Tears Of A Smiley Face

 

Jesus Christ my mirror is broken
I ain’t joking the bloke inside looks like he’s croaking
The figure I see could die from the choking
Too many years of toking and smoking
I have a notion his minds lost forward motion
Direct result of his explosive emotions
But I’ve misspoken
The figure that be isn’t the me that I see
A reflection of what all the others perceive
Not the young me wearing his age on his sleeve
Don’t mean to deceive but I don’t think they see
The once virile that man I believe I should be
A young mans reprieve in my minds reality
But let me intercede
They just don’t see a strong heart of stone
Just an old man alone with nothing to show
But a history of abuse and deteriorating bone
And far too many opportunities all of which be has blown
Now a victim of age all on his own
Meet the old man owning Osteoporosis
Cirrhosis and narcosis in a body atrocious
Struggling through life in an ageless psychosis
So many maladies it makes me precocious
So focus
Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious
Work that shit into your rhymes bitches
Then tell me this ain’t so dope it leaves you in stitches
While you scratching your itches and counting your riches
Yea its got glitches both pernicious and malicious
But its gritty and witty nutritious and delicious
Don’t be so suspicious
I’ve got so many regrets they’ve been repossessed
I’ll keep them suppressed at your behest
So I’ll gladly confess to all my crimes and excess
But I digress
As a sign of the times I try to read between the lines
The wrinkles define why I cry and I whine
Behind the hazel cry soaked old eyes
Hides a soul blinded by this life and it’s lies
No one wants to hear bout the lows and the highs
They just sympathize hearing bout my demise
Wrinkles and crows feet my conciliation prize
Old but not wise
Maybe they see a smiley face his eyes all a shine
Never once guessing that inside he keeps crying
Once he was flying now waiting and dieing
Or maybe I’m lying
Maybe I’m no more than a book on a shelf
Pissing and moaning feeling sorry for myself
Crying on my lonesome because I screwed up to the hilt
The Pinball Wizard who keeps hitting a tilt
But this broken life is all I have built
So fuck me I suck
I’ll dry my eyes on my guilt

 

Live and Love in Peace

The Pond Of Reflection

 

 

Once delivered to the pond of tranquility
I longed to drink in it’s glorious stillness
Yet my restless soul remained not at rest
My spirit wandered aimless as a stranger
Unguarded and alone I traveled the wind
I the intruder feeling free to commit wrongs
I wandered free
I witnessed the leaves grow bold with color
Only to wither and fall free from their home
Even with the years of profound knowledge
The mighty tree was unable to hold it’s leaves
By the pond the tree outlived generations o life
Upon reflection leaves in the lake was my own
I became enlightened
Moving through the shadows of evening’s image
I had become the bearer of guilt’s incurred
At the same time a victim of my cycle vicious
Condemned to bear weights of self made burden
Where I sacrificed myself to the blameless redeemer
Who stood in judgment of the ill and illicit
Administering ultimate justice only in the afterlife
Which was my journey

Time chiseled away at my stony regrets
Wisdom finally blossomed it’s bright petals
I understood the separation of the just and unjust
The strangers and friends, the good and evil all
Destined to stumble upon their own ill stones
Whilst clearing the paths of their own choosing
In which all travel naked in the quest of eternity
To reflect the pond

 

Age Is Just A Number And other Lies I Tell Myself

 

age

 

 

J. T. (Over The) Hilltop

After  a certain age one of the most awkward questions to ask is how old they are. Especially if the question is asked of a woman and  answered with the equally awkward question, how old do you think I am? A very quick processing takes place, I look at the woman who asked me, guess at what age I really believe she is, and then subtract ten years. It’s a tried and true algebraic equation which often brings a smile while proving that those algebra classes did in fact come in handy.  But first the tough part. Do I answer? Use the algebra and hope she looks at least close to the age I originally guessed so she feels good and I escape my awkward situation? What if my guess is way off and I offend her? That’s almost as bad as asking a woman when the baby is due only to yourself being sliced up and set on fire from her eyes, letting you know in no uncertain terms she is not pregnant. Maybe I’ll use the trusty old stand-by, distract and move on? Maybe I could just lie and say “Age is just a number” then change the subject. Age is just a number. That’s the first lie I tell myself about getting old.

