November, 2015

Poetry

Beginning at 30

“Never trust anyone over 30.”

Jack Weinberg coined the phrase. At Berkeley.

The Free Speech Movement back in ‘64.

But Jack Weinberg is 75 now.

Wonder if, now, he thinks differently?

There is something in America that loves youth — the purity and the hope.

Each generation is a portal to the future, and we pray for better times.

But time well lived is a blessing too.

If you were paying attention.

There once was a show on Broadway, and each night the curtain call was long.

Yet the applause was not loudest for stars Ben Vereen or for John Rubinstein.

The applause went longest for a woman who sang:

Here is a secret I never have told

Maybe you’ll understand why

I believe if I refuse to grow old

I can stay young till I die

That is how we will go forward.

The challenge is acute. Joplin sang the words Kristofferson wrote:

Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose

So to be brave is easy when you start, 

But many shy away when they have something to lose.

But we have our way. And we will remember the applause 

And hear Irene Ryan sing more:

I’ve never wondered if I was afraid

When there was a challenge to take

I’ve never thought about how much I weighed

When there was still one piece of cake

We are lucky.

Thirty years later, and we have more ideas now than we had then.

And more ways to make a dream come true.

In the old days, “-30-” was how copy editors said “the end”

But they didn’t have desktop publishing

Or the Internet

They didn’t have the Perishable Pundit 

Or shows in New York and London.

Jesus began to preach at 30 … 

Joseph stood before Pharaoh at 30 … 

King David commenced his reign at 30 …

Weinberg misunderstood trust.

Thirty is when you finally have enough credibility to begin.

The first 30 is foundational.

We start now.

Trust us.  

By Jim Prevor