Atrophied hands, scrawny, long fingers
clenching without strength to hold on,
spindly frail legs, whitened with age,
unsteady, now, yet memory lingers,
a virile yesterday to scold on
missed chances for a well written page.

The power of will had no body
to bully through new contests, winning
the only unexceptional prize;
malfunction and decay...fate's shoddy
malfeasance, the ultimate sinning...
old age had whittled him down to size

in the flesh. His spirit, furious
at dwelling in dilapidated
accommodations, virility
and vitality aware, curious
and teenaged, incapacitated
by uncooperative senility,

despite the imagination's relish.
Raging at the divergence between
thought, deed, make-believe and history,
it became simpler to embellish
ancient successes, rejecting mean
realities, reviving past mystery.

They were daydreams, obliterating
consciousness of anything present,
sometimes for hours. Always, awaking
was brutal, the instant penetrating
the idealized, postpubescent
victories, old passion forsaking.

Unable to walk far or to care
for himself, tenaciously he held
on to the hope that he could find peace,
assuaging the painful old nightmare
with some counterbalancing new meld
of deed and restitution's release.

What fool walks backward, the past his guide,
unseeing his route or destination?
A wiser man remembers, but with eyes
forward, noting where danger may hide
he prepares, decrying frustration
in knowing it's the hero who dies.

--H. Arlequin 


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