Septuagenarian Memoirs No. 7

                 “Music is the doctor of my soul,”
               eminent healing of a day’s dregs
               by reversion to a primal heartbeat,
                    immediate submersion in sounds
                              streaming through the blood
                 like a sacred river of strange currents,
                                  from a steadfast beating of drums
                                       to Mozart, Elvis, Doobie Brothers 
             & Bob Dylan’s always rolling stone;
              music is edged with eternity’s marriage
                                    to the full measure of the moment,
                releasing the monkey-mind from itself
                                      & raising the soul to obvious ecstasy.
                Without music, angels weep at dawn
                                       & hearts suffer attacks of melancholy
                                       from irredeemable distraction noises,
                but music is my radical muse
                                       from a mysterious silence
                                    where all music is born
                                  in particular infinities. 


                                                          Distractions (2)

               Distractions measure out our lives
                                     with unredeemable plastic spoons
               that break, splitting open tongues
                                       with blood drooling from openly
               catatonic mouths until the next
                                   distraction is up and ready to serve.
                              All very surreal, very sophisticated.
               Homo Distractatus is our name,
              distracting from distractions our game.
                When did life itself become a distraction?
                                       Why are we addicted to everything
                                   but silence & solitude, preferring
                                     to vulture the carrion of our cravings?
                  What happened to vision quests
                                       and fasting from deprivations of soul?
                                       Where are the crones and sages
                                       guiding us through rogue waves                                      
              and the spiritual sloth of the frivolous?
                 How has wisdom lost itself in deviations
                                       from the ancient ecstasies of life?
                      When we weary of ever-circling 
                                   the brazen-bright laser lights,     
                will we just lay down & die?
                Why the malingering fear
                                      of living naked without
               the numbing shielding?
                 Where are the poets 
                 & earthy saints to take
                                      our breaths away with
                                    their spirited geographies
                                       impervious to deadenings?   


               Imagine there is imagination,
                  forming what does not exist,
                                    seeing what exists as strange,
                                    a surreal dive into possibilities
               where old mysteries 
                and new potentials
                                    converge in crucibles
                 compounding elixirs 
                                   into fathomable insights
                               surprising all the more
                for their bizarre beauty.
                Imagination as knowing
                                     with the soul’s blood,
                 remembering what never was,
              receiving whatever could be,
               soaring in divine winds
               into the heart of wisdom,
                              finding peculiar revelations
                                   creatively disguised
                              as ordinary absurdities.

Alan Altany is a partially retired, septuagenarian college professor of religious studies and theology. He has been a factory worker, swineherd on a farm, hotel clerk, lawn maintenance worker, high school teacher, small magazine of poetry editor, director of religious education for churches, truck driver, novelist, among other things. In 2022 he published a book of poetry entitled *A Beautiful Absurdity* (https://www.