Too Old to Live
Pulling into the 11th Street Garage,
Annie’s 1999 Honda SUV suddenly rolled back
She pulled the emergency brake, nobody hurt
Girls in street turned around and glared at her
You’re too old to live one shouted over her shoulder
Too old to live? Annie repeated softly and dangerously
and jumped out in fighting stance, green hat, black
leggings, Docs, granny shades, and a brand-new tattoo
on her wrist that said So What – I’m too old to live?
she yelled, Come back here and kill me. Try it.
You think I’m too old to live? Take me out. Come on.
Her voice sounded exactly the same as it did
on St Mark’s Place when someone threw pennies
at us or on 10th Street when we were busted
by the Runaway Squad – 40 years later
and she’ll still kick your ass, little girls
in short dresses scurrying away like big
mouthed rabbits – the rest of the night
Annie asked everyone we came across if
we were too old to live.
Nobody seemed to find it an odd question.
Puma Perl is a poet, writer, producer and performer with five solo collections in print. She plays regularly with her band, Puma Perl and Friends. She’s received four New York Press Association awards in recognition of her journalism, is an Acker Award recipient in the category of writing, and was the HOWL Happening! artist in residency in May of 2021. She has performed throughout the United States and in Europe.