Any poem that begins with, “Regret nothing,” is worth a read. I discovered Antilamentation, a poem by Dorianne Laux on www.brainpickings.org. The website is Maria Popova’s brilliant collection of all things literary. She is described as, “an interestingness hunter-gatherer and curious mind at large, who also writes for Wired UK andThe Atlantic, among others, and is an MIT Futures of Entertainment Fellow.” Plan on a few hours the first time you check out Brain Pickings.

For now, sit back and relax, and enjoy a few moments of  regretting nothing.

Antilamentation

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 punchline, 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 into 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 upstairs

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.