It’s not “just” a number, its an ever escalating number that grows exponentially. It’s a number that goes up but never down no matter how hard we try to look younger. A toupee? They look live divots you replaced in your scalp. Dressing in younger style, dieting, crèmes, oils, aromatherapy, we have an abundance of reverse the aging process products on the market. I get emails telling me I can increase my virility by washing with bull semen. They just happen to have a deal on it this week too. Who collects that semen anyway? Some brave young stud I guess because I can barely outrun a snail. And of course the hard sell, little pills of instant sex machine. Viagra. How did my Dad survive without it? Age is a number all right and I’m getting tired of having to add to it all the time.

The second lie I tell myself is that I’m getting old. I’m passed the getting point and at the being point. I am old! I’m at the dinosaur stage. The days of my roaming the earth in search of food or other dinosuars is ancient history now. I have moved on to a new epoch. A friggen senior.  But not to worry, with age comes wisdom. Yea, that’s the next lie. They say intelligence is knowing that tomatoes are fruits and wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad. I know there are tons of stupid people out there but I have never seen anyone put tomatoes in fruit salad so the wisdom they speak of is actually very common. Besides, with all this reported wisdom how come I still don’t even know who “they” are? Oh I’m much wiser now, I realize drinking has a limit and I know it real well at this point but do I actually have wisdom? Not really, it took me a very long time to learn things I should have known years ago.

Next lie. You’re not getting older you’re getting better. Getting better at what? Just when I think I have a handle on new technology it springs another light year ahead. It took me four years and numerous lessons from my kids to learn how to schedule the VCR and one month later everyone switched to cable DVR’s and some Blur ray crap. It’s like the eight track fiasco all over again. I go to the doctor he doesn’t say “Hey good news, your getting better”, he says, “You’ve gotta exercise, lose weight, and slow down” That’s an oxymoron. If I slow down how can I exercise? Things I used to do all night take me all night to do once.

Next lie. I’m aging like a fine wine. Hahahahaha… Nice try but no. If you age a wine too long or too wrong it becomes vinegar. In human terms vinegar is known as the grumpy old man stage. Admittedly the older I got the more complicated life got and with wine  complications are a virtue. I have so much extra skin that no longer fits I could hide a bottle of wine in the flaps. The older I get the more like box wine I become. There’s plenty of me and I’m cheap. If you drink a lot of wine you will develop a common trait of us seniors, you’ll be heading to the bathroom to empty your bladder a lot. Only difference is mine isn’t full, it just likes the comfort of relaxing by the toilet.

Next lie. You’re as young as you feel. Really?? Than I must be a hundred and twenty years because that’s how old I feel in the morning. It takes a lot of coaxing from my brain to get my extremities on board with getting out of bed.  This young as it feels body feels like its been running on fumes for so long it gives out contact highs. I need a check liver light with all the alcohol I’ve consumed and a lung scraping for years of smoke abuse. Bones are crisp, like peanut brittle crisp and the noises they make scare the cat. When I was young I felt like partying all night and now I look forward to bedtime.

Next lie. You’re aging gracefully. That’s total bullshit, I may pretend like I’m being graceful but grace walked out for a pack of cigarettes years ago and I haven’t heard from it since. I’m fighting it constantly but I’m losing every battle. I use plenty of preservatives or as I like to call it Vodka, but after a few of them it’s almost impossible to be graceful. Age is kicking my ass and making me look like a lame bum boxer from Palooka-Ville that functions best when it takes a dive. In the first round.

Next lie. 60 is the new 40. What?? Are you kidding me? There is absolutely nothing about being 60 that’s new except maybe the effects of senility and the loss of bone matter. Someone tried to explain baldness to me as my brain pushing the hairs out to make room for the overload of intelligence we have. I believe it’s actually the brain cells become too weak to function and hold down the roots at the same time so they just let go. In a desperate search for belonging the follicles colonize in the ears and nose where they set up tight knit communities that are unruly to say the least.

