Ladies and Gentlemen of the class of '99.....Wear

If I could offer you only tip for the future, sunscreen
would be it. The long term benefits of sunscreen have
been proved by scientists whereas the rest of my advice
has no basis more reliable than my own meandering

I will dispense this advice now.

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth; Oh
nevermind; you will not understand the power of beauty
of your youth until they have faded. But trust me, in 20
years you'll look back at the photos of yourself and recall
in a way you can't grasp now how much possibility lay
before you and how fabulous you really looked...

You're not as fat as you imagine.

Don't worry about the future; or worry, but know that
worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra
equation by chewing bubblegum. The real troubles in
your life are apt to be things that never crossed your
worried mind; the kind that blindside you at 4pm on
some idle Tuesday.

Do one thing that everyday that scares you.


Don't be reckless with other people's hearts, don't put up
with people who are reckless with yours.


Don't waste your time on jealousy; sometimes you're
ahead, sometimes you're behind...the race is long, and
in the end, it's only with yourself.

Remember the compliments you receive, forget the
insults; if you succeed in doing this, tell me how.

Keep your old love letters. Throw away your old bank


Don't feel guilty if you don't know what you want to do
with your life... the most interesting people I know didn't
know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives, some
of the most interesting 40 year olds I know still don't.

Get plenty of calcium

Be kind to your knees, you'll miss them when they're

Maybe you'll marry, maybe you won't, maybe you'll have
children, maybe you won't, maybe you'll divorce at 40,
maybe you'll dance the funky chicken on your 75th
wedding anniversary...

Whatever you do, don't congratulate yourself too much
or berate yourself either- your choices are half chance,
so are everybody else's.

Enjoy your body, use it every way you can... don't be
afraid of it, or what other people think of it, it's the
greatest instrument you'll ever own.

Dance... even if you have nowhere to do it but in your
own living room.

Read the directions, even if you don't follow them.

Do not read beauty magazines, they will only make you
feel ugly.

Get to know your parents, you never know when they'll
be gone for good. Be nice to your siblings; they are the
best link to your past and the people most likely to stick
with you in the future.

Understand that friends come and go, but for the
precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge
the gaps in geography and lifestyle because the older
you get, the more you need the people you knew when
you were young.

Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes
you hard.

Live in Northern California once, but leave before it
makes you soft.


Accept certain inalienable truths, prices will rise,
politicians will philander, you too will get old, and when
you do you'll fantasize that when you were young prices
were reasonable, politicians were noble and children
respected their elders.

Respect your elders.

Don't expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you
have a trust fund, maybe you have a wealthy spouse;
but you never know when either one might run out.

Don't mess to much with your hair, or by the time it's 40,
it will look 85.

Be careful whose advice you buy, but, be patient with
those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia.
Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the
disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and
recycling it for more than it's worth.

But trust me on the sunscreen...


Winners of the Worst Simile/Metaphor Contest

He spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, like a guy who went blind
because he looked at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it and now goes
around the country speaking at high schools about the dangers of looking at a solar eclipse
without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it.

She caught your eye like one of those pointy hook latches that used to dangle from screen doors
and would fly up whenever you banged the door open again.

The little boat drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn’t.

McBride fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a Hefty bag filled with vegetable soup.

From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an eerie, surreal quality, like when
you’re on vacation and Jeopardy comes on at 7 pm instead of 7:30.

Her hair glistened in the rain like nose hair after a sneeze.

Her eyes were like two brown circles with big black dots in the center.

Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.

He was as tall as a six-foot-three-inch tree.

The hailstones leaped from the pavement, just like maggots when you fry them in hot grease.

Her date was pleasant enough, but she knew that if her life was a movie this guy would be buried
in the credits as something like Second Tall Man.

Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each
other like two freight trains, one having left Cleveland at 6:36 pm traveling at 55 mph, the other
from Topeka at 4:19 pm at a speed of 35 mph.

The politician was gone but unnoticed, like the period after the Dr. on a Dr Pepper can.

John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.

The thunder was ominous-sounding, much like the sound of a thin sheet of metal being shaken
during the storm scene in a play.

His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without
Cling Free.

The red brick wall was the color of a brick-red Crayola Crayon.


Man: I know two hundred ways to kill a man
Little Boy: You could glue an open jar of rats to his face, then blowtorch the end so the rats have to eat their way out through his face.
Man: Two hundred and one
subtle poetry from the movie fight club

this is your life, good to the last drop.
it doesn't get any better than this.
this is your life, and it's ending one minute at a time.
this isn't a seminar!
this isn't a weekend retreat.
where you are now, you can't even imagine what the bottom will be like.
only after disaster can we be resurrected.
it's only after you've lost everything that you're free to do anything.
nothing is static.
everything is evolving.
everything is falling apart.
this is your life.
it doesn't get any better than this.
this is your life.
and it's ending one minute at a time.

you are not a beautiful and unique snowflake
you are the same decaying organic matter as everything else
we are all part of the same compost heap
we are the all-singing, all-dancing crap of the world

you are not your bank account
you are not the clothes you wear
you are not the contents of your wallet
you are not your bowel cancer
you are not your grande latte
you are not the car you drive

you have to give up
you have to give up
you have to realize that someday you will die
and until you know that
you are useless

i say, let me never be complete
i say, may i never be content
i say, deliver me from swedish furniture
i say, deliver me from clever art
i say, deliver me from clear skin and perfect teeth
i say, you have to give up
i say, evolve,
and let the chips fall where they may

this is your life.
it doesn't get any better than this.
this is your life.
and it's ending one minute at a time.

you have to give up.
you have to give up.

i want you to hit me as hard as you can.

welcome to fight club.
if this is your first night
you have to fight.
Once there were three guys traveling in the amazon jungle, when they were captured by a group of natives. The natives said that they were going to kill them and turn their skin into a canoe, but the men could chose how they wanted to die. The first chose a knife, took it, and stabbed himself in the heart and died. The second chose a gun, took it, shot himself in the temple, and died. The third man asked for a fork. "A fork, it'll take you forever to kill yourself with a fork," said the natives. With that the man started stabbing himself all over, screaming DAMN YOU NATIVES AND DAMN YOUR CANOE TOO!!!


