The day 11 poem prompt of the 2018 National Poetry Writing Month challenge was for me to write a poem that addresses the future. I was to answer these the questions: “What does y(our) future provide? What is your future state of mind? If you are a citizen of the “union” that is your body, what is your future “state of the union” address?”
I came up with a slightly sarcastic inventory, or catalogue, poem that gives this a septuagenarian’s take on future thinking. I strive to be (and some say I am) a very right here, right now person. My take on this is also male, but women may find commonality with or without small word changes.
When THAT Happens…
When it takes all day to do whatever it was.
When you see wrinkles that have always been there
When all your futures are in your past.
When no one tells you not to run when you are running.
When the future is like the playoffs and you hope to be at least be a wildcard.
When you always take the elevator.
When a young lady offers you her seat, and you take it.
When you allow extra time for everything and end up late.
When you google childhood friends and end up reading the obits page.
When a day off means no doctor appointments.
When young ladies think you’re harmless, and they’re right.
When a middle-age lady says you remind her of her father, or worse, grandpa.
When they stop asking what you do for a living.
When living is what you do for a living.
When even a bad memory is good sign.
When your future state of mind may be homeless.
When your body is like the movie, As Good As It Gets.
When a pain means you moved something.
When those old people turn out to be younger than you.
When sex makes you think of words like dysfunction and prostheses.
When a new tattoo is major surgery, and an old one is a Rorschach Test.
When you been there, done that, got scars to prove it
…but you can’t remember what the hell you were talking about.
When young poets talk about the future and you write a memoir.
When your memories are all in black and white.
When all your friends say, “I remember when…” and you don’t.
(Bill Reynolds. 4/11/2018)
Some of us have more past than future, but we look both ways.
Mind the gaps, ignore the aches.