Monday, December 5, 2011

Photo: DBE

the discontents
by debbie buchanan engle

You know it when you’re a kid-
You have a hangover before you’ve ever had a drink.
Anxiety?  Maybe.
I remember that strung-out feeling at 14.
There is no good girl or bad girl-
Everything is reflexive. 
Full of curiosity about God knows what.
You’ve been through therapy.
You memorized too much Oscar Wilde.
You’ve learned the value of sexual freedom
And the consequences of guilt –
And overcome them both.
You remember the very first time you saw Kerouac-
The first time you felt the magic of improvisation
In music.
In art.
In conversation.
You wrote some real shit, man…but it’s all been done before.
You  argued the evils of government and the glory of socialism.
The first time you exposed yourself in public using your medium of choice…
You looked at that man and knew you would have him.
You embrace your label to find your identity –
Then you curse it because you don’t want to be stereotyped.
Screw all of ‘em.
Your labor and your sweat come at 3AM.
You were born a generation too late.
Your brain is a giant file cabinet full of heroes, quotes, poems, embarrassments.
Why were your parents so damned square??
If only I’d had different parents,
I wouldn’t be stuck in this apartment with no tools, man,
No tools to express myself. 
I curse my poverty, and I curse the wealth of those who are unoriginal but rich.
My disasters have made my life interesting enough to become art itself.
Remember the first time you were published?  Holy shit, that was some amazing shit!!
But you were cool about it. 
It’s so uncool to be proud…it makes you one of them.
You learned the words to “Amazing Grace” as a kid;
Now you’ve done everything possible to create a need to lean on those words, even if unconsciously.
And your family won’t understand – they never did.
One moment, you wanted to slit your wrists;
The next, you know you are a genius.
The time between the two won’t last long – take advantage of it because either one will kill you.

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