Advice (Since You Asked)

I used to know absolutely

What was right, what wrong

Not always which to do myself

But enough to give you good advice


After I left Jimmie I knew

And I would tell you with no uncertainty

If your husband beat you, divorce him

If your wife spent too much

Your children were timid or fresh

I would have for your salvation

A word, a phrase, a book, a gestalt


After my son died, I'd say, because I knew it was true

"Life is too short to . . ."

Sometimes you'd ignore me

But sometimes you might agree

Sometimes you'd marry her

Sometimes you'd move out

Take up with your wild side

Or not


But today I know, I know very little

Nothing, actually

And what is right or wrong is not clear at all

I only know

To wake, to wash, to work

Laugh, forgive constantly

Spend what I have without remorse

Wear what I damned well please

Suffer without medication

Eat oatmeal, rice and curry, grapefruit

Or whatever you prepare for me

And love myself and others

For the children they are

For the children we were

Heywood Williams

Summer, 1996