COMES A TIME – Then and Now

“What makes old age hard to bear is not the failing of one’s faculties, mental and physical, but the burden of one’s memories.” – W. Somerset Maugham

*

Then & Now

*

It is approaching summer and a dead leaf lies in the wet grass visibly shaking in the wind, as if it had a season of splendor ahead of it to foliage in the stifling green of the Berkshires. Each day in New England trembles with the excitement of not knowing which way the wind blows, cold and damp or hot and humid. Here mold grows between the teeth of timber, and under the fingernails of anything that scratches above the surface of the firmament. I am here for whatever reason the universe is nudging me towards eternity, and I am thankful for the Innkeepers courtesy. Everything I do lends itself to everything I need to do, subconsciously, or in my face, to get to where I have always been moving towards.

Some days are better than others. This is not a frivolous axiom but a fact of passing through. If one travels down memory lane, those long stretches of highway, where nothing passes but the lines between oncoming trials and tribulations, and all of that that lingers momentarily in the rear view mirror; what should remain is those short breaths of life coming from a whisper of thank you. There is no need to shout or exclaim, for anything a decibel above silence is all that is needed to revel in the beauty of the moment.

Mi esposa waits on my journey south. When togetherness is but a week away, after a long journey through a winter apart, separation brings a sadness that needs only a sweet hello, a smile, an eye to eye understanding that longing is no longer a part of communication.

Behind me a blur of activity, dissolution and expectation sliding into a distant memory, the cork swollen and dry, never again needing to fit, for the bottle well received is graciously empty. Nothing left for the gods. The names of faces and places never forgotten, like the last drabs of winter’s snow wait on the curb ready to fall into the gutter and disappear down the drain. Three thousand miles later, the street sweepers brush away the remnants of a winter’s memory while a golden butterfly dances on the light of a brilliant bougainvillea.

Days now have names like Lunes, Viernes, Sabado and Domingo, and come and go at their own pace, in this place, now called home. A dominion of diamonds and dust where wealth buys you a view and more rooms then you’ll ever need to live in.

When the connection between then and now times out, it doesn’t really matter. Your mind refocuses on the immediate, dogs talk to one another and their barks echo across the mountains with the boom booms. There is a constant cluck and trill nullifying chatter, implanting the sheen of afterrain on the blossoms of a peaceful mind. Dawn has shifted from the alarming dark entrance into day’s hustle—the 5 a.m. lurch into insanity; to a subtle awareness, casually around 8 or 9; the gentle scraping at the bedroom door suggesting the cats want breakfast, roosters rolling their r’s wafting in chorus from the village below, a mist of light washing the dust from your eyes, an appreciation that life has for the moment in eternity, settled here on the shores of Lake Chapala.

**

There’s a seasonal thing

about this life we live

benchmarks that have a history,

quarterly objectives unmet and mastered,

a mile marker that you remember

in passing along the way.

good feelings ingrain themselves

at a very early age and never let go,

only, if only you enter laughing,

and somehow never let go

of the possibility, no matter

how slight the meaning,

of joy

for misery needs a definition

and wanting comes with loss.

There are blocks of life where life has left

holes in the garment I was born to wear.

years where the waves came crashing in,

and years where the sands tumbled into empty spaces

leaving gold nuggets and empty shells,

sucked into the undertow of subliminal anxiety

and fear of knowing,

into the comfort

of silence and forgetfulness.

nothing to hide,

nothing to remember,

the broom and dustpan of our memory

sweeping anything and everything

into the holes we create in our conscience

where all,

all thoughts and actions,

from the sublime to the inhumane,

can be forgiven.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comes A Time – In-Between Before and After

“You get old and you realize there are no answers, just stories.” – Garrison Keillor

*

In-Between Before and After

*

I was floundering on, as usual, until she gave my soul a slap—well deserved at that. I dug myself out of the fiction of life and devoured the books on enlightenment she gave me to read. She wondered if I had the will power to see the light. It was all candlelight at first. Then slowly, over time, my mind’s eye adjusted to the sunlight that entered my life.

Maybe it helped, maybe it didn’t. I hit bottom and bounced back. I got a job with insurance. If that wasn’t bait enough to entice her to give it another go—I finally had a home for her to come back to. I was still dubious about whether angels actually existed, at least in my dimension. Until that is, I decided to quit smoking. I did it the hard way—lung cancer. And those new age guru quantum mystic holistic health specialists she turned me on to—maybe they helped, maybe they didn’t, but at least I’m not now working on re-incarnation therapy.

