Poem by Will Aldis

How Very Strange to be Seventy and Homeward Bound

            (A love song to Evanston in C major)

The old man does what old men do if they are (un)lucky enough 
To remember anything at all.
He is maybe sixteen.
He is maybe fifteen.
He is maybe.
Maybe not.
There is maybe a girl sitting next to him…
But probably not.

On the portable Zenith stuck in Lake Michigan summer sand,
"How does it feel?!
"With no direction
The boy had no idea how it felt
He didn't know how anything felt except lost and lonely and dyingly horny, 
I want to make wild pagan painted mad love to that tree
That's weird, right?
And that fire hydrant is giving me that over the shoulder come hither, daddy-o glance.
And its red is like Marilyn's lipstick.


But he knew how the song made him feel 
All goofy and giddy and hip and Holden
And mercury high

"To be on your own?"
That he felt!
And couldn't wait to be on his owner.

A complete unknown?
Was any boy more unknowner?!

The old man is seventy now
And unknowable
Because who gives a flamer to know anything
About a seventy year old.
In the world of vampires and palms?

But the song stays the same 
"How does it feel?"
I'll tell you exactly how it feels

Like a seventy year old man
Walking his sixteen year old self
Hand in hand along a Lake Michigan beach

Dancing sands, you know why I mean?

Young sparkly new, new, new blondes

Teasing and tickling and kissing their old/young ankles. (tanned or blue veined.)

Walking to:
"you're invisible now
You got no secrets to conceal."

Secrets at seventy?

I have no secrets to conceal

Secrets aren’t worth the concealing.

Too much baggagage

Too heavy Mister Jones.

I will reveal my truths

And carry my wide open truths, on skinny pale and lobster shoulders under deep purple skies

The air is electric with purple and silver

With one angel of  Lake Michigan soft august sigh

(Here comes on of of those summer storms from nowhere)
My secret will float on summer wind.
What anybody thinks of me is none of my god damn business.

The old man is drawn on parchment as dry and tentative
as his skin
He is drawn to go home.



Riots of red and gold
The crunch of tires on snow so deep
Christmas eve
And so still
How can the night be so quiet?


The grass Van Gogh green 
The clouds robin’s egg Little Boy Lost Blue

The Cubs actually did it!
After years of promising himself
He wasn't there…
The great betrayal

But for the next five years
This old boy will fucking be there!!!

And he'll fire up a jay on Addison!
And do the funky Broadway down Broadway

And he can look up and watch winter come in over the Hancock.


Where no one remembers you
And cancer
Is the answer
To the question


Past the school yard
Did you hear?
Buddy Holly died.

Past the high school
And biology class
in the hallway
Laughing boys
"Hey, man! They killed the President!"


Where a woman waits.
I could show you her picture
But I won't
Because you wouldn't believe it anyway.
I could tell you her name
But I won't because you would all go looking for her

And she is not to be lost nor found

But there is a woman.

There are still women
Who want and wait…
I'm not kidding.

She will kiss him.
All seventy of him
I'm not kidding.

She will lay him down on cool sheets.
I'm not kidding

She will open the window
and her lips,
Limbs and heart
Still not kidding

The spring scented
breeze off the lake
Will taste
To the old man


That's how it feels.

Like victory!