Twenty-four (or “Twenty-three Revisited”)


Twenty-three. He’s the age of the pendulum. Adding slowly to the pile of years, he counts. Looking up from dusty cities with lamb-path streets, and following lonely roads to ice-coated highways and cities locked in pride of place. Twenty-three looks for the stupidity in his “wisdom,” he looks for the peace in his “rage,” he tries and tries and stops trying to find the middle path. Not a giving up or a giving in, simply “a giving.” Time spent quiet and alone, no loneliness. The ups and downs seem to fade into the distance, simple in the background, lovely and rolling: hills to the eye. A tick, a tock; only to be followed by a tick, a tock.

Twenty-two. He’s the age of shocking discoveries. Pushing himself to limits that set him back into loops of ecstasy and months of couch ridden recoveries. Drowning himself in lavender and tea tree oil, he meditates his brain into a submissive pulp and the world smiles back by slowly and softly responding to every fifth poem that comes from his pen. The Myrrh burns. The keys click. The oils and fats become healthy, he looks for something that this world can give him to reset the clock of his brain before it was a one-one-zero-three ticking bomb.

Twenty-one. He’s the age of foolish mistakes, high elevation and dry desert memories faded with the sting of Gin. He’s finding a pathway through words that cannot be forged by others. He is new and old, discovered within the folds of his own soul that has begun to form a hard chrysalis around itself.

Twenty. He’s the age between ages.
Not quite the legal partier, Twenty sees people around him and thinks that they have it so much more together than he does;
His inspiration, once born of hard work has now begun to be hardened by work into an outer defensive shell with which he pushes people away; daily he seeks his once possessed empathy in order to regain what he defined as his cheerful youth.

Nineteen. He’s the age of repossession. Nineteen has taken it upon himself to claim back the world in the name of something that he stands for. He puts his feet through the causes and soaks them up in his new found roots.

Eighteen. He’s the adult. Eighteen has choices that are supposedly life-changing; decisions pressed down on him are never ones that split evenly, 80-20 or 90-10, they bend with the weight of his future college debt and his cheerful lack of inhibitions. So he reaches for practicality to sturdy himself.

Seventeen. He’s the gamer. Seventeen weaves his way in and out of friends houses on the weekends, slaying zombies and aliens; drinking too much Gatorade and intravenously injecting liquified Reese’s Pieces into the oversized blood pathways that wrap snugly around his arms.

Sixteen. He’s the age of three thousand girlfriends. Hopping between meaningless two-week relationships, Sixteen begins to find himself in the blank pages at the back of each paperback copy that he is forced to read, although he isn’t yet aware of it.

Fifteen. He’s the age of promises that last forever. Fifteen holds fast to the words that were once gifted to his ear with soft whispers cast over floral couches, he uses what he knows to fight for what he wants, maybe for the first time in his life.

Fourteen. He’s the blind follower. He laughs at jokes that he doesn’t think are funny. Fourteen’s weekends are spent mainly in his friend’s truck; they consist of aimlessly driving around and eating hot dogs from Costco. The occasional breakneck speed down the highway and laughter, spilling out an echoing memory that loops in his dreams.

Thirteen. He’s the age of discovery. Thirteen sits playfully beside the light blue denims and “Chip & Dale” t-shirt slowly realizing that sometimes, two hearts beat simultaneously in a space and people call that love.

Twelve. He’s hopelessly in love. Twelve finds the innocent pre-teen romance of a girl that both destroys and creates him at once. His cliché actions ignite a palette of emotions that he had never imagined could exist.

Eleven. He’s discovering music. Eleven finds some strange, true sadness in the twang of Jack Johnson’s guitar without actually comprehending a single lyric. This, he shares with a cute “Chip & Dale” t-shirt.

Ten. He’s finally a double-digit. Ten jumps on the bus one day, landing himself in the front seat for the whole year and making an unlikely friend in his next-door neighbor: a boy who saves his life on many an occasion.

Nine. He has his first crush. Nine spends his entire fourth-grade year sitting across from a girl who has no interest in him and who finds his sporadic behavior to be somewhat strange.

Eight. He’s strangely despondent. Eight decides for no reason, other than the fact that he feels some kind of innate pull toward it, that cutting a large hole in the trampoline with the kitchen scissors is the best idea that one could have.

Seven. He’s tired of being a kid. Although his inner desire is to grow up, Seven refuses to learn how to read and is forced into a class where the only way out is through a book.

Six. He’s the starving artist. Six wears many hats including cowboy, wizard and top hat. His world is engulfed in new children that are constantly taking away all attention.

Five. He’s off to school. Halfway through the term, Five will attempt running away from class due to a severe loneliness that he feels beginning to sprout inside him.

Four. He’s nearly dead twice. Four spends a decent amount of time in and out of hospitals, completely unsure of what is actually happening to him and somehow maintaining a cheery, childish happiness through all of it.

Three. He’s the naked dancer. Three litters his entire year with well-taken baths and poorly timed naps that keep him up late with his hair in thickly twisted curlicues.

Two. He’s the showman. Always one to impress, Two is doing anything he can to grab the attention of his parents, setting the tone for a life with his audience.

One. He’s pure. One is free to live inside his own mind and although he is over encumbered and frustrated by this body that makes no sense to him, he is generally happy living inside his own head, spitting, beginning to form the roots of his own personal language that only he may ever understand.

Zero. “For in that sleep of death what dreams may come when we have shuffled off this mortal coil, must give us pause.”


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