I was with my 5-year old grandson this weekend, and my daughter (probably for my sake) put on a Beatles playlist. I remarked to her that that song, “Will you still need me, will you still feed me when I’m 64…” was really a joke to us at the time. Who was ever going to be 64?
Then today, I happened on this prose poem by C. K. Williams:
When I offhandedly remarked to my father how sad it was that his good friend Sol would be dying next year he startled and asked what do you mean and I answered well he’ll be sixty sixty that’s when you die everybody knows that and then my father “disabused” me–is that the term?–of that notion which it turns out was true for the men on the island–Kea–where the poet Simonides came from because when they hit sixty all the males drank hemlock and removed themselves got out of the way you might put it which doesn’t seem like that bad an idea when I wake creaking and crackling and drag myself out of my sleep and also sometimes just seeing something like that half-fossilized woman yesterday in the street old old with a too-short skirt–“mini” are they still called?–bright tights high leather boots thick makeup head shaved and one long earring dangling and my god what’s she thinking I thought then glimpsed in my mind what pleasure for her it must have bee to put her face on choose the outfit unroll the tights don the sweater hook on the earring then hup out the door and I remembered also what it was for myself this morning when I was shaving number sixty long gone old yellow teeth like teeth in a skull then I saw in the glass indeed a skull my skull orbs dead as moons cracked grin leering and how could I have let myself get so old I thought I must not have paid enough attention I must have left too many days only partly put to use otherwise it would have taken longer to get here so much longer
C. K. Williams from The Selected Later Poems