The Old Man and The-New Trees , painted by Carl Larssen
He becomes an old man often seen as
beach ornamental, mall stool, pool creep, and
token park mench. Dressed too formal, perhaps
skinny and foppish. Dapper is a word
to resurrect imagio Dei in him.
It becomes too hard to forgive him. He
retched in you as preacher, master, teacher;
perhaps as a priestly voyeur, or a
reader of teasled fortune cards. Old
pastors loved him, layed hands on him.
There are rules for formality and ease,
mannerisms that are not to be lost,
or confused with hope. There is no hope
of intimacy with him that is not
more than clotted memories of skin.
The sweet pulp layer rising never ceasing,
always supple and willing. The eye and
the approaching tension between hip and
chest. Matisse and Rodin could produce this
line with scrapes, spills, scrims, and charcoal nubs.
These days skin hunger is not allowed
for old men, as in the birth of young trees.
We believe in holy resurrection
of the body. The only body we
have been given as proof and schemata
of existence. Body of trees, so lovely.
Their scrapes and tensions, the tightness
in the gloaming dark. the tears of fetid
and lonely schoolhouse play. Always the gaze.
Always the arc of tender skin held
in heat; held for the eye, and the nub of
lead, clay, stone, chalk and pigments that follow.
So to be dressed, as a stone fruit tree
is bedressed, To be resplendent with old
fine clothes. A cane, perhaps a book and bench.
Old man! Observe the arc of fruit of trees
that have been well husbanded. The orchard
of lines, and heat, of quickening leaves. Breasts
and loins moving into the wind and onto
the lee ward side of pleasing. Ordering
desire that is a nest within a nest,
held in these branches. Chickadees do not
find air, and do not launch into the wake
of morning. Rather, late in the sun,
the heat of dirt, the layered clothes come to
be seen as odd, as dandy, and as rural
decay. Like seaweed, bodies move slowly
and ripening and startled at the same
place. What wandering gaze you seem to acquire.
The same eyes practiced in museums, and
liturgies. Eucharistic feasts, and small
lecture halls. Find the branched line. Trace the
graft. Feel the small fluttering heat of risk
rising as into your sapwood. Fruit made
real inside the frisson of bone, muscle, skin.
His missional work was in the caring
for lovely old men. The old gathered queens
that remain untouched, burdened too long, as
if they did not believe in the body.
Believe in the body. Believe in trees.