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In Retirement

by Chris Sorrenti

I'm a rambler, I'm a gambler, I'm a long way from home
And if you don't like me, then leave me alone
I'll eat when I'm hungry, I'll drink when I'm dry
And if moonshine don't kill me, I'll live till I die

- The Moonshiner (origin disputed)

For the first six months
I slept
More than I have in the last six years
In between coffee, lunches or supper
With family, former workmates

But it was mainly surreal...
Parents - deceased
Most older friends - deceased
Or changed - one couple joined the Jehovah Witnesses
Girlfriend moved to the west coast
But parted on good terms
Only son relocated to another city for job opportunities

And so now when not sleeping
Or writing
Or talking to others
I talk to myself
Sometimes carrying out entire conversations
Rehearsing potential scenarios
With friends, enemies, and those...status uncertain

At first my roommate
(the ex girlfriend who moved out west came back for the winter
but only as a friend till she could get her own place)
Thought I was crazy – teased me about it
Now I have her doing it too

Actually, it’s the ones who don’t talk to themselves I worry about
You hear about them all the time in the news...
Suicides – murder/suicides

And then came winter
Too cold to go outside
Except to run errands…buy groceries
And when not cold...blizzarding

To keep from going completely crazy
More sleep
And I smoked
Up to a pack and a half a day
Sometimes mixed with marijuana and wine
(my favorite state of artificial euphoria in middle age)
While eagerly watching the legalization debate in the media
We only have to look to Prohibition in 1930s America
To see what a waste of money it was...and still is

I say regulate...tax the hell out of it
Keep it out of the hands of minors
As they do with tobacco and alcohol
Bring down the deficit
Or do away with the whole hypocrisy altogether
And criminalize everything
Then most of us can spend the rest of our lives in prison

Now, almost a year later
Back to less than half a pack a day
I walk...ride a bike...eat well...meditate
And yes, still sleep when tired...when tired of everything

Hey - we all gotta go sometime
And I’d rather do it with a smile
Than rot away unhappy and
Invalidated in some seniors’ home

© 2014

720 hits as of July 2021


Author's Note: In regards to the intro’ song. I found it appropriate and somewhat relatable to my own situation and the subject of the poem. Believe it or not, I first came across The Moonshiner in grade 7 or 8 (roughly age 12 or 13) when I and my fellow classmates were taught to sing it in music class...in separate (Catholic) school no less! Considering the lyrics, can you image in today’s climate of Political Correctness if a teacher tried to teach this song to similar aged students? He or she would be hung out to dry, drawn and quartered in the media, and probably fired. As Bob Dylan once wrote and sang: For the times they are a changing. Maybe not in the way we had expected or hoped for.

Posted on 05/28/2014
Copyright © 2021 Chris Sorrenti

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Kristina Woodhill on 05/28/14 at 03:28 PM

Chris, you've nailed transition times of our lives. Glad to read you've come out on the healthier side of it.

Posted by Quentin S Clingerman on 05/28/14 at 08:07 PM

Well, some of this sounds a bit like when I first retired. Glad I did though. Conversations with oneself I think fine. I do it unconsciously! Marijuana for medical purposes by prescription sounds good to me. Not sure of the rest. (An old Prohibitionist here. lol)

Posted by Sam Roberts on 05/30/14 at 10:25 AM

I like the realness of this, it's honest. Also, quite a long poem but that was a good thing, I wish it had been longer! I couldn't stop reading. Very different styles we have, and I guess that's the beauty of poetry. Thanks! Great read.

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