“If you wanna live stop whining. Whaddaya wanna live for anyway? Your mother ain’t dyin’, and even if she wuz she ain’t savin’ yuh. Now git on my hip and don’t be strayin’”
Dad thought I talked too much. At least it always bothered him that I never agreed. Maybe he has a point. It has always been not so much that I disagreed, rather that I was disagreeable.
‘If I die before I get old’ is a phrase that no longer applies to me. Although my mind conjures continuity between childhood and aging to maintain the illusion of a real reasoning ME, historicity always involves finagling to adjust the drama of the meaning. Here and now is the moment that has come to be.
If I stayed at the captain’s hip until he died that is his story, THEIR story. That’s not how I want to be remembered. Dead leaves, brittle and soiled, scattered by the wintry wind, ground by the road grater and whipped to dust in the Spring and Summer.
Here is a life to lead or dream of with windows, heat and plumbing. I watch the same movies over and over, and outside, day after day, the same cars pass by. For others, I am the man each day in the car passing by.
The road grater goes by and pushes snow back into everyone’s driveway. Some bitch and complain, some say it’s a small price to pay. There has to be a clear roadway. I don’t care about all that. At the moment I am stuck behind the road grater in traffic.
The same people have worked at the supermarket for over a dozen years. A person must be fairly comfortable to stay in a job like that for that long.
I walk in the park with a fishing pole so people don’t look at me funny. A man in his fifties alone in a park always arouses suspicion. I only go to the park during the day now, and I have a gun permit. A person can never know how much his life is in danger, never know how a moment will play out. A mean person in an unscrupulous moment takes advantage of the vulnerability of another. It is not my money I am worried about. It is to be the sport of another as suits his fashion.
I walk through the door and greet the birds, sit down in my chair and pick up my note book. Outside the window another road grater passes by and I am once again involved in rearranging historicity, adjusting it with fancy into poetry and fiction. My muse reviews the images from the park and all the people who were there for there own particular reason, and they become objects in a metaphysical storm. Some are alone, some are in groups. The muse sees the elderly greeter at the store and the mannerisms of the motorists. A cockatiel cries monotonously from its cage in the kitchen just as he has done every day at sundown for the past twelve years. Wind shakes snow in the pines outside the window. It’s still a few months from Spring, but before that the water will give up its dead.