As I believe is the tradition, I chose “Inheritance Of Aging Self” as the title of my book through a process that involved auditioning 556 different options (by auditioning I mean throwing darts at them and playing eenie meenie miney mo), meditated, consuming substances that I shouldn’t have, and enduring months of angst and sleepless nights.
Despite that unfortunate process, I think the title of this volume is a good descriptor of what’s inside the cover. It is also the title of one of the poems which is based on a conversation that I had with my mother a few years before she passed. I was visiting with her and we were getting ready to go out. She was taking awhile and I went to check on her and found her in front of her vanity brushing her hair and staring at the mirror. I asked her if everything was okay and she threw down the brush and angrily told me, “I do not know this old lady”.
She had developed some memory issues over the years and when she said that, I was badly panicked that she had just taken some precipitous leap further down that path. Cautiously I asked her what she meant. Her reply was one of the most righteous rants ever about how she still expected to see her sixteen year old self when she looked in the mirror. When she saw her elder self instead, it was like seeing her grandmother and that pissed her off! So we spent a few minutes shouting out all the things that pissed us off about growing older and we both felt much better and went on about our day. That conversation inspired the title poem as well as another poem in the collection, “Mirror Image”.
Here is the title poem as it was displayed recently in the Maryland State Arts Council’s “Identity” exhibition.