Last lie. It’s not the years in your life, it’s the life in your years. Okay, I have to admit that ones true. Despite the fact that I have to convince myself to get up each morning, despite the fact that the image in the mirror is way fatter and has much less hair than the real me, despite the fact I am not much wiser, despite the fact that young people laugh when I try to use the newest technology, and despite the fact I constantly need to remind myself not to let the small shit turn me into a grumpy old man, it’s still me who is in control of how I live out the rest of my life. Is it asking too much to live it out with a little of that reckless abandon that I enjoyed so much before responsibilities became my reality? I hope not……PEACE

I’m Miserable Right?

Jethro Tull - Aqualung

 

 

I’m miserable, right? So I down a glass of vodka…. I’m still miserable, right? Although not quite as miserable as before. So I down another vodka. I’m still miserable, right? Well maybe not miserable but I’m still uptight. So I down another glass of vodka. I’m still mizabell rightio? Well not exactly mizzabrell, I feel kinda okay. Matter of fact I’m feeling pretty shitty good. So I have another vodka. Now I’m feeling it. Matter a fack I may actually be shhhhhh-happy. My oh my that vodka sure is a damn cure all. Onliest problem izzz, when I wakesh up tommorry, I gun be mishabelll all over again. So why’m I so doggone angry alla time these days?

Well to tell ya the truth I believe it began the day I received the letter. Oh yes my brothers and sisters, the letter is coming in the mail for all of us if y‘all haven’t received it already. That dreaded piece of shit envelope with my name on it from AARP. Say what? AARP??? You must want my damn father because I ain’t ready for no bullshit Retired Persons mail. That would make a a goddamn freaking SENIOR! Thinking she was being helpful my baby girl daughter pointed out that it would mean bookoo senior discounts, like at movies and ice cream stores. While she saw savings on really cool things like Netflix and Ice Cream Chill I viewed it as an insult to my entire generation. WTF? We aren’t seniors! We are classic humans who had the good music. We are the generation that had to walk barefoot in the snow uphill both ways just to buy rolling papers at the stationary store. We lived through the drought of 76 when we went three and a half weeks without any weed in town. Not even homegrown. We are far from ready to cash it in and get on the senior tour bus, we’re still digging the psychedelic tangerine flake hippie tie-dye bus tour. Anyway, that’s what started it all, when I got an AARP card reality hit me like a glass of prune juice on the rocks. That’s when I came to understand that I have become the ripped up pair of jeans that are no longer worn but were so comfortable back in time that I can’t throw them away. I am those old comfortable shoes that went out of style years ago but still take up room in the closet. Nowe I’m miserable again.

I was never really a big fan of reality but when it knocks you have no choice but to let it in. And here is the reality….I’m not getting old, I am fucking old! And so it became that my new angry path was the golden road to grumpy old mandom. My sarcastic wit was far too quickly morphing into cynicism and distrust. I was becoming grumpy about everything so I took stock of myself and let reality come in for a visit. Reality entered my abode like a bull in a china shop, it was like a cannonball of facts. Crows feet? I got damn ravens legs. WTF are those wrinkles? That’s just because my skin don’t fit as tight as it used to even though it’s covering twice the mass. The ever increasing midsection of my body went beyond pear shape straight to an amoeba like glutton. Exercise? I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a rep of sit up’s today. The most work out I get is carrying the what I bought at the liquor store into the house. Okay, so getting old sucks and being old is worse but that’s really not a reason to be miserable. No one ever said life would be fair but giving me the knowledge I could have used thirty five years ago just ain’t right. No, that’s not what made me miserable on this particular occasion, it was the culmination of all that reality combined with a recent visit to a local bakery that broke the dromedary‘s spine. I went to get some rolls and a loaf of French bread to bring over to some friends place that had invited us for dinner. The sweet young counterperson said to me, “Have you seen our discount? Twenty cents off on Wednesday.” Well another part of aging is we become far more aware of costs than we used to. Twenty cents is twenty cents so I thanked her, paid and left. But when I got back to the car I began thinking she gave me far more than a twenty cent discount so with life playing unfair I put on my reading glasses and looked at the receipt. It said Senior Discount Wednesdays, 20% off. Puzzled because of oncoming senility it took me 10 minutes to realize she hadn’t said have you seen our discount, but We have our senior discount, and it wasn’t twenty cents, it was 20%. As I left the bakery I went straight to my happy place, the liquor store. Why? Because I’m miserable right? The Hell with this shit, I need another vodka……

