Friday, December 11, 2015

Poem of the Day: “Old Is Fast” by Catherine Katey Johnson

Songs of Eretz Poetry Review is pleased to present “Old Is Fast” by Catherine Katey Johnson.  A brief biography of the poet may be found here:

Old Is Fast                                                                 
Catherine Katey Johnson
You got a new car
hood full of horses
face jammed against your skull
when pedal meets plush pile.
But that’s slo-mo, friend
‘cause old comes at cha fast.

It slams you into a brick wall
two-thirty in the morning
you’re about to wet the bed
so, you hurry to the bathroom
man that’s a trip
‘cause the five meds they got you on
give you the Tilt-a-whirl dizzies,
but you gotta’ get there fast
and you do
whirling lightning
that’s you
old real fast.

Dancing at the Prom yesterday
now you’re stirring
fiber in your juice.
Coughed up a piece of lung
before toes hit floor.

At the Casino, you realize
your insurance is a gamble, too
you’re betting you’ll die,
become dismembered, or worse.
How the hell do you win that bet
that bet against the temple?
And that stupid chin hair
comes back every thirty-minutes.

Jewelry box replaced
with old people trinkets
thermometer, BP cuff, hearing-aid,
moleskin toe pads,
corn removers, wart-off,
magnifying glass, Gel pads,
icy-hot patches, things to make you go,
things to make you stop,
medicated pads,
pads to catch the drips, flashlight,
tweezers for that damn chin hair.
All of it piles high overnight
‘cause old happens fast.

Your Mr. T starter kit
all says “Medic Alert”
allergic to Ibuprofen,
and cherries.
On Aspirin,
on Norvasc,
on HCTZ, Zoloft,
on Glucophage and Niaspan,
on Donner and Blitzen,
shit, what was I saying?
Oh yeah, old is fast.

Titanium frames your blind eyes
binds your bones together
blood pressure’s up, pulse is down
so the Pacemaker zaps you forty-four percent
of every twenty-four/seven.
You went in for a sleep test
when sex probably would have fixed it
and came out with a Zippo sized lump
above your left tit
That happened fast.

Is that Raquel Welch on CSI?
Damn, I hope I look that good at seventy-one.
All I know is
it’ll be here in a minute.
And him over there, not any better.
His arteries get real hard.
If only he could use his arteries to--
He sets the TV tray aside to go get the mail
knees knocking into his man apples.
We’re old and we got here fast.

Poet’s Notes: I recall an abrupt awakening one night for an emergency rush to the bathroom. The medication I was on at the time had me so dizzy I had to cling to the wall and furniture to get to there in time. It was certainly a reality jolt, and I couldn’t help but laugh out loud. I knew I would get old one day soon but I had no idea it had come upon me, or that it would come on so fast.  I looked at the two drawers of my nightstand filled with “old people trinkets.” The next thing I knew, I was writing this poem and chuckling all the way through it.

Editor’s Note:  I appreciate this poem's devastatingly ironic take on the aging process.  “Old is Fast” was first published in Elegant Rage:  An Anthology of Woody Guthrie Poets (Village Books Press, 2012).  The above image is NOT that of the poet.

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