I recently revised my poem, Dreaming is Like Learning a Foreign Language and rather than spell it out, I’ll let it stand by itself. You can find it below this passage. Suffice it to say that dreaming is easy as a kid and much harder as you get on in years.
My childhood was interesting to say the least. Naturally, I was one of the unpopular kids who lived on the east side of town in a poor neighborhood. I’ve written a lot of poems about my childhood trying to make the whole time period sound funny including a piece on my wiping my nose on the wall, eating out of the school’s garbage can, and a girl scout experience in which I was forced to kiss the men’s toilet seat.
I remember being really optimistic about each year in passing. Each year, we would go to the mall and buy sweaters and blouses to go with our school uniforms (my sister and I went to a private school) and I loved having fresh clothes to start the year off with. And the girl scout experience didn’t scare me off, I remained in the scouts for three years. I routinely earned more badges than anyone in my troop, in fact.
That is not to say I was a good student. I didn’t start to apply myself until 11th grade when I realized that I was going to have to get a job someday and actually support myself. Scared straight, I took the ACT and scored a measly 18. By senior year, I had all A’s.
I went to college (how many times now?) and secured a Bachelor’s degree. I won a writing award and was published in the university publication. Some of my dreams have come true. I still want to publish a book of my poems and return to work after a lengthy absence.
Rocks continue to rain from the sky and hit me right in the eye. Bruised and a little stunned, I wobble toward the light and continue to dream. It’s harder as a 36 year old but I can still learn a foreign language if I want to.
Dreaming is Like Learning a Foreign Language
Dreaming is like learning
a foreign language.
When you’re five,
it all seems so natural–
no thought or investment required.
Ideas spill out like waterfalls
and the whole world marvels
at your moxie. Your parents
parade your mind and promptly
affix your art to the fridge.
Passerby think you’re a genius.
Grade school burns you with
bullies and you start to think
fat is fighting you in the night.
Fifteen and you’re old enough
to crash your mother’s Lexus,
impregnate the neighbor girl,
and flunk geography class but
adulthood races in drunk, it
blissfully bathing you in total
ignorance and rest from future
nest opportunities. Grey-haired
and wrinkled, you gaze up.