Those black curtains
Kept all the light out,
Not that there was any light
All I had was one lamp to shine in a room with
Baskets as side tables,
No dresser, and a full sized bed.

Those were the months
When I kept all the doors upstairs shut
And the baseboards off in the spare room
Because it cost too much to heat
And there wasn’t anybody in there anyway.

I’d get home, do some dissertation work,
Play some block busting computer game,
And then get in bed,
Usually after some chai with tequila or something
Then go straight to my iPod, my one treasure.

That was before iTunes got good,
When a downloaded CD didn’t show up with titles,
I typed them all in,
Clapton, Allman Brothers, and Santana
Plus everything else I had.

Then I bought magazines with CD samplers
Where new music found my home.
So much new stuff, fresh breaths to my stale breathing.
It seemed like Neko always played right before I fell asleep,
In that room with just enough heat
And the perfect amount of light.

“Hold fast, then, to this sound and wholesome rule of life-that you indulge the body only so far as is needful for good health.” Seneca

Before, Doug had been distracted
By the buzz of noise that he had difficulty hearing.
After, Doug was totally dialed in
The annoying ringing in his battle damaged ears
Replaced by crystal clear hearing.

He had missed the old stories from high school buds,
Their tales touching that whole Springsteen thing
About longing for the past’s tall tales.
Now Doug was acutely aware of the reality of aging,
His brothers in crime talking of coloring their hair,
Loving drone racing on ESPN, and
Going to the store to buy feminine hygiene products.

Doug sat with thoughts of luck,
Lucky to be alive,
Lucky to be with his friends,
Lucky to have his hearing back.
Then he thought with a gallows style of humor
That he was better off
When he couldn’t hear so well.
At least he could have just
Smiled and laughed
Without understanding how much his friends
Enjoyed romantic comedies.