I had my 60th birthday yesterday.
Over the weekend gifts showed up:
unexpected and delicious time with my lovers,
a party surrounded by friends,
phone calls from people in other places
who love me, some new earrings,
my Princess saying at pillow distance
I love you so much, Daddy.
I have been thinking about past birthdays.
I hadn’t written about this before
until a couple of weeks ago on Facebook
when the actual day was there, mid-September.
Three years ago, two weeks before
my 57th birthday, I went to a meeting
of the personnel committee at the church
I served, and they told me they were reducing
my salary by 40% for the next year,
that I wasn’t worth the amount of money
they were paying me, that I was ineffective
despite the same people telling me the Sunday before
I was the best music director they
had ever had there. I went home from the meeting
and told me now ex-wife and she yelled
and said I had ruined her life, I had made her
move to this shit-hole of San Angelo
and now I wasn’t even going to have enough money
to pay the mortgage, which of course was factually wrong
and she threw things at me, my grandparents china
she was eating off of, two plates broke,
two more out of the 16 I used to have, and she hit me.
Not the first time she had hit me either.
As a friend I have now says, why did you stay
when you weren’t even getting any pussy?
I know now, but that’s another story
and another poem, perhaps.
So that night, I went in the bathroom
and got out all the pills, the leftover opioids
from dental and surgical procedures,
and put them in a line on the countertop
a total of 11 bottles, see, the expiration date
which had passed on some didn’t matter for this,
and I looked up on my phone what the overdose
for each one was, and I had about 80%
of what was needed for three different kinds
so I figured that together it would be enough
plus they all had acetaminophen mixed in
to keep you from taking too much, but it wasn’t relevant
if I killed my liver, so I opened up all the bottles
and lined them up, and wondered how many
I could swallow at once, would I get halfway and decide
not to finish or not be able to keep them down
and have to go get my fucking stomach pumped.
I was thinking about that when a colleague
who knew what I was going through at the church
with the allegedly Christian assholes there
and knew I had the meeting that evening, he texted me,
hey David, how are you? and I thought how I didn’t care
if my wife would be hurt and distraught and angry
if I ended my life and that anyway I hated my life with her
anger all the time, no sex, her hitting me and yelling
but that there were other people who would care
and did care, and I sorted out the pills
into the different kinds that they were
and put them back in their bottles and put the bottles
back in the cabinet and went out into the living room
where my wife threw a book at me literally, and hit me again.
I was ashamed of this for a long time.
Now I know that I am not responsible for my abuse
that I stayed with her because of childhood patterns
I was not the master of, I never learned how
to be in a relationship in a healthy way before
and I don’t blame her now, she was just as unconscious
and hurting, we all are in some way, so that now,
when I wake up every day more and more conscious,
I am deeply grateful that my life is amazing and glorious.
Three years later I am in a place where I would not
ever think about that again, I know that for truth
because I was that distraught again recently
when I thought one of my lovers was leaving me,
and it didn’t cross my mind to end my life.
So this birthday, I am fucking 60
and alive and in love and joyous
and have women and men who want
to be in my bed and text me that often.
I am surrounded by love, I have more sex
than I have ever had, except for that two year time
when I was 24 and 25 when I picked up
a different woman or sometimes man almost every night,
I estimate a total of 600 people, not bragging
because I’m not exactly proud of this
I survived it and this was in the early 80s
and many of my friends died of AIDS,
I did this without caring about my safety,
kids, don’t try this at home,
until one morning I woke up next to a woman
who was clearly my mother’s age, whose name
I couldn’t remember, and I decided I was done
with anonymous fucking but in reality it never was joy
it was pain, self-medicating through my cock
so now, when I can handle everything in my life,
when I am becoming more self-aware and conscious,
I can say with truth that I have more love than I have ever had.
This past weekend I was surrounded
by lovers and friends and even some family,
and if there ever was a good way to start a new
birth-year, goddamn this was it.
Somebody at my party said, 60 is the new 30,
fuck that, 60 is the new and perfect 60,
60 is the light streaming down when the sun
comes out from behind rain clouds, 60 is the taste
of the ripest strawberries and bitter chocolate,
60 is my lovers eyes, each of them in their turn,
at the other edge of a pillow, their hands in my hair
telling me what they want to do to me,
60 is knowing that each day I have left
is irreplaceable and lovely and perfect,
I”m not even looking ahead to see what might be,
today, right here, now, is enough.