Music for Men over Fifty

I met Lynn Chalmers in 2004-2005, during the editing and publication of Lucky Man, courtesy of internet dating. We got to know each other on a road trip to Chicago where she was attending a conference. We had a great time, and have loved road trips ever since. She was an Australian, but fortunately already in Winnipeg since 2000. She organized my fiftieth birthday party in April 2005 and still is an Australian.

In 2006 she moved to Toronto for a year to do her Ph.D course work and I wrote boy.

She came back and I persuaded her to marry me in July of 2007. My wedding gift to her was a collection of my love poems to her, designed by Susan Chafe.  These poems form the basis for the title sequence.

The Abject Dictionary was also written this century, Grain and Dandelion publishing 16 letters between them. Initially I thought this would be a prologue at the beginning of this manuscript, much in the way the “Mother Tongue” and “Poem of Pears” appeared in my earlier collections. I have put it up on the website, and will  keep adding to it, taking it out of this collection, getting too long.

The sequences still planned for this collection are “Jimmy Bang Blues Project,” “Conversations with George” (as in Ballantine scotch), “Considerations,” and the title sequence mixing age related ruinations with love poems.  I am considering another sequence called “Surgeries” as I have had seven and will have two more in the next 12 months, but not sure whether these could make better short stories, which I have started writing.

My love of music is only superseded by my love for Lynn, and my love for books, making frequent appearances in my writing.  There is no actual list – yet.


Shot Glass Journal
“Waiting for Doctor Hammond”

Prairie Fire Home Place Launch

Excerpts from Music for Men Over Fifty

For Lynn


The light on the road
to Chicago turns us
toward each other,
stories full
in our mouths.

There is room
in the Volkswagen
for what we want,
growing in the music
of Al Green and Norah Jones.

Reaching ahead of our
selves, we hold hands
as the dusk settles
her skirt around us,
look for a bed in the dark.

The car empty
of all but the moon
we dream, in Chicago
more jazz
less blues.


You are amused
by my passion
for taxicabs.
Their drivers know
where we are

We don’t need a map
to get to this
whiskey bar
as old as the jazz
brought up the river,
a heartbeat
of an America
that scares me
half to death.
Notes bend

around t he two of us,
bring us the love
we left home
to find,  now
within our reach.


You take off
your glasses
to read novels –
or me,

in bed,  need
a closer look
the find
what’s real.

We put out the light:
the room full of close
air, Cuban salsa
loud, and hot, so

the kids
won’t hear us
search for rhythm
in the winter night


(for Etta James) 


Over fifty, fat and naked I look for my pajamas;
slip them over my swollen ankles, over my skin rash
salved with steroid cream thinning my skin starting to sag and fold
like a much older man.  Lame, I  am
deaf to being enabled,  hammering to pieces
my Phonak hearing aids with my right brace.


This morning, I wake  to  music from the BAR Microsystem.
Music I’ve loved  since I was old enough to love the way a woman moves
in front of the mirror when she thinks I’m not looking.  I’m always looking,
disconcerting my wife who feels the same way about her  belly as I do
about mine, but in a more feminine way, or so I’d like to think.
We smile at each other in the glass, side by side, love a hardship
we endure.


How to praise your children who leave us alone to love
on this Saturday night, the Acoustic Research playing
the songs accompanying us to Chicago. Remember me happy
in a cab, jazz at the Green Mill, the Beetle back in the hotel parking lot.

Roll with me honey, in your dreams
roll me, honey, in your dreams. 

True, its been awhile, and longer than I would want
but there are so many excuses, so many reasons
I choose to sleep. Not enough blood in the old
pecker so many nights. You prefer love in the dark

Roll with me honey, in your dreams
roll me, honey, in your dreams. 

while I am early to rise in the morning, just not convincing
in the light. We hold on to what we love, often enough
each other, when we can see past our own mistakes,
and find what it was that took us down the I-94.

Roll with me honey, in your dreams
roll me, honey, in your dreams. 




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