Monday, December 18, 2006

42nd birthday poem (all right still)


it's my birthday today.
i'm 42 years old. same age
elvis presley was
when he bit the carpet.
and i look much older.
my woman's gone.
i'm spending
the day alone.
soon i will have
to leave this house i love
and i can't afford to--
the cost of renting
is astronomical these days.
all in all, the outlook's
pretty bleak as the
pale sun
climbs the trees
into the winter sky
this morning.
so why is it
i feel this goofy hope?
perhaps because
i have no choice at last.

18 comments:

Sharon Auberle said...

Hey, Bruce

let me be the first to wish you a Happy Birthday, you cool Sagittarius!
We need more people who write (and care) about the world's happenings, and poetry and film and music like you do. Thanks for all your words.
peace and warmth to you today and all year...
Sharon

Bruce Hodder said...

Thanks, Sharon. It means a lot.
Loved your haiku in the Dispatch, by the way.

Leo said...

Happy Birthday Bruce!! Did you know that Keith Richards was born on Dec. 18 as well?

Bruce Hodder said...

Thanks, Leo, for the birthday greeting. Yes, I did know about dear old Keith. Rock and roll was obviously an inspiration for my mum and dad because my brother Simon shares a birthday with Jerry Lee Lewis!

On a less cheerful note, today was also the birthday of my friend Maureen, who died earlier this year. I'm remembering her too, today, and celebrating with a drop of the devil's licquor the laughs and sweet moments we shared.

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday to a great writer and all around interesting man!

Janey... said...

Happy Birthday, Bruce!!!

Bruce Hodder said...

Hey Anonymous,
thank you so much. I do feel you've posted on the wrong blog, but thank you!

Bruce Hodder said...

Janey,
Thanks for the birthday wish. I'm so glad you're still with us here!

Have you looked at the Bruce Springsteen site on myspace? It's good.
Any sign of a new Bruce album on the horizon?

Ralph Murre said...

Hope the birthday was a bit cheerier than the post. Write on, my electronic friend.

Bruce Hodder said...

You know, I meant for that poem to come out more positively than it did. One reader even thought it had the overtones of a suicide note!
Thank you for the good wishes though, Ralph. The birthday was all right, actually, considering it brought me so many wishes from friends fleshy or electronic. All anybody wants is to know they're making some sort of impression on the world around them...

Anonymous said...

It's a nice picture. You have a nice face and the beard is good. I'm not certain about the beanie because of your age. You don't wear baggy pants and act like a gangsta, too, do you? The children will laugh.

By the way, I enjoy your blog. You're a bit of a tragic figure at this age, though. Your angst looks more glamorous on someone who is much younger. I apologize. It's just that now that I look back at my own writing, I feel like I wasted much of my time on bleak poetry, however lovely or dramatic. The only real payoff will be the money my relatives collect from it after I have met my demise in a traffic accident or restaurant choking incident.

Oh, but Happy Birthday. =)
I really do wish you well.

With sincerity ...

Bruce Hodder said...

You have to be kidding me with the above comment! I don't expect arse-kissers here, but bloody hell..!

I thank you for your fashion critique. I don't know where you live, though I would guess a small town in the middle of America from the assumptions underlying much of what you say, but where I live woolly hats are no more the province of "gangstas" than cold heads. I dress like I dress and act like I act, however. I don't care WHO laughs, be they children or my contemporaries. You might try to be a little less uptight yourself, Anonymous.

As for my "angst" being "unglamorous" in a man of my age--well, I'm not trying to present myself as glamorous, so I haven't failed, right? I'm just telling you a bit about what happens around here sometimes. If you don't like what you read, don't come back. I don't care one way or the other. Though I would like to challenge the assumption that I am wasting my time on "bleak" poetry. You feel you have done this. Perhaps now you have embraced some catch-all philosophy that enables you to see every setback as an Opportunity To Learn? Perhaps you download podcasts from some yoga teacher or California guru who convinces you the universe is a peace flower and love is its fragrance? Well, good for you; you are lying to yourself, but good for you. I have to deal with things as they are, and sometimes they're bleak, sometimes they're not. I can deal with the good AND the bad.

Anyway, I've spent enough times on this.

Bruce Hodder said...

Rereading the above post, I just want to apologise to my American friends who live in small towns--of whom there are quite a few! But you know what I mean. I'm talking about a stereotypical mentality. The Mid-Western meditating soccer mom. You know, burning incense at dinner parties to feel a little more exotic than the couple next door.

Glenn said...

Nice poem, Bruce. I wish I could write something write now. Your poem gives me hope, though, that new words are just around the bend.

Bruce Hodder said...

Thanks Glenn. It's not the greatest I ever wrote, but it certainly provoked a lot of comment.
New words are always waiting for us. I wish I knew what combination of events and atmospherics brought them out, though. I went for three months during the summer without writing a word, and it depressed the crap out of me.
Don't you find, as a poet (and for those who don't know, Glenn is an extremely good poet), life seems very strange and disjointed when you're not writing?

Glenn said...

In a lot of ways, writing is the thing that gives validation to my existence; when I'm writing well, I walk down the street feeling ten feet tall. But when I'm in a slump, I don't feel any different to the rest of the heard -- I feel mediocre, as if I have wasted my life.

Anonymous said...

I wrote him the first time
and didn't hold back.
He, the tragic figure who would understand letting it fly.

And he slugged it out, without me,
telling me if I didn't like it,
I should stop reading.
Seriously.

None of my heroes would have
drawn such discomfort from a
mere opinion.
And he called me uptight.

That last part would have
pissed me off
had I been a more serious person.
But being serious got me nowhere.

I live now smiling about
all the times I wrestled
with a bag slung over my head.
I am now a keen observer ...

of people who make assumptions about the assumptions I've made.
Yet somehow I'm dreadfully sorry
about ruffling the boy's feathers.

Bruce Hodder said...

None of your heroes would have reacted so badly to being called a tragic figure whose angst would have been more suitable on a younger man? as indeed would his headgear?

Well, I don't want to be one of your heroes, so I'm not concerned about failing to live up to their standard of detachment from unwarranted insult, whoever they might be.

As for my understanding about letting it fly--I understand. But if you let one fly out of nowhere like you did you have to expect to get one back. Or did you think I would be grateful for your words and they would immediately help me to find the right path again?

That would be dreadfully presumptuous, if you did.