For those new to this blog, and as a
reminder to regular visitors who might have forgotten about the
Archive page on my main website, “My Old Black Sport Coat,” a
poem written in 2007 shortly after my first grandson was born, is
the current offering there. I hope you like it, and of course you’re
always welcome to browse the other pages, which are also “likeable”
and “shareable” in the social media sense. Thank you.
One intriguing aspect of my life is
that even now, at the ripe and reasoned age of fifty-six, I don’t
know if I’ve made a single major decision — that is, the kind of
decision we generally associate with a change in direction, the
advent of deeper understanding, or memorable accomplishment. I don’t
say that decisions weren’t made. I simply can’t say with any
certainty that I’m the one who made them; for I think it’s every
bit as possible, if not likely, that the important decisions in my
life were made by life, and that I am here expressly to abide
by them and do its will.
Now, a peculiar part of all this is
that I still feel responsible for the outcome. And yet I’m here by
a force beyond my control, imprinted with characteristics I had no
say in acquiring. Only in growing up, only in being taught that some
characteristics are useful and good and that others are best subdued,
was I able to find a place first in my family, and then in the world
around me. In other words, I was taught honesty and survival.
It’s a hard thing, survival. One
reason it’s hard is that honesty is lacking in so many. And
remember, honesty isn’t really honesty if it has limits, and is
reduced to a matter of expediency.
Are human beings capable of
complete honesty? If our religions, philosophies, and political
systems are any indication, it would
appear that we have our serious doubts, or, at the extreme, are
willing to believe we
aren’t — a big difference; the difference. But it
must also be remembered that vast numbers of us, in our deadly grace
and poetic ignorance, sincerely mean well. So maybe we do believe,
but are afraid of the consequences.
It’s quite possible that you are in
control of your life; whether you are or not isn’t for me to say. I
only know that I’m not in control of mine. I’m proud of some of
the things I’ve done, and embarrassed by others. I’ve written
poems and books, but I hope my best is yet to come. If any or all of
this has come about through decisions I’ve consciously or
unconsciously made, I own up to them. If they’re the result of
decisions made for me, then I hope to better understand that process.
I don’t believe what countless others
are willing and content to believe. I don’t believe what they are
afraid not to believe. I don’t believe in me. I just act
accordingly. The hand I hold out, the blood within that gives it
warmth, the image of this aging mind and body reflected by the
mirror, the memories I recall, the timeless sense of flight I feel,
are as so many leaves in the wind. Of this, I’m glad. I don’t
know how not to be. Should this deem me laughable to some, I join in
your laughter. For it is just such a tragedy that I love.