An Old Man

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An Old Man and His Memories

Me and my broken-record memories,
like a vinyl disc going round and round
on the turn-table, and the needle stuck
in a groove, as I repeat myself endlessly
like any old man with his stories and jokes,
told and heard so often that his old lady
knows the endings before he clears his
throat to start the tale, and the ancient
mariner who lives in his brain stops
people in supermarket and street to tell
them, again and again, about life’s doldrums
where no winds blow and the ship is stuck,
like a gramophone needle in a one-track
groove, no moving air to fill the sails,
and life’s albatross lies heavy on this old
man’s neck, and bends his back so he leans
on his canes, and points with rubber-tipped
stick at the falling snow, never as thick and
heavy as it was in his youth, when he climbed
Mount Everest and ran a four minute mile,
though that’s about the time now for his
one hundred stumbled meters, as he leans
on a grocery cart, like other old men who
grin and wink and nod “Nice cart, eh lad?”
and back in those days, every game was won,
except when the ref was biased, and look:
he still walks lop-sided from that collection
of chips off the old family block that he carries
around, like a slow snail carries his house,
always on the move, from face to fearful face.

10 thoughts on “An Old Man

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