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Poet’s Last Word

Oh, where in the world can your poet run
When the words fall flat, and the rhymes won’t come?
Oh, what hard trials arise to squash younglet poetry,
Like a weeded up, oak-wilt, unlovely and broken tree?
No thesaurus, no dictionary, nor dog-paged Bartlett’s
Can save a poor rhymester when the scansion he forgets.
Arched over his blank page, a pen rusting in his hand,
He remembers clever phrasing that once lofted grand.
But today, too many hours passed, when imagery faded away:
No paragraphs soar to shine, no dark truths for a heart to sway.
Just letters on a keyboard accompany the page gleaming white—
Is it old age, or a brain cancer, or Alzheimer’s that’s blanked his inner sight?
Swirling leaves, the pelting rain; no, just tears to wet another empty page.
Crashing thunder, volcanic explosions; no, just writer’s blocked impotent rage.
Was all this alleged talent just Life’s joke on the unwittingly absurd?
What do you say to the one who cannot find the poet’s last word?

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Look Away, Time

Once she was so pretty—
Now she tries to look not so old.
Can you still see her eyes sparkle
Beneath her hair of store-bought gold?
Have you found your one and only?
Hold on with all you’ve got,
Or like those who end up so lonely,
You may forget the grace you were taught.
He used to know so much—
Now he thinks he’s lost his place.
He still loves his son and family
Even though he’s not sure about my face.
Study as hard as you can
And master the skills you need,
But keep a hard eye on Time
Which flies by at a freight train’s speed.
I still think she’s a beauty,
Even with her store-bought hair.
And despite the wrinkles and the crinkles,
I love her; and the rest? I no longer much care.

Progression

Now she’s gone
And it’s just me left here.
No, I don’t really think
I’d like another beer.
It’s a progression
In the park where
We used to walk over,
Is now all covered up
In a new spray of clover.
It’s a progression
And memories of us
Are now hard to hold onto;
The doctor says perhaps four months
Then I’ll be gone too.
It’s a progression
All the happy turns sad
About the time of sunset.
You wouldn’t like it here;
That I had agreed now I regret.
It’s a progression
Our kids are good;
I think we did pretty well;
Now nurses and lawyers—
All grown up from Farmer in the Dell.
It’s a progression
Yes, it’s time to rest
And for you to go.
I love you for coming,
I just wanted you to know.
It’s a progression

Just A Number

Misbehaving twenty-somethings—
Marching in a row
Aggravated sixty-somethings—
Have forgotten what they ought to know

Oldish and youngish—
Not sure wherefore is the right
Love comes in from the other way;
It’s gonna be a very long night

End stage eighty-somethings—
Head for their nursing home bed
Unaccountable teenyboppers—
Would rather be most anywhere else instead

Newborn steamy babies—
Shine with all their total love
Dead and buried 100-somethings—
Soar with the praeternatural deities above

Numbers adhere to the ages—
It pretty much adds up well
Who old are are you?
Won’t you tell?

Heading To Sunset Ridge

Heading to Sunset Ridge
Can’t remember your name
Can’t remember much about me
Everyone goes what a shame

Taking the turn around Memory Lane
Or is it Lost Pine or somewhere else
But can you still see my nice smile?
That far ringing? Are those my bells?

But I will sit on this here bench
Don’t know this path anyways
You’re my son or daughter?
They said it was one of his better days

Playing my part in the Long Long Goodbye
Just succeeded through these 7 years
No thank you for your sweetly offered hankie
But these are needed welcome relieving tears

Heading over Sunset Ridge
Everyone go “What a shame.”
My name is Mr. Still Loving Parent
At least, I think that was his name

–In humble salute to the loved ones of my wonderful patients, PEOPLE with alzheimer’s

Without A Doubt

My mind has closed
Though my eyes are wide open.
Nurse Practitioner says six months:
No more.
Time to get real—
Make copies for the lock to the door…

Mine eyes have seen the Glory,
But that’s not for me.
Got to complete a DNR
For sure.
God, it’s too real—
There IS NO CURE.

Can hardly catch my breath
But my heart is full.
Medicare or Medicaid?
It’s such a blur—
Lilly can handle it
Of that I’m sure.

Yes, God has quit:
Apostasy has its rewards.
My memory escapes,
But I pray for clarity.
I know I don’t make sense—
I embrace your kind charity.

“Weak, I have become”
“Strong with the Force I am,
But not that strong—“
No doubt.
But it doesn’t take a Jedi
To let it all hang out.

The wide yon abyss calls—
Ringed in heather, grace, and lavender;
All the papers are signed—
Please pardon my scrawl.
Laissez le Bontemps Roulez
Y’all!

Gratitude

Somewhere between the pain and the passion,
And the lies we tell ourself,
From “Hey, let’s go for it” on the way to
“Leave it on the shelf;”
When at last we lay me down to sleep
Did you take time to savor the flowers?
Did all your efforts lead to the Good?
Were less taken paths worth the long lost hours?
Meanwhile, Grandma floats in hospice,
She can’t hold onto your name,
But her late smile traces the eternal-
She’s always glad you came.

Ankle Breeze

The angry drubbing from the cold January Sun

Has beaten all the trees’ leaves to the ground;

The peal by a distant neighborhood campanile

Offers but pastel respite from this new winter day.

After hours and an ankle breeze brushes cold
Times bear hard and thoughts scare appalling—
Late on a school night and we risk a third glass bold;
Excuse me, dear, but why is it hospice keeps calling?

Home—a far place unreachable, unknowable, except as

Errant memories allow.

Three score save one with 22 gray days to go,
Yet cannot believe one keeps falling.
Walked this way thousands of times but now…don’t…know,
But why does hospice keep calling?

Tomorrow comes to call as if knowing

Something…

Sweet Potato Praline 71

Insinuating bubbles emanated from the scuppered dragon
A fool’s bargain of untendered origin led us to just here
A poet’s lazily pulled rhymes flailed aloof on page one
A new path was desired, that much was perfectly clear

Could you loan me your smile since you’re not using it
Since my mood is lost in translation or nixed in transit

The meme of my distant daughter swears I haven’t Alzheimer’s
My phytonutrients seek softened skins and perplexity
Slices of hard orange sweet potato seek out boiling waters
But speeling is an acquired taste, marble at my dyslexity

Would you loan me your arms since you’re not using them
I’ve this tightness that rattles along with this morning’s phlegm

Heading happy back eastward on a defogged highway 71
Pralines and tourist cup delivered recorded on every tablet mile
But the aimless poet still cannot get off the floor of page one
Freezing rain means we’ll all meet here for quite a while

Could you loan me your eyes since you insist on not seeing
My arms and smile reaching for my most favorite human being