Tuesday, January 9, 2018

The Daily {W}rite January o9, 2018 wk o2

I never know the difference between a cold and a fever. "starve a cold, feed a fever." Not sure which I have but my guess is a fever because I'm sweating with a bit of chill to my bones. So I'll say fever. I'm sleeping a lot but only 1-2 hours at a time. The heart doctor's office called. Well, not the nurse but a phone-bot called. I'm suppose to go in on Thursday for the annual check up. But I got a "fever" so I should probably not go. Tomorrow I'll call the heart doctor, and in my best phone-bot voice, reschedule for next week.

Fredrick Schroeder (Facebook friend) made this pencil drawing (above) of me from this alien pic I created of myself some years ago. it's creepy how much the drawing looks like my real self . . . except, of course, for the two extra set of eyes. :) I think I've written a few poems about feeling alien on this planet.

Alien Backpackers

Friends come and go and come and go
and dreams do too but they don't slam doors
and yell and scream and shout about
"How unfair you are, you fuckin’ bastard!"
 I sleep well, though, when I sleep.
The sleep of a dead man who hung himself
out to dry during the winter months
and didn’t allow anything, anyone
to get in the way of his self-employed misery.
By degree we all must suffer the dead things
that live inside our tiny but quite tidy heads
and won't allow us (who sport a conscience)
one moment, one single dull moment of peace.
I'm afraid I've lost the choo-choo of thought
I started this poem off with. But does it matter
if words mean nothing, describe nothing,
amount to nothing more than an aging hope
that someday alien backpackers will stop by
and read this poem and say, "Damn,
now that guy, he could write!"
Woodie 11-21-13 (rewrites 11-21-15)

Saturday, January 13, 12:12am
Yes, I know, don't be mad. I haven't written in a few days. BUT I've been sick! No, not an excuse I have been REALLY sick with something, sinuses, breathing, fever . . . and I'm not making it up. Other people I know have the same symptoms. So, there! I was worried for a while, thinking that maybe it had something to do with how much I've mistreated body in my past and my age which is almost 70! Fortunately, I'm not the only one with year's crud. makes me feel a bit better. But still, I have to take care to make sure it doesn't turn into something "life threatening."

Still, I do sound a bit like a paranoid hypochondriac, don't I?  Maybe true. A man I did admire, who I thought would live forever did die last week, Tony Maffucci. He was older than me . . . but still. There are those deaths that are so profound to an individual it is hard not to think of your own death. I may write more after I go to bed and wake up . . . today.

Did venture out to Art Walk this evening. Not much going on because it was so cold. Below 30 degrees. Like a frozen wasteland. Only two street musicians out on the sidewalks. Brave souls. We made the rounds to the Main St. Gallery and down to the Stash. But I was getting tired way to fast. Stopped for dinner at one of the local watering holes that had food. Patty melts and pub fries and the Ale Bar. Mmmm, good. But that was it. feeling the sickness creeping on me. David took me home, I got in right at 9pm just in time to watch Blue Bloods.

Sunday, January 14, 10:31pm
I wore my new Chucks for Art Walk. That's them on the left. What do you think? Yeah, I know. Weeeeeeeird! But only one guy noticed them at Art Walk. "Nice shoes," he said as he passed me. My friends on Facebook were a bit more vocal. Brother Timothy typed, "This means you got six pairs of tennis shoes: 1 green pair 1 red pair, 1 green and red pair, 1 red and green pair. Okay, so I don't know how that adds up to six pairs of Chucks . . . but I was never that good at science. Anyway my friend David bought the two pair of Chucks for me. I kept trying to talk him out of it but . . . Oh, and David sent me an IM about Ford reintroducing the Mustang from the movie Bullitt! I was so excited. It was a dream of mine to own a replica of the Bullitt Mustang! Of course, I could never afford it, and to tell the truth the new Bullitt doesn't really LOOK like the original Bullitt. That's a bit of a bummer. 
But honestly, do I really want a car that was built in 1968? Hell, yeah!But I would want state of the art air-conditioning and a 21st century sound system so . . . I really don't want an original Bullitt car, do I? Life is full of these ironically ironic moments, and yes, I know it's probably isn't ironic but I couldn't pass up the use of "ironically ironic."

Have a good rest of this day!

