Old Men Don't Fall in Love

Radioactive plutonium, some of the first ever produced, has been found in a jar in a trash heap at a nuke-waste cleanup site in the West. Years it's been sitting there radiating dreadful deadly rays. Somebody said what do I do with this Joe? Ah, throw it in the trash, who knows what it is?

Is there anything funny about the Human Comedy?

Another dozen cremated and blasted to bits, bloody flesh flopping on the pavement in Pakistan, from US missile-strike. Sowing enemies like wheat. What can I do about it? Make remarks. I got a million remarks. They got a million missiles.

Walking around while coffee drips talking to myself: "What are you Mike?"

Frustrated lover.

Love the bird in the picture up there. A crane outside the New Orleans Museum of Art in City Park. It stands that way for an hour waiting for the right fish in the right place. I never saw one miss. I watched them all the time, growing up near a swamp. Cranes are cooler than Miles Davis. The chemical plants and oil refineries ran them off. But I already griped about that, didn't I?

Sometimes though it's hopeless I wonder what this is all about. If there are universal laws I don't see how you could tell without a degree in higher mathematics. It looks like anarchy down here.

I took another of those freezing coldwater baths standing up this morning and got a look at my naked body in the mirror again. I'm only kidding myself. I might feel like Jesse James but I look just like Robert Frost. I'm overdue at the parking meter. Nobody to validate my ticket. I'll probably have to pay another fine.

Maybe I will go out and rake years of debris off the front porch of this Acadian-style house in Slidell, LA. The neighbors will love me for it. Maybe I can forget about the guy in the mirror and the one in the love story too. Who am I kidding? "Old men don't fall in love." (Garcia-Marquez, Love in the Time of Cholera)

Yes they do. But they shouldn't tell anybody or write about it.

I have this picture, several of them, black-and-whites, of a gal I married once. Almost life-size head-and-shoulders shots of her smiling at me through the camera, thick black hair shining, falling over her shoulders, her dark Alsatian eyes awake and glowing, and I walk up to one sometimes, and reach over gently and brush my fingers on her hair as if to move it back a bit so I can see more of her lovely face, looking at me so long ago with an amused or meditative gaze. I trace her chin and cheek with my thumb and almost feel the soft warm flesh of her again. I whisper that I still love her. She's nearly alive up there on the collage. She never gets old. Still the most-beautiful girl in New Jersey.

I'm up there too, reading about Vietnam.


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