travails of age
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New poems by Michael Estabrook




Go ahead have your beloved Starbucks’

iced coffee after dinner even at 8 p.m.

so it will be impossible to get to work

early in the a.m. but tonight

it’s caution to the winds

I’m going to live crazy

like tomorrow will never come


Of course it comes (thankfully)

and this morning I vow

to be smarter about this, curtail

my evil caffeine habit after 4 p.m.


But sometimes it’s impossible to let

the day go, turn off the documentaries

or put aside the poems of Byron,

Whitman, Williams or Bishop,

simply for sleep.



a line, (a blue one)


Hearing Aid


I’ve become a broken-down old man,

taking all these damn pills,

drinking prune juice,

sitting on my heating pad,

turning the TV up louder and LOUDER.

I recall my Grandfather,

so hard of hearing

but never admitting it, never giving in

to turning the sound up on the TV

or trying one of those newfangled

hearing-aid gadgets,

not even if his life depended on it.

I suspect he didn’t hear a thing,

not a thing, the last 15 years

of his life but apparently,

god damn it, he liked it that way.



a line, (a blue one)




Had to get to a game this year –

Fenway Park’s 100 Years Old!

(Oldest baseball stadium in the country.)

So here we are, the Red Sox versus

the Washington Nationals, an interleague game,

but a game is a game: balls and strikes

pop ups and pop outs a slide into second

a home run a double off the Green Monster.

All-in-all a normal run-of-the-mill

sorry to say boring game – and we are losing.


My wife never leaves the games early so I’m stuck

suffering in this hot seat. I turn my attention

to the 2 young ladies sitting in front of me.

They haven’t watched one minute of the game

instead they’re chattering like

they haven’t seen each other in 15 years

and playing with their iPhones and their hair.


Unexpectedly one of them drapes her long legs

over the empty seat in front of her and I

can’t help but notice that her toes

are painted bright, bright red – Red Sox Red

and she’s wiggling them around in the sun

flexing her feet up and down side to side

and suddenly the ball game

is not so boring after all.



a line, (a blue one)


Feeding the ducks


As Kerry’s wheeling the foodcart

in and out of the wards dishing out Alpo

and biscuits to the dogs while whistling

some stupid Supremes tune

I leap out pretending I’m a loose dog

clawing and scratching at his legs

growling and barking

making him drop everything and scream

and when The Doc comes in to see

what all the commotion is about

I’m out in the backyard

feeding the ducks.



a line, (a blue one)


Number 4


Since high school

my wife’s best friend and I

have had an unwritten agreement

if we’re both single at 70

we’ll marry each other


When her new boyfriend

who showed up

after her third husband died

overheard me reminding her

of our marriage-pact he growled

poked his chest and said

if anyone’s gonna marry Linda

it’s gonna be me


OK so he’ll become her fourth

that’s fine with me we only had

a friendly teenage pact

but I’m not so sure

it’ll be fine with Linda

she doesn’t go in all that much

for growling and poking


a line, (a blue one)


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