There are whole aisles in the drugstore
That once I avoided like the plague.
I thought youâ€™d catch it, strolling there.
I turned my head the other way,
To sanitary pads and nylon stockings
And mascara and eyeshadow and Oil of Olay.
I bought shaving cream and razor blades
And other youthful things. Shampoo
Smelling of coconut, bubble bath,
Magazines with recipes.
There are shelves full of laxatives and purgatives
And denture glue and batteries for hearing aids.
There are incontinence pads and horror of horrors
There are little towels in a jar to wipe your bum,
That feel nicer than the ordinary toilet paper that you flush.
You canâ€™t flush the little towels,
For godâ€™s sake, what do you do with them?
This is self-torture.
The midnight ads on TV,
The voices of doom selling itching cream
And step-in showers. An old lady,
Stupid old bat, she falls and she says,
â€œIâ€™ve fallen and I canâ€™t get upâ€¦â€
Oh, sheâ€™s the same old crone who claps
Her hands so clumsily to put out the light.
Did she never keep the beat while dancing?
Keep that light out, stay in the dark.
Elastic stockings for varicose veins,
Disposable panties and metal canes
And liquid meals in cans in case
The old lady forgets to eat.
Sympathy cards. Acres of sympathy cards.
And I actually buy ten of them to have on hand,
Just in case. People are dying like flies;
A boy I danced with, breathless from
The touch of his dreamed-of hands on my back,
And the scent of Old Spice and cigarettes.
They donâ€™t sell cigarettes in the drugstore any more.
But I remember the floating blue
Cigarette smoke and the smell of his aftershave.
He died of cigarettes, but man, he looked so cool
Like James Dean, only he could laugh at himself.
No laughing now. Heâ€™s gone, maybe, where
The smell of smoke is in the air.
It catches you when youâ€™re not looking,
I can tell you that. Silent feet, creeping
Into your bedroom at night and you wake up old.
Your have to sit down to put your pantyhose on
And you wonder, are kneehighs the answer?
In the closet there are racks of pretty shoes
With sky high heels and black straps
Around the ankle, hints of wickedness.
But now itâ€™s Dr. Scholls and comfort.
Iâ€™d rather wear out, I said, than rust out.
But old ships get rusty anyway,
And barnacles on their bottoms.
Living on Earth is expensive,
but it does include a free trip
around the sun every year.