Facing 96

(A touching poem by Arthur Stewart, Cathy’s dad)

I’m Ninety-six and trying to really make up my mind

Should I live in the past or watch the future unfold

One would think I don’t have much choice but I do

There still may be some tales I have not yet told.

Tales of choices I’ve made in my life, takes of people

That I have admired, and could not control.

My Mother, my Father, my Sister, my Brothers,

My Aunts, my Uncles, my Cousins, I seem to be the last.

My Wife, Elizabeth who nursed and saved lives in Korea

Who came home and married me for thirty-one years.

My friends, my children who are many years younger,

You see it’s their future that I want to last longer.

Maybe I’m over-thinking, in my life I’ve always looked

forward. So, I have to finish the final pages of my book.

Well there you have it, I’m still looking forward, so be of

good cheer. It’s been a full life and I’ve loved my children.

Add to that my six Grandchildren who I also love most dear.

So why should I not look ahead without fear?

It’s like building a house, you go on till it’s finished and

when that’s done, your work feels completed.

So, join me with Mom, two veterans together and take

home our flag and keep it forever.

Casualties

All of a sudden

It’s a world at war.

And not just in 

the middle east.

A switch 

turned on,

a door opened;

tanks, bombers,

refugees, atrocities.

Among the casualties  

is our naive belief in progress.

May 22, 2022

Glens Falls

Gateway to the Adirondacks.

Gritty and gorgeous;

An old mill town

on the upper Hudson.

It’s alive today

with manufacturing and architecture,

street life and history.

I came here from New York City,

Yet I feel like I’ve been here for years

in a place I barely knew existed.

Modest houses off Ridge Street;

A grand old hotel;

A world class art museum.

A massive shirt factory

houses an art gallery,

shops, hallways, memories.

Glens Falls is so upstate –

Ordinary and extraordinary

in its particular way.

May 11, 2022

Red Diaper Babies I Have Known

(A timely one by my friend David Belmont)

our parents lifted themselves out of poverty
through a combination of
communism & higher education

we chose to
diverge from
the path

we became conservative professors
who wrote humanizing biographies
of karl marx late in our careers

we got religion from reverend gary davis
became devotees of hindustani classical music
& lived the ascetic life in nepal for many decades

we joined mel lyman’s american avatar community
after dropping out of high school
& went west to revitalize beat poetry

we grooved at a lot of jazz loft gigs
learned obscure computer languages
& sat on boards to keep avant music alive

we eschewed anthropology
for grassroots organizing
& helped build performance activism

we got married raised children traveled the world
became doctors lawyers potheads accountants athletes junkies
had heart attacks injuries seizures went insane died young

played a
whole lot
of music

Inflection Point

Are we on the brink of 

an all out war?

Is nuclear confrontation 

no longer unthinkable?

Is our future

determined by calculating bureaucrats,

ruthless autocrats,

and reckless fools?

A life in transition.

Upstate/downstate;

Working/fishing;

New friends/old friends

People I love

living in a

transitional time.

May 2, 2022