Tag Archives: life

STRESS TEST

 

20160414-A40A0660

 

Everyone is old or fat
like feed bunk cattle
sorted to a pen to wait
for the magic of machines
to screen the heart—
the pump and pipelines
to mind and flesh.

In the 60s I was sure
I’d never see thirty,
made no plans past the Draft
on the other side of tomorrow.

The army trained her
for Desert Storm
right out of high school.
She shaves my chest,
connects the wires.

                    Knees squeak,
                    feet clop,
                    fast at first,
                    slow to find
                    a longer stride
                    on the treadmill.

From the sidelines,
a new team on the field
to keep the machinery
running a little longer,
another election to survive
like all the rest.

I drive home lightheaded,
endorphins mixed
with a muggy sky,
chance of thunderstorms
and fire, now that we have grass—
wild oats over my head.

No straight line,
the road to here
ricocheted with heart,
a flush of passion
left at every curve
I cannot measure,
barely remember
as reducing stress.

ALWAYS MOMENTS

 

20151219-IMG_5493

 

On the weather map
watching the storm slide
slowly down the Sierras,

a green right arm wraps
around San Jose,
counterclockwise,

headed toward this warm
midsection, and I wonder:
with an upper cut of cold?

—wet inch down already,
as if the gods are on a mission
to treat us squarely—

as if there is a plan
to anything,
or just random rolls

we learn to adjust to
moment after moment
never seen before!

 

ALONG THE WAY

 

20150606-IMG_4029

 

No sense.
Nonsense.

Sometimes most clearly
through the eyes
of the bewildered

we see ourselves
spawned upon this earth
not as peacemakers

nor avenging angels,
but fallible and human
driven to plod on.

How do we find our grace
like salmon,
like rattlesnakes

born elsewhere?
How do we know the way
it makes us,

shapes us
into words,
into song?

                              for Merilee

 

CLICHÉS

 

The clichés rained
when I was young
like hollow outlines

I was destined to fill
with real details—
sayings tested with

practice dodging
bullets with agility
and dumb luck

to get old enough
to speak at funerals
of a few good friends

who rode with me,
or saw it all
from a distance:

no straight track
ricocheting minefields
heavily invested

in the senses. But
no longer hackneyed
hints for youth,

they become fresh,
reborn with answers
at our fingertips.

 

OLD MEN WHITTLING

 

IMG_2659

 
I had forgotten small minds
of old men whining,
the Sisyphus among us

whittling clever epithets,
quivers-full of poisoned-tipped
displeasures flung

at the centers of open hearts
in full bloom
I had not yet seen.

                                     for Curtis