To all my family,
To all my friends,
To all my unfettered folks,
To all my planetary companions,
To all my quasi-sentient beings,
To all my unchained spirit entities,
To all my galactic fellow travelers,
To all my universal proto-essences,
To all my trans-dimensional presences,
and to all of you that I left out:–
I greet you and
I meet you and
I love you!
That’s why we’re here!



Being 80 is like
being any other age except
I’ve seen more of good and bad
than the younger folks, which
has made me both wiser and stupider
than I was before.

Being 80 means —
in this culture, when you hit 80,
you are fucking OLD, Jack,
and so it gives me great pleasure
to have finally arrived:
I am officially and truly OLD,
and now, actually being 80,
I can observe and attest
that it’s all BULLSHIT, folks.
Old is a state of mind,
not a number.

On the other hand, being 80 means
the body, the mortal coil,
wants to be shuffled off
and begins to break down,
to spring leaks and pop gaskets,
to get cancers and fevers,
and so the challenge now is
to maintain some grace
and still serve some purpose,
which in my case is definitely doable,
and meanwhile, thank you!
for your kind indulgence and
continuing patience with my process.

Being 80 means
being asked by younger folk
to dispense my horseshit advice
smelling of the manure of life,
made tasty by myriad spices
and tall stories of the road
and all those tremendous fuckups
that made me me wise —
as in wise man, as in wiseguy.

Being 80 means
seeing death up-close,
seeing some of my family pass,
seeing so many of my friends pass,
seeing panoramas of history pass,
seeing it all pass including the hat,
plus much gas from the great ass.

Being 80 means
I recall all sorts of stuff
that no one else knows anymore,
like fresh milk from horse-drawn carts,
like ten-cents-a-gallon gasoline,
and cars with hand-crank starters,
and coins called milles
for fractions of a cent,
long gone just as pennies will soon;
makes me a museum that drools.

Being 80 means
I remember listening to the radio
in my back yard in Perth Amboy NJ,
saying FDR was dead, running inside
screaming mom mom
now it’s Harry Truman,
and watch her sob for our dead prez.

Being 80 means
recalling VE Day on a train with mom,
being at Dearborn Station in Chicago,
with exulting crowds of servicemen
and people dancing in the street,
everybody going nuts for peace.

Being 80 means
recalling the day that we, you n me,
laid the big bomb on the bad guys,
and the headlines screaming happily
about a hundred thousand Japs
killed by the giant mushroom. Yay!

Being 80 means
I remember waving to Harry Truman,
passing slowly in an open limousine
down Washington Av in Miami Beach,
because he was the man with the bomb.

Being 80 means
I grew up in a world without plastic!
Hell, I remember a world before TV.
I remember kitchens with ice-boxes.
and kitchens with only wood-stoves.
I remember getting model airplanes in Wheaties boxes; P39s and F4s.

Being 80 means
having had half a dozen wives and
a few hundred various girlfriends —
but now I am alone, a single dude
that no women want anymore,
at least not any women I want.

Being 80 means
that all my sweet lovers and wives
have moved on and I am Solitary.
HMNN, maybe something I said or did.
Oh well, what the hell — it’s all good!
Yes, women fascinate me, as ever,
but I AM content in my own company;
because I am the one who can stand me.
Or, in the immortal words of Gene Lesser:
“I love me, I’m set free,
where have I been all my life?”

Being 80
makes me dwell in reminiscence,
leaving me warmly aware that
I still care about every woman
I ever cared about at any time of life.
Embers glowing in my mental hearth,
and the klinkers don’t matter anymore.

Being 80 means
having that fatuous old man’s fantasy
of charming a young woman to love,
but in reality the charms don’t work
and I gamely play sexual solitaire,
taking matters into my own hands.

Being 80 means
forgetting all those friends who I forgot
and all those who forgot me;
a pile of musty address books,
scattered stashes of fading snapshots;
Man, getting old can get REALLY old.

Being 80 means
having been populous,
with two amazing grown daughters —
Sierra, take a bow; and Casimira too,
plus Jan who died while living hard,
and four gorgeous grandchildren:
Simone – Sophia – Elliott – Clara,
microchips off the old block.

