“The Walking Wounded” by Nolo Segundo

I see us everywhere anymore,
at the supermarket or the mall,
moving slowly, often cane-less
(old folks can be vain too) along
a sidewalk like lost zombies, and
of course every time I visit one
of the plethora of doctors I rely
upon to keep my rusting body
and creaking heart working….

Why did I not see old people
when I was young?
They must have been there,
in my world of swiftness and
sex, of sprawling on a beach or
dancing under the boardwalk
or driving fast enough to
challenge death itself—but
when I saw old people—and it
seemed rare back then—it was
like watching a scene from an
old black-and-white movie,
not quite real, even quaint—
I liked old people and I loved
my Nana and Pop-pop, but only
now in my 8th decade do I know
how much they had to put up with
in living a long life, how time has
a tendency to whittle away your
strength and confidence and grace,
shrinking your bones, drying out
your joints, slowing your brain
and poking holes–oh, so many
holes in your memory….

I am not as fond of old people
now I am one—it is the young
I now see fondly—
but they can’t see me….




Nolo Segundo, pen name of retired teacher L. J. Carber, 74, became a published poet in his 8th decade with work in over 70 online / in print literary magazines in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Portugal, Romania, and India. In 2020, a trade publisher released a book-length collection titled The Enormity Of Existence and, in 2021, a second book titled Of Ether And Earth. A 2022 nominee for the Pushcart Prize, Segundo is currently working on a yet-to-be-titled third collection of poetry.

“Breathe Close to Me” by Nolo Segundo

Breathe close to me.
Let not your head droop
Nor your face grimace
In fierce grief, for when
I must leave, all will not
Leave with me, I promise.

The memories we made
Together will sit safely
Inside your mind’s nest.
I’ll leave the photos too—
I can’t take them with me,
So you’ll have the proof
We were young once,
Both pretty and foolish,
Drawn together like
Two bees put in a jar,
Buzzing around each other
Until their disparate sound
Becomes a kind of music.

The photos and memories
Can take you back to all
The places we loved in
Italy and France and that
Windblown prehistoric
Southern beach where
Our hearts first linked
In tandem as flesh merged
And the monk-like sun set
Slowly, silently o’er that
Endless and holy ocean.

Yet they lie, those photos
And remembrances of our
Youth and middle years,
For no canvas or brain
Can seize our love, the
Living thing it is, unseen
But tangible as a hand,
Vulnerable yet enduring
Past anger, illness and
Even death, because time
Cannot diminish this
Being born between us.


“Breathe Close to Me” first appeared in Dual Coast Magazine




Nolo Segundo, pen name of retired teacher L. J. Carber, 74, became a published poet in his 8th decade with work in 47 online / in print literary magazines in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Portugal, Romania, and India; in 2020, a trade publisher released a book-length collection titled The Enormity Of Existence, and in 2021, a second book titled Of Ether And Earth. His themes are the not so brave new world of aging; that inscrutable mystery we trivialize as ‘love’; and the awareness he’s had for 50 years since having an NDE [near-death experience] while almost drowning in a Vermont river that he is sharing a long dream with a myriad of other dreamers, and that he has probably dreamt such dreams many times before.