Whiskerino 2009

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  • posted: February 24 @ 4:58am
This is not the poem that I went looking for to include as a caption today, but it's the one that I found nonetheless. It seems fitting, given its elegiac tone--just the right sense, I think for the final week of the final Whiskerino--but also because it's really just as comedic as it is elegiac--also appropriate. We're all already looking back and remembering how magical the world was before this turning point came upon us. But the ending of Whiskerino, like the ending of the single digits, is only the beginning of a new phase that needn't be any more somber than the previous one, really, if we hang onto that within ourselves and upon our faces that makes us who we are.

This poem is also appropriate, because tomorrow is my daughter's birthday, not her tenth but one shy of that august number.

On Turning Ten
by Billy Collins

The whole idea of it makes me feel
like I'm coming down with something,
something worse than any stomach ache
or the headaches I get from reading in bad light--
a kind of measles of the spirit,
a mumps of the psyche,
a disfiguring chicken pox of the soul.

You tell me it is too early to be looking back,
but that is because you have forgotten
the perfect simplicity of being one
and the beautiful complexity introduced by two.
But I can lie on my bed and remember every digit.
At four I was an Arabian wizard.
I could make myself invisible
by drinking a glass of milk a certain way.
At seven I was a soldier, at nine a prince.

But now I am mostly at the window
watching the late afternoon light.
Back then it never fell so solemnly
against the side of my tree house,
and my bicycle never leaned against the garage
as it does today,
all the dark blue speed drained out of it.

This is the beginning of sadness, I say to myself,
as I walk through the universe in my sneakers.
It is time to say good-bye to my imaginary friends,
time to turn the first big number.

It seems only yesterday I used to believe
there was nothing under my skin but light.
If you cut me I could shine.
But now when I fall upon the sidewalks of life,
I skin my knees. I bleed.

Comments

tedford says:
that is a beautiful poem and made me kind of sad, but looking at everyone's shots makes me happy again. until Sunday when i am inevitably sad again. ah, life...
Posted: Feb 24th, 2010 - 5:29am -
gfmorris says:
I'm with @tedford. This is a great shot and an even better caption, my friend.
Posted: Feb 24th, 2010 - 5:39am -
brandon says:
Not a huge Collins fan but this one's good.

Also, yay for my second favorite tattoo ever!
Posted: Feb 24th, 2010 - 5:41am -
Scrivener says:
This is an autoclamebute, by the by. Clame.

Thanks, Brandon. I was thinking that I haven't gotten my tattoo into anywhere near enough photos this time around.
Posted: Feb 24th, 2010 - 5:47am -
ben says:
it was incredible to see you again and briefly catch up. i always enjoyed your flaming typewriter and captions
Posted: Feb 24th, 2010 - 6:52am -
Grower&Shower says:
Great poem and stretch.
Posted: Feb 24th, 2010 - 6:56am -
jnonfiction says:
Shirts off for one more Fandango.
Posted: Feb 24th, 2010 - 7:06am -
Spoony B says:
wow. that's a great poem. off to google to look up some "billy collins".
Posted: Feb 24th, 2010 - 7:50am -
Andrew says:
that typewriter tattoo is still one of my favorites. I wish I was an Arabian wizard at four.
Posted: Feb 24th, 2010 - 8:36am -
ilikeschool says:
i see your armpit. tee hee.
Posted: Feb 24th, 2010 - 8:52am -
(Another) Rachel says:
I can only stretch and reach my hands like that in one direction...I think it's right hand over, left under. I can't reach the other way. I wonder why.

Now I want to try it, but I'm at work and if someone walks in, I'll look silly.
Posted: Feb 24th, 2010 - 9:16am -
mattyc says:
I do not think i could hold my hands together like that.
Posted: Feb 24th, 2010 - 9:51am -
Scrivener says:
@ilikeschool Nah-ah. That's just a continuation of my powerful beard
Posted: Feb 24th, 2010 - 10:26am -
ThatGuy says:
this is a really great poem, and if I'm not mistaken you've used a Collins poem before. I might have to look into this guy. thanks.
Posted: Feb 24th, 2010 - 12:23pm -
Justie Just says:
you sure do know a lot of pretty words
Posted: Feb 24th, 2010 - 12:55pm -
Dschonn says:
That's a great poem. I heard a radio program about Billy Collins a few months ago, so now I hear his voice when I read his writing. I like that.
Posted: Feb 24th, 2010 - 1:22pm -
Site closed!
Whiskerino. fin.