ExhibitsSpoken Word & Art › Aging Haiku and Free Verse

Aging Haiku, by Bob Barancik

Read by Roxanne Fay, a Tampa Bay actress, novelist, and playwright.

I struggle with locks 
and jar lids that won’t twist off
I struggle with age.
Simple things become hard tasks—
must read labels with glasses. 

Just lost my iPhone—
last month it was my wallet
with my sanity.

Just lost my iPhone—
no more 24/7
pointless emailing.

Just lost my iPhone—
I am lost to wired world
but not to myself.

Just lost my iPhone—
am both angry and aggrieved
but strangely relieved! 

Mother watches while 
grandpa sticks out tongue and smiles—
baby starts laughing. 

We’d all like to turn
back the clock and try again
until it’s set right.
But what is done is done
and can’t be changed now or ever. 

I want to see with heart
and hear with my eyes
and know through my navel.

Life by the numbers—
my friend takes 10,000 steps
and hopes for the best.

The race is over
and the winner rejoices
while losers feel lost.
Laurels for the champion;
nothing for the also-rans.

I don't know where I
came from or where I will go—
and neither do you.
Gurus are travel agents
to imaginary places. 

I tread water or sink
quickly to the bottom of
the swimming pool.
Some are immune to drowning—
buoyed by two inflated lungs. 

We make up stories
and pretend that they are true—
what else can we do?
Sometimes we are great heroes
but more often just zeros. 

The middle path
is neither straight nor narrow
but zigzags through harm's way. 

We are evolving;
forever changing circles
that link together. 

I neither hunt nor
pick berries but scribble on
the hard cold cave wall.

Aging: Free Verse, by Bob Barancik

Read by Roxanne Fay.

Everything diminishes and soon finishes except love—which poets say comes from above.

The problem with pain is that it hurts.
The problem with gardening is all that dirt.
The problems at work are often troubling.
The dilemmas just keep on doubling and bubbling. 

The right shoulder of the world has bursitis—
or maybe it’s just my bursitis.
The left knee of the world has arthritis—
or maybe it’s just my arthritis.
The lower back of the world has a herniated disc—or maybe it’s just my back. The neck of the world is really stiff—or maybe it’s just my neck.
When I hurt—the world hurts. 

To see you sitting there doing nothing
makes me anxious.
Let’s go to the mall
and buy some overpriced sneakers.
To see you there brooding over god-knows-what makes me anxious.
Let’s go out for Chinese food
and scarf down some hot wonton soup.
To see you sitting there without a to-do list
makes me anxious.
Let’s drive to an Indian reservation
and crank quarters into a slot machine.
To see you there sitting there without a laptop computer makes me anxious.
Let’s go to a movie or try to find
where the Scrabble board went.
To see us sitting there
and growing older by the minute
reminds me that we’re just two grains
of imperceptible sand
slithering through the slim waist
of an hourglass.

Everything gets battered, shattered, and broken.
Skin is bruised, bones snap,
the mind become addled and saddled
to an old gray mare
that clops around in endless circles.
Is nothing whole, wholesome, and unblemished
like a polished Red Delicious apple?  
Is the sacred just something to sell on Sundays?  

Nothing lasts forever.
Ties sever.
Things unravel.
What was securely tied down loosens
and becomes untethered.
What was carefully stacked and shelved topples
and is strewn about.
Great stone walls and columns fall to rack and ruin.
Yet entropy itself is a point of entry to a cosmic dance
that unfolds in the cold curve of space and time without beginning or end. 

A little is a lot if you don’t want much.
A lot is not enough if you want it all.
Somewhere between a bit hungry and a little bit full
is a rare moment 
of grace. 

To die in obscurity or to universal acclaim.
Alas, the experience is probably the same.

Here/Not Here
nothing to fear.
Here/Not Here.
Hold life dear.

Morning light delights my eye.
A fretful night makes me cry.
Yesterday’s men try to make today like the past—
but it can’t last.
The young laugh at the old and won’t do
as they’re told.
So it goes…so it goes…
Samsara spins round and round…
No one knows. 


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