She was a reluctant angel, but she saved my life. Because of her I learned to listen. What baffles the body at times undermines the spirit. Yet the body-mind intention is ever clear. The essence of some sensibility so out of place, so foreign in a private space—was there—and wanted me to be aware. I had come to understand that what is received by one cell, entering the vast emptiness, is complete in every sense. Nothing enters the body and is not heard, and I heard the cancer deep in the dark recesses of my lung.

Everybody knows about the hole in the bucket. It’s where reality, the visible world on the other side of the plate glass window of your mind, slowly leaks into the emptiness of time and space. Until one day you find you have arrived in the here and now, and the bucket’s empty.

How was it that the illusion of happiness, the lingering smell of sweat and damp sheets, the cocoon of comfort wrapped around my brain, could, in the course of a conversation, over a cup of coffee, or sitting on the edge of the bed, turn into an aloneness, without substance, an accumulation of a lifetime of togetherness with nothing to hold onto. Waking to nobodies home anymore meant I was left with my own rewards.

She had told me it was never complicated—if you can’t cook, stay out of the kitchen. If you don’t love yourself, leave romance well enough alone. I had put her emails in a folder in my memory box along with the record album of the music we loved—it had a groove in it where the heartache began.

That was in-between before and after. The lung grew back nice and white like a nun’s wimple. I learned to cook and felt good about shaving the face in the mirror.

*

It’s Just a Story

*

It’s just a story. Albeit our story.

I’m not questioning it.

How far can you take it,

this syncopathic relationship?

This vibrational accompaniment?

A tumor grows in me, and so too with you.

Aware in empathetic wonderment

to the extreme possibly.

Awash in dawns’ subtle light

the trill of a mock of blue birds

through the open window,

a purr at the foot of the bed. 

What more needs to be said?

To share another day,

to be so awake in how love reaches out

and defines itself without words

is unquestionably our story

nothing unreasonable happens

and there you are

wandering around a room

full of memories.

good ones mind you,

for nothing should be carried forward

that does not shed a light

on the loving side of you

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comes A Time – Senescent Choices

 

“It is a mistake to regard age as a downhill grade toward dissolution. The reverse is true.  As one grows older, one climbs with surprising strides.” –  George Sand

 

Senescent Choices

 

Life it seems is what I wake up with. All of a sudden it is today. Sure, I have a few aches and pains. Daily my body expands and flattens, my feet grow wider as I shrink. Not going gently into the night bits and pieces fall apart, are manufactured and left overnight on my nightstand. I am here, having journeyed a lifetime to get to where I have a need to step out of the picture, and elevate the consciousness of illusion in an endeavor to know myself.

We don’t travel on an unmarked road, however, it is possible to miss the milestones and signs along the way that provide choices. Sometimes we need to recollect what just happened along the route in order to make sense of it all. Sometimes oncoming decisions need to be made immediately without the opportunity to reflect, and if we don’t pay attention, the road may just come to a dead end having missed our cutoff. That’s where choice comes in. Cancer was a sign that said time to turn here.

A sexagenarian friend of mine is financially able to retire comfortably, but remains dedicated to pursuing a line of work he says all his previous working life has led him to. After an expensive divorce, a bout with cancer and lingering aftermath, an early golden handshake, and a gift card from the government for officially being old, you’d think it would be time to stop expanding in the universal scheme of things, whoadown, slow down, leave behind the rebound, spend time staying healthy doing the daily comealong, and not much more. Anything but back to work. Yet. Who knows where that road may lead?

I’m not saying that it’s ever time to stop. If you don’t use it, you know, it wears down from lack of friction with life, and rusts. Neuroscience research shows the brain’s biological growth reaches full maturity around age 25. If it did keep growing no one would be able to wear those ubiquitous baseball caps. Continuous higher learning and occupational attainment, on the other hand changes the brain and every experience brings on cognitive growth. Decision making, planning, relationships, the part of the brain that makes us human just keeps chucking along when we use it, for better or worse. H.L. Mencken’s observation that the older he grew, the more he distrusted the familiar doctrine that age brings wisdom probably has some merit based on some of the curmudgeons I know. Older brains chock full of expert erudition relevant to a pursuit or passion when utilized for solving problems and coming up with solutions slows the mental aging process.

