Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Bats Left

The Bellfry

And to think... I wrote this poem and added it to the queue in summer of 2010. I have published it now here in the summer of 2013. I am currently blind in one eye and I was not so stricken in 2010. I am just now nursing a severely sprained knee, having fallen earlier this week due to my newly blinded eye, I am sure.

For all the world it feels like I am losing pieces of me one at a time. Maybe my stricken eye will come back to me. The doctor has been tentative about that. I know my knee, my left foot little toe and my somewhat gouty right foot big toe will return to adequate service. My health, now a matter approaching full time management, has forced me this year to retire.

In consequence I am attempting to sell my house. I hope selling it will create enough available capital to support me beyond the pittance of social security and medicare. Another piece of me gone... I have "owned" a house (actually peaceably and gainfully owned a mortgage or two at a time) since 1981. Home ownership has for the most part been without terror. I am, as they say, right side up, if not by much.

I am saying farewell to the life of the middle class worker in corporate America. I have been skilled and professional in my way, in service to pulp and paper, the electrical grid, and the industrial food production of milk and crackers. Yes, I have literally worked in and supported the efforts of a milk factory and a cracker factory. I have suckled at the corporate tit and at other times I have tried to whistle with my dry mouth.

My friends have been sure of my placement in the cracker factory for years. They are amused and they tolerate me.

I am saying hello and welcome to the whimsy of the poetic voice that I have developed lifelong. The music I make lurks nearby too, literally upstairs. That would be me noodling in Eb on the computerized keyboard in a variety of voices, from oboes to electronic sounds, from pianos, stringed and electric, through organs and guitars to trumpets and flutes. Now I have enough time, perhaps. It might be that some composition mode at either of my keyboards will become meaningful beyond the moment.

Certainly, I am no longer attempting to save the world or create the Most High Holy Tableau. I am content to make a mark, small but sure, most days. A significant portion of my life is spent in witness of and to my partners as we travel along this current road. I actively participate with people I hold dear in gestures of recovery and grace among the disheveled remains of our confusion and shortcoming. The lifelong hunger within me to express my relationship with God and for the big score has been banked back considerably. While coals still glow in the grate of my heart, there will be no blaze unless it is commanded of me in no uncertain terms. Such an effort most likely would kill me without His full guidance and assistance now.

I am mainly content. Nothing hurts beyond tolerance these days nor are what small distresses that are mine constant. Actually, at this moment nothing hurts at all unless I press it. That is no small thing to those of us over sixty-five.

I admit it. I have practiced my admission for decades now. I am far too large for my britches. All of that fades into the wings in good time, leaving me tempered and temperate. All of it, that is, except possibly this fucking eye right now. I grieve. In the distance the bats I have lovingly collected sound out their supersonic prayers for me as they circle the hole in the sky.

The Bats Are Beginning To Depart
Look Closely. You Will See Them.

The Bats Left

Growing old is not
for sissies nor the faint of
heart which counts me out.
It's not for me, not
for the likes of the turbid
dreams I consider
my hopes. I plant them
in my patchy weedy yard
intending new growth
and they keep coming
up all droopy and mossy
from the very start.

I used to have bats.
They flew high pitched escaping
out of my belfry.

August 10, 2010 4:28 PM


  1. Oh Chris. I am at a loss for words after reading this very powerful piece. Assuring you of our love, Tom and Lucy.

    1. Thank you Tom. I wax a bit florid when I have a hole in my vision as I do. I didn't know I would. I have practiced being blind my whole life, walking around in my unlit house, sometimes even holding my eyes closed just to see (sic) what navigating is like. This experience doesn't faze me so much because I have practiced, but there are surprises. I didn't realize how much I depended on my left eye. I suck at parallel parking right now.

  2. Everything about your post is overwhelming, a candid look at aging and the unwelcome baggage tagging right along - no invitation! I wish you a speedy recovery for the aches and pains ... and the return of vision in your right eye. I care.

    1. Thank you, Helen. I have been taught a rigorous honesty is necessary for my survival. I have also been taught that diplomacy is essential. I hope I practice both.

  3. christopher)))) here we are, dear friend.)))

    is it so wrong of me to be excited for what might come your way in terms of change? rightly or wrongly i'm excited. anything, anything, ANYTHING might happen. and while physical situations are sobering (always adjusting to living with back pain i'm just getting over a bout of hurting my back so badly i was unable to walk for some time - talk of sobering to frightening) i hope any pain is able to stay at bay enough to keep room for your tremendous spirit.

    i hope you continue to share with us what you experience and learn.

    even when i'm quiet i'm with you)))



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

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