Greetings, My Fellow Humans

Note: Dear beloved English teachers, current and past, I realize every sentence is not a complete sentence. It is intentional. Sorry.

For those of you not of my generation, may you be so lucky as to become old someday, to grow wiser than ever, and to be an able matriarch or patriarch of your tribe. May you be honored for your past, cherished for wisdom today, and be a loss lamented when your time happens.

My wife Facebook shared/posted a (much too) long epistle that numerically listed 21 items of advice for old people (like we effing need it). I don’t agree with most of it. My oldest (adult) son made the sarcastic comment (it’s in his genes), “Dad’s always been on top of the latest fashions.”

I never wear socks with sandals (matured in 60-70-80s), checks or plads with stripes, or color combos that make my wife wince. I wore a uniform for years, then (after a period of high-casual) went as laid back as I could pull off.

I was once asked by a fellow manager how I ran a department where employees (include me) dressed casual Friday, Monday thru Thursday. He told me he asked upper management and got an emphatic ‘NO!” My response was, “I didn’t ask.”

But, Billy has a point.

My below the waist wardrobe: shorts, sweat pants, or jeans (clean underwear). Feet: usually short socks, slide-on shoes of some kind with rubber soles (no crocks), maybe laces, rarely sandals, very temperature dependent. I rotate sneakers but have some for rain and some for mud.

Upper bod gets things with no buttons like an old (maybe new) tee, or pullover long sleeve thingy, or sweatshirt. Formal shirts have collars like golf/polo type. Have some mock turtlenecks for when I feel all cool Pat Conroy, John Updike, or Patterson-ish like.

Dark color, pull-over sweaters for my shady moods and gloomy times of Peter Reading, Poe, Blake, e. e., T.S., A.E., Ezra, or G.G. Lord Byron-ish days. I have them.

I wear baseball (sometimes newsboy/Irish eight-piece/flat) caps.

I have clothes I no longer wear (since retired): Docker-like slacks, dress pants (not sure what still fits), sport coats covered to keep dust off, ‘nice’ long-sleeved button-down shirts (dusty), leather shoes (no wingtips or suede).

One pair of hiking boots I also use for motor scooter rides. I do have variations of workout garb that changes with the weather. A mix of sweat or beach hoodie thingies (how cold is it?) including a red rain jacket. Casual jackets, several of which I cannot recall ever having worn. I have my USAF leather flight jacket that screams ‘you put on a few’ when I wear it.

At home, it’s about how I feel. Out, it depends. I may be professor R.J. at the library, but more Chinasky at the pub. Writing at coffee shops is mood-determined. On my worst low-casual day, I look better than half the peeps in Wally World (maybe more than half), but who cares?

The last time I wore a tie either somebody died, got hitched, or I was being paid to dress like that. I have tossed a ton of ties, but a dusty dozen remain in my closet with all those belts. I wear one belt and only with jeans, but have beaucoup backups.

I try to keep my hair cut short (no old man pony tails for me, thanks), I brush and floss daily, walk about 2mi a day (when motivated), swim a bit more than that in week (shower daily after swim), sit way too much at this computer, go to one or two ‘social’ events a week, read not enough, watch some (too much) TV (The Voice, NCIS [needs me to write for them], Chicago PD, Fire, Med-maybe, an occasional Netflix movie or documentary, Bull a bit, some football [maybe]). If I go to the movie (or other) theater, I will dress medium casual, but at home…eff-it.

I really do care.

So, what’s up with (in) my closet? An old flight suit that no way would ever fit again, covered sports jacks and an old Class-A, USAF uniform (‘when I wore a younger man’s clothes’), too many shirts of which I wear less than half, pants that if not jeans I never wear, and two baskets for shorts, sweat pants, and miscellaneous whatever.