So who’s to say which is the better choice, keeping the pedal to the metal on the road you’re on, or taking the next turn to follow your dreams? No matter how long it takes there is an ending to everything. Is it possible that what we are after, after all, is an expression of self, and in that an understanding of what it is we are meant to do? All choices are worthy of consideration, or for what reason would we have to wonder, we have to question. I made the choice to follow my dream and take the exit heading for a quiet (sometimes) small village on the shore of Lake Chapala, Mexico, and have no regrets. As John Barrymore put it: “man is not old until regrets take the place of dreams.”

 

Senior moments

gray cells synapsing

and disappearing into the ozone,

looking forever

for what’s right in

front of you.

in the ungluing of the universe

as you contemplate

the oneness of the world

the mindful exercise of being

in the moment,

goes beyond an ephemeral thought,

a shortness of breath,

and becomes reality

as we perceive it

a cocktail of awe and wonder

with an olive of doubt.

 

Available on Amazon

 

 

Comes A Time – A Coming of Age

A Coming of Age

 

As a certifiable Septuagenarian I now, on occasion, think about aging and growing old. I suppose it comes with the body politic. Never have liked the word “old” unless, as Francis Bacon remarked it appears to be best in four things; old wood best to burn, old wine to drink, old friends to trust, and old authors to read.

A 2009 Pew Research study indicated that the average respondent believed old age begins in the mid-sixties, and older as opposed to younger believed old age started at a much later point. That’s a no brainer. In a Daily Mail article, according to young Brits, old age starts at 52. I’ll have none of it. I knew someday if the good lord willing I might reach the seventh age of man described by Jacque in William Shakespeare’s As You Like It; as second childishness and mere oblivion, sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything…and all that didn’t sound too appealing to me.

Living in the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts old was in; New Yorkers and Bostonians fought over decrepit chairs and 3 legged tables once buried in the dust of damp and moldy barns, on sale as priceless antiques of the not so ancient pilgrims. Malcolm Cowley in his book of personal essays, The View from Eighty he quotes an octogenarian friend “They tell you that you lose your mind when you grow older, but what they don’t tell you is that you won’t miss if very much.”

The word “old” needs a little help standing on its own, and it has nothing to do with canes and walkers, it’s the tags that follows it around like an old dog: old bag, old fogey, and old timer. I can relate to defining old as of former times, like days of old, having been aged for a comparatively long time, as in old brandy. My commanding officer in the Air Force was the old man, and that was acceptable. Unacceptable would be the terminology dating back to 1775 for wife or mother as the old lady. That might have worked for the founding fathers but politically incorrect today. Mi Esposa occasionally has to remind me “you’re getting old honey,” but that’s usually when certain parts of my anatomy won’t take no for an answer. The word aging on the other hand is the process of becoming older. In the narrow sense, the term refers to biological aging of human beings, and other living creatures.

Lewis Thomas writes in his book of essays The Fragile Species: “It is possible to say all sorts of good things about aging when you are talking about aging free of meddling diseases.  It is an absolutely unique stage of human life—the only stage in which one has both the freedom and the world’s blessing to look back and contemplate what has happened during one’s lifetime instead of pressing forward to new high deeds.”

Here’s the rub, things can and do go south in the process of aging: one thing after another goes wrong, and the cumulative impact of these failures is the image of aging. However, normal aging is not a disease at all, but a stage of living that cannot be averted or bypassed except in one way, nicely summed up by Maurice Chevalier; “Old age isn’t so bad when you consider the alternative.” Nevertheless many regard aging as a slow death with everything going wrong. Florida Pier Scott-Maxwell, a playwright, author and psychologist, nearing her nineties wrote “When a new disability arrives, I look about me to see if death has come, and I call quietly, ‘Death, is that you? Are you there?’ and so far the disability has answered, ‘Don’t be silly. It’s me.”

When I finally did come to the awareness I was aging somewhat, I was encouraged by the latest discoveries in cell biology—my body, with a few exceptions has a makeover every 10 years or so with old cells discarded and new ones generated, the pace depending on the workload. Why I don’t act my physical age is because there are some ornery cells hanging in there from birth to death. My brain has mind of its own and doesn’t generate new neurons except in mediating the sense of smell, and where I remember faces and places. I’m not there yet, but I guess someday I could be referred to as an old fart.

Doris Lessing wrapped it all up for me when she said, “The great secret that all old people share is that you really haven’t changed in seventy or eighty years. Your body changes, but you don’t change at all. And that, of course, causes great confusion.” I want to think I’ve aged more like a gem of polished driftwood washed up on a white sandy shore rather than a gnarly old oak tree all bark, no bite.

