I grew up the middle child
of divorced parents
a family held together more by tenacity and verve
than any old fashion values
more infused with a refusal to become broken
than aspirations to become beloved
I was raised in a Los Angeles suburb
which underwent a botched values transplant.
I watched the button-down Rockwell world of the 50s
on modern, state-of-the-art 13 inch black and white TVs
where Wally and the Cleavers
eventually gave way to guns and rose colored glasses.
The factory which once manufactured children
from snips and snails, sugar and spice
when the new management changed suppliers
to cut soaring costs.
Every child since 1972
is made from scraps of innocence
and recycled hope.
These days, it is almost impossible to find one
rolling down the line
untainted by trauma or despair
or, who still possesses
the forward evolutionary lean
of a planet tilting its axis toward the ancient promise
that some day we could all become one
of communally minded mystics
we started anew
like Watergate, Watts and Waco
Nuremburg, New Orleans and Newtown
for the fundamental choice
between walking out our door
armed with hope
instead of hurt?
I believe there are enough people
Still not willing
To give up.
Who don’t have to lose their memory
To retain their sanity.
Indeed, no one now living today
can look back on their life
without having wiped off the fingerprints
of tragedy or disappointment.
Hurt and the impulse for hostility
are in our box of recipes as well as our journal.
But aren’t those few slender strands of DNA
that differentiate us from the warring animals of the jungle
just the most beneficent sections
of a very complex code
recalling for us the risks we took
when we dared to choose
compassion instead of contempt?
Cooperation instead of competition?
And aren’t those only
the millions of minute distinctions
that make us most human?