Oldsters Puttering around the Moon

The young couple walks stooped into the retirement home
in a veil of embarrassment.
They are aglow with pity and shame
for the wilting figure to whom they
are obliged to pay
occasional blushing obeisance.
They greet me with a dour nod
as we near each other,
and they regard my mother’s
plastic shower bench and my dangling
sack of disaster-absorbing
padded underwear with
still more feverish embarrassment,
these perfumed raging idiots.
We enter the Hallowed House of the Aged.
In these hushed halls
the infirm shuffle along
bathed in our consensual pity and fear,
brittle whispering specters with flyaway hair,
scarcely clad in thinning spotted papyrus,
passing gas without compunction and murmuring loudly;
a secret cabal of once and future martini enthusiasts
screwing in the sleeper car on the night train to Boston,
doing a thronged, gin-fueled Lindy Hop before a blaring bandstand,
scrambling up the vertical bullet-riddled cliffs of Omaha Beach,
sprinting down the shattered streets of London
amid a mad fall of rockets,
bicycling 50 km to bring back a loaf of wormy Dutch bread
and thus vanquishing an armored Zarathustra.
They thanked their airborne allies in tulips
when all else had been burned away.
The German children made from the downed pilot’s life vest
flotation devices to hand around
and so taught themselves to swim that summer,
sheltering and feeding the frightened flier in the family home.
If the pilot yet lives he is a dried leaf and repulses the visitor.
The Deutsche kinder are grown
and revel casually in the childhood memory,
beatific to those who are privileged to hear.
Our wrecked nursing home set-asides
once boozily toasted each other by lamplight in embrace-crushed neckties.
They walked around on the fucking moon.
One of them golfed there with a Wilson six-iron.
They lustily ran amok,
lustily handed us everything,
lustily reworked a world
in their own reckless excited image.
We pampered dipshits
dare regard them with embarrassment.
We’re coherent and clean,
but have little else to recommend us;
pitiable, mouselike, untried and cocksure.
The fragrant embarrassing oldsters will be fine.
They’ve already completed with a flourish
what we would never ourselves have the balls to begin.


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