My Old Hands

I’ll be sitting on a park bench, looking like a picture, a little old man with a little fuzzy hat.  I’ll put my elbows on the back of the bench and tilt my head into the sun, like I used to, but my eyes will be rheumy and start to water, and my right hand will twitch as if the sharp edge of the bench is pinching a nerve.  I won’t be too disappointed to notice my frailty.  Of course not, because I will have become used to it, and years earlier, decades earlier, will have seen it coming.  So I will shake the twitch out of my hand, take an only slightly damp handkerchief from my inside jacket pocket, and wipe my eyes.  I will lean my head back again, and this time my eyes will remain dry for several minutes of close-lidded, red-drenched, sun-warmed pleasure. Continue reading My Old Hands

Alcohol

After dinner today my daughter remarked about how much alcohol I drink. “No offence,” she said. This elicited from me a dissertation on the health benefits of moderate alcohol consumption, which transitioned into a history of fermented beverages, upon which civilization as we know it depends. She immediately saw this as the elaborate rationalization it was. Man, I miss the days when my kids were easy to bullshit.

The Difficulty

The difficulty in life is not getting what you want but knowing what you want. So crouch down to yourself as if to a dying man and place your ear to your mouth–an impossibility but a necessity, and what is a necessity must necessarily become possible–and listen to your body’s faintly murmured wishes, a glass of water, a lover, an occupation, a green salad, and deny yourself nothing as long as it is murmured honestly in need. Beware the body’s constant wheedling requests for a knife to slice its own throat because it does not want to die. Not really. At least it will never really make up its mind on that point. Tell it to ask for something else.

We

For a while, we did everything together. We slept late on a Saturday morning. Just at ten o’clock, the morning sun rose above the neighboring apartment building and slid blades of light through the venetian blinds. The blades of light cut across the bellies and arms of our naked bodies, letting us know that early morning was long gone, and midmorning had begun its progress. That’s when one of us got up to start the coffee. The other rolled on their side and propped their chin on their hand, and only when the first returned to announce that the coffee was percolating did they look at the ceiling, smile, and roll out of bed. We turned the news on and ate breakfast at a leisurely pace. Our movements were completely familiar to each other, along with the sounds we made. If one of us happened to belch, the other sometimes forgot and said, “Excuse me.” The one who had belched laughed. We rolled back on the bed to caress our bodies and watch the sunblades sharpen themselves into oblivion. Continue reading We

Battleship

June we go to visit my Aunt Jenna in the country. I like it because of the pond nearby. It’s shaped like a battleship. Just like a battleship. One side is long and straight and then it curves up to a point, like the prow of a ship. And the other side has all these little gullies that poke into the land, and that’s where we can pretend to be the sailors on the deck of the battleship. “Are the torpedoes prepared, Jeffrey?! Then fire torpedo one! Fire torpedo one!” Continue reading Battleship