The Wisdom of Age

At the synagogue’s Elder Wisdom seminar
Leslie, the coordinator, a woman
shaped like a baked potato
with the kindly smile of a maiden aunt,
had us all stand in a circle
like kids at summer camp around a fire,
holding hands, and sing a song
dripping with sap like a Vermont maple:

We are loved, loved, loved
by endless loving love…
We are loved, loved, loved
by endless loving love…

Salty Liz muttering fuck this under her breath,
every one of us, sexa-
and septuagenarians all, mumbled
at the floor, out of harmony.

After an evening of reflection
on the loss and freedom
that come with advancing years,
the frailty and betrayal of the body,
the stuff in life you learn
that really matters,
this exercise seemed so wrong.
All Leslie lacked was a whistle
on a string around her neck.

I sneaked a peak at Liz,
both of us rolling our eyes.


Charles Rammelkamp is Prose Editor for BrickHouse Books in Baltimore and Reviews Editor for The Adirondack Review. A chapbook of poems, Jack Tar’s Lady Parts, is available from Main Street Rag Publishing. Another poetry chapbook, Me and Sal Paradise, was recently published by FutureCycle Press. An e-chapbook has also recently been published online Time Is on My Side (yes it is).

Photographer Steve Warren is a veteran, recovering addict and peer specialist who became a self taught Naturalpathic self healer. He changed his diet, started dancing, took to writing and performing poetry, and hasn’t stopped healing since.