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

The Daily {W}rite, January o1, 2018 wk o1

Yes, a fresh new year has begun. Day one. A new beginning, new rules, new desires, new life choices that will be worked on or at until . . . until we no longer care to try. Not uncommon in humans. To try to change one's path, trajectory, the size of an ever expanding universe . . . alright, yes, I'm way over weight a stomach area that's already reached Hitchcockian dimensions.  Yes, alright and I will say too I'll write every day . . . EVERY day . .  . and I will intend to do just that but . . . will I? And yes new poetry, brand spanking new not retreads from the years before but a whole new world of words and rhymes and secrets about this life I've lead. Yes my intentions are pure but will I follow through?

Tuesday, January o2, 2o18 3:43am

Devastating loss at the Rose Bowl for OU fans. But we'll live through it. I'm wondering how the only Georgia fan at Louie's tonight made out. Extremely vocal every time the Bulldogs made a touch down. A few of the hardcore Sooners took it personal. One lady even said something to him which made her "friend" yell at her for acting like an idiot and she yelled back and the next thing we knew he grabbed up his hat and coat and stormed out of Louie's leaving the poor woman sitting there alone. In Oklahoma three things you never argue about: 1. Religion 2. Politics 3. OU friggin' football.

He grasped the open air
and found nothing there.

I don't own a bed just a couch, which makes sleeping a precarious endeavor since the couch's length is shorter than my body. My legs dangle over open space when I lay down. So, I wind up sleeping most nights in a sitting position. Having my feet on the floor when I sleep always makes my subconscious  wary  that while I'm off in dreamland some vagrant mouse might invade the apartment and nibble my toes . . . and i wake up every hour or so to make sure I still got feet. It would be very difficult to wear the new Chucks David bought me without feet.

Thursday, January o4, 2o18 12:5am
So, David turned me on to another great American poet who I had no idea existed. And yes, he is quit the master of words, Archibald MacLeish!

Ars Poetica by Archibald MacLeish

A poem should be palpable and mute
As a globed fruit,

As old medallions to the thumb,

Silent as the sleeve-worn stone
Of casement ledges where the moss has grown—

A poem should be wordless
As the flight of birds.

A poem should be motionless in time
As the moon climbs,

Leaving, as the moon releases
Twig by twig the night-entangled trees,

Leaving, as the moon behind the winter leaves,  
Memory by memory the mind—

A poem should be motionless in time  
As the moon climbs.

A poem should be equal to:
Not true.

For all the history of grief
An empty doorway and a maple leaf.

For love
The leaning grasses and two lights above the sea—

A poem should not mean  
But be.

So, this had me thinking all day about poetry and how much of a poet I am . . . not. No, seriously. I have no understanding of the art. Poems SEE things differently than us mere writers of words. I mean, I write about the moon but it is always the moon as others have seen her or as I have always seen her, but Archie looks at the moon and sees: A poem should be motionless in time /As the moon climbs,/ Leaving, as the moon releases/Twig by twig the night-entangled trees . . .
Do you see how beautiful his moon is, how alive it is, how well written? But maybe I shouldn't be to harsh. How does this hold up to A's description of the moon?

Lately though, he noticed the Moon, his Moon,
her looks had started to fade, to go.
Too many large craters along her brow, these days.
Shadows cut deep gullies along the inside
of her tender Maria . . . transforming her,
bending her pale smile into a dark and dusty frown.
Her charm all but dried up, and his desire
to be with her . . . all of a sudden . . . gone.

Memory. The ghost that haunts us all. The rattling thought, dark and bright like a jar captured in sunlight. I, the me a dreamy thought plastered against the moody shores where black face ducks pick breadcrumbs off each others back. A crack of thunder, faces staring through the cracks, stern, globular blobs, we see the past throbbing, we see the hairs sprouting from the misshapen snouts and there is rain, an army of rain overrunning the hilltops where childhood hunkers down in muddy foxholes. We cannot rip our eyes out fast enough. We cannot wake fast enough  from the slaughter of our youthful smiles and hopeful dreams that have turn on us becoming nightmares, spoiled milk dripping from mother's dead smile. 

