Endurance

The men
appear
to be
outliving
the women.

They show up now
At the funerals
With their so-called
Friends.
Companions.

How quick to judge
Are the youngest
And supposed
Most pious.

Let her soul rest,
They say.
It’s only been
Six months,
They say.

He’s never been alone,
The others say.
He’ll die as soon
As she did,
Without someone
To talk to,
They say.

Would you?
Would you dry up
Out of loneliness?
Swallowed up by
Solitude?

Not everyone.
Not those who’ve
Learned to subsist
On crumbs.

Not even a scrap
She received from him
All those years in the same home.

And so she lived alone,
Before they ever parted.
She’s healthier now,
And so is he.

He with his man
She with her books and cat.
Where it comes down at
Is endurance.

What can hold out longer?
The conscience,
Or the conscientious?

photo credit: F. Hurley

For Years I Tried To Read Don Quixote

donq

For years, I tried to read Don Quixote,

Revering the Spaniard writer in me,

Skimming a thin abridged edition,

Sophomoric in World History.

 

Later, greater windmills.

Exotic becomes quixotic.

The bookmark stops.

Again.

 

Dare you go on,

Wannabe pícaro?

 

No. Gracias.

We underdogs

Know the ending anyway,

Some will never get their day.

For Years I Tried To Start Smoking

pall mall

For years I tried to start smoking, scurrying out before theme parties:
Bad Taste Ball, Red Light, Pajammy Jam—to pick up Pall Malls,
Only to find the shreds of tobacco slipping past my lips.

Tonight, some fifteen years later, I rushed out for a walk, alone,
Minus wife, kids, mother-in-law,
Left a flat cauldron of beef stew to roast in the oven for an hour.
I cook now. I follow recipes. I make up my own.

“Be back,” I said.  Like those fathers you hear about that say,
“Be back. Just going out to pick up some smokes,” and then never return.

What if I kept on walking and left for good?
When you’re wired for guilt and depression, this is what you think of.

You’re surrounded by light, yet spend your whole life,
Looking for shade, just a slice.

At last,
at my thinking place,

Where Mark Twain sits in bronze,
Forever reading Huck Finn to anyone who will sit next to him,
A few drunk hopeless fans smoke their consolation cigarettes.
We lost again tonight.

I want them gone, off my bench,
So I can sit next to Sam,
Breathe in some fresh air,
Clear the muck upstairs.

But, yet,

I sniff their second-hand,
Let them have our moment,
Of pain.
If we don’t win, it’s a shame.

Right, Sam?
Your life ended up going to shit,
And what did you do?

You kept floating down the river,
Smiling at it,
Your dial set to happiness,
If only for a bit,

Now you sit,
In front of the IHOP,
As you did then,
at your birthday party,
At the end.

For, who else,
Were you going to celebrate?

Anthropocene

IMAG1245

Do your push ups in the sun, little one.
Still spastic, plastic,
After all these millennia.

We rule the school now!
Yet,
We’re as big as we’ll ever be.

You still have a chance, to dance
To pulverize our little bones
In your jaws of life.

 

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