Friday, July 15, 2016

Family Dinner

A new poem.  Don't let the innocuous title mislead you; this is not an easy poem.  The theme will not be unfamiliar, though, if you've been reading this blog or know me at all.

Last night, family dinner –
            filet of sole with lemon,
            fresh corn from the farmers’ market,
            strawberry, tomato and basil bread salad –
the husband cracked his tired joke –
            I don’t know what day of the week it is –
            Kiss my ass, I’m retired!
And the adult son responded
            with eye-rolling disgust
            and a sharp retort.

I understand.
I used to work the soul-wearying,
            regimented 8 to 5 -
Year after year, hurried, stressed, relentless,
            no matter that the work was good work
            and chosen.

But now, the next day,
            after a night’s rest and some slow laps
            in the pool at the Y,
A response forms beyond last night’s
            head-nodding sympathy.
There is a price you pay for this
            slice of leisure time, this
            rest from labor in the world’s marketplace.
I will tell you what it is.

The body begins to break down,
            for some seriously, for others slowly,
            but relentlessly.
You wake up in the morning and immediately assess
            the state of the joints, muscles, digestion,
            headache, mood, whatever.
Every day.

Energy is no longer so abundant.
There is a growing list of things
            you will never do again.
Your parents have left this world, and so
            you are on the front lines
            of the confrontation with eternity.
You wonder if you will die first, or
            if your spouse will wing off, leaving you pierced
            with mourning and fear.
Time no longer feels long and languorous.
Helplessly, you watch the days pass.
            Another night, reading aloud to the husband
            from a book on Tibet.
Another morning, writing in your studio downstairs.
Privilege, yes.
Gratitude braided with angst.

So, yes, we have the luxury
            of a pension and health insurance.
But the clock is ticking, the sun rises
            and the sun sets,
and we edge ever closer
            to the unyielding abyss.

I know - I seem to be obsessed with issues around aging.  My friend Jane Keene and I are preparing a series of events for women who are also thinking about such things.  Here's the flyer for the first one.

Jane Keene and Maya Spector Present:

The Flame of the Wise Woman

In the first of this four part series, over the next year we will
re-imagine who we are at this elder stage of our lives.

Using mythology, ritual, writing and good conversation, we will consider how we tend both inner and outer flames
and affirm our passion and purpose.

When: July 31st, 2016 from 2:00pm-5.00pm
Where: Private home in Oakland; reserve your space
and we will send you the location
Cost: $20.00 in advance or $25.00 at the door
or send check to: 164 Robles Way #143 Vallejo CA 94591
(please include your email address)

Please RSVP as soon as possible as space is limited.
Jane Keene 

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