Posts Tagged ‘aging


cooking (and bitterness)

as we age the receptors for bitterness in our tongues become duller. you may have wondered why, as a child, you couldn’t tolerate a bite of brussels sprout, spinach, beets, and yet today, at __, you can’t get enough of them, that’s why– you tolerate bitterness better.


are we then also better at tolerating the bitterness of life? perhaps served up with a little olive oil, pepper, kosher salt, a clove of garlic over medium heat in a sauté pan?


the effects of aging on a 6’4″ caucasian male

1. whenever you pass a mirror, look directly into your eyes. you will be thankful you did as it helps mitigate the horror of seeing your body sagging (cake in the rain syndrome.)

2. your ears and your nose take on a life of their own as they continue to grow.

3. hair growth and loss: what falls from your head lands on your ears and shoulders. expect your leg hair to disappear from your calves and thighs, but grow on the tops of your toes. the whole experience is similar to continental shift. of course, you can expect it to grow faster where you don’t want it, than it will where you do.

4. your jawline begins to meld into your neck. in fact, all of your edges, the sharp angles of youth, begin to fade as if an artist had decided that they were unhappy with their life drawing and had started erasing the outside lines.

5. you become invisible to young people. not children necessarily, but certainly the 15-25 group look right through you as if you did not exist. (example: shop at the gap/old navy.)

6. you’ll begin to need to pee every half-hour and it becomes harder. say good-bye urinal and hello toilet!

7. the belly. it happens. whether beer or butter, if you’re as tall as i am, it will automatically find its way to your belly. not your legs or your arms and definitely not to your chest. as a consequence you will look like the saint-exupéry drawing of a snake who has eaten a bowler hat turned on its end.

8. you’ll need more sleep and find it harder to sleep longer. naps become mandatory should there be an extra hour in your day for you to lay your balding head and hairy ears down on a pillow.

9. why does everyone insist upon speaking at the same time? if you want me to hear you, speak directly to me. (i am not ready for a hearing aid, damn it.)

10. you’ll have crystal clear memories from 30 years ago, but cannot remember what tv show you watched last night.

11. there’s more, of course, but much of it is too graphic for such delicate sensibilities as my readers exhibit.


winter (an allegory on discontent)

the discomfort of aging.  there’s the saggy skin, the furrows & lines, the forgotten names of even the closest of friends, the sudden deaths of acquaintances (“so young, too soon!” you cry,) the lost keys, the misplaced bag, the unbidden reminder of your salad days, the waste of youth.  a body in revolt, its masses congregating in the squares & plazas of your internal organs, disrupting the status quo (an autocracy ruling over microbes, cells, blood, guts,) journalists jailed (hijacking your reason, “oh, it’s nothing, it’ll pass,”) when all of the signs point to regime change.

but steadfast you stand, implacable in the narrow confines of your skin; your brain producing excuses (funding a counter-insurgency,) just so that you may hold onto your riches (the past) just a little bit longer (“i’ve worked so hard to be here, now, it’s my time, mine, mine, mine,” in a lisp of spit & anger as you stand in the gilded opulence of your palace, the body that once housed such promise.) your stalwart aides murmuring advice, cajoling, & suggesting that perhaps some change would be good, “it would be good for you to grant some freedoms, to acquiesce to select demands,” the body politic requires your benevolence & understanding.

relent, it won’t be a failure, instead it will be a triumph of reason over your gut.


four eyes

It doesn’t come easily.  But when it does, it’s all at once in a rush of feeling, memory, cascading words/images/thoughts/dreams/impressions/dots of color/black & white/gray scale/composition/color/form/volume/spatial insight/unedited & unfiltered.  It’s up to me to sort it out and discern the truth or perhaps the paucity of truth–let it settle/digest/flow through my veins/spark a synapse/skip a heartbeat/take a vacation/work hard.

Four eyes:  quadruplet orbs/two real/two parallel to reality–I’m just saying that it’s possible & although adopted my mother’s mother/my mother had four eyes.

Four eyes:  when you’re a child & wearing glasses + there may be other differences/tall/skinny/effeminate = certain harassment from the middle, because they are the middle & always will be.  Do you think they know that?  Some little voice in their head, nagging/nudging/abusive/that keeps them chained to their middle-ness.   It never bothered me.  It was jelly slipping across cream cheese on a warm bagel running down your finger/hand/catching it with your tongue, m-m-m delicious this ridicule & ridiculous.

Four eyes:  the glasses go in time for you to become yourself, but the stigmata of otherness branded around your eyes/raccoon/bandit/yosemite sam-like anger lurks just below the surface/nessie & mythological/legendary eruptions/mercurial/these visions come unhindered & unwanted.  They drive you WRONG WAY DO NOT ENTER, but you go anyway & it’s years before you can extricate yourself from that choice.

Four eyes:  one day it just comes back, you can’t see clearly [reality] + it’s too late/you’re too old/habits challenge you & chain you–you allow it–still that vision/foresight/demands of the future unspool leaving a trail perhaps breadcrumbs/roadside markers & then you’re there–it’s not déjà vu, it’s not the future it’s now.


in the mirror today: my face betrayed me

i avoid the mirror, in the morning particularly, when my skin is creased from the bed linens and my hair, such as it is, is pointing in the opposite direction of my thoughts, its own little maelstrom of indecision, an eddy of gray draining down my back—my friend, S., told me that she no longer steps directly out of the shower, but instead backs out so she doesn’t have to see herself naked—i try to avoid the mirror, but i am gay, and i am curious, and i am still narcissistic enough to care, chagrined at the loss of tautness/firmness/glow/hair growing where it never did before and where before it grew fleeing in such a way as to warrant emergency sirens; truly it’s not the wrinkles (i lie) it’s just that i hate to see it leave — you know — those questions pop up:  did i love deeply enough?  was i always kind to those less fortunate?  could i have shared myself with more people?  would they have wanted me?  but i am stuck with the answers/memories that now are making/leaving their marks on my face/body/hands/knees/elbows/torso/legs/feet/neck.  a warning: it’s a bit of shock, not wholly unexpected, but a shock nonetheless, i hope that i am up to the challenge/i fear most losing my mind


slings and arrows

passionate kisses 5 part 1b

On Thursday last I began a day of fasting–medically prescribed–that surprisingly didn’t affect me as much as I thought it would.

passionate kisses 5 part 1a

In fact, it felt good.  The indignities of aging are many and well-documented, but oftentimes the process on the way to the indignity is overlooked.

passionate kisses 5 part 2b

I felt purer as the day progressed and the process in preparation for Friday’s procedure continued its cleansing duties.

passionate kisses 5 part 2a

It cleared my mind, all manner of thoughts formed, like clouds in the summer sky as you lay on your back looking for faces, objects, places.

passionate kisses 5 part 3b

Hamlet’s soliloquy from Act 3 popped into my head: “…Whether ’tis nobler in the mind/To suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,/Or to take arms against a sea of troubles/And by opposing end them…”

passionate kisses 5 part 3a

Which seemed relevant as my body ages, requiring additional maintenance, suffering ‘slings and arrows’.  Perhaps the outrageous fortune is that I’m here, now.  Will old age be a ‘sea of troubles’?  I stand against it for now.

passionate kisses 5



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© Robert Patrick, and Cultivar, 2008-2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts, photographs and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Robert Patrick and Cultivar with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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