gershon hepner

(5 3 38 / leipzig)

driving younger


Using ideas as my maps
I travel down the interstate
where thoughts like potholes act as traps
that halt me till I extricate
myself, but sometimes not before
I’ve had to call for help, and need
a tow, my pedal off the floor,
below the limit of my speed.

I’ve had so many ups and downs
on the freeways of my life,
and cut through many shantytowns
in youth, when sharper than a knife,
I had no time for being dull,
but now I have the greatest hunger,
to grow less old while I annul
the calendar while driving younger.

Tish isn’t yet officially
forbidden by the highway code,
though I expect it soon will be,
because the whole world might implode
if old men like the young should drive
for once the young are overtaken
the ones who’re fittest will survive
by telling old ones they’re mistaken.

Long, long ago I was much older,
and only know all this now I
am younger, and by driving bolder,
no longer let my life pass by,
and even when I hit, as surely
I will, another pothole, my
attention will not be long range:
eternity is when I die.

Inspired by a Bob Dylan poem, “My Back Pages”:
Crimson flames tied through my ears
Rothose who should drillin' high and mighty traps
Pounced with fire on flaming roads
Using ideas as my maps
'We'll meet on edges, soon, ' said I
Proud 'neath heated brow.
Ah, but I was so much older then,
I'm younger than that now.
Half-wracked prejudice leaped forth
'Rip down all hate, ' I screamed
Lies that life is black and white
Spoke from my skull. I dreamed
Romantic facts of musketeers
Foundationed deep, somehow.
Ah, but I was so much older then,
I'm younger than that now.
Girls' faces formed the forward path
From phony jealousy
To memorizing politics
Of ancient history
Flung down by corpse evangelists
Unthought of, though, somehow.
Ah, but I was so much older then,
I'm younger than that now.
A self-ordained professor's tongue
Too serious to fool
Spouted out that liberty
Is just equality in school
'Equality, ' I spoke the word
As if a wedding vow.
Ah, but I was so much older then,
I'm younger than that now.
In a soldier's stance, I aimed my hand
At the mongrel dogs who teach
Fearing not that I'd become my enemy
In the instant that I preach
My pathway led by confusion boats
Mutiny from stern to bow.
Ah, but I was so much older then,
I'm younger than that now.
Yes, my guard stood hard when abstract threats
Too noble to neglect
Deceived me into thinking
I had something to protect
Good and bad, I define these terms
Quite clear, no doubt, somehow.
Ah, but I was so much older then,


9/9/08

Submitted: Wednesday, September 10, 2008

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