hello, memory? old friends?

i wasn't always like this was i? so brooding and melancholy.

i think i remember a time when i
felt like i could do anything, and did

when i surprised people
with my gusto, resourcefulness
spirit and generosity

giving my birthday cake
and bananas to homeless
people on telegraph

and planning day long
to relieve my stressed out friends

posting quotes from the
new yorker denouncing english majors--
800 copies--
all over the english

writing senseless limericks
for the fastest runners

asking the grocery
store butcher for extra
ground turkey stickers
to give to a friend because
they were somehow
funny to her

i remember, too,
coming to the realization,
one fall afternoon just
this past september,
when i was walking home
from piazza dell'independenza--
my stomach tight as i noticed that
the days were getting shorter, a shiny glint
of sunlight
on the tears
streaming down my cheek--

that the world will never
give you a standing ovation
for being good

a million dollars will not
rain down from the sky because
you deserve it

you can be the best
you are
and people will still
elbow past you
on the bus,
racing for the last seat

you have to be
because you want to be

you must be the best
so that you know it

and nothing more.

maybe this is what it
means to grow up