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Photo by Atlas Green on Unsplash

The life unlived

Or Hunter S Thomson-
“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”

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That’s me — Age 25 or so

Ah, Youth!
Ah, that inner fire!
Still burning deep.
Still seeking that final blaze of glory.
Older now
(I will not concede to being ‘old’ yet)
But still…

There is a contradiction to me. A wish that I had had a more exciting life back then. But a knowledge that I did poke at the ‘bubble’ of Wild.

I was pretty introspective as a youth. A wallflower and shadow to more popular guys at school. I was a people watcher, rather than a participant. I felt that I couldn’t trust myself with people. I was a locked down ball of emotions.

I escaped my moms’ house at 19. Out into a world that was blowing up. 1968 was a year of revolution in America and in me.


Sometimes we must run.
The darkness has teeth
that will consume those who remain.
It is selfish to preserve your sanity.
The run will feel like
climbing through razor-wire
and slogging through swamps.
Grief, pain, anger, and fear fuel the escape.
If you reach a solid point
you know that you are still hunted by madness.
Because it has left leeches clinging
to your soul.

I was free at last but had little idea what that really meant or how to ‘do’ it. I ended up in some sticky situations and relationships. I slowly stepped out of who I had been, mostly by forgetting my childhood.

I have been drawn to the idea of freedom, knowing that freedom is an abstract, unattainable concept. Motorcycles, mountain cliffs, hitchhiking, leaving jobs…the physical manifestations that signify freedom were always fleeting. The lows could be long and dark.

I am tempted here to go into my peculiar forms of madness. There are reasons for the ways I deal (or fail to deal) with life. Justifying would just be for me.

I have put miles on my life-path. Regrets are as useful as crying over blown tires, but there are some. And there is fear of screwing up again. If I live in the world, I have a degree of responsibility for other people. If I were disconnected, I would be lonely…and free.

My life is a balancing act between tamed and untamed. I feel, sometimes like I’m a juggler on a highwire. I don’t always get it right.

My vehicle now is here on the page. In the end, I still want to say,

“Wow! What a Ride!”

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Thank you for reading.

Dana Sanford 2/5/2019

Poet. Philosopher. A sense of Humor. 60 years ago I rode the winds at the top of a tall cottonwood. Buy me a coffee @

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