Regret nothing. Not the cruel novels you read

to the end just to find out who killed the cook, not

the insipid movies that made you cry in the dark,

in spite of your intelligence, your sophistication, not

the lover you left quivering in a hotel parking lot,

the one you beat to the punch line, the door or the one

who left you in your red dress and shoes, the ones

that crimped your toes, don’t regret those.

Not the nights you called god names and cursed

your mother, sunk like a dog in the living room couch,

chewing your nails and crushed by loneliness.

You were meant to inhale those smoky nights

over a bottle of flat beer, to sweep stuck onion rings

across the dirty restaurant floor, to wear the frayed

coat with its loose buttons, its pockets full of struck matches.

You’ve walked those streets a thousand times and still

you end up here. Regret none of it, not one

of the wasted days you wanted to know nothing,

when the lights from the carnival rides

were the only stars you believed in, loving them

for their uselessness, not wanting to be saved.

You’ve traveled this far on the back of every mistake,

ridden in dark-eyed and morose but calm as a house

after the TV set has been pitched out the window.

Harmless as a broken ax. Emptied of expectation.

Relax. Don’t bother remembering any of it. Let’s stop here,

under the lit sign on the corner, and watch all the people walk by.



After reading this poem my senior year of high school, I began to realize that my problems, all of the trials that I have gone through, do not define me. Everyone has their demons. Everyone has had something happen to them that has almost broken them and ripped them apart at the seams. But the most important thing to remember is that things go on. They always go on. People are in a state of constant motion. And to hone in on one of your regrets, one of your darkest days, only holds you back. It is not only possible to move on, but necessary.