Sunday, January 30, 2011

Happy January 38th

"Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him: but I will maintain mine own ways before Him."

Yes, yes, yes, January 29th was my 38th birthday, and thank you to all of you friends and fiends who had written down the date in dog-eared diaries or well-thumbed journals, and then remembered to log in to Facebook to post birthday wishes on my non-existent wall. Harrrumph.

This birthday started with a journey, one that will continue through this year. I am, unlike last birthday, not bouncing 'from Battery to holy Bronx on benzedrine...' and for this fact alone, I have many people to thank.   At 1201a.m. on January 29th, I was on Amtrak train 49, the Lake Shore Limited, from NYC to Cleveland, so I begin by thanking the staff of Amtrak. I thank also: Kendric, Trevor, MJN for enduring wisdom filtered through the sounds of dirty laughter; VM and MB for one thing: tolerance; RD for love; MEB for being my trump card that I never needed to play; I thank Cleveland for being just... Cleveland. R McD I thank for music: musical food, musical chairs and -- in all seriousness, the strong, unhindered reflected light of "Greater Love Hath No Man..." MSp and KS and KA sound like they might come from the Periodic Table of Elements, and all were and are elemental to my life.

FM never gave up trying to find me, and when he did, he bought me dinner on West 17th Street and made me roar with laughter at memories of Tyrone, Down and Fife. I can't go on prattling like a painted-up Oscar-winner, and I haven't even mentioned those of a more ephemeral nature: Ginsberg, Larkin, Heaney, Shakespeare, Donne, Eliot, et al, all 'moving without pressure' over my mind at crucial moments. I thank SS for that serene self-confidence of his, and I thank Melvis for telling me that if I felt troubled late at night in Harlem, then "wear a suit." And I thank Junior for being Junior, and for his smile, which is far above rubies and diamonds in value.

I had the wit, twice now, to walk to Penn Station when the chips were down and get on a train. For that wit, or good sense, I thank only my parents and my brothers, over whose eyes the wool was never pulled by anyone or anything.

I have never written anything so personal on my blog before, and I probably never will again; this blog was never intended to be a kind of cloyingly confessional adolescent tear-smear. In this same spirit of healthy cynicism, may I misquote a poet:

He shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary him, nor the years condemn.
For he is going up an escalator,
And you can't catch him.