Dearest Simone,
I’m a little nervous sending these to you, please don’t get all freaked
out or anything, I don’t want to scare you. I guess I’ve never shown the
subject of any of my poetry what I’ve written about them, it just never
seemed right. Well, anyway, the events in this one never really happened,
but I envisioned you while I was writing it.
You dance within the fading twilight
Fireflies ebb and flow about your body
I smile and watch
A still observer in a sea of motion
You dip and sway in the music of the night
Your silky hair swirls about your face
You smile
And I am bathed in your warmth
With your deep eyes
You beckon me in
But I can only watch
A still observer in a sea of motion

I wrote this one after watching my little niece fall asleep in my arms on
Christmas Eve.
Come gentle sleep
Kiss me with your serenity
Drape your tranquil blanket
Over my weary body
Free me
From this waking torment
Allow me to drift into your ecstasy

Let me sleep

I have many other pieces, but most of them still need some more
revising. When I finally get the finished I might even try and have them
published together, or maybe have a column in a magazine or something.
I’m not quite sure yet.
I realized something yesterday, the more I think about you and
write about you, the less I’m interested in other women. Even the pretty
ones, and even the pretty ones that flirt with me, I’m not even interested
in pursuing them. At first I was worried, I thought I was sick or
something, but then I realized what it was. It was you. You’re the only
one I want to be with.
If all of this seems weird or strange, please tell me, I want to know
how you feel. If you just want to be friends that’s fine, but tell me now
before I get in too deep. It would still hurt, but not as much as it would
if I built up any more hope.
When can I see you again? I want to talk to you. Can I come over
sometime? Please, let’s meet somewhere for dinner, or something, soon.
Dragons on Tricycles,

Dear David,
Let me give you a little bit of background about my past relationships. I had
my heart broken when I was seventeen years old. He was a foreign exchange student
from Spain. We knew that he would have to go away, but at the time it didn’t matter.
We had four beautiful months together, and when he left I was crushed. Eventually I
got over it, and about a year and a half later I met Griffin, and we were together for
over a year. I became fully committed to him, and then I caught him cheating on me
with one of my friends. I guess what I’m getting at is that I don’t want to rush into
anything. David, I care for you deeply, but I don’t want to throw myself into
something I’m not ready for.
I thought your poetry was beautiful. I read them over and over, they show so
much of what’s inside of you, it’s really amazing. When I went to sleep last night I
had Drifting running through my mind, and I felt so peaceful... it was wonderful.
Am I really the one in Twilight? I felt so pretty after I read it, is it really about
me? Even if it’s not, reading it meant a lot to me, and I’m glad you let me read them.
When should we meet? We could spend a day in Minneapolis, then one of us
doesn’t have to drive the entire distance to see the other. We could also have dinner
here, then we wouldn’t have to be around other people. It really doesn’t matter much
to me, as long as I see you soon.

Dear Simone,
I was in the neighborhood yesterday, so I tracked down your
address and I thought I’d stop by your apartment, only it wasn’t your
apartment. You had said that you lived in a renovated industrial
building, but all that was there was a run down townhouse. I walked in,
and it was abandoned. I asked some of the neighbors if I had the right
place, they said that I did, but they had never heard your name before.
What’s going on? Do you have two different addresses? Is the post
office screwing up? Obviously all of my letters are getting to you, but
how? I guess I could have had the wrong place, but I’m almost positive I
was right... I don’t get it.
All that aside, the past few days have been going fairly well for me.
I bought a new pen, a blue marbled Waterman, just the other day. I’m
very particular about my pens, maybe it’s because I write so much. I
really liked the outside of the Waterman, but the ball point cartridge in it
didn’t work very well, I didn’t like it at all. To fix it I cut down an
Optima roller ball refill to fit and used that instead. I was very proud of
I finally took the BAR exam last week, I felt pretty good about it
but we won’t have the results back for another couple of weeks. I took a
leave of absence from my job so I could study for it, I’ll be back to waiting
tables a week from Wednesday, but until then I really don’t have much to
I understand why you don’t want to push things, especially after
what’s happened in the past, and I totally agree. I promise that I won’t
force you into anything you’re not prepared for.
Mark (the bum) and I talked about the future of the human race
today. We both agreed that humankind will eventually destroy itself.
Mark compared it to the Bugs Bunny scene where he and Elmer Fudd go
back and forth, threatening each other with increasingly larger weapons.
He thinks that’s exactly what the world’s governments are doing, but
eventually someone is going to pull the trigger. Once that happens
everyone pulls the trigger, and then everyone dies. It’s a very pessimistic
theory, but it does have some logic behind it.
Anyway, when you write back give me directions to your
apartment, and I’ll be sure to drop by.
Dragons on Tricycles,
David Bishop
PS I have some more poems almost done.
PPS You are the subject of Twilight.

Dear David,
I’m surprised you didn’t find my apartment, are you sure you wrote down my
address right? My building is on the intersection of 1st Avenue and 5th Street,
right on the corner. It’s a big building with Leviathan Manufacturing Co. written
across the front. I have the only second floor apartment, and the key’s in the potted
fern to the left hand side of the door, drop by anytime you want. If I’m not at home
I’m probably at work or across the street in Holsinger Gardens, it’s where I get
away from everything. I go through there almost every day, it gives me a little time to
relax before I have to face the world again. Almost every time I go there I run into
the caretaker, Jerry. If I’m not in a hurry I stop to talk, we usually talk about the
weather or what new flower has bloomed recently. I used to think gardeners got into
the business only because they can’t find any better jobs, but Jerry changed all that.
He was a broker on Wall Street for twelve years, and he made a bundle of money
but he was always stressed out and unhappy. Now he’s doing what he loves and
enjoys every minute of it. I hope I can do that someday, to be able to go to work not
because I need the money, but because I want to go to work.
I’ve reached an impasse with my sculpture, I can’t think of what I should
sculpt. I’ve tried just working clay with my hands to see what develops, but all I end
up with is a bunch of shapeless globs. Maybe what I need is a large sculpture to
work on, something I can put some effort into and work on over a long period of time.
Or maybe not.
How long have you been a writer? I mean, did you start when you were young
or is it just a resent hobby of yours? Well, I guess I should get to work, stop by
sometime, and I’ll see you soon.
PS Be sure to send me your poetry as you finish it.
I don't think there are many things more enjoyable for a writer than writing a new piece of prose or poetry with a truly good pen.


