Tracks of a Wandering Mind

Poetry, stories and random thoughts from a wandering mind.

Practice Makes Perfect

This came from a discussion I had with a friend concerning the fact that people learn from their own experience, not that of others.

Once upon a great long time,
In a life so far away,
I was a different man,
Before this one came to stay.

Dreams of fame and fortune
Were mine to have and hold;
Each day was an adventure
And each cloud was lined with gold.

Heedless of the dawning
Of a time so far away,
I spent my youth so freely,
Living only for the day.

Heads far wiser than my own
Spoke of trouble to the fore,
And warned of coming changes,
But I still ignored their lore.

Looking back now on my life,
I could wish for days gone by,
But now I view the future
With a much more practiced eye!


June 30, 2011 Posted by | Poetry | , | 2 Comments

Bum on a Sidewalk

Written after a discussion with my wife about her brother who went missing in Vietnam.

He was a grizzled old man in a worn army coat,
With dirt covered patches and stripes on both sleeves.
He sat on the sidewalk and was drinking cheap wine,
And watched me from eyes more knowing than mine.

I didn’t have time to give him the time of day
As he looked up at me with something to say.
“You don’t need to run,” he said.“You don’t need to fear.”
“You can just toss a coin and forget I was here.”

I stopped dead in my tracks and my face burned in shame,
For I had a coin in my hand for charity’s name.
He grinned at my look and slowly shook his white head,
“I don’t need it that badly,’ was all that he said.

I don’t know why I stopped and sat down beside him,
But something inside me insisted I listen.
“No one remembers the old places and old names,”
“But we all know well Khe Sahn, Lang Vei and Da Nang.”

“Nobody sees us,” he said “and nobody cares”
“As they toss a few coins and try hard not to stare.”
“They think I’m just lazy, just another old bum,”
“But you know, when it counted most I didn’t run.”

He reached in his coat and pulled out an old case
And opened it slowly, an odd look on his face.
He handed it to me and said with some wonder,
“Look, there’s thirteen stars on a medal of honor.”

He wrapped it and hid it inside of his coat
And he patted my back and said “You can go.”
“I just wanted someone to once stop and hear me,”
“Instead of throwing coins afraid to get near me.”

He’s long gone now there’s an old man in his place,
But I often remember that old soldier’s face,
As I sit and listen to days of past glory,
Because everyone has his own special story.


June 14, 2011 Posted by | Poetry | , , | 1 Comment

Used People

Written after I saw a mugshot of a young woman.  I wondered at the time if the young girl that she used to be was completely gone.

She’s just another pretty girl,
Until you look into her eyes
And see cracked and hazy mirrors,
That show the broken soul she hides.

Her home’s a dingy hotel room
For half an hour at a time
As she services a client
And kills the little girl inside.

She wasn’t always dead like this,
She once was normal, just like you,
But her hopes and dreams are shattered
And now she’s just used people too.

June 10, 2011 Posted by | Poetry | | 1 Comment

Dead Dreams

I listened to an old man one day as he talked about what he used to do and what he had once wanted to do.  I wondered then when I would get old in my own mind.  Would I give my dreams up as I got old or would I get old because I lost them?

Do old men have dreams and plans and schemes,
Or are we old when we give them up?
Do we taste life to its full measure,
Or sip our drink from a bittered cup?

Do we still hope or can we not cope
With all that time has wrought upon us?
Are these precious things just out of reach
Or husks of dreams still carried behind us?

The path my feet have daily followed,
That leads one day to the end of things,
Still full of life and more tomorrows,
Has no more room for any dead dreams.

June 10, 2011 Posted by | Poetry | , , | 1 Comment

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