A friend of mine lamented online about their looks, how despite their enormous strides in health and emotional growth, they still feel uncomfortable in their own skin. I get it and I think that all of us do. I’ve recently shed some pounds, but I have always been fat and so despite my recent success, I still feel the same. He’s a piece from my book of poetry, “53-Coming of Age in the 70s (Coming to Grips in My 50s)”
Better from the Side
I wish I looked better from the side.
From the front I look my best.
Wide shoulders, massive chest
that make my waist look normal sized
And from the back with my hands up
my back is broad, my shoulders flex.
Biceps, neck, lats and legs
everything, everything seems to pop.
But from the side, I look, well, fat
Undisciplined and lazy as if
I’ve never exercised, no, not one whiff
That’s the conclusion most arrive at.
I have my champions, that being said.
Those who encourage this slender quest
Who don’t want to see me in cardiac arrest
And notice every pound I shed.
“Hey skinny. You look good. Working out?”
As if they didn’t know, for I declare
my diet affliction to all who care.
Wearing sack cloth and ashes, I moon about.
I exercise every day, and yet
the time invested doesn’t seem to pay
the dividends that should display
my time away from the luncheonette.
Perhaps I’ve reached that golden age
where my body decides what happens to me
and leaves on display for all to see
the rapacity in which I did engage.
No amount crunches or ab squeezes
can take away this bulge, this blight.
Of course, I was never thin, never tight
or of a shape that pleases.
And yet, I return every day
to that place that brings me sorrow
knowing I’ll be the same tomorrow
unchanged and looking just as gray
A pity I was not more blessed
or diligent and disciplined.
Had I had known I might have spent
A lot less time in carelessness.
I might have made a change or two.
Thought more of myself, of who I’d be
And make the connection all around me
That older gents are so prone to.
I see it now. It’s oh, so clear.
On men and women beauty fades.
And each of us must promenade
This newly discovered fear.
How different though, for all those who
have walked in beauty in younger years
How difficult to face these fears
That arduous journey walked in my shoes.
“Will someone love me if I’m fat?”
“Where did this extra weight come from?”
The nagging fear we’ll be alone
For the sin of age. Been there. Done that.
An so I move and twist and flip
Refusing to resign to fate
And knowing everything I ate
Will end up somehow on my hips
It’s slimming, so I’ll dress in black.
And learn to talk to folks square on
So their impression focuses on
My image solely front and back.
Copyright 2013 by Jose Antonio Ponce