Sunday, March 03, 2013

I Am Aging Backwards (Draft 1 of a prose poem, kind of)

This bit about being stressed or cold or bone-sore
or overwhelmed as Atlas turned plastic,
drowning in unpaired socks, early-meowing cats
demanding food like infants, doctors' appointments,
bills, front page news, computer glitches,
gas prices, the real ingredients of green beans--
no this is not about my feeling young,
because I've always had responsibilities,
input overload, neurological confusion,
odd bodily functioning, social weirdness
and an outlook. Everyone has an outlook,
but mine is headed backwards according
to standard standards, which I believe are bunk.

When I was young, I was old, and as I age,
I un-age, not regress because there's nothing to regress to,
no nostalgic moments of "ah, that was childhood bliss,"
or "it was so much easier being a kid," or "I don't
want to grow up" because being anywhere between
infancy and adolescence was just as much work
as anything else, except when joy was handed
out in the lunch line, there wasn't much left
by the time I got there.  Kidhood struggles
can turn you Methuselah faster than
cholesterol can clog middle-aged arteries.

Now that I'm older, I'm younger, and the older
I grow, the younger I go, reverse aging every time
I giggle, smell glorious autumn leaves,
each moment I look at a situation larger
than me and say with conviction,
"That's not my fault," every time I declare
"I won't let you do that to me," each inch
of  "This is what I want and it's reasonable I get it,"
every gut-busting laugh, inappropriate remark,
all the pieces of paint and paper I put together and call art,
any object I animate, any opportunity I take to look at fakers
and say "You're full of shit," any time I talk to myself
or the dog (and answer), sit on the floor and make
ugly clay vases, wear Bullwinkle slippers, get another
tattoo, consider one more piercing, grow my hair long
like a hippie, dare to love, ride my bike and delight
in hopping over bumps, skip in public, look closely
at snowflakes on the arm of my long, black coat
with the fake fur insides, tease the hell out of the kids,
 tickle my husband, sing "O Sole Mio" loud in the shower and car,
sometimes wave to strangers, give gifts even to those
who don't understand why, offer hugs freely,
see beauty in the grizzle of a forgotten old man,
defend my weirdness and surround myself with friends
who think outside the margins, who wonder, like I do,
why that cloud looks like a Buddha belly
and not a snake tongue, stare at it long enough
until it becomes one-- yeah.  That's me.
And I'm younger now at forty-three
than I was supposed to be at thirteen.

I'm suspected of being immature, in denial,
mentally gone, but I'm here to tell you
--you've got it all wrong.

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