Category Archives: Getting Old
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
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,
I am neither happy nor angry
Nor am I hungry.
My life has misplaced my glasses,
The remote, and my e-mail password.
Are you disoriented”?
Yes, someone has stolen my memory.
And, taken all the labels off the cans.
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.
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.
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.
(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.)
In her late eighties, Ms. Holly invited me over one evening for conversation and a glass of wine. Upon my arrival, Ms. Holly politely greeted me at the door. After being asked for my coat and hat, I was escorted to the living room and instructed to be seated. I chose the couch instead of one of the many decoratively upholstered chairs. Ms. Holly quickly left the room which was well-lit with five or six lamps, some on end tables, and others on tall, ornate stands.
Ms. Holly returned with a glass of wine in one hand, and in the other, a glass of water. She offered me the glass of wine. She started talking immediately, speaking without pause, walking towards her high-back chair. As she turned and sat down, she stated: “This is my opinion on very important matters.” She covered topics ranging from politics, family, and religion, to the economy and the new world order. At no time did she ask me what my thoughts were. Ms. Holly was very specific in her speech, using colorful words and illustrative detail. Although sometimes redundant, she was consistent in every repetition. Regardless, she hopped from one subject to the next, and suddenly, with quite the verbal grace and bow, splinter into a new conversation about her “opinion on a very important matter.”
Captured in the wonderful web of her experiences, imagination, and reality, I was finally asked: “So, what do you think?” Everything she related, positive or negative, seemed to be under Ms. Holly’s control, with its remarkable, opinionated unpredictability. Despite my interest in and enjoyment of her fascinating conversations, subjects discussed with redundancy stuck most in my memory. They were repeated so often that I remember them.
I said, “The electric bill – it keeps going up and up and you can’t explain it! Is there any way you could cut the cost?” “I’ve tried everything,” she confidently stated as she got up, motioning with her hand towards the kitchen and left to refill her empty glass with water.
I got up and turned off two or three lights in the room, then proceeded to join Ms. Holly in the kitchen. The kitchen was easy to find, well-lit with five or six lights. She nodded upon my entrance and continued to fill her glass with water. I began to turn off one or two lights before she sternly asked me, “What are you doing?” “Saving electricity!” I replied. “Let’s go in the other room,” she said, “and let me explain to you about life and the All living.”