Renewed

Renewed

As it rained today
I went outside to sit
in the back yard
and look for awhile
as the storm
blew in

Wondering, wandering
my soul touched
the wind and rain
and along with the trees
my heart beat renewed
as the wind breathed
new life into the land

The rain
touched me gently
deep inside
and the illusion
of my separation
from life around me
quietly washed away

Dewey Dirks

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 pilots 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

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 bit’s 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 a 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 conversations
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 lights went out
Ten-thousand times we have taken each others 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 pens
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

Where You Stand

Where You Stand

In my youth, I asked myself
“What way is best
for people to behave?”
Then one day
my tortoiseshell cat, Carrie
came to get me to stay by her side
when it was time
for her to have her first litter.
I remember her green eyes,
worried and hopeful
as if to ask for a comforting touch.
Then I knew it’s best
to have empathy and care
for all souls, animal and human.

Years later, one sad morning
someone hit me hard and vindictively.
I asked life why they would
do a thing like that.
Later that day,
another person confided in me,
“You never really have known pain
until you look someone
you love very much in the eye
and see only the bare glare
of blank daylight gleaming back.”
I knew then humans
strike out only because
of fear, ignorance, or pain.

For many years
I asked, “Is there a God?”
Then one evening I saw
a sunset that bathed me
with a quiet golden air
so beautiful that I wept.
And I knew then
that it doesn’t matter
if there’s a God or not.
It is sufficient to know
that there ought to be.

Now, it’s a fact
questions are as common
as blue June sky.
One of the secrets in life, my friend
is that if you have
the eyes and heart to see
answers are too.

Long ago, I decided
what I wanted most in life
was to learn.
It took me years to realize
that life gives us each
an endless supply
of change, curiosity,
questions, and answers.
It’s just up to each of us
to decide to use them.

Leave half a glass of water
setting in the street,
and a few will
stand around arguing
whether it’s is half empty
or half full,
till somebody else
wanders by and offers
someone who’s thirsty a drink.
Good to know
it’s usually more the matter
of where you choose to stand
than of what you go through.

Dewey Dirks