Saturday, January o6, 2o18
Started working at Bette Maffucci's Town Tavern sometime in the mid 70's. Great little restaurant. But to be honest I was a terrible short order cook. Horrible. I couldn't take the fast pace a place like the tavern demands. I was angry all the time, mean to everybody including customers . . . and for some reason I never got fired. One Saturday night, I went to the Tavern to eat and Tony Maffucci (Bette's husband) called me over to the booth he was sitting in. I sat down and he shot me this big smile and asked, "You doing all right, Woodie?" And I told him no, and then he asked what was wrong and I just started telling him my whole life story . . . mom and dad divorced when I was young . . .blah, blah, blah . . . drunken stepfather knocked out my front teeth with his fists when I was 16 . . . blah, blah, blah . . .!" and I went on like that for a good 20 minutes or so until I just ran out of things to say. When I finished Tony leaned forward and said, "Hey, don't worry about it, things will get better." And usually when some one says that kind of line you just blow it off. But when Tony said it, I believed him. He was really interested in you in your life.
I mean, through that whole diatribe Tony didn't take his eyes off of me. He wasn't checking his watch and secretly praying I would shut the hell up! None of that. And that was Tony's gift. He was fascinated with other people . . . and other people were fascinated by him. He'd walk into the Tavern and everybody's eye would go to him . . . and he hadn't done anything but walk in! He just looked like someone you wanted to know. He was a good friend to everybody, even strangers. Tony left this plane of existence this last Friday morning. And the world truly is a sadder place with out him.
I think it was his natural smile, you know. Always that welcoming smile on his face, "Hey, sit down, tell me all about yourself."

Sunday, January o7, 2o18
So, the end of a week in the new year. Not bad. Got a bit of writing down, and started a few new poems. I'm gearing up to start searching for publishers for my book of poetry. It's taken a while to get up the nerve to actually try to get published. We'll see what happens. :)

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

The Daily {W}rite Novmber wk o2


I need to get out, make new friends to replace the ones I just 86ed from my personal life. Yeah, I know. I'll make some new friends, laugh with them, hang with them a while and then . . . BLAM! all that devoted friendship will explode into another volley of emotional shrapnel. And I'll fall back into my dark apartment lock the door, disconnect the phone and just crawl up onto the couch and  . . . watch TV for a month, two months, three . . . maybe six. Now and then I'll peek between the Venetian blinds every now and then . . . just making sure the world hasn't disappeared  while I wasn't looking. Maybe I shouldn't even bother. Maybe I'm suppose to be without friends. I wouldn't be the first or the last man to ever find himself totally alone  . . . nothing but the quiet reflection of my  memories for company.

Life is Short

I don't know if I have a soul
but if I do I think it sleeps so deep
inside my head and heart
that nothing can awake it.

I wonder too about heaven
and hell and night and day,
I wonder as I wander free
to think about such silly things.

My neighbors tell me
life is short too short to dally,
too meaningful to take for granted
too precious to waste.

I believe them when they say such things
even though I know (I think I know) that life,
this little life is but a blink, and I am nothing
but a wink away from being freed of it.
Woodie o7-14-17 (rewrites 11-o8-17)

Thursday, November 1o, 2o17 11pm
A poem from a collection of short poems I'm actively working on right now. Well, okay, NOT right now but I'm working on them.

Beyond sight, beyond the fragile veil 
where thought haunts consciousness.
That's where my Self lives, forever 
perplexed by its own existence.

One day a child, the next an old man
who can barely remember his own name.

Asphalt roads, the wooded trail
where autumn leaves go to die
at the hands of solemn crows,
the memories gather 'round
an empty grave so dark, so black
the bottom can't be seen,
that's where I live most days, these days. 

Staring at the reflection
hovering in the window glass,
trying desperately to remember
what the hell I look like.
Woodie 11-1o-17

Friday, November 1o, 2017  11:58pm

Today is the Marine Corps birthday, 242 years old. Chesty Puller the most decorated Marine in the corps once said, "You're not really a Marine until you spend time in the brig." Yes, for all its Semper-fi attitude at the heart of every Marine is a deep seated desire to say FUCK YOU! to everybody including (and especially) anybody that was NOT
an enlisted man. Chesty was also THE MARINE because he entered the Corps as a private and left it as a fuckin' Lieutenant General! Yeah, Chesty was the man of men!

