now or if you're defending lives
you've gotten accustomed to, lives
you ended up with but never
actually chased down, lives
tethering you to the place where
you grew up, where we all grew up.
i wonder, as the flame still alight for you
in a corner of my heart finds a
bit of new air for rekindling --
i wonder if this is the life you had imagined.
i hope you're happy.
i hope that no one has called you names
or judged you for being a small-town boy
who had a child out of wedlock.
i hope your marriages are stronger
than your parents' ever were
and that you didn't do it
because it was the cool thing to do.
i hope we've all moved past that notion
of doing things to be cool.
i hope you aren't stared down in hallways
or tripped in stores accidentally-on-purpose.
i hope your shoes are always with-the-times
and your hair, not yet graying.
i hope you are making your own money
and realizing how hard it is to keep it for yourself.
i hope you smile at more things now
and that you've had to swallow your pride
once or twice. i hope that
for myself a lot, too.
i hope that you don't hesitate
to help someone when they ask
and that you help them even
when they are too afraid to ask.
i hope that all of your struggles,
everything you've lived through,
have enabled you to learn
about the kind of person you are
i hope you think of the people you've hurt
with fondness, especially those
you didn't know you were hurting
and i hope you forgive the people
who have ever made you leave the table
to go cry in the bathroom.
i hope you forgive the people
who offered empty apologies
just to make themselves feel better.
i hope you never get tired of hearing or saying
i hope we are contributing members of society now
and that we think seriously about the future
even if we aren't sure
or don't want to know
where it will take us.
i hope the diamonds on your fingers sparkle
as brightly as your eyes do
and that you remember how good it feels
to be complimented sincerely
by somebody you don't know.
i hope you've found something lonely
in this world to believe in.
most of all, i hope that we don't forget.
whatever it is that you still hold on to
from then until now, i hope
it stays with you, welding itself
into the workings of your psyche.
i mostly hope that you are
better, stronger, kinder and humbler.
i mostly hope that we have all
changed from imbeciles into adults,
into human beings who matter to somebody.
that is all that i hope
for all of you, whom i'd nearly,