The Old Gentleman – Poetry by Doug Bolling

He walks through many paths
Of his mind.
Often he succumbs to the summers
Of his youth.

He swims again in the green algae laden
Pond behind the crumbling barn
And the amazing sycamores high
Enough to reach the sky and make
Of a boy’s climbs an adventure.

He fishes in Rockledge Creek watchful,
Patient, a sudden tautness in the line.
He travels far into woods where once
Lovers made their passion.

Now he is old. He no longer believes
In his future or the sermons they
Handed him from above.

In the small gray room that is his all
And only place the ancient table fan
Clacks and sputters, small sparks
Forecasting doom somewhere ahead,
Some grinding friction ending the
Misery of worn blades.

The old gentleman rests on the
Army cot from a war forgotten,
Narrow plain where spine and mattress
Have long ago made peace.

I am almost nothing he thinks in his
Half awake driftings.
I am so little a part of this world
That they will hardly notice when
The breath of me goes.

All the laborings and talk done with.
Vanished into the body space where
Once I lived claiming the face
By which they said I was.


About the Poet

Doug Bolling’s poems have appeared in Posit, Isthmus, Aji, Common Ground Review, Basalt, and Slant, among others.
He has received Best of the Net and Pushcart nominations and several awards. He has taught at several academic institutions and lives in the Greater Chicago area.

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