Nevermore Twenty-Seven; or, The Education of Young Wormwood

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Nevermore Twenty-Seven; or, The Education of Young Wormwood

Dedicated to Jim Morrison and the Girl Who Loved Me Best, who told me to fuCk off because sHe couldn’t bEaR to watch mE fuck off aNymorE.

On outliving Morrison:
I ain’t stoned
and I wasn’t no immaculate conception
although
perhaps I should check back in five years
to make sure of that one
(Is thirty-three the new twenty-seven?
Christ, I hope not.)

Twenty-seven started out proper for me
or at least proper like it was for
Jimmy or Janice or Jim:
On a Friday the Thirteenth
with a gin and tonic for the troops
(or at least one wounded soldier drummer boy blue and his clown troupe)
alone,
the way I fancied,
knee-deep in the muck and grime,
up to the neck about
but not quite choking time…

You know, for somebody who is tired of tired cliches, that’s a doozy of an exception to make, mate.

“Oh goody!
Twenty-seven!
Degenerates go to heaven!”

And you know, for somebody who doesn’t believe in religion or signs or superstitions, you sure are into Friday the Thirteenth, man.

But I didn’t see any cause for concern:
A sign
indeed
of ill omen
if you’re not into
being ill
and I will
tell you
that I was
into being ill
and out of my mind.

Twenty-seven is a fine age to die,
indeed,
thought I a year ago.
I’ll get to join the
Too Soon Moonlighters Club
and wax poetic
about wasted paths
trodden like rotten little spoiled
down-trodden
solipsist self-idolators.

Oh, I was real good at building pedestals,
wasn’t I?
Oh yes, I readily admit that.
In fact, I copped to that copout
years ago
after a folly of a fiance
I had propped up like a demigod
(when she was really a demimonde,
god bless her)
caused me great distress
when she ran off
with a hairdresser
and left me a mess.

But true to form,
like any beast worth its habits,
I kept building pedestals,
and since I was the only one around,
well…

What better damning ambition,
what nobler fatalist feat
to strive for
than croaking at twenty-seven
really?

But I was merely twenty-four
when I set myself this goal
and
after all
for somebody of
well
my habits
three years was a hell of
a ways to go.

Really I just wanted to go.
I always had,
but
pesky poetic pretenses
and
meddlesome metaphoric meaning
caused me to
at the very least
try to find some reason
some semblance of agency
in what was completely
devoid of reason and agency.

I hadn’t always aspired to death at twenty-seven.
No,
my dreams weren’t always so wild…

First I wanted to go
by nineteen
because I wanted to be a teenager
forever
but
in spite of my best efforts
and intentions
I made it to twenty.

Then I wanted to go
at twenty-one
like Sid Vicious
but I wasn’t savvy enough
to have discovered heroin
yet
and in spite of my best efforts
and intentions
I made it past twenty-one.

I kept expecting to
exorcise my spirit
by exercising spirits
before each subsequent birthday
but in spite of my best efforts
and intentions
I made it past those too.

So around twenty-four
I figured that twenty-seven was a good one:
It would give me some time to finish the great American novel
(and upstage F. Scott, whose opening slot came too soon and his fatal shot too late),
record a musical masterpiece
(or five, because after all, I was contending with Morrison here),
and paint a Mona Lisa or two
(although I didn’t own a paintbrush, let alone a hairbrush).

Because I was
the starving artist
the poet in the garret
the tortured genius in the basement
with a face full of divine inspiration
and a head full of fury.

It was my ignoblesse oblige:
I had a lecherous legacy to leave,
god damn it.

But I never finished a novel
or recorded a record
or painted any Mona Lisas
(Moaning Lisas, maybe),
so that when twenty-seven
came around,
it looked as if
I might not be anything
more than
a misguided
suicidal
cliche chaser.

And that was a pretty heavy pill
for even a
pill-popper
to pop,
Pops.

I remember
a girl
the girl
the only girl that I haven’t been able to shake
shaking me up a bit
thrashing me around
tearing me apart
limb from leaky limb
with this one:
“You could have anything you wished for if you really wanted it, but the only want and the only wish I see is a death wish.”

I couldn’t argue with that one.
I didn’t have an argument
you see
or any fight left in me.

So I flipped the script and
I dropped the cards and
I tore my sleeves to fucking shreds and
with my best efforts
and intentions
I made it to twenty-eight.

There will be no Jack Daniels with Janice
or junk with Jim
or any of that I suppose
but
there may be some sort of legacy
now:
Perhaps a novel
(even if it’s not that great or even American)
or a record
(masterpiece or not, I can muster some music),
or even a painting or two
(although I still don’t own a paintbrush, or a hairbrush for that matter).

Twenty-eight:
With a tune in my throat,
A pen in my paw,
A girl in my head,
and a dream in my heart.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.
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5 responses »

  1. I can totally relate. I think I’m a few years older than you, but every milestone you’ve mentioned rang familiar, and I can recall a couple of years ago having my 33rd and lamenting that it was either time to pull off some seriously miraculous shit or else get crucified.
    I’ve been crucifying myself ever since, and no longer believe in miracles.

  2. Now, I’m sixty-three…and shall be older sooner than looking forward to it gets in the way;
    there is an acceleration to anticipation, as we age, no waiting required for the best laid plans.
    Currently, I’m in the middle stage of a cross country move, but want to thank you for following
    and let you know that, for now, if you don’t mind, I shall bookmark your blog until all this is over
    and leisure is at hand again. I do like what you have written herein. If you do mind, don’t worry.

  3. This was brilliant mate. I noticed that you’d visited my blog so I thought I’d pop over here for a quick visit, but the man at the door insisted that my mainline be flooded with intoxicating awareness. How could I refuse, I myself was once a “a misguided suicidal cliche chaser” (excellent line by the way) and I had ideal ages that I should be gone by 18, 21, 25… I’m 38 now and thank fuck I was crap at pulling the plug. I’m very glad I found this blog, my blog is only a week old and I’ve got stuff that I want to put on it, but was in two minds,,, blah blah.. But this blog gives me more courage to take that step, cheers for the hit of adrenaline, I respect what you’re doing here….
    Oh also nearly forgot… Goethe didn’t finish Faust until he was in his eighties, so plenty time left for nobel prize, epic novel and lifetime achievement award for services to music, that’s what I’m aiming for anyway….. I wish I could learn how to write shorter comments like everyone else, there must be a knack…. perhaps less speed (of light) dabblings….. when I’m 40 I’ll think about it…..Cheers

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