Watching your parents grow older was the hardest thing you did.
Now, you wear that mask of age pretending to know something more.
But you know less now–forgetting along the way–than you did before.
You were stronger then. Sleep could be missed. The day was always young.
Hard to say now what I have to say for myself. I was never as brilliant as Mamet.
Always slow of thought and tongue. Never as mad as Pynchon or facile as King.
But my heroes were always authors. Artful writers, not soldiers or players.
And matters of actual life and death set aside for a fantasy of what might have been.
You saw in your father the man you might be, in your mother what you should do.
You knew from their faults what should not be done, yet you might do it again,
Or else deny all you are to remake your soul as if you’re a figment of imagination
And not the fruit of their own loins, their hope and the product of their best wish.
With age you look back. Is it a pale landscape there, littered with dark shapes?
You feared that dream all your life. Has it come true now, or is there color there?
Do you remember too little and recount again what you have recalled before?
But that does not make it true. Repeating a falsehood does not make it true.
What is true is what you see around you. The detritus of life is here. Was it good?
Did you do better than you might; to ever ‘risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,’
Or only what you could? Did you start again, or did you complain for your loss?
You might hide now behind the map of age, but on this road, you are here.