Ready for the Sun
You sit at your favorite diner.
Knopfler sings soft and low. Unbelievably
crisp guitar notes cut the air, perfect music
for a birthday, like a Hopper painting
turned to music.
Your celebration is a quiet one. Internal
without candles or crowds,
an amazement at the brevity of it all,
of things survived, not least of all,
your own flounderings,
of the grace life has presented you,
the second and thirty-second chances
to prove to yourself, if no one else,
that brokenness can become beauty.
It can become power.
That scars have become the strongest
part of you,
that somehow, despite sixty-five years,
you still carry a strange and dangerous naivete.
You sip your coffee. It is strong this morning,
and its magic fills you, carving away the fog.
Not that you mind the fog.
Age has made you comfortable with it,
made you less certain of most things.
A few remain:
Love is the only thing that works.
Having the right woman is magic.
So are cats.
Time matters less than we think.
You do not so much create as spill emotions
you cannot explain otherwise. And that is OK.
We are all a little broken.
Kindness matters more than being right.
Somehow things work out. You don’t need to know how.
Yes, you are comfortable with fog.
Perhaps, you think, it is not there to hide things
as much as protect you from them
until you are ready for the sun.
Another sip of coffee. Glad for the pause.
Grateful for whatever is left.
The adventure of it,
the sensual joy if it all a candle
on your cake.
About this poem
Knopfler is Mark Knopfler, guitarist and lead singer of Dire Straits, whose music may be my favorite ever. Hopper is Edward Hopper, who captures my soul in many of his paintings.
I turn 65 today. It’s been a week from the Twilight Zone around here, so a couple of hours in the public anonymity of my favorite diner is welcome. No, I don’t feel different.