1968. I was getting short. No more than maybe three months before I would be headed stateside. One of the grunts doing pot shack duty showed me a picture in the Stars & Stripes of some very, very old dude with this young, wide-eye kid. "That's Chesty Puller!" the grunt said with the exuberance usually reserved for that poster of Brigitte Bardot sitting on a Harley. "Which one?" "The old guy, dude! The young guy's his son. He just enlisted in the Corps and is here in Vietnam!" Yep, that's what the article said, sure enough. I went back to the picture and wondered at it. Chesty, my main man, the Marine Corps' green god was beyond old. There's a saying that someone looks like, "death warmed over." But this old dude was beyond that. I'm not even sure he was alive, just a shriveled up piece of dead meat that someone put a suit on and propped up for a party pic. And the kid next to him, his son, that wide-eye look in his eyes wasn't from wonder; it was fear. Straight up fear. And he should be afraid. I mean, do you want to be in a war zone where everybody knows Chesty Puller is your dad? Not everybody liked Chesty Puller. He was a general. Yeah, he made his way through the rants to get to general  . . . but people don't give a shit about that. You give up your right's as a human being when you become an officer. And at the time "fraggin'" an officer was a fad. A guys resting in his tent, and he hears something rolling on the floor, looks down and Pop! No more officer. One guy with a grudge against Chesty, one hand grenade tossed into his hooch and young Captain Puller would be no more. But that didn't happen to Lewis Burwell Puller Jr. Something more horrible was waiting for him.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

The Daily {W}rite November wk o1

Yeah, been over five months since I tried to breathe a little life into this diary-blog. Too busy aging to take the time to try and write something, anything that I can use
to point out to folks . . . I'm still relatively  . . . alive. I'm semi able to breathe with the help of a nebulizer, a rescue inhaler and coffee, lots and lots of dark roasted coffee. I haven't felt like writing much of anything, hell, I haven't written a movie review in so long. I have "tried" to write some poetry but it hasn't amounted to much. The Muse has left the building . . . the Earth. So, I struggle on. I continue (or start) to write, to say something so profound that all well praise me honor me . . . or at the least . . . just forget how much they've always adored beating me.

I suppose I'm just too sensitive. Or maybe it's that I'm not sensitive enough when it comes to others feelings, moods, disappointments. Hmm. I do believe I've written a poem about that. Want to read it? Too late, you should have spoke up sooner. Now you have to read it:

'tis true
'tis true, 'tis true,
I am by nature an impatient man
demanding of my dreams, "show thyself!"
long before I’ve fallen off to sleepy-land!
I often sit a twiddling my thumbs
at an extremely agitated rate
or pace the floor and adjust my coat
while filling the air with unquotable quotes
when she decides to keep my spirits waiting.

What’s with all this hesitating?
She doesn’t see my agitation?
Can't she hear my mournful cries
belittling the darkest nights
while longing for her presence to arrive?

'tis true, 'tis true,
mere blasphemy, some would say,
my cursing her and scorning her then all the day
hoping soon she'll smile my way.

But I'm a complicated sort of guy
who doesn't always try to reason why,
why this old world spins perpetually slower
when it comes to my desires.

Maybe I should retire from it all
with'a swift slit to the wrist!
No, that would be quite painful and harmful
to all those friends . . . who pretend to like me.

"tis true, 'tis all true,
I love my misery far too much to give it up.
A dark, dank grave with no one to mourn
except those featherless crows, who heaven knows,
have forgotten the meaning of flight? No, not I!

But I have lost my train of thought. Where was I?
Perhaps I should take my dog for a walk
and clear this morbid rhyme from my mind.
Yes! I could walk my dog . . .  if I had one.
Woodie o5-23-08

That's all for tonight. With luck I'll have enough inspiration to pick it up tomorrow. Goodnight.

Friday, November o3, 2o17, 2:14am
Thursday was  . . . I hate to say a good day, but yeah, a good day. I feel a bit more liberated from my past and my present . . . the future? Seriously, it is so uninteresting to me that I don't ever think about what might or might not be for me. I've cut all ties to the weight that was dragging me down, the thoughts that keep me locked up in my apartment sleeping all day and staying up all night. I am free. For now. yeah, I have no illusion. That light at the end of a darker than dark corridor is as much a trick of the mind as my lying past . . . I'm only a misstep away from total mind destruction. But no worrying about it because my whole life, from the very first day of breath I have been close to the end of all thinking, all reasoning, all laughter and tears.

