Someone once said they regretted
there were no more silent films
that spoke to everybody.
I think it was Serge Gainsbourg.
They say he constantly wondered if he was loved
even though they loved him more than we loved Kennedy.
Every artist asks this question.
He or she hammers it out line by line
until some image is recognizable as a face or a note,
a backbone of self-worth.
A friend asked me if I knew the most comforting word
in the English language.
I guessed peace or soul, even tranquility.
Nope, they said, it’s the sound of your own name.

Except for those with tragic souls
or those whose families fall apart
before their eyes-
nothing as hard as that early
age of helplessness
and need
as a child trapped in a world run by
someone else’s pain.

To each young person in the making
I send out words of love.

Hang on sweet thing

before you even know it

your whole life will be your own.

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