22 Oct 2015 – An Ode to Good Advice
No parent knows the sort of trial their son
or daughter faces when at last it comes
in later years, how can their eyes foresee
the dangers from afar and bid them flee
specific threats, and not vague rules of thumb
which cannot tell you when it’s time to run.
All dynamite advice still needs a spark –
experience, the thing you can’t impart.
For all that painful stuff they’re on their own
and have to learn those lessons all alone.
While sticking out her finger straight at me,
my Mama usta tell me “You can’t be
too careful picking out your future bride” –
the subject of an all too-often chide,
I still had no idea what I should do,
or just what sort of love I’d learn to rue.
Completely stupid when a skirt’s involved –
all hopeless koans I could never solve.
Old smoke pushed out the new smoke from my skull
and left me clueless, muddleheaded, dull.
Enough of that. I floundered and I failed –
that more than once – and yet my tattered sails
still rope the wind and take me where it wills.
Still worse befell me, choices haunt me still
that seemed so choice, inviting, in my youth.
Too dumb to see behind the hype to truth.
“Great opportunity! A Great Career!”
The spittle from each grinning face that steered
me straight between the whirlpool and the reef,
a narrow way that had to lead to grief.
The best advice my dad spoke to this fool
was “do not serve them, you yourself must rule!”
A Teflon tunnel, joining ear to ear –
wise council, and so quick to disappear!
A software engineer, they hung my crime
about my neck – in octal on a sign.
A fat guy with a drum – up at the bow,
toiling to propel this stinking scow.
My oar and I will both go overboard
together someday, meeting our Reward.
The rain falls uselessly on stoney ground,
like damned fool ears distort sweet wisdoms’ sound.
No matter what a finely chisled point
advice may wear, the heart’s put out of joint
exposed to what it has no wish to hear,
so certain that it sees the future clear.
No matter, no one gives sweet Time the slip,
and she can wield a mighty nasty whip.
It’s galling, but I’m really forced to say
there doesn’t seem to be another way.