The cheaters and the liars and the addicts

Were always far off, unlucky bastards who didn't know how to think.


It was like dipping your toe in the ocean in early June

At first, it's cold and you pull your foot away quickly

But the next time, you know it's going to be cold

And you step more firmly into the water.

Soon your skin stops stinging and the frigid water nips at your ankles in a way that is almost lovely

Then your calves, knees, thighs, until your waist shivers a bit as the water sloshes around its exposed skin.

Breathing is synchronized with the churning waves,

Tight, sharp breaths that come when the water rises, deeper breaths as it subsides


And then, in a moment of anticipation and courage,

You dive under

Pleasantly cold

Pleasantly free

To discover that the water is powerful

And

Fun


The cheaters and the liars and the addicts

Were always swimming in the ocean, while I sat on the shore

Content with sand and oblivion



The bookend stanzas of this poem reflect the mindset of an ignorant person. Often times, it is easy to be judgmental about a situation or state of living you have never experienced yourself. The middle portion of the poem offers an analogy for what it is like to shed ignorance and expand into new and unfamiliar territory that may or may not be dangerous. Similar to slowly entering a cold body of water, ignorance and innocence are not often fully lost all at once. The process grows more startling and thrilling with each step deeper into the water and the unknown. The final dive into the water represents the full immersion into the unknown and compares the feeling to that of leaving ignorance and innocence completely behind.