KICKING THE CAN DOWN THE ROAD

I was on a walk one day when I encountered a child kicking a can as he 

She walked

“What are you doing?” I asked.

“Nothin, just kickin’ this life down the road. 

“You mean you are kicking a can down the road” I corrected. 

“Yes and yes,

It’s a can and it’s a life” he she replied.

I started to laugh and to humor the child I said, 

“Whose life?”

“YOUR LIFE” the kid said in reply.

Suddenly,

I felt dizzy

My body

Mind

Whirling

Banging

Dinging

Smashing into things

Being kicked

Smashed into things 

As I heard voices around me 

Then………  it all stopped and in wonder, looking up into the sky and a blurred child’s face above,

I asked in a last gasp whisper…

“Who are you

WHAT are you?”

The child’s face grew horrible and beautiful

Sad and peaceful at the same time and said,

“I AM DEATH”

I felt the life escaping me as I lay there and then Suddenly I felt myself KICKED again…

Dizzy

My body

Mind

Whirling

Banging

Dinging

Smashing into things

Being kicked

Smashed into things 

As I heard A around me 

Above me say, 

“Here, 

Let me kick the can for a while…”

I got up, 

Shaky 

I looked at another kid

A new kid 

And in a quivering voice said…

“Hey kid, you keep kicking that can… kick it far

Kick it long

For a long long time 

Try to be gentle with THAT can 

And when you stop… 

Try to find a nice place for it” 

I kept walking 

I keep walking 

Hoping I never see any kids 

Bored,

Kicking cans

Kicking…… down the road. 

This May Sound Creepy

(Ok I think this more of an experimental prose-poem than regular poetry)

This may sound creepy but bear with me….

When I was young and even up to a decade or so ago, I was terribly shy with women. I had extreme low self esteem that sabotaged any attempts to get to know girls. As the years passed that faded. Not all but most of it did. There was this burden on me of looking at so many women as possible mates or in some sexual way. NOW, I feel comfortable in being free of so much of that. It allows me to  WATCH people in what I hope is a non staring way. Gaze and let my gaze keep moving. Have them in my sights but keep the cross hairs moving to the many targets around me.

In the grocery store. 

Grocery stores are great places to watch people. Sometimes we find Lights and other times we think a light that was merely shifting shadow. 

Such as today.

I was doing my weekly food shopping trip at my favorite grocer. I was dirty and full of back and other pains from work. As I trundled along often looking at the list of food to get on my phone, I looked out of myself at people. Most people are unremarkable to me. I often force myself to smile at those and try for a remarkable smile from them. I did that today. Large black women looking as tired as I. Stop. Excuse me. Smile. Smile back. Not so unremarkable. Some light in there. 

As I walked along, I saw a woman that seemed ageless. Fit. She was there for more than the food. She was fun to watch. She was … CURIOUS. I did my purposeful search and kept seeing her.  Random  curiosity.  Go over here, look at this. Over there, look at that. She had a few items. I found her remarkable for her ENERGY. An energy that came from inside. She was like a dancer going through the store. I wanted to go up to her and tell her what I saw in her. To make her smile. I did not. Perhaps the oddness of it would have seemed like something CREEPY.  I left her alone. Remembering her energy. Wondering about her. Hoping all is well with her as I sit writing this. THAT PERSON. I had wanted to encounter a person I felt was remarkable. To glance inside them a little. 

Shadows. 

In the check-out line I saw a blonde woman. A little heavy. She had a bitch quality about her I found intimidating and interesting. She seemed to help an old woman who was probably close to my age, cut in line. I told the blonde woman what she had done was a good thing. She gave me a hostile look and said something that seemed to not have words. Just an utterance of NASTY.

Shadows. 

There are people like that that have a confusing vibe to them. 

There are also those that are confusing about what gender they are. Maybe they are not human. 

I wondered about such a person in the produce area. Dressed in women’s clothing. Dark lined face. 5 O’Clock shadow? A face of darkness not man or woman but dressed AS a woman. 

Look at the feet.

A man’s feet. More RIGHT to be in work boots not those soft very very LARGE shoes. Is there a woman locked-up screaming to get out of that man’s body dressed as a woman?

I did not want to find out. 

I waited to get the bananas and let the darkness pass. 

