Don’t doubt that you’re breathing
If you try you can increase
Your ability to understand how and why
Unless you’re a hermit high up in the hills
And you haven’t seen anyone for forty-four years
Don’t doubt there’s a few people in this old world
Who care about who you are and what you do
If you try you can increase your ability
To understand what they’re saying to you
And see their care and actions for what they are

Don’t doubt that you’re strong enough to weather
The stormy gales of time
If you try you can increase your ability to recognize
When the storms have passed and you’re okay
Don’t doubt you’ve got all the emotions
The powers that be gave everyone else
Don’t doubt they can be made useful
If you try you can increase your ability to recognize
When a solution is passing your way
Isn’t it good to hate prejudice?
And even petty jealousy can make you strive harder

Don’t doubt that life talks and listens to you
If you try you can increase your ability to understand
What it is saying and why
Don’t doubt that everything you see
Everything you think
Everything you feel
Everything you do
Are raw materials
That can be put to good use
Don’t doubt that you’re an artful craftsman
If you try you can increase your ability
To recognize a job well done

Some need to doubt
That they’re foolish, stupid, or crazy
Others need to doubt that they’re always right
Don’t doubt that doubt can be good for you
If you practice it gets easier to know
When to stop and when to start
Good to make your best guess
Then ride the storm or go with the flow
Always remember when you’re most in doubt
Set a high sail and follow your heart

From “The Questioning Way” Dewey Dirks copyright 2009

Waiting Flight

Waiting Flight

Moving with pen
my hand draws in idea, a feathered form
Restless, reaching out
a thought strives flight
Often eager, sometimes sad
my heart beats making sweet life

Forever it’s expression I’m seeking
Always almost finished yet never quite completed
vibrant their meaning clasped in graphite
shimmering my words are waiting
caged here on this page

Freedom is found
only in emotion given to you
My thoughts remain unfulfilled
until their reflection’s been mirrored
finding flight in eyes of another

Dewey Dirks Copyright 2010

Act Like a Human

Here is an excerpt from The Questioning Way adopted for posting here on the blog.

Act Like a Human

A human is a part of the environment. He tends to act the same way as other parts of the environment. Like other animals, he acts in his self-interest. Like other animals, he prefers the path of least resistance. A cloud is a non-sentient bit of nature. A person is a sentient bit of nature. Observe the behavior of other animals, and in them you will see the behavior of man. Like cats, we are curious. Like dogs, we are loyal to our allegiances. Just as bees, we are social creatures. We sing like whales, build metropolises like termites, we are territorial like ants, and bury our dead like prairie dogs. Like many animals, we have great compassion for our young. Like many creatures, we stand by our chosen mates to the death.
Study the world. In it, you will find your own nature. When you are closest to your own inner nature, you are also closest to the basic rightness of the world because your most inner nature is a piece of the world. Man is at his best when he is at his most natural. Think of who you know that has the greatest measure of peace with himself and the world. Is this person not also the most ethically disciplined person you know? And for those of you who fear humans are too violent, think about all the people you know. How many are good people? How many have killed someone other than when fighting a war? How many of the people you personally know are axe murderers? Don’t fall for the bad news on TV. You aren’t a bad person, and most of the people you know might have their idiosyncrasies, but almost all of them are good people. Look around at the people you know and wake up to the fact that everyone on the whole planet is pretty much just like you.
As someone who believes he needs to conduct himself by his own set of rules, by a self-proscribed morality, here are the rules I’ve made for myself. I follow them with as much dedication and determination as any Christian who follows the Ten Commandments. It is my belief that just as every man has the capacity to love, so, too, every man has the capacity to act honorably.

Rules for Decent Human Behavior

1. There is something right and something wrong in virtually everything you encounter. Find both. Look for the truth in things, and remember that it almost always lies somewhere in between.

2. Live well-balanced on three legs. Do this by everyday spending as much time each day as you can at each of the following tasks:
a. Working or creating something
b. Relaxing by doing something enjoyable
c. Talking to someone you care about

3. Keep your life as simple as you can.

4. Always remember that hidden within almost every problem is an opportunity.

5. Always be kind, considerate, and fair. Bring no harm. Do not hold on to resentment. Never let go of hope. Remember to share. When you have to compromise, maximize everyone’s benefit, minimize everyone’s loss. Do not do anything you cannot respect others doing. This is called acting with honor.

6. Be aware of people’s weaknesses, but concentrate on their strengths. Keep your own affairs tidy, let others tend to theirs. If you cannot find something to respect about someone, it is your shortcoming, not theirs. This is called seeking what is reasonable in yourself and others.

7. When you are in charge, run things with as much kindness as you can muster, and keep your rules as few and simple as possible.

8. Always value people over institutions or items.

9. Prefer letting be to meddling.

10. Be true to your word.

11. Do not ask for a favor you cannot return in kind.

Just Beyond Your Nose

Just Beyond Your Nose

Out there,
Just beyond
The tip of your nose
Is what people
Usually refer to as reality
Behind your eyes
In your brain-box
You keep a mental picture of it
That you also refer to as reality

You self-adjust
Your picture of reality
By comparing it
To things around you
By trying out your ideas
To see if they appear accurate
And to see if they are able
To do work for you
And accomplish goals

You self-adjust
Your picture of reality
By talking to other people
Gathering ideas
That you think help paint
A better picture
Of the reality
Out there
Just beyond
The tip of your nose

Here’s the catch—
No one has ever seen
Perceived or imagined
The reality beyond their nose
With anything
But the rough canvas
In their brain-box
Painted with mental pictures
Of that same reality

There are two things
Of which you can be certain
Like every other creature on this planet
Humans have evolved in such a way
That our mental pictures
Are accurate and useful enough
To allow us to function
Under most conditions