Aging vacillates

between acceptance and intolerance

or is it that we reach a stage of gestation

where we just don’t care

to hold anything inside, anymore.

*

A stage of -agenarian development

where it’s not worth maintaining

a decorum of politeness

when it comes to natural functions;

breathing,

expressing an opinion,

and of course flatulating.

Bodily functions have a humor all their own;

kids guffaw at farts,

women smile at fluffs,

and old farts just don’t give a damn.

Nobody talks about it. 

Everyone turns their head and ignores it. 

Life goes on.

*

On a given day, everything consumed,

is digested and then exuded.

It’s how books are written and read.

thoughts are shaped and spread,

how life absorbs creation

and is put to bed.

 

 

 

Available on Amazon  $5.50

 

 

 

Comes A Time – Comes a Time essay

Comes a Time

 

Comes a time, comes a time for dying when the shadow walks away. Up until it dawned on me in an evening of sunsets, it wasn’t anything I paid much attention to. Lacking an extended family to speak of, in half a century anyone who passed left me out of the equation. Everyone in my life came and went like two trains going in the opposite direction, a blur of faces in the windows.

I remember my first coffin. In grade 6 the nuns marched us out of class and across the street to Dwyer Funeral Home to say a meek little benediction over the body of someone they told us was important. To this day I cannot lie on my back with my hands folded over my chest. As an adult I avoided funerals as an end of life ceremony and preferred to remember the good things about the person I had known, that way they never really died on me.

My mother at 87 was the first personal close encounter with the reality that there really was the possibility I would end up in the proverbial dustbin. No open coffin though, cremation without ceremony was her option—she was heading straight for heaven. That was a lifetime ago. Since then aging has played games with the face in the mirror. And although I’m not particularly thrilled about having to end the journey I’m on, in the end the choice will be a foregone conclusion.

I do know that I have come full circle. In youth when everyday was sunrise and life engrossed all my senses, dying was a destiny I gave no thought to, and now having discarded time as irrelevant, reveling in the life that surrounds me, relegates death to just a likely possibility when the music stops playing. I can now reflect on the knowledge that dying is a part of living. Never so clear to me now that I live in a small Mexican village where it is an accepted part of daily life. For the first time I have been able to visit my neighbors coffin and remember him as he was and always will be in the hearts of those who passed his way. The familia celebración of el Abuelo brought tears to my eyes, not only for the sadness of those left behind, but for all the celebrations I missed thinking death was not something I cared to pay mind to.

The music I love no longer plays at the top of the charts, and the melodies that rattle in my morning mind are vinyl stages of life that began and ended like mile markers on the interstate. No matter how long it takes there is an ending to everything. Is it possible that what I was after, after all, was an expression of self, and that’s all I will leave behind? In the finale there could wellness be, the inauguration of the end of what I started out to do in the very beginning. I still cannot lie back with my hands folded over my chest, not for fear of dying, but because I want to reach out and hold on to everything.

 

 

 

Available on Amazon: $5.50

SEN-ESSENCE – senior moments

 old man on street corner
This will be my last posting of the SEN-ESSENCE poems for a little while, as I have been consumed with another literary project, and have not had the time to focus on the blog. My apologies for not responding in kind to those who have commented and liked these poems, I will do my best to return the visits.  My internet connection is somewhat slow here in my little Mexican village, so it does take some time to reach all the blogs I love to visit.  The picture could be me waiting for an internet connection.

 

 

Senior moments

gray cells synapsing

and disappearing into the ozone,

looking forever

for what’s right in

front of you.

 

in the ungluing of the universe

as you contemplate

the oneness of the world

 

the mindful exercise of being

in the moment,

 

goes beyond an ephemeral thought,

a shortness of breath,

 

and becomes reality

as we perceive it

 

a cocktail of awe and wonder

with an olive of doubt.

 

Most of the photography accompanying the poems are from a photo essay of the elderly (los Ancianos) who reside around Lake Chapala, Mexico.  Los Ancianos, published in 2013, can be found on Antonio Ramblés travels! Blog:  www.antoniorambles.com

SEN-ESSENCE – some days

 SEN-ESSENCE, “on the art of aging’ published in 2010, is available on amazon.  After being officially labelled “old” at 65 by the Canadian Gov’t, in SEN-ESSENCE, over the last many years, I have explored the aging process (senescence), and the attributes (essence) that make us who we fundamentally are – forever young at heart.

13

 

Some days

a wasp is crawling up your pant leg.

first snow intrudes, an omen of more to come.

