Song of Age

I am
– have become –
before I even
had
had a chance
to be
– again –

I am staring up death’s left nostril.

Achievements gone
pieces of myself system –
at ically passing
away.

Education passed away,
the little window where
I could find any respect and use
my knowledge
passed away.

No second language
learnable
I hear nothing
– NOTHING –
but garbled
jabber
sadly knowing
I would really not want to know
what these jabbering chickens
were saying if I could
understand.

Overqualified
and under-realized, a stranger
in a stranger place,
trapped.

So much of what I was
is lost
photographs
not
saved or taken
manuscripts not
written or saved.

Reworking
failed manuscripts,
unpublished, untried from
fear and disgust
of being judged
unworthy
by publishers.

It has been
so easy to be
nothing.

And now if I even
was
I have no proof
to maintain that
I was
something.

I scream at the
world around me
because I have come to hate some
parts of the world
and my life
and pieces and people
therein,

feeling bad about being
what we think of as
poor
in a materialist
/socialist
society
which support
and maintain
the poor at the survival minimum
so the middle class
can maintain their own self respect.

So I have bought into this
idea
that I am one of the
worthless “others”
given worth
in that
it is I
who allows the “normals”
to feel
good
about their otherwise meaningless lives.

And in that I
gain my meaning from
the outside.

BUT I REFUSE TO BE
WHAT YOU DEFINE OF ME.
I REFUSE TO LIVE DOWN
TO YOUR EXPECTATIONS!

And now I
am not what
I expected,

sitting on a fat
plastic deck chair
at my wife’s family’s
house
that they built,

raising children
herbs
vegetables
and cats,

reading the beat poets,
comparing their lives to mine
and wondering what
I could have been
and what I will become.

by Paul Bourgeois
Finland, June 23, 2012

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