This morning I was saddened to learn of the passing of my uncle, my father’s brother, John Kolosky.
I shared an internet conversation with my cousin Holly Lucier, this is how the news came to me, and after the conversation ended it occurred to me that I had not asked his age. Isn’t it the way, the typical reflex, to ask a man’s age at his passing. I had to put some thought to it. I knew that he was my father’s younger brother however my father passed away in 1991 at the age of 59. My uncle John was a year younger than my father and that would put his age at 79 or 80. But then after having given it so much thought I wondered to myself what meaning there was to be held in the number of a man’s age.
I spent the afternoon reading Hemingway, listening to Bourne, reading Cohen, listening to Cocker; I find great solace in books and in music. I wondered what meaning there was to be held in the number of a man’s age. I thoght very much about family; about my uncle, his children, his wife. I thought of my own father, my brothers, and my own sons.
I thought of my grandfather, Mike Kolosky, the pioneer and patriarch who begot a line of like minded pioneers and patriarchs. Today was certainly a time to seek solace.
My conclusions come to me in poetry.
The Age of A Man
No man is ever to be his age.
Ever to be sealed in just one age.
To his son he is always to be “the old man”.
To his father he is always “the boy”.
To his woman he is ageless.
This is truest when his child is older.
Truest when his father is yet young.
Truest most when his woman is at his side.
No, he is never to know his age.
Should his son make him feel older than his days.
Should his father’s passing make him feel younger;
young as a boy in his boyhood.
Should the woman at his side always suspend the passing of days.
No man can or ever will
be twenty or forty or any other number of calendar page.
Every man knows the pages take no regard
and calendars matter little
in knowing the age of a man.