This Last Beginning:

Convinced

For Don M. and Dad
-For knowing-

It was well before morning almost a year ago, “You got to do something, you just do, before you know it you wake up and you’re 40.”  My father’s ghost back with the first Happy Birthday to tell me he was right again.

It was a hotel outside of Concord, Massachusetts; closer to a shopping mall then Walden Pond. But close enough to see, just yesterday at sunset, birds flying from the pond’s shore, where everyday tourists who live a few miles away were diving in head first in swim caps and goggles: like insects smacking into the pages of a history book made with sheets of flypaper.

Well before morning almost a year ago and not surprised to find Friendship, Loneliness, Love, and what Home might mean, casting shadows and shapes on this hotel ceiling. Above this hotel bed. Covered by this hotel white puff comforter, full of more air then comfort. Not surprised to turn on my quiet flashlight, at my customary time, and join my intended laptop at the table, to write about the juxtaposition of the birds of Walden Pond, to this hotel so covered in scaffolding: I couldn’t read its name from the street.

“You gotta do something, you just do, before you know it you wake up and you’re 40.”

Then Don’s voice from 20 years ago back to remind me of a quote he said:

“If you’re a poet when you’re 20, it’s because you’re 20; if you’re a poet when you’re 40, it’s because you’re a poet.”

When you’re up before the birdsong, before the sunrise of your 40th birthday, and it’s just another lifelong everyday morning that has you writing on Friendship, Love, Loneliness and what Home might mean, and everyone you know is sleeping in a house with family, or under an empty comforter you just walked away from; and they all think you’re awake because you don’t need the sleep: You are doing something, and you most definitely, quite seriously, are convinced.

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