The truth is I didn’t recognize anyone.
We are old—in our sixties—and we look like our parents.
Most of us look rich—or comfortable.
A few are retired, most work.
I win the prize for poverty,
I am disabled, it is true.
And I’m single—I used to blame myself
Until I realized I like going solo.
I have no family and don’t want to visit yours.
Still, I am still turned on to life.
Work that I love, service to the poor
And those with mental illness,
Alcoholism and drug addiction—
Then too, there are these poems, the novels,
The friendships, the music, the books,
Spending little time on the Web,
And no TV.
I finally look my age after looking ridiculously young
Until I was 60.
Now younger people get up and give me their seat.
I look exhausted—my face tells the truth.
I also don’t give a damn about looking younger,
Or keeping my hair. I can now look anyway I like.
Am I perceived as brighter, more popular, more accomplished,
Rich? I’ve given up competition. We’re all in the same small boat.
Everything else seems pointless.
All my life, I liked living on the edge.
Working despite pain and exhaustion.
Knowing between mania and depression
I walk a tight line,
And one drink too and I die in the gutter,
Filthy, incontinent and insane.
Even the poverty, the financial insecurity,
Produces adrenaline—can I pay the electric bill? —
Produces a kind of speed.
Maybe growing up with a violent, drunken mother,
And a father that hated me for being another man’s son,
Kept me on the edge, a way that became a habit.
Probably too old to change now,
And what would I do?
Rocking chairs aren’t in my budget.
Too damned expensive.
Monday, October 08, 2012