In the Lunch Line
I feel like I need to cram everything in these days. To say I’m suggestable to new experience is a big ole’ understatement. I’m 71. My mind still works. There are brain cells not yet atrophied. I don’t say I’m “still open” for new information. It is a thirsting, a hunger for teach me what I’ve never learned, oh lordy, through all these years. And a thousand prayers a day to go ahead, then, and use all the new stuff to save the planet. My part as brother wolf, the role I am assigned today by virtue of the fact – the undeniable FACT – that I opened my eyes at 4:35 this morning, I was still breathing. After a short while I slipped out of bed and did first morning things, I sat in a chair, made and drank coffee, picked up and read a book. And kept stopping – was stopped by the thirst, the hunger for new intellectual and emotional and ethical spiritual fucking wide-awake alive as a human on the planet experiences. And looked for music, jazz, Billie Holiday, books, more books, already six coming in the mails and a pile from the library – right here on the coffee table – mixed with an even bigger pile of books bought in Portland and Oakland, these as Christmas and birthday gifts, when you know I ran up to and through and passed my 70th December 25th and my 71st January 19th. And I am still here.
Don’t ask me why, that hardly seems relevant. Ask me – Now What? Yeah, there are so many kids you (I) sat with in freshman lunch in the Wareham High School cafeteria that did not get to slip out of their bed this morning. Braver, stronger, friendlier, realer, kinder, smarter, lustier, shinier, sparklier than you (me) kids. And they are gone. And you are here. And I don’t know why, and what’s that matter? So – Now What? All this thirst, all this hunger, stuff it in, cram it in, translate it into something worthy. Write a poem which makes one person smile. For God’s sake – stop wasting time!
I have discovered avocados in my 72nd year here on this planet – this stricken rock – some 57 years beyond hot dogs and square pieces of pizza and jello and a 25-cent ticket in that ninth grade cafeteria. I have a different hunger now. I have to. You know. Tick tick tick.