Curtains of rain
drawn against warmth and sun
keep the study,
brooding books
framed in orange firelight,
at the grey edge of darkness.
I sit overstuffed
in a grandfather’s chair,
feet in their wool kicked up
on the hearth steaming
like the cup resting on my thigh.
I should go back to the door
and get the boots,
still wet and cold,
and dry them here with me.
But given my mind this day
it is too far to go.

My parents did the last Great War
and then bore us into a peace
whose illusion was easy to maintain.
White guys weren’t fighting white guys.
We boomers are the hangover
from one hell of a victory party.
We are the watermelon seeds shot
from between the sticky fingers of
the Forties and Fifties.
We grew up and honed our killing
in the new Third World where we learned to
ignore the intimacy of regimental death.
Our parents never got to kill Russians
on a scale large enough to generate
the heat of war so they taught us
that sophisticated weaponry fires ammunition
equal to the weight of a fat wallet.

The rain rattles again against the glass,
sinking me deeper into the chair,
loathe to look out at the trees
dancing in the storm for my amusement.
I thought a walk through the howling
would cheer me and shake loose this
dire turn of mind.
The wood I burn in one evening,
to dry my socks and light my attitude,
would serve a Syrian family for a week.
Those guys are fighting,
but they have no money so
I feel the bite of guilt and watch
the whiskey and coffee clash
in my central nervous system,
seeking to generate false euphoria
in the absence of my own.


About Jim Stewart

Writer at Butt in Chair
This entry was posted in Aging, American history, Oregon, Poem, Reprint, walking and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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