Michael Gottlieb / Letters to a Middle-Aged Poet / 7


If the shoe doesn’t fit, must you find someone to throw it at?

There are so many ways to go. Ways to go wrong, to go crazy, to go off the rails. Ways to go quietly. Not so quietly.

Which is worse? Trying to hop aboard that train that is leaving without you – because all of the riders are twenty or thirty or even forty years than you, and, even if you had some hand in designing the locomotive or mapping the train’s route, lo how many years ago, this train is not one you hold a ticket for, or have any reason to be riding; or, on the other hand, let us say you have no interest whatsoever in riding that on line… what does it mean when you damn with faint praise, or just plain damn everything that’s come along after you?

“It’s all just a faint echo of what we did years ago.” “It’s fake.” “It’s empty.” “It’s shallow.” “It’s playing tennis without a net.” “It’s not about anything.” “It’s a pose. They’re all poseurs.”

Does it not sound a lot like what was once said about us?

At the heart of it all is it an inability to come to grips with, to accept, one’s own place? One’s place, inside of time? Our day may be done; or it may not. We may have been superseded, or not. But the fact is that these are indeed our children. Our kids – and we, the fact is, we are kids no more.

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