 

Some days come and go,

when you can’t remember

what shirt you wore yesterday,

what you had for lunch,

what you were supposed to

pick up on the way home.

 

thankful you have a home,

a mindful nutherday

still growing, and shedding, not wasting

away – after all these years.

 

some days are troublesome

some trouble free.

some full of fend and forgive

with a promise of a better day.

 

joyful of remembering in kindness

all that has passed away,

still knowing and believing

everything,       now,

in wonder to perceive

forever,                        here to stay

 

Most of the photography accompanying the poems are from a photo essay of the elderly (los Ancianos) who reside around Lake Chapala, Mexico.  Los Ancianos, published in 2013, can be found on Antonio Ramblés travels! Blog:  www.antoniorambles.com

SEN-ESSENCE – when you think upon it

 SEN-ESSENCE, “on the art of aging’ published in 2010, is available on amazon.  After being officially labelled “old” at 65 by the Canadian Gov’t, in SEN-ESSENCE, over the last many years, I have explored the aging process (senescence), and the attributes (essence) that make us who we fundamentally are – forever young at heart.

12

 

When you think upon it

no need

not to let the rooster crow.

 

just be glad you are in hearing distance.

 

no need to stop the rain,

seed the snow,

restrain from letting go.

 

no need to fear

for the divine evolution

is the letting go.

 

when you think upon it

what takes place,

what you weather

and are thankful for,

 

is but an awakening grace

needing not

but to let the rooster crow

 

just be glad

in the greeting

of another day

 

Most of the photography accompanying the poems are from a photo essay of the elderly (los Ancianos) who reside around Lake Chapala, Mexico.  Los Ancianos, published in 2013, can be found on Antonio Ramblés travels! Blog:  www.antoniorambles.com

SEN-ESSENCE – so it is

 SEN-ESSENCE, “on the art of aging’ published in 2010, is available on amazon.  After being officially labelled “old” at 65 by the Canadian Gov’t, in SEN-ESSENCE, over the last many years, I have explored the aging process (senescence), and the attributes (essence) that make us who we fundamentally are – forever young at heart.

11

 

So it is

that old is

as old does

nurtured on the past

 

imagine everything you perceive

as nothing other than a decaying dream,

aging in an only lifetime

 

the willow would last forever

rebirthing in the soil

of your content

 

birds would sleep with the elephants

 

aging, a thing of the past,

a shadow creeping slowly up behind you

 

fragile is

as fragile does

tempered in the mold

 

cast before there ever was

 

bent and shaped by the wind

 

we remain

just the same as always

 

some age like the oak

others like the weed

 

all have work to do

all feed the soul of the gardener

 

who plants the seed

and waits for someone

who knows

there is nothing to forgive

 

so it is

through thick and thin

we learn to walk

we learn to swim

 

to crawl

from beneath the waves

time and time again

 

hello

 

goodbye

 

and in-between

 

a subtle sigh

 

 

Most of the photography accompanying the poems are from a photo essay of the elderly (los Ancianos) who reside around Lake Chapala, Mexico.  Los Ancianos, published in 2013, can be found on Antonio Ramblés travels! Blog:  www.antoniorambles.com

SEN-ESSENCE – what do they do with your email

 SEN-ESSENCE, “on the art of aging’ published in 2010, is available on amazon.  After being officially labelled “old” at 65 by the Canadian Gov’t, in SEN-ESSENCE, over the last many years, I have explored the aging process (senescence), and the attributes (essence) that make us who we fundamentally are – forever young at heart.

10

 

What do they do with your email, when

your laptop becomes part of a tag sale?

 

you are out there now

reluctantly exposed on cyberspace.

a digital footprint

arthritic, calloused, fatigued,

and wary of the web.

 

generationally a pre-TV

analog relic, in love

with the ease of exploring

for the moment, the now.

 

someday someone stumbles on

your netlingo, a litany

of acronyms and leetspeak.

 

for what it’s worth,

garage sales are more obtrusive.

your life grandfathered on tables

and lawns, perused and fondled by bargain hunters.

 

eventually, everything is disposed of.

time as we know it,

the only barter

separating us from the inevitable.

 

Most of the photography accompanying the poems are from a photo essay of the elderly (los Ancianos) who reside around Lake Chapala, Mexico.  Los Ancianos, published in 2013, can be found on Antonio Ramblés travels! Blog:  www.antoniorambles.com

SEN-ESSENCE – aging vacillates between acceptance and intolerance

SEN-ESSENCE, “on the art of aging’ published in 2010, is available on amazon.  After being officially labelled “old” at 65 by the Canadian Gov’t, in SEN-ESSENCE, over the last many years, I have explored the aging process (senescence), and the attributes (essence) that make us who we fundamentally are – forever young at heart.

