22 Years


When my father was my age

He had 22 more years left

He looked at the future

As an endless array of choices

Without death as an option

It was though

For good or bad

It always is

It is the boundary of

One’s vessel

Not it’s ripples

Across the inward ocean

It is hard me to view all of this

As an infinite journey as he did

Knowing what I know

Yet I will fight to view it so

To shrug off the knowledge of

Where the path to the ocean

Meets the water

Making 22 years into

A trans infinite journey

There is an eternity between moments

Endless ripples between the ripples

The ocean is never still

Even when there is no motion

Looking out from the shore

At the path’s end


Sometimes there is a feeling of nostalgia

Even in the moment

It is an eerie flicker

Where you are looking back fondly

At what is happening in the present

There is no substance in the nostalgia of the now

There is only the ringing echo of actions as they happen

It is not the ripples of the action

It is the sound of what occurred

The feeling of the moment

Humming as it passes

The old and the new

Cauterizing at one particular point

Neurons dying

It always haunted me

Not from sadness, but from the dull ache of pain

The instant nostalgia of the now

It hurts from hunger

The desire to horde

The moment

The experience

To take something from the moment

That can not be taken

Because it is not mobile

The pain of attempting

Is tangible

What is created in the mind

Pales in comparison

It is the word that represents love

Not love itself

I was trying to win

To make a game of experience

To keep a score of consciousness

As if it were Monopoly or Risk

The ache it created

Persisted even as joy occurred

Over 22 years


The past 22 years

Are recorded

As scraps of

Ancient paper

In the zipped pocket

Of an old leather bag






A life once lived

Depicting only details

Of places and times


Yet true in a way

Having been there

The fading papers

Create a distance

That doesn’t occur

In my mind

Signaling and

Pushing me into the present

I shake my head awakening

And step out into the current timeline

Once again


I did not know I loved myself

Until I stopped in the moment

It is hard to exist

Without ghosts


Memories of TV episodes

Passages of books

Lies you told long ago loves

Truth’s you put in drawers on slips of paper

The moment is always there

Throughout time

It does not hide from you

You can step into it

I do not always love myself in the moment

It is not permitted

Or perhaps not possible

There is no grand revelation at the end

Just one purposeful breath after another

No nostalgia

Just survival

Not 22 years

Just today

Gene G. McLaughlin 2013