Wise Poets – Albert Katz – Hitting 70

Albert KatzAlbert Katz

it was around my 70th birthday
that I realized I wasn’t 40 anymore
that the ballast which had kept me steady for so long
had shifted
that the people I conjured from my 20s
were no longer lithe carnal dynamos
reanimated in ageless revisionist trysts
on my 70th birthday old friends started to call me
about dead comrades and lovers
eaten alive by colon cancer gaunt and in pain, dangling from a rope strung
over the bathroom door, foggy with drugs in an AIDS hospice abandoned,
cancer growing on the brain joking until near the end in agony
bleeding by the side of a country road hit by a drunk kid too young to drive
who said he didn’t see the jogger being blinded by the sun and all
when I had reached 40
all those comrades
and lovers
were still alive and thought they’d live forever
unseemly curious about my status
whether my life was turning out as I had hoped
because at 40
it was the time
to take stock of such matters
and I think the consensus
was that if my life’s progress
was not quite an A
it was certainly a solid B
or maybe B+
and whoosh
it has come to this
my career winding down
my spine slowly disintegrating
and now
having accepted a retirement package
the wonder is that I
still thought of myself as 40
for so long
those few old remaining friend’s
started calling again
apparently at 70
it is appropriate to reminisce about dead friends
and rate the arc of one’s life
once again
I don’t want to disappoint you
all of you
nonetheless let me be clear
fuck off
I have no intention to take stock
or embrace “my new phase”
or fade like the walking dead
from some horror film
into the mist
or endlessly relive my youthful exploits with you
or join you in wandering aimlessly
for the last furlong
I have reset
that is all
just reset
and in all ways important
am really just 55