9

 

Aging vacillates between acceptance and intolerance

or is it that we reach a stage of gestation

where we just don’t care

to hold anything inside, anymore.

 

A stage of -agenarian development

where it’s not worth maintaining

a decorum of politeness

when it comes to natural functions;

breathing,

expressing an opinion,

and of course flatulating.

 

Bodily functions have a humor all their own;

kids guffaw at farts,

women smile at fluffs,

and old farts just don’t give a damn.

 

Nobody talks about it.

Everyone turns their head and ignores it.

Life goes on.

 

On a given day, everything consumed,

is digested and then exhumed.

 

It’s how books are written and read.

It’s how thoughts are shaped and spread,

how life absorbs creation

and is put to bed.

 

Most of the photography accompanying the poems are from a photo essay of the elderly (los Ancianos) who reside around Lake Chapala, Mexico.  Los Ancianos, published in 2013, can be found on Antonio Ramblés travels! Blog:  www.antoniorambles.com

SEN-ESSENCE – men as they age

 SEN-ESSENCE, “on the art of aging’ published in 2010, is available on amazon.  After being officially labelled “old” at 65 by the Canadian Gov’t, in SEN-ESSENCE, over the last many years, I have explored the aging process (senescence), and the attributes (essence) that make us who we fundamentally are – forever young at heart.

8

 

Men as they age

turn into cooks and cleaners

as if the less they have to do,

the more they are able to do,

in the art of living

 

for some, the mechanics of it

gives way to the subtle blending

of ginger, curry, and fresh cut vegetables,

sautéing in a pot thirsty for broth.

 

for others, living in a space

compatible with the essence generated

by a loving relationship, playing upon

the subtlety of the moment,

the aliveness of the moment,

just being in a dance together

simmering in a sensuous sauce.

 

then again not all men intend

upon the now and again,

and sadly miss the point of being

able to give and let live,

in the art of living.

 

Most of the photography accompanying the poems are from a photo essay of the elderly (los Ancianos) who reside around Lake Chapala, Mexico.  Los Ancianos, published in 2013, can be found on Antonio Ramblés travels! Blog:  www.antoniorambles.com

SEN-ESSENCE – re-tire, re-tread, re-make

 SEN-ESSENCE, “on the art of aging’ published in 2010, is available on amazon.  After being officially labelled “old” at 65 by the Canadian Gov’t, in SEN-ESSENCE, over the last many years, I have explored the aging process (senescence), and the attributes (essence) that make us who we fundamentally are – forever young at heart.

7

 

Re-tire, Re-tread, Re- make,

time comes

when you need to stop expanding

in the universal scheme of things

whoadown, slow down,

leave behind the rebound,

spend time staying healthy doing the daily

comealong, and not much more.

 

Re-mind, re-start, re-take,

go with the flow of a transcending theme

quantity dis-abled, quality en-abled,

joy embedded in the doing and so much more.

 

It’s all about making room

for the new shoots,

nature nudging you to go out and play,

 

reinventing yourself versus

becoming  a product

of a disposable world.

 

If you don’t use it,

you know,

it wears down

from lack of friction with life,

and rusts.

 

Most of the photography accompanying the poems are from a photo essay of the elderly (los Ancianos) who reside around Lake Chapala, Mexico.  Los Ancianos, published in 2013, can be found on Antonio Ramblés travels! Blog:  www.antoniorambles.com

 

SEN-ESSENCE – I want to paint a picture with words

 SEN-ESSENCE, “on the art of aging’ published in 2010, is available on amazon.  After being officially labelled “old” at 65 by the Canadian Gov’t, in SEN-ESSENCE, over the last many years, I have explored the aging process (senescence), and the attributes (essence) that make us who we fundamentally are – forever young at heart.

6

 

I want to paint a picture with words

for you to look upon in wonder

at the texture,

the composition,

the blending of content

with color and awe.

 

I want to write a poem

that you would want to frame

and hang on a wall.

 

Possibly crocheted or,

etched into a shellacked heart.

 

A poem that could be

engraved on a floor mat

welcoming you to my home or kitchen.

 

The ultimate of course

would be my poem,

blended on black velvet

with a picture of Elvis.

