From the simple to the sophisticated,  
The elegant to the ridiculous.
From the heights of glory and joy, 
To the depths of degradation and gloom. 
From the humorous to the mournful, 
The hopelessly disillusioned, 
To the apex of faith.  
From denial to acceptance 
And the unbounded love of God,  
To the very questioning of his existence. 
Such is the way of youth  
And the struggle of a soul. 
On July 3, 1965 I was eighteen years old. 
On July 3, 1970 I was twenty-three years old.  
The war was raging in Viet Nam and in my soul.  
People were marching in the streets; 
I was marching down the avenues of time,  
Through the corridors of life. 
Souls struggled for survival in the jungles of Nam;  
I struggled for survival in the jungle of my emotions. 
A president was assassinated  
And I tried to assassinate my ego. 
People were fighting for the right to be human;  
I was just struggling to be. 
Life is a struggle inside and out.  
We battle our demons, laugh at our frailties, 
And make believe that everything is all right.  
Sometimes we choose not to participate at all. 
We are all collectors of time,  
For we exist in the dimensions of time and space.  
Every millisecond is recorded and preserved forever. 
Sometimes we are fortunate enough to jot some of it down,  
To share with others those fleeting moments. 
And that’s what it’s all about, sharing with others.  
We’re all in the sea of life together, whether we admit to it or not. 
We’re all related and we’re all connected.  
We write because we need to share and we read because we need to share. 
I once heard it said that “we read so we’ll know that we’re not alone”   
And I believe that we write for the same reason.  
A psychologist one told me in 1965 that my writing was therapy. 
I believe her, for I have been writing all of my life   
And rarely has anyone read what I have written. 
When I put it on paper it frees my soul.  
I would write if no one ever read it. 
So come with me and take a ride 
From the glorious mountain top  
To the darker side. 
From nineteen sixty-five  
To nineteen seventy 
From eighteen to twenty-three  
Come take a ride with me, 
Through a collection of time  
Through the corridors of a mind 
Where youth grows old  
With the struggle of a soul.  
 June 20, 2002. Thursday, 12:30 A.M. I went outside for a few moments before going to bed and saw a forest full of fireflies across from my house. I awoke in the middle of the night and wrote the above. 

 At the subatomic level, in the quantum field, all material things are composed of subatomic particles, which are impulses of energy and information. We, and the quantum events that occur in our lives, are impulses of energy and information. When attention is focused in the quantum field, these impulses of energy and information appear, blinking on and off like fireflies in the forest. We are fireflies in the forest.  
Gerald Odom/Spanky Mongo  
My soul is at peace now and has been for some years. I found out that God was not some bad old judge sitting on a throne waiting to cast me into a fiery furnace, but that he is a loving parent who wishes me well. We have a great time together.  
The old soul still struggles from time to time, but his approach to handling life’s difficulties has progressed substantially from the youth of over thirty years ago. He has learned that faith is trusting God no matter what and a loving parent always gives his child some growing room. I know that “when he has tried me I shall come forth as gold.” Job 23:10. 
Gerald Odom/Spanky Mongo  
July, 2002. From the backside of Bamaland. 
In April and May of 2001, I was out of work from back surgery. I decided to make use of the time and transcribe a file cabinet full of songs into my computer and to hard copy for easy access. While going through the file cabinet, I discovered a big pile of papers crammed into the back of one of the drawers. It was an unbelievable surprise when I pulled them out. It was like finding an old friend, for I had rediscovered a part of me that had been missing for over thirty years. I had known that there were some poems somewhere but God only knew where. There they were all the bits and pieces of paper that I had scribbled them on. I was stunned! What an experience it was, getting acquainted with, “the me” of days gone by, seeing what a really mixed up youth I was. As I pulled out the tattered faded pieces of paper and read them one by one, I was transported in time. I cannot express the sensation that gripped my very being. I remembered and relived each one of them. I could remember where I was when I wrote most of them. They are the poems in this book   
During the summer of 2001, I sold what property I had and moved to Nashville Tennessee, leaving behind my place of birth and my home of fifty-four years. I lived in Nashville for six months and then moved to rural northwest Alabama. I like to call it the backside of Bamaland. There’s just a couple of dogs and me. Mitzi’s almost Nine years old. She’s a Redbone Chow. She’s also a one-eyed jack now. After nine years of being a lovable bitch (sounds like a x-wife) she lost her right eye in a fight. Rusty’s a Golden Retriever. He’s really a reincarnated Buddhist monk. He got kicked out of the monastery because he couldn’t control his lust. He kept sneaking out at night acting like a dog. You reap what you sow in this world and the world to come. He spends a lot of time barking at invisible things. He claims he’s conversing with spirit-beings. I think he’s hallucinating.  
People ask me what I’m doing these days and I tell them I’m writing a book and starving to death. It’s no big thing; a lot of people are starving in this world. Mitzi, Rusty, and I would like for you to buy a copy of this book. It will help us put some food on our table and we’ll help some other people, and maybe some dogs too, put some food on their table.  
Note: March 15, 2020: Haven’t written the damn book yet; working on it. Mitzi and Rusty went to Dog Heaven; they came to visit briefly after they passed. Got an old hound dog named Samantha, she’ll be 13 in October so she’ll soon transition. So don’t get your panties in a wad, I’ll get the damn book written; and if I don’t who cares; as my dad would say, “A 100 years from now it won’t matter.” So sit back and relax and we’ll write this book and a whole lot more together. And don’t worry, “A 100 years from now it won’t matter!  
JGO/Spanky Mongo  
Dedicated  to 
The ones who didn’t make it out of the sixties,  
To youth 
Struggling souls everywhere