Wednesday, March 1, 2023

The Writer

Sat down to write
Nothing in particular
Thought I might have been moved

Involved, in a moment
Inspired, I felt
Genius at my fingertips
Ideas beyond description

And so it was
Or so I thought
Or so I wanted to think

But concepts lost meaning
While thoughts stood still
Ideas faded to nothing
Description beyond words

It is there, I thought
Felt the pounding of my heart
But my mind whispered, no
No, it’s not

And the paper was blank.

Sat down to write
With reason to believe
That I might be moved

Revelation, I wanted
Insight, I hoped
Still searching within
For substance that matters

And so it became
That I tried again
That I wanted to try

But the substance lost its form
While it sank from sight
Revealing nothing
Matter without substance

It is mine, if I want it
Felt the pounding of my heart
But my mind whispered, no
No, it’s not

And then my mind was empty

Sat down to write
For no reason at all
Except for you, I knew

Remembering, tears on my face
Lonely, warmth that I missed
When I see you
You are by my side

And so I gave
My heart if you let me
My life if you let me

But the memories I fear
Cold as they pass
Like a breath from the dying
I am by myself

It is yours, if you take it
Felt the doubt in my heart
And my love whispered, no
No, it’s not

And my heart was broken

Do you remember me?
I said to myself
Crying over nothing
And everything is nothing

Quiet, I said
When there was no noise
But the pounding of my heart

Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Birthday Condolences

 I had a birthday not too long ago. Yes, yes, thanks. But, save the hoopla. Early in life, birthdays are cause for celebration, but, once you get to a certain age, observing birthdays becomes an exercise in masochism.

Just what I need. Spend some extra time thinking about the fact that my body and mind are rotting faster than a vegan compost pile. Thanks universe. Thanks for the reminder.

At least it only comes once every twelve months. Oh… to be born on a leap year...

For years, people told me… with old age comes wisdom.  And I have learned some things.

I have learned that, as you age, the simplest tasks become difficult, and the difficult ones become… an endeavor. For a while, my neighbors in the condo next door eyed me with admiration, thinking I had an active morning sex life… without realizing the grunting they heard was just me trying to put on my socks.

I have learned there is a significant risk that merely sleeping with your neck in an awkward position no longer just leaves you with minor temporary stiffness, it feels like someone has hacked you with a machete above your shoulder blade.

That is… if you manage to sleep at all.

I have learned that you can grievously injure yourself just by leaning into the trunk of your car or stepping off a curb.

I have learned that stretching to reach for a can of tomato sauce on the top shelf of the pantry can result in three days of bed rest and two weeks of physical therapy.

I have learned other things about my body as well.  At some point, the substance in my toenails evolved to the point that it now seems as if they’re made of concrete. I used to use nail clippers. I now use a jackhammer.

And I‘m certain I could dramatically impact agricultural productivity worldwide if they could just figure out what makes my fucking nose hairs grow.

I have learned that it eventually becomes necessary to abandon the typical male philosophy of healthcare, which is that there are very few problems that can’t be solved by just ignoring them. (It’s the typical male philosophy of life, really.) At some point, medical intervention is required.

Which means I have learned that today’s general practitioners don’t know shit. If there are any of you in the audience, now might be a good time to go outside. Nobody in our healthcare system really looks after your entire being any more. There are specialists to take care of all the individual body parts and systems, which might work if you were a creation of Frankenstein.  

“Well, you need a new one of these. Come back tomorrow after we dig one up.”

When my doctor tells me to watch my diet, I say, “There isn’t much left to change. For me, the four food groups are fiber supplements, oatmeal, blood pressure medications, and red wine."

The last time at my GP’s office, after the obligatory 47 seconds with the doctor, the nurse came back in pointing at a piece of paper and said, “This lab value here is a bit off. So, we’re ordering an MRI, a CT Scan with contrast and a colonoscopy because… that’s what our protocols say we should do.”

Then with a slight pause to look me directly in the face, she flashed a sly, sadistic grin and said, “Also, we like to see the look on the patient’s face when we tell them."

I could imagine them gathering at the end of the hall after I left and giggling about the various expressions they had witnessed. 

“Oh my god, lol. You should have seen his face when I mentioned the voiding cysto-urethrogram.”

On my way out, I looked at the receptionist and said, “What does this doctor actually do? What  are you good at?”

She said, “Oh, we’re excellent at billing. Everything’s electronic now. Your insurance company will have an invoice before you even leave the building."

I have learned I don’t like doctors…

I’m kidding, of course. But it is a cruel irony that they become more necessary as you get older. Why can’t it be the other way around? Why can’t we have lots of doctors when we’re infants and toddlers, and then after that they just send you on your merry way?

I’m not sure old age brings wisdom, but maybe it brings perseverance. The way things are now, I think If I make it to tomorrow, I’ve won. I try to be pleasantly surprised every morning when I wake up. The English have a saying… Keep buggering on.

I’m trying to not to take it all so seriously. I’m realizing there’s no need to find meaning in every moment. First of all, it’s just not possible. And, when I’m gone, none of it will matter anyway.

None of it.

So, there’s no need to wish me Happy Birthday. It’s ok if you pat me gently on the shoulder and say, “I understand it’s your birthday. My condolences.”

At this point, I’m not celebrating another year. I’m celebrating another day. I’m just going to keep buggering on.

And maybe I’ll consider storing the tomato sauce on a lower shelf.