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Escape From the Closet

There are no villains in this closet

of childhood – only these good people

stern-faced men of stone and icy countenance

robes swirling, at times with rods gripped

in their controlling fingers

lips quoting commandments, warnings

sins and sinister pronouncements

blinkering our wandering eyes

into the required directions


Growing, we struggled to evade

their whips and punishments

scales of Libra always before our eyes

we learned to distrust all purveyors

of The Truth; preachers of worlds above

and worlds below, of Right and Left


Under blankets after midnight

by torchlight, or alone in forest glades,

climbing hills from where cities below

appeared as crossword puzzles

flickering lights and crawling ants

we understood that we were born to be

observers not believers


I tried to pass this wisdom on to

my children – told them that my goal

was to teach them how to think

not what to think


But they, ears tuned to other frequencies,

went on their own rebellious paths

one to a guru in Washington State

the other to a synagogue in Brooklyn

to spend Shabbes under a dead rabbi’s

watchful gaze

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© Johnmichael Simon



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