As a child I played Battleship
on a square grid, the ships marked
by hand, one for each of the players,
we were efficient by necessity.
My sons played Battleship, though
under a different name in deference
to my hatred of things martial,
on an electrically wired board.
My grandchildren haven’t yet
discovered the game, now played
on their iPads and iPhones, but it
is no doubt just a matter of time.
In Washington our president
plays the game with real ships
against China and Iran but it
is clear he doesn’t understand
how the game is played, and what
happens when you lose a ship,
but the sailors in the Navy know
all too well and dread the outcome
given his history in playing
against opponents who clearly
understand not only the rules
but also tactics and strategy.
Each morning when I look
into the mirror I imagine
I see me, but of course that
is impossible, for in that moment
only the mirror sees me
and I see the mirror.
How deluded I must be
to assume that I look at all
like the mirror, but it is,
I know, just such delusions
that enable my sense of self,
and that is the grandest illusion.
A morning will come when I
look into the glass and nothing
is there or a face I have never
before seen and the mirror
will laugh, as will I, at this
game we have played for years.
I stand still, staring, as
you stand as still staring back,
neither of us yielding in what
will be a long played-out game
on a day of intense sunshine.
I am certain you will concede
will depart, and I am ready,
much as you assume I will tire
as my kind always do,
and turn to other things.
You have all day, this is
after all, your home, and I
have that camera around
my neck and arms growing
heavy keeping it poised
to watch your wings unfurl
as you take skyward, but
you are as close as I will
come to free flight and you
soon honor me with your departure.
For Something Different, a new bird photo each day, visit my other blog:
As a child, a Jewish child no less,
December was always a bit difficult.
We had Channukah, which no Jew
would dare claim grew solely to compete
with Christmas, although we all knew
that was precisely what had happened.
The problem was Christmas, but had
nothing to do with Jesus, or the church
or even its historical teachings about
the supposed role we Jews played
in that story, a role for which we
had been paying for two millennia.
The problem was far more basic,
and all you needed to do was drive
down virtually any street in any city
and it would be at once apparent.
Christmas-celebrating homes were decked
out in all colors of lights, while
Jewish homes, those few who competed,
were left with a palate of white
and blue, or up to nine candles,
and that was a guaranteed for sure
last place finish in the December game.
When it all ends,
just what will you
the moment before.
Of course you cannot
know, for you have
no idea just when
it will end. And
if it ends as a result
of your actions,
then you won’t know
that it is your action
that is ending it,
so that is no winner
in this game.
And before you
get lost in thought,
ponder this simple
concept deeply first.
Since I haven’t told you
what it is, you
can’t know even
when it ends.
And by the way
it just did.
We agree we must
learn the rules, to master
the game, practice until
the moves are second nature.
We have three weeks
to do all of this, then
Place the game box
back on the shelf
to be discovered
and taken down, opened
spread out on the table,
Want to ensure
that one of us will win,
at least at first, though
we know that in time
she will handily best us
as she always does.
But just this once
we hope to get a leg up
on our eight-year-old granddaughter.