If you have a dream in life
If you strive for success in what you do
Sometimes the biggest obstacle
to achieving what you want to is you

Sometimes you fear that you’re not good enough
to ever be successful
Sometimes you fear success
will tear you away from your loved ones
Sometimes you fear you’re too messed up
to be ever be successful
Sometimes you fear if you find success
everyone will be out to get you

Remember success is not about
writing a perfect book
painting a perfect painting
singing a perfect song
or making a lot of money

What success is really about
is taking your life by the hand
and walking into a bright new day
where what you believe in
is you

Dewey Dirks copyright 2008

Small Things

Small Things

Just last Wednesday I had a blowout with my wife
When all the shouting and throwing things was done
I figured I’d better get out of the house
Take a walk, I told myself
Let things cool down to a low boil

I walked slowly down the street
To the park three blocks up and three blocks over
There I bought some stale bread at the hot dog stand
Found a bench and sat down by an old man wrinkled and gray
We were quiet for a long while
Throwing bits and bites of wheat bread
To the pigeon’s that wandered by now and then

The old guy had the kind hint of a permanent smile
He seemed quite happy and very content
Got me wondering what advice he might give me
There from the twilight of his life
I said, “Old man, I’ll tell you
Life at thirty-two looks pretty damn bad
What makes you so happy
With you in your eighties
And death’s door waiting to open just down the street?”

He smiled a little more and said in a voice soft and quiet
“You know, when I was young I wanted whole lot of things
Later, I learned to want a few things a whole lot
But in the fullness of time I’ve found
That  much of what has given me
The greatest happiness in life
Can all be put into just one word.”
“And what word is that?” I asked
His eyes sparkled
As he gave a good-hearted bit of bread to a bird
“Linore,” he said

“She is my lady
Linore waits for me at home
In a little while, I’ll get up from this bench
And wander on back
I’ll probably find her in the dining room
With a calico cat on her lap
When I walk in, she’ll look up kindly and say
“Hi baby, how did it go for you today?””
Listen son, Linore is just a tiny little thing
Like me, she has gone very gray
But when I look at her I see
A half a million memories all rolled up inside
Half a million things to think about
Lingering quietly there in her turquoise eyes
They are small things
Stuff you’d hardly mention day-to-day
Things that most people never even notice
Or take for granted and cast aside
But I think about them all day long, every day

In Linore I see ten-thousand kisses
Scattered across fifty-five years
Ten-thousand times her soft hair
Has brushed up against my arm
Ten-thousand times her head has rested on my chest
Ten-thousand conversation’s
Bright or wise, idle or sad
Ten-thousand jokes and wise cracks
Adding a little happy spice and pepper
To the passing days
Ten-thousand smiles
Ten-thousand “I love you’s”
Always from the soul, always good to hear
And at the end of ten-thousand tough days
Ten-thousand cuddles in bed after the light’s went out
Ten-thousand times we have taken each other’s hand
Ten-thousand times I’ve felt her gentle embrace
Ten thousand times her face has lifted up my day
Ten thousand times I’ve looked in her eyes
And seen the bright spark that dances inside

Small things
Things you’d hardly notice
But if you weave them all together
Across the long, long years
They tell a grand tale
That is epic and eloquent and entirely uncommon
A tale written by two small souls
With two small pen’s
A story written by Linore and I
That is worth telling over and over again

Now son, you get up and go on home
And when you do, keep to the small things
Keep them handy
Keep them close by
Keep on remembering them
They are what will get you through the long years ahead
They can make your life heroic
A romance that you live every day
If you let them, they can be ten-thousand things
That together
Are so much more than just a bunch of parts

Dewey Dirks copyright 2008

Touch A Heart

Touch a Heart

She was a good woman, about thirty-five
Worked down at Denny’s with a pretty smile
Had three kids that she loved more than life
When everyone was around
They were all she talked about
That, and maybe a little politics
Then one night when we were alone in the restaurant
She said to me, “John, I’m toasted
I think I need a doctor
Been on pills in years past
My life is a wreck and I don’t know
If I’m gonna make it
I feel so alone
I need to reach out and touch a heart”

I could see the pain on her face
I smiled and touched her shoulder
‘Said, “Barb, I’ve got some news for you
Everyone is toasted
If you only knew the messes everyone gets in
You’d see you’re not so alone
The life you hear about from everyone
Is just smoke and mirrors”

Everyone has relatives they can’t hardly put up with
Everyone has had trouble with their spouse
Everyone’s got bills they can’t afford
Everyone is one paycheck from the street
Everyone has hassles every day
It doesn’t matter who you are
King of the world or homeless
Jennifer Lopez or holed up in a half-way house
We all are trying one way or another
To just make due

Then there’s the private inner life
Our brainboxes got
It’s only got three modes—
One that says
‘Everything’s shit and I’m all wrong’
And one that says
‘Everything’s fine, my toes are tappin’
And then every once in a while
There’s ‘Wahoo, Goddamn! I’m happy!’
Barb, everyone is like you
And I tell you what
When you’re in ‘Everything’s shit’ mode
God almighty, things look fucked up!

