in my younger years the world was wide open

in my younger years the world was wide open
sex was rampant and plentiful
people were bright and clever and beautiful
causes burned against the horizon
and we fought for every man’s right to vote
and every woman’s right to her reproductive system
we fought against war and against hate
we fought for and against all these things
even as we sat on a cliff at Point Lobos
getting head while the waves crashed below
but i was mostly stoned in those days
and i barely remember them now

in my middle years i played with industry
in the building and design of great systems
in the negotiation of zillion dollar deals
erudite people flush with urbanity
taught me the ropes, the ties that bind
the world was wide open and easy to scoop from
the sex was rampant and wise
potential burned across the horizon
and we fought for a future in which we never
had a BMW repossessed
or a second thought about the costs for
our children’s schooling
but i was mostly drunk in those days
and i barely remember them now

these days i sit in my office
a guitar on my lap and vaguely recall
what it was like to know how to play
with hardly a second thought
that is the problem with youth
the ease of things
the failure to seek out the second thought
but now i knock my brains out trying
to create one new, true thing every day
every god damned day
it never comes easy, it never seems right
but i’m proud of it just the same
because it is me for maybe the first time
no reason that should be important
but it is—
i forget none of it
i feel a liberating power over my life
over even death itself
i prefer these later years
it is just as well
for if i could go back
i would destroy the world

—Don Whittington

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