Friday, March 27, 2009

Biting Deep, The Shattered Glass

Relationships, heh. I have been living a solitary life for over two years now. In the meantime I have had ample looks into the quagmires that so many relationships become. I have also seen some others fare not so badly. I like to say that I do fairly well in the relationship arena. We tend to live peacefully, my lovers and I and when they finally decide to leave after two years, five years, way over twenty years, they do not treat me badly on the way out. I guess in some ways my picker is not broken. I don't pick vindictive women, nor do they ever stop trusting me to be kind and civil about things.

This leave taking I write about in Biting Deep is not a personal history, not as I lived through one particular breakup. If I were to falsify my feelings at the time, I could have said words like this. Now looking back, it is not clear but quite possible that she actually did this thing I describe in the poem, but I don't think she meant to. If true, it worked out this way at some deeper dark level. I think on the surface she thought her next lover was going to save her somehow, just like I did but could not any longer. I think she thought he was better suited as a partner than I in the life she hoped to live. And of course staying with me was no longer possible because of the nature of things. This was certainly true from her perspective. The reasons were many. I agree with them all.

Biting Deep

I am all laid out
Like a spread of old tired tools
Left behind by you
As you go shopping
For someone new to use up.

I don't mind your choice.

I look for new digs
Where the shovel of my life
Can bite deep, lift clean.


Here is the universal experience of passing time. In this poem I take it personally that time passes. I know I am not the only one to do so. To be honest, though I am capable of this attitude I more often lean into the passing of my life. I often find myself saying, "God, if you took me today, it would be all right." I don't mean I am tired of living, just that I don't have things left undone. Nothing I do is done under the lash of needing to do it, even those things that I do really need to do. Like my work. I need a retirement, don't have one, and so I keep working, hoping it will work out. But I enjoy my work so much that it is not a chore that way.

What becomes more and more a chore as I age is that I don't have the energy I used to and my recovery time is so much longer now. I tried fitness as a specific antidote over a year's time and more. Nope. I crashed from that. I am just losing energy. It is simply true. And so I know personally why people retire even when they don't want to.

Still, I enjoy my work enough that except for how tired I get now, I lean into going to my work. I am not tired of living. I certainly do not lean into dying. I have written that ever since reading Casteneda, I try to carry Death on my left shoulder. It would be all right to die.

The Shattered Glass

This morning I saw
How my days are stacked on days
Trailing behind me.
I saw my lost life
As streaming tatters of tail
Threaded through my wake.
This struck me, a blow
To my world, a shattered glass
Fallen at my feet,
As if I thought passing time
Somehow belonged just to me.


  1. Christopher - I can relate to The "Shattered Glass" and the introduction before it. I never thought retirement would sound good to me, but for the reasons you suggest, I am beginning to think that way, too. I'd like to have the time to do other things while I still have the health to do them!

  2. In both of these, the imagery is so powerful and compelling. I could imagine that first one written on the wall of a public bathroom stall, of all places, and it surprising me to tears. I'm a big fan of bathroom stall poetry. I'm glad you wrote the preamble about relationships. That is powerful, too, and it does help to contextualize the poem.

  3. Karen, I am not really chasing retirement. I have lots of time off as I go due to unemployment, idle time, though it is different because I am waiting to return to work and have no idea when. But I know I live good unemployed, know what happens, and this is without the terrible anxiety of money trouble so, perhaps even less strssful than retirement might be for me.

    Rachel, thank you for saying that. I too am a fan of bathroom poetry but don't notice much anymore, it doesn't seem to happen that much where I go.


The chicken crossed the road. That's poultry in motion.

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