How Will I Shave When I’m Old?

Heavy, black
sweater, to the knees.
August, but styling with curls,
the kind I love to have
ricochet off my face,
but the arms are crossed,
malingering, perhaps in disgust
at the short, eager guy with vomit
turquoise shirt and solid kelly green tie
who reminds us: we love the man
in the fourth window from Main, in the musty
bank building with crumbling concrete killing
insects who are always busily hungry in August,
and the man, that broken down man, gone,
always wearing a brown sack over his head,
watching all of these bipeds cross here or there
before or after meals always on path to Starbucks,
leaving, the man, an eerily sick feel to the rest
of his office with pictures of a beautiful
family, too far away for us to judge, as I rest
to judge the man of more than 80 years who looks
to cross the street, I presuming he can’t walk,
seeing his blurry grey and white pigtail under the
beefiest black hat that stamps the man 40 years
younger, and when he crosses, he jaunts and jigs,
and I see all of the folds in his face and see myself
carved to bits from my razor, staring at massive puddles
of blood in my bathroom looking like a map of Minnesota,
and the Yellow Freight truck guy is trying to figure out
how to turn around in an opposite direction, he driving
so hard, he spinning the city I live in as I eat too many cookies.


I like all of the great things they do at dverse Poet’s Pub, and tonight, they have open link night, so I thought I should put one up. Check it out – There are amazing people over there.

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  1. #1 by claudia on August 17, 2011 - 2:47 am

    great to see you in the pub carl and a tight piece you brought as well – love the imagery and tension in it. dang your writing always pushes holes into my stomach..excellent

    • #2 by Carl on August 17, 2011 - 9:42 pm

      Thank you so much, Claudia. I love your work, and your kind words mean the world!

  2. #3 by Irene Cortez on August 17, 2011 - 3:47 am

    Wonderful poem, Carl. I enjoyed reading! πŸ™‚

    • #4 by Carl on August 17, 2011 - 9:44 pm

      Thank you, Irene. I appreciate your comment.

  3. #5 by brian on August 17, 2011 - 5:31 am

    wow what an explosive close…varve to btis…the driver spinning the world…and you eating too many cookies…this has great grit and texture to it…a well penned piece carl…

    • #6 by Carl on August 17, 2011 - 9:44 pm

      Thank you, Brian. It is very nice of you to comment.

  4. #7 by Pat Hatt on August 17, 2011 - 6:54 am

    wonderful wordplay, real delved deep with this piece, creating a gritty type feel, nicely done.

    • #8 by Carl on August 17, 2011 - 9:44 pm

      Thank you, Pat. I appreciate it.

  5. #9 by scribbla on August 17, 2011 - 7:39 am

    “he driving
    so hard, he spinning the city I live in as I eat too many cookies.” -magnificent use of imagery and symbolism to say so much.
    And how will I shave when I am old? You have me worried now.

    • #10 by Carl on August 17, 2011 - 9:45 pm

      Never fear! We can grow our beards, but some problems are not so easily remedied!

  6. #11 by liv2write2day on August 17, 2011 - 12:27 pm

    Hey, Carl, good to see you and glad you’ve joined us at the pub (where you don’t have to drink). This was such a good snapshot of life and the very real fear we deal with in facing aging.

    • #12 by Carl on August 17, 2011 - 9:47 pm

      Thank you, Victoria. If I drank at the pub, they’d take my internet license away and I wouldn’t get home (if I got home) until March.

  7. #13 by janniefunster on August 17, 2011 - 1:35 pm

    Guess you could learn to love a full beard? πŸ™‚

    I have these kinds of thoughts sometimes too. Tho not of shaving. Other basic things. I better get rich so I can have servants for everything. πŸ™‚

    • #14 by Carl on August 17, 2011 - 9:48 pm

      Thank you for the comment. Servants for everything! That might make old age more bearable for me but less for those around me! πŸ™‚

  8. #15 by siubhan on August 17, 2011 - 2:17 pm

    “grit” has been the recurring word around here, and I have to agree. There is a lot that is all-too-real in a near-and-impending-future sort of way. Love the heavy-handed use of the progressive tense here, all those -ings just a reminder that that day is already about to tap us on the shoulder…

    • #16 by Carl on August 17, 2011 - 9:49 pm

      Thank you for your comment. I appreciate your thoughts and your kindness.

  9. #17 by Arron Shilling (@ArronShilling) on August 17, 2011 - 5:26 pm

    Some quite brilliant word choices and lines that provoke powerful imagery.
    The odd lines pick at me and give me the a buzz rush i look for – you hit my favourite nerve again and again
    great write – i m a big fan of your style already


    • #18 by Carl on August 17, 2011 - 9:50 pm

      Thank you, Arron. I love your comment. It’s nice if I am able to hand out one of those rushes. I feel lucky.

  10. #19 by Evelyn on August 17, 2011 - 8:50 pm

    Tight is definitely the word for it.
    Each word is perfect, it never skips a beat
    or trips up.
    and of course, cookies.
    oh the words you become addicted to…

    • #20 by Carl on August 17, 2011 - 9:52 pm

      Wow! You are so kind! I feel grateful for your words. I did think about Oscar the Grouch and the Cookie Monster, but that would have been over the top, eh?

  11. #21 by Kavita on August 17, 2011 - 11:37 pm

    YEOW!! Made me wince, really! But then again, the thoughts of old age make me wince too…
    A lot of depth and meaning in this one, my friend… awesome writing! That mix of humor and reality was splendid!

    • #22 by Carl on August 18, 2011 - 8:46 pm

      Thank you so much for your comment. I appreciate it.

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