THE MEASURE OF MY GAIT

But for my body’s vibrancy

Lost from age

I feel time better and better

A tree grows high and wide with time

I know heights, now

I never knew in youth

I understand the way things work better, now in my tranquil maturity

Better than in my excited youth

The world and I sync better

Than my fits to plug into a system I wasn’t fit to engage

In my early becoming adult

So many questions I faced unaware

When to argue

When to articulate a novel thought to stand out before my teachers

The battle to be self at school or workplace seeming enforcing conformity

That moment when my professor said I’d better start thinking about a

different profession

provoked by my Marxist critique of Wordsworth’s IDIOT BOY

I really don’t know why I don’t fight anymore

Or why I used to

Or why I was never happy no matter where I lived: Ohio, Boston, Charlottesville, Florida

And my contentment, indeed happiness, now in Edmonton

And of the things I no longer let bother me:

Other people disagreeing with me

Things I have to get done yesterday

Whether people like me

Traffic, specifically tailgaters

I haven’t time nor energy nor inclination to disturb

Me and my peace

The breadth of my awareness

Expanded and expands still from youth’s constrictions:

Knowing largely the way it was always done

At home, hometown, Sunday School

Plain, innocent, not knowing things

I remember questioning the merits of my professor’s USC degree, me knowing only

UCLA

Making judgments is facile these days

The young’s flash and intensity of passion

Have calmed, calming me, contenting my present

 

There was that time when it all lay in front of me

So much to master, to conquer

Most of it’s past now

The challenges I’ve conquered, arts mastered to such as one may

(Though mastery knows no terminus)

I’ve laid my foundation, a good one

Upon which I stand, build, have built, refine, expand

I burst the bonds that have constrained my heart

As my soul breathes free, breaks free

 

The future doesn’t beckon anymore

Though I leisurely progress in cognition, will, behavior, refinement

Sensibility, sensitivity, sentiment, solidarity

I read now as much as talk

And today, W. H. Auden moved my sensibility, sense, cognition towards where I wasn’t before

And today I’m closer to the time when I’ll die

I ponder whether I’ll die well,

As I study to live well

 

My measured gait is not due to decrepitude

 

I carry the weight of my awareness,

Thoughts, contentedness, purpose, perceptions

Measuring my stride through life

Enraptured looking back, down from olding heights

From the altitude afforded by maturing on constrained behaviors,

On who I was, what I was, how I did what I did

The mysterious ascending current flowing toward my future

In the present’s contented, open mentation

And I will die well

YOUTH, AGE, DEATH

I’m not sure the way to think about death

Is to think about death

Mine will be around 30 years or so, likely

Some do not know 30 lived years yet

And to them, now, as it was to me, then, 30 years is a long time

But when your life is twice thirty plus

And 30 years ago means an ethics class on Charles Taylor at the University of Virginia

Vivid in the aging memory

Death is nearer

I say the young should not think about death

But revel in the animée of youth

Nor should anyone think about death

I believe we all should revel in animée

In age you mine the memory for what matters

Looking back over time, so many lives lived

Parent, child, sibling, friend, partner,

Student, apprentice, employee, employer, creator, maker, volunteer

So many ideologies following

Family values, local customs, blindly following the herd,

Breaking free of local customs, assimilating to new traditions

Ethical options adopted, opted for

Spirituality, religion, evolving principles of justice, righteousness

Age has much to sift through, choose, assent to, reject

Evaluating a life lived long

Choosing how to use life in remaining years

Anticipating life, how to live, live well, time that remains well

In remaining years, in future years

Possible eternity outside time and years and then where is death?

Options

Opting for a good life, life lived well, the good life, optimize

Exorcized ghosts of island martinis and beers past

Cast-off pass-times, past times, distractions, dreams of fame, cheering mobs, irascible passions

How to live, live well, care well

Caring for values that ground being

Ground of Being

And it is enough to be

Animée

Youth, age, death

BEING AND EXISTENCE

Activism isn’t the sole truth

Being and existence

Existential issues of the day matter

The human being Being persists through the day

From days past, centuries, millennia

Gilgamesh is past present

Issues of the aged transcend

Queer theory, eco-justice, prison reform

Existential issues of the day matter

In my day was Vietnam, peace, love, Woodstock

Where are they now?

And I, from then, where am I now?

As I compose, now, death and/or afterlife verses

Transcendence of the moment, of existential issues

Old friendships over decades, new love of one decade

Recasting time, reconsidering decades

Considering the time I have left

REFLECTIONS ON DEATH

Death, the intangible, mysterious thing

Not only the cessation of life here

A thing

The Mexicans dance

With half their face painted like a skull

On Dia de los Muertos

The Day of the Dead

Some call it Completing the Circle of Life

As in the Mayan prayer

“We come into the world, and we go out of the world

“Remember that every morning”

I used to think only of the afterlife

And so there was no death

We think of those we loved

And go on without their company

Can’t talk to them anymore

Probably around twenty-five or thirty years till

My death.  I can see it, sometimes.

Till I complete the circle of life

This world is all I know

Despite Swedenborg’s visions

Or the five experiences of the Indigenous man I heard

One doesn’t want to let go of what one knows

Let go of what I know

The Indigenous man knew

Things look different if my life continues

If I sit next to my grandfather, next to a flowing river that is all love

Consequences matter more, matter infinitely more

Than if death ends it

Then the world looks different

When death is a palpable thing

The mysterious dance of the Mexicans

That will be for me in twenty-five to thirty or so years

NETI-NETI

So many people want

Life to be sweetness and light—

In fact, saccharine sweet delight.

The eventuality of death repressed

As consciousness sleeps into unconscious;

Care only for affairs here comprises awareness,

Carefully, fearfully forgetful of death’s despair: the buzz-kill.

Others preoccupy themselves with

The eventuality of death and

Dour and gloom diffuse through a joyless disposition, joyless life.

Some say a middle way makes of life what it is

Neither blind nor dark

Enlightened by the happiness we find now, by knowing.

To me meaning is in passionate undertaking,

When in all one takes on the stakes are mortal:

The joy in work, creation, recreation, the music we hear

The clothes or jewelry we wear.

The footfalls we leave behind us, remain in us

Walking into time today; waking in time

Death and the Harvest Cycle and Family

Family and the land

And death and the harvest cycle

Farms ad family farms and neighbors

Dinner and grandparents and daughters and their sons

And friends, beloved ones

And love and connections and community

And communities and the land

And death and the harvest cycle

 

Hand-hewn beams of a hundred-year-old barn

Abandoned, unused, left-over straw

A graveyard, a tombstone, names of the deceased and living

Winter, fields harvested, mud and corn stubble

Lunch and new connections

And family and meeting parents

A hundred-year-old church

Now a theatre and art gallery

 

An abandoned farm house

A new condo and a senior manor

Change and death and new beginnings

Meeting new people and new family

Renewing old connections—teachers, family friends

And the land and family farms

And the harvest cycle and death and family