Wednesday, May 22, 2013

poem of the day 05.22.13

fifty with earrings

i don’t want to be fifty with earrings

it never bothered me before
but looking at these guys in the airport
sitting there with coffee-stained teeth and nicotine fingers

a row of old men, fifty years-old at least
in earrings of different sized gauges

i think i need to get these dangling hoops out
before i reach that inevitable age
and someone feels the same way when they look at me

i don’t even know why i got
my earrings in the first place
or the tattoos that i have

none of it made me look or act any cooler

they certainly never got me more ass
than was already in the cards

at the time i think i was bored and wanted to look different

no one i knew had earrings
in my neighborhood you were a fag if you had earrings

my old man looked at my earrings and shook his head
went back to the evening paper and beer

but i was nineteen or twenty then

and i did everything within my limited social power
to look a little bit different from the yokels in my neighborhood

now i’m thirty-nine and i’m in bed most nights by ten
the guys in my neighborhood are all fat with loud kids

i worry about gray hair every day
and my tattoos have faded into a strange green

at random vain moments i’ll ask my wife, is this gray hair?

when i talk to younger people i always wonder
if they’re looking at the gray in my beard, my sides

and now thanks to these dudes in the airport
i’ll always wonder if they think
i’m some dumb old man wearing earrings
to try and look younger

i mean these geriatrics in this terminal
look like a bad german cover band from the 1980s
doomed to dress a certain way for the money

no one’s paying me shit to wear my earrings
and i have no clue how to be cool anymore

i probably never did

shit, if getting old isn’t hard
it comes with too much baggage
too much self-consciousness just walking out the door

but maybe it’s just me

i’m sure there are other men my age who love their earrings

bruce springsteen still has them and he’s what?
but he wrote born to run


and i’m sure there are men my age
who are out right now getting a new tattoo on their arms
and finding new music to listen to

while i’ve been listening to the same shit for twenty years

there’s some guy my age staring into a mirror
and nodding his head at how cool he is

because some twenty year-old chick told him
that she liked men with gray hair

but that shit hasn’t happened to me

all i have are these old goats waiting with me for a plane to berlin
their earrings making them look like clowns
like they didn’t know when to stop and just let age take its course

but that won’t be me

as soon as i get home
i’m taking these fucking earrings out of my ear

and i don’t care if that makes me shallow

i won’t be fifty with earrings

i won’t be thirty-nine

man, i just won’t.


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