Barb, here’s what I do
I just keep in mind
My attitude affects the way I see things
And nothing is hardly ever quite as bad
As it might seem
I tell myself no matter how messed up it gets
I’ll find a way through
It might take awhile
But good times always, always follow the bad
And when the days are hardest
Reach out and touch a heart
Barb smiled, suddenly happier
“I just did” she said

Dewey Dirks Copyright 2010

Wounded Badge

This is a poem for the veterans of wars and other people
I’ve met over the years who suffer from post traumatic stress disorder—-


Wounded Badge

I am a career policeman.
Been one going on twelve years now.
I joined the force when I was twenty-six.
I was kind of an idealist back then.
But look at what the dark nights and lonely days have done.

You know, police work has a lot of perks.
there are many who think I’m bullet proof
and ten feet tall.
And people who smile at me every time I see them.
They shake my hand and say,
“I hope you’re having a very good day”
And there’s some who think I’m some kind of celebrity
here in the big city I work in.
Once, I thought that was really kinda cool.
But go ask Britney Spears,
hero worship gets pretty damn old pretty damn fast.
They only see the badge and the gun, not the man.
And there’s girls who fall pretty easy
for a man with a badge.
I tried marrying one of them once.
It didn’t last too damn long.
Lord, she expected to live with a television cop
but what she found was just a man.

Then there’s the downside
of life as a career cop.
There’s people who try to lie to me.
And I deal with how dumb or stupid or tragic
people can be sometimes.
Now, a soldier in the army
many times spends a few years in the service
And he sees some pretty bad stuff.
It changes him,
burns memories into his mind.
They used to call it shell shock.
Now they just call it a stress disorder.
After awhile the guy gets out of the army
and he can go home and try his hand at another job.

I’ve been a policeman going on twelve years now.
And I’ve seen some of the things people have done to each other.
Lord God, I’ve seen some of the things people have done.
Every day I get up, go to work
and listen to the dispatch radio in my car.
Every once in long while one of those calls come in….
Lord God, I’ve seen some of the things
people have done to each other.
I’ve seen some of the things people have done.
My God, I’m a career cop.
It’s the only job I know.
And every day I face the dispatch radio
wondering if today will be the day
I see one of the things that people have done to each other.
One of the things people have done.

How do I get my faith in humanity back?
How do I do that?
I just don’t know.
I met a man just the other day
who has walked these same streets in this same city
in peace for fifty years.
He pointed to thousands of houses
and streets full of people who’ve also lived
in peace year after year.
“But how do I get my own faith in humanity back?” I asked him.
I told him I’d seen a few of the things people have done to each other.
A few of the things people have done.
I told him “I want to build a wall around myself.
And I want to build walls around everyone else too.”

He said, “Wake up! Wake up!
Part of you is stuck in a bad memory.
You don’t have to be so worried.”
I said, “How can I get my faith in humanity back?
I’ve seen some of the things people have done to each other.
Lord God, some of the things people have done.”

He said, “Terrible things have happened to some people.
It’s true without a doubt.
And for every terrible thing that has happened to someone,
ten thousand things also happen that are good.
That’s where your faith in humanity is hidden
you only have to look

Dewey Dirks copyright 2009

Bravest Woman

Bravest Woman

I am a working woman
with children almost grown.
I’m nearly fifty.
I hope I still have a pretty face.
My husband died almost three years ago.

One cold winter day
a old man shot him dead
through our kitchen window.
He was the father of a thirty year old woman
and he thought my husband
was having an affair with his daughter
down at the bar where he used to go.

Life isn’t fair sometimes.
Oh God I loved my husband so much.
We were married nearly twenty years.
Lord God he used to like to talk
to people down at the bar.
He used to like to talk
to that woman down there.
He’d go down there and sit, I know.
Lord God he used to like to talk.

I stumble through each day.
I cry through through every night.
Sometimes I think I’m a broken woman.
Sometimes I think I’m broken.
I don’t know how I’ll go on.
But there’s bills and bills
I’ve got to pay.
A home that needs cleaning
and dishes to wash.
Children who need lots of love.
Children who need advice.
And a house with a hole in the window
that needs to be sold.
How can I go on without my husband?
I don’t know if I can carry the weight alone.
Lord God, I’m so alone.

I miss his voice.
He used to like to talk.
Oh God he used to like to talk.
He visits me in my dreams at night
He cuddles me tightly. He kisses me softly.
He used to tell me,
“Jessie, you’re the bravest woman I’ve ever known.”
Now I hear him in the night softly say,
“Don’t miss me, please don’t miss me.
I’m here with you now. Don’t miss me.
Jessie you’re the bravest woman
I’ve ever known.”

I get so mad at him.
Lord God, he used to like to talk.
Liked to talk to the pretty young women.
Liked to talk to everyone.
Now he visits me in my dreams at night
He cuddles me tightly. He kisses me softly.
He says, “Jessie don’t miss me.
You’re the bravest woman I’ve ever known.
If you fall down, I’ll help you up again.
I’ll help you up.”
Lord God I miss my husband
He used to say,
“Jessie, you’re the bravest woman
I’ve ever known.”