I finially came to my senses about somthing today. Don't you love it when that happens...when it feels like someone has taken off your blinders and your finially free to take a look around and see what's happening? That's how I feel today. Goody goody.


A couple of days ago a friend and I were sitting around, and out of the blue he said, "You know what would be strange? A house made entirely out of wicker." It struck me as an odd comment, but I found myself thinking about it throughout the day. It would be a huge fire hazard, I think wicker is fairly flammable. It would also be extremely hard to heat. It may not be all that private eiather. I think that it's because of these reasons we don't see many wicker houses.


A house made out of wicker would be very flammable. It would also be fairly...revealing.


Morning At the Sportsman's Cafe

Today is July 18, 2000. It is 4:57 AM and I am standing in front of my bathroom mirror.
Why would a lazy high school student such as myself wake up at such an un-Godly hour
in the middle of the summer? The answer is simple: girls. Essentially, they are the sole
reason that I do most things. Sometimes the connection isn’t obvious. But the connection
is there. For example, the reason I am awake is that I must be at the Sportsman’s Cafe at
5:30 AM to open at 6 AM. I have to get there on time so I can be paid. I want to get
paid so I can buy things, like gas for my car. I want gas for my car so it can move. I want
my car to move so it can get me to girls. Waking up early = getting to girls. The
connection is there if you look for it.
The Sportsman’s Cafe is the gathering place for the over sixty five crowd in town.
Most of the patrons are regulars, we see them more than two or three times a week. Then
we have the true regulars, who we see more than two or three times a day. The cafe itself
is typical of it’s kind, with animal mountings hanging on the wall and a constant smell of
old cigarette smoke and frying grease. Now, you may ask, why would a bright kid such as
myself want to be a waiter in such a hole? The answer to this question is simple as well: it
beats the available alternatives. This is a small town, and the career choices for a sixteen
year old are basically limited to working at a restaurant or bagging groceries at the
supermarket. Being a waiter makes the most sense; why work for minimum wage when
you can work for minimum wage plus tips?
The work isn’t all that bad anyway, the main downside is that I smell like smoke
and grease every time I walk out of the place. Then of course, there’s working with
Mary. I swear, I think she is the missing link. First there were the apes, and later there
were the humans, and in between...Mary. No one wants to work with her and no one
wants to be served by her. She never smiles, and she walks around like something straight
off Planet of the Apes, huge puffy mouth and all. She is lazy, rude to the patrons, and
downright disagreeable. She also has some of the ugliest children on the planet, who I see
on a daily basis as they come into the cafe asking for money. I get to look foreword to
seeing Mary and her ugly kids almost every day of the week.
All this, just for girls.


It’s too bad you can’t come with us, we would have had fun. About your
friend Eric, do you think he would be willing to help me with my art, or at least give
me a few tips? It feels like I have all this ambition but I don’t know what to do with
it. I’ve thought up a few ideas for sculptures, but I don’t know how to make them
look like I want them to when I finally get around to working with the clay.
It took me so long to get up this morning; I woke up late and just dozed away
the hours. I have a bunch of errands I still have to run, but it was just so nice to lie
there, thinking. I let my mind wander for what seemed like hours, jumping from one
idea to another. When I dozed I had some strange dreams too, I think one of them
included a pirate, but I don’t remember exactly. I thought about you a lot, and about
what you said about art and your stories about Mark and Eric. About Mark, it’s
strange how interesting some people can be if you just sit down and talk to them.
Some friends of mine came over a few days ago for a party. Things were
going well until Jenny and her boyfriend Nick walked out the door. She’s been
dating him for almost a year now, but I never have liked the relationship. He’s so
committed to his job that he hardly ever has time for her. Then when he does have the
time it seems like she has to plead him to do things with her. It’s a very one-sided
relationship. Anyway, he was going to drive her home, but ten minutes later she
walked back in the door, sobbing. He dumped her, and he dumped her hard. He
didn’t even show any emotion, he just said that they were too different and that it
wasn’t going to work out. She sat in the car crying, and he just stared straight ahead.
I guess he always thought that if you ignore the problem it’ll go away. All of us
knew it was going to end sooner or later, but it didn’t have to end like this. She
collapsed on my kitchen floor, shivering. Everyone knelt around her, we brought
blankets and pillows and made a little nest for her. I just knelt down and cried with
her. Luckily, I had enough ice cream and chocolate, and the eight or ten of us tried to
cheer her up. All of us went between crying and laughing for hours, talking about
how much of a jerk Nick is and how she deserves better. She didn’t want to go home
that night, se we all stayed at my house and called in sick to work the next morning.
By daybreak she was better, and I think she’ll be back to normal in no time. She
took a tough hit, but she’s a fighter, she won’t let it get her down. But at any rate,
that’s my big news; the best break up party ever (which isn’t really a great title once
you think about it...)
I should probably get to work, the errands are piling up as I write this. Take
care of yourself, and write back as soon as you get this. My best days are the ones
when I get a letter from you.


I’ve been writing a lot more lately, it seems like I’m on an
inspirational high. It’s been poetry mostly, all free verse. I’ve written off
and on for awhile now, I have quite a collection of good and bad poems.
I’ve even had a few of them published, but I’ll never make a living out of it
or anything. I even wrote a few about you. I’ll send them to you if you’d
like to read them. If you don’t I understand, but I thought I’d offer. I
gave Eric your address, he said he would send you some sculpting ideas
when he can. When I talked to him about you, he asked me what kind of
relationship we have, and I couldn’t really answer him. What kind of
relationship do we have? Obviously we’re not dating, although I really
would like to. Maybe it’s just a relationship you can’t put a label on, I’m
not sure.
When can I see you again? I’ll drive to you, if you tell me where you
live. I’d just really like to talk to you again.
I went walking late last night, it must have been about 3am. I
woke up because of something or another, but then I just couldn’t get
back to sleep. All of these thoughts kept running through my head. I
thought of all these things I want to do, and all of the things that we
could do together. I even ended up making a list of all the states I’ve ever
traveled to. I finally gave up trying to sleep, threw on some clothes, and
stepped outside. This town is so calm at night. It had rained, and the
streets still shone from the water. The last few drunks were clearing the
sidewalks and everything had this pleasant, summer night warmth.
Everything seemed so soft and warm... it was beautiful.
Dragons on Tricycles,
David Bishop

