Number 316

When poetry hits the right notes, it reverberates with something in the marrow of your bones and your spinal chord and it shakes you and wakes you up — sometimes with a jolt, sometimes with a quiet kiss on the shoulder, sometimes with tears in your eyes with thoughts of days gone by.

It is with poetry that I have realized I’m aging. It is also with poetry that I have discovered what aging means, what it will always mean, what it doesn’t exclude us from, and what it opens us up to.

Poetry walked alongside me on dusty paths in foreign countries. Shakespeare’s sonnets narrated my days in Ireland and W.B. Yeats sometimes stopped in for a drink. Maori poets, haikus, Robert Frost, Emily Dickinson, these were my companions in the verdant hillsides of the southern hemisphere.

Poetry is a friend, sometimes too honest, sometimes telling you that you’re too old to haunt the same old dark corners.

Exhibit A
“two nights before my 72nd birthday” by Charles Bukowski
sitting here on a boiling hot night while
drinking a bottle of cabernet sauvignon
after winning $232 at the track.
there’s not much I can tell you except
if it weren’t for my bad right leg
I don’t feel much different than I did
30 or 40 years ago (except that
now I have more money and should be able
to afford a decent
burial). also,
I drive better automobiles and have
stopped carrying a
I am still looking for a hero, a role model,
but can’t find one.
I am no more tolerant of Humanity
than I ever was.
I am not bored with myself and find
that I am the only one I can
turn to in time of
I’ve been ready to die for decades and
I’ve been practicing, polishing up
for that end
but it’s very
hot tonight
and I can thing of little but
this fine cabernet,
that’s gift enough for me.
sometimes I can’t
believe I’ve come this far,
this has to be some kind of goddamned
just another old guy
blinking at the forces,
smiling a little,
as the cities tremble and the left
hand rises,

Poetry is a quiet Sunday afternoon, after a 10k, realizing you’ve been loved and you’ll be loved again.

Exhibit B
“For You” by Kim Addonizio
For you I undress down to the sheaths of my nerves.
I remove my jewelry and set it on the nightstand,
I unhook my ribs, spread my lungs flat on a chair.
I dissolve like a remedy in water, in wine.
I spill without staining, and leave without stirring the air.
I do it for love. For love, I disappear.

With this tiny treatise, I say bonne nuit!

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