This Much I Know is True: My Last Day of 2013

images-3On this last day of 2013 I am weary of new year’s resolutions – you know those promises we make to ourselves that have a shelf-life of twenty minutes – sixty if I’m lucky. I awoke this morning considering the flexibility of certainty – the same type of certainty that has always been ascribed to death and taxes.

What follows are the few things that have proven true – for me in 2013.

What I know:

I know that I expect decency in ostensibly educated people and am sorely disappointed when  decency becomes a foreign country these individuals are afraid to visit. And one would think that after a few years of this forehead-slapping frustration I would know better but…

I know that truth is an illusive landscape that when strung together with imaginative prose can provide cascades of honesty regarding the human condition. I’m sure it’s called good fiction and until I am told differently I’ll go with that.

I know that memory can be resistant to logic. A sweltering  heat can rise from this terrain erasing any tragedy in the offing. Reality is the thief; the mugger in the dark, “hand over your memories and no one gets hurt.”

I know that as tragedy strikes good friends, I am left  in awe of the strength that can reside in the human heart. A heart so rent with grief that one fears for the possessor of this roughed-up organ. But no, it is as if internal forces dedicated to battle appear overnight  to slay grief in its cradle.   

I know I will never sing as well as I’d like to. I have a lovely, talented friend from high school who possesses a beautiful, forceful voice. She has sung her way around the world and now for reasons (she believes) stronger than her voice she says she will not sing again. This makes me sad. I am one who has had many dreams of opening my mouth and having some beautiful, if not tuneful, music exit.  I used to like the idea of karaoke  but I’m afraid of being seen as part of the legion of the sad, unfulfilled and lonely lip-synchers  moaning about lost loves, chances, and continence.

I know that youth is what sticks even when we go unrecognized at our reunions.

I know that a good memory can be a serious design flaw

I know now that some song lyrics mean different things depending on the amount wine ingested. 

I know that some songs only make sense after three glasses of wine which is too bad when two glasses is all one can tolerate.

I know there are drinks (famous writers/drinkers of hard liquor have told me) one can order by fingers –  like ordering two fingers of desire to open one’s emotional house, a brief and tragic three dimensional cut-a-way: here I am at my desk, that’s me tossing and turning in my stone sleep, there I am turned away from prying eyes – my face unrecognizable – even by those who love me. Wine is my vehicle of choice as I search under the weight of desire?

I know that living in the past can be an addiction; the monkey on one’s back that pushes us beyond mirrors and reality; that cruel beast that wraps his hand around the slender stem of that third glass of moscato – too sweet to do any good.

And lastly –

I know too that, even as it seems our souls are sewn from the same cloth, they are held together with a mere thread of memories; a heartbreaking slight-of-hand that can bind us to decency or doom.

Have a wonderfully truthful 2014

AROUND THE HOUSE IN A BAD MOOD

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I awake from unremembered dreams troubled yet

I’ve slept well

In spite of worldwide poverty,

Death and destruction – a chronicle of

Certain doom for the open sores; souls

Vulnerable to the underside of

All nature human

I sit on the shores of a lake

Comfortable yet homeless

Knowledgeable of the past yet

Ignorant of the future

I am bereft of the lessons that

Turn experience into wisdom

Today in a time when deeds and

Action can be parsed to the nanosecond

I’ve missed the exit

Remaining on this mobius

Loop of a life – guilty

Dining with Bacchus and

Fiddling with Nero

WHAT THE GODS KNEW

olympians

No “why?” of  golden age

At peace with my life-sustaining

Looped desires on fixed stage

No things to want remaining

Labored fact, age doth bring

Leaves Chronus parsing truth

Calypso discovered not a thing

So danced a dance uncouth

Bacchus, saw life at its brink

Threw up one hand in despair

The other offering the drink

To Aphrodite goddess fair

SO,

Mount Goddess’ sacred doom

No matter the hue and cry

Answer found not in any room

The fact: we all must die

THURSDAY NIGHTS

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Formerly my Fridays

With “the girls”

Now, part-time

Poet

Teacher

Vain fool

 Driving home still

The same

Wine-happy two glasses on

The edge a lonesome reality

Truck cab filled with

Some inane tune

Not Aretha, Stones, or Hendrix

Those here-to-fore

Post-cultural anthems

Not even Motown’s

Grooved soul strong invoking

Memories of sweaty

California nights

Dancing on perdition’s

Edge  – no

This impractical

Tune made me glad

For winter  & windows

 Up sparing others

The sound of my voice

Emboldened with spirits

Singing from a seat on the

Fringe of bedraggled dreams

Twenty-two miles

Before I engage

Sobering cold

Doors

Reality’s reluctant usher

 

The Perils of Good Wine

There is a line, a bellwether that tells a writer that what he or she has to say is worth the effort of climbing the stairs and saying it in print. That line is divined in the level of wine in a wine glass or containers of other god-given fruits. It is summoned by the distant sounds of a train coming around the bend in the next burgh. That plaintive sigh that says I am at

slaying the thief of youth

an age that I only know what I don’t know – the mournful sigh that casts all my years of living on the dung heap of time.

And tears will not change the situation. 5:25 p.m. in life – and I can’t get beyond the fact that I no longer possess the strong connective tissue that prances stupidly in the face of desire. How shallow am I?

Why can’t I go to the heart? Where youth and longing have taken refuge – knowing that, in the a.m. of life, the answers lie there no matter the questions posed by a society that glorifies the epidermis. It seems I’ve taken my years as the local social assassin and live content in the tiny refuge of, I-remember-when. A domicile too cramped for someone not willing to roll over.

I’ve climbed my stairs knowing that tomorrow I’ll breakfast on homegrown potatoes, eggs and satisfaction even as I battle with the forces that have so rudely evicted me from my youth.