 

Today Is My Natal Anniversary

bd142

Seems like only yesterday
I was carefree wild and young
When I realized how old I am today
I gotta tell ya it kinda stung

Cause I’m not aging as gracefully
As others my age seem to be
Overweight bald in constant pain
And can barely bend one knee

All my muscles sag a little more today
Plus I’m much too soft around the middle
Aging is a sudoko of a puzzling enigma
Wrapped around a rustic wrinkled riddle

Some people mature like a fine wine ages
But my getting older really makes me irate
Because I’m maturing more like lactose
And I’m past my best if used by date

When?

See its been one more lap around the sun
And they say that age is just a number
But instead me getting older and wiser
Seems like I just keep getting dumber

My birthday suit needs to be dry cleaned
Many deep creases and an extra wrinkle
I need to plan my trips around a bathroom
Because I know I’m gonna have to tinkle

Back in the day my hair was so wavy
Now its looking kinda thin and gross
The only waving it does these days
Is when its waving see ya or adios

Bones make strange new noises too
The creaking just won’t ever stop
Is it me or that bowl of cereal
Going snap crackle and pop

But no more Krispies its fiber one
Because it helps things move along
Need to buy things for my health
Like purchase a huge medicinal bong

What?

I used to bitch about the driving
Of all the old fogies on the road
Only one way they could go any slower
Is if their cars were be being towed

You don’t have too much time left gramps
Just drive and don’t be intimidated
If anyone you should be in a hurry
When your days are becoming limited

But on the bright side I save some money
You see now I get the senior discount
And birth control is no more a worry
Because I ain’t got no more sperm count

Odd smells permeate every room around
Perhaps one of those pipes is leaking gas
An old dude can still blame it on the dog
Everyone knowing the leaks from his ass

Who?

Gastric control has become a big joke
Another of the act of old aging trends
Pretty soon I’ll need to choose what I need
Do I buy diapers? Well that Depends

And the only thing I now can do all night
Is empty out my half full shrinking bladder
Choice comes down to having sex or a pee
These days I tend to choose the latter

But I’m not making no bucket list
Before its time for me to kick it
When the reaper comes knocking at my door
Ima tell him where he can stick it

Cuz us old dudes are allowed to be ornery
Say whatever’s on our ancient mind
And we can get away with touching ourselves
At this point in life who cares if I go blind

Wait!

Where’s my glasses where’s my keys
Losing your memory can really sting
I’m a faithful member of C-R-A-F-T
Can’t Remember A Fucking Thing

So happy birthday to me old man
With the AARP I’ll party hard and loud
I’ll have a couple extra drinks tonight
And wear my hangover regretfully proud

Getting old does bite and so does locating my eyewear so I can check the obituaries for my name each day. Like my Pops always told me, getting old sucks but it beats the alternative and today is my natal anniversary so to Hell with everything. I plan on raising all kinds of hell, raising shot glasses, Beer mugs, the roof, the proverbial “flagpole” and anything in my path because once the Alzheimer’s or senility set in I won’t remember what a fool I’ve made of myself anyway. Happy Birthday to Me Old Man

Old Man Young Man

oldyoung

Old Man
I can see the ravages
Of misdeeds inappropriate
Neglected reflections
The overuse of opiate
Taking a toll

Young Man
Comes a time you know
Of transgressions bearing weight
Misfortune in your bones
Filling your heart with hate
Taking on the world

Old Man
Mesmerized with panic
Enterprises bear such heavy burden
Neglecting your repentance
For a life lived so uncertain
Of who you are

Young Man
One day you’ll wear his shoes
Be the one who owns the pains
Owns the hurting every day
Wondering if what yet remains
Is worth an effort