 

Then again maybe a line or two

to be read at a morning meeting,

embossed on the top of a covey calendar

 

I want to build something

with words, that makes you stop the car,

step-out, stand in wonder,

admiring the grace, the majesty

the complexity of form and motion

where nothing stands still

everything is moving in a dance

of vibrational energy.

 

If able, with the right word, the perfect

medium, a stroke of the pen in a dance upon a page

that generates an emotional response,

unexpected, controversial, intriguing.

 

A poem in color that states

 

what I intend

 

and you feel

 

Most of the photography accompanying the poems are from a photo essay of the elderly (los Ancianos) who reside around Lake Chapala, Mexico.  Los Ancianos, published in 2013, can be found on Antonio Ramblés travels! Blog:  www.antoniorambles.com

SEN-ESSENCE – you have everywhere to go

 SEN-ESSENCE, “on the art of aging’ published in 2010, is available on amazon.  After being officially labelled “old” at 65 by the Canadian Gov’t, in SEN-ESSENCE, over the last many years, I have explored the aging process (senescence), and the attributes (essence) that make us who we fundamentally are – forever young at heart.

5

 

You have everywhere to go

and nowhere to get to,

other than where you are,

for reasons not your own.

 

This senescence, is not what was expected.

Time a diminishing number of cells

doubling, in the immediate,

only potentially treatable.

 

Life it seems is what you wake up with.

All of a sudden it is today.

 

Sure, you have a few aches and pains.

Daily your body expands and flattens,

your feet grow wider as you shrink.

 

Not going gently into night

bits and pieces fall apart

are manufactured

and left overnight on the nightstand.

 

It seems every morning the fractals

of your flesh have become more pronounced.

Bumps and blemishes appear and disappear,

mold, bacteria, and wrinkles

replacing the nip and tuck

of a body, once not in need of repair.

 

However, for reasons not your own,

a renewed presence continues

and everymorn is wonder

waiting to be recognized.

 

You are here, having journeyed a lifetime

to get to where you have a need

to step out of the picture,

and elevate the consciousness of illusion

in an endeavor to know yourself.

 

Most of the photography accompanying the poems are from a photo essay of the elderly (los Ancianos) who reside around Lake Chapala, Mexico.  Los Ancianos, published in 2013, can be found on Antonio Ramblés travels! Blog:  www.antoniorambles.com

 

SEN-ESSENCE – there’s a seasonal thing about this life we live

 SEN-ESSENCE, “on the art of aging’ published in 2010, is available on amazon.  After being officially labelled “old” at 65 by the Canadian Gov’t, in SEN-ESSENCE, over the last many years, I have explored the aging process (senescence), and the attributes (essence) that make us who we fundamentally are – forever young at heart.

4

 

There’s a seasonal thing about this life we live

benchmarks that have a history,

quarterly objectives unmet and mastered,

a mile marker that you remember

in passing along the way.

good feelings ingrain themselves

at a very early age and never let go,

only, if only you enter laughing,

and somehow never let go

of the possibility, no matter

how slight the meaning of joy

for misery needs a definition

and wanting comes with loss.

There are blocks of life where life has left

holes in the garment I was born to wear.

years where the waves came crashing in,

and years where the sands tumbled into empty spaces

leaving gold nuggets and empty shells,

sucked into the undertow of subliminal anxiety

and fear of knowing,

into the comfort

of silence and forgetfulness.

nothing to hide,

nothing to remember,

the broom and dustpan of our memory

sweeping anything and everything

into the holes we create in our conscience

where all,  all thoughts and actions,

from the sublime to the inhumane,

can be forgiven.

Most of the photography accompanying the poems are from a photo essay of the elderly (los Ancianos) who reside around Lake Chapala, Mexico.  Los Ancianos, published in 2013, can be found on Antonio Ramblés travels! Blog:  www.antoniorambles.com

SEN-ESSENCE – this old apple tree

SEN-ESSENCE, “on the art of aging’ published in 2010, is available on amazon.  After being officially labelled “old” at 65 by the Canadian Gov’t, in SEN-ESSENCE, over the last many years, I have explored the aging process (senescence), and the attributes (essence) that make us who we fundamentally are – forever young at heart.
3

 

This old apple tree

is a holiday inn for birds.

A bastion of bugs that are room service

for anything that flies, crawls and festers.

.

I imagine me as a tree

with hot apple pie & ice cream

on the menu.

 

My blossoms, particularly beautiful,

a canopy for an apple crumb and coffee

on the deck, followed too soon

by the smell of rotting apples underfoot,

 

then naked, baring but an apple or two

hanging on like loose skin

flapping in winters’ long, cold, breath.

