Thirty-Thirty Blues Villanelle

Poetry by Tim Seibles
Issue 45 • November 2016 • Norfolk

Who can tell a man not to go where he goes?
I laid the long tracks; my life waves from the train
I was thirty almost thirty years ago

Being grown up means you’re s’posed to know,
Although I don’t know what I can explain—
And I was thirty, like thirty years ago

I bend with the music breaking hard but slow
Jobs kidnap the daylight, then leave the remains:
“Just kiss me goodbye   when it’s time to go”

It looks like we’re losin’ but say it ain’t so:
Dumb news and new killers get most’a the fame
Why tell a man not to run when he goes?

My Dad’s on a walker, his whole life in tow
If you’d seen him at forty you’d say what a shame,
But he was forty almost fifty years ago

Sanity pretends to pretend that you know
You’ve seen some good friends go off in the brain
Luck’s hand was better than their hands could show

Why needle a riddle when the answer is no?
Been poking the silence, but the Silence remains
And I’ve been thirty since thirty years ago

I look at young men and think where did I go?
Play some guitar while Death tunes my name

Guess this is the stuff   I should already know
‘Cause I was thirty thirty years ago

Born and raised in Philadelphia, Tim Siebles currently lives and Norfolk and is a professor of English at Old Dominion University. He has published several collections of poetry, including his most recent, Fast Animal, which won the Theodore Roethke Memorial Poetry Prize and was nominated for a 2012 National Book Award. In October, Siebles was sworn in as Virginia’s 19th Poet Laureate. During his two-year appointment, he will travel throughout the Commonwealth to promote poetry appreciation and highlight the work of other Virginian poets.

Photography by Jeff Hewitt

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