Thursday, September 19, 2013

Another milemarker.

I turn thirty today. Thirty is the most unnervingly introspective birthday I've had yet.

Sure, sure -- age is just a number, but digits are as prone to Sapir-Whorf as any agglutination of letters. Once the two in the tens column tumbles into a three, it's never coming back. After ten years of calling yourself a twenty-something, you're suddenly not anymore; and when one of the attributes by which your identity is defined changes, your identity can't help but change with it. It's hard not to look at this as the crossing of a threshold.

No speeches today. No resolutions, no admissions of regret, no hopeful prognostications. Instead, a poem by Kenneth Koch:

To My Twenties
Kenneth Koch (1925 - 2002)

How lucky that I ran into you
When everything was possible
For my legs and arms, and with hope in my heart
And so happy to see any woman

O woman! O my twentieth year!
Basking in you, you
Oasis from both growing and decay
Fantastic unheard of nine- or ten-year oasis
A palm tree, hey! And then another
And another
—and water!
I’m still very impressed by you. Whither,
Midst falling decades, have you gone? Oh in what lucky fellow,
Unsure of himself, upset, and unemployable
For the moment in any case, do you live now?
From my window I drop a nickel
By mistake. With
You I race down to get it
But I find there on
The street instead, a good friend,
 N, who says to me
Kenneth do you have a minute?
And I say yes! I am in my twenties!
I have plenty of time! In you I marry,
In you I first go to France; I make my best friends
In you, and a few enemies. I
Write a lot and am living all the time
And thinking about living. I loved to frequent you
After my teens and before my thirties.
You three together in a bar
I always preferred you because you were midmost
Most lustrous apparently strongest
Although now that I look back on you
What part have you played?
You never, ever, were stingy.
What you gave me you gave whole
But as for telling
Me how best to use it
You weren’t a genius at that.
Twenties, my soul
Is yours for the asking
You know that, if you ever come back.


  1. I'll be there in a couple months myself. Nice poem, I might use it then. Hope ya have a not-too-shabby day.

    1. It WASN'T too shabby. I ate donuts and did some trig problems. Fun times!

      Thanks for the well-wishes!

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks! So far it's been more dirty than happy, but I can dig it.

  3. I can assure you that your happy twenties went well in all those nights prior to you looking at your sexually transmitted disease(s) in the face.

    I can assure you that I wish those fair diseases were had.