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Category Archives: Getting Old

A November Divorce

 

     I’m back from Ashland, the small town’s only laundry mat. I haven’t been to one of those since I was single. Now, older as things get ignored, I wait until I run out of socks and underwear. Oh, and tee shirts they’re always along side two or three more.

     Two pillow cases in and only one with all folded, coming out. Sometimes, it’s both being carried out when I take the sheets, towels, a couple of dress shirts, and a few blue jeans, at the heel with frayed threads falling out. But today its tee shirts, socks, and underwear; one pillow case, the other carried inside out.

      I have been in my robe all week, tee shirts and underwear underneath. Yesterday I was remembering a place with a washer and a dryer. Where it was my turn to do the laundry, a turn I would keep. I would turn on a blaring rock and roll radio station, sorting whites from colors. Sometimes I would inject a little shuffle and dance as I  measured softener and twenty-mule team borax, half a cup or more singing out loud almost in a holler.

       From gentle to hard-core, as the cycles went. Washing, drying, and folding. Picking up the kitchen in-between the squashing and swirling I would sweep the floor. With things sorted from white, colors and who knows what. I did two maybe even three loads. But, ah, back to my rented room in its ultimate bore.

     On my inherited mother’s nicked kitchen table, on a lace doily gathering dust, sits a blue antique bottle and this summer’s dried flowers. I laid my car keys and emptied my pockets making them lighter of contents, putting them on her table.

     Two straight-backed chairs next to yesterdays mail, the morning sun struck the table, breaking through the windows hazed of last night’s cigarette smoke, I heard a voice from my past, as my mother spoke, telling me to at least, “keep yourself clean, don’t live precariously, do your laundry, every week, listen to me, please!”

     I’m back from Ashland, the small town’s only laundry mat.     I haven’t been to one of those since I was single or with my mother as a child; since my divorce.

Photo by RKG

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3 Comments

Posted by on November 11, 2017 in Divorced, Getting Old, Love, New Hampshire, Prose Poetry, short story, Zen

 

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PoPo Teaches Grandpa A Lesson [rev2]

How stupid am I?

Well it starts out like this—

My Grandson, leaving a summer math class
carrying a piece of folded paper

—Followed by his gracious and grinning teacher

I asked, “What is that?”

Pointing to his hand holding the paper,

Hoping it wasn’t a note from the “warden”

Being shot by one of his righteous and never wrong Heroes.

He handed it to me—
It was a bunch of math problems
He needed to solve before tomorrow’s class.

Looking at it with a quick glance,

Spotting the first problem to be solved—

I asked, “What’s 9 times 3?”
Looking at the sky,

As we were going towards the car
Quietly said, “27”

Hmmmm!

Then he turned towards me and asked,
“What’s 9 times 0?”
I said “9”! Quite proudly—

 Both he and his teacher burst out laughing
As she patted my grandson

On the back, saying, “see you tomorrow.”

Opening our car doors, he said,
“Grandpa, you know what ever number times zero
Will always be zero.”

 Driving off

I looked in the rear view mirror
And saw him wearing my baseball cap
Usually left in the back—

He was wearing it backwards
And giving me this shit eatin’ grin.

It was a long ride back

Thinking how smart I really am.

 

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Notes Found On The Refrigerator June 2017

21st. century compass has no true North.

It circles quickly left— counter clockwise

 then, clockwise right—  endlessly spinning

in no direction

                                    —until you step on it.

                        Then…

                                    with crystal glass chips or plastic pieces

in the soles of your  steps—  they become new footprints.

Without arrows, digital flags, religion, or discrimination;

moving your steps equally forward in moral direction

for all the children

—We have wished for

Or given birth to—

Wishing peace in each movement

—life in progressive harmony.

—Forgiving each other in step

—without history’s cruel march

of forgotten sins.

*****

How dare you say I ran away!

I escaped!

            — Gun fire, violence in the street,

Whispers about how I look or speak.

I am huddled in an alley finding nothing new.

We agreed for something else—  beyond  boundaries

            —Kicking ass and often hitting the ground

covering our face, committed to our personal space.

I went over the wall

and fucked the barbwire

                                    — escaping with the  truth.

***** 

Ladies I would invite you up for champagne and lobster

but, since I can’t get it up anymore—

would you like cheese and crackers?

Oh, you old ladies of lords!

Let me open the door

and light a candle

that excludes us from history books

banishing us from false assumption

enjoying each others company

—eating crackers and cheese.

     *****

When I said— what I said

and then— did something different

It was not false.

I just moved on—

not convinced of that particular truth.

*****

Sooooooooo…

Scolding me at 70 years old,

having burst in my youth with fire,

is about as productive as a wet match.

 *****

Although, I believe in the right of your opinion

and should be shared—

I also believe  you will treat our intelligence

and our ignorance, with the stipulation—

of mutual respect.

*****

Why do you insist on haunting

me with my past?

I have been forgivin’

…and have made retribution

from history into history

as I have clicked my mistakes

Into humanities recycle bin.

****

The sun has set

into memories—

as so have you—

In the morning glow

of love— my  tears of dew

—misting rainbows from my heart

falling to the ground

eventually dries

in full sunrise

in my opening eyes.

Yes, I miss you.

Though I will rise to dance in the morrow’

with the day’s first quest

half-smiling—  after— sleeping alone.

*****

  All I can do, is adjust the jib until you hoist the sail”

                                                            —I said

As she was running calm waters with only the kicker on

                                                            —leaving the bay

Not needing any wind, just a cool facial breeze

                                                            —ignoring everything I say.

