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tearing the rag off the bush again
Yesterday's Conversation by Paul Pines PDF E-mail
                                     …getting old and yet feeling young in one's heart,

                                     is a big concern for fellas like us.

                                                                               -Fred Waitzkin


I weighed in today at 158lbs

down from 180

 I tell you this not only to share my progress

but to indicate the way

I am experiencing the inescapable physical fact

of the years

                            ( cheek-by-jowl



with the psychological fact of youthful emotions

and longings

                            (I've long been aware

                             of Plato's discussion of being/becoming

                            how timelessness and time

                            co-exist in us but mostly

                            as an interesting




I‘m amused and alarmed

 to recognize

 that I'll soon be logging my 70th year

holding a dance card full of partners

I intend to take on to the floor


                           (a new novel

                            two books of essays

                            poems that leap out

                            on toe-shoes)



On the other hand

time has slowed down in certain ways


 I can take my time / take time / have learned

how to do it

                          (see my youthful impatience

                           as a waste of time

                           rather than the best

                           use of it)


 I think about the Vineyard

sitting in your house on Music Street

where minutes drop  like honeyed dew

in a Wallace Stevens poem


                                    (my joy in this

                                     opening like petals

                                     for a slow handshake

                                     with the sun)


then  look at

my  appointment calendar

the list of clients and classes

and say to myself,

                                   "You’re in denial.

                                    You can't continue

                                    to live this way."


when the truth is that I can't live

in any other.


What anchors me these days

is the pounds slipping off.

This morning I found myself

 at 158

               for the first time

               in fifteen years

and suddenly the 140s

seem possible

               I see myself shrinking

                not like an old man

but slipping back into the young one

who ran through Coles Woods

the day after his wedding

and think,

                     "You may be in denial,

                      but look at you go!"


I will once again lift weights

put on a glove to field grounders

observe  overweight guys

 on the basketball court at the Y

and scream,

                        "I can run rings around

                         these suckers!"


In the end

I want to laugh all the way

to where ever it is

we're going

                          convinced that lamentation

                          is for the young


be amused by things

I can’t control that hold me

 in their embrace


even the terror

that springs out of the shadows

 late at night watching

re-runs on TV


 I’m figuring out how

to respond to the menace

that is growing old

with me


 Maybe the way I always have.




After all I’m lighter now



not as easily



We'll talk more about this

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