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There’s a bad storm coming.
Chairs are being taken off the beach
while a light rain falls
and clouds cover the sky.
But I go into the surf anyway,
where the water is warmer
and the waves are gentler
than in the ocean where I live.
I’m near a group of young women
who aren’t afraid of the coming storm.
They must know something I don’t.
I can hear their laughter over the water.
We don’t care about the rain.
We’re in the water.
What’s the difference if we get rained on?
The water is turquoise blue.
When your hopes are dashed,
what do you do?
Do you say to yourself,
“I won’t hope for anything anymore
because my hopes are always dashed”?
Or do you continue to hope?
Do you continue to say,
“I hope for this?”
or “I hope for that”?
It’s up to you.
There is nothing conditional about it.
You don’t have to hope to hope,
or pray to hope.
You just have to have the idea
and hold onto it.
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There was no one else around,
and the trees were so close
I couldn’t pull off the road.
I had to keep going,
knowing it would be miles
before I’d reach habitation.
When I came to some houses,
I saw they were dark,
as if their occupants were asleep
or had moved away.
I turned on my high beams,
and the warning dot on the dashboard
told me the light would blind
anyone approaching me.
I went around turns as fast as I could,
snaking between illuminated trees,
searching for habitation.
In a hotel elevator,
I see a small sign that says “Joe machine,”
and I wonder, what’s a Joe machine?
Is it a device invented by a man named Joe?
Does it provide a service for people named Joe?
Or is it a coffee machine
described in slang as dispensing joe?
Then I look more closely
and see that the sign refers
to an ICE machine, which suits me fine.
I’m not looking for a guy named Joe;
I’m not looking for a cup of joe.
And my name’s not Joe.
I’m carrying a bucket for ice.