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Archive for March, 2013

Reflections of a Single Male Approaching 65
by Job Conger
8:40 pm Monday, July 16, 2012
extensively revised March 24, 2013

Some things fade from memory:
the name of the grandfather
you met on his farm in Cochran, Georgia
when you were five,
The best friends of your mom and dad
who had more than you do —
their “social associates” —
by definition you’re ahead on that score.
You remember your sister’s prom night,
all the fuss she and mom made over the prom dress,
with lots and lots of petticoats.
She was the queen of the senior prom that year
Nineteen hundred and fifty-four or thereabouts.
You would turn seven three months later.

As you look back over the years,
grateful for every one, I might add,
trying to remember what you forgot —,
and for what positive benefit you cannot imagine —
you are glad for what you can’t recall:
the names of those who declined your invitations to dance
at the Ben Franklin Junior High School sock hops,
and that’s okay because you danced with those who said “yes”
almost as much as you wanted to dance.

Also long forgot the names of those
who you dated once or twice
and neither celebrated nor suffered after that

And as you remember mostly
all the cataclysmic epiphanies,
revealed in burning bushes, from trying and failing.
you chew your cud of solitary solace. Your heart remains true as you continue your quest
for Nirvana or Dulcinea or Snow White and, God bless her,
Ellen H, the woman who came closest
to your pre-pubescent, adolescent and post teen and post 30s and post 40s and post 50s and post 60 aspirations . . .
swallowing echoes, stark in truth, inexorably evolved from moonlight masquerades and made plain to see,
illumined by the burning wisdom of the sun.
The lies of moonlit truths reflected
and savored in soft shadows.

That siren song patina, the reason to live until tomorrow,
melodious hopes penned by writers of fairy tales
and you harmonized with them, a willing accessory to the
cosmic delusion: love and living happily ever after.

Underneath the patina, what you wanted to be close to
to touch and kiss and devote your life to:
the heaven-on-earth of a smile
and a few wet inches.

================

As I engage challenges I did not imagine less than a year ago, I’ve decided that instead of “wearing purple,” I’m going to be more of who I am. Perhaps doing this will inspire you, dear readers, to do the same.

Live long . . . . . . and proper.

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Take Two
by Job Conger

(introduction)
For months President Bush fed us lies
Served by pious, righteous cronies sleek and wise.
Some of us didn’t care to dine on their siren soup du fear
.Now digestion time is over, and the truth is odiferously clear . . . .

He’ll sing and dance like few Yale frat brats can
When W’s feces of lies hit the fan.
Though he sold us a war, second guessing is a drag.
It’s amazing what some folks take home when you wrap it in a flag.

He has stained our proud Stars and Stripes true
With new colors of brown, black and blue.
Those who saw through his blow,
We ain’t real Americans no mo
As W’s feces of lies hit the fan.

Front yard PATRIOT signs are the rage
Like armband fashions of an earlier age.
The feared weapons are as real as “the emperor’s new clothes.”
The facts should be clear to all who breathe through their nose.

The Congress feasted on pork barrel pie.
The “sounds of silence” was their battle cry.
They stayed cool and well-fed
While soldiers brave died and bled
And W’s feces of lies hit the fan.

Now he tells us “Saddam had to go!”
“Nobody ever really liked that guy, you know.”
Though the U.N. tried hard, they could not find a trace,
So the “compassionate conservative” threw war in their face.

So, as we hold noses tightly and pray,
It’s time to send CHIEF INSPECTOR O.J.
For gasless, germless blue skies
Can’t match a PRO’s alibis
As W’s feces of lies hit the fan. 

—– written June 26, 2003
================

The song was my “mantra” during W’s ‘rain of you know what,” but even songs, like wars, don’t seem to move folks the way they used to. I will play/sing Page Two in public for the first time in years at Springfield Poets and Writers Group’s Open Mike Night, March 20 at Robbie’s Restaurant on Adams Street — Springfield’s South Side of the Square along with my songs “Watching the Tide Go Out” and the song I wrote about my early days of treatment for my separated kneecap repair at Memorial Medical Center. I’ll also recite a favorite Vachel Lindsay poem as always. There will be talent and awesomeness a plenty, so please attend if you can. The fun begins at 6 pm. I hope to see you there.

live long . . . . . and proper.

