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Long Beach, CA

A Poem for My Grandchildren

It was the climax and the low point
An apotheosis in a valley
(Maybe history always is)
There were two lanes of the highway, one sending us to the mountains, where we could survey so very much, and one leading to a dark ocean
The problem is, we never knew which lane we were in 
Both, I guess, like feet sprawled over a canyon
A cartoon trying to catch its balance and its breath

There were wars, of course, 
Abroad and in our halls
(Maybe there always are)
Guns and bloodshed, beneath the brilliant stars
So I guess, yes,
Much like every age before

But we were always looking down, addicted to the never ending stream pulsing in our palms
The fruit, like Eve’s, of endless knowing
We became fat, yes,
Yet we were all lithe Alices, fallen through the rabbit hole, trying to make sense of the cacophony of nonsense, knowing real meaning lurked within it

But the more we knew, the less it mattered
The more entertained, with minds grown fatter, the less we cared
Removed from any need for pesky truth
We had so much certainty to soothe us
We’d never had more access to facts, and they’d never mattered less

We were pleased with it—with all our glad knowledge
And the endless act of being captured by the tools designed to distract us,
So many conversations at once, beguiling us
An abundance we came to take for granted, entrancing us
Just as we took for fact the curated images of our lives

And then, so sure that we were certain, we made our certainty into platforms which reached into the sky like Babel, for to throw boulders down on others
Which was the beginning of the long end

The heart constricts, the heart expands
It will take in all it can, for good or ill
All this bloomed beneath the cold stars
As we sat like fat cats, so merry and so sad

Remember then, my children, that abundance is a gift with big eyes
But lean times, too, give us a way of seeing
Of teaching us what’s true
We don’t find too much fat fulfilling
Our hearts are not made for endless skies
But for a green field, fenced in, where, in restraint, we finally find rest

We who languish in the sin of minding the wrong things
Find relief in no more pretense that we are immortal
We find rest in the restraint of quiet borders

For more poetry, click here.