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Thursday, March 18, 2021

Old School

 

Old School


There is no such thing

No one can teach you to be old

Now that phrase means

that something is done

with technical procedures

from a previous time

For example wood working

with no power tools

Fixing your buckboard

with tools you made

at the forge in the shack

out back of the sod house

you made when you

settled on the prairie

I'm sorry but you didn't

do that

Prairies are now tilled

seeded and harvested

with giant corporate made

monstrosities

with ultra designed computer

controls that really don't need

the farmer to do much of anything

except sit eating lunch

If they're good farmers

they'll service their monsters

with new rubber this and that

oil up the beast

check the tires

and keep it inside after

a good power washed

replacement of the bean head

for the corn head

talking to their brokers

on their cell phones

Even this poem if you can call it that

is written on a glowing screen

actually typed old school

with spellcheckers ready to announce

my stupidity to the whole world

if I let it

I can sit here in my old school

breechcloth on a Sunday morning

listening to music of Vivaldi

played on recorders and drums

from the frequency modulated

radio miles away

a program likely to be

available on the net

for weeks months or years

What's more my computer froze

and even though I couldn't save

a few lines having saved

most of this poem

I took my cell phone

and photographed the screen

to save eight or so lines

that really weren't all that important

since most of what I write gets

thrown away before you get to see it

with a casual swipe of my thumb

across the tiny screen

below the keyboard on my laptop

or did I make changes just by speaking

into the microphone and tell this

piece of shit

it fucked up

and start over from where I'd saved it

in a pile of unintelligible ones and zeroes

Now all I wanted to tell you

was that I knew what growing old

was like for me

and how you could learn a thing or two

from this crazy old grandpa

who is going through the throes of age

This was my idea waking up from

the dreams of night

well actually early morning

and not one dream worth

repeating to anyone

Seriously, my Grandma Ella

never taught me anything

about being or growing old

while we sat at her kitchen table

in the little white house

on West Boulevard

sipping coffee and eating crackers

that she set up for me

It wasn't until years after

when I thought about it all

and her short curly white hair

that her stories about

her family and my grandfather's family

with the old pictures

of Minnesota and Iowa farmers

who barely had horses to pull

the plows and threshers of their day

An old man in bib overalls

standing in old school corn

that some company didn't own

the patent on

I'm off the track of teaching you

how to be old

Forget it

Even the doctors and researchers

who have written thousands of books

on gerontology and geriatrics

like my father's book on

Vision in the Aging Patient

won't tell you what you'll remember

from your childhood

and what you'll learn

about your parents and grands

by just sitting in your retirement

thinking about every word you heard

and remembered about them

and why they did the things they did

and why they were the person they were

and why I am the person I am

and why I can't remember names

and phrases of words

that trickled off my tongue

just ten years ago

I'm losing it

just enough so my children

and mostly my grandchildren

don't want to be around me

So I have to leave these words here

just in case they want to learn

old school

by reading instead of

looking at the video

on their cell phone

stumbling at the curb

of the street

or having an accident

in their battery solar car

hum hum hum

with the computer that avoided

the accident in the first place

when I realized I had

to take my pills

with the breakfast I'd forgotten to eat

when I started all this

staring at the upper screen

at a photo of a dead native

with scarified arms

or the fundoshi

of the Japanese

at the naked festival

bodies festooned

in tattoos

and me with none

in my t-shirt and breechcloth

old school clothing

a dumb old man

who knows why I'm here

and why my family

was the way it was

being born and growing old

the old school way

control S


Barry G. Wick


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