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Following the January 17 surgery required to re-attach my upper quad tendons to my kneecaps,   I enjoyed more activity with more friendly, educated and lucid people than I’d experienced in my life. Along with visits from several friends and acquaintances, some of whom I’ve not seen since being discharged January 27, the medical and  housekeeping personnel at Memorial Medical Center  (MMC) were absolutely GOLD in their interfacing with me. I was blessed with several friends who rearranged my living room to that it would be my primary living space — close to the kitchen and front door with my bed relocated so I could watch TV from bed or chair, work at a nearby table, etc. Not knowing how long  it would be before  I could return to work at my employer, these friends and a few more had  packed my refrigerator and cupboards with an amazing array of food. By the evening of the 27th, there was more food in the house than there had been in any previous MONTH. (I am a man of modest means,) Another friend arranged to have a hot meal brought to the house by volunteer cooks/deliverers who visited every three or four days and almost always called before delivering to be sure their timing was good. Some friends volunteered/delivered food more than once: home-made chili, spaghetti sauce and more. For most of a month, it was a minor Eden (minus the Eve, dang it, but I never went naked for an entire day). Every other day for about a month I was visited by Visiting physical and occupational therapists from MMC who changed my dressings, took blood pressure, respiration and pulse. In late February, the staples, which had held me “together” along the incisions (59 on the right leg, 64 on the left) were removed by a nurse who came to my home at my surgeon’s direction. I was amazed by how clean everything looked.

The first “milestone” during what has evolved into a rather LOOOOOOOOOOONG recovery came with my first ride to my new “physician of record” at the county health clinic where we “charity” patients go. It was my first ride on Springfield’s minibus transportation service for disabled  people. I can go anywhere in town for $2.50 per ride to destination. That amounts to $5 per “there and back” round trip, but it is a wonderful arrangement; much more affordable than cabs.  Since that visit, I have returned to work part-time, typically five or six hours a day and 5 days a week. I’ve also returned to my AeroKnow Museum at the airport where I volunteer two or three morning every week (7:30 to 11 am) before riding another Access minibus to work and then home. Since Access does not operate on Sundays, it has been a real challenge to recruit friends who will drive me out at say 8:30 or 9 and come back to take me home about 5 or so. One friend has come through for me every week since I started Sundays at  the museum in late February, and I HOPE I can find another friend or two to share the burden. In the meantime, I am gradually spending more time working on museum tasks at home.  My next door neighbor has been a Godsend, taking me to the barber, grocer, office supply store and more. Again I WISH I knew more than one person, because sometimes my needs and the person’s schedule do not coincide. In the meantime, I’m happy to be blessed by the help at hand.

The one unexpected lesson of this process has been my outlook on life as influenced (with my permission) by my employer. I KNOW I’m lucky to be working at all and that’s why I’m still working there, but the deletable expletive BEFORE my fall is the same deletable expletive AFTER my fall only now I experience it with full-extension leg braces. Every day I work, the joy of life, drains from me like air from a tire going flat. Some evenings I wait an hour for the arrival of the Access minibus after we close, so since I’m the one who “locks up the store” I sit in a dark showroom and listen to the nearby grandfather clock chime every 15 minutes watching the sun go down and drag myself through my front door at 6:40 or so, This routine has nearly drained the creative incentive from me. I’ve not written a poem longer than four lines since I was sleeping at the hospital. This is the first Honey & Quinine I’ve posted in too darn long! I must rise above all this, and in these words we see the first step. I’ve decided my story is a story that should be shared with friends and innocent strangers. I am alive . . . . still.

I write, therefore I am!

Live long . . . . and proper.

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