This is fifty-six (a poem)

This day will go quickly—best to make note of it while I can…

I have now completed fifty-six cycles
through the Gregorian calendar
three-hundred sixty-five and one-quarter days
of what we call a year

As I enter my fifty-seventh cycle
there is not much I know
beyond that I am a slave to my mundane desires
and unnecessary anxieties

I know more and more
with each new day
but understand less and less
—or is it the other way around

It’s been said
that the tragic and the comic go hand in hand
though nobody has ever explained
where it is they’re going, or why

But the balance seems to be shifting
we haven’t forgotten how to laugh
it’s that our laughter is increasingly inappropriate
or in audible

And the great existential joke
becomes more obvious every day
as those we know slip away
and never when we expect it

I’m not laughing

Today I will go through the usual motions
without thinking about what any of them mean
I’m not a scholar, that’s for sure—
how much I haven’t learned could fill books

Here endeth the lesson

(16 March 2019)


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