You reach a point in life where memories outnumber hopes and you find yourself looking behind you, rather than looking ahead. We exist simply to accumulate memories, of a love, a moment, an action, a reaction. We progress and then regress, time waits for no one and it won't wait for me. The stark reality is, that we begin to die as soon as we are born, we are given a blank page, then we fill in the blank spaces. In high school at the end of the year the creative writing class would publish a collection of poems submitted by students. The process was cut and dry, you submitted your work, each submission was assigned a number and then judged. As always I was up against the wall, you had to submit at least six poems, however your grade improved with the number of submissions. At the time, I was fascinated by the word structure of Springsteen, David Bowie and Marc Bolan. They had opened the doors to another realm of thought, their encrypted and abstract lyrics sparkled with a cool cadence. So, I knew what I had to do, cars+suicide+sex+self loathing = poems that will get me a passing grade. I started writing and I kept writing, I submitted 20+ poems and most of them were published. When the review came out, my sister Emma, read it and asked how I came up with the poems. I was too embarrassed to tell her they came from a dark corner of my mind, so I lied and told her they were song lyrics I had copied. That wasn't the end of it, just before I left for boot camp, I opened the local paper and found three of my poems printed on the editorial page. It seems that my creative writing teacher had taken it upon herself to have them published. The subjects were predictable: murder in my heart, suicide by car and a hooker who kills herself, I was mortified. She wrote about how mature and introspective they were, that their relentless dark nature reminded her of Dante. My sister raised an eyebrow as she looked up from reading the article, then she sneered at me "Wait till they find out you stole those poems." I was confused, Dante?, that's high praise for a freak who spent every last day of high school on the outside looking in. Nurturing talent, is a luxury few can afford, it wasn't in the books for me. Reality took hold, the military, work, unemployment, money, more work, more money, drug abuse, depression and finally sobriety. In retrospect, being on the outside just gives you a better view of what takes place within the circle. Cue Bowie's "Quicksand" again, I feel a poem coming on.