On the eve of my 53rd birthday
After Gregory Corso
Once I was very small but then I grew up
and other things were small and nothing hurt
like it did when I was sixteen, and again
at twenty-one. Fifty-fucking-three!
The poems I wrote and the poems I shouldn’t
have written but they’re done now and in books
nobody, absolutely nobody,
ever reads. There was some craziness,
and sometimes I was alone and other times
I was not alone, and alone was better
but I was lonely. To be honest,
the craziness didn’t amount to much.
The confessional stopped working about
the time I had things to confess, and now —
now I’d have to spend the rest of my life
in there and still never get to the end
of it, fuck it, I may as well carry on.
My hair was long and straight but went springy
in my thirties then straight again but not
as straight as before. Now it’s mostly grey
but I don’t really care about it.
I let it grow and grow and then I cut
it all off. I imagine it growing
when I’m lifeless in my coffin, masses
of it, which is unpleasant to think of
and anyway not yet. I want more life
in front of me than I have behind me,
but that’s not about to happen. I want
a bell down there, in the wormy darkness,
like in the Edgar Allan Poe story,
or a buzzer, a buzzer I can press
and somebody to listen just in case.