This long poem led to the writing of my best-selling Young Adult novel “Stuck in Neutral,” now in print for over 20 years with millions of readers; passages of this poem are excerpted therein.

(This is a re-posting of the poem Sheehan for fans of my Young Adult novels, particularly Stuck in Neutral)

image by courtesy of author and HarperCollins

Just to be clear Vincent, nobody EVER has understood my novel or written about it with such clarity and compassion, as you have in this astonishingly generous and thoughtful piece. I am honored and so appreciative. For over 20 years I've waited for somebody to step forward truly "getting" my book. Today you gifted me that and I'll be forever in your debt.

An Epic Poem of Love and Loss



Lindy felt the early tugs,
Her, womb becoming
tidal and loud,
the fetus, turning, crying out
a tiny beast. A braying sigh.

He calls to her.
He calls to her.

And his voice moves against her flesh,
an undulation,
his kick a caress.
His moment moaning,
a lover’s groan of touching,
trying to find that home, that light, he swims his
lament to be.


From the hospital room
in January,
I watch the ice,
the city in ice
sinking below us,
and I watch the strangers
in rubber gloves
slip their hands inside Lindy,
slip their fists and…

You bet yer ass I did, with the help of my trusty dog Ruby

Ruby pic by author

(In this version of this story I’m the Boomer in the title but Ruby is my wing-girl, deeply, sorely missed and beloved.)

Happy Ending(s)

Ruby and I
are more or less the same age.
I’m a human, 70.
She’s a canine, 10.
We both tire more easily
than we once did,
both are capable of
great and passionate
engagements with life
from time to time
inspired by, or perhaps
because of, our
deep capacities
for the fatigue of the aged.

When I look at Ruby
who was injured the other day
and who exacerbated
that injury
by refusing its recognition
and chasing two other dogs

It's really scary to me that my pard' in crime here at The Haven in ADDITION TO ALL HER OTHER MYRIAD GREAT SRENGTHS is also erudite and a scholar of Big Willie S. Brilliant AND funny . . . so fuckin' unfair!!!!!

Getting older, much less OLD, needn’t be a crisis against happiness . . . but then again . . .

“I lift a glass of whiskey to my lips and stare at the perfect ass” image by Joey Nicotra, Unsplash

(Although I know that this title sounds like a positive, inspirational encouragement, I think the poem below will clarify the reality one must deal with as we lose more and more of our power.)

Joyful Bitterness

Getting old,
well, older anyway,
among its benefits,
joyful bitterness.

Bad as that might
sound to those of you
younger and still
full of hope,
we older ones learn
a hard reality:
that only time
can teach us.
For instance,
in their DNA
have paltry limitations,
built-in expiration dates. …

Once I was a son, then I became a father.

image courtesy of author’s priv pics

There is this

Of Jesse

and I:

he is in his first

day of life,

about thirteen hours old,

lying on

my chest


His face

so tiny,

arms, so tiny.

he is wearing

a little



and I am


not a bit of grey

in beard

or hair.


in my face

is the simple,


undramatic truth

that now,

I understand


that I

could kill

or die

for someone

other than


Father and Son

Jesse says

“I love you, Dad”

And . . .


There is no


“I love you dad.”

Terry Trueman

Author of Printz Honor winner Stuck In Neutral. Writer/poet Spokane,WA. Attempting to alienate the few not the many.

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