Being 80 means
I definitely hear Time’s winged chariot
beating near, oh dear, and so
I do offer bundles of thanks
for all the good times rolled,
despite all those fucking bells tolled.

Being 80 means feeling ongoing pain
of losing so many pals and colleagues
over the quick-step march of years
that increasingly steal away from life
this beautiful corps of companions
who accompanied me at some point.
Hey all ye sweet souls and loves,
Rest in peace, thou lamented;
and you know who you are.

Being 80 means
being acutely and cutely aware
that the price of life is death and loss,
that this terrific beach party of the soul
does finally end —
but ah my foes
and oh my friends,
what a lovely party it makes!

And being 80 also means
I am still quite alive
with a bit of time to go —
to learn new tricks,
to meet new folks,
to keep inwardly expanding
in the face of outward contraction.

Hey, life begins at 80!
Remember you heard it here.
No shit, folks, I feel
I’m just getting warmed up,
just getting the hang of this
curious and curiouser journey.

Being 80 means
being sad some of the time,
thinking on all life’s vainglory,
feeling the macro pain of the world
and all the micro pain of myself,
and yet, waking up to more clarity,
becoming more hip to life’s density,
using survival as a form of resistance.

Being 80 is
a respectable measure of survival, and
survival is the final form of resistance,
the denial of death as a game of life,
playing the game to extenuate inevitability,
playing the game to fuck with fate
and throw some sand into the cosmic eye.

Being 80 also means,
oh well, what the hell,
time to get real at last.
When I think the world is dying,
now I first consider if it’s just me.

Being 80 means
seeing more spots in my field of vision,
more dark places in my inner vision,
weighing life’s losses and black moments
against the bright lights and hot spots,
concluding that it’s worth going on,
wading thru muck and finding magic.

Being 80 means
that more and more, I see
the magic all around in every thing,
motivates me to pursue the call of life
and sing its joys aloud,
and sing its joys aloud,
even as I feel the hounds
nipping at my heels,
oh what the hell!

Being 80 also means
forgiving myself for my various sins
and assorted crimes against humanity.
I mean, I’ve been a pretty good boy
but I broke hearts, caused some pain,
said and did things that stank of low consciousness at the time.
Sorry about that!

Being 80 means
I forgive me for being just human,
but hold myself accountable as a God.
I apologize for metaphorically raping and pillaging,
for metaphorically maiming and torturing,
even for good cause; and
I promise I won’t do it again.

Being 80 means
starting to lose my mind,
or rather just speeding up
a process already well advanced;
I mean, forgetting my personal history,
forgetting the names of bygone friends,
inching away along the slide rule of life
(does anyone remember the slide rule?).

Being 80 means
getting crazier and crazier all the time
and loving it more and more,
indulging the insanity of individuality,
separating myself from the pseudo-sanity of the herd,
and living an epic of  idiosyncrasy.

Being 80 means
recalling my mom Josephine at 80;
how she gradually turned to mush;
and taking care of her at 90,
and taking care of her at 95,
watching senile dementia at play,
and so to know oh so well
what is coming for me too;
oh well, what the hell.

Being 80 means
that the end of the world is in sight,
down there at the end of the tunnel,
up there on the edge of the cliff,
coming nearer every day for all of us
but I may have to take my turn soon.

Being 80 means
I survived the broken elbow, broken wrist, broken rib,
broken toe, broken ankle, broken heart.
I survived two kinds of cancer —
malignant melanoma a long time ago,
and colon cancer last year,
and pneumonia and flu and lots more,
plus various car & motorcycle crashes.
I survived falling down a mountain,
I survived various airplane mishaps,
I survived it all, AND I enjoyed it!

Being 80 means
being glad I came this far and can thank
so many motley human beings,
including some unable to be here now,
and many who are here now today,
connected with me through time.
YOU are the stars in my personal firmament,
dazzling me with your bright glory.

Being 80 means
being just another old fart
unless I make life into art.
What’s the point of just getting old
unless I behave correspondingly bold?