Back to Thursday: Crawled out of the darkness of sleep . . . slowly. A snail's awakening, deliberately slow. But a few cups of coffee, a good stretch of the body, ten minutes worth of hits off the nebulizer and I was awake, aware that from this moment on I am alone. Got dressed fast, got the bike out and rode over to Spout's, bought some ready baked chicken and stopped by the landlord's mansion, slipped the rent into his mail box. And back home in enough time to watch the news. The News! On these good days the news doesn't bother me, Trump's antics didn't do anything except make me laugh at his stupidity. What a joke he is. Anyway, there are decisions I need to make about Friday. Maybe go catch the new Thor movie? Do have to go to Walmart for nicotine gum and a few groceries., and it's going to be cold later on today so I may just wait the movie for Saturday. But right now? I'm enjoying the freedom of being alone, totally alone like a single star shinning through the storm clouds. :)
And I'm off to Walmart for nicotine gum and maybe . . . a movie! Heard that Stranger Things is out on video. I hope so. Really want to watch that. So, if I don't  have a deadly bike accident and/or a heart attack, I 'll be back in a couple hours.

Damn. 2.2 miles to Walmart from my apartment. The directions say it should take 13 minutes to get there. Not me. On the way up, I got to 12th St. from Boyd Ave, and had to stop, take a few drags off the inhaler, and wait for me to catch my breath before jumping on the bike and finally getting to Walmart. The way back it was even harder. Stopped three times just to breathe! Round trip, according to the Google map, 26 minutes. My time? Well, I left home at 4pm, shopped for about 45 minutes (long checkout lines that time of day), and finally got home at 6pm. Man! My lungs were burning up and my legs were shaking so bad I couldn't stand up long enough to put my groceries away. So sad. I use to ride like the wind on the bicycle, I loved breathing hard, sweating like hell . . . but moving, moving so fast! Now? Well, I guess I just gotta work up to it. I need to take it easy but make sure I get out and ride every day.

Saturday, November o4, 2o17
Frayed at all ends. My eyes opened at 8:30am, closed and reopened about 12:35pm. Dragged myself off the couch . . . barely. The coffee was cold. I turned on it's heating unit . . . BEEP . . . BEEP . . . BEEP . . . tapped the remote, turn on the TV . . . the news plays softly as I reacquaint myself with the half of a dream I left sitting in the darkness. 12:45am. Yeah, I got to get up. The lungs are aching. Pull out the nebulizer, connect the pieces of the mouth piece and loud it up with . . . what ever that crap is the doctor tells me I gotta suck into my lungs four times a day.

By 2pm I've brushed my teeth, drank two cups of almost warm coffee, tucked in the partial plate, one chewable baby aspirin for the heart and a Gummy Bear fiber supplement for . . . well, you know! And  . . . that's my whole day. Didn't go riding like I should, didn't ride over and see the game at one of the local bar/restaurants in town . . . didn't leave the house once. So, how was your day?

Sunday, November o5, 2o17
I hope I'm not betraying my generation by saying how much I enjoy my coffee/reading time at the Starbucks on the corner of Boyd and Asp. I know, it's a chain and corporate chains of anything service is EVIL! And I'm with you. I don't want to live in the United States of Starbucks or Walmart. I really don't . . . but Starbucks has the best coffee in town and a very, very comfortable lounge chair for me to sit in and read. Plus, the staff at spells my name right on my medium Americano cup: Woodie and not WOODY!

I didn't ride as far today as I intended. Seriously, the run to Walmart knocked the stuffing out of my lungs and my legs. All day yesterday I felt like a ragdoll . . . an old ragdoll. And that bothers me a lot. Yeah, I know, I'm old and getting old . . . er. I gotta expect that I'll have to slow down a bit. But nature could at the least give my the ability to ride my damn bicycle since I don't have any other personal transportation. And yes, I know, I have to take it slow getting back on the bike after almost a year never riding it. So, I am resolved to go farther and get faster on the bike but . . . I gotta work up to it. So, every day a short ride, maybe just a few blocks, until I'm ready physically and mentally to try a Walmart run again. I can catch a bus up to Walmart and back home, and I'll do just that for a bit, until I can make there and back on the bike without feeling that I'm gonna a die afterward. :)

Monday, November o6, 2o17, 10:19pm
Crawled out of unconsciousness around 10:30 this morning to find that all the leaves on the oaks out front had turned a golden-yellow. Winter attacked like an invisible monster, killing every bit of warmth the world had known only twenty-four hours ago. Cut off jeans, short- sleeved tees, all buried somewhere in the back of a dark closet, replaced with long, heavy coats and gloves and silly looking stocking caps with fuzzy balls of yarn sewn to their tops. Old men frown all the time no matter what the weather . . . but today? An extra crease appears at the corner of my mouth as I realize it will never be warm again. 

