I turned 55 today and it seems too old, somehow. I’ve never been one to worry about age, or maturity for that matter, but somehow 55 just hit me the wrong way. Maybe it has to do with the concept of Freedom 55, the idea being that if you’ve lived your life properly, intelligently, and definitely within the lines, you could contemplate retiring at 55. And then go sailing on your boat with your trophy wife and the rest of that fucking nonsense.
Truth of the matter is, I still don’t have a real job.
So I found myself in Calgary’s beautiful Riley Park today reading for an event put on by my old friend Sheri-D Wilson. I never read the email properly. The poems were supposed to have something to do with this being World Peace Day, which never registered on me at all because it’s my birthday.
So I read too extremely inappropriate poems, one of them laced with obscenities which I started to censor when I saw all the little children in the audience. Oh well. It’s somewhat heartening I guess to be 55 and still able to play the fool.
The best part of my birthday, as usual, was being taken for supper by my beautiful daughter Hanna. A lot of her growing up took place a few blocks from Riley Park and I couldn’t help but think of those days when I left the reading and walked up 13th Street, where we lived when we were still a family.
It’s all good and I’ll get over my birthday, always remembering that it’s better to be having a birthday than not having one, and for at least one more year I found myself looking at the green side of the grass.
Here’s the poem I read today. It was only written in my notebook, so here it is typed, still raw, the few people to check out my little blog will be the only ones to know about it, aside from a small audience in Riley Park this afternoon.
Freedom 55 they call it. Today I am there. Yet it doesn't feel like freedom to me Except that as a friend reminded me Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose . . . The sound of the children playing grows fainter I no longer hear their laughter I turn my collar up Against the spectral chill of autumn Trudging a while longer Towards the final destination Towards freedom at last.