Thrown Bricks

Monday, 23 March 2015

                                for Zena

you say
     life is a building collapse
     a stone rain
     a brick fusillade

you are forensic of
struck shoulders,
bowed backs,
chipped teeth admixed 
in stony splinters
and you say
     
     life, you are a
     a despised dissolution
     a slow chemical burn 

     life,
     you are a grave
     an ash fault
     a burial mound of
     hungry mouths. life,
     you are the
     most subtle drug

and, as
you deign,
you say 

     there is 
     no thing
     not unclean
     no thing
     unfailed
     
you say that
     no one has ever
     seen the sky

so you say
and shrug

even though the storm
will never clear
you raise your eyes
heave bricks at heaven
laugh amid
the smoke of ruin
bloody-knuckled and
    
    proclaim
    all the dead 
    to be sunlight

On Aging

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Aging is the process of learning to appreciate greyness. It is only a gentle irony that our hair takes on that hue. The things children appreciate and learn about are defined by clarity: a color, a taste, an emotion. As time passes and experiences pile up, red becomes oxblood, sweetness and emotions take shape by their intensity.

My nearly-​seven son cares not for fiction. He wants facts in books. The clarity has grown in scope, but not in complexity. This will continue until at some point he will become old.

That’s where I sit: on old side of things. You become old when your experiential knowledge gives you the ability to discern facts from things that purport to be facts; and you apprehend or comprehend that the act of knowing is equal parts belief and agenda.

So I no longer demand clarity. My scope has narrowed. I know that no matter how good that beer might be, I’ll enjoy bourbon more. I know that there is no point trying to convince people who hold fundamental positions on a topic to change their minds. I have reached the limits of clarity and move cautiously in the vast mist that exists between facts, and between knowledge and reality. Red is a gradient, flavors are combined, emotions are deep and savored. I understand how it is frustrating to the not-​old to see what appears to be a lack of concern, or a concern with the unsubstantial. The frequency of the old is longer, both experientially and relativistically.

To be old is to be a ship happily lost in fog, savoring the subtlety of the phantoms that flit about the corners of our eyes, that, when we were young, we once mistook for friends.