Paradigm Shifts – Same Song, New Shorter Stanza

Time was, ages 15, 25, 35, 45, 55, an inordinate time without hearing from a friend, he’d pick up the phone.  If nothing came of it, wondering whether he pissed the person off, whether something’s wrong.  Does a bit of memory searching about the last meeting, conversation, communication trying to recall anything sour.

Decades roll by and a person goes through a lot of friends, discovers a lot who’d been thought of as friends weren’t, discovers there was no bottom to it, or the bottom was too soft to hold an anchor.  Realizes people need to have elbow-room and it might as well include a lack of interest in continuing communication with whomever they wish.  Just bugs on the windshield of the time machine.

“Wonder what ever became of old Jimbo Watkins,” a person muses.  “Best man at his wedding.  Can’t recall seeing him much after his 25th Anniversary party.  Hmm.  Most likely dead, I reckons.”

“Wonder what ever became of old David McCreary.  Stayed in touch and visited all those years.  God-Father to his kids, watched them grow up.  Last I heard he was teaching English in China somewhere.  Had a Chinese wife.

“Hmm.  Most likely dead, I reckons.”

As late as the 1990s I must have seen things this way, because I wrote it:

To Stanley, Hank, and Others
Gone before

Eyesight blurs with years;
Silty pond of vision clears
Legion days march past,
Blend the timbre, tones;
Common denominator of sound
Runs down
Stirs a rich musical soup
Of drum, of trumpet,
Crash of boot on pavement,
Of human voice, human words,
Singing murmur of human
Cacophony in a foreign tongue
But hearing deepens.
“What’s that you say?
Cupped hand behind ear;
Study in vain his moving lips
Behind the roar;
Puzzle the melting printed word,
Dawns the underlying truth,
River of comprehension
Beneath the racing chaos
Of the spoken word,
The printed page.
Blindness recedes
With failing sight;
Deafness fades
As hearing dies.
Oh, dear life.
Dear muted daze
Psychedelic film
Of lost unknowing.
Poor, desolate ghosts
Lost in forgotten trails
Of yesteryear,
Wander on.
Take heart in your despair
Mute the silent horror;
Calm the wild
Searching eye
And rest.
And rest in peace.

From Poems of the New Old West


All that damned drama.  Sheeze.  Seems completely foreign to me today.  Words someone else wrote.

Most likely just dead,” works a hell of a lot better.  Or if I’m feeling verbose, a limerick.

Old Jules

2 responses to “Paradigm Shifts – Same Song, New Shorter Stanza

  1. I recognise the whole tone of the post Jules…..sounds like it’s not the greatest day!
    Rightly or wrongly, I have never been one of this people who say “Oh I never take pills and potions, I’m a healthily liver, I like to take as little as possible and then preferably natural medicines”.
    I will take anything in and instant, if I thought it would make me feel well! I am not a addict in any sense I don’t agree with drug addiction, but shit…if a doctor gives it to me and says, look…if you feel like this again, take one of these pills…..that’s me…wallop…no question!
    I also have lots of so-called friends who appear to have faded with time…maybe it’s my fault, maybe they are dead…don’t know. But when I feel low and alone – I still have a job to do, and that is to look after my sick wife – POP! in goes the pill and I live to fight another day. I guess a lot of folk would take a drink in the same circumstances, but unfortunately due to doing too much of that as a younger man, I can no longer take the drink, and I feel better for it. But if people say I need some sort of medicinal crutch, then sure, is that a bad thing? If it means I can get up and lead a relatively normal life AND look after ‘she who must be obeyed’. Give the crutch eery time!
    Whats that lovely old song title…What Ever Get’s You Through The Night?

  2. Friends come and friends go
    Sometimes a word spoken
    Smashes the friendship
    Sometimes the word not spoken
    Sometimes an unspoken expectation
    Not done by the other
    Brings the end
    Sometimes the once friend won’t give a clue
    Sometimes one just has to walk on
    Still wondering, never knowing
    What ended the friendship
    Other times you just drift apart
    Without any problems just
    No longer holding the same interest
    No less the love
    Just a different path
    Still friends like before when you meet
    And that is what I’ve seen it be
    ‘Cause people can’t be counted
    To be consistent or what we expect
    So I thank God for the ones that remain
    And thank Him for the ones that were
    Maybe I’ll leave this life richer for each one

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