Sometimes, New Friend, I consider my capabilities. What are my strengths; what are my handicaps? Almost immediately to mind and for as long as anyone can remember; my two or three cups of tea have been of the cerebral variety. Which is to say, as a child and youth, I spent a lot of time in the woods familiarizing myself with loneliness--unless you count the squirrels and caterpillars. But being alone was fine; it gave me time to consider. Things. Stuff. Whatnot. The stuff of science and poetry--the abstract made tactile, odoriferous, enumerable. From such a springboard, my trajectory could hardly shoot me anywhere but where I landed. Where did I land? In college studying literature and philosophy. (In gymnastic terms, one might say I "stuck the landing," too--given the virtual decade I haunted the information-stained walls of my two alma maters. Ha--that sounds like a sitcom. My Two Alma Maters. Something to do with lesbianism and awkwardness . . . hmmm . . . I'll think about it . . . )
On the other hand, what of my physical strengths? Do I have any? Have I ever had any? Short answer: No. Long answer: No, not really. Longer answer: Sure, with four brothers, I spent a good deal of time playing sports and engaged in less organized physical activity. And I have the scars to prove it. And the lingering psychological torments. Going to small private schools afforded me the opportunity of starting on basketball teams. Because my six-feet of height was good enough to earn me a role under rim grabbing boards and slinging elbows. Sadly, I averaged about four points a game--abysmal for someone who often had the ball directly under the rim. For the most part, my athletic achievements were of the participatory variety.
So that's the background but where am I today? Cerebrally--essentially where I have been immemorially. That is, engrossed in things, stuff, and whatnot. Sometimes happily, sometimes begrudgingly. And physically? Well, I can muster a reasonable round of golf and lift piddling nieces and nephews over my head for a few giddy moments.
I have an old poem, New Friend, that arose from one of these moods of mine--this self-evaluation, of sorts. I think you might like it. You strike me as the intergalactic type.
On the Intergalactic Distribution of Talents
Light echoes star to star.
Time groans deeply in worm-
Holes like a tuba.
Five years to tie my first laces.
Hydrogen huddles and breaks
Into everything. Particles fox-
Trot, waltz and tango.
Six months and I manage a two-step.
Perennial Maypole of spiraling
Suns. Earth wobbles but never
Yet my jogging days are over.