Can’t Take My Old Advice

Once upon a time
Photo by Jordan Benton on

Once upon a time I said,

“stories end in happily ever afters too often,

it spoils the ending before you’ve even begun,

and that’s boring.

But if you don’t write a happily ever after,

the readers make an uproar,

cuz at the end of the journey–

through all the hills and bogs and stormy fogs

hiding the prize they already knew the taste of–

they wanted predictability

but the kind they forgot that they wanted;

what they really wanted

was doing a habit for the hundredth time

with no memory of the ninety-nine before.”

Once upon a time,

I said,

I’m an artist,

but the people didn’t want art

they wanted entertainment,

some flashing lights and palatable colors

to make them feel good about themselves,

the people didn’t want to give their time

to the fruit

growing in the painting,

they wanted attention

like fast cash on the branches for picking.

I’m beaten it out in the dry dirt

I’m an artist

growing fruit here

and if you want to drink from the predictable well

and the worn bucket

be my guest

but if you’re brave,

if you’re willing

to step out from under the trees with me

I can show you

the path that treads out of the desert

into the heart of a hurricane

I can show you how to hold its winds in your hands

and stand higher than the sea

and hula dance the clouds

and seek out the planets

with more notorious storms

than hurricanes

and ask them stories

to make happy ever afters


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