Michael Gottlieb / Letters to a Middle-Aged Poet / 12


This isn’t over.

Is it?

How much of what might be called the anger or the confusion or the rejection, plain and simple – rejection of what’s arrived lately – that arises amongst those of a certain age, might not really be a product of principled or even unprincipled aesthetic or ideological objections but instead, to put it bluntly, might in fact based on the simple, sinking realization that one is becoming irrelevant, or indeed, invisible in other ways?

Of all these young ones, some of them, needless to say, needs be deemed attractive – there are enough of them that the odds augur so – are there not? That only stands to reason. Others are comely in a way that we see now, now that we are old enough, by virtue of what is no more than a concomitant component of their youth, a quality inherent in them all, at least to some degree, at least for a time. They seem pretty to us just because they are young.

While it very well may be that not only have they have no need of your poems – at least no longer – the fact is, it is likely that they don’t want or need you, yourself, in any amatory or physical way anymore either. Not even in a theoretical or – how to put it? – statistically significant way. You have nothing left to offer. And so, how much of the anger arising among us, directed at them, might very well might flow from that fact, wittingly grasped by us or not?

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