I find the greatest courage I see in life, 

Is when

In a grocery shop,

A stranger

A vulnerable woman

Will simply SMILE at me, 

Trusting I am not a monster

Looking past my work place begrimed clothes

Bent body

Gnarled dirty hands 

Looking into my eyes

Joining my smile and knowing the courage was rewarded. 

“Hello”.

(Now THAT took courage!

You went outside your walls and dared to trust)

Dorian Gray In Reverse

Outside you see this old man’s face and body

The lined face and beard

The head shaved to hide the hair loss

The body often slightly bent 

Cringing from the wear tear and pain of my life.

Inside, 

In a closet deep down

Hidden away

Is the shimmering ever youth changing face

Of a young man

Sometimes controlling the old man’s face

Body 

And thoughts 

With confused youth

Forgetting that old man’s face body and life

Under lapping youth under the skin of that old man

So close to the surface

So close to thought

To emotion

So close

So painful

The old man’s face smiles sadly

Looking a few doors down inside

To that closet,

Holding the face

The shadow body

The heart and soul

Of the youth he once was

And still at times

Is

But only inside

And sometimes outside 

Shallow beneath 

And inside

An old man’s smile.

THE CRIPPLE

One of my brothers hates me

For being liberal

For being different 

For being Weird

Poor 

And atheist. 

For being all he is not.

I do not hate my brother

I feel for him

Often a compassionate 

Empathetic 

Sympathetic 

SADNESS.

When our mother lay dying in front of us

I wept a drought ending rain

My brother went through the motions

Only the motions

The clouds coughing dry

The heart screaming in pain 

But my brother

My poor brother could not…. ………………………………….CRY. 

I felt for my brother

So much pain that night

So much pain in life

Because I saw what a poor cripple my hateful brother is

Because my brother, 

Cannot cry. 

Monsters

As a child I believed that all Monsters were just beneath my vision

In that blurred area we argue is not all in our imaginations

All in our heads.

As a child I believed that all monsters were ugly

Inhuman

Not in human form 

Or,

If so monstrously obvious that way.

As an adult I realized all those monsters were imaginary

Just beneath the vision

Inside the mind.

As an adult I learned ALL MONSTER are adults

Or the results of adults monstrous inhumane imaginings.

As an adult I learned that monsters are in human form all around us

Hidden beneath smiles we trust

titles we respect revere and trust

Authority we feel we need to obey

That Authority I learned

Is often what can bring out the Monsters in us

In I

In you

So real 

Not imagined. 

As an adult I realized the most comfortable monsters were those not real 

That we imagined

That shielded us from the real monsters

Often,

The adults around us

The adults we might become 

And the adults we would know

And learn of 

WHEN we became adults. 

A Fantasy Of Age

A child dressed as simply as a child can dress, entered a home for senior citizens, many with difficulties in moving,

Some, one step away from hospice care.

Without interruption, he went room to room. When the staff and workers at the facility encountered him,

He smiled

They smiled in return

Then let him pass 

And do, 

And say what he felt a need to do.

He went first to an old man and asked him what he would do if he could be young again

He growled 

Snarled and raged about the world about him….

The boy frowned slightly 

Touched the man’s forehead and smiled sadly

Feeling the anger, 

Fear 

And sadness of a lifetime bottled up for so long

Held onto as an identity.

Room to room he went,

Asking the same question over and over 

Over and over 

Sometimes he left alone

Other times 

He left with wide eyed giggling children

Dressed in cast-off garments of Age.

Who found each other and left the Home laughing 

Singing

Bubbling with joyful life and ambition. 

Sometimes he left a room filled with a smile

A sad sorrowful smile

Then raised himself up and kept going… room to room.

Finally, 

When the Home was near empty,

He encountered a lone old man trying to make his way down a hallway in a walker.

“What are you doing here, little boy” He asked,

“Are you lost”? 

“No,” The boy replied, 

“I am here to see if you (and others) are”

“What do you mean” the old man seemed to moan,

Sighing into the frame of the walker.

“If you had a chance to be young again,

NOT start over,

But to be young again,

How would you live

In body and mind”?

“Well isn’t that the damndest question” the man  muttered.

The child waited…

Hearing the silence,

The old man entered it,

Reflecting on his life 

Then smiled with tears in his eyes and said, 

I would live every moment as-if it were my last

Respect and nurture my body and mind and those all around me.

