My son’s thirtieth birthday.
His mother turns sixty next week,
and her mother, eighty,
is coming to celebrate the dawn
of the decades with us, them,
me, and my other son who turns
twenty-seven in April close
to his brother’s conception date.
Numbers, accounts, descendants,
family. Our DNA marches on.
Dylan told us not to trust
anyone over thirty, so why have we
listened to him for the past
forty years? My old neighbor
told me everyone over forty votes
Republican, but a decade later
he discovered his Butte grandfather
ran guns for the IRA. Today
The newspaper is looking for stories
about the infamous Grateful Dead
concert here forty years ago
where according to many sources,
“nobody liked the show.” Sure,
I was stoned, and what do I know
sitting in the field house nosebleed
seats grinding my teeth, and riding
the waves of adjusted perception,
Jerry’s blues tiddly-rumpling
in front of that “wall of sound,”
a mellow rock and cocaine roll—
three and a half hours of tonal flow?
As the legend goes, on the anniversary
of that show, somebody threw a plastic
pitcher, hit Bob Weir in the head, and
The Dead walked off the stage.
Up in the rafters for hours on end,
when they walked off from the encore,
I figured they were all in, most likely
as tired as me. After all, I wasn’t
quite twenty, and they were close to
being as “untrustworthy” as Dylan.
“Disappointed” some said described
the show, but I guess I was too high
up in the bleachers riding the flow
of music that just rolled and rocked
on and on, then played and played
and played some more. I figured
I’d gotten more than my money’s worth.
It was the Grateful Dead for
fuck’s sake! That was just a decade
before my son was born
which was another drama that went on
three times longer than I figured
it would, culminating in a life
change, fatherhood, something else
I knew nothing about going in.
Let’s face it, we’re along for the ride
and grateful to be here, I imagine
even if we’re Bob Weir. I know
I’m thankful for this gathering
in the guise of numbers, decades,
anniversaries, Earth spins around
the sun, another one for the books,
the records, and those beyond
keeping track of it, all that
silly shit we do to count coup
on the old wolf, father time.