Alarm ringing true

There was time —
I know there was —
saw it spread out
all ahead of me,
a beautiful infinity —
immortal fresh-faced
clock of opportunity —
numberless, handless
no ticks & no tocks
save for the sound
of distant decades
too quiet to really hear —
but at forty-eight years
a sudden gear-grinding
cacophony, the outspread
blanket of eternity
has begun to suffocate,
wrapped around me
limiting my agility
darkening my path —
I’m having trouble
breathing, I no longer
see that clock open
or free, its movements
now deafen me, its hands
tear into my flesh and
grip tight my throat —
I am choking on
second thoughts
at this midlife hour
this day of reckoning

—Terri Guillemets

I accept you

Okay — I give in — I accept you — Middle Age
I am tired — I want to sit down — unrushed —
to read — and drink hot tea — and — Breathe
the number of years behind me — and ahead of me —
no longer concern me — mathematically or emotionally
I have come to rest in the sturdy arms of the Present —
where Time has been waiting for me — my whole Life

—Terri Guillemets

Real eyes

Now that I’m over the hill
I can see it’s just made of
skeletons of dead monsters
that were never really there.
But that past is no less high
and no less there, and I am
no less on the other side of it.

—Terri Guillemets

Battery

my youth is caked over
with heartache and pains
regrets and inflammations
and sudden calcifications
of ligaments and spirit
not-bothers and defeats
that went to my head
and bruises that take
too long to heal
cracked teeth and
why-tries and i’m-tireds

that which galloped
now rolls in ruts
my blonde has passed
to mousy and gray —
everyone i know
looks tired and frayed
sagging from the weight
of time and overbusy
and too much stuff
in too-big houses —
it’s too much life
and too little living —
no vitamines will fix this

—Terri Guillemets

Midlife midriff

Eating a lot of garbage and dessert-obsessive
for several months, I put on a few pounds
      — and more.

Waddling is hell, and fat is a problem for the heart
      — I’m hungry & in pain.

Waist weight is a cruel joke, and age is no help.

—Terri Guillemets

scrambled blackout poetry created from David Sedaris, Me Talk Pretty One Day, 2000, pages 136–139

Ode to middle age

How like a lovely autumn morning,
      serene middle age —
a sanctuary of mind, a chapel;
the age of faith on a deep foundation,
      and the age of reason;
silver fellowships, libraries and deep reflection,
wine, liberty, a milder manifestation of the soul;
brilliance upon our lips, more profound, subtle;
the rich flame of the good life, how sweet —
      listening to the murmur of change

—Terri Guillemets

blackout poetry created from Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own, 1929, Grafton paperback, 1977, pages 11–16