age spots

by tobias crabtree

i got this new spot on the side of my face. it’s what my ma has always called an age spot. i’m pretty sure it’s here for good unless i get it smudged out with some procedure by one of those doctors that promises to make you look better than you ever were. sometimes folks look at it. now i know how the folks from my past have felt when i stared at something they couldn’t help. life sure does teach some solid lessons.

when i was running, i noticed that my one ankle clicks every time i take a step. it’s like a metronome that keeps time while you’re playing piano. i kinda like it as long as it doesn’t swell up afterward, which it sometimes does. i feel like the body is more of an adventure as we get older. you just never can tell what’s around the bend. awesome.

i’ve been playing the guitar quite a bit lately. i play it alone and in my toyota dolphin. it sounds cool in here, but i’m pretty sure i suck. i’ve written 3 songs. my buddy tim garrison says they’re my greatest hits, and i guess he’s right since they’re the only songs i’ve ever written. sometimes, when i’m real sad and alone, i play them slow and howl like a hound dog. i’m not sure how it sounds but i’m pretty sure it sounds like cats making love in the alley. but that’s alright. greatest hits, man.

i’m on a string of mornings where i’ve gone out into the ocean before any kind of daylight whatsoever. it’s crazy paddling out on a little board into the black. crazy wonderful. the dolphins and sea lions and whales are already there, waiting.  dark ocean. morning stars. the world underneath and the world overhead and the smallness of me in between. it’s ok, i’m just here. right fuckin’ here. and i really must say that my heart is overwhelmed in the process. i suppose it’s a kind of addiction, this thing i do. hopefully it’s how i’ll leave this world…by mixing with it.

when i wake, i listen to npr. familiar voices in the morning dark. they say things about my world that i can’t believe. sometimes they tell stories that make me cry. sometimes i laugh right out loud, i think they call that lol these days. i call it laughing out loud. but i like them voices on npr. they almost feel like friends.

i don’t know what to chase. i don’t know where to run. i’m sad that folks don’t fear the direction we seem to be headed. i feel the waves swell behind me and the push, the gradual momentum, and the wind; for this moment i am alone in the universe. i am being pushed by the power of the world i inhabit. it is, it is…humbling. sometimes i swim in this same green sea, i swim out where i know that life is so fragile. then i swim back to the land, my towel, my rig, my coffee. i see the seagull on the rocks as i swim in from the green. i am almost nothing. it would be good for every world leader to have to swim alone into the sea every now and then. it would change what they think of themselves. maybe we wouldn’t have as much to fight about.  hey man, we’re here and this is now. tomorrow is starting to look like a bully that’s waiting to beat us up.

i had a bunch of stuff i was going to write about, it all fell away once i put my fingers to the board. i was gonna write about friendship and crosshatching and the dreams i’ve been having. that’s all gone. i ain’t able to write what i wanna write. all these thoughts are running into me like a current, slamming me around and making me lose my paddle. and the river’s big and the rocks seem way too close and i thought i had this all figured out. not true. i’m mostly a mess and in the habit of going under. it’s why i haven’t written as of late. lost in the current. i’m sure there’s them what understand.

what makes us the thing we are? is it the carcass that carries our soul? or is it the song that follows us when we’re gone. if it’s the latter, i hope they don’t sing like me.

ah hell, that’s all.