I would love to read your poetry, please send some to me. I don’t like poetry
in books that much, it’s hard to hear the poet’s voice. If I know the author or if I can
meet him, it all becomes so much more intimate. I guess I’m especially interested in
the ones you wrote about me, what are they like? Back in High School one of my
friends tried to be a songwriter, boy was he bad. He had this big book of bad songs
that he could never get anyone to play or sing. Eventually he got the idea and
gradually quit, but for awhile there he thought he was about to be the next Bob
Dylan. We still give him some grief about it every now and then.
About us, I don’t know what we are. I wish we could do something together,
just to see you again. I wish I could say where we’re at in our relationship, but I
can’t define it very well either.
I finished another book yesterday, it was a novel about an English colony in
Central Africa and how they struggled to gain a foothold in the area. I don’t read
very much these days, but if I get into a good book I can’t think about much else. I
especially liked how this one described the environment so well, it made you feel like
you were in the depths of Africa, baking in the heat. Good writing has a lot of power
in that respect, making you see a place you’ve never been to before.
Well, I really should try to get some sleep tonight (unlike you and your
midnight wanderings). Send some of your writing soon, I can’t wait to hear from you


stories of my death are greatly inaccurate


Do you think it’s possible to have the wrong feelings? I mean, to
feel things that you shouldn’t be feeling, but they’re still there anyway?
I’ve been puzzling over that one for the past few days, I want to know
your opinion on the matter. I kind of think that the heart feels what it
feels, and the mind decides what’s right or wrong. One part can’t have
much of and influence on the other, but they both play big parts in your
life. Any way you look at it, the heart wants what it wants.
I’ve been going to the same newsstand for the past two years. It’s
between my parking lot and my house, and I’ve bought a paper there
almost every day for the past two years. Yesterday it was closed. Jeff,
the guy that owns it, didn’t say anything unusual before, but yesterday
the doors were locked tight; no note, no nothing. I thought maybe he was
just sick, but it was locked up today too. Maybe he just took a vacation or
something, but you’d think he would tell everyone about it. I guess some
people don’t seem very important until they’re not there anymore.
About the play, I don’t think I can be there. I want to try and
make it, but we’re having a family reunion on the 15th in Duluth, it’s
kind of an annual affair. Everyone stays at my uncle’s cabin for the
weekend. I’m sorry I can’t make it.

Dragons on Tricycles,

Dear David,
I ran into Jenny the other day, and she invited the two of us to a Christian
music festival down in Wilmar. They’ll have over 45 bands on three stages over a
three day weekend. We’ve gone almost every year since we were fourteen, and Jenny
wanted to meet you, so she wants you to come along also. Could you meet us there?
The dates are July 15th, 26th, and 27th. We’ll be camping in tents on the concert
grounds, we can decide where to meet when we need to. Can you come?
I was thinking about how important music is to me today. Whenever I get
home I always turn on the radio or throw in a CD, it’s just second nature now. I
always keep an eye out for new record releases or fresh mixes. I dunno, maybe it’s an
obsession, but at least it’s a healthy one.
I’m trying to get into sculpting again, I picked up some red clay from the art
shop, it’s firing temperature is only about 500 degrees so I’ll be able to fire it at
home. Now my only problem is that I’m not sure what I want to sculpt. I’m feeling
flowy-ish, maybe I’ll try something to do with water, but I’m not sure.
It’s been raining here for the past few days, maybe that’s why I’m feeling
flowy-ish. Rain drags most people down, but I like it. It makes everything feel so
fresh and clean. Yesterday Artimis and I went running and splashing through the
puddles. Some people looked at us like we were crazy, but I still enjoyed it. Today
my shoes and my dog smell funny, but it was well worth it. It reminded me of how I
played in the puddles when I was a little girl.
Well David, I hope to hear from you again soon, and I hope we’ll see you in

Dearest Simone,
The music fest sounds fun, but I’m afraid I can’t make it (I really
haven’t been having very good luck with these scheduling things). My
parents and I have a sailboat rented for that weekend up in the Apostle
Islands. They wanted to spend a week swimming and sailing with some
of the family. Sorry.
I know what you mean about the importance of music; I think
songs are just a part of us. Music is part of just being human, it’s part
of our nature. If you look at the cultures of the world, every one of them
has music in it; it’s part of who we are.
It’s great that you’re getting into sculpture, Eric and I were just
talking about sculpting. We decided that some sculptors and artists try
too hard to recreate reality. We thought that artists should try to reflect
life, but they don’t necessarily have to copy it. If you can create a
sculpture that reminds someone of an object or makes them think of a
part in their own life, than you’ve accomplished everything you can. On
the other hand, if the sculpture is so abstract that it doesn’t remind them
of anything, then it has no purpose.
I ran into Marcus in the park again today. Mark’s a bum that lives
around my block, a grimy little man who’s usually dressed too heavily for
the weather. I’ve known him for awhile now, he usually camps out on my
usual park bench. I sat next to him for a long time before I finally talked
to him though. I was sitting next to him one day, eating my lunch, when
he said, “I’ll bet that young woman is quite the slut.” “Excuse me?” I
said. “I said, I’ll bet that young woman is quite the slut,” he replied,
pointing to a scantly clad woman walking down the path. “She probably
has problems with her self esteem too,” he continued, “why else would she
wear something like that?” “Have we met?” I asked. He introduced
himself as Mark.
We sat there for the rest of my lunch hour, making up stories about
all of the people that walked by us. I’ve returned to that bench on many
more occasions, and Mark’s always there to share a joke, a story, or a part
of my sandwich. Then, one day, he was gone. I had to eat alone for
almost a week. Today he was back. As things turned out, he was
arrested for trespassing after sleeping in a woman’s garage the night
before. It sounded like he didn’t mind jail that much, and the meals were
good, but he didn’t plan on going back anytime soon. I was glad he felt
that way, I didn’t like eating my lunches on my own.
I guess that’s all the storytelling I have in me today, write back
when you can, and I hope we can see each other soon.