 Still—

in  silence, the wind picked up.

We stood nodding to each other, fore and aft, tightening the main sail.

                                                            —we sat together hand splashing water

                                                            leaning— into a beautiful day

*****

Life is not a bowl of cherries

it’s a nutty fruit bowl of reality

—in full color

transcribed from black & white

over dark ripened rectitude

—spoiled by miss-steps, success,

and the feeling

you’re the only cherry in the bowl—

with sprinkled sugar and heavy cream.

Perhaps, as sour or perky as we are

we still spit the pit onto the floor

of destiny—

bowing on or mats,  kneeling in our pews,

and howling at the empty bowl

—of the rising moon.

 

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Notes Found On The Refrigerator May 2017

Thankful twigs, children of the blight:

Used as kindling from Camelot to Brooklyn, with ancestry in branches of Majestic Elms—

Extinct in the flames of purification they crackled and glowed in memories

Of the beautiful Main streets with bustling thoroughfares.

—when they, in regal tradition, stole the whole show.

Some interesting research digging around on the subject (for whatever, when it popped up in my mind) about the Elm tree… and perhaps I was looking for something about our future? Understanding and approaching it with history’s humility

: https://growinghistory.wordpress.com/2012/02/28/some-history-of-historic-plants/

 

*****

            No matter where I have been, in my heart I have always heard “welcome son!” And, I am as sure as my sisters have heard addressed— personally to them. The question that accompanies such a greeting is; where exactly are we? That we are being received and welcomed? And, of course, how our etiquette suddenly begins and our exit should end.

Rain falls hard on thorns

Roses soon to bloom perk up

Both will co-exist

*****

Whoa, Silver! Here comes the black stallion to welcome the Pinto.

*****

I sit here by the firelight of life, feeling old, tired, and worn out.

I sit proud with a peaceful heart after battles lost and won—

I notice the imprint of my shield, above the fireplace,

Nicked and gashed in gallant memory as history touts.

It has been sold. Two weeks ago. For bread, vegetables, lettuce, meat,

And sprouts.

I am neither happy nor angry

Nor am I hungry.

 

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Papa’s First Dance

It was never hard to find the lines

To greet you or your brothers. And, put them into a melody

For a song that sings in harmony

With love— for you.

Yes, you all have grown, still magically dancing,

Sliding off the top of my shoes—

Kissing my cheek without having to explain

Oops!

 

papas-first-dance

 
14 Comments

Posted by on January 7, 2017 in Children, Existential, Father, Getting Old, Love, Poetry, Spiritual, Zen

 

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A Private Conversation With Me And I

My life has misplaced my glasses,

The remote, and my e-mail password.

“Stop staggering,

Are you disoriented”?

Yes, someone has stolen my memory.

And, taken all the labels off the cans.

“Oh Shoot-MaHoot,

what are you going to do”?

Open one or two cans

And, expect a supper surprise! What else can I do

Go hungry— never knowing what else to do?

“Sounds right, eat right,

Walk it off, sing a song,

then take a shit

Before you go nite-nite.

 

Hmmmmmm…

 

Glasses, remote, and e-mail note

are balanced on the toilet paper.

left there last night,

busy thinking about tomorrow.

 

Oh, and your cup…

And tea bag

Are on the saucer

On the windowsill.”

Thanks, I remember—  now

I am, on my way there.

 
15 Comments

Posted by on October 29, 2016 in Existential, Getting Old, Poetry, Silly stuff, Zen

 

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Saint Peter’s Orphanage 1950

Starless night, cold gray fog creeping up steel posted gates;

In spaces of bowing heads and hands being held,

Shadows grow and withdraw under muffled haloed lights.

 

Creeping through the entrance, they all looked up to see

Guarding the gate; a damp dew dripping concrete statue

Standing with a heel on a serpent

 an Archangel with flared wings wielding a sword.

Forever to be their best friend.

 

The witnesses passed by slowly. The children, carrying paper bag suitcases

In one hand and the other clasped tightly to each other.

 

Unpredictable darkness merges into a softly glowing doorway.

Their father quickly blesses himself

Whispering a Hail Mary, takes out four quarters.

 

Placing one in each daughter’s hand,

And slipping one in each boy’s pants pocket.

He gently knocks on a well-polished oak door.

 

Dim yellow light emerges.

Sister Saint Helen opens the vestibule.

 

Smiling, she places the paper bags on a large mahogany table,

Shushing them together, closing the heavy, silent, well oiled, orphanage door

She nods good-bye to the children’s father.

 

Sealed in, they become frightened like birds

With a broken wing.

 

 

Two bedroom flat above the American Legion, a band is playing downstairs.

Hat on the kitchen table, the young father sighs as he pops open a beer.

It’s been five years since the war.

Six years since he graduated High school

And, two years since the boy’s mother left them.

Acknowledging his inability

To come to grips with his situation;

Being abandoned by love, a turn of the cycle begins.

Tears blur his eyes; his heart sinks,

Then floats on Holy melancholy consolation.

 

1956

1956

(Forty years later, father having passed away in a veterans home)

 I’m sending you, mother and father, your youngest son September 24, 2016

Welcome him to a place where the Butter nut tree

And the bitter-sweet is still called home.)

 

rev:13

 
18 Comments

Posted by on October 2, 2016 in Getting Old, Love, Pine Cone Diaries, Poetry, thoughts

 

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