Sometimes When I Go To Exertin’ Myself I Use Up All The Air Nearby

“Okay, stand outa the way. Sometimes when I go to exertin’ myself I use up all the air nearby and grown men faint from suffocation.” – R.P. McMurphy

The old man liked to work alone.

Solo.  Just convenient.

You can start whenever you want

cause everybody is already there.


Began that day’s walk earlier than usual.

Been going earlier and earlier lately.

Took that as a good sign.

Today barely past nine.

Thought that was about the best he could do.

He stretched by picking up the latest piles of dog shit.

There are beetles which feed on the dung.

Through the plastic bag, he could feel movement in the turds.

Bugs probably think they’ve died and gone to heaven.

What happens when you eat all the poop

and you are left alone holding the bag.


He watered the flowers,

more stretching.

Dribbled on the leaves

and talked to them, bent over

as if whispering in their ears.

If flowers have ears.

Drink hearty, my little friends.

If flowers have hearts.

The irrigation loosened up his back.

A giant puzzle needs every piece

– even the smallest piece –

to be complete.


The conversation seemed to clear his mind.

Flowers like a bunch of baby sisters

reminded him about the importance of hydration.

Do you ever find yourself thinking

about good people not near as crazy as you

and still they kill themselves.

Do you ever find yourself thinking about death?

Oh, look, there goes Sam Shepard!

So long, half of Steely Dan!

Bye, bye, John Ashbery, bye, bye.

Life is a party

and parties aren’t meant to go on forever.

Prince said something like that.

He’s dead, too.


The old man had – at his core –

only two speeds, Statuesque and Geronimo.

And a general lack of focus

at any other velocity.

But either the world was speeding up

or he was slowing.

His first instinct was to fight.

No, that’s not true.

His initial first response was

to pretend shit was not happening.

Used to be called The Manly Way.


You can’t run away from getting old.

Suicide is flight

and I like it here.

Not afraid of dying

but he loathed illness

and he was bad at being sick.

Shoot me now was his typical lament.

If he must be ill,

he preferred diseases easily cured

by chocolate milkshakes.


He worried he might die

from hand sanitizer poisoning.

This is about as clear as his mind ever got.

Did you touch this?

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