When I was young, I always looked ahead.
Anticipating power when I grew,
as soon as I knew one day I’d be dead
I started listing things I had to do
before my end: have sex with more than one;
get married; find the answers; write somehow.
Advised to seize my moments in the sun,
I wasn’t very good at here-and-now.
The decades flew. I’m old but passing hale.
I aim attention lately at my youth.
Attempts to focus on today still fail;
I try but don’t succeed. Perhaps the truth
is obvious – not past- or future-bound:
I need to aim attention all around.
“Don’t eat desserts,” my grandma said to me,
when I first tried to diet at fourteen.
“Avoid potatoes, bread and corn. You’ll see
results if you don’t go for snacks between
good meals.” But I eschewed her strategy:
preferring science to an old wives’ tale,
I read a book, embraced the calorie,
and added girth with every diet fail.
I bought the party line and I gained weight.
The enemy was fat; the friend was grain.
Although I felt myself self-regulate
the fat and protein, still I sang the main-
stream lie – a high-carb menu for the birds,
till research rediscovered grandma’s words.
Posted in Food, Health, Poetry
Today’s a tired day. I must admit
I’m feeling every decade of my age.
And that’s okay – in fact, appropriate,
for I have overdone by any gauge:
at first in travel far beyond my nest,
and then in catching tasks that I put off
to go. Today I’m home and plan to rest,
and read, and smoke enough I have to cough.
The weather suits: May gray and vernal chill.
I’ve earned fatigue – it’s not from grief or stress.
I don’t need underwear or shoes – I will
increase my sitting time and hurry less,
with nothing but my Kindle on my lap,
and nothing on my mind but when to nap.
Anticipating missing plumbing, bed,
the food my fussy appetite demands,
I went to earth reluctantly. Instead
of rough conditions, I had calmer hands,
more restful sleep, a better moving gut,
than what I am accustomed to at home.
I ate but never snacked; I healed my butt;
I seldom missed my mirror or my comb.
And maybe it was Chula Vista years,
or camping in Death Valley, tufa fields
and rattlesnakes, but lack of noise appears
a solace; life away from cars appeals.
It’s not a matter of intelligence,
that everything about the place made sense.
Uncertain about toilets, sleeping rough,
the river work, the weather, and the wet,
I valued sibling benefits enough
to purchase neoprene and risk regret.
We rafted down a canyon fifty miles,
engorged in desert, walled in stone and glass.
We followed currents, threaded boulder aisles,
and rapidly succeeded middle class.
I never worried. I felt no distress.
My biggest problem may have been cold feet,
and they were warmed ashore. I must confess,
my satisfaction with the trip’s complete.
As if we poured oblations, we were graced
with life’s perfection everywhere we faced.
Five days away from Internet and phone
exceeded expectation. We fifteen
had solitude where no one was alone
except for shitting minutes. In between
the rafting, we conversed or dined or slept
without alarms or heartburn. Global news
could not invade us. Nowhere that we stepped
was marked by human past or present use.
The ground beneath me every night felt strong
and giving: sleep was thorough; dreams were sweet.
My body timing never did me wrong –
the urges were appropriate, complete,
and fleeting. Nothing far and not a week
bestowed ideas I hadn’t thought to seek.
A human life’s too short to comprehend
the purpose of existence. What we see
is just a slice of time and space. The end
defies our wisdom like infinity.
We needn’t solve the question to survive
to reproduce our traits through progeny;
by hit or miss, we found some ways to thrive
without enlightenment, in entropy.
So if a few have glimpsed a wider view,
and sensed dimensions strung beyond our own,
the vision didn’t prosper them – it’s true
perhaps, but useless. It may stay unknown
for all it’s worth – to further no one’s aim,
except an oddball digging through God’s game.