To whom it may concern 

by Mark Dvorak

When I was young

they said I was too young.

“He’s got potential,” they said.

“If he’d only work harder,” they said.

“He’ll never make it,” they said.

“I hope he can stay with it.”

When I became older

they said I was too old.

“He’s kept at it,” they said.

“He’s got passion,” they said.

“He should get an award,” they said.

“Is he still doing this?”

To whom it may concern:

I never cared for an instant

what you thought I should be doing

or should have done.

Not for an instant.

I do not care who you think I am.

I’ve been to your schools 

and have read your newspapers.

I have heard your songs.

Like you, things come at me now;

through a screen and sometimes 

through a fractured memory.

And sometimes it hits pretty hard

and throws me for a dozen loops, too.

And guess what?

The thing you judged

was but a flash

and a glimpse of something 

you and I have shared

in common

since birth.

Though years and brokenness

have delivered each of us here,

our children are brilliant

and we have much.

You cannot hold a mirage

in your hands.

What is this thing our mothers have given?

And this thing our fathers have taught?

The war doesn’t end, does it?

What is it we have been bequeathed

from those unnamed

whose secrets we still hold close,

while again sunset announces golden

its pure intention.

Were it up to me I would tell you.

But because of who I have become

and because of whom you have perceived

me to be,

I point again to the sky,

and to the shimmering leaves in autumn.

I point again to the ripples on the river

and to all that is unfair.

These I know:

There is much worth in laughing.

Follow music.

Smile like a child.


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