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back then the future was so clear to me
get a good job, money, house, there'd be a girl
have kids maintain the family ties like an ancient heavenly
      connection should be kept
slowly get old grandkids repeat story
of ancestors, preserve the legacy
generations of lather rinse repeat

but now I've seen too many unhappy
people who "had it all" - money house girl
kids if they wanted fancy car vacations but
later we learned of late-night misery
the secrets of a dark and angry house

(and in this world this revelation must
be spoken like an oft-repeated prayer
antihypnotic charm against the myths;
so easy to believe conformity)

instead slow dawning realization that
I can't stand 9to5 commutes, office
bullshit, pretending to love cubicles
can't believe in one girl for forever
will not repeat ancestor's story

must write my own

originality so often leads to crap
so much safer to steal and adapt
like that old fraud Shakespeare stealing stories, like me
      stealing from Beats and Transcendentalists to make my poems

so we are always on the lookout to stories to steal
fads cults religions partyline bullshit
a set of labels much easier than a story:
Christian liberal punk rocker, gay Republican Buddhist
      Goth, whatever
yes even Zen Pagan poet hacker freethinker, myself not least
      of all a story thief

stories we tell where spirit meets the flesh
we feed the storytelling brain machine
with bits we steal from every tale we know
and hope a blandly pleasant plot resolves

of that bad habit I must break myself
must strive to live a tale not told before
to spend my life constructing a story
worthy of being written in flesh and bone

--Tom Swiss

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