I fought with my twin
that enemy within
‘til both of us fell by the way
~ Bob Dylan, Where Are You Tonight?
Money won’t change you
But time will take you on
~ James Brown, Money Won’t Change you
So let it be the City of Lights and Thomas sixty, eager as a colt for love, even though getting out of bed some mornings he feels like a condemned prisoner mustering for roll call. Well, maybe aging’ s not quite as bad as all that but you do get tired, awfully tired of sharing a tiny cell with a dying stranger whose stink and noises you abhor, whose whining, constant neediness and selfish demands appall you. Who could love anybody like him, the drool dried on his chin, the earwax, toe jam, wild hairs in his nostrils and ears, the leaks and nasty stains, nasty habits. Who wants to listen to his nattering. This twin who either grumps around belligerently silent or chatters way too much in a language more and more opaque each day whether someone’s willing to listen or not. Your cellmate.
Enough about growing old, Thomas complains. You could just say old’s a rerun of youth, of feeling ignorant, sidelined, inadequate. Reexperiencing childish terrors you spent a lifetime trying to put behind you. Painfully eager and willing to please, unable to comprehend why no one seems interested in what you have to offer. Except, back when you were a kid, you believed in time. Believed you had time to grow. Time to prove yourself. Time to hurt others who hurt you. Believed time on your side and the world would change if you just hang on, keep pushing.
~ John Edgar Wideman, Fanon