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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 and one leading into the 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 other time before it

But we were always looking down, addicted to the never ending stream
The more we knew, the less it mattered
We became fat
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

We were pleased with it—with all our glad facts 
And information spilling like a barrel of something sticky, an overabundance we came to take for granted
We never had more access to facts, and they’d never mattered less
(And facts, don’t forget, don’t always serve as truth)

The heart constricts, the heart expands
It will take in whatever it can, for good or ill
It all became nothing to us and we had to play games with it—
Twist it, ignore it
Make of it something we could use to cover up, and then to build a platform with,
For throwing rocks down on others
Beneath the cold stars
So sure we knew it all
The mind loves its either-ors, and can’t be bothered to think, which requires those pesky both-ands, which sink our thoughts in the sticky honey of humility
And we want unstuck freedom  

Remember then, my children, that abundance is a gift with big eyes
But lean times, too, give their own ways of seeing
And of teaching us what’s true

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