Michael Gottlieb / Letters to a Middle-Aged Poet / 26


And if, or, rather, when the body begins to fail, does that mean the mind is not far behind?

But are we now, somehow free in a way we never could be before? Or is this too another vain wish? Might it be that we remain and will forever be, for as long as we are alive, witting, able and vexed women and men? Or is that a vain thought? But, if so, in some way are we then obliged to continue to be tied into, bound into, bound up with this strange vitality, this irreducible force that perhaps we, in all probability should admit is not just a decent self-regard but in fact, a version of vanity itself, and nothing less? And is it this, this vanity which we tender as a demonstration, as evidence self-evident of our continued attendance, our vitality, so proffered?

We are still here. We’re still alive. At least that’s our argument.

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