by Eric Luft
Free teenage punks declare themselves mature
And cease to be themselves. They have the itch
To be adults, prefer unfree to poor.
They let Delilah cut their hair and switch
Their friends and choose their clothes and write their book.
So old before their time, broke down, but rich,
They meekly fade because they let her rook
Their individuality for clone.
Just once before I die I want to look
Like seventeen again, feel strong, full-blown,
Escape my Bartleby and Babbitt shroud.
Bricks bouncing off my unharmed head, alone,
I’d bring that temple down and stand unbowed,
As radiant as Zeus, entire and proud.
Comment: I wrote this poem in my mid-fifties on a particularly bad day of pining for my lost — or at least misplaced — youth. It could have come out despondent and whiny, but instead it emerged rather defiant, optimistic, and cathartic