 

I imagine being reincarnate

offering a feast of fruit

in every lifetime.

 

I’m to look at it all,

the crusting apple tree

budding outside my window,

without imparting my perception

 

for then it becomes

all that I am.

 

Most of the photography accompanying the poems are from a photo essay of the elderly (los Ancianos) who reside around Lake Chapala, Mexico.  Los Ancianos, published in 2013, can be found on Antonio Ramblés travels! Blog:  www.antoniorambles.com

SEN-ESSENCE – a coming of age

  SEN-ESSENCE, “on the art of aging’ published in 2010, is available on amazon.  After being officially labelled “old” at 65 by the Canadian Gov’t, in SEN-ESSENCE, over the last many years, I have explored the aging process (senescence), and the attributes (essence) that make us who we fundamentally are – forever young at heart.
2

 

A Coming of Age

moves you from the center of the universe

to an ever expanding understanding

of just where you might fit in,

assuming of course you listen.

 

Some, like the snowdrops, enter in act one,

acknowledge an audience, and disappear.

Others, like the Hawthorne tree,

wait until everything around them blends

to the moment, guarding against trespass,

are last to leaf and first to leave.

 

Aging allows you to render the bark

around you as part of yourself.

Even in the shedding of mindfulness,

grey cells synapsing into the ozone,

everything meaning something closes in,

becomes important, if only to you,

and to what you are, to what you love,

and who loves you.

 

Some enter screaming onto a tapestry

of color that never dulls from the wear

and washing of lifetimes.

Others slip silently

into a white antiseptic wrap

their story never heard.

 

If you have managed to leave alone

everything that has touched you,

aging is the glue that sticks the pictures

to the pages of memories that mean the most.

 

Memories you cannot delete,

re-minding you of why you are here,

not just still here, in reflection

a meaning for being,

reflected in the hearts of everyone

that has orbited around your star.

 

Some age slowly, while others,

blossom and are gone.

 

Some stick like mud and harden

in the sunlight, others

a wisp of dust in a breeze.

 

When you reach a point

in the long deep obsidian season

of the mind, waiting to feel the reflection

of your story,  there appears out of nowhere

 

a covey of snowdrops huddled together

in a garden of dirt brown leaves and winter wreckage,

nature bare-armed; nothing standing

between the source of light and the receiver.

 

a point in time where,

rather than from the internal combustion

of a dark and dis-tempered soul,

in the comfort of an all encompassing light

 

there appears a promissory note

in the greeting of dawn

 

not just another day aging along, stumbling

upon potential fulfillment

 

just possibly coming to term

with the aging process

 

a process we never leave behind

or plan for

 

Comes an age where we are thankful

for the oneness of the day.

 

Comes an age asking only to be helpful

to be of service.

 

Comes an age where divine spirit

flows through you in love.

 

Most of the photography accompanying the poems are from a photo essay of the elderly (los Ancianos) who reside around Lake Chapala, Mexico.  Los Ancianos, published in 2013, can be found on Antonio Ramblés travels! Blog:  www.antoniorambles.com

 

SEN-ESSENCE – The music you love no longer plays

 SEN-ESSENCE, “on the art of aging’ published in 2010, is available on amazon.  After being officially labelled “old” at 65 by the Canadian Gov’t, in SEN-ESSENCE, over the last many years, I have explored the aging process (senescence), and the attributes (essence) that make us who we fundamentally are – forever young at heart.
old women

 

The music you love no longer plays

at the top of the charts

 

the melody that rattles in your

morning mind is vinyl

 

stages of your life begin and end

like mile markers on the interstate

 

remembrance becomes a veteran’s parade of wars

with the newest and the oldest stepping in time

 

supposing there’s a logical reason you are known

by what you did, and where it all began,

somehow it chaffs of greatness bending to the whims

of what matters for what was left behind

 

what remains after the flood, the drought,

the insanity of scorched earth and genocide,

is the cream that always rises to the top,

and always will – a common lesson

in gratitude for the moment and a promise

of better things to come, just because

it makes sense.

 

songs grow old and lose their shape,

memories lingering long in the recesses of the mind

ever present, we wait for the future

to sit down beside us, and listen to the music.

 

 

Most of the photography accompanying the poems are from a photo essay of the elderly (los Ancianos) who reside around Lake Chapala, Mexico.  Los Ancianos, published in 2013, can be found on Antonio Ramblés travels! Blog:  www.antoniorambles.com