Dragons on Tricycles,
David Bishop


If dolphins are as smart as everyone thinks they are they wouldn't be getting caught in tuna nets.


Dear Simone,
I’ve always thought my friends and family are the most important
things in my life. My best friends are Eric and Zoë. I’ve known Zoë since
kindergarten and I met Eric my first year in high school. Zoë is easily the
most interesting person I know. She’s working for a phone sex agency to
get through college, but eventually she wants to be a clothing designer.
Her parents don’t know about it though, they think she’s a telemarketer.
For years we’ve been going on our “adventures.” At any point in time
during any given day, one of us will show up and take the other
somewhere to do something. Sometimes we’ll go on a picnic or we’ll head
off to race go carts. It keeps things interesting. I can always loosen up
when I’m with Zoë, she’s fun that way. Eric has been my best friend
since H.S. He’s a natural born artist, always has been. He’s in his seventh
year of college and is a couple credits away from two or three majors, but
apparently he just likes college. Luckily, his parents have more than
enough money to keep him there. He’s been looking into being an
advertising designer, but you can never tell what he’ll end up doing
eventually (apart from bumming around the campus coffee house, that
As for my family, I’m an only child, and for the most part I’m a
perfect compromise between my parents. For example, my mother is
messy, dropping things where she last uses them, and my father thinks
there’s a place for everything and everything should be in it’s place. My
mom is always late and my dad always early, but I’m usually on time.
My father works as a defense attorney for the state, and my mom is a
college professor in the English department of Carrolton. They are both
thinking of retirement, now that I’m almost out of school. They are in
the process of selling our house and moving up to our lake cabin, it’s a
plan that’s been in the works for years. We bought the cabin back when I
was ten years old. It’s up on Long Lake, and we’ve been going up there
almost every weekend since we bought it. You should come up sometime, I
still go up there every now and then. I guess that’s all for today, I hope
I’ll hear from you soon.

Dragons on Tricycles,
David Bishop

I’m happy to say that I have another pleasant party experience to report to
you. I was at a company gathering a couple days ago and I talked to a couple women
that I’d seen before but never really talked to, Jenna Timmer and Jamie Morris.
Outside the house there was a bonfire, we sat around it and talked for hours.
Actually, the entire conversation started with a hypothetical question, Jenna asked the
two of us “If everyone you know died right now but one person survives, who would
you want to live?” It struck me as an odd question, but I answered it anyway.
After that we talked about all kinds of things, different bands, relationships, and all
sorts of made up situations. Eventually they asked if I wanted to go to a production
of McBeth down in Minneapolis. They said they had two extra tickets, and wanted
to know if I wanted to go along. I told the two of them about you, and they invited
you as well. How about it? I think that it’d be fun, and I’d be able to see you
again. Can you come? The tickets are for July 15th. I hope you can come.
Today I finished the book I’ve been reading, The World According to
Garp. It was surprising, I really liked it. In the beginning I didn’t think I would,
but I ended up really enjoying it. It’s a fairly long book and a lot of things happen in
it, but it moved fast enough to keep me interested. I would explain more but if you do
end up reading it I don’t want to spoil it.
I saw the most beautiful thing this morning. I was out roller-blading with
Artimis in the park, and a man was playing with his son. They were in the middle of
some game or another, when they started laughing and wrestling. He held his sun up
to the sky, and he looked like the proudest man alive. I thought about it all day, and
I started to paint the scene tonight. I’m going slow, but I want to get this one right.
I guess I’d better get back to my painting.

PS What kind of work does Eric do? Did he take any classes when he was
starting out?


Somthing Whole

My friend he tells me
You've finially found her
But I'm getting worried
I don't want to lose her now
My friend he shows me
How I've been changing
An introspection
What does she mean to me?
This isn't love
Because I don't know what that is
But we're not friends
Friends don't look at each other that way
These moments when she moves me
Leave me tingling for days
And I know
I've been waiting for this sort of thing
Rehab is for quitters


So what kinds of art do you do? Art, especially sculpture and
painting, has always interested me. I always try to understand what the
artist was thinking or feeling at the time he created the piece. It seems
like all art has a feeling or mood to it, but sometimes you need to look
hard to find it. Other times, you need to stop looking so hard. So what is
Jenny like? I’ve heard you talk about her before but I have no idea what
she’s like. Hey, now that I think about it, I have a friend who’s an artist.
Eric has sketched and painted for as long as I’ve known him. I also have
an uncle who’s a potter, I suppose that’s another art form. One summer I
spent three weeks at his house learning about pottery and sculpture. He
called it pottery camp. He and his family just finished building a new
wood fired kiln, and he’s asked me to help him out at his first firing next
month. He’s getting excited already, they only fire a few times a year,
and when it’s in a new kiln it’s a really big deal. I helped with one of his
previous firings, it really is quite a procedure. The fire needs to burn at
over 1700 degrees for almost three days before the entire load is fired.
That takes up a lot of wood my dear.
I personally haven’t been doing a whole lot, the gym in town just
opened a new climbing wall and I’ve been using that quite a bit. Other
than that not much else is new. Write when you can.

