When I'M An Old Man I'Ll Wear A Cardigan - Poem by Jeremy Glass
When I'm old, it'll be okay…
I won't dismay about Ben Gay,
Nor worry come what may.
Preparation ‘H' will stand for ‘H'appy,
There will be a time where bulldog jowls match
Two droopy Shar-Pei sundaes tipped with dried old figs
and I will wear an old cardigan with little balls
of wool, thick tufts of grey curly hair
peeking tentatively through, lazily squeaking through like the head of an old turtle,
And there's that old chestnut too, as I mix metaphor
when I no longer can see my toes over my belly,
And oh, there may be some twinges of grief now,
Erections twenty years in the classical past,
but when It comes, I mean IT,
it'll be slow, and by the time the sand
Has ebbed and flowed and women have come and gone and talked of Michelangelo,
You and I will have missed it, or mourned it occasionally,
the everyday banal grind punctuated by little exclamation marks, and it'll be okay.
Why make idle plans for mischief to oneself over coffee
pots in refrigerators, lost car keys, bifocals or separate pairs of glasses, clapping on and clapping off, bathtubs with their own door, canes, scooters, bedsores, Depends, recliners like dump trucks,
bunions, bursitis, the gout, sciatica when the sports catch up?
We will be dapper you and me,
then extinguished but not out, not out,
and it'll be okay.
All those crowns will be nice on my teeth, an old King, but not Lear, no no
Why grieve a lost mind or shitting in one's britches,
What is to worry when one is there, alive for the moment,
Stretch your hands above your head! Now, put them down, sir, now put them down. Oh my, you've forgotten how. You've forgotten to swallow too. But why on earth would it matter then, why on earth would you give a flying good damn then that you have forgotten the names of your wife and children? It'll be okay. And why wouldn't it? - I mean, really.
It's not some spiral down into oblivion—-it's a lateral shuffling towards something else from now or something similar,
and it'll be okay.
To think all of whom we have loved, love or have forgotten and missed, at some distant way off shoreline, even that'll be okay.
You and I may join the hereafter, and maybe not too, and even that will be fine, maybe not now in this moment, but it will then—-to be afraid now is an insult to the voracity of life. Everything in us now, the bacteria in our mouth and innards, flora on our feet, the organisms floating on our eyes, the parasites living on our skin, the warts and all, that collective will to live will cease to be, and it'll be okay.
There is wisdom and foolery, there are old fools too, suffer fools, suffer self
There is nothing to fear.
There are pills and distractions, booze and hobbies, sunlight and long walks or sprints in your scooter with the old-banana-seat-bike flags.
And maybe I'll be one of them and maybe you'll be too, an old fart who smells like piss or poo,
So we'll wear our cardigans and crusty britches, the sense of the picky wool
Long tucked away and lost in our amygdala, orthopedic shoes and saggy balls, prostate the size of a developing nation,
And it'll be okay, because when you're there, it'll be where you're at.
We will wear the faces we have lived and learned and earned and puckered and screwed, luck with genes, or without, age spots like liver and onions, and why not cook the occasional steak with gristle and onions, eat without any veggies—-eat dessert first, or dessert only—-and with impunity?
Love handles, the sag, the bags under our eyes and a bag the size of a Trader Joe's, pasty translucent skin, the skin that breaks in tatters and bruises for months and at some point, we'll look in the mirror and we'll say, well there it is, isn't it? —well, there it is.
And it'll be okay.
Yeah, we'll sleep less, but getting up at 4: 00in the morning to watch TV or play some old school video game will be without shame. A scotch in the morning, meals when I want, no longer a creature of schedule, but for the meds, and it'll be okay. So we'll eat some black licorice or cut our Glen Fiddich with prune juice.
Hold our grandchildren to our chest, and watch a short skirt go by and in dark recesses of another time and another life, we will remember being tied up and whipped by two women, and even without the memory, it'll be okay.
Somehow, it's not wishful thinking.
There are pills for pain and pastimes aplenty for old men in cardigans and soft heeled shoes. I'll pop ‘em and so will you, take up Bocce Ball, curling, or I'll find something to smoke, or maybe I won't—-it'll be okay, we'll manage even when our friends are all dead and we're left the last man standing, bending, stooping (with a walker or cane) .
My hair will be gone, yours might not
But I don't think I will wear purple and a red hat,
Women do it differently than we do.
I will shuffle off along the shore and keep simple
Thoughts to myself,
I'll be an old man benign as the sand,
That my potency will be withered and my
Intellect long gone, time will have taken it
In the hourglass, memories of deals and exploits, adventures and dalliances, women chased and gone, perfume on a bra, stories of success and destruction, self-loathing long dead, long dead, erections long gone, free from the testes, the anger, the chemistry
Forgotten, our exploits and mastery still stewing in an old tea bag,
and it'll be okay.
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