December 29, 2021

“A Look Back,” Poetry by Duane Anderson

“A Look Back,” Poetry by Duane Anderson
A Look Back 
Look at the past, 
look at the present. 
My before 
and after pictures, 
one in my teens, 
head full of hair, 
one in my sixties, 
head full of nothing.  
Where were all the things learned 
from all the years in between, 
but time took hold 
and all was forgotten 
Look at one,  
full of potential, 
then look at the other,  
head turned around to see what happened. 

Estate Planning Offers 
It was confirmed I was getting older after   
receiving an email on an estate planning webinar 
addressed to the Class of 1975, 
and then sending it right during the coronavirus pandemic, 
to a group that I was a part of,   
the higher at-risk age group. 
Was it bad timing or a coincidence, 
but hoped their message found me 
and my loved ones healthy and well. 
As for my estate planning, 
I leave you all my old college yearbooks, 
including a few pictures to remember me by, 
my diploma, stating I graduated from your college, 
something you remind me of from time to time, 
along with my heartfelt gratitude, but other than this, 
thanks for the offer, but I will take a pass at this time. 

New Morning Ritual 
In days of old, it used to be called a newspaper, 
but now it is more like a newsletter, 
short, condensed, 
a Cliff Notes version of its former self 
giving me a sense of what was going on, 
but still, it just wasn’t the same. 
My morning ritual had gotten shortened, 
and I was still trying to figure out  
how to fill that gap in my daily schedule, 
maybe having to hit the snooze button on the alarm  
clock one more time before getting out of bed 
and welcoming in morning.

The Hill Up Ahead 
I looked out the window, 
only to see a hill in the distance. 
One not so steep to 
prevent me from climbing it, 
but what would be my purpose  
in climbing to the top? 
To look down 
to see what was at the bottom, 
only to see where I once sat? 
I know where I am, 
where I want to be. 
Climbing the hill may be in the future, 
taking the winding path, 
but for now, I am in no hurry,  
there are other places to visit first. 

Hokey Pokey Revisited 
What if the Hokey Pokey really isn’t what it’s all about? 
         Brad Meltzer – The Escape Artist 
Put your left foot in. 
The process has to begin somewhere, 
and the left foot is as good of a body part 
as any other part of the anatomy.  
I admit I never knew what it was all about, 
nor even claimed that I ever knew 
like some who claimed to know everything 
and who were never wrong about anything. 
Now put your right foot in, 
and test the waters.  Is it cold? Is it warm? 
Oh yeah, don’t forget to take your 
left foot out, unless you are ready 
to jump in with both feet first if you really 
think you know what you are doing, 
or you actually know what you are doing. 
You put your head in, 
but only after giving it a careful thought. 
You put your head out, 
if you really haven’t given it much thought at all. 
You can skip all the other motions of the dance, 
unless you are really convinced that the 
Hokey Pokey really isn’t what it’s all about. 

Disappearing Library 
One by one, the books began disappearing  
from the bookshelves in my library. 
No one was stealing them, and I wasn’t 
aware of any magicians that were around 
to make them mysteriously vanish into thin air. 
Some were never finished,  
after only reading a few pages, 
finding the author’s book was a chore to read, 
quickly abandoning it, as if evacuating a sinking ship. 
Books like those were easy to depart with,  
while other authors who had made my top ten list, 
and had once decided on keeping all of their books,  

but as time passed, that decision had changed, 
narrowing the list further by keeping only those books 
featuring my favorite characters from those authors. 
It was time in my life for downsizing, 
where some books were sold, others donated, 
with boxes and boxes going out of the house. 
Maybe someone else would find 
that right author and another collection 
would spring into life, just as mine is ending. 
Another part of the life process, 
always evolving, a sad moment for one, 
a new wonderful beginning for another. 

The Tree Stands Alone 
The tree stood out from all the other trees in the area, 
having no leaves on its branches in late summer, 
its life having ended some time ago, 
but soon, it too would look similar to 
all the other trees as they lost  
their leaves this autumn. 
Its appearance would remain the same 
as the years passed by, 
until that time when its branches finally 
rotted away and fell to the ground. 
Its remaining life in this world,  
a slow decay.
Movie Days 

Around Christmastime when 
you were younger, 
we would see the latest Christmas movie, 
not that we didn’t see 
movies throughout the year. 
We saw the three Home Alone movies, 
I’ll Be Home for Christmas, 
Jingle All the Way, 
The Santa Clause, 
and The Santa Clause 2. 
Back in those days 
I could take you to a movie 
with your friend 
and sit next to you, 
then things changed. 
I could take you to a movie 
with your friend, 
but we sat on opposite 
sides of the theater, 
then the time came when 
I could only drop you off 
but I couldn’t be in the theater at all, 
and then, 
finally came that moment 
when you were old 
enough to drive. 
The movies changed 
and our relationship changed, 
not that it was bad, 
but I understand. 


A Look Back

Duane Anderson currently lives in La Vista, NE.  He has had poems published in The Pangolin Review, Fine Lines, Cholla Needles, Tipton Poetry Journal, Poesis Literary Journal and several other publications. He is the author of Yes, I Must Admit We Are Neighbors ( – 2021) and On the Corner of Walk and Don’t Walk (Pacific Poetry Press -2021). 

A Look Back
#aging#duane anderson#poetry#time

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