Ramshackle Wisdom

Life isn’t just happening.
Life is absorbed, not lived.
Living is what happens when you choose a postage stamp,
or argue with your spouse about the name of your son.
Life itself is a mad machine
pressing and forming flesh
as we do toys or cars or potted cacti.

Our life seeps into us like machine oil does in a factory,
events and people and desires and loss
pressing and punching, pressing and punching;
Life compacts, forms remembered webs
out of air and hope.

The life you lived is nothing at all
to the one your remember:
the shaping imbues purpose.
Dreams are superimposed on pain,
so you can walk on, waif-like toward the end,
more full than your skin
seems able to contain.

That’s who the old folks are,
bursting with transformed grease,
baking pies with too much fruit in them,
crying at the foot of war statues, or just
sitting and waiting as if
you have the courage to ask them
how it is done.

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