On long car trips
There are the rituals and games
My family played “The alphabet game”
We were supposed to look only on license plates, but I looked everywhere for signs
My wife’s family used to call out whenever they saw a Waffle House
“Waffle House, wanna have lunch?”
Even when it was dinner time
Even if they just stopped for a meal at the previous exit

I call out many things as I pass them by driving through life
I point out the billboards
And all their promises
The airplanes in the sky

Or the Holiday Inns
Though I miss their iconic signs
Pointing toward heaven
Or at least a nice resting place
For the night
Those great signs
Which my father and I used to inspect
To count how many lights didn’t work

My son would tell you
I point out cows and sheep and all kinds of creatures
They are the grains of sand on this earth that I am
Called to count

Numbers are my destiny
My cross to bear
My source of fame
Because I remember them so well,
Or infamy
Because I don’t remember
What really matters

Taking inventory is my albatross
And my blessing
Here are some of my important numbers
My age and my siblings’ ages
The age my wife always used to say I really am
The number of days since my wife slipped quietly away from us in the
Neuro ICU
The number of days since some motherfucking bastard
Stabbed the life out of an amazing red-haired
Kind soul that I loved

The number of breaths it takes
to remind me
Every time I get lost in the census of sadness
That I am one privileged sonofabitch
To still be here
To record these numbers
To count these truths
and on and on
The number
of you
I’ve never met, but
Who I am blessed to count
As my friends
In this moment
Which may be
The only moment
That counts


Wealth of spirit
Like a woven garment
Made of gold and sorrow and listing back and forth
From the waves
of you

I once noticed
My fortune
Carried on the backs of
Forgotten visions
of you

That momentary lesson
I learned
When asking for your attention
Was interrupted
by you

I was dead in the water
Caught in a basket of laughter
And stories of insanity
But my bastions were breached
by you