Sunday, July 31, 2011

Geezer Rap

The birthday revelry continued, finally culminating in the party at St. Aidan’s Church.
According to my count, there were exactly 60 people at my 60th, some poetic agreement from the universe. At once a pleasure to gather people from different corners of my life under one roof and a frustration to not get to visit with them all. But they seemed to enjoy each other and that was gratifying to see. 

It was a glorious way to begin the 60’s. While my initial vision for the party was to revisit the past via slide show, photos, stories, it turned out to be more of a proclamation of the future—or at least, my hopes for the future. The highlight was coming out of the closet and announcing myself as a poet and then testing the grounds by reading some 20 poems I’d written about aging, mortality and turning 60. Except for the exuberant applause for my light-hearted Geezer Rap, the end of most poems were met with a thoughtful silence, which feels precisely the appropriate response. But silence is harder to read than applause. A few affirming comments afterwards about specific poems encouraged me to keep sharing them, though I have no idea what that means. Can’t quite imagine working my way into the community of working poets and that’s a lot about what it takes. First announcing yourself to the world and then finding like-minded folks and the venues for sharing.

An equal highlight was announcing myself yet again as an aspiring jazz pianist. It was so much fun to play with a bunch of younger guys I’ve met through the Orff world. They seemed sincere in affirming my playing and encouraging me to continue and here again, that would mean starting to move in circles outside the Orff teacher network. The good news is that I have no illusions about fame and fortune in this exalted realm. The bar is high, I am old and time is short. But no matter—the point is simply to keep playing at every opportunity, learn what you can and enjoy every note.

It feels simply wonderful to consider this shift and a worthy goal for the next ten years. Of course, plenty more to do as a teacher and an Orff practitioner, more books to write in that world, more workshops to teach, more kids to help me figure out how to give them what they need. But having kept jazz and poetry simmering on the back burner all these years, the party was my hand on the pan, ready to move them closer to the front. Anyone out there need a poet or piano player for your next event?

Meanwhile, I include Geezer Rap (already a bit outdated) below:

Young people look at us and say, "Yo, Dude, your race is run."
But we talk back and say, "Hey, Mack, we've only just begun!"
We listen to you rappers talking in some foreign tongue,
And think, "Hey, we can do that! Our rhymin' days ain't done."

We are the Gangsta Geezers, you young 'uns can't ignore us.
We're still hip, don't give us lip, don't join in on the chorus.
Just clear the pike, we've got the mike, (Can you do something for us?
Go over to the bookshelf and bring us the Thesaurus?)

You kids are good, but in our 'hood, we think that we are better.
We play it straight and never use those words that have four letters.
We wish we had a dollar, we wish we had a buck,
For every time we hear you all young rappers say  (beep!)
When we get really angry, when we get really mad.
We say "Balderdash," "Bosh," and sometimes "Egad!"

We are the Gangsta Geezers, you young 'uns can't ignore us.
We're still hip, don't give us lip, don't join in on the chorus.
You think that we are washed up, you think that we are pests.
So why don't you just check us out, give us the hipness test.

SNOOP DOG, He's from Peanuts. MADONNA, She's a virgin.
EMINEM, That's a candy. DOCTOR DRE, why, he's a surgeon.
HBO, a medical plan. TECHNO. That's a watch.
SCRATCH is what we do when we are itchin' in our crotch.

"YOU GUYS ARE REALLY COOL, SO MUCH BETTER THAN WE THOUGHT.
COME HANG OUT IN OUR 'HOOD AND RAP WITH US—NOT!!!

We are the Gangsta Geezers, you young 'uns can't ignore us.
We're still hip, don't give us lip, don't join in on the chorus.
We don't grab our crotch and we don't shake our booty,
‘Cause we grew up with Captain Kangaroo and Howdy Doody.
We don't pierce our private parts, wear thongs up our asses,
(Hold on, this darn print's way too small, I've got to get my glasses.)
We don't jump in the mosh pit, we can do the fox trot.
We can do the cha-cha too. Can you? We think not!

We are the Gangsta Geezers, you young 'uns can't ignore us.
We're still hip, don't give us lip, don't join in on the chorus.

We don't get high on Ecstasy and we don't smoke that crack.
We just take some Percodan when we throw out our back.
And when we're feeling low, why, Prozac's just the stuff,
And we can use Viagra when we can't get high enough.
We're still in the running, yes, we've been on T.V.
Want to see the out-takes from our colonoscopy?
Our brain, it may be slowin' down, our habits may be set.
But we can still…Wait! What was that? (shrug) We forget!

Yeah, we're the Gangsta Geezers. We don't take no crap.
So clear the way, we've come to say, "It's time for Geezer Rap!"
We tell it like it was, yes, we're the Geezer Rappers
We write our poems while sitting for an hour on the crapper.

Yes, we are the geezers, we pick our nose with tweezers.
We're movin' kind of carefully so we don't get a seizure.
So come on, all you people, give it up for Geezer Rap.
In fact, you all can take the mike, we gotta take our nap.


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