To The Experienced Innocent

Written two or three lifetimes ago, a lecture to myself which has renewed appropriateness

It’s true that you have traded the last vestige
of your dignity for something that was never really there.
Do not be discouraged by this. You’re not the first nor last
to have missed prizes they saw hanging in the air.
I know the dream that’s kept you going
for so long is quickly growing bitter to the tongue
of one so weary. You readily confess now that you’ve
always had your doubts about this road you’re on,
where is it going?

You are just about as free as anyone could want
to be, it’s nothing more than that which
everybody must endure. It occurs to you
it doesn’t matter & your soul is stung by
by sudden laughter, it’s coming from the ones
that you’ve been following, the ones who might
have saved you from this place. . .but you know
there is no painless loss of innocence & you’ve no
one else to blame for your illusions.

You stop to think, you might have been
their final hope, the one they counted on
to beat the rules, the one to win the war
and justify their battles, a crude object of
faith. . . or did their remoteness stem from
some bitterness you’ll soon be forced to learn?

You retreat into a darkened room
where flesh on flesh becomes the tune
that questions all the answers and makes
you feel immune, that lulls you into thinking
that flowers only bloom and soon
allows you to forget the reasons that you
came, then you start to get restless for
reason you can’t name and think of ways
to say good-by, the reasons are the same

when the door has closed behind you
and you’re screaming to go back
you discover that it’s vanished in the air.
And you are just about as free
as anyone could want to be
trying to remember things like warm
Welcome to the Storm.

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