Patience is a Disease

I was visiting my mother
When I passed this really old guy in the hall
Who bore a slight resemblance to my father
(Who looked like a street person
On a bad day in his last years,
Or an old testament prophet
With his beard permanently stained
At the corners of his mouth)
And I almost asked him for his blessing
When he looked up at me
Through his eyebrows and said,
“Go take care of your mother”.
I knew what he meant.
He meant everyone’s mother.
I could see that he was a wise man,
So I said,
“Are we going to make it?”
old guy

And he answered,
“Patience is a disease of growing older.
Look what our patience has produced.
What kind of world is this George?”
I wasn’t George
But I took the bait.
“I don’t know, what kind?”
“Why, one that is wobbling dangerously off center.”
(Through the eyebrows again. . .)
“Just one more day we say,
But do we really want another day like today?
I begin shaking when I talk like this George.
I tremble at our patience.
Damn our patience!
Hand me that bottle!”
He was trembling so bad
His teeth were chattering.
I thought they were going to start breaking,
“Nurse! Nurse!” I called.

— Gary Lindorff