Dragons on Tricycles,
David Bishop

That’s so neat that you know all these artists. What’s Eric like, and what
does he do? To answer your questions about Jenny, she’s...worried. She’s the
funniest person I know when she’s loosened up, but most of the time she’s nervous and
uptight (she’s also my best friend). She’s an accountant, and is also obsessed with
numbers. In her head she can figure out how many
years/months/weeks/days/hours/minutes/seconds are left until any time or date.
It’s amazing really, I think she can set some sort of record. We know everything
about each other. As far as my family life goes, I have two older sisters, I’m
definitely my father’s daughter. For some reason it always seems like my sisters end
up with Mom in the kitchen while Dad and I haul in the Christmas tree or something
like that. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind the situation, and I’m not overjoyed
about it either, the fact just happens to be that I’m closer to my mother than to my
father; on most things that is. On other things, only a mother can help you with. I
also usually see my dad’s side of things sooner than my mother’s. I guess that’s just
the way things go sometimes.
My sisters, Fran and Sara, have always been close to me. Growing up it
seemed like I was usually young enough so I wouldn’t be competition for their
boyfriends, but I was old enough to understand, most of the time. I soon learned the
virtues of sibling blackmail, especially when Fran would always come in late or when
Sara had her tongue pierced but our parents didn’t find out until she was in college. I
thought Dad noticed it once or twice, but if he did he never told anyone. My dad is
tricky like that; it’s hard to tell how much he really knows. One of his best tricks he
learned with Sara and used on me. To keep us to our curfews he wanted to know if
we got home on time, but didn’t want to stay up late. To solve the problem, he bought
the loudest alarm clock he could find. He would set the clock for whatever time I was
supposed to be home and he would put the clock outside his bedroom door. When I got
home, I would just disable the alarm and he wouldn’t wake up. If I was late the
alarm would wake him up and he would be in the kitchen, waiting up for me. It was a
scary sight to get home and see him there in his robe, nursing a glass of orange juice
and looking at you through the kitchen window.
Well, I guess I’ve told enough stories for one night, it’s time for me to go to

Best Wishes,
PS What are your friends and family like? I’ve heard a little about Zoë and Eric,
how do they know you?


Decaf is for wusses, you can sleep when you're dead.
Dragons on Tricycles comes from way back. When I was thirteen
years old a friend of mine named Casey was crying at a party. She had
seen a man get hit by a car just outside the window. She was waiting
outside in the snow for her turn to be questioned by the police officer who
had arrived at the scene. I went outside to offer her my coat when I first
realized she had been crying. Trying to cheer her up, I told her to think
of something happy, and the first thing I thought of was dragons on
tricycles. She smiled and told me to keep my jacket on and glanced over to
the squad car. I just draped my coat around her shoulders and walked
back inside. I liked the saying, so I’ve kept it ever since.
The 5th Street is a little odd because it’s the hangout for the over
65 crowd in town. It’s kind of neat though, because I see the same people
day after day. We have a few people that are in five or six times a day.
The atmosphere is nice though, I can usually chat with the guys sitting at
the counter about the news of the day or who the Vikings are playing
next Sunday. I was actually scared when I was working at the cafe
today. One of our regulars, Rick, is a schizophrenic. He’s usually fine if
he’s on his medication, but the past few weeks he’s been getting worse
and worse. He’s been muttering to himself more often, and sometimes
he’ll just sit at the counter and just stare at people. I usually work the
afternoon shifts, and I was just stopping by to pick up my paycheck when
I heard the story. Today Rick finally snapped. Apparently he was talking
to Ken, another one of our regular patrons, at the counter. I guess Ken
just said the wrong thing and Rick went bezerk. He started screaming
and yelling, telling everyone “they didn’t understand” and shouting things
no one could understand. One of the cooks called the cops, and as the
officer was coming in Rick ran towards him. Maybe he was heading for
the cop or maybe he was just trying to get out the door, but Rick
bull-rushed the cop and the officer had to wrestle him down. I guess
Rick’s in treatment now, he should be out by the end of the week. I guess
I’ll just have to be more careful. I suppose tomorrow will be better, or at
least different. I’ll be waiting for your letter, write back when you can.

Dragons on Tricycles,
David Bishop

Dearest David,
I’m sorry I haven’t written in such a long time, I’ve been so busy with our road
trip I haven’t thought of much else. Jenny and I drove to Chicago for the weekend to
see a Dave Matthews concert. The concert was great, Jenny and I had a blast, but
I never should have let her drive. She drives like an old lady! She says she’s just
being careful, but when we were driving through the city it felt like we were being
passed by bicycles. The concert was excellent, we were right up by the stage. When it
was all over we drove home straight through, finally getting home at 3pm and heading
off to bed. It was a fun trip, and it even gave me some ideas for some paintings. I’ve
been dabbling with pastels and watercolors
for the past couple years. Granted, I’m not all that good at it, but I like painting so
I intend to keep at it. I’ve done mostly landscapes and stills so far, I’d like to do
some sculpting but I wouldn’t know where or how to get started. Oh well.
Wow, it was the scariest thing in Chicago, when we go out we always want to
eat somewhere new, and we kept our eyes peeled for some interesting restaurants. We
saw this nice looking place, “The Bamboo Café.” We walked in and realize that it’s
a Vietnamese restaurant and we are the only customers there. Two guys came up to us
and start talking to us in horrible English. We finally give up trying to understand
them and sat down. We took a look at the menus, everything was in Vietnamese. We
thought we could handle the situation, so we ordered two sodas and asked what they
have for dessert. “Iced squid,” the waitress said. It took a couple seconds for us to
realize that what she meant was ice cream. They show us their flavors. Jenny asked
what one of them was and the man said “Meat.” That really scared us, until we
realized that he meant mint. We just paid for our sodas and left. It was an
interesting experience, just not one I would be willing to repeat. Anyway, that’s what
I’ve been doing, what’s up with you? Have you been doing anything fun lately? Fill
me in. Hope to hear from you soon Simone


My favorite quote: Dance like nobody's watching. Work like you don't need the money. Love like you've never been hurt.
Just what does “Dragons on Tricycles mean anyway? I’ve seen it on your last
few letters and I can’t figure out what it means. Is it part of some saying or motto?
Whatever it is, you’ve really got me stumped on this one. And about giving me a
call, I really would like that, but my apartment is in a converted industrial building
and the landlord either hasn’t been around much or just doesn’t care, because my phone
isn’t hooked up yet. I would ask you to call me at work but my boss is strict about
using company equipment for private use. One of our new agents was almost fired
because he used a company phone to call his mother. Sorry.
I’m glad to see you have your perspective back. It really is strange how things
like that can change a person. Some people never get a chance to straighten things
out, they just keep on living like they’re immortal, and when the end comes they realize
what they’ve wasted.
An odd thing happened to me yesterday. I was in the park playing with
Artimis when I stumbled upon an old backpack. I actually tripped over it and fell
on my face. Once I picked myself up I looked the pack over. It was an old army
pack, it looked like it had more than twenty years of use in it. There was no one
around so I looked inside. In it was an old sweatshirt, a few pens and pencils, a
beaten up notebook, and a book, The World According to Garp. There was no
name, phone number, or address anywhere. I was sure it belonged to someone, so I
left it where I found it and went home. When I went back to the park today the pack
was gone. I hope the owner found it and not someone else. On a whim I went around
the corner to the used book store and looked for a copy of the book. Surprisingly
enough I found one. I bought it and I’m planning on starting it tonight. I’m curious
to see how it turns out.
Softball has been going well, our team is seeded second so far, right now we’re
almost finished with the season. Playing used to be a big deal for me but now I only
play for fun. Oddly enough, now that I’m not quite as serious about it, it’s actually
been more fun. I suppose that makes sense once you think about it. Well, write back
when you get this, I will be waiting for your letter.

