When I bend down
and touch my forehead to the ground
I am pretty sure the
aging leaves still clinging
to the two elm trees in the backyard
murmur in resonance.
I am pretty sure
it calls birds in closer and
inspires the squirrels
to lean in to listen more intently
and the roots of the front yard
mountain ash to dig down a little deeper.
I am pretty sure
a shifting in the air can be felt
and the moon in her wisdom clad gown
sits a touch more upright
in her royal posture.
All I said in response was:
“I’m not sure that’s the best idea.”
And with that, he brandished the sword
of ancient male domination.
He unsheathed it from its hiding place
and held it to my neck and said:
I am the elder. This is what we’re doing.
This is not up for discussion.
His words thundered down from on high.
They were coarse and sterile
and befitting a great tyrant.
His eyes were wide as he spoke
and it was clear that I was not welcome
I’d like to say I defended myself.
That I picked up my own sword and
But I didn’t.
Instead, my face turned to stone
and my heart turned to flames.
I said: Yep, got it, and walked away,
seething with a rage I didn’t know
I could feel.
I let him win.
I regret my inaction to speak up.
It won’t happen again.
This morning, I finished a new spoken word piece called Turning 40. Spoken word is the performance art of poetry, so it translates better in person verses on the page, but here it is anyway :)
Also, it’s worth mentioning that in my spoken word repertoire, this piece is by far the shortest. But sometimes, short and sweet and to the point just makes good sense.
I’m not interested in towing the heavy, lead-laden line given to me by those who’ve come before. The one that says I shouldn’t be on good terms with aging – ya know, the one that says I should pretend to be some other age than I actually am and would do well to color up over all this grey hair coming in.
The one that says I should learn creative ways to outstretch my neck or gain an affinity for scarves to cover up the fact that I have folds and that I lose my sexual allure the further I drift from the shores of 18.
You’re welcome to keep towing that line but I’m not interested. I am setting it down, in favor of something…more.
I wanna tow the line that says aging is part of life and not separate; I wanna end the drama filled strife by pursuing a life based on responses and not reactions; I wanna water the seeds of mad love for the whole of things and not split it up into fractions; and I wanna swim naked in the waters of whatever age I’m kicking in and embrace my body, the whole damn thing.
cuz there ain’t no shame in not being a size 2, there’s shame in playing the beauty-looks-like-this game that no one wins. I’m fixin’ to tow a different line, saddle up if you’re in cuz I’m not sweatin’ turning 40, I’ve been enjoying the ride since 1979 and I love this mixed-bag world – and for what it’s worth, I’m interested in towing the line of being more than a pretty girl.