Old Man
Now’s your time to pay
They remember little of the good you’ve done
Curse your mention at their table
Then burn your image in their sun
Until it ends
Until it ends

One For The Road

meada

Meada Woolfe. I know nearly nothing about her, aside from where she grew up, the little of her life she shared with me, and that she was an extraordinary woman. You see I didn’t meet Meada until she was in her nineties, not even sure exactly how old she was at all. What I did know about this woman was her family abandoned her and missed out on some precious moments they will never be able to get back. It was in the seventies, I was eighteen years old and working in a nursing home as a cook/orderly. Meada was one of the patients there, one who at first I assumed had no family because no one ever came to visit her. That’s not entirely true, she did have a family, just not blood relative family. She has us, the staff. Meada was a favorite for two reason, first of course we all felt horrible she never had a visitor, but secondly it was her sarcastic wit. Meada would tell it like it is, not hold back anything. But she did it in such an endearing and cynical way, like the time she warned me if I let my hair grow too long I’ll start to grow boobs. I heard about that from the nurses for months afterwards, but that was Meada, funny, direct, and the type of woman anyone would be proud to have as a grandmother. In fact, she reminded me a lot of my own grandma, who meant the world to me.
Every time I vacuumed Meada’s room I stopped to chat with her because she was such an incredibly interesting person. She was born in Williamsburg Brooklyn during the migration of Irish, German, and Austrians and her Dad worked in a sugar refinery somewhere near the East River. They were family of moderate means, scrimping and saving to make ends meet and as a kid she dreamed of being an actress on Broadway, in a musical. When she was in her early twenties she got a job at The Bowery Theater and there was convinced by a director to take lead roll in a new form of theater, erotic theater. She sang nude and was cool with that but when her parents found out the family disowned her. She moved into lower Manhattan. After the erotic theater show failed she began working in taverns singing an doing what she referred to as “Whatever it took” to survive. There was a hint of sadness in her eyes when she spoke of those early days which she didn’t do very often.
She often spoke of her days as a “Flapper” during the roaring twenties and that’s when her face lit up. She met the man of her dreams and together they had three children, two daughters and one son, her “baby of the Family.” She showed me pictures of him in a uniform, apparently he was killed during the Korean war at the tender age of nineteen. She never spoke much of her daughters, loved her husband who also died young, and seemed to live happy life up until she was placed in the nursing home. She was a kick to talk with, veering off into nonsense on occasion, but lucid an endearing most of the time. We all cared for Meada Woolfe, she just had a special way about her and I like to believe I was one of if not the favorite of staff members. It was like having my grandmother back for me, I only wish I learned more about the two daughters.
On one very special day she was acting very secretive, asked me to come into her room and closed the door behind me. You really never knew what to expect from Meada so I was ever so slightly apprehensive. My concerns were totally unfounded because in typical Meada Woolfe fashion she came up close to my face to whisper, “JT, there’s something I want worse than anything in the world right now.” I braced myself, “What is it you need Meada my love?” Meada smiled an impish grim, “I want a taste of some good quality scotch, not that Seagram crap, something special. Just one little taste of Glenlivet, that’s what I want more than anything. It was my favorite drink back when I was free.” First the humor of the request hit me but quickly behind that concern, I wondered what she meant. “What do you mean when you were free?” She looked downward, that sadness back in her eyes, “My daughters locked me up in here over ten year’s ago and left me here to rot and die. They couldn’t be bothered caring for me and I have no one left to fight for me. That’s why I’m here in this prison, because I guess I wasn’t a good mother.” I was stunned. My heart sank and her sadness infected me as my eyes welled up with tears. This poor woman, a lovely, funny, interesting woman believes she is locked away because she wasn’t a good enough mother, when the truth is she is locked away because she has two ungrateful daughters. I knew what I had to do, to Hell with rules, if I get caught and fired it will be for a noble cause, to give Meada some love, which she richly deserves. “Of course, Meada, I’ll bring you some Glenlivet, but it has to be our secret forever, okay? I can get in big time trouble for this.” she smiled, shook her head, “thank you, I promise I will take it to my grave.” The sly look on her face told me she obviously already knew I would do it.
