You thought yourself so mature and evolved.
Just send in the clowns and embrace your fate.
Allow the pain to swamp you as it washes you into wet, sandy gullies, full of forgotten, broken shells.
Is this where you were meant to be?
Partly submerged, peering at the well to do strolling on the boardwalk above.
How do they live a life of ease when your best efforts take you to the edge?
So many years wasted yearning to be someone you have never met.
Who is the man your mind finds impossible to invent?
Look in the mirror fool and watch the fading shadow you have become.
Drink in the pruning head and take note of those spotted hands as they run through the greying hair.
Age is a hollow beast.
Aah, the regret.
It feeds on aching joints like termites munching on a knot of wood that could never hold a load.
You strike your flank with a hand,
Praying it is a whip as it cracks the aching hip of an ordinary man.
Never brilliant, nor awful.
Always looking so impressive.
The pundits hailing you as the one to watch.
You have fooled them again, resignation demanding you run quietly behind the leaders.
The winning post held so much promise as you trotted to the starting gate, but it is just another ornament made for heroes and their accolades you have no birthright to share.
Lured again with a longing for what?
The great fear of the greedy addict:
Being like everyone else.
Your life has been one of promising starts and spectacular falls.
And starting and falling again not bothering to brush the dirt off your knees as you strive to rise.
The tiny pebbles indented in drying skin as a reminder not to try too hard.
And you mumble to yourself as the exhaustion mounts:
‘‘Just stay down on the ground. For God’s sake, just stay down.’’
And the plaque on the boardwalk adjacent to your broken skull trumpets your legacy.
‘Here lies the vanquished. His greatest victory was staying down.’
The vision is somehow comforting.
And the wasted effort collects among the designer sneakers of the maddening crowd.
Then night falls and you are alone.
It is peaceful.
And you remember the days when laughing was an unconscious gift but now a smile is false pride.
It seems you have always paid a premium in the attempt to be normal.
Where did it all go?
Were you ever 21?
Suddenly 60 and the unremitting mirage that tricks your forgetful spirit is a relentless drive to succeed.
And the propaganda of success whispers relentlessly in your narrowing inner ear, with a voice as cold as a dark Southern swell.
‘Get up boy. Go to the sea and smell the salt leaping off the pounding waves. Surely it will be better next time.’
And you obey, as every ‘good’ boy does.
Lured again as you walk sullenly to the coastline raising your face and a protruding tongue to the angry breakers, hoping against hope for a salty spray that will never come.