Now I’m seeing you, Old Man,
From the inside out, and I think I know
You better today, finally recognize
Your silence, your sentence, your view
From that over-stuffed chair
Where you stared back at me looking
For who you were. Still, I try to read your lips
On my mouth in the mirror, the eyebrows
And grin, mugging those tired eyes,
Your baggage, the bitter loneliness you
Couldn’t hide tumbling across the tournament
Of lies. Occasionally we’re awed by beauty
Passing by our observation posts. Wry
Patience is learned in waiting rooms.
We haul this hollow business, our husks
Of bony air, those weathered chrysalises
Decaying, into the storm. Don’t they call it joy?
Rebirth? This transformation to dust?
Their version of “love” you called a crusade,
A bloody sideshow of lust—and your cynicism
They were quick to call selfishness—
An excuse to drink, escape the labors of the lost,
Practice avoiding your duty, their job.
And their cure for you and your ilk, promised
New life, a key to your prison cell and guaranteed
A position in Clown-Hall. Scoffing at those
Gatekeepers of Hell, you knew they could hide
But never deny death row. And the meaning
You strove to find gave way to gray hair
And repeated lines till finally you put
The books aside, sat down and waited
For the change. After fifty-some years
Of murder, tears, hypocrisy and pain, you
Just quit—booze, reading, or ranting about it—
You clammed-up—there wasn’t much to say.
So now when I see you in me and know
I’m running out of words to spew—losing
Interest in my witty ways to grab attention—
I wonder who is who, you in me, maybe
Me in you. This spark we carry forward,
This flicker in the flames, flare and ember,
Spirit or DNA, burning and dying—
We disappear and appear again
To give in—this losing is what we do.