The next day I went out to find this Glenlivet scotch. About all I knew of scotch in those days was the crappy Seagrams she talked about. I was surprise to find out how expensive it was but what the hell, its for Meada so I went for it. The next day I snuck the bottle into the nursing home and hid it down the hall from her room. After lunch I took the scotch and headed into Meada’s room. Se knew the second I got there that I had the scotch because she smiled a huge smile. I had taken two glasses with me and poured us each a half glassful. “Here’s looking at ya kid.” I smiled at how clever I thought that was but Meada paid me no mind, merely clinked her glass to mine, “Cheers” and down it went. It was amazingly tasty, and not anywhere near as harsh as the crap I would drink. We did another shot an I told her I would hide the bottle and maybe every once a while give her a taste. “No, not necessary JT, you take the bottle home with you and toast to me every once in a while. I don’t want to make a habbit of this, all I wanted was to have a bit of scotch for the old times, just one more for the road.”
When I left work later that day I kept playing the incident over in my mind. Was I crazy? Did I do something really stupid? I attempted to justify my action saying that it was just a little scotch for a friend, not like I got her drugs or anything. Still, what if she ended up drunk an fell, or had a reaction because of a medication she was on? I decided she was right, I shouldn’t do it again, I’ll take the bottle home like he said and just forget the whole thing. After all, she seemed so very happy, much happier than I ha seen her before, so I gave an old woman one last taste of booze, one more for the road. I made peace with it.
The next day as I pulled up to the nursing home and saw the coroners wagon. Never a good sign, whenever a patient dies the coroner comes in and they sneak the body out the back so as to not scare the other patients. But one of them was likely gone. I walked in the back door an the staff were all in tears, and my best friend and nurses aide Liz looked at me. “Its Meada, she lost her battle with cancer lat night.” Liz was in crying, I was in shock. I walked over to Liz wondering if it Meada died because of the scotch I gave her. I placed my arm over Liz’s shoulder to comfort her, “Meada was a special lady huh Liz?” She couldn’t answer, merely shook her head and turned to hug me. “Liz, I did something yesterday that I probably shouldn’t. I gave Meada some scotch an maybe that’s what did her in.” Liz pulled away from my hug and looked at me incredulously, “You what?… You gave her scotch? No you didn’t, tell me you didn’t.” She looked at my face and my eyes told her that I in fact did. He stared at me for ten seconds before she broke out laughing, I mean really broke out. Nothing else to do, I began to laugh as well, and within seconds the two of us were hysterically laughing and shaking. I pulled my shit together and got serious, “Really Liz, I mean do you think I could have put her over the edge?” Liz stopped laughing and gave me a serious look before responding. “No, Meada had…..YOU GAVE HER SCOTCH??” To which the two of renewed our uncontrollable laughter, me saying yes in between laughs and Liz just saying “A HA HA HA HA” We laughed for over five minutes before we were able to have a serious conversation where she assured me Meada was going to die from the cancer last night anyway, maybe she knew and that’s why she said one more for the road.
That’s when it hit me. I had fulfilled a dying woman’s last request, I had risked losing my job, maybe even getting arrested I’m sure there was some crime there somewhere, to give a lonely woman her last request, One More For The Road. A final request she made of me, perhaps the one person in the world she trusted would do it for her. She has two daughters who will no doubt visit now to see if Meada Woolfe had any money, or hidden accounts or properties they may be entitled to. Funny choice of words, entitled to. Meada was entitle to their love, and at the very least a yearly visit, but instead had to settle for some short visits from the staff at her “prison” But you know what? I was the true beneficiary here, I got to know and love one of the most powerful characters I have ever had the pleasure to meet, and I know in my heart that I was the one who gave Meada Woolfe what she needed before she left this sometimes uncaring world. I hope that when my time comes I have someone to do what I did for me.
We each took a turn going up to the wagon to say good by. When my turn came I walked up to the half ambulance half hearse coroners wagon saying out loud, “Cheers Meada, when I get home tonight I’m gonna have a tall glass of Glenlivet just for you, one for the road, wherever that may take you. Here‘s looking at ya kid“……..PEACE