THIRTIES IN THE REAR-VIEW

I.
In the mid-1980s,
my mom professed her
crush on George Michael.
Being quite young,
I was certain
my middle-aged, Mormon mother
was going to leave
the suburbs of Utah,
her three children and my dad,
move to England,
and set up house
with George Michael.
(In hindsight,
I suppose she would have
been in a relationship with Andrew Ridgeley
of Wham as well)?

II.
Knowing there are others
who feel this way,
think this way,
and want the crush of madness
to stop, is what wakes me up most mornings.
I don’t have news alerts turned on —
I don’t like being reminded
about what’s coming next.
Yet I read voraciously,
like it’s my job.
The words of reporters and authors
are my lifeline.
They say “the struggle is real”,
and many days, I know it has just begun.

III.
I am glad I didn’t turn 40 in 2016.
Last year was filled with death,
depression,
earth-shattering,
life-altering events.
Taking on another decade
would have overwhelmed instantly.
My heart felt stretched in January,
again in April,
and by November’s end,
my lungs headed for collapse.
Put a star on the wall for me.
I was one of the casualties
of the soon-to-be prophesied “American carnage”.
By February,
I rose up, bandaged,
a resurrected, bettered zombie
of my former self —
and this one isn’t putting up with any shit.
Forty is the new 1984.