Of course, I exaggerate. A tiny bit. There's always the chance that the old . . . er folks may not make it all the way through the Oklahoma winter although the weather "woman" says that this will be a very mild winter and little if any snow. So, we, me and my fellow gray wolves, make it to another spring  . . . only to be killed off, weeded out by the harsh oven eye of summer. Yes, we die, we old folks, due to either cold weather or hot. Nature's way of thinning the herd, I guess. 

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The Daily {W}Rite June 2o17 WK o4

Friday, June 23
A month since my 69th birthday. Guess it's time to get back to work on my blog. I need to, really. I mean, I'm just wasting away doing nothing that even resembles being creative. All day long I sit and watch TV, sleep until 2 pm every day and basically watch myself go down into those deep, soggy depths of just not giving a fuck about anything. Yeah, I know, "snap out of it! Get a job! DO something." I can hear you saying it before you actually read this entry. And I've taken steps to get myself out of this "I don't give a damn" loop I've created for myself. I get up earlier, go out for a ride on the bicycle and . . . started writing again on this blog.

Friend of mine from Las Vegas, New Mexico sent me a short video of him playing and singing one of my songs. Here're the lyrics:

DOWN (Down chords: dm, DM, G, F, dm, DM)

You say the world's unkind, you know it's true.
How can you be so blind to all the love that surrounds you?
Oh, you're turning round. Oh, you're coming down.
You look into my eyes but you don't see
Beyond the drunken lies that pick at your festered memory.
Oh, you're fallen down. Oh, you’re turning round.
When will you leave the past behind?
Stop chasing shadows through the wall.
Just look around and you may find
That there's something worthwhile after all.
The time has come for you to turn away
From all the pain you cause
Through all the hurtful things you say
They screw you round. Oh, they bring you down.

I need a piano. I want to get the chords down for all the songs I've written before I lose the ability to remember them. But a full size piano won't fit in my apartment. Oh, it might if I rearranged things a bit more, but it would still make my little hovel even  . . . littler. Maybe I can find a small electric keyboard somewhere. Hell, I may even have another song in me.

Monday, May 22, 2017

TDW Birthday Poem May 23rd 2o17

So, here it is. Another notched on the old door jam, another candle adding its fragile flame to the heat of the day. Everything that you do in this life gets easier as you get more practice. Spend enough time on this planet, work hard at learning how to do this or that and more than likely you'll become an expert at any and everything you apply yourself to . . . except getting old. You can't learn how to deal with age until you're too tired out, to set in your ways to learn the skills of being an elderly . . . thing. And don't ask friends for suggestion on how to live life as an old fart. They don't know themselves. And do yourself a big favor and never complain to your friends about getting old. "Well, getting old beats the alternative!" or they'll say something even less comforting, "Old? You're not old!  Wait 'til you get to my age!" Anyway, here's the yearly poem(s) for this most wonderful of days, my birthday.

69 = LXIX
580,262,400 breaths taken
103,500 miles walked (average)

I Discovered a rash on my left leg this morning,
a rather large rash the size of a softball mitt that
decorated the kneecap with thick, scarlet flowers which
quickly mutated into violent blooms of yellow puss.
And I thought to myself, “Fuck! That’s definitely
gonna leave a scar.”

And the next morning, yes the very next morning
I woke up with a start to find time was already busy
torqueing my joints from ankle to wrist, delivering
a incapacitating  knotted highway through my entire
body. Slowly and thoroughly I’m being transformed
into an aging flesh-pretzel.

The House Sparrows hop about on the wet lawn,
their tiny heads jerk about  searching out shelter,
a bush, a porch. Some flutter up onto the roof
seeking an open vent, a stove pipe, anything,
any tiny crack in the eaves, any passage that might
lead  to the warm, dusty crawl space where
the angry winds can’t find them. I have friends
that are a lot like  those House Sparrows.