Last night I dreamed of a great river
with a boat to carry me across.
On the river bank my husband was standing
I walked up to him and he kissed me
He said, “Jessie life is kinder than you think
Every night in dreams you don’t remember
You travel to another land.
There you and I are young again
And together we sit and talk and laugh
drinking iced tea
beside a great cypress tree.

When your days here are done
to that distant shore you’ll travel
and if you still want me
I promise I’ll meet you once again
beside that tree.

Jessie, oh Jessie
You are the bravest woman I’ve ever known.
And the love we feel for each other
is that cypress tree we meet under each night
with roots so strong it will never know death.“

Dewey Dirks—copyright 2010

Good at Something

Good At Something

Paula tends bar down at the Corral
If ever you go down there
She’s got a long, tall Miller, a sparkle in her eyes
A good ear, and a friendly smile
And if you’ve got a problem big or small
Paula will even give you a welcome conversation

She’d be surprised if she only knew
How far what she’s happened to say has gone
With the desperate and lonely, and the forsaken
Who’ve walked through her doors
On a thousand slow Wednesday nights
And not wanted to leave her till dawn

There’s a guy who comes in every day
Paula fell in love with him a long time ago
He’s a blue collar man, down to earth
With a good, honest way about him
But he’s already taken, and happy
She’s never said anything
Hopes only the best for him
It’s no matter, she tells herself
She gets to see him every day
And when she wants more company
There are many very willing
To give her all the time she wants with them

Two blocks south, and four blocks west lives Emily Blair
She’s got a husband and three kid’s
‘tween the ages of ten and nineteen
Been married going on twenty-one years now
She works hard for her family each day
All she asks in return
Is that you pick up your own socks from the floor
Give her a kiss on the cheek when it’s bedtime
And make sure you clean up all your food
Before you ever dare get up from the table

If Emily could jump forty years down the line
She’d be surprised to find
Three adult’s always telling their children
“You know, your grandma always used to say…”
And, “Your grandma taught me this, now I’ll teach you..”
She’d see her words and her love
Echoing the long years away
And though Emily doesn’t realize
While he’s at work or at play
Her man talks of nothing but her all day, every day

All the Earth is a single town
A small blue dot in a very big sky
Men are mostly good or bad or in between
We all are small town born
And each grow up to play a small town part
In a small town play

Sam is Emily’s husband
He’s been a welder since he was fifteen
Every day at five pm he stops by the Corral
Chats with Paula
Has a drink, says hi to a few friends
Then along about six-thirty
Emily stops whatever she is doing
And smiles when he walks in
He’s grins  back, and gives her a kiss
Says, “Hi babe, how was your day?”

If you live anywhere in the tri-state area
It’s likely you’ve driven across a bridge or two
Held together with beads carefully crafted
Born of the blue arc in Sam’s old welding rig
Sam doesn’t know it
But a thousand times a day, Emily thinks about him
Hopes his job is going okay, wonders what he’s up to just then

Find out what you ought to be doing
You have but to ask, life will give you a job
Everyone is good at something
Sudden and sweet or long and very slow
In ways you see and ways you don’t,
All you say, all you do
Touch the ones standing next to you
Take care that you do what you should

Sam talks a lot down at the Corral
To the biker we all call Slim
From where he came, no one knows
Slim’s fifty-five and never put down his colors
He’s always got a good word
His laugh is big, his smile soulful and warm
He knows what it is to ride alone on a long, straight road
Knows what it is to walk the sharpest edges
Slim’s got a story or two
Lord-God if you’ve got the time
If you look across the years, you’ll find them peppered
With crossed-up kids bent straight by him
A hundred times he’s been at parties
And talked cranked-out pairs of bikers
Out of knifing each other

Slim and Paula got a thing on the side
But he knows her eyes are forever on another
He says he doesn’t mind
He knows the man, and he’s a good guy
He tells himself it’s an ideal arrangement
Slim says that love is just another tie that binds
And one of these days, he’ll hop on his hog and ride

Paula and Slim, Sam and Emily
All good people without a single doubt
But every day down at the bar
Sam breaks Paula’s heart
While Paula is busy breaking Slim’s
Two blocks south, and four blocks west sits Emily
Never knowing her good love has caused so much mayhem
All the while, the four spread kind tidings
In ways that remain unknown and hidden to them

Paula and Slim, both so good
At handing out wise advice
Are flaming fools when it comes to their own love life
And Sam and Emily, who have a love that will never know death
Never tell how much each one means to the other
All of them make their own mess
All of them draw their own straight and crooked lines
I suppose it only goes to show
That even the luckiest and most astute
Can act like complete idiots some of the time

Do what you do best
And you’ll do well as you can
Everyone in life can find a groove
Everyone teaches, everyone learns
Remember the ways that you act
Always have more than one side
Wise to know, we all tell two stories
The fable, good or bad
Of what we seem to do
And the secret tale
Of what life has put us up to
Quietly, and unnoticed

Dewey Dirks Copyright 2009