The Truth About Ageing
sun dapples woods
trillium titillates shady patches
cedar perfumes air
crisp clear calm
we knew we’d have to sell our place
on the lake one day
but somehow never
thought that day would come
our future currency of loss
desire yearning despair
The Truth About Happy
This grey that stares
Lies not, stark skin and bone.
Happy, at this age, comes
with many qualifiers.
I was less stiff when
I got out of bed this morning.
I’m happy about that.
Sara’s cancer is confined
to her gall bladder, lymph
nodes and liver are clear.
That makes me happy.
Only five people from my
high school class are dead
and I’m not one of them.
That’s something to celebrate.
Every now and then my left
ankle doesn’t work, but
that’s only every now and then;
mostly it works and I walk
my little dog Mugsi and
watch her tushie wiggle
down Maple Avenue,
and that makes me happy.
I only allow myself half a
grapefruit in the morning but,
after I eat the sections I’ve
carefully carved from the fruit,
I squeeze the juice into my bowl.
Those sips of fresh grapefruit
juice produce a pleasure beyond
joy. And when my wife, Judy,
takes a moment to pat my arm
when I’m cooking our dinner
or kisses me on the cheek
when I put her plate before her,
the happy I feel makes
saints hit their knees.
Of course, there’s the nitwit in Washington,
the constant lies, hypocrisies that cause
mirrors to blush, the idea that empathy
is a national security risk. Yet with us
humans there’s always the possibility
that kindness will be reborn, that
compassion will make a comeback,
that happy will be happy again.
The Truth About Night
Why is the night so craven?
Everything possible during the day
seems impossible at night. I’m
not referring to the raucous bacchanalia
of night clubs and dance halls,
the blockbusters at movie houses,
or poker nights with the guys.
I’m talking about the sweat-soaked
heart pounding 3 AM maelstrom
when you’re sure you have terminal
cancer, an infection no antibiotic will cure,
and that all your arteries will close at once.
This is when your disgraces, every time
you measured your mouth for your foot size,
reappear in technicolor and surround sound,
when the eyes of the world are focused
solely on you and people with names like
Wolf, Anderson, and Rachel smirk and
intone your sins over and over
on their 24-hour news programs.
You rise from bed, an anvil of shame
on your back, pee, sip some water,
crawl under the covers and wait
for light’s subtle shade, that lambent
curtain of forgiveness called dawn.
(Charlie Brice is the author of Flashcuts Out of Chaos (2016), Mnemosyne’s Hand (2018), and An Accident of Blood (2019), all from WordTech Editions. His poetry has been nominated for the Best of Net anthology and twice for a Pushcart Prize and has appeared in over ninety publications.)
The Beautiful Space-