Advice (Since You Asked)

I used to know absolutely
What was right, what wrong
Not always which to do myself
But enough to give you good advice

After I left Jimmie I knew
And I would tell you with no uncertainty
If your husband beat you, divorce him
If Your wife spent too much
Your children were timid or fresh
I would have for your salvation
A word, a phrase, a book, a gestalt

After my son died, I’d say
“Life is too short to . . .”

Sometimes you’d ignore me
But sometimes you’d agree
Sometimes you’d marry her
Sometimes you’d move out
Take up with your wild side

Or not

But today I know I know very little
Nothing, actually
And what is right or wrong is not clear at all

I only know
To wake, to wash, to work
Laugh, forgive constantly
Spend what I have without remorse
Wear what I damned well please
Suffer without medication
Eat oatmeal, rice and curry, grapefruit

And love myself and others
For the children they are
For the children we were

Written in the summer of 1996


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