t know how long I was drunk.

 All I know is, when I finally regained consciousness, I was wrapped round the toilet of a gas station rest room. 

All I know is it took me over an hour to figure out I was in Anaheim, 40 miles from my home. 

Then, it took me another hour to figure out how to ask for directions to the closest freeway onramp.

And it took me forever to get to the proper onramp. Once there, I stuck out my thumb until it was clear I wasn’t going to get a ride anytime soon. So, rather than sit, I started walking.

I started walking and cussing at every car that roared past me. Then, I stopped cussing and started noticing that every other car that roared past me had a bright, shiny new George McGovern for President sticker posted on their rear bumper. 

That’s when I thought, “Me. I did that.”

And that’s all I know.

Posted in 12 Step Meetings, Blues, Denial, Fiction, Memoir, Poetry, Relationships | 3 Comments