Reality out there
Just beyond your nose
Is so much more
Than it seems
Simple as a single word
More complex than
The sum of  knowledge
In all of mans books
Real as the ground
Beneath our machines
Like the whisper of a rainbow
While the earth wanders its track
— a wheel in the sky
With spokes made useful
By the emptiness in between

Woven quietly by nature
As we all daily dream
A fine silk tapestry
Far, far richer
Far more intricately
With greater fullness of color,
Passion of design
And depth of infinite detail
Than you or I or anyone
Who has ever lived
Has ever been able to splotch,
Blotch, swipe, or dibble
Like children just learning to paint
In a few kid colors
With our simple mental brushes

Dewey Dirks, copyright 2011

Tidy Home

Tidy Home

Being at peace
With humanity
And the world
Doesn’t mean
You don’t think
There’s not problems around
It means realizing
Earth is our home
And life forever continues
With scrapes and scraps
Gotta keep
Cleaning up the trash
Gotta keep the kids in line
Gotta, gotta keep
On top of the housework
Gotta, gotta keep
A tidy home

All of us humans
Are a lot like a big bunch of kids
You gotta remember
With a bunch of kids around
There’s gonna be
A toy or two in the driveway
And on the living room floor
And they’ll keep up that dingy texting
On the phone

The teenagers will stay up late
And the house is gonna be loud sometimes
Kids are gonna get into arguments
Every once in awhile
Gonna be some confusion now and then
Cause that’s just the way kids are

Gotta have lots of love and care
To go around
Gotta be understanding and forgiving
Gotta show each other to how share
And how to be kind by example
For humanity to grow up
To be loving adults
Gotta show each other
An easy hand
Needs to be
A lot of love in our home

Dewey Dirks copyright 2011

Sense Of Style

Sense of Style

When I was a young guy
just getting started at being a writer
I happened to meet a fellow
who was a very accomplished guy
He seemed to be able to do it all
Paint, sculpt, write, and make music….
A real renaissance man.
I thought to myself, “That guy’s got more talent
in just two fingers than I’ve got in my entire being.”

I was determined to discover his secret
and so one day when I saw him in the park
I wandered up and started a conversation.
After the small talk was over
and I felt like maybe we’d bonded a bit,
I asked him straight up,
“How on earth did you ever get to be so talented?”

“The guy seemed to ignore what I’d asked him
and instead started telling me a random story.
He said, “I kinda took most of last week off
and sat around thinking
about what I really value
and what way I think is the best way to be.
He stopped talking for a minute.
And just when I thought he was done,
He smiled and continued on……

‘Long about Thursday evening
I remembered some stuff I believed when I was six
but kinda had forgotten
and cast aside in the daily rat-race
and fast-paced hustle of life as an adult.
When I was young I decided
the things a person really ought to try to do
is never to harm anyone
and try to be as truthful, honest, and sincere
as they know how to be.

The old guy paused a moment and lit a cigarette
Then he continued on talking
He said, “….And then I thought to myself,
maybe a lot of the time it’s more important
to try to do those four things
than it is to try to always appear
cool, flashy and important.
I think what it really often boils down to
in the stuff I do as an adult.
is the question of whether
it’s more important to me
to do no harm
and to be truthful, honest and sincere
or appear cool, flashy and important.
And I think I’d rather do the first four
than the last three.
He stopped to take a drag on his cigarette,
and I began to wonder what the point of his story was.
The old guy just continued on undaunted.
He said, “They say the only difference between
the men and the boys is the price of their toys
and I really believe that’s true.
Inside us all
we each carry many memories of when we were small
and they help shape who we are and affect everything we do
from the time we’re little clear up until we’re ninety-two.

A few of the things I can say about me when I was six
is that I really liked things that looked very cool.
And I really liked all the variety in life.
I’ve always thought it’s very, very cool
there’s lots of different things
to see and think about.
I was a pretty good kid, but like every kid, I wasn’t perfect
and I got into my share of small mischief a time or two.
By the time I was six, I’d figured out
It was great to be the star of the show when I could.
But things usually went best
when me and my friends
took turns and shared the limelight in our little gang.
By six, I’d learned that just about all of the time
honesty was best
and even when I couldn’t be entirely up front,
I knew telling part of the truth was most always much better
than being fake or telling a lie.
At six I loved to learn all kinds of things
and then tell everyone what it was I’d found out.
Of course, I loved to play.
I figured out that play could be a lot of work
and work could be a lot like playing too.
I knew there were times when I could be just a kid
and times when I had to be more of an adult
and I knew both ways could be a lot of fun.

Now that son, is a quick snapshot
Of who I really, really am
And if you look,
you can see bits of that six year old kid
in everything I think, say and do.”

By now, I’d pretty much forgotten
what it was I had asked the guy
And so I said,
“But geeze!  I was a brat when I was a kid.”
The old man, brought me back
to the point of our conversation
when he smiled and said,
“Well, personally, I think it’s very good
the world has all kinds of people.
And aren’t a lot of really great artist’s
like Van Halen and Kid Rock
not much more than great big brats
with a great sense of style?
And I’ll tell you a secret—I’d bet if you look closely
At all those bad-ass bikers riding their work-of-art Harley’s
All those women and men raising families,
working hard to make ends meet
and all those fighter pilot’s in their fighter planes.
You can see hints of
a big bunch of runny nose kid’s playing
runny nose kid games
who don’t want to go home
until an hour after dark.”

Dewey Dirks, Copyright 2009



Anxiety, depression and pessimism
are not excuses
for not living a full life.
They are symptoms
of being afraid
when you discover that living a full life
represents a continuous process
with considerable challenges
for each of us.
Success is discovering
that we each can handle
the challenges life presents us.

Dewey Dirks copyright 2011