THE MEASURE OF MY GAIT (redux)

But for my body’s vibrancy

Lost from age

I feel better and better, now in my tranquil maturity

A tree grows high and wide with time

I know heights, now, placid in age

I never knew in youth, when I was figuring it all out

 

And I’ve got a handle on how 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—alienation—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 by yesterday

Whether people like me

Traffic, specifically tailgaters

I haven’t time nor energy nor inclination to disturb

My peace

The breadth of my awareness

Expanded and expands still from youth’s constrictions

 

Knowing largely the way it was always done, then,

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 in these 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

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 continue 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,

Studying 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

Looking back, down from olding heights,

From the altitude afforded by maturing,

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

The mysterious ascending current flowing toward my future

Inhabiting my present, my pacific contentment my ever-evolving mentation

And I will die well

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

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

FACES

“A man is another man’s face”

An observation I first saw in Michael Harper’s poetry 33 years past

I remember

And find time after time T. S. Eliot’s time

“To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet.”

Eliot even put pale green make-up on his own

Public face

Mask, theatre

The laugh that guy put on in the blues bar

Which signified a laugh more than was one

Signifier, signifiée, semiotics

To my mind

A sign of distance from the center

Signifying

Too much bar

Too much beer

In the sound signifying a laugh that he put on

I was there that night in the blues bar, as so often

Remembering an intense, intensive week for me, year after year

Together face to face all day and into the night

And there’s no putting on of anything

Paulhaven Children’s Camp Pastor, Rec Staff, Cooks, Teens

Campfire, sacred flame, circle, singing

Sacred space, sacred time

They will always remember

Year after year until adulthood when youth and camp end, community yet remains

They remember

I will always remember

I remember

3AM conversations with a few staff around the campfire

When it all comes out

And there’s just us, talking, looking at the fire

And 3AM

But now it’s 3 AM in the blues bar, drinks done

Remembering the laugh that guy put on

The face I put on to meet the faces I meet when they compel a face from me

And the campfire burns only inside me

Behind the faces I now wear

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

LIFE IS

Life is not

The acquisition of money, material possessions

Life is

The pursuit of a passion

A life’s dream, a contribution to society

In youth, it is the pursuit of a job

A career, a profession, a calling

In adulthood, it is the maintenance of a lifestyle

In maturity, you realize that life is a pastime

And along the way, it can be

The accumulation of experiences you will be happy to remember

But, in truth, life is

The formation of the kind of person you want to be,

Learning who that is

To be and become who that is

By means of and through and despite

What life will bring your way

To be and become who that is

By whatever powers or Power you know

LEARNING TO OUTGROW LIFE HERE

Although age slags and weakens my body

Though my agility, flexibility grow heavy and stiff

My soul grows, grows light, fills with light

Enlightenment matters more than matter

Wisdom—age’s donation to

This deteriorating flesh—

Grows as powers fail and hours fill

With matters other than those of the body

Other realms than matter suggest

Youth’s vibrant spirit

Returning in other realms when

This matter has had enough and spirit matters

My purpose here fulfilled

My soul outgrown this flesh and bone

This mortal community, camaraderie

As age passes on its lessons

Learning to outgrow life here

AN UNEASY GENERATION GAP

I could be his grandfather

So a peer relationship is likely not in the mix

Yet his expertise surpasses my own

An expertise I need

Technology

The bane of the aged

The bond of the ages

Generating the collaboration which is the extent of our bond

He declined money

Our signifiers differ significantly

So collaboration and my interest in the youth world

From the perspective of my so different world

So different signifiers

His life ahead of him, much of mine behind me

My crippling need of his expertise, coupled with his self-confidence

Technology

Will collaboration serve for a peer relationship

Our mutual interests

Our alliance uneasy

Our uneasy generation gap

AND I WILL DIE WELL

The clouds disburse

Rising up out of the pit

The overmedicated haze

That kept me out of the CSU

Now my reduced prescriptions

And acupuncture herbals

Clear, sharpen my wits, which

Have almost returned as they once were

 

Is it a time to recover my chops, or not?

Or a time to sit back, reflect on when they were hot?

There was that time when 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

 

The future doesn’t beckon anymore

I turn within to master my passions

While the world passes by

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

I ponder whether I’ll die well,

As I study to live well

 

I no longer have a youth’s drive, ambition, and energy

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

And I will die well

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