We Never Lived in the Now

The Poem’s Inspiration

I wrote the below poem several years ago. I began working on it one morning after listening to my parents and their friends discussing their dreams, what they hoped to do “someday.”

All the men and women were in their late 70s to early 90s in age as they discussed their bucket lists and the future. They talked as if they had all eternity to reach their dreams.

A Composite of My Observations

The poem is a composite of my observations of the people. One point stands out. Most of the couples loved each other dearly but never reconciled their hopes leaving many of their life goals unfulfilled.

More recently with my wife’s passing away from Melanoma cancer, I have found myself being very reflective. No, I have not gone down the trail of regrets. That path is only destructive.

I have thought of some of her last words. When she awoke in the hospital ICU after two days of not knowing who or where she was and realized I had followed her wishes and told the surgeon, not to perform another brain surgery, she said, “I knew this cancer was going to kill me. I just didn’t know it would be today or in the next few days.” She added, “I’m so glad you made me take my bucket list vacation in 2016 when I was still healthy enjoy to enjoy you and the vacation.”

Don’t Delay

If you have dreams, go for them. Don’t delay. You never know when the time will run out. And maybe, like my late wife, you will have no regrets.

We Never Lived In the Now

Your face shows your age,
though your countenance is still glowing,
Your age says grown-up,
but you’ve never decided where you’re going.

You’ve grown older.
Yes, I’m older too.
The remainder of our lives is before us,
oh, what’ll we do?

What were the dreams
you had so long ago?
What was your vision?
Where did it go?

You traveled your way.
I went mine.
A history so different,
Lives intertwined.

The gray now shows in our locks,
showing how much we cared.
Your grin still lights my life,
my smile brightens yours when shared.

You lived for then.
I lived for when.
We never lived in the moment.
No, we never lived in the now.

Copyright © 2008 by Jimmie Aaron Kepler

Originally published in WORDS…RHYMES…POETRY & PROSE!

The poem is included in the book “Gone Electric: A Poetry Collection” available on Kindle from Amazon.

Going Out to Eat

Couple Eating Lunch
Couple Eating Lunch

Going Out to Eat

Sweetheart, do you have a preference on where we go out to eat?
No. Anywhere you want is okay with me dear.
Great, there is a McDonald’s Restaurant; they have a senior discount …
Oh, but look, there is a Subway Restaurant; I think that would be better.
Okay, Subway it is. I’ll let you off at the door and then park the car.

Do you see anything on the menu you prefer?
No. Anything you want is okay with me dear. We can share a foot-long sub.
Great, how about a foot-long Italian Meatball submarine sandwich?
Oh, but the Black Forest Ham sub; I think that would be better.
Okay, make it a foot-long Black Forest Ham on wheat bread, please.

Oh, get whatever you want dear, but white bread …
Ma’am, can you change that to white bread, please
I’d like American cheese …
Dear, Pepper Jack; I think that would be better.
Okay, make it Pepper Jack cheese.

We’d like lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, onions, green peppers, banana peppers, jalapeños ……
Anything you want is okay with me dear, but maybe not the tomatoes and pickles …
Ma’am, hold the tomatoes and pickles, please.
What if we skipped the green peppers, banana peppers, jalapeños and just got black olives?
Okay, make it black olives and mayonnaise instead of green peppers, banana peppers, jalapeño.

Oh, maybe you should go with the light mayo; remember your waistline …
Yes, dear. Ma’am, we’ll take light mayo instead, please.
Sir, do you want to make that a combo with chips and drink?
Dear, we’ve got water and apple slices in the car. No need to splurge, but …
Okay, just the sub, not the combo.

That was a very good lunch. Thank you for taking me out to eat
Aren’t glad I let you have whatever you wanted dear?
And he was glad he remembered,
“Love is patient, and is kind;”

Jimmie Aaron Kepler
Written in Estes Park, Colorado
May 2013

“Going Out to Eat” was originally published in vox poetic. Kepler, Jimmie A. “Going Out to Eat,” vox poetica, January 27, 2014, Retrieved January 27, 2014, from http://voxpoetica.com/eat/.

