Friday, July 24, 2015


. . . when I was twenty-nine . . .

When I was twenty-three, I knew it all.
I thought that being proud meant I had class.
The girls said “See you then!” each time I’d call.
I took dumb risks like I could kick Death’s ass. 

When I was thirty-three, I was reborn—
Living in New York really does that to you.
The streets here are like actors in hard porn:
You have to take precautions when they do you. 

When I was forty-three, I was domestic.
It was the longest that I tried to live
With someone else.  The crater was majestic.
It didn’t take, but then I didn’t give. 

When I was fifty-three, I knew enough
To know I was an idiot—but still
I chased the chaste coquettes who gave me guff
Like my heart was a hole I had to fill. 

And know I’m sixty-three, and I know shit.
Can I just say how free that makes me feel?
So self-assured that (yes) I can admit
That I need help to stand each time I kneel. 

I try to meet each sign of age with grace,
But mirrors do not lie (unlike the telly)—
The good news is, I have my father's face;
The bad news is, I have my father's belly.

And as I look ahead to sixty-four
(And sing “Birthday greetings, bottle of wine”),
I look back through that seven-decade door
At all the years, and see no great design: 

Just the great dance of someone having fun
While looking down the barrel of Life’s gun— 

A spry old salt whose inner buccaneer
Is glad to be reborn this day each year. 


Copyright 2015 Matthew J Wells

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