I Could Tell You…Notes to Myself As a Young Man

I could tell you to invent Peanut Butter Cups
to make friends with Bill Gates
or Steve Jobs
and to buy early and often

I could tell you to pay more attention
to Joyce in high school
she likes you a lot
and in spite of not being the head cheerleader
(she is afflicted with beauty not pretty)
she is very nice
and is going to be really, really rich one day
just sayin’

I could tell you not to “pop the clutch”
on your brother’s black 1950 Ford sedan
while sitting at the stop sign on the bridge
that crosses the Willamette River in ‘Westfir
trying to “burn some rubber”

I could tell you to remember the
dark haired beauty that
floated down the dormitory steps
one evening
wearing a leopard skin coat

I could tell you that she will sit behind you
in Astronomy 101 the next term
and will stick her cold feet up into the sleeves
of your blue flight jacket
while she and her friends giggle

I could tell you that a year later
you and she will marry
and a year after that
a daughter
and three years later
a son
and they will be the very best
of the rest of your life

I could tell you about the lady
waiting for traffic to go by
and to not pass her on the right
because she will change her mind
and blow your favorite red Toyota pickup
off-highway into the borrow pit
along side the road

I could tell you about South Viet Nam
and about a war
and how being there
will bring the first dark clouds
into the skies of your fairy tale life

I could tell you to look in a mirror
and see the hair on your head
and remember what it looks like

I could tell you about great love
and divorce
and pain
and drugs
and fire
and death

I could tell you to learn to dance
to sing anyway
to enjoy loud, raucous
bawdy wet sex
and to begin writing early

I could tell you how one day
your father
will tell you about imagining
the Universe as a carpet
woven of a single thread

I could tell you
how if that is true
then one should
be very very careful when considering
whether or not to attempt to mend that carpet

I could tell you all these things
but it is the not knowing that
makes the adventure
and it will be a great adventure

And besides
knowing you
you would not listen anyway

Marv Himmel

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