DEDICATIONS, PLEDGES, COMMITMENTS. For the past. For my own path. For surprises. For mistakes that worked so well. For tomorrow if I'm there. For the next real thing. Then for carrying it all through whatever is necessary. For following the little god who speaks only to me. --William Stafford

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Old Man, Get Your Hand Off My Knee


Old Man,
your time is up.
Get your greedy hand off my knee.

I'm not yours
yet.

Woo me
with heroic tales of
your victories,
show me your etchings,
tell me how delicate
are my ankles--
how delicious
my lips and fingertips.

Tell me again
what a friend you are
and how desperately
you want me.

I believe you. I do.

Someday
you will make our bed
and I
will lie in it.

Someday
when other embraces
have all grown cold,
perhaps I will even welcome
your impassioned touch.

Someday, Old Man.

Not yet.


(This, of course, is not about a dirty old man in any literal sense. This Old Man, metaphorically speaking, is death. The poem was written in celebration of passing
intact the five-year point in a battle with cancer.)

5 comments:

Erin said...

Congratulations on the 5 year anniversary!

pepektheassassin said...

Hi, Erin! Glad to see you!

jillypoet said...

This is a great poem! I love the voice and how the old man could be either a real old man or, as you explain, death. Great metaphor! Congrats on 5 years! My mom is a 19 year survivor!

pepektheassassin said...

Hey jilly. I remember when I was a thirty-something mom trying to write (sometimes in the bathtub with the door locked, sometimes in the car in the driveway with the windows rolled up, sometimes at the laundromat while the clothes were drying...). Now here I am a grandma trying to write. As your great grandma-in-law told you: time flies, and life comes atcha fast!

Come visit anytime!

writerwoman said...

Powerful! I love that this poem celbrates life while pushing back death.

About Me

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1. In dreams I am often young and thin with long blond hair. 2. In real life I am no longer young, or thin, or blonde. 3. My back hurts. 4. I hate to sleep alone. (Fortunately I don't have to!) 5. My great grandfather had 2 wives at once. 6. I wish I had more self-discipline. (I was once fired from a teaching position in a private school because they said I was "too unstructured and undisciplined." --Who, me??? Naaaahhh....) 7. I do not blame my parents for this. Once, at a parent-teacher conference, the teacher told me my little boy was "spacey." We ALL are, I told her. The whole fan damily is spacey. She thought I was kidding. I wasn't. 8. I used to travel with a theater reperatory company. My parents weren't happy about this. 9. My mother was afraid that I would run off and paint flowers on my cheeks and live in a commune, and grow vegetables. I once smoked pot. ONE TIME. 10. I don't drink or smoke. (Or swear, much. Well, I drink milk, and water, and orange juice, and stuff. Cocoa. I love Pepsi.) 11. Most of my friends are invisible. 12. I am a poet and a writer. All of my writing on these pages is copyrighted. Borrowing (without acknowledgment) is a sin.