This month’s column is a spoken-word piece, written down:

I’ve been thinking about something.
You know, I had a dream once, too.
I was a child,
so my memory is clouded,
(and I haven’t thought about it)
but I remember it had stars – and I was a star.
And then something – I think it was a Someone –
shook me awake
(the earth really did shake)
and I saw that I was Small.
Have you ever had an unfamiliar thought?
Before the earthquake, I wasn’t taught
that I was Small.
But I put it on –
I put the thought on –
like an ugly coat that’s too big in the shoulders.
I didn’t like how it fit,
(it was heavy, you know?)
but I kept it on
and I grew into it.
And you know what’s crazy?
Now I can’t imagine taking it off.
Because even thinking about taking it off –
this coat I now hold dear –
makes me feel really uncomfortable.
And I’ve spent many years
(I can show you my résumé)
building up a fort of little comforts.
It’s been growing beautifully,
like my shoulders into the seams,
but funny thing – I still feel very Small.
And can I tell you something?
I’m so scared to have another bad dream.
So on famous days with great names,
I look at stars like Martin Luther King, Jr.
and think, wow, good for him.
What an extraordinary man.
It’s too bad I’m sitting on a scale,
between ‘Painfully Average’
and ‘Slightly Better Than.’
But, listen, sometimes
it’s better to have conservative thoughts –
did you hear how he got shot
because he had a dream?
And anyway,
we don’t all have to be great stars.
Maybe my life will just be about my
Good career,
Good husband,
and Good car.
I’ll even do Good community service.
And that’s good, isn’t it?
But I have to admit,
(and this is just between you and me)
I noticed something recently.
I’ve been stuffing more money into my account,
more lines into my résumé,
ups and downs, Likes and Shares,
and yet the best I ever feel is
“Almost There.”
Do you know what I mean?
And I’ve been thinking:
You know, one day,
I’m going to die.
And when I die,
I wonder if I’ll wonder,
did I get There?
Was my Small life everything I hoped it would be?
And then something really weird occurs to me:
What if I just spent a quarter of my life
living like I’m Small,
but you know, only someone Tall
could build the walls
to my big fort.
Isn’t that a scary thought?
I don’t usually dwell on it for too long,
(because it makes me feel like I’m in the Matrix)
but lately,
I guess,
I have been dwelling.
Maybe because the world we dwell in
is finally starting to scare me
more than a bad dream.
This all probably sounds crazy to you,
I’m sure all your dreams are coming true.
But I just can’t shake it.
And I keep hearing God say,
“Who told you you were naked?”
And I don’t know how to answer.
Because I think I know who it was –
that Someone, you remember?
But it’s not that Someone’s voice that I recall,
telling me I’m Small.
It’s just my own.
So you can see how confusing that is.
It really makes you wonder who you are,
if your voice sounds just like his.
And then the strangest thought of all:
I wonder, did my Someone
have his own Someone, who told
my Someone that he was Small?
(This is what I mean,
we’re in the Matrix again.)
But I think now I see the bottom line:
If my Someone sounds
just like his Someone,
who sounds just like mine,
it’s stupid to listen to any voice that defines
me as Small.
And does it make any sense at all
to spend any more time
blaming Someone for my Small life?
Because if my shoulders are now big enough
to build a fort of comfort,
maybe they’re big enough to knock it down
and support the weight of a dream.
And just thinking like that, I already see
how everything just “seems,”
and how Tall I must be.
But, man.
It’s been so long since I’ve dreamed,
I can’t think of anything better than
this one: ‘Become famous,’
or this one: ‘Be on a screen.’
And then I remember Martin Luther King,
and how the reel of his dream
had more actors in it than just him.
So I think it can be done.
And if I’m going to have a dream,
I may as well make it a great one,
filled with stars.
Because when we recognize ourselves
in other faces,
our world transforms into a place
where we’re all Someone telling Someone,
“You are Tall.”
I think they have a name for that-Naïve?
Well, if it’s romantic to believe
that the more stars you light,
the brighter your night,
then I guess Romance will be my genre.
And then my life will be filled with Love.
And Freedom.
Bursting at the seams.
This is what it means to die a king.
“I have a dream.”
I have a dream.

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