Rather than regail you with tales of my youth, how about I just pass on some ‘poetry’ therefrom?
I’m totally going to pirate this post from one of my former selves. One of my dead selves? Maybe.
Bear in mind, dear reader, that my former self was 20 years old when he set these words to paper – still an idealist. Not the pragmatist you know who now pirates that paper for pixels. He was probably sitting late at night outside a coffee shop in Ridgewood NJ – not too far from where I am now. I’ve tried to keep to his original intent as much as possible – punctuation and diction have not been changed.
25 August 1997
how many circles in a sphere?
the children have gone underground
their parents have come up
forgive them, lord: they know not what they do
they are driven down by instinct
and driven up by wisdom
the children burrow,
digging through the earth
in search of what, they do not know.
deeper they dig.
past cigarettes and alcohol and pot and sex
some of them suffocate
some of them thrive.
The ones who die are mourned as babes
the ones who live are denounced
as knaves, as brutes, as hoodlums delinquent
Some of these children have children of their own,
these never have a chance,
born in darkness and stifling dirt.
They wallow and die
Without seeing the air.
Burrowing, tunneling, digging yet deeper,
some arise on the other end.
some lose their direction and
up to the sky
and taste the sweet air,
with the scars of their journey
evidence of their delusion.
Some of these turn back,
refusing to live in the stark brightness
and ever-examining light,
refusing to see the brilliance of the sun,
wisdom glittering all around them.
They dig again, down deeper still,
never to return, except when the
earth coughs up their bodies prior
to their death, when they see all
they had missed
and renounce their deeds,
on their deathbed.
Some stay on top, but build
artificial holes for themselves,
stepping into the light only when necessary,
eager to return to
their holes filled with
cigarettes and alcohol and pot and sex and
things still deeper,
a fifty-cent word that
still has a meaning.
And apathy: slightly more expensive,
but with good reason.
A good part of these children
spend a generous portion
of their lives digging,
hoping to find they know not what
some of them give up
and retrace their footsteps
to find in the light
what they had been searching for
They beg and plead and yell and curse
warning their own children,
born in the light,
of the futility of that search
through the darkness,
Haunted by their own experiences,
ghosts and scars and lost friends.
prisoners of war, missing in action, and compelled
by their own innate love
for their progeny
which they cannot understand
and do not try to,
the parents engage themselves
in the near-impossible quest
of raising their children,
trying to show them the glories of
the light, the futility of the darkness,
until they must
allow them to leave the comfort
and warmth and wisdom found
under their wings, in the nest,
allow their own children to
choose their own path,
some of which are rugged,
some worn smooth by
the passage of many feet.
Sometimes the children heed their
parents’ pleas and curses and cries and screams,
and attempts to shine wisdom to light
the tunnels for their children,
but experience is a double-edged sword
that cuts parents and children alike.
Often with good intentions, the children,
newly released to the tastes and sounds and
joys and perils outside the nest,
venture into the earth, digging on
their own or following friends or merely
slipping away into the beautifully ornamented
catecombs that lead deeper and deeper still
past cigarettes and alcohol and pot and sex,
to death and decay and self pity,
to things like ignorance and apathy;
expensive ways to live,
and dark places to die.