PS What’s the 5th Street Cafe like?


If God didn't want us to eat animals, he wouldn't have made them out of meat.
The most amazing thing happened to me today, I was almost hit by
a truck! I was walking across the street to go get a paper, and a huge
moving van drove through a stop sign and almost killed me! It was the
most amazing thing, it made me take a look at my life. It actually made
me realize that up to this point I haven’t really lived life, I’ve only existed
in it. I’ve taken everything around me for granted and haven’t realized
what I have here in front of me. I have been so busy with law school and
trying to study for the BAR exam that I’ve forgotten what is really
important to me. I just hope I can keep my priorities straight this time.
I guess being so close to death made me look a little closer at life. Looking
back over what I’ve written, this may seem strange and it probably seems
like I’m blowing this way out of proportion, and maybe I am, but now I’m
looking at things from a new perspective.
Wow, I just realized that it was three months ago today that Julie
broke up with me. I’ve always hated breakups. We had been dating for
about a year when she found someone else. I guess that’s just the way
things go sometimes. When she told me it was quite a blow, but I guess
I’ve recovered. Are you seeing anyone? If I don’t end up finding someone
sooner or later I’ll end up marrying my friend Zoë. When we were sixteen
we promised each other that if we weren’t married by the time we were
thirty we would marry each other. That or one of us would have to join a
convent, one of the two. Zoë is such a neat person, she always throws a
new spin on all of my problems. It’s good to have people like that around,
it keeps things from becoming boring.
I’ve enjoyed getting your letters, I find myself eager to get the mail
in hopes that one of the letters will be from you. It’s strange, even
though I’ve only met you once it feels like I’ve known you for a long time.
Maybe we just connect well. I was wondering, can I call you sometime? I
know it sounds a bit odd but I would like to hear your voice again. Well
anyway, I will be looking foreword to your next reply; until then.

Dragons on Tricycles,
David Bishop
PS To answer your question about my job, I’m finishing up law school
and waiting tables at the 5th Street Cafe.


I know what you mean about the large gatherings, I’ve never been very fond of
them myself. My friends would always drag me to these gala events and they would
all be painfully boring. What do I like to do? I like to roller blade with my dog
every morning, and I also play in a softball league on Thursday nights. How often
do you sail? My parents used to have a little sailboat up at our lake cabin. I think
it was a sunfish. I would love to go sailing with you sometime. Your question about
energy made me think, and I realized that I am mainly motivated by myself. It seems
that at group gatherings I’ll usually wander off and hope that someone will find me.
Unfortunately it rarely happens. What do you do for a living anyway? Most of the
time it seems like that’s what you find out about a person, but when we talked it never
came up. I’m a travel agent working for Midwestern Travel, an agency near my
home. Actually I got into the business after traveling about Europe in college. The
first thing I was attracted to was the discount travel rates. I’m trying to save up
enough money and get enough of a client base to set up my own agency.
It’s such a nice day today, this morning I went to the park to play Frisbee
with Artimis, my yellow lab. When it’s like this I try and stay outside as much as I
can. When I was a kid my mother would always make me garden on days like this.
“Make hay when the sun shines,” she’d say. That’s probably why I never turned out
to be much of a gardener. I never wanted to waste beautiful days toiling away in the
sun. Every time she made me garden I’d complain and call it slave labor. I still
have a few potted plants from her, but nothing you would ever call a garden. Well, I
guess I’ve rambled on enough for one day. Take care of yourself, and write back as
soon as you can.




I press my lips aginst you
And I know that I can't stay
I can't bear to leave you
But I'm leaving anyway

You lie there still and quiet
And I hold you in my arms
Tonight I pull you closer
Protecting you from harm

And I know I should have gone home
But you begged me to stay
I don't want to go back there
I've been grounded anyway

The wind is blowing outside
In Minnesota and I don't know
What I'm doing in this city
The chains are only in my mind
I wander through the streetlights
And I hear the siren's song
That's when I knew
That I could never stay here
I knew that before you did
Still I'm the one who's hurt you
And then I'm running
Just like I always have
I'm leaving town tonight
And I
I've never felt so alive
Blue. Yes. Blue is definitely my favorite color. It’s one of the few
colors that can express all human emotions with it’s different shades and
It’s too bad we didn’t have any more time to talk. I never found out
what you do in your spare time - you know, your hobbies. Myself, I like
to sculpt, write, sail, and try to hang out with my friends as much as I
can. I don’t go to many huge parties, it’s usually just a group of us that
does stuff together. I’ve never really been fond of large gatherings, you
can never get into really good discussions. Most parties that I go to are
just six or eight of us who go to a movie or something. Awhile ago my
friend Zoë and I were talking about where people get their energy. Some
feed off groups and tend to enjoy large group gatherings. The energy of
others seems to come from within, and they seem to be the ones who go
off by themselves or prefer small groups. I suppose I’m one of the latter.
I dreamt of you last night. We were in New York and I had been
bitten by a snake and was taking a ferry across the river to a hospital and
you were helping me along. I think there was also a homeless guy who
could clap his shoulder blades behind his back. He was wearing an orange
kimono. I’m not sure what all of this means, it’s probably not important.
Sometimes I wish I could analyze dreams and know what they’re saying.
What do you think this one’s about?
Well, I’m sorry this reply is arriving so late, I’ve been really busy
lately. With school finishing up I’ve been studying for finals left and
right. Write back when you can, I’ll be looking foreword to your letters.

