Dos Vidas. Photo by Thomas Kist from the 2006 Arjan Vlakveld film “Rod
McKuen: A Man Alone” for Netherlands Public Television. Photo ©2006,
2007 by Stanyan Audio Video Archives. All Rights Reserved.
A Thought for Today
Life remains unfinished without love.
for Jerry Kramer
One day a man will take you on the high roads;
After a time he'll leave you someplace nice
or tell you where the big boys play.
They usually string out their games
in someone's shadow.
It could be yours.
More likely mine,
for mine's grown longer and there's more room here.
I ache to learn some new games now,
I've been away from town too long..
To see a new door open I'd go almost anywhere.
if I thought I had the time.
I'm mad at midnight
for the things it didn't do,
that doesn't mean I wouldn't take a chance again.
Few angels have been heard to sing
but many purr when stroked just so.
Lie down and leave your imprint in the sand,
my hand will trace it into everything I need.
That's how reality begins,
shadows made something real
or reality turned back into a shadow.
I need the sureness of the shadow world again.
To make me whole.
If I am anything at all
I'm what I've gotten out of sand.
Not only that washed in
from seas and islands
but any piece of earth
a man can hold
securely in his hand.
Catch me in the sunlight.
Catch me pacing past the trees.
Build a fence around me
the moment that you see me running.
I'm so elusive sometimes
I miss the things worth stopping for.
Not more trees.
Not more rain in back-yard barrels
or racing down the gutters to the drain.
I need the comfort
of a friendly back or belly.
Seen sometimes in magazines
or made up in my mind.
You know the ones I mean
They shout out at you like the trees in April
Or blossom on you like strawberry smiles.
I have been assaulted by soft smiles at a distance.
The way some radios attack you from across the room
when you're strapped up in a barber chair.
The way you're raped by Muzak in an elevator.
Now comes the time for closeness once again.
Turn me over gently.
Hold me for the man I am.
Smooth out the wrinkles on my face
And love me - please.
Because I need.
The big boys play
in someone's shadow down the street
and I'm detached.
That's as it should be,
for I need more than games.
Take a chance on me.
I haven't any name
but what you'll give me when you leave.
-from "In Someone's Shadow," 1969
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