the healing muse

Volume 9, 2009

Hip Precautions

Johanna Shapiro

Fellow oldsters, you know
what I’m talking about
When we get those fabulous,
spanking new metal and ceramic
balls and sockets
we want to protect our investment
of money, pain, blood, sweat, tears,
so we take precautions
But oldsters, think about it
Hip precautions!
How hip is that?
You remember the hipsters,
don’t you
The Beat Generation
wild, free, on the road
Maybe you even were a hipster
before you got lost in the American Dream
And started driving that RV
all over nowhere
Oldsters, these hip precautions—
Come on grandma
Really think about them for a sec
Don’t bend too far
as in get some backbone granny
Show some spine gramps
Stand up for something you believe in
Stop the war
(that one still works)
save the environment
Just do something that matters
with that new hip
Don’t cross your legs
or your principles
Use these years to do
what you’ve always known is right
but always seemed too unconventional
too radical
Set a trend that goes deeper than fashion
Set a trend that someone will remember
after you are gone
Don’t stand pigeon-toed
It’s a posture of shame,
You big dodos
be proud that you have made it
to body part replacement time
and decide that new hip can bear
the weight of the world
its poverty, its violence,
its still-burgeoning promise
Don’t twist and turn
parsing your words with a
politician’s precision
Admit your mistakes
(you can start with Iraq
work your way down to the
kids and whether you really
tithe enough to your church)
Use that hip to take a stand

Oldsters, be hip, be cool
be finger-popping mellow
(heck, smoke a little weed if you want)
But remember who you are
and who you still can be
So that when that titanium prosthesis heals
you can use it to walk somewhere
that is worth walking to

Questions about this poem can be found on our Reader's Guide Volume 9

Return to Table of Contents, Volume 9, 2009.


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