Wednesday, December 27, 2017

End of Year Check-In

So. 2017 is a year that will live in infamy, but still: a good thing happened for me. In early May, finding myself fifty inches around the waist and 222 lbs, I set myself the task of losing a pound a week, with the concrete goals of bringing the waist down to forty inches and the weight down to 180. Both goals are drawing near, but the most astonishing and heartening thing is that I have actually been eating exactly what I planned to eat for seven months now. Nothing remotely like that has ever happened before -- this has been an issue all my adult life -- and the effect on my morale, even in the midst of sociopolitical dismay, has been remarkable. The weight has steadily dropped.

Weight Loss: Blue Line = a pound per week; Red Line = my weight

It looks like I'm due to hit 180 ahead of schedule, end of January or early February. The loss of girth has been less steady and puzzles me a little -- I keep working on the geometry of cylinders and spheres and it seems like, with a linear loss of mass, my waistline should shrink slightly more rapidly as I become smaller, but instead it's leveling off perceptibly:

The blue line here was just extrapolated from the first couple months' measurements

So that now it looks like my other major milestone of forty inches -- with the typical perversity of the actual measured world -- is due to fall, well, in the end of January or early February.

I have topography now where I have never had topography. The furrow down the middle of the rectus femoris (the front muscle of the thigh) is obvious, and there are engaging hollows under my biceps: I am becoming downright sinewy, which is something I have aspired to, wistfully, all my life. At my age, of course, the distinction between "sinewy" and "wizened" may be a little blurry: but still.

The point, however -- well, one of the points -- is not vanity, but health: to get rid of the visceral fat which is associated with "the diseases of civilization." The reason for the 180 and the forty inch goals was simply that pretty much everyone agreed that a man of my height ought to be under them. Now authority is less unanimous, and I can't really tell if people really think dreadfully aged men like me ought to weigh a little more -- and why would that be? -- or if they just do. If I'm still supposed to have a waist that's 90% of my "hips" (as we euphemistically call measurement around the bulge of the glutes), that looks like a bit of a project. One of the most striking effects of aging is the dwindling of the glutes: they really don't bulge much any more. What used to be the handiest location for fat reserves gets cut off, for some reason, right at the age when you could really use something soft to sit on. 

Anyway -- all in good time. I have still to get to the milestones: another month or so. Plenty of time for planning.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Returning to the Novel at Fifty-Nine

I am no longer beguiled, or even beguilable.
I do not believe your characters, their passions, 
or, except in special circumstance
(marked perhaps by parentheses or 
the uneven join of a thought too vehement
to stay quite neatly in a clockwork mouth)
your thoughts. The limping past
which so enchanted me once seems labored now:
you wheeze, dear, on the stairs. He said, she thought,
and again Sir Reginald decided: no. I am too old
to believe in simple time. Our stories run 
over and over because they must, not
because anything happened. Once, or ever.
But the distance: the shrewd glance back:
the holding of the thing up to the light: your
face backlit with the enchantment you tried
with all your young and desperate strength to cast--
Oh yes, I can love you again. Maybe I never stopped.
At my age it is difficult to tell: and it doesn't matter
nearly as much as anyone ever said. (Least of all
you, dear!)  Sit here beside me, in the glimmer
of a winter afternoon. Conjure up a house,
a family, an inheritance, a war: I will listen
pretend to believe
and love, as I always have, and must, and will.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Games of Chance

A clear, cold hatred, held pure from childhood:
distilled from humiliations received from those despised
(oafs, idiots, loudmouthed fools
rushing to the destruction not just of themselves -- consummation
devoutly to be wished -- but of everything beautiful
things that took years, centuries, aeons to create
were the most fun to destroy.)

And so the hatred runs on, not powerful, not overwhelming,
but more corrosive than ever. My soul withers. I play
games of chance against them
and a bitter smile visits my face
as I turn their stupidity,
their venality, against them:
they will pay. They will pay for all.

And as life narrows, the crows return
and cluster thickly on the housetops, on the wires,
gathering in their thousands on the ruins of the day,
on the fading of the light.

I seek death for them all, and for myself;
I build intricate machines, deadfalls, snares.
What any one will do is anyone's guess,
but what they all will do can be known
to the millimeter and the second.
In the aggregate they are only monkeys, after all,
and not the clever sort. Poor eating,
but the beggared can't be choosers:
we'll feast on better before the year is out.