Photo Credit: By Bill Branson (Photographer) [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


When I read the first draft of this poem to my late wife, I was shocked at how visibly upset it made her.

“You’re making fun of me and telling the whole world!” she said.

I was taken aback by her comment.

“I don’t understand,” I said with honesty.

“That’s what I did at the Subway Resturant at Amarillo,” she said. She didn’t smile. She only lowered her head.

It was apparent the memory was fresh on her mind.

“It’s a composite of so many of the older couples we see at restaurants. It seems the wife frequently tells the husband to order what he wants. As he orders, she tweaks the order to what she wanted,” I said.

Again, she did not smile. She rolled her eyes.

“It’s not about you,” I said attempting to reassure her.

“It’s about me. Everyone will know it’s about me.”

“But it isn’t about you. Even if it were, who do you know that reads poetry?”

“So you admit you wrote it about me.”

“Sweetie, it’s a composite of so many of the older couples we see at restaurants,” I said trying to reassure her.

“And you’re going to submit it for publication?”

“Only with your permission. I don’t want it to upset you.”

“So it’s my fault if you don’t submit the poem?”

This time I rolled my eyes.

She glared at me for a minute and then sat silent for another five minutes. Finally, she started laughing and said, “I guess if I’m honest wives do that to their husbands. Go ahead and submit your silly poem.”

I submitted it. It was accepted for publication. And no, it wasn’t about Miss Benita. It really is a composite of so many of the older couples I’ve seen at restaurants. It seems the wife frequently tells the husband to order what he wants. As he orders, she tweaks the order to what she wanted and then hands him a coupon to use.

Jesus Will Help You Live Again

Jesus Will Help You Live Again

Back during the newlywed days, we lived life for the now
And during pillow talk shared our future hopes and dreams.
Love filled our talks about tomorrows, no idea of the griefs and sorrows
A destiny in the ensuing decades would someday bring.

Without Jesus as Savior
How do people face tomorrow
With the tears, they’ll be crying
Because their spouse is dying.
Jesus will mend your broken heart and will help you live again.

In empty rooms, you feel the gloom
Where love and laughter once filled the day.
Photo albums chronicle where you’ve been
Tell the story of the life together lived.

Without Jesus as Savior
How do people face tomorrow
With the tears, they’ll be crying
Because their spouse is dying.
Jesus will mend your broken heart and will help you live again.


Written by Jimmie Aaron Kepler
March 22, 2018
I wrote this with my wife in the hospital awaiting movement to hospice care. My heart is still breaking. My tears still flowing. I know Jesus will mend my broken heart and help me live again.

Starting High School

Grace Slick today at age 78
Grace Slick of Jefferson Airplane 1967
Grace Slick of Jefferson Airplane 1967

 


Starting High School

In San Francisco, it’s the summer of love,
Long haired hippies, peace signs, and doves.
In Vietnam, the soldiers are dying,
Back home their families are crying,
And Sergeant Pepper taught the band to play.

Jim wants to “Light My Fire,”
While Grace’s rabbit only flies higher.
The evening news shows the war isn’t cool,
This week I started high school,
And “All You Need Is Love” is what The Beatles say.

Written by Jimmie Aaron Kepler
Schertz, Texas, August 1967


The photos are of Grace Slick. She is an alumna of Finch College where she majored in art. She is an accomplished artist. The artwork is hers.


Note: This is the oldest poem I have written by me. It was in notebooks and papers my mother gave me a few months before she passed away in 2014. Aren’t parents great about keeping things and then later in life returning them?

I wrote this poem as a freshman at Samuel Clemens High School in Schertz, Texas. Samuel Clemens High School was two miles outside the main gate at Randolph Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas.

Impressing my English teacher was challenging. The assignment was to write a paper on “What I did on my summer vacation.” Instead, I wrote about what was happening in popular culture. Instead of prose, I wrote a poem. I failed to follow the rules. She called me a “beatnik hippy poet weirdo.” I viewed her insult as a compliment! I gave in, complied with her orders and wrote five pages of drivel avoiding a grade of “F” on the assignment. I wrote about hitchhiking to the west coast.