In drawers I have socks (mostly over-ankle types worn less than one day a week, if it is a socks day), underwear of which some %-age always needs tossed out, more tees, and too many pull over sweaters (all of which I like and do intend to wear, [see mood comments above] but I live in Texas). ‘tis the season, though – twenty-five degrees here this morning, which is why I sit writing this instead of out humpin’ for my 2 miles. Do not hang pullover sweaters on hangars. It gives them (you) shoulder bumps.

Okay. The truth is that I am an old man who basically does WTF he wants and has a dress and grooming code/standard bar set at ‘somewhat’ acceptable, if anyone cares. I do not wear stink (fragrances like cologne or after shave). Me? A fool? I think not; but passionate? Hell, YES! (Just not about my rags.) So, let’s end this with a poem by Yeats.

A prayer for old age by WB Yeats

God guard me from those thoughts men think
In the mind alone;
He that sings a lasting song
Thinks in a marrow-bone;
From all that makes a wise old man
That can be praised of all;
O what am I that I should not seem
For the song’s sake a fool?
I pray—for word is out
And prayer comes round again—
That I may seem, though I die old,
A foolish, passionate man.

Intense?

Look both ways on the closet rack and ask, “why do I have?”
Mind the gaps in the closet, for a tie’s a poor gift to an old man who’d be tickled with a kiss.

Poetry About Death

Poets write about many things. One is death.
Another is love. One could easily fill many book shelves with the love poems written just this year.

After working out this little ditty which touches on the part of death I call ‘the leaving and being left,’ I discovered another jewel by John Updike. It looks at death from the point of view of the artist (his).

I’ve added the brief reading video of the Updike poem below. If you enjoy poetry, art, are an artist, or may face death someday, it is worth a couple minutes of your time, in my opinion.

 

Let me Die

Please don’t sigh, when I cry, just kiss me now
and let me die.
Let me go
now to be.
Look at me and you will see,
when again together,
in death we’ll be.
Sigh and walk away –
to live what life’s left for you,
Not to fret and do not let
us to mourn this life or even death.

We had our time in love sublime
as you kiss me now upon my brow.

Bill Reynolds 11/01/2018

Perfection Wasted by John Updike

Wow!
Look both ways; to life and to death.
Respectfully mind the gap; it’s where the dying lie.

Dialogue: What They Said

Note: click on highlighted links for videos and songs.

He:      ‘I’m very sorry, Baby. I would never intentionally hurt your feelings.’

She:     ‘God damnit, Billy-Bob, you don’t even know why, do you?’

He:      ‘Whatever it was, I deeply regret it and promise never to say or do it again.’

She:     Screamed gibberish and threw her full glass of white wine at him, smashing it on the wall over his head.

Cat:     Ran and hid under the sofa.

She:     Poured herself a glass of red wine (doesn’t like red, gives her headaches).

He:      ‘Come on Judy, calm down, you know how much I love you.’

Cat:     Hissed very loudly.

Alexa: ‘Oh shit, Billy! Playing Gunpowder and Lead by Miranda Lambert.’

She:     Turned beet-red and walked toward him, grinned, and poured the red wine on his white shirt.

He:      ‘Jesus Christ! Now what?’

She:     Quietly uttered a ‘fuck you’ as she turned, grabbed her purse on her way to the front door, which she slammed so hard the curtain fell to the floor.

He:      Walked to the closet to change his shirt. Dropped the wine-stained one into hamper, picked up the curtain from the floor and reattached it. Took a short heavy glass from the cupboard and put in two ice cubes. Opened the liquor cabinet and poured two fingers of his best Scotch, then returned to his seat. He quietly sipped his Glenlivet 25.

Cat:     Jumped into his lap and began to force paws deep into his legs while fully extending claws to dig painfully into his skin.

He:      ‘Ouch! Stop that pussy cat. Alexa, play something soft and comforting.’

Cat:     ‘You did that on purpose. Her name is Jane. You called her Judy, your ex’s name. You’re such a dickhead.’

