On the Metaphysics of Old Age Clumsiness

A certain clumsiness comes with old age
Almost another adolescence
We stumble–
On our words, footsteps, and
even our prognostications about life
All else keeping us awake at night

A certain clumsiness comes with old age
Even when we’re just sixty
Thinking back, I remember
When my parents were where I am today–
Clumsily closer to nonexistence–
Where all is lost, including ourselves

A certain clumsiness comes with old age
And then, there is nothing
Even the clumsiness ends
Once we get out of our own way
And allow our stream of existence to empty back
Into life’s sea of new possibilities

The Sound

It grows on you, rather quickly–
The Sound’s lulling darkness
Lapping back and forth
along the pebbly shoreline

We watch the green and white ferries, and
how they ride the waves, like musical notes
from Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings
Haunting presence, especially
when there’s fog, or a light rain

The gulls know its springtime
Though there is no sun
They sit longer, closer to you–
Waiting for a handout–a piece of bread, a stale cookie
The red-headed boy fed one a slice of greasy salami
The damn fool ate it straight down

The Sound grows on you
In a soulful way, cutting deep inside you
to places you dream about, but
never seem to remember
Except you know they’re very old

Seattle would never be what it is
were it not for the Sound, and
it’s constant nudging and coaxing
to go deeper, plumb life’s depths
Let the foghorns at night sink in

A Theory on Life’s Questions

Take a load off
Give up the struggle–
All those weighty questions
Spinning you in circles
Sapping the life out of you

Easier said than done–
I’ve ridden those circles–
Like wild ferris wheels
Taking me round and round
Till I’m silly dizzy, then dead

Perhaps a better word is deadened–
To the real life–
The one we were born to live, and
somewhere along the line set aside–
For all our questions

I’ve a theory on questions, and that is
the universe needs them to grow
They’re fertilizer–
Helping the world evolve consciously
and yes inquisitively

Questions make children grow up, and
they kill off their innocence–
Then kids become grown ups, and their questions kill them off
Now why is that?
The universe needs a rest from our questioning

Hats We Wear

No helping who I am, like
the sun can’t help but shine
Yet at times clouds block the sun, and
often I get in my own way–
of being who I am
Are you like me?
Do you sometimes wake up, and fall over
the life you’ve worked so hard to create?

Watching the morning creep into the back woods
I wondered “why am I here?”–
Not in this chair in this room on this morning, but
HERE in this body and mind, and
HERE in this illusion of permanence, that
I wear like a hat pulled down over my eyes–
so I have an excuse for walking into walls, and
falling down stairs–into a basement, where
I’ve dumped everything I can’t let go of, including
piles of hats no longer fitting my fat head
which fills with new illusions each day, making
my head grow larger and larger

Aren’t there limits to how big a head can grow?

Fetching Uncle Eddie on a Friday Night

Three Gaynors Night Club in Bridgeport was the place to be
on a Friday, with your paycheck in hand
No ID needed to cash your check
if the bartender knew your face
Uncle Eddie’s was well-known–
not only on Fridays, but every other day, except Sunday
when he drank in the privacy of his own home

His poison of choice–Jack Daniels
Never cluttered with much, just a few cubes of ice
that never had a chance–
to return to water, because
of Uncle Eddie’s swift swilling technique

He told me once golden amber was his favorite color
I asked him why, and
he said I had to guess, and I tried
but to no avail, so
I asked my Mom, who explained
that was whiskey’s color, and
warned me never to drink like her brothers

I never saw Uncle Eddie drink, which
was not so unusual, since drinking was a matter for men, and
not young boys, who just might notice
that their uncles weren’t perfect–
a far cry from what their mothers would’ve hoped

Only once did I see my dear uncle snockered–
Totally smashed beyond recognition
He called my Dad; his third call for rescue
Knowing he could never drive his ’61 Chrysler
back to his home in South Bellaire

Dad responded to Uncle Eddie’s call, at Mom’s insistence
that he go fetch her drunken brother
To my chagrin, he asked me to come along
Perhaps he knew he’d need another set of arms
to get my uncle home this Friday night
I accepted the mission without hesitation

Uncle Eddie was too far gone to pose a problem–
No resistance did he give
But, no more than 10 minutes into our drive
My uncle perked up, proclaimed the night wasn’t over, and
one more drink he needed to find his bliss

My Dad, not a drinking man, was quick to counter
Reminding Eddie his liver would someday surely give out
To that, my uncle countered–
that we only go around once, so
we should make the most of it

Dad didn’t argue–
wouldn’t have done any good
He just stepped on the accelerator
Getting Uncle Eddie home sooner

It wasn’t long before Uncle Eddie was fast asleep–
The job from here on was easy
My aunt greeted us, arms crossed on her bosomy chest
She wasn’t happy with the situation, but
after twenty years with my uncle
she had resigned herself to his drunken nature

On the drive back home
I asked my Dad why Uncle Eddie drank so much
He looked at me with a reluctant stare, shook his head
And said “so he wouldn’t feel the pain of life”
I didn’t really understand, but got the sense
my uncle was nowhere as happy as he seemed

Three years later at Uncle Eddie’s funeral
I stared at his colorless face in the casket, and saw a look of peace
I whispered to him: “You never asked my favorite color–
It’s sky blue, the color of Heaven”

The Evangelist

Reverend Jeffrey Carlyle Thomas sold used cars
before he found Jesus, and
before that, he spent three years in jail
for repeated indecent exposure offenses–
Showing his family jewels in public

Then, he found Jesus
Who washed away his sins
Cleansed his heart, and made him whole–One Sunday night
at the Cow Hollow Pentecostal Church, and
that same night, he was called–
Into the ministry to serve His Lord God

Now Jeffrey Carlyle Thomas is an evangelist, spreading
the Word of God to all who will listen–
Mostly to Jesus-starved congregations
in small country and inner city churches, where
folks don’t challenge your credentials to preach without a license, and
intercede on behalf of the Lord Almighty

I heard Reverend Thomas preach a dozen or more times, and
there’s no denying he has a gift with words, including
the Holy Scriptures–you would think
were handed straight on down to him, who
some call Jesus’ thirteenth disciple

Why old Paul Gurley, my Sunday School teacher, even went so far
as to say that Reverend Thomas’ initials are J.C.
same as you know who, and this is no coincidence, since
the Bible says “watch for signs of His Second Coming”
I thought that was a stretch, but
who’s to question a wise Sunday School teacher like Mr. Gurley?

Jimmie Burgess’ mom says that
Reverend Thomas has brought more than 100,000 sinners to Christ
Far more than the 5,000 folks fed by Jesus, so long ago
with the 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish
She claims it’s a known fact, and
we should be thankful Jesus sent the Reverend our way

Then one warm early September day
Our preacher, Tucker Holliday, received a phone call
from the preacher down in Coal Run, saying
that he had heard, from good authority
that Reverend Thomas wasn’t evangelizing anymore
Seems he got into trouble somewhere in Southern Indiana
for showing his private parts to two teenage girls

Reverend Holliday made a solemn announcement
at the next Sunday morning church service–
Seems he got a copy of the newspaper article, describing
the incident in Southern Indiana
He said a prayer of protection for all of us, reminding us
of our naturally sinful natures, and to heed the Word of God:
“May he that be without sin be the first to cast a stone”
Being an obedient congregation
A unanimous amen rose from all present
at the conclusion of Reverend Holliday’s prayer