The past is well
left-behind, but I must
digest it before it digests me.
I have been stupid, and ashamed;
I blame it on original
neuroses, that favorite
myth of the Freudian
version of the Romantic version
of the Enlightenment version of
that old threadbare curse which
is always lurking with the blessings;
I blame it on my folks
and on their folks, etcetera
pointing back to follies
I still inflict on my own kid.
I have been, I am still
stupid and ashamed.
It takes so long to dive
through memories that should have been repressed
in interests of escaping boredom,
embarrassment, and stale remembered hatred
against the doting jailers of my youth,
with their talk about love
and their fear of edged minds,
their contempt for what I thought
and said, too freely for comfort.
I was a pet child, not mistreated
but who in hell was this woman
who told me, of course she loved me
because I was "her own flesh and blood"?
I would forget them, that
might be the kindest thing
but my mind bears the marks
of their over-busy fingers;
years have been lost
while I tried to understand--
tried to explain to them--
wanted and tried to be known
seen and understood as I am--
My mother tries; she can't stack
one idea upon another
while my father knows too much
to ever learn anything at all;
he's had a heart attack; he's eighty
and I don't think we're going to touch minds;
it's been too late for twenty years
if not all of my life.