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Sunday, May 9, 2010

Getting Carded at Safeco Field

last Wednesday night certainly did catch me by surprise, but this time instead of quipping are you blind? Are you telling me you can't see these crows? I politely showed my ID and pretended I was, well, carding-worthy.

I am not. I will turn in 50 in approximately . . . 15 months.

Yep, 50. Demi Moore and I are turning 50.

Except Demi has a personal trainer, a facialist, a butt firmer, a wrinkle remover, and an arsenal of torture tools to remove unsightly cellulite and lipo-osities.

The young don't consider that age cannot be stopped, that old people are merely young people who've been on the planet just a wee bit longer. But they're too busy having fun with other young people to consider it's not our fault we're aging.

I don't know why this little thought process has been so crucial the last few months, but I think it has to do with . . . turning 50.

[Please, please, please, by the way, don't post a comment saying "Oh, Marty, you're not old!" I am not writing this poem for reassurances or to be told I'm looking just fine. That is not, is not, the point of this post].

I feel like I can still run as fast, hike as far, carry as heavy a pack, play lava monster at the playground as well as I could've at age 20, but some weird-ass shit is happening to me and my body, my horse, my hound.

And something else: my metabolism is slowing down; I can't eat six helpings of pasta anymore without gaining an ounce. No shit!

Anyway, enough about me. The whole point of this post is actually to share a couple of sonnets I came across this past week, both about women turning 50. They both made me sit up and notice, so I thought I'd share:

The Romance of Middle Age
Mary Meriam

Now that I'm fifty, let me take my showers
at night, no light, eyes closed. And let me swim
in cover-ups. My skin's tattooed with hours
and days and decades, head to foot, and slim
is just a faded photograph. It's strange
how people look away who once would look.
I didn't know I'd undergo this change
and be the unseen cover of a book
whose plot, though swift, just keeps getting thicker.
One reaches for the pleasures of the mind
and heart to counteract the loss of quicker
knowledge. One feels old urgencies unwind,
although I still pluck chin hairs with a tweezer,
in case I might attract another geezer.

Jane Cooper

But I love this poor earth,
because I have not seen another . . .
--Osip Mandelstam

Between five and fifty
most people construct a little lifetime:
they fall in love, make kids, they suffer
and pitch the usual tents of understanding.
But I have built a few unexpected bridges.
Out of inert stone, with its longing to embrace intert stone,
I have sent a few vaults into stainless air.
Is this enough--when I love our poor sister earth?
Sister earth, I kneel and ask pardon.
A clod of turf is not less than inert stone.
Nothing is enough!
In this field set free for our play
who could have foretold
I would love to write at fifty?

Gawd, I love these both. The former appears in the Winter 2009 issue of Rattle, as part of the Tribute to the Sonnet; the latter in The Penguin Book of the Sonnet: 500 Years of a Classic Tradition in English (Phillis Levin, ed.). I just had to laugh at the tweezer/geezer couplet. But I'm not about to start showering in the dark. Fahget about it!


David Graham said...

50? 50? I dimly remember turning 50. I think . . . .

seana said...

Oh, Marty, you're not old!

Sorry--I couldn't resist.

Martha Silano said...

You two are both so sweet. oh, and another thing about growing older I forgot to mention: I'm happier than I've ever been. Take that, youngsters!

Kathleen said...

I have that issue of Rattle! B-day present! Beyond 50!

Yes, on the happiness!

Martha Silano said...

Rattle is one of my fav mags. They do such a great job. Great look, great poems and interviews. The next issue has a humor dossier with one of my poems included, toot toot.

Joannie said...

Somehow I thought you were about to turn 40. Really.

Having been 50 for three months, I must say that it has been a gas. I'm lovin' it.

The metabolism thing is a drag. (Mine is so slow I'm surprised I'm even breathing.) And I don't get carded, but that means I get my beer faster.

Just plan a party. ;-)

And thanks for sharing the sonnets.

Kells said...

OH and SO yes about the metabolism. I just realized that my 30-something self could eat a lot more!

Kells said...


You so look no where near 50. I was looking at our poetry barn photos and you do look like you're in your 20's!

I can't remember the last time I got carded.

I definitely feel happier and stronger in my 40's. I am much stronger. My 20-something self would have mt. biked up a bunny hill and passed out, I'm in much better shape and could kick my 20-year-old arse. (My 20 yr old self ate a lot of muffins and enjoyed Tetris, if I remember correctly).

I think it's about strength and happiness for me, my older self swims in it, my younger self only put her toe in the water.

Martha Silano said...

Joannie: I'd never considered the pluses of not getting carded. Thx for that!

Kelli: come to think of it, i could prob kick my 20-year old's arse too--but maybe not win in arm wrestling (I used to lift weights).

Jan Priddy, Oregon said...

A woman once assured me that "the great thing about turning 70 is that no one expects you to look young anymore." My great grandmother, alive in an age when "ladies never admitted their age," could not help bragging when she entered her 80s. I am 57 and announce that age at every opportunity. It reminds me, if no one else, of who I am and what I've seen.

Susan Rich said...

Marty, Fifty feels hopeful in a new way. And it was the 46-49 that got me down ...You will love fifty - no more seeing it looming in the future. My new favorite thing is to begin sentences, "Now that I am fifty ..."

Martha Silano said...

I remember the relief of turning 40, so thanks for reminding me, Susan, that 50 will feel the same.

Jan: I am proud to announce my age, too, and am looking forward to not having to look young. 70 is going to be sweet, but I just wish we didn't have to die.

seana said...

Fifty is an odd one. I felt it as a hurdle that once over, was safely past. But others I've known have had more difficulty with it. I think a lot of it is where the center of your identity resides. So if it's tough, just expand your sense of yourself and you'll be fine!

Martha Silano said...

Seana: I have gone through decades of having no fear of aging, but suddenly 50 crept up on me, and it was freaking me out. But less so, now, thanks to all the reassurances it's no big deal. I really do not fear being 70 or 80 or beyond (looks shmooks!), but I just don't want to be frail or bedridden.