I would practice, use and give all the compassion, empathy, love and kindness I learned

In this life

live it in my new life.

I would live simply 

Without fear

Without anger

I would embrace my new life 

My new world 

All people

With a love I never felt I could share as I got older.”

The boy smiled, 

Touched the hand of the old man resting on the walker.

His hand shook

He collapsed

Sobbing,

Then 

A moment later, 

Giggling,

Shrieking with childish laughter

He dressed himself in the over sized garments of Age

And as a child of what would be assumed was 5

Left the Home

To enter the light of new home beyond it’s doors. 

Meeting And After Meeting An Old Woman At The Grocery Store.

Today after work I did a little grocery shopping. BAD time to go shopping. Hungry and exhausted. Staggering a bit from fatigue and pain in a few places. As I shopped I heard and old woman’s voice talking to someone. Her husband I suspected. A few minutes later I saw an old man trudging with great purpose and weariness down an aisle looking for something. Within a minute I saw an old woman sitting on some kind of cart. As I approached her I saw a woman stop and ask if she was ok. The woman smiled and said something. I got to her and made some little joke she laughed at. She said she was waiting for her husband to return. He was off looking for something. Remembering the man I had seen, I said I had just seen him. The woman told me she was 87 (Born in 1932)  and  that she was too old for shopping. I felt she DID enjoy it as a part of life. She complained of the store having coffee all over the place. I only knew of 1. I guess there were specials in displays. As we chatted or tried to (she was hard of hearing and did not hear half of what I said) 4 people stopped to ask if she was ok. I told 2 of them I had seen her husband. The old woman and I laughed about that. What was joyful to me was that so many people stopped to ask how the woman was. If they could help her. Different races asked her.  I thought about her. About she and her husband. Probably a long marriage together. I wondered about them. Their life together. What joys and pains shared. What sorrows. 

I realize now that she was much younger than my own parents.  My mother could have baby sat her!  She would have been a KID to my mother and father! For example my mother, born in 1924. My father in 1920. Mom would have been 95 this year and dad, 99 had they lived this long. Those born in the 1930s are VERY old and dying out. Those after beginning to. Even MY generation is beginning to die out. I always marveled at what my parents had seen. What progress. My mother never knew of iPhones having died in 2001. Dad may have heard of them but never seen  one having died in 2008. I remember the excitement of a black and white television when I was a kid. My parents knew the wonder of computers but never experienced them as part of their lives. They were distant things of wonder. I wonder what the last great WOW technology will be for me before I die. Perhaps nothing because even now, so much has becoming boring. Smart phones boring having  exhausted their WOW factor. Now the only “wow” factor are the prices on them. The same with computers. Even films full of great special effects. Robots are something I have lived with for much of my life in science fiction and now in reality. 

My parents grew-up with the wonders of nature they took for granted.  It was part of their life, especially my father. There were old growth forests and clean water in abundance. 

I think now of what would create a sense of wonder to me in my old age. What would be the greatest sense of “WOW” to me? Would it be some technological break through?

No. If it could be made to happen somehow… it would be to see old growth forests and waters that are clean. Air pure and fit to breathe. 

Memories

Yesterday at work, the owner of the company went on and on about some stupid shit that happened at the company a few years ago. He wanted to make me feel uncomfortable about it. A few people had blown their holiday pay by being late. I was one of them. I think? I know I was one year. I then begged for him to let it slide. I don’t remember the incident. I believe it happened. The Owner kept going on and on about some “cosmic meaning” and I told him I don’t believe in that shit and told him it was weird he hung on to that memory. I walked away letting him babble on. 

Mental Babylon. 

Today a coworker rattled off the particulars and people of a time years ago. I vaguely remembered it. I never think stuff from work is worth remembering. It all seems to blend together. Of no importance to me unless it was an extreme event. 

Mental Babylon. 

So many hold onto memories that have meaning to them but are nothing  to me. I know that many things I remember are nothing to others. I don’t remember that much it seems to me. It feels like heavy lifting. Holding on to memories. I vaguely remember girl friends and events in those relationships. I have few memories of anything in my school years except for the extremely traumatic. Yet others remember so many details – or claim to. To me it’s hoarding. What THEY may remember is different from others of the same event. Sometimes memory is just PAINFUL. Such as for example, remembering what my dog looked like. I don’t want to remember. I do not want to remember how much I loved him and what great times we had. How he died. Yes I remember THAT. I don’t want to inflict pain on myself with memory. 

