Today I am picking up my new car
It is big and steel gray and shiny
It only costs a million dollars
Not really but it’s more expensive than my first house and
Just a bit smaller.
I am going to drive it to the thrift store
And the gym and the supermarket
Park it next to muddy old jalopies.
Surrounded by slum pigeons.
But knowing me
Next week my new car will be
From the others
Covered in the grime of ordinary life that
One experiences on back roads.
You know what’s funny?
Old ladies with tattoos
I know they exist
Because I see them in the locker room
After old lady swimming class.
And you know they must have been hot stuff
Back in the day
Maybe hippies dancing all stoned with hair flying
Or motorcycle bitches in leather hugging thug boyfriends
Around the waist
Or maybe even soldier girls drunk in Okinawa.
Tattoos don’t let you forget
That you used to be those people.
When I start writing poems
After 75 years
I have lots of stories to tell
Many of which show me in a less than ideal light
I didn’t set out to be unpleasant
It just happened that way.
And now when my past is immutable
I’m stuck with who I was
But even at this age i don’t know
Who I will be.
When I decided to become a lawyer
After decades of scoffing
At bourgeois stuffy boring men
In suits with briefcases
Like my father
I enrolled in law school, conveniently just
Down the road.
My first class was Legal Writing because
You have to write to be a lawyer and
Lawyers have their own bourgeois stuffy boring language
So for my first assignment
I wrote fluently, cascades of fancy words
Whereas accordingly insofar ascertainable approbation and so much more
Wrapped around a meaningless core, all these Latinate
I was proud as a peacock.
I had written like a lawyer
Like my father.
When the professor returned my assignment with comments and corrections
She wrote in red
On the top of page one
This is gibberish.
So that is how I learned
The hard way
To write like a lawyer.
All widowers are permitted
After a respectful period of mourning
To fall in love again
And be happy.
Except for Karl
When I die he can choose to
Immolate himself in utter despair
Or become a monk.
Those are reasonable options, no?
These people are entitled to talk about me when I am dead:
To their respective psychiatrists
Anyone else can think about me
Or plant a tree in my memory
On an as-needed basis.
I am full of quirks
I dislike people asking for money to fund
Life, art, a honeymoon in San Cabo.
Go fund my ass.
It feels like begging to me.
Although I once begged for a living
It was on the streets of Haight-Ashbury
I was living in a commune around the corner with
Peter and the baby and some other folks
Getting by on welfare while Peter
Listened to music and got high.
So I panhandled for cigarette money, baby slung on my hip
And asked people walking by
Any spare change?
It was not a bad way to make a little extra but
Honestly it was a lot of work.