Friday, October 25, 2013

poem of the day 10.25.13

my fortieth birthday

my fortieth birthday
isn’t even for six months

but for almost a year now
i’ve been having phone conversations
with my mother about my fortieth birthday

she loves to talk about my fortieth birthday

she wants me and my wife
to come to pittsburgh for it
or they could come here to brooklyn
either way….

it’s some kind of milestone for her, i get it

but she doesn’t seem to understand
that i don’t want to celebrate my fortieth birthday

who in the hell wants to celebrate
something as futile as that?

why not celebrate a coming hurricane or a blizzard
or some other harbinger of doom?

i don’t want to be forty
hell, i didn’t want to be thirty-nine

at thirty i tried to jump onto subway tracks
if i was done then imagine how i feel now?

forty is a deeper downslope to me
it’s pulling white hair out of my beard in work bathrooms
crying for no reason on the walk to work

becoming more and more paranoid
and less trusting of everyone around me

it’s a glaring example of all that i haven’t done

the number is wearying
it’s a cancer 

it's a mom and day birthday
and not suitable for a guy like me


i say it aloud and i get sick

i shouted forty at some twenty year-old dude’s
thin, slouching demeanor and he smirked at me

i shouted forty at some twenty year-old chick’s ass
and it jiggled at the audacity in numbers

but my mother wants to celebrate it over a dinner
some wine and beer and tickets to a baseball game

so that i can watch twenty-five year-old kids
run around the base paths like golden gods

what shit

i want to celebrate it by hanging myself
or drinking a tin of lighter fluid to doors albums
and then turning myself into a fireworks display

still, i know i should be nice about it
someone offering to take me out on the town
celebrate my life

all my mother does is love me
my family loves me
my wife does too

but i already told her to expect a motherfucker of a day
when i turn forty

so we aren’t talking about it right now
unless we want to kill the night at hand

i’m thinking of locking myself in a room
on my fortieth birthday

listening to music that used to make me feel good
reading books that used to matter

watching movies that gave me hope

drinking beer that never made me fat before
and smoking all of the cigarettes
that i gave up once i turned twenty-seven

but all that’ll do is make me feel bad and sick
and more like a rerun than i do now

maybe i’ll leave america for my fortieth
i like being out of america

i feel better when an ocean separates me from the u.s.a.
more human and less stale

but what would it really matter?

i’d still just be some forty year-old fucker in paris
i’d still be the same wastrel
wondering around the louvre and waiting on disease or death
or the age of forty-one

looking at young people and hating them
for being so dumb and vibrant

my old man tells me that forty is still young
but what in the hell does he know?

he’s sixty-three
so of course forty is young to him

fifty is

if i live until sixty-three
someone will probably have to institutionalize me
because i won’t be able to handle it

i’ll be paralyzed physically and emotionally
unable to communicate my thoughts to the outside world

i’ll have to be bathed
force fed, dressed, read to
and have my hair combed by some stranger

probably some young forty year-old
who thinks he knows shit about shit

and probably hates wiping the ass
of an old fart like me.

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