I think it’s a good thing in me that I don’t remember a lot. I don’t hold onto stuff. I think now that the mind needs to travel light. Let go of the baggage and keep open to the present not weighed down by the past.

Old Me Now

I never thought I would live to be 63. I never thought I would live to be 50. I never thought my body could take so many years in that factory. Or my mind and emotion the life I lived. Yet here I am waking up with cramps and pains all over my body. My mind seems at times more lucid than ever. I go into work and try not to shuffle and hunch when I walk. “Stand up straight!” I yell at myself. Then mutter, “have some dignity”. 

There was a science fiction horror fantasy TV program in my youth titled, THE TWILIGHT ZONE. I used-to often feel a sense of dread as I watched it. Almost claustrophobia for the characters often caught in their predicaments. Here I am full circle back to that same feeling I had watching that old TV show. Now, I feel I am a character in one of it’s episodes.  An achey old man in debt that never saved or did not feel I would live long enough for that. I thought social security would be my safety net yet that may not be there for me due to idiot politicians. What can I do to SURVIVE? Keep being a valid useful worker. Never slack off. Push through the pain and the slower healing wounds. Try not to get cut or bruised because blood thinners make me bleed a lot and the bruises are epic. The owner of the company I work for is stupid about people and insane about life, I believe. I used-to argue with him then came to fear he could destroy me. Kick me out in the blink of an eye. A whim of ego and emotion. I am at his mercy and that of my boss who could quit any time because he doesn’t need the money. Yet he DOES have more understanding of me and how I may feel at this age. My boss and I go back a long long time. He’s seen a lot of my blood there 😉 He’s seen me go down and rise up many times. I always rise up. 

Yet here I am in that Twilight Zone episode of my own living. Wondering if the next faltering step will take me down and there will be no Rising. There won’t be enough ibuprofen to keep me pushing through the pain. It’s a living nightmare every day there. Other times it’s a comfortable sense of accomplishment that I have BEEN there so long when so many could not take it or had the luxury of retirement. 

I look in wonder at the energy of my younger coworkers. How fast they can move. How much they TALK … and talk without any real meaning. Like neurotic barking dogs. “Was I ever that way”? I sometimes ask myself?  “Yes and probably worse” I admit, shaking my head laughing. 

My hand hurt typing this. I often hit the comma key instead of the period key. I tell my boss I can’t do assembly like I once did. Or type as I once did. I don’t think he gets it except… his wife has arthritis. He gets it a little. He’s also had old dogs that creep around trying to keep up with the younger dogs.

That’s me.

On the bright side of things, I was able to shit without straining or bleeding today.

My sense of humor is better than ever.

Practice, I guess.

My feelings of compassion and empathy are stronger than ever.

Practice, I guess. 

My sense of self confidence is stronger. 

At the same time,

A stronger bowing to the universe sense of humility is there

A smaller ego 

Shaved away stroke by stroke

Year by year.

I am divorced and have someone far away that SAYS they are my, “girl friend” but I don’t feel it. I been through so much I am skeptical of so much.

But hey,

I got a bird in a big damn cage in my kitchen. Bird don’t give a damn about me unless there is food in pinched fingers. “Here Buddy, have a sunflower seed”. It gives ME joy. Like thinking of that bird when I shuffle bent over at work. Stand up straight! You got a bird to take care of! 

Yeah it’s nuts and pathetic but I got a bird. 

I got a bird. 

That’s what I got.

I smile sometimes thinking about that bird.

‘Cause that’s what I got now:

Little joys that make life have meaning.

Every Moment, A New Year

I do not believe in New Years Resolutions.

Every DAY we start a new year

A new life

By choosing new views

New paths

New ways.

Every day we have the opportunity for Change

Every moment,

Is an opportunity for Change

We decide if the change we choose will be 

Good 

Or bad.

If life throws us good or bad changes

WE decide how we will face those changes

Face life

Face ourselves and others.

Every moment we can help ourselves or others 

With a simple spark of mind

Or help ourselves.

Every moment we can build a world

Or help to shut it down.

Every day 

Every moment 

We can start a new year

A new life.