Always Be A Girl

You will always be a girl who once took a risk
on the good advice of your heart

Your bravest face in a lost gaze, an easy mark in a fixed game
Mother and father, off the wagon and on the rag, coarse and bitter in their waste: their lives, their minds;
nothing left, they preyed
The hosts of heaven displayed their colors in your bedroom windows, beseeching you from your path
but in a rare performance, you took the lead, broke your leg and lived to pick the roses from the apron

Took your bow

The road is a passionate lover, committed to your wild ecstasy, though expansive beyond Jericho’s walls
The pavement impressed upon you the narrow escapes, the endless variety of ways to live
The only way to live
Oh, California!
The sand and the sea, cold as the wind coming off of misting winter eyes
The mountains invited and led you North, above the fray, up out of smog like Israel from Egypt
Beauty in this quaking Earth, shaken to your core
Oh, California,
your dual nature

Now the beckoning lights of the East
are your sun and moon and stars
Now the water’s edge is a room with a view
a blizzard in a globe
Oh, America!
A home on the plains
The road has led you faithfully into the knowledge of good and evil
an education gained in Plato’s halls and Darwin’s kingdom
Now you are a thinker
Now you are a survivalist
A prodigy no more
And with your newly earned sense of purpose and drive
an old direction
You made your home in a shady valley far from the road
a quiet detour into familiar troughs and old habits
Oh, America,
Now you are comfortable
Now you are safe

You will always be a girl who I once knew