12 02 16

i had an image        we were talking about celebrating birthdays and        people wanted to know if i wanted a birthday party        and i said i dont        know if i want a birthday party because birthdays are a little bit like        being in a falling elevator and celebrating at every floor you fall        and        then i thought about this again and i realized id only thought about this        since i got to be thirty        because when i was a real little guy i always        thought of getting older as an ascension        you know how you have a        different image of getting older when youre a kid        how you cant wait        i remember i was sitting on a stoop with about five other little        kids and we mustve been somewhere between three and five        us sitting out having a conference on a stoop in brooklyn        trying to decide how old we want to be        being three or four or five        between three and five        all of        and were        because nobodys content        its a bad time        you dont want to be        first of all everybody else is too tall        always looking up and you get a crick in your neck from it        play stickball yet with the older kids in the street you know        youre        you cant        its not        a good time youre too dependent somebodys always got to take you        across the street and thats a drag and you cant drink coffee or they        wont let you        i actually had an aunt who snuck me coffee        and it        was like being free for a minute        she was my favorite aunt        i lived with her and my grandmother        and three other aunts in this house with a covered porch and a stoop        and thats what i remember thats where we were sitting having this        conference on aging        and one kid said oh id like to be thirteen        sounded like a real good powerful male age        boys but im not even sure of that        that        i think all the kids were        and one said id like to be fifteen        and everybody agreed that was good        and then somebody said twenty-one        and one said eighteen        no we said thats too old it takes        two words to say it        we knew twenty-one was over the hill        ballistic idea        like the trajectory of a shell        till you reached a certain point        so we already had this        you went up for a while        and then you came down because        even then we knew that whatever goes up also comes down and we        had some sense of the failing of our powers at twenty-two and we        would no longer be the same happy cute kids at the age of twenty-two        thats the view we had then        and ive had several different views of        this since then        sometimes ive seen the movement of time as something like a        carousel

David Antin « i never knew what time it was » i never knew what time it was University of California Press 2005 p. 97–99