When I am retired I shall dye my hair purple
With a red eyeliner that scares the grown-ups, and delights the children,
And I shall spend my savings on absinthe and Turkish bells
And shiny nose rings, and say we’ve no money for morning coffee.
I shall dance beyond the reach of thought until I collapse,
And flirt with the pretty boys and kiss drag queens,
And tell the gossips what I think of them,
And return to the freedoms of my youth.
I shall wander city streets in the night
And chat with street musicians and panhandlers,
And learn to tango.
You can stay up ’til dawn and stagger home,
And let your mascara run to your chin,
Or bat rhinestone-studded fake lashes,
And hoard art and artists and bartenders and feather boas.
But now we must have bedtimes to suit a working day,
And be on time and dampen the sparkle,
And look appropriately sober for the clients.
We must make polite conversation and attend happy hours.
But maybe I ought to dance more often now?
So my body remembers me, is not too shaken and sore,
When suddenly I retire and dye my hair purple!
For Catharine, whose baby has such lovely purple hair, and with apologies to Jenny Joseph.