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A Thought for Today

The shortest way to success is believing in what it is you wish for.


This column was originally intended as a vehicle for you, the reader, to share with us your favorite McKuen song or poem together with a brief explanation as to the reasons for the choice. I've been amazed and delighted at some of the selections and while I feel I know Rod's work pretty well, some of the submissions have introduced me to pieces which had escaped me before or which I'd simply forgotten about.

Also interesting has been the fact that nearly everyone has commented on just how difficult it is to choose one favorite song or poem - most of us have a couple of each which remain close to our hearts. This has led to a multiplicity of letters from some of our regular readers and my thanks to them for their continuing support.

It occurred to me the other week that the collection of favorites we've amassed over the past year or so is rapidly turning into something valuable which could well be put to good use in the near future. "Sloopy", "Goodbye", "Stanyan Street", "Brighton Two", "I Always Knew" are all on the list so what we've compiled is, in effect, a readers choice of "The Best of Rod McKuen". If the opportunity ever arises to compile a book of the best of McKuen, we have a ready made blueprint from which to work. Certainly something to think about during the course of this year.

The choice for today was originally submitted by Sue Richardson back in June of last year and is definitely one for the book should it ever see the light of day.

So, now that the holidays are behind us and things are back to what I laughingly call normal, drop me a line and add your favorites to our "blueprint". The address for your contributions is ken@mckuen.com and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

                                - Ken, Johannesburg, January 3

notable birthdays Maxene Andrews o Clement Attlee o Victor Borge o Joan Chen o Cicero o Dabney Coleman o Marion Davies o Betty Furness o Mel Gibson o Bobby Hull o Josephine Hull o John Paul Jones o Sergio Leone o Robert Loggia o George Martin o Danica McKeller o Ray Milland o Anna Pavlova o ZaSu Pitts o Victoria Principal o Michael Schumacher o Stephen Stills o J.R.R. Tolkien o Bill Travers o Jesse White o Anna May Wong . . . and a special Happy Birthday to Jeff Hocking who hits 30 head on.
Rod's random thoughts I have decided to put off until next year my New Year's resolution to stop procrastinating.

The moral of the story is that if anyone ever asks if you've written a book say "Sure!" because what the hell, you can always do it later.

Don't ask me how I feel unless you're expecting a very long answer.


Now I have the time
to take you riding 
       in the car
to lie with you in private deserts
or eat with you
       in public restaurants.

Now I have the time
for football all fall long
and to apologize
for little lies and big lies
told when there was no time
to explain the truth.

I am finished
with whatever tasks
kept me from walking
in the woods with you
or leaping in the Zanford sand.

I have so much time
that I can build for you
sand castles out of mortar.

Midweek picnics.
Minding my temper in traffic.
Washing your back
and cleaning out my closets.
Staying in bed with you
long past the rush hour
and the pangs of hunger
        and listening 
to the story of your life
in deadly detail.

Whatever time it takes,
I have that time.

I've always wanted
to watch flowers open
all the way,
however long the process took.

I'd hoped that I might
take you traveling
down the block
or to whatever.

Now I have the time
to be bored
to be delivered
to be patient
to be understanding
to give you
all the time you need.

Now I have the time.
Where are you ?

                                - from "Valentines", 1986

1970, 1986, 2001 by Stanyan Music Group & Rod McKuen. All Rights Reserved
Birthday research by Wade Alexander o Poetry from the collection of Jay Hagan o Coordinated by Melinda Smith
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