For us

For us, Richard Nixon was major
He wanted to be remembered for
opening China to the West, for ending
the Vietnam war and thus achieving
“peace with honor” despite being the
cause of thousands of wretched, unnecessary
deaths—I thought he’d be remembered for

Each of us models the world

the shame of resigning the presidency,
for intoning to the American people
“I am not a crook”— Instead, he’s
not remembered at all—People
under age 35 have no idea who this
impassioned, lying, slippery (“Tricky Dickey”),
creepy, foul, revengeful, politician was

Her love is a crystal in his life

She thought she’d grift the feeble,
sick, thin old man—She’d convince
him to change his “estate plan”—She
figured he’d be good for a million or
two—But she found him protected
by those who truly loved him, so
she reluctantly withdrew

Animals in the jungle happily die before they’re feeble

Dad loved that stately Olivetti manual
typewriter—It came to me after he
died—It was sleek and kind of slow
Manual typewriters are slow—
You won’t find new parts for it now
The anesthesiologist “ferried her mind
off to the hinterlands”

Dad died and left my mom alone to raise four boys

She was so frightened—
She was a few months from surgery
for a brain tumor and how she wanted
to live—“I remember you and Merci”
she said, telling me of her trouble—Me
and Marcia had, of course, broken up—It
was cancer and she hoped they got all of it

Do the sweeter moments of life always

When I was younger, to have the New
York Times delivered to your door,
to get an American Express card, meant
you were fully an adult—I had a friend then,
Kevin, who actually did suffer fools gladly
He was patient with them and really
seemed to enjoy their company

devolve into a whirlwind of heartache?

“Because that’s what I charge” said my dentist
when I asked him why he charges so much
Now the guy is good but for ordinary stuff, like
teeth cleaning or fillings you don’t go to him, he
charges too much—For the complicated stuff like
implants, bridges, crowns and root canal, he’s your
man—thorough, creative, concerned and skillful

Are you old, unsteady and invisible now?

Said the forcibly retired talk show host
“If people stop looking at me, I won’t
have to worry about how I look, about
my getting old, about this double chin”
My own cancer diagnosis didn’t faze me
because I didn’t really accept it and I
knew the surgeons would get every bit of it 

So buoyant through the end of my times

-June 26, 2021-