"Letter of Advice to My Unborn Son"
By Christopher Fox Graham
|Reg Rogers and Susan Pourfar in "Knickerbocker"by Jonathan Marc|
Sherman, performed by the Williamstown Theatre Festival
Life has a volume knob if you know where to look.
Bleed away the bullshit. Kill it with a 40, or a pack of cigarettes
Stand bare naked before a bathroom mirror and count your scars.
Name them in chronological order.
Invent new histories for them; they won't care.
Pretend into fact: dive bar fistfights, lovers with forgettable names.
Make new your old skin and become a rough-and-tumble drunkard in your imagination.
Learn to sneer like an old west cowboy played by John Wayne or Clint Eastwood
Name your dead horse. Work him into random conversations or slam poems.
Sit alone in the desert and remember the long rides.
Weep for him and let the desert swallow your tears.
Cut your skin deep, so you won't fear pain.
Watch yourself bleed.
Understand that that time
is doing the same thing to you.
Then let it heal and forget.
Fuck without fearing it
Don't call your first three lovers.
They will haunt you appropriately.
Then, only fuck for love
Only lonely nights, remember them all
You may love hundreds
or just one for decades
but sin or death will take them all in time
leaving you with only cherished moments
so cherish all the moments
as if they will be your last
Face the city alleys
Know their darknesses:
and the difference between a stray cat
and a street gang.
Forgive your fathers.
Let them teach you how not to live.
Where they failed, do not.
Know that their sins were simple:
they did not see you coming
teach your son better
accept that you will fail
but he may forgive you
for your effort
Some men deserve to die; you are no exception
Fear the indifference of good men more than evil
Know that fools no different than you built all institutions.
Embrace solitude. It will save you on the lonely nights.
Once a year, lay down in a gutter to learn how to sleep there if need be.
Suicide can be rational
men are not.
Watch sunsets prayerfully, to learn why we first worshipped the sun and the moon.
Count stars nightly - know that some will die tonight and never shine again.
Name constellations in your honor. Invent their mythologies
Learn to lie well.
do it sparingly, but be dedicated
Confess to no one
Honest lies become truth in time.
Not all lies are sins
Learn the difference
never admit to being an artist or a poet
they are pretentious
if you are an artist
history will take care of it for you
change jobs constantly
stagnant waters are poisonous
Be blunt with allies
for their loyalty comes through self-reflection
be relentless with enemies
for they will do the same
know that honesty turns friends to foes too often
and deception keeps the peace
build yourself an army
so you have ground to go to
serve your community selflessly
it will repay in kind
Know it can turn rabid
flee when necessary
mobs cannibalize leaders
Resist authority, always
Obedience must be earned
Governments replace anarchy, but they are not free from it
order is an illusion between riots and revolutions
Love your nation and your tribe
never call yourself a patriot
you are better than that.
Admire the pageantry of humanity
but do not believe it
we all wear silly hats
Converse with lunatics
they have much to teach
speak their dialects
Women are sacred, always.
Men are expendable, always.
Without women, our tribe is lost.
So raise your daughters to be warriors.
you owe it to your grandparents
Know that your honor and your pride
are the only gifts you give yourself
and the only things none can take from you
Death is evitable
die nobly if you can
we are meat puppets
be sure not to spoil
Words can kill
use them wisely
Speak honestly and slow
Enunciate with conviction.
Your words will bind you when all else is lost.
Poetry is the captured sincerity of a moment
you live for only a moment