Dragons on Tricycles, David Bishop


I received your letter this afternoon, what a pleasant surprise! Sorry I ran off from the party, I wanted to get home before it got too late. My parents wanted me to call them. I’m 25 years old and my parents still don’t trust me. John has mentioned you on occasion, I was glad I was finally able to meet you. It seems like most of the time at parties I end up being the one standing alone by the punch bowl. That’s why I brought Jenny (my best friend) to this one, so I could have someone to
talk to. As things turned out, I didn’t need to - although this time she complained
about not having anyone to talk to. Most of the guys I meet seem so boring and
macho, it’s nice to know there are still few males around who can carry on a civilized
conversation (although I could have done without you sucking your tongue into the coke bottle). I wish we could have had more time to talk, I never found out what your favorite color is. As strange as it sounds, I always thought you could tell a lot about a person by their favorite color and their reason behind it.
For example my favorite color is white because it seems so clean and pure. It doesn’t have any shades
or hues. It’s just simple, elegant, white. Well, I’ve got to go, it’s time to get back to
work. I hope to see you sometime Write back when you can.



I finished my book, which is set up as a collection of letters, last month. Here is the first letter.

I enjoyed seeing you last night, but you left the party so soon I
never had a chance to say goodbye. How could you be John’s cousin and
I’ve never met you? I’ve known him for years. Anyway, I usually can’t
stand those parties, all of the mingling and fake kisses, it gets so
sickening; but last night I had fun.
I would have called you, but John only knew your address. I’ve always
liked letters better anyway, they seem more... intimate. Something like
that. Anyway, I was planning on asking you out for coffee sometime, but
living 300 miles apart may be a bit of a problem. Nevertheless, I enjoyed
meeting you and would like to see you again.

jake (jâk) adjective
Suitable or satisfactory; fine.
Here's a group of poems I've written over the past few years. It's not all of it, but it's a fairly representitive sample:


I slip out the front door at 2am on a tuesday
Into the rain
It runs down my back as I walk awhile
I stroll down to the water
I taste the salt, taste the pain
I start thinking of her again
I walk along the shoreline where the ocean meets the land
And I dream
And I cry
And I don't know why this always hapens to me
I just can't stop shakin
And I just can't stop loving her this time


I turn away
A broken man
These tears of pain
Stream down my face
And I walk away
All by myself
I dream of love
I dream of everything

My world gets tight
The walls closin in
It fades away
In this sea of pain
Then she drives by
I see her smiling face
I turn away
And again I cry


Come gentle sleep
Kiss me with your serenity
Drape your tranquil blanket
Over my weary body
Free me
From this waking torment
Allow me to drift into your ecstacy
Let me sleep

A Moonlit Walk

Darkness envelops me like a blanket
As I step into the cool night air
I walk in silence to the river
Knowing the worn path by heart
I see her by the light of the stars
Moonlight dances about her face
We walk together
Our voices a soft murmor
Drifting through the trees
Finially we must part
Drifting away in the soft light of dawn


I am alone
Utter, desolate nothingness surrounds me
People encircle me
But lonliness persists
I call out of the screaming silence
For safty
For refuge
For peace
But my shout is unheeded
My pain unheard
A child calling in the darkness
I go on unheard
My sould barren
My body hollow
I trudge on
Into the darkness

Ode to My Fish

I once was a fish
But now I am dead
I could have been sleeping
At least that's what Mom said
I lived a happy life
Swimming in a tank
All full of water
That I never drank
I was fed quite well
And grew quite fat
Until belly up I went
And was fed to the cat

Among the Mist and Darkness

You dance and twirl in the darkness
So dark and thick
Pure and white
Your body and beauty envelop me
Your bright eyes shine
And draw me out of myself
I reach for you
My grasp falls short
Drifting apart in the darkness
A chance
Come and gone
I give one final cry of agony
And you are lost
Among the mist and darkness


I walk along the beach
Book in hand
Screaming verse at the waves
And poems
Fill the salty air
Gulls swoop and dive among the waves


The ripping
Tearing of my soul
The black death dripping from my heart
Shreading myself to pieces
And sorrow
Ripping into my mind, body, and soul
The softness of her eyes
Glaring into the storm
Contained in my own

Running like water through my hands
Sand through my fingertips
Trying to reach
Stretching for it
But falling short
And then only falling
Face in the sand
Legs on the rocks
Tears and blood
Running together in a sea of pain


A cage of restlessness encircles me
I pace behind it's walls
And slam aginst it's bars
All to no avail
My mind races
All else moves agonizingly slow
These walls, ceiling and floor are all in myself
Yet they will not budge
I hurl myself into the brick
Hoping she will hear
Praying she will free me
With her touch
With her words
With her presence
All is lost
I collapse, boken
And stare through the bars of my prison
Into nothing

To Love

Listen closely my dear
For I may only say this once
I wanted to say I love you
But I can't

For I don't know what love is
Is it wanting to be with you always?
Is it feeling pain when you are gone
And joyous when you are near?
Is it wanting to dissolve into you
So that I may become whole?
If it is these things my dear
Then I love you greater than all the earth
You are my food
You are my drink
You are my life
And I love you

Beside You

I watch as you drift off to sleep
Fatigue finally takes hold
And you drift off
Leaving me to my thoughts

Thoughts of your beauty
Your grace
And your passion

I drape my coat over your wear body and sigh
Enwrapy with your beauty I darken the light and lay
Quietly beside you


You dance within the fading twilight
Fireflies ebb and flow about your body
I smile and watch
A still observer in a sea of motion
You dip and sway in the music of the night
Your thick hair swirls aobut your face
You smile
And I am bathed in your warmth
With your deep eyes you beckon me in
But I can only watch
A still observer in a sea of motion


Your lips
So soft, sweet, and delicate
Gently part to greet my own
Lost in this embrace, I am consumed
The world swims as I hold you
And I have never felt so alive

You kiss is a warm summer ocean
Your smile makes the whole mountain fly
You look deep within me and smile
At the tears in my eye


Mother and child
And alone

Mother and child
Stranded by the crash site
Bathed in sirens and sound
Shadows and reflections

Mother and child
Her comforting arms
Protecting him from the pain
From the suffering

Mother and child
Pillars of sanity
In an insane world