Reflections in Three Acts and an Encore

Some poems take ages – or even, sometimes, never find the perfection they seek – while others simply pour out on the page in a fit of creativity that some might consider being “in the zone,” others might call the attainment of a higher spiritual state, and yet others might reasonably enough find to be deluded. In any case, this poem was one of those, and was originally inscribed on a used pizza box in my first New York apartment one February night in 1982, almost exactly half my lifetime ago. As with all the best ones, I discovered I knew it from memory right from the start without even trying, a gift I’ve never quite understood.

My first Manhattan apartment was on the top floor, the first two windows from the left. It was a great place to find my NYC legs and the location of many fond memories.

My first Manhattan apartment was on the top floor of this brownstone on 69th Street, just West of Central Park (the first two windows from the left). It was a great place to find my NYC legs, and those special early days live on, even now, in the memories of many beloved friends.

It is a poem born of a young man’s insecurities, but in all the years since, I’ve never found a better way to endorse the idea of doing God’s will. I hope it speaks to you on this summer weekend, wherever you are…

in Three Acts and an Encore

Act I

There’s the me real
And the me unreal,
The me plain & simple
And the me complex,
The me yes,
The me no,
The me that gets it done
And the me that lets it go,
The me that knows everything,
The me without a song,
The me that’s never satisfied
And the me that sees no wrong.
But, I wonder through this crazy,
Constant shuttling back and forth
If it wouldn’t be much easier
Just to settle
In the middle somewhere and
Stop for awhile –
To give a pause,
To take a breath,
To show a smile – but I’m afraid
To stop,
To lose sight of extremes,
To lose momentum,
To lose time.

Never let it be said that I peaked
At cheerleader.

Act II

Why am I so worried about getting the point across?
Why should I care
In this world of creeps
And whores
And jabberwockies?
Or am I worried at all?
Is it just a charade to
Keep me sane
And salve my guilt
For not living
The Life
They planned for me?

Do I really care?

It’s so hard to hurt
When you’ve worked so hard,
So long,
So determinedly
Not to.
But it must out
And how better than through this pen
That screams for me
When I will not:
I hate!
I loathe!
I despise!
I refuse to recognize!

And therein lies the problem.

Why am I so worried about getting the point across?


There are too many bends in the road
For me to see
Or even know when to ask directions,
So I leave that part to Providence
And get on with it.
It’s a risky business, this one,
To presume to do it any other way.


From across the old saloon the
Scratchy 45s crackle…
Like a fire…
In a cabin down deep in the woods…
A guitar in the corner
Glows with the embers,
Glimmers in the light
And ‘There, that’s better,’ I say aloud
As I move the blanket to cover my feet
And settle back to feel your company
Pressed next to me…

“Boy, this here jukebox shur could use
Some new reckerds!”

“What? Wha’d you say?”

– George Thomas Wilson, 2/22/82

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1 Response to Reflections in Three Acts and an Encore

  1. Linda Thacker says:

    Tommy, I LOVE this, and I am so thankful that you shared it. I remember your apartment in Southside, which I adored; I cannot imagine what it felt like when you moved to NYC. I am so glad that you found your heart’s desire and did not give up or give in. My brother and I have often wished that we had known enough to move to NYC for a time – at least long enough to attend college. We could have lived quite frugally in order to go to plays. Alas, we were “bred” in the deep South tradition where you went to school in your home State. God has blessed you, and you have chosen well. You are a gifted man. Linda Thacker (Maughn)

    Date: Sat, 19 Jul 2014 00:47:29 +0000 To:

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