I have dreamt and I have planned.
Been a husband.
Am a father.
I have held the pieces of my heart in my hands
and known that I am the cause of their
I have been to England, Scotland, Italy.
On Mauna Kea in the waning light and
growing cold I have seen the telescopes
come alive; seen the curvature of the
I have driven to Alaska.
Danced in Jerusalem.
I have poured concrete, driven 16-penny
greencoats, built houses. I have pumped
gas, tended bar, made a million
margaritas. Maybe more.
I have hypothesized, randomized, and
Been stung by a stingray.
Changed a clutch.
I have bathed in mountain waters that tautened
my skin — that remembered for weeks.
That remembers still.
I have worked in the sun and the heat and the
dirt; sweat; and ended my days caked in
I have lamented choices made and not made.
I have made bread.
I have sown seeds and shared what I have
grown. I have made sauce with my Italian
I have walked on the beach in the sun with a
bare-breasted woman; walked alone on the
interstate at night in the rain.
I have been discouraged; been in despair.
I have sat with my father-in-law as he died,
seen my best friend drink himself to death.
Watched the birth of my son.
I have eaten oysters live on tidal flats at
summer solstice; seen red-tailed hawks
harry bald eagles and crows harry
I have been used; lied to; stolen from; known
betrayal; been made a fool.
I have seen the milky waters of glacier-fed
rivers, seen the Northern Lights shimmer
and dance, raced an on-coming storm
across a lake in a canoe.
Earned a graduate degree.
To the woman I first loved, I lost my virginity.
This is a loss I have never regretted.
From pop bottles redeemed at three and five
cents, from mowing lawns, feeding cats,
delivering papers; from all this I have
saved and bought an emerald-green Peugot
with ten speeds.
And flipped head-over-handlebars when a
baseball lodged in the spokes and
caught in the fork.
I have seen Sandy Koufax pitch and Willie
Mays hit and I was there when Tony
Gwynn played his first game.
And his last.
In a Tuscan castle I have drunk grappa and
listened to Elmar Oliveira play duets with
his wife, he dressed in flip-flops and
I have held a Stradivari.
I have seen the piled bones of the Capuchin
monks; have roasted coffee and made
I have written.
Not of cabbages, not of kings.
But yes, of many things.
Of tomatoes and neighbors; of doctors and
Of fathers and sons; piano tuners and
Of bras, breasts, and sewers.
Of David Douglas, for whom they named
the Doug fir; who changed landscapes
the world over and died on the slopes of a
Hawaiian volcano, nearly blind, gored by a
All of it, true.
I have won prizes and awards.
Not the Nobel.
Not the Pulitzer.
Not a Caldecott or an O’Henry.
But yes, I have plaques upon the wall.
I have reflected on Oscar Wilde’s long
morning’s struggle over whether to put in
a comma, and his even longer struggle
over whether to take it out.
I have marveled that David Foster Wallace
could make literature out of footnotes.
Of a woman he fancied, I have heard a man
say — and this, too, is true — that he
would “Crawl over a mountain of broken
glass just to suck on one of the lug nuts of
the truck that hauled her dirty laundry.”
And I have been damned impressed.
I have cried without warning at a symphony’s
first notes of the Eroica.
From a tide pool I have plucked and held a sea
slug, Aplysia californica — wet, slippery,
gelatinous and purple, a living lump of
grape jelly, moving by oozing, harmless —
as my son with pudgy finger stroked its
I have courted women and been rejected.
I have planted acorns, …
watered oaks, …
had faith, …
I have squandered time, money, and love.
Give or take a few, I have slept 56×365×8=
163,520 hours in my life.
I have overslept.
I have worked 60 hours nonstop to meet a
I have been rich with love and rich with youth.
I have been responsible.
Rarely, I have been content.
I have laughed. Worried.
Had a mouth dry with fear.
Seen the Black Hills.
I have seen a salami two feet in diameter and
Calder’s fountain of mercury, both in
I have eaten bull balls sliced and fried.
I have left the car lights on and returned to
find the battery dead.
And I have cursed.
I have seen my son grow up.
I remember the first time I spent $100 on
groceries — two carts’ worth and so much
that we surprised the clerk, who told the
next clerk over, “That’s a hundred dollars
worth of groceries!”
No one is surprised at this anymore.
I have been seasick at home in the shower,
hours after the boat had docked.
I have ridden a freight train through the
Sierras, from Sacramento to Salt Lake
City and home through Las Vegas, where
a stranger let me use her shower.
I have thumbed a ride from a trucker carrying
forty tons of onions.
I have seen a Guernsey cow in Guernsey.
Heard the music of children’s laughter.
I have not put down the duckie;
never played the saxophone.
Never danced the tarantella.
From my backyard I have seen a row of seven
On Denali from afar — far afar — I
have seen a grizzly.
I have started and not finished.
I have tried and failed.
Tried and succeeded.
Tried. Failed. Tried.
Come half-way. All that.
I have been foolish —
I did say I had been foolish.
I have worn silly hats; hats that embarrassed
I have seen the sign of a realtor named January
I have not seen the glory of the coming of the
I have seen a cobble break loose of its own
and roll down a canyonside.
Geology in action.
I have run a half-marathon, owned a ‘56
Chevy, and stood at Dante’s tomb.
I have been less than forthright.
Shaded the truth.
Been — though not in many years — cruel.
I have quit jobs, useless jobs.
Been a dumbfuck.
Never been fired.
I have slept with a cat in the crook of my arm.
Seen the plays at Ashland.
Fired a shotgun.
I have never scudded or used the word
I have fixed a sewer line.
Had a nasogastric tube pushed up my nose.
Been given morphine.
Today I saw a kite high on a string and
a bluebird in the park.
I saw the Knights turn a triple play.
I worked on this poem.
I have been appalled, repulsed, mortified, and
I have been irritated.
Did I say I have been irritated?
I have never held a patent.
Never been a patent holder.
I have said “Yes” when my son called to say
he’d spent all night in line to buy playoff
tickets and did I want to fly 3,000 miles to
be his guest at Yankee Stadium?
“Yes,” I have said. “Yes.”
I have pulled off the road to behold a double
rainbow; dug up wild hyacinth bulbs;
eaten cactus; tasted breadfruit; gathered
seeds from Rosa californica,
our native rose.
I have cataloged my joys.
I have dreamt and I have planned.
I am still here.
And still have more to do.