We Never Lived In the Now

Someday

I wrote the below poem a decade ago after listening to my parents and their friends discussing their dreams, what they hoped to do “someday.” All the men and women were in their late 70s to early 90s in age as they discussed their bucket lists and the future. All are now deceased. I know not one who accomplished their “someday” dreams. It is so sad.

Don’t Delay

If you have dreams, go for them. Don’t delay. You never know when the time will run out.

We Never Lived In the Now

Your face shows your age,
Though your countenance is still glowing,
Your age says grown-up,
But you’ve never decided where you’re going.

You’ve grown older.
Yes, I’m older too.
The rest of our lives is before us,
Oh, what’ll we do?

What were the dreams
You had so long ago?
What was your vision?
Where did it go?

You traveled your way.
I went mine.
A history so different,
Lives intertwined.

The gray now shows in our locks,
Showing how much we cared.
Your grin still lights my life,
My smile brightens yours when shared.

You lived for then.
I lived for when.
We never lived in the moment.
No, we never lived in the now.

Copyright © 2008 by Jimmie A. Kepler

Photo credit: Pixaby

Originally published in WORDS..RHYMES..POETRY & PROSE!

The poem is included in the book “Gone Electric: A Poetry Collection” available on Kindle from Amazon.

Coffee

Coffee

By Jimmie Aaron Kepler

The timer starts the morning pot
brewing where it greets me
at the same time my alarm rings.

The first cup hides my morning breath
as it energizes the blood flowing through my veins
enabling me to stumble to my car
and drive to Starbucks for more.

A sunrise latte gives me the pick-me-up required
to face the tollway and morning rush hour.

A generic cup of Joe at work
gives me something to hold on to
as I begin the first
in a string of meetings.

A mid-morning cup of coffee
provides the jolt to make it to noon
where a fresh cup at my favorite café awaits.

Then a mid-afternoon cup
helps me survive the challenges
before the clock announces it is 5:00
and I can leave.

A drive-by Starbucks
provides the lift
before I sit in traffic
during evening drive time.

A fresh pot greets me
along with my
after-dinner pie and ice cream.

I fill the pot with water,
add fresh grounds
and set the controls before retiring for the evening.

And the timer starts the morning pot
brewing where it greets me
at the same time, my alarm wakes me.

“Coffee” by Jimmie Aaron Kepler originally appeared in the September 23, 2013, issue of vox poetica Magazine

Photo Source: Pixaby

Comments about Coffee and Jimmie’s poetry:

  • Jean – “Jimmie! Beautifully written and all too true. I like the way you ended as you began. Thank you so much for this engaging poem.”
  • Annmarie – “Jimmie Kepler writes a love poem to a rock star.”
  • Brittany- “I love his story poems. He writes wonderful narrative poetry. They frequently remind me of the lyrics of a folk song.”
  • Marissa – “I heard Jimmie do a reading of ‘Forever Still’ in Plano, Texas a few years ago. His poetry has the passion of the Beat Poets, the tenderness of the hippie poets, and the intellect of the renaissance man. His southern gentleman manners and charm as well as his soft, soothing, Bill Clinton like voice and pacing makes a woman dream he’s reading his magical words to just her.”

By the Big Creek

By the Big Creek

I was hiking
By the big creek
On a summer day
In the bright sun
It was so hot
And I was all alone

Lost in my thoughts
My foot struck the pathway
To the cadence
Of the music
I was listening to
On my iPod

By the big creek
There were people
Reading signs saying keep right
And a concrete path
With city dwellers walking
To and fro

Lovers hand in hand
And it all made sense
Except for the litter
On the big creek’s banks
While across the way
Was a broken down barbed-wired fence

In the bright sun
Not a cloud in the sky
There was sweat on my brow
Running down my temples
As an old lady walked by
And she smiled at me showing her dimples

It was so hot
I drank some water
Lots of cool water
And the temperature
Was 110 degrees
And that was in the shade

Lost in my thoughts
My foot struck the pathway
To the cadence
Of the music
I was listening to
On my iPod

While I was hiking
By the big creek
On a summer day
In the bright sun
It was so hot
And I was all alone

© 2011
Jimmie Aaron Kepler


Photo Source: Pixaby