We Justify Our Years
Such is the culture in which we live,
where what we eat
and who we’ve screwed
is of such significance,
where the school out of which we were thrown,
or the fit of rage, the severed ear,
is to our admirers more poignant
than the pictures we paint,
or a play that made people laugh, or cry,
or a word that someone, somewhere, sometime, may quote.
It is the banal obituaries that one must most contumn,
the biographical puddings of data
that draw on peripheries of interest,
like how many years Greg Corso spent in jail,
or how Conrad Aiken’s parents horribly died,
or the configuration of the stars that hugely impressed
the parents of a luminary when so and so was born.
Oh, let mine be a line, however meager, that I have penned,
a sample of why and how we justify our years.
So, of Aristophanes (besides his plays),
what we know of his life is its end, it is said
that a turtle fell from heaven and struck his head.