R.M. Engelhardt

Random Thoughts on Immortality & Other Crap or About the Forward Momentum of the Mortal Soul

R.M. EngelhardtSo

Where is he?

He didn’t make the poetry reading.

He’s sick. He’s not feeling well.

He must not care.

He’s no longer into performing at open mics. He just blogs, he’s vanished he’s gone daddy gone. He’s abandoned poetry. Us. Etc.

Finito. Etc. Etc.






Y’ see once upon a time in downtown Albany, NY there was this guy who was a poet. He created all sorts of events and made them happen. Started a group, an idea he called Albany Poets and made it happen with others. Created a festival for poetry and called it the Albany Word Fest. Gathered friends & poets and helped to form an even larger community of poets and they carried the torch and the idea ever forward. And those friends & poets?

They made it happen.
They made it real.

But then? After many local newspaper articles and fundraising benefits, inventive literary approaches and alot of fun ideas to bring in crowds and new writers they say he just took off and left. At least that’s the rumor or so they tell me. He was voted the best poet, he was published in a shitload of books and magazines. He supposedly abandoned the scene. He burned alot of bridges too. That guy’s an asshole. Etc.

( Add more etcs. more whatevers)

But Breaking News:

Human beings change. We grow, we move forward. Backwards sometimes even. Even worse. We slow down. We all get sick. We all get diseases. And eventually?


One day? (Spoiler) We will all die.

And that just about sums it up.

So it may seem like from the outside looking in that alot of my articles just deal with memories and nostalgia. The ramblings of one of those guys at the bar who just goes on & on about the old days. Well, I would have to say that’s a somewhat pretty accurate observation. But there’s a pretty good reason for that. Because when you are away from the things that you once lived for, the friends and other people, literary family you love that tends to happen. It comes from separation. It comes from the realization that the world that you once knew has changed drastically and that you’ve changed as well. And we call that the past. We call that life. I’ve never been a saint. Just another writer with ideas. And for several years? I’ve been secretly fighting a battle … with my health.

So here’s the short version of my story. My stomach is my enemy and at times has become my master. It’s kept me prisoner and has kept me from being myself. But I am slowly winning the war. And if you’ve been here, in this place as well no matter what ailment it condition you suffer from I’m sure that you will understand. I’m tired of the doctors and the tests, the things, friends, events and the days I’ve missed. I’m tired of the smell of big medical offices and the amounts of new prescriptions that I’ve tried. And mostly I’m sick of just not being myself. But still? All I can do is keep moving forward despite all these setbacks and keep trying to make my life better and to keep on writing, creating and making the visions I see into a reality before one day I eventually leave the building or kick this mortal coil.

But beyond my own issues let’s really all take a long hard look into that abyss that we at times call our lives. Let’s talk about how we as human beings see each other or those of us who are no longer the immortal young treat each other in a society that still worships youth. My generation followed this idealism full throttle and to the hilt and now we are finally realizing that we aren’t going to live forever. We are slowing down and we are looking forward into our retirement years. We are paying for the acts of our pasts. We are rewriting the rules and the politics of what it is to be “older” in America. Some of us have abandoned our former selves. We eat healthier, we exercise, we watch our cholesterol/blood pressure. We don’t smoke, drink or get angry. We accept these terms as our bodies tell us that the machinery is starting to collapse. And in some cases, as in mine we learn these lessons the hard way. But as stubborn as I am I refuse to give up many of the things that essentially make me me. I’ve changed my diet and my lifestyle but still I see the world in a certain way or what it could be. And no matter who you are you should never let any physical or life setbacks keep you from chasing your dreams or making them real. Remember the old proverb by the Japanese? “Fall seven times. Stand up eight.” Well It’s true. Life is a bitch that’s going to kick your ass down hard. It’s going to knock you down in ways you never even imagined or could ever comprehend. You’re going to get blindsided and hit emotionally or physically but every time you get sucker punched or thrown to the curb? You get back up and you hit back because that’s all that you can do. ( Which, btw makes for some really great poetry incidentally) . You see it’s the Buddhist philosophy teaches us that all life is suffering but my own philosophy disagrees. Life is only how you rise above that suffering. It’s only how you choose to deal with it or cope. And sometimes getting older or the acceptance of actually getting older purely sucks. Personally for me? The music’s changed and the nightclub’s turned into yet another sports bar and the atmosphere of what was once creativity or uniqueness has seriously disappeared. It’s like a broken record of a boring or dead trivia night that goes on & on & on and without the memory that this shit has been around way past it’s funeral or label date. We live in a somewhat stale society that regurgitates everything and if anything that’s far worse than just growing old. For example, the media these day’s says that poetry and open mics are making a comeback thanks to Instagram. No. The media says that you should believe that our president cares about America or human lives more than his own twisted ego. No. These are misnomers. These are lies. These are the things that you see thru and understand if you’ve lived long enough and through moments in the past. Because in time, in age you are given the special gift of seeing through random human bullshit. In some societies they see their elders and senior citizens as wise old sages and they are treasured. In America we see them as burdens and hide them away in nursing homes. So, that being said where will you be when you’re 80 or 90? And how would you like to be seen or treated? Even if you’re not a Gen X’r or a baby boomer maybe it’s a good idea to start thinking about that and changing the world that you live in or to start fighting for those who can no longer fight for themselves. The same goes for people who are sick or people who are going through their own personalized versions of hell. They didn’t see it coming and chances are you won’t either. Maybe it’s time that you should. The acceptance of just being alive and making those lives around us better should be our main concern. Not Trump. Not celebrities. Not money, power or wealth. Our society has been taken down the wrong path for far too long and it’s only getting worse.

So these are just a few things to think about. Not about me or just one person’s problems in the moment but the bigger picture of what you as a human being would like to see your life to become and the lives of all others to become. Do you want to keep following the same over walked on path or create a new one? Creativity and getting older doesn’t mean stagnating or repeating the same mantras. It doesn’t mean going through the motions or accepting only what’s there. To me it means rolling with the changes and the punches in life and coming back for more.

So keep writing. Keep living.

And most importantly?

Get up.

See you soon,

~ R.M.

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