For Ed, Pete, Greg, Joe, Tom, Matt, Nate, Don, and Bob

Alas, now that I am forty-plus and guy-friend poor,
I mete and dole unequal laws unto
a savage rat-race with the washer-dryer,
with giant green trash receptacles,
hoarding, sleeping, and feeding.
There is too much stuff
to stuff into these accelerating days.
I confess: Sometimes I long for
the old days when we’d each chug a six-pack
and crumple the cans flat against our
flat heads, when we’d sprint butt-naked
through the sleepy streets, throwing
eggs at random picture windows,
when we’d slide ala Pete Rose
across the beer-slimed floors of frat-house basements,
shouting out rude names to young chicks
who’d never give us what we craved,
or those breezy summer nights we’d sit on rooftops
in dumpster-found lawn chairs,
talking deep stuff: Camus’ Stranger,
the Sex Pistols, parents’ divorces,
why Dances With Wolves is the best
movie ever put to celluloid,
but no, but no, now we are old,
we are wearing our trousers rolled,
and there is a pit in each peach
we sniff and chomp,
and Metamucil is a daily dose,
and we always grunt when bending
to pick junk off the floor.

Please, once more, dudes, buds,
let us come together around the
HOA approved backyard firepit, let us
sit our flabby asses in some Aridondack chairs
as my wife calls them, and hoist just a couple,
one or two, and talk about hybrid cars, Roth IRAs
impending minor surgeries,
what a perfect asshole GW Bush is,
how amazing our kids are, and let’s keep score:
the good lives we’ve been gifted, one and all.
Let us drink deep as the sky deepens,
let us listen to chirping bats as they skitter
above our still flat, now shiny-bald, heads.
Let us toast these muscles
made weak by time and fate,
though we are still iron enough in will
to strive, to seek, to find, and/but maybe/no maybe/yes,
to yield at all intersections and merges,
because there are those who need us,
there are those who would miss us.

(Loosely stolen, er, based, on Tennyson’s “Ulysses.”)



4 thoughts on “THIRST OF HEARTS

  1. There it is again, that distinct voice, even when filching Tennyson. Love this, Mike. I am not Ed, Pete, Greg, Joe, Tom, Matt, Nate, Don, or Bob, but I will be happy to raise said toast.

  2. I’m writing to say I’mm (sic) fully recovered. I drove 8500 miles to Denver last summer and stopped at the airport. Visited my old girlfriend in Helena. Turns out she married a man who looks just like me. We’re from the same town in Italy—could be brothers. I slept in their basement.

    Live a remarkably normal life, teach ESL at the community college, three kids on swim team, violin, and piano now, two in ballet, dazzling wife, subaru. There are odd moments of course, can’t talk about anything biological when I’m driving. Then, there’s the operating theatrical stage in my back shed. Not sure how that got there.

    Truth is always more interesting. Self identified. Harmless. Happens in shrimp in the ocean, they said. The Continental will be a hotel parking lot by now. That’s probably what did it.

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