Poem: On Not Being Famous

On Not Being Famous

Sometimes I think
I write too much.
Too much bleeding in the moment.
Too much about brokenness.
Too much about gratitude.

but,

and there is always that but, isn’t there?
But, when you have one,
grown beyond it,
you cannot help but have the other.
(Long Pause)

Well, not really.

We all know there are other responses.
Anger. Bitterness. Eternal surrender.
VIctimhood.
Sadness.
Did I mention bitterness?
(of course I did.).

I am grateful I came out on the other side.
Fully aware
how much of that emergence depended on others.
A mother who raised me with a spirit of forgiveness,
Pastors. Therapists. Family and friends
who reminded me I had value
when I was sure. Absolutely sure
I did not.

And so here I am.
Writing again.
My first cup of coffee growing cold.
Something new again,
in a season of ill health
and slowing down against my will.
Happy.

What a boring thing to be. Happy.
Grateful. No one ever got famous
being happy.

But maybe, just maybe,
that is the blessing of bad times,
of broken years, lost years
(And I have had more than most).
None of the sunshine is pure.
Every moment is tinged with sadness.
There are parts that never heal
and the cracks show,
and I am less a creation
than a relic, repaired
and somehow still functional
A museum piece
not ready for the shelves, constantly
smiling through the tears
like a paint flocked Madonna,
not famous, but for a few,
fascinating.

About this poem

I once had a girlfriend who constantly reminded me that she had expected to see me on the Tonight Show, expected me to be famous. It appears I disappointed her. I am probably a bit late for fame at this point, having just turned sixty six.

And I am more than fine with that. I am grateful just for having survived my dark years with a flicker or two of light. Grateful to be able to write and paint, express myself at last, and tell those I love, that I love them.

Tom

PS: The picture of of a painting called “Creation”, by Georgia O’Keefe’s sister, Ida. If you ever get a chance to see an exhibit of her work, go. She’s wonderful.

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