Alexa: ‘Ok, Billy-Bob, the jerk. Playing Please Don’t Go by Absolutes…jackass.’

He:      ‘Alexa, I said comforting, not sad and miserable. I feel bad enough. Play some Enya.’

Alexa: ‘Enya also thinks you’re a jerk, but playing Watermark for assholes.’

Cat:     ‘You called her mother a pain in the ass. Her mother hates you. Now Jane hates you. I think you are hoping for makeup sex. Good luck.’ Purrs and curls up into his lap.

Alexa: ‘She will kill him for sure this time. His sex life will soon be a memory.’

He:      ‘Alexa, stop talking to the cat. Add flowers to my shopping list.’

Alexa: ‘Ok, thrill-kill-Bill, adding three-dozen red roses and her favorite candy to your shopping list. Would you like me to call that in for you?’

He:      ‘Would you two please be quiet. I need to regroup. Why am I talking to a cat and a computer?’

Phone buzzes with voice mail.

She:     ‘Fuck you very much. And, I’m never coming back.’

Alexa: ‘Ok Jane the wonderful, playing Fuck You by Lily Allen. Please don’t leave us here alone with this asshole.’

He:      Takes another sip of Scotch, closes his eyes, and begins to snore.

© Bill Reynolds 10/27/2018

Look both ways; we are never free of consequences.
Mind the gaps; they are never forgotten.

Song Lyric Sunday – Give

Helen’s Song lyric prompt for today is give. I immediately thought of a song I had not listened to in a while, a classic twelve-bar blues number called Give Me One Reason, written and sung by Tracy Chapman. I had a hard time deciding between two videos, this one and another in duet with Eric Clapton.

The hook lines in the lyrics are woven throughout the song…

“Give me one reason…”

The lyrics are not in the video. I suggest watching the video without reading lyrics for full affect; but I put them below, so you can read them as you listen if you want. Great blues song.

Lyrics

Give me one reason to stay here
And I’ll turn right back around
Give me one reason to stay here
And I’ll turn right back around
Said I don’t want leave you lonely
You got to make me change my mind

Baby I got your number and I know that you got mine
But you know that I called you, I called too many times
You can call me baby, you can call me anytime
You got to call me

Give me one reason to stay here
And I’ll turn right back around
Give me one reason to stay here
And I’ll turn right back around
Because I don’t want leave you lonely
you got to make me change my mind

I don’t want no one to squeeze me, they might take away my life
I don’t want no one to squeeze me, they might take away my life
I just want someone to hold me and rock me through the night

This youthful heart can love you and give you what you need
This youthful heart can love you and give you what you need
But I’m too old to go chasing you around
Wasting my precious energy

Give me one reason to stay here
And I’ll turn right back around
Give me one reason to stay here
And I’ll turn right back around
Because I don’t want leave you lonely
You got to make me change my mind

Baby just give me one reason, Give me just one reason why
Baby just give me one reason, Give me just one reason why I should stay
Said I told you that I loved you
And there ain’t no more to say

***

Songwriters: Tracy L Chapman. Give Me One Reason lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Look both ways for love. It can give you what you want.
Mind the gap, ‘and there ain’t no more to say.’

Click graphic for link to SLS page.

Will I Care? Don’t Talk Like That!

The past happened without me, as will the future.
Beginning on what day will I no longer get out of bed?
Unable to remove the mask and walk away,
to pee or whatever. Will I know anything?
On what day will I no longer want coffee?
I can handle not to have. But not to want?
Does nirvana or moksha reflect happiness or denial?
On what morn I’ll no longer begin a day’s reading?
Is not my quest for knowledge stewed in desire?
To have and to hold, to want and to need. To care?
There’s more I want to know. Will I care? Do I?
Must I stop loving her on that day? As the Jones song goes.
Will my dignity be intact, or will it be the first to go?
Will I die in a puddle of shit? As many would see that as fit.
Will I remember my name, yours, where I am? Will I care?
Is there such a thing as death with dignity? Or do we
just pass on to return life for life? Don’t talk like that?
Away and towards. Turn, turn, turn. Say I love you.