My Facebook buddy raises my spirits with an
empathetic. “You’re only as old as you feel.”
Which if true means I’ll be celebrating

my three hundred sixty-third birthday.

Last night it rained; I mean, I meant to say,
early this morning it rained. No, I mean, I meant
to say . . . What the hell the hell does it matter?
When it’s dark, its night not morning, right?

Anyway, it rained last night and I slept through
most of it, I dreamed through it (or is it I dreamt
through it? Fucking grammar.), until a subtle
roll of thunder opened my eyes.
I ran to the window, threw back the blinds . . .
the rain had already stormed passed leaving only
a saggy, soggy world for me to admire.
So fast things come and go these days. I barely
had time to close my bathrobe in respect
for Mother Nature’s moist gifts and the few
passersby who might not appreciate being exposed
to my almost sixty-nine year old naked body.

The problem with living alone?
There's no one here to wake me
if I dream too loud.

Yes, I’ll be sixty-nine years old in May.
Not sure how I should feel about that.
I confess that often enough I get up

in the middle of the night  wondering
if I should be frightened by the fact
that everybody seems to be dying
around my body or pleased that it’s not me.
Some die old, some younger, some
linger longer than they should, while others
rumble through this existence so fast
It’s hard to tell if they were ever here at all.

Sixty-nine looks to be an annoying year.
Not that sixty-nine as a birth-age
is less remarkable as any other age.
It’s more about the sexual connotation
associated with the number 69.
“Woodie, how old will you be in May?”
“I’ll be exactly sixty-nine years old.”
“Sixty-nine!” they’ll say with a
Beavis and Butt-head chortle,
“Heh-heh! He said sixty-nine!
Heh-heh, heh-heh, heh!”

10 Raincoat
April, nineteen sixty-nine, flying out of Okinawa
a pit stop in Guam to refuel. I light up a cigarette with
the Zippo the guys gave me right before I escaped ‘Nam.
Inscription on the lighter’s silver body:
“From the Boys in the Nasty”
A faded map of Guam on a wall in the airport.
Next to the map there’s a picture (piss-yellowed by age)
of a local jungle hilltop. I look closer at the battered
photograph and see something buried inside,
deep behind all that thick, green jungle foliage . . .
a dark-brick building, weathered, crumbling,
a monastery, a church, maybe? In between drags
off my Marlboro light, I make a solemn vow:
someday I’ll come back to Gaum, find that hilltop
and explore that monastery or church or whatever
the fuck it is. But why, I mean, I just got the fuck
out of a jungle! I wanna crawl back into another one?
It makes no sense but I promise anyway and,
of course, I never go back.

Two years later, out of the Corps, sitting in a bar.
“Hey, man?” A voice from behind my barstool,
“You Woodie, right?”  I turn ‘round . . . a young guy
‘bout my age, a face full of shrapnel scars.
“Yeah?” I’ve no idea who this Frankenstein
looking motherfucker is, but he seems to know me.
“Come over and sit with us.” He leads me
to a corner in the back by the pool tables where
two other dudes sit. Under the pool table lights
they look more like ghosts than men.  One guy,
burr cut, his left hand’s missing the pinky and ring finger.
The other guy looks squirrely, twitchy, unable to sit still,
never looks me right in the eye.  As I sit down I remember
something. Four years ago, my belov├Ęd Corps
had this enlistment program. Enlist on a certain day
and you’ll go through boot camp with dudes
from your home town. These three, Frankenstein,
Half-hand and Squirrely-butt, where guys I went through
boot camp with. But damn if I remember ‘em.
Anyway, we start talking, drinking beer after beer,
and suddenly Squirrely-butt starts babbling about . . .
“Hey, remember that DI, that Gunnery Sergeant from
Porta Rico?” we all nod and smile. “He mustered us onto
the parade grounds the day of our graduation, Remember?
‘Men, most of you are heading for Vietnam. Some of you
won’t make it back . . . alive. So, I got some advice for you . . .
When you have sex with them women over there in Vietnam,
always wear a condom. I know, I know. What’s the point
of takin’ a shower if you’re gonna wear a raincoat, right?
Well, if you choose to go bareback on them girls,
your dick will fall off!  Men, don’t come home
without your dick!’”

That was the best life advice I’d ever gotten.
And to this day, I never leave the house
without a raincoat.
Written by Woodie
for his 69th B-day o5-23-17