A True Spec, from Gary Phillips

December 28, 2015 |

Recent posts by the chair have turned my thoughts inward. As I approach 63, I now find myself contemplating my mortality quite regularly. It's not so much that I am afraid to die, rather that I am fearful I won't be here for those who love me and need me. The irony is not lost on me. It often takes one's trepidation about death to put one's living into perspective, especially when one's wife is expecting a child any day now.

Trading summarily takes on a subordinated priority, and I can easily be susceptible to questioning what I was thinking. How can anyone in their right mind bring a child into this mad world. And as my most vocal critics have expounded, "how can you do it at your age?" The answer is quite simple and it's not a question of mortality, but morality. How can I not?

So, I am looking forward to this child with hope and great anticipation, not dread and fear. More than ever, family is the crucible of our future and is still the best means we have for nurturing future generations.

there is no need to take a poll
the years *have* taken their due toll
and no matter what is one's ideology
one cannot defy the laws of biology

one does not know more than the sages
nor the cumulative wisdom of the ages
one strives to be healthy, wealthy, and wise
but, in ways that may come as a surprise

hope once lost, has reemerged and unfurled
as i excitedly usher new life into this world
surprised by my prolonged luck and virility
blessed by love, grounded by profound humility

once upon a time there was six in the queue
and then quite surprisingly, one more was due
was not really trying to keep up with our mentor
it just so happened that the heaven above sent her

ava boriska, named after a famous forties siren
a blessed buju, equal parts lao and daughter of zion
a strategic acquisition and a granted new years wish
destined for papaya and kugel, sticky rice and knish

she has redeemed the cynicism, madness and deception
by miraculously turning the prose of love and conception
into the sublime poetry of a newborn baby's first breath
and serendipitously mitigated my dance with death

chava "giver of life" progenitor of future generations
spontaneous suspender of my fears and frustrations
you will be enveloped in a matrix of stability and love
this my heartfelt promise to you, and to the one above

i will teach you how to handle risk and conflict
how to give and receive love, and not be tricked
i will pass on my values; family is the most important tender
for the sake of civilization's future, you must be it's defender

another disruptive venture, that's already a sure win-win
hope she's out of diapers before its my turn, and* i'm* in
in any case, what's one more? i gotta say, what the heck!
like a sagacious man said to me,"you are indeed a true spec"


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