Is it Easter again?

Starbucks Chief Executive Howard Schultz tastes a cup of coffee as he attends a ceremony marking the 10th anniversary of the opening of the first Hong Kong Starbucks in Hong Kong April 15, 2010. Starbucks sees the potential for thousands of stores in Greater China, where it currently has around 700, and is also keen on expanding in India and Vietnam, the head of the world's largest coffee retailer said. REUTERS/Bobby Yip (CHINA - Tags: BUSINESS)

Howard Schultz is the new pope of the new church.

The New Church
It’s too early for this, for most,
for the man tying-up his big dog
to the bicycle rack being
scolded by a woman who was
slowed by his pausing, and
he just shrugged, entering through
the door held open by a man
staring at the chest of a passing
woman as would any gentleman;
a couple waiting in line together
as if they were strangers
and couldn’t’ care less the other
was alive, another couple sat
too close and too obnoxiously
plays with a shared muffin, a bit
distracting to the two Bible studies
going on in dueling corners of
seriousness, both one-sided
lectures filling empty vessels
with pious clichés, nodding and
sipping – I can hear them both,
one about a Gospel and how
down to earth Jesus was, the other
in Leviticus about punishment
for sins that Jesus would be nice
enough to take care of for us;
and I’m sitting in my favorite spot,
back to a brick wall, legs
stretched out to hold my laptop
and I see through the window
the dog is staring at me, just me,
so I smiled and it sneezed to throw
off the accumulating snow.

Naomi’s Easter…

pulmonaryPulmonary Fibrosis.

That’s all I have to say about that.

Well, and this…

That moment between – the
the suspense dividing life
and whatever else
there should be
the pneuma of suffocation.

Shuttered, concealing the
draws of hallowed oxygen
and medicated abet
passively delivered
wait im-patiently for air.

Dialogue is no longer
saving strength for a draw
and forcing life
stilly available
a fearful ovation.

They say Jesus died
on a Roman cross of shame
and that’s why
blood and water
from his side.

No one dies from much,
just a few things kill us
and so we
bleed and die
fluidly drown.

One wish she relates – her
prayer –
for misericordia’s blessing
and allay her one fear –
minimize this disrepair.

Answered aspiration in
she’s found breathless
and in peace
no longer in between
is Naomi’s salvation.

Percival, Alexander, and other great names…

whats-in-a-nameThe Bard of Avon may have been wrong… or simply got it backwards… “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet” – who believes such specious-species logic is enough to trump the violence (or blessing) of names given with sovereign solemnity?

Percival, Of Course
I have never known a Percival,
but I believe I should like to one day,
if only to ask of the difficulties of traveling
through life with such an odd forename,
and whether as a child he was called Percy,
or if, does this Percival believe the name
was something to grow in-to,
a prophecy of ostentatiousness
like a stately gentleman sitting stiffly
in a tearoom reading a leather-bound
history of the Bantu people of Madagascar,
unawares that the cruelty of his given name
exerted a significant pedagogical influence
yielding profit or an air of respect
carrying him along and transforming
his odd and awkward appearance
into something praised, such as,
I never thought of him as handsome
until I got to know him, and another
asks, Who? and the answer is, Percival,
of course.

The Great
Names are fine and good
until they become larger than life,
like Alexander born to be Great,
and made to bear the weight,
of everything – every strife,
heartbeat, footfall and all
there is to be known about a
someone – just one someone
who once folded in Lanike’s arms,
exhausted with laughter,
let alone stumbling across Asia,
tucking a Homer under his pillow
to dream of another city bearing
his name; legends are made
of such dreams – Olympias’ visions
of lightning bolts en utero
for the boy born to serve as
defender of man to the ends
of this earth, and another.

An ode to taxonomies galore…

taxonomytakˈsänəmē – the process or system of describing the way in which different living things are related by putting them in groups.

In other words, playing God.


It’s called something majestic
I think, but, of course,
I’m not at all certain what it
has been named by some
stuffy old Brit who
taxonomized each and
everything he encountered
along the way of conquering
the world for the glory of
the Empire without its
setting sun; species,
genus and domain, class and,
of course, kingdom
capturing a great philosophical
divide of nomenclature
about the metaphysics of
taxa reflected in international
codes of phylogenetic
clades fighting over whether
this majestic thing remains
the same as it matures
from infancy through instinct
or environment to eating
and defecating, remembering
and fearing and forgetting
or forgetting to forget
to trust shapes and shades,
as monocled beards in
tweed debate whether
amnesia hollows identity,
voids inheritance and
biology, or the loss of a
limb or transgendered and
therefore asexual (yes, the English
have such dialogues) requires
a corresponding alteration
of similarities or differences
in classes for without
breeding this beautiful,
majestic thing is a nothing
at all, simply an exception
proving the rule by
which it is ignored in a
footnote; but I refuse for
it is stunning as it
refuses a proper name
in my ignorance – a sanctuary
of sorts as it plays with
ancestry and biology
and my only fear is the fear of
ignoring its performance.

What I learned as a teacher…

stonerOnce upon a time I held a romantic dream of fame and fortune in higher education. (Stop laughing….)

This was outlandish for a high school dropout, but I was undeterred by my own story. It was more of a dream for me than all or any of you – as you dutifully marched through grades and degrees while I dallied and dillied in my deficient disorder. And with effort – more than so many alongside – I arrived, burned brightly for a few years, and have dimmed ever since. But that’s my story.

There are few ‘good reads’ about such things, and with good reason. There are only a few of us who dream such foolishness (limited market), and our dream is unbelievable or undesirable (to the market). One exception is an oddly titled narrative from John Willaims – Stoner ( Ever heard of it? (Didn’t think so.)

In the meantime, here’s something about what I learned as a teacher…

Great Things
I spent my life doing great things
at least in my own eyes;
better words, deeper thoughts,
longer books; languages, authors
and thinking things people didn’t
think because it hurt to do so, but
I enjoyed the pain and wanted
more, to learn just to learn
and speak and write out of joy,
not compulsion or guilt,
with my delight, sometimes
out of understanding, often
just because I was contagious
in the way I loved finding out
there is so much more to
be found out, so much more;
I spent my life doing great things
and some of them were very good,
even kind because of education’s
gentle touch, so unknown, so
mysterious, when teacher is
learner and students evaluate
with agreeing nods and notes
of I can’t imagine what – what
was said worth writing down
is the mystery because this
won’t be on the test, it will
only be in this classroom,
in this moment important
because I made it seem like
the entire world was waiting
to hear what it depended on;
I spent my life doing great things
and at times I was paid to do
the things I knew were great,
but more often I had to fit them in,
in between the labor and burdens
and ordinariness of women and men
who refused to know what was new
to be known and preferred
to repeat what they’d heard
another pretend lover say
from notes composed over
a score past, including humor
to connect with the dead or
dying and good grades were
in rote memorization of
names, dates and the teacher’s
words that filled in blanks
he created like a crossword
of life and death without
real consequence, only tenure;
I spent my life doing great things
and there are still so many
great things to do but it’s
become too difficult – the fight
for space to breath, and I need
air more than money, and
money more than books now,
and that alone makes me cry;
seeing others do what I love
to do and make a living at it
but eager to retire, to quit and
I’d give anything, anything just
to have the chance, once again,
to live the life of a learner,
indebted to all there is to know.