Being 80 means
hanging out at the center of the vortex,
in the singularity within the black hole,
the great vagina beyond space & time,
the ultra-whatsis-whoozis-hodaddy
reality circus of the soul,
like whoa man whoa, hot stuff!
80 freaking years old, that’s what!

Being 80 means
being pounded daily
by the awesomeness of life,
the get-down miracle of Being,
the world vibrating in eternal newness.
Awe is the beginning of Wisdom.
Wisdom is the definer of Meaning.
Finding meaning is the gold of Life.

Being 80 is
to be  endangered by excess experience,
to become crusted and self-protective,
drifting further from primal innocence.
Its why old men chase young women;
not with lust for sex but lust for life!

Being 80 I repeat
that survival is a form of resistance;
it’s why we respect old age as a virtue,
but don’t mean diddly without integrity.
Too often being old is just insistence
on tired old shit not worth a shit.

Being 80 means
feeling at last fully immersed
in this cloth of culture we wear,
in this fabric of life we create,
in this family of lovely fools we’ve endured,
in this dream of endless love
that we can make real.

Being 80 means
I worry more
but care less about:
global warming
radioactive mutations
meteor strikes
air pollution
poisoned water
methane releases
mideast wars
African wars
South American wars
pesticides & GMOs
economic collapse
homeless veterans
police violence
electronic surveillance
billionaire greed
totalitarian corporatism
antibiotic resistance
civil rioting
terrorist attacks
mad dogs
normal people
the Christian Right
surging debt
raging inflation
solar flares
religious brainwashing
factory farming
nuclear extermination
alien abduction
Islamic fanatics
erectile dysfunction
Zionist fanatics
financial manipulation
Tea Party fanatics
rape rampages
mass murders
traffic jams
heart attacks
underarm odor
dandruff flakes
bladder control
bad breath
bad luck
and lots more
that I don’t worry about anymore.

Being 80
does give me a sense of finitude,
an awareness of mortality’s shadow silently creeping into view
like some jackanape spiritual ninja freak.
Yet I have no fear of death, even a little curiosity,
and I’m now alerted  to shorten my To-Do List
to what I can reasonably accomplish yet,
forgetting what I’d like to do if I had a few centuries left.

Being 80,
let me check my short list:
drink wine, yeah.
smoke pot, ok.
chase younger women.
write poetry
scan my photos
watch Giants & 49ers
read a lot.
take long walks.
breathe deep.
drink plenty of water.
sleep all I want.
grow my own food.
grow my own medicine.
smell the roses.
touch the sky..
give thanks.
and finally,
give thanks some more.

Finally, being 80
I realize ever more clearly
that life is a win-some, lose-some deal,
and the older I get,
the more I win and the more I lose,
and the more I lose, the more I win,
the older I get —
easing closer to cosmic culmination,
the point at which I lose it all
but gain and regain the universe,
go home again after this long strange trip
on a first-line alpha planet
in a main-line beta body
to my goal-line theta touchdown,
riding on the alpha-beta-theta line —
the education of a hobo soul in space.

Being 80 means
that when all is said and done,
too much is said and
not enough is done.

So, finally, being 80,
surrounded by love of every sort,
be assured, my friends,
that I bask in elder bliss,
at ease in the flow.
In truth, life is veddy veddy gude to me,
And I personally approve this message.




We are all gods in animal bodies,
which is the human cross we bear
on the way to our personal Golgotha.
It all makes no sense,
a tragic fate to die
at the peak of our hard-won wisdom.

What can save us from this tragedy?

Divinity’s answer to Death is Art.

The only defense against Death is Art.
Survival with style is our gift
to a universe seemingly impersonal.
This is the fate of our spirit selves
who roam the universe at will
with dominion over everything —
except no manifestation materially,
incarnation possible only  in bodies
that will wear and decay with age
and there is painful dignity in this,
there is enduring beauty in this,
there is a response to this iron gift,
which is to bring our divine art forth,
to live in goodness and grace,
to become vehicles of Imagination,
chariots of fire, and bearers of light.

Let’s do this again at 100.
Meanwhile, party on!

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