This entry is part 15 of 37 in the series Bridge to Nowhere: poems at mid-life


Shameless procrastinator,
ragged tooth unsullied by the dawn.

Full, you went to bed on time;
a quarter empty & you never act your age.

Hasp with no padlock,
no wonder the night got away!

Old flat tire.
As if my poet’s O were set in gothic.

* * *

Note on the series

I’d been aware that a few of the poems I’ve written this spring and summer seem thematically connected, and was thinking that when I had accumulated a half dozen or so, I should put them into a new series called something like “mid-life crisis poems.” Not that I’m having a true crisis, but the unifying theme of these poems seemed to be a pervasive anxiety about aging and the body. Imagine my surprise when, after finishing the above poem this morning, I went through the archive and discovered I’d written 16 poems that fit the theme since May! It’s already almost the length of a chapbook.

So I guess my middle-agedness has been more on my mind than I realized. But as Charles Simic once told an interviewer (I’m paraphrasing from memory), one of the distinguishing features of the poetic mindset is a continual astonishment at the passage of time.

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0 Replies to “Gibbous”

  1. Full, you went to bed on time;
    a quarter empty & you never act your age.

    That made me grin! It’s amazing to me how few people notice that about the moon, how often people say, “it was a full moon, and it was rising right at sunset!” . . . Wow, really? How remarkable! :-)

    1. Yeah. I remember once years ago, watching an evening talk show on CBS where the side-kick was telling the host that he had seen the moon in the middle of the day, and the host refused to believe it. That has sort of symbolized the general ignorance of astronomy to me ever since.

  2. And if you live to be very old, think of all the old-age poems! I’ve seen so many, and I usually enjoy them . . .

    I like your series title: “Bridge to Nowhere: poems at mid-life.”

  3. Ah, mid-life, old-age, when are those again?

    I enjoy hearing and seeing about your world as I live in a similar place in the Hill Country of TX where the latest entertainment is the persimmon drunk roadrunner chasing birds in the backyard.

    1. Hi Linda — good to hear from you. I’m not sure when the boundaries of middle and old age are anymore, culturally speaking, but mid-life awareness for me is about realizing that one’s life is at least half over based on standard life expectancies. I know the classic East Asian poets used to write poems commemorating their first white hairs when they were still in their thirties, grasping for a coveted elder status as soon as possible. While that seems a little foreign to me, I certainly don’t get our cult of eternal youth, either.

  4. I love that the poems arise so organically from time and place and from the rest of your writing, and that they organically form a collection. A compost of poems – a rich, friable, evolving thing.

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