“Some of these stories are closer to my own life than others are, but not one of them is as close as people seem to think.” Alice Murno, from the intro to Moons of Jupiter

"Talent hits a target no one else can hit; genius hits a target no one else can see." Arthur Schopenhauer

“Why does everything you know, and everything you’ve learned, confirm you in what you believed before? Whereas in my case, what I grew up with, and what I thought I believed, is chipped away a little and a little, a fragment then a piece and then a piece more. With every month that passes, the corners are knocked off the certainties of this world: and the next world too. Show me where it says, in the Bible, ‘Purgatory.’ Show me where it says ‘relics, monks, nuns.’ Show me where it says ‘Pope.’” –Thomas Cromwell imagines asking Thomas More—Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

My favorite posts to get started: The Self-Righteousness Instinct, Sabbath Says, Encounters, Inc., and What Makes "Wolf Hall" so Great?.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Truth about Grownups


What you suspect of us grownups is true,
at least of some of us—we
just want you to do exactly
what we say, because we sort of
hate you for being young
and feel the balance should be 
struck by your obedience.

We want you to think what
we think—because you allowing
us to convince you makes us feel
wise and smart and like we have something
to show for all that youth we wasted.

We’re jailors and slave-drivers,
self-righteous power-trippers,
bent on punishing you for the
disappointment and mediocrity
of our lame-ass grownup lives, seeking
in our control over you some semblance of
vindication or salvation.

And, oh yes, your first thought
should be resist, escape,
recriminate—doubt and question.

Why should you follow our
instruction, respect our
decisions, follow our example—
unless you want to end up
like us?

Old and boring and bossy.

No, you’re not condemned to
be like us, not quite,
but the generations shift
with no one’s consent,
dumping you in a place
bearing no mark of your own design,
and looking around in
the vast indifference, the struggle
lost without your ever really
sensing you’d adequately
taken it up—there is
something like concern,
something like worry,
something like a genuine
wish to pass on whatever
you can of
preparedness.

All your discoveries
will seem worthy of
handing down - 
even the ones that get
thrown back in your face.

What we think of you kids
is right too, at least some of you:
you’re oblivious to
your own inconsequence—
have no sense of what
anything’s worth, can’t
imagine losing
sight of a promise
that vanishes in the distance
or recedes like a mirage
on the horizon.

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