Praise Song For The End Praise today for the pancreas that’s killing me, for the blood unbalanced, for the ache in my right knee that thwarts me, for the hair that won’t stay in my head — the individual hairs leaping out like rats who know the score; praise them all for doing exactly what they should be doing in my disrepair; there’s nothing wrong here that a good old grave won’t cure and really there’s no other cure for what drives it all; I can manage and maintain and stave off and fleetingly deny, but in the end there is only the End, so praises for the End, here’s to settling in for it, here’s to how I am now slowed to think and feel differently as this body slows and shifts; praise for the acceptance of this age, praise for the acceptance of this fight as ultimately futile yet worth every stroke and blow I land as a tribute to how much I have loved and fiercely pursued love and life in all the years of damage I’ve done to myself; praise to that wounded, bloated game-piece I call my body, with its hitman organs, its fatal surges of desire and satisfaction; praise to how this all is closing down over a long time, giving me so much to consider, to savor, to curse, to praise. Thanks, Joe There he is again: Local Joe, Can And Bottle Picker, wound up in scarves and old parka with patches, gray shapeless hat like a pudding on his head, fingerless gloves, his fingers dark with labor, coming gingerly down the icy street from recycle bin to recycle bin seeking his livelihood as he does each Wednesday, Thursday if the week contains a Monday holiday. I say hello if our paths cross as I’m taking my stuff to the curb, let him know if there’s anything in my bins worth his time, ask if he’s been beaten to the spoils this week by the Maxima Couple, so-called because of the late-model Maxima they drive from bin to bin, the man getting out at each stop to pick the bin as she waits for him staring straight ahead and neither ever talks back when I say hello — not like Local Joe who’s friendly and non-defensive, matter of fact, after all this is business, this industry of walk and pick, walk and pick, and he never has a bad word to say about the Maxima Couple who get me riled up over what looks like their unwillingness to defer to those who provide for them, their choice not to provide me with the kind words and warm feelings I get from Joe who appears appropriately grateful at all times; thanks, Joe, you make my trash day complete, see you next week. Gawking At Ruins When gawking at ruins in far off lands, when taking photos of them and of the picturesque locals for your collections, please remember that each person you see there is in their own way also a ruin: beautiful, vital and worthy of attention and respect from you, still here and surviving right where they were placed, yet still a ruin in terms of not being today what they might have become if, too often, armies and generations of people like your own had not come and swept all before them into collections of their own.
January 7, 2016