Now, now, now, an insistence, I’m presumed to be wise,
automatic sage, thoughtful professor, though in my mind
I’m ten, a nervous, bloodied nose little boy on the playground,
or on more optimistic days, seventeen, a brash young man
fumbling with the hooks, buttons and elastic of Cindy, Barb
or Pam. I suppose I look the part, the gray circling my
fringes, sagging jowls, the dearth of childish freckles, only
liverspots spotting my hands. I suppose I’ve gleaned a few
fragments along the way, offered one or two rickety aphorisms,
but I remain skeptical, unprepared for this prestige, entirely
inadequate, an imminent disaster, a poor candidate for what’s
wise, my impatience with disaffected youth unbecoming.
(It appears all must be re-learned anyway to be significant,
the rote our plague, our necessity.) The balance, the weighty
gold ingots of my wisdom must be tallied in a vault. Where?
Where is this elusive commodity? I desire to fondle my
treasure lasciviously just once then imprudently barter it all
for a little peace.
I imagine Lao Tzu’s conundrum, my singular wisdom cynical:
asinine tyrants herd a blind rabble to buttress a bloated visage,
and in their avarice, we suffer. Not too jolly, right? My dear,
dear professor acquainted me with the East: Taoism, Zen,
the hilarity of Chuang Tzu, and taught me the art of holding
a brush in constructing incomprehensible characters. I adored
the black-inked aesthetic. Still, enlightenment didn’t quite take.
But now, now, now his insistence consumes his routine, getting
around day to day, simply immersed in the dignity and obscenity
of age, that cruel dichotomy. I could be happy, his simplicity
enough for me though heedless of the husbandry of legacy.
The inevitable then is the loss of relevance. Eventually, we are
faded memory. Perfect! I shall embrace it. Let’s get on with it.
Here. Here now, here is an obvious nugget of wisdom.
I’ve met the expectation.