When in doubt, follow Frank’s lead


…and do it YOUR way.

ETA: Okay, I hate posts of videos with no real content, especially on a day Seth Godin challenges everyone to blog something interesting.

I woke up this morning with Sinatra’s “My Way” stuck in my head on repeat and it was a good thing. A timely reminder to clearly know what you stand for; know when to compromise, when to hold your ground and when to simply walk away.

It’s an especially timely reminder in light of the economy and the sense that having a job is the new merit raise.

It also reminds me of one of my favorite poems, one of the first “personal narratives” I wrote as I was moving past my initial ranty political phase, and the one that I most often get random emails from teachers or students about, informing me that it’s been used in a school performance.


When I was young
I believed that if I held my breath while crossing bridges
I’d survive the day the ground gave way
plunging me into the dark waters below.

My mother would look back at me and smile,
How long can you hold it?

My silence was her answer
as eyes teared
and pulse quickened…

When I was young
I believed that Batman
and Robin
and the rest of the Superfriends
really were on the other end of the phone
telling me it was past my bedtime
and that if I was good
and did my homework
and respected my mother
that one day I too
could be a superhero!

I never questioned Wonder Woman’s deep voice
or Superman’s gruff smoker’s growl.

When I was young
I believed the skeleton in my closet
was the monster under my bed
so I confronted him
befriended him
called him poetry
and set him free.

When I was young
I believed I would one day change the world
through sheer force of will.

Manhood introduced me to bridges
long and winding
where the ability to hold my breath
paled in comparison to the need
to hold my ground.

Bridges collapse everyday from neglect
and acts of war
or acts of God
a foolish game of semantics
no pen and ink hero could ever win.

I learned in time
to cherish my mother’s wisdom
and the true meaning of her words.

I still believe I can change the world
no matter what bridges I have to cross.

How long can you hold it? she asks.
…as long as it takes.

NOTE: This poem is included in the chapbook Crazy White Devil, available for free until the end of February.

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