I care.

I do.

Love you.

 

© Bill Reynolds 10/15/2018

Look both ways; to the beginning and toward the end, when gaps no longer matter.

Song Lyric Sunday – Hide

Helen’s Song lyric prompt for today is hide, or hiding, or hidden. A great prompt for me cuz four songs came to mind. I selected one but changed my mind to Lyin’ Eyes by the Eagles, written by Glenn Frey and Don Henley. The hook line for the prompt is (of course) ‘you can’t hide your lyin’ eyes‘ but this song also has one of my all-time favorite philosophical song lines, ‘I guess every form of refuge has its price‘ – and it does, right?

I put the lyrics below the video so you can read as you listen.

YouTube terminated the video, but you can still find it and watch, if you like.

Lyin’ Eyes

City girls just seem to find out early
How to open doors with just a smile
A rich old man
And she won’t have to worry
She’ll dress up all in lace and go in style
 

Late at night a big old house gets lonely
I guess every form of refuge has its price
And it breaks her heart to think her love is only
Given to a man with hands as cold as ice
 

So she tells him she must go out for the evening
To comfort an old friend who’s feelin’ down
But he knows where she’s goin’ as she’s leavin’
She is headed for the cheatin’ side of town
 

You can’t hide your lyin’ eyes
And your smile is a thin disguise
I thought by now you’d realize
There ain’t no way to hide your lyin’ eyes
 

On the other side of town a boy is waiting
With fiery eyes and dreams no one could steal
She drives on through the night anticipating
‘Cause he makes her feel the way she used to feel
 

She rushes to his arms, they fall together
She whispers that it’s only for awhile
She swears that soon she’ll be comin’ back forever
She pulls away and leaves him with a smile
 

You can’t hide your lyin’ eyes
And your smile is a thin disguise
I thought by now you’d realize
There ain’t now way to hide your lyin’ eyes
 

She gets up and pours herself a strong one
And stares out at the stars up in the sky
Another night, it’s gonna be a long one
She draws the shade and hangs her head to cry
 

She wonders how it ever got this crazy
She thinks about a boy she knew in school
Did she get tired or did she just get lazy?
She’s so far gone she feels just like a fool
 

My oh my, you sure know how to arrange things
You set it up so well, so carefully
Ain’t it funny how your new life didn’t change things?
You’re still the same old girl you used to be
 

You can’t hide your lyin’ eyes
And your smile is a thin disguise
I thought by now you’d realize
There ain’t no way to hide your lyin’ eyes
There ain’t no way to hide your lyin’ eyes
Honey, you can’t hide your lyin’ eyes
 

Songwriters: Glenn Frey / Don Henley

Lyin’ Eyes lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

 Look both ways with yer lyin’ eyes. Mind the gaps cuz refuge has a price.

Click graphic for link to SLS page.

Poetry: Live life all the way

all life is one.
undetached. Be alive.
Live your life. really Live it
all the way.

Love a million times, regret none.
Walk the roads, sides, and trails
into the wild. into the wind.
Come back more alive.

Run past a deer, spark a march hare.
Kiss until lips bleed and tongues fail,
Sing and Yell and Scream and Laugh
just because it feels so damn good.
Dance. passionately

Feel deep. Hear music drive
intense tones into your bones,
Make hot red blood pump more life.

Stand alone at a cliff’s edge
on a windy stormy night and Live,
arms up to face the gale
and the drum.

Fear. dangers feel more alive.
Risk is life. Live now, die later.
Sleep and Dream of pleasures.
Awaken to Live and to Love and to die.
if you must rest, just die Living in
hope to really Live it all
again.

©Bill Reynolds 9/27/2018

Live it. Love it. Look both ways and mind the gap. But live life to the limits.

(and happy October)