Old Men

The sort of charm of pipes and shaving kits and things made of leather.
The charm of men who drink Jenever
and fought in the war.

They are old men.
Our fathers or grandfathers.
Charming with their tweed and antique handguns and easy masculinity.

They wish they spoke like Hemingway,
so they chop their feelings instead of their sentences,
show their affection by talking about your car.

“You dress like an old man,” my last girlfriend said about my hat.
I want to skip straight to old, missing awkward and gawky and this second puberty.
I envy them their beards,
their unquestioned assumptions,
their bodies which, at least once, matched
before they needed doctors to make things work.
We have that much in common.

Crap Poetry

The hospice volunteer read from a book of poems about death.

It contained rainbows.
And also wolves, bald eagles, spotted owls, blue whales,
a veritable who’s who of the endangered species list.
All of them welcoming a freed spirit

Maybe they didn’t know my mom had let her membership to Greenpeace lapse.
Or maybe they did, but also that when that quack came around saying shark cartilage was a magic cure,
I’d said no.
Not just because it wouldn’t work
but for the sharks

Or maybe, as the poem implied, they were just overjoyed at the death of a human.
Any human.
Thinking, “Thank gods. If enough of them die, we might get to live after all.”