So I guess it would be something complex,
with a different perspective and view,
more than just a reaction or reflex,
some knee-jerk response that simply brings you
back to the same old emotional edge,
feeding on yesterday’s angst and stale pain,
standing stupidly on the window ledge
and wondering how to turn off your brain
(in case the lyrics get a little real);
trying be alternative to that
would take rejecting any of the praise,
and that meaningless “you’re the next big deal”.
If you want to truly be your own cat,
you’ll never be what the radio plays.
27 FEB 2003
for Johnny Cash
Well, you are going to grow up someday,
so there are a few things you need to learn:
why free love has a price most cannot pay,
why it is more work to plant than to burn,
why the world thinks that kindness is crazy,
why good deeds are regarded with scorn,
why to never let your brain grow lazy,
why to treasure each moment that’s born.
As for people, remember this teaching:
there are some who are worth the seeking out,
who will help you as you help them, to find
the difference between doing and preaching,
the huge importance of both faith and doubt,
and the great rewards kindness leaves behind.
27 FEB 2003
There used to be a family-owned store
right there, on the corner where the bus stops;
and when I was a kid, they sold much more
than bubble-gum, candy and lollipops.
It was like stepping into a dreamscape
each time you passed slowly through the front door.
Unlike my house, where you could not escape
and the “you” that they expected got more
attention than the real “you” in progress,
in this place I felt good about myself,
and knew it was okay to be just me.
Even some parents knew the store’s address,
and helped the owners restock the toy shelves
so their kids (and others) could shop for free.
But the neighborhood is different now,
and they have torn down that wonderful store,
built up arcades filled with games that go “pow”;
it’s not a peaceful, calm street anymore.
And there’s no one on our block who’s older
that treats kids like they will grow up someday,
and that offers a supportive shoulder
for those times when the world seems cold and gray.
It’s not all that hard to be nice, you know,
or actually care how the world’s gone wrong
enough to try to help, and comprehend
that neighborhoods, like people, also grow,
and sometimes it takes just a simple song
to convert a stranger into a friend.
in memory of Fred “Mister” Rogers
27 FEB 2003