CANADIAN GEESE

The Canadian Geese don’t know that today is Thursday

They stand in the park with their necks extended high

Some sit on the grass with their necks tucked

They pluck at the grass in the park with their bills

I have a meeting tonight at 7:00

But don’t need to know that today is Thursday

I know there will be tomorrow, and that tomorrow

I have a morning meeting at 9:30 and a good band is playing at 7:30 that night

But right now I’m eating a hot dog and watching the Canadian Geese

And that’s all I need to know

My hot dog has nothing to do with the day of the week

Or the Canadian Geese who will soon fly south, but I don’t know when

And I don’t suppose that they know when, or know that they will fly south at all until they do

These Canadian Geese are not in my week and calendar

These Canadian Geese plucking at the grass in the park with their bills

QUESTIONS OF THE PITUITARY GLAND

What is appropriate in the young makes

What is not appropriate in later years appropriate for them

Ages of life pay their dues to time

Is it the body that counts age and appropriates ideals?

Makes youth intense and mellows age?

Questions of the pituitary gland

Maybe the body ticks time, but can it spawn behaviors?

Mentation, personality, development

Growth hormones dictate our humanity like the lives the three Moerae fated for all humans

Spinning the threads of who we will be

Tied up in bounds of determinism by the pituitary gland

 

Falstaff and Hal foreshadowing the youthful madcap role I played

In and out of the schoolbooks and classes, such a trope humanity scripted it in Elizabethan drama

Learning lessons of acquiescence in middle-age to gods that held my fate

Metamorphosis of the reading lists of my professors into bosses’ memos

Become pliant, compliant, indeed, obedient, to the machine I used to rage against

I wouldn’t say it was glandular as much as pecuniary forces

That forced me to slog through time in middling age

Chasing my dreams off the ambitious clock

Bouncing through relationships until one remains as if all along it was fate

 

And now, in arm-chair reflections of it all I ask questions of stories

The storied stages of humanity’s ageless morphology

The taxonomy of the human condition

Authored by us as one glimpse of the whole in the likes of Erikson, the psychologist—

Even the corpus of humanity’s iterations writ large upon our world literature

And I, a person, a representative man, following the trajectories as it seems to me are possible

Narrations of the human genome

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

WILDFLOWERS

We love to see a meadow of wild flowers

And take delight in sweet pea, bluebell, pansy

But if we try to pick and hold their beauty

We find they fade and wilt in only hours

 

Still after we have placed them in a vase

We love their delicate pedals and scent

Like flowers, time with friends is only lent

Though beauty in friendships gives life grace

 

And we love it when our friends are nearby

But time with friends tends to be uncertain

If long or short, impermanence is certain

People change; in time we’ll say goodbye

 

Buddhists say that joy in friend or lover

Still is dukkha, suffering or grief

I see the transient nature of all life

Yet still take joy, delight, and pleasure

As it is in friendship, love, or flower

IN THE PEAK OF COVID-19

What was that I needed to get done today?

Well, nothing really—I can barely remember

When they shut us down, shut down my ambition

–“I have to what?!”—”Do what?!”–

That mandated sloth that tells me stall, stop

So I slouch upon my couch, and pass time

At times, I take the time to touch base

With a treasured book—which I never would have

Chasing time filled with needless activity

Chasing a job, a dollar, more money

No money and nothing to spend it on—

I would go to the mall, the bookstore, the casino

And with a home library filled with good books

I never did read, read now—sometimes

When I can find the incentive

And my poems that I organize to send out

Re-read, fix, edit,–search out publishers

When I can’t find the incentive

And just slouch upon the couch

And watch TV that I don’t like

Don’t like not doing what I want to get done

This mandated sloth, this slovenly lost ambition

Not even waiting for it all to be over

Just waiting on time, making time, taking time, time to get something done

Plenty to get done today, and nothing, really

BACK THEN

An old movie

Brought to mind

College friends

We talked about the movie

Back then

When we were friends

That memory

Plays like an old movie clip

THE MEASURE OF MY GAIT

But for one skill set

Bitterly lost from medical causes

But for my body’s vibrancy

Lost from age

I feel better and better in time’s passing

An ancient tree grows high and wide

I know heights, now

I never knew in youth

The breadth of my awareness

Expanded and expands still from youth’s constrictions

The young’s flash and intensity of passion

Have calmed, calming me, contenting my present

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 in the valley-view of my past

The mysterious ascending current flowing toward my future

In the present’s contented, open mentation

TIME

Stuck in traffic, you can’t bear how slow time passes

Looking back over a long life, the passage of time seems short

Counting years passed, the numbers stagger credulity

We don’t count time except in retrospect

We fritter time away unaware

Alarmed by decades passed,

We pay more attention to the moment

Attending to time and how we spent it

Loving the present, we choose to fill it with what we love

We especially lose time in eternity

Looking to eternal life, we pay little attention to what is at hand

Loss, lost

We see too late that eternity is present, is in the present, is the present

Which never ends

TIME AND REFLECTION ON LIFE CHOICES

He did alright for himself

That’s how I see my friend, now

He made a living out of music

Married and raised a family

 

A benefit of age is perspective

I knew him before it all

He was a waiter and I a doctoral student

We played in a band together

 

He got a job teaching music at a ma and pop store

Pretty much the town’s only music store

I set my sights on a university professorship

I wondered then if that’s all he planned to do in life

 

He taught and gigged the past thirty-three years

Married, now the father of grown adults

A house, a family, a musician

He did alright for himself

 

I got the Ph.D., but the professorship never came through

Ordained a Swedenborgian minister a decade ago

A long-term relationship, travels together and moments

In retrospect—the gift of age—we both did alright for ourselves

A FRIENDSHIP OF

A deepening friendship of

An old acquaintance

Memories of

When we were both starting out

Life

When we were young

Shared memories of

Us starting out

Time apart, away

Much time

Our separate ways

Separate successes, accomplishments

Lives

Renewing

Friendship

Shared memories of

Our home town

Our early life

New memories of

Us in your home city

Doing the town

Visit

New memories of

Experiences, knowledge, collaborations

New friendship of

An old acquaintance

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