Learning to be silly…

Not From a Book

When all’s good and all is fair,
she is close and love’s a dare,
season’s all but winter least
fondness lingers, cares ceased,
songless tune, birdless song,
edging shade and time is long,
I’ll find a way, way to be
as close to you as you to me,
and when we’re called we’ll answer not
hearts be filed with headless thought,
learning ways and teasing look
and such is not learnt from a book.

What Nietzsche knew about babies…

NietzscheWow!

Nietzsche said “Love, too, has to be learned”
and we started with our first by teaching her
to say, ‘Wow’ – kissing lips opening as a fish
with a slow, drawn-out ow-ow-ow between
the magical w’s; it is a word that goes around
itself, a palindrome to embarrass all others
and she loved, absolutely loved, the joyful
surprise on adult faces as she so carefully
pronounced, over-and-over again, her word
of wonder until she broke into a smile and the
wow’s had to stop because upturned corners
of the mouth break into the world of wows
as if competing for delight, and it took her
learned discipline to recapture the lips which
would say her wonderful word ‘Wow’ and we’re
awed, every day, she knows what it means.

Kim and Kanye and everyone else…

Kim and Kanye and Paul Edward

The link was obviously incorrect;
I was looking for an update about
Kim and Kanye’s latest escapade,
but wound up reading the obituary
of a man who wore oversized
glasses, tinted, his face thick with
wrinkles from too many smiles or
worries, dressed in a wide-wale
corduroy jacket, long collared shirt
and thick tie – all in earth tones
and probably a photo from the last
decade or two or three, his name is
(I don’t like to say ‘was’ for some
reason), Paul Edward; he died in
Ohio but wasn’t born there – maybe
marriage or work took him there
from Indiana (it’s next door after all),
but at the end he was alone in Ohio
because Agnes preceded him in death
by fifteen years, as had all his siblings,
Mary and John and especially his
baby sister Judith who died in 1932
and that must have been terrible;
they had just one child that survived
to write this obituary but he
lives in Chicago; I wonder how many
friends he had at the end of 92 years
because he had many at one time
it seems – he was high school
football captain, and during the war
he was drafted into the Army and
stationed in the Philippines, his post
in hospitals and recovery wards, and
the obituary said many wounded
soldiers kept in touch with him
over the years, but they’re all
gone now too; he ran a chicken farm
for a while after the war, then
a hardware store and he looks like
the guy you could ask anything and
he’d quietly talk you through the nuts
and bolts of repairing what needed
repairing (and I can imagine him
complaining that folks don’t repair
things any more, they just replace
them – as a commentary about
his generation, the one that saved
the world and was being replaced
now); they said he was a
well-travelled man, but besides
the Philippines all it mentioned was
Akron, Cleveland and Toledo (and
I’ve been to these places, and they’re
nice, but I don’t think of that as
well-travelled), his story quickly
added he made friends wherever
he went and that might make
all the difference in the world;
oh, and he was a Methodist and
sang in a choir for more than
50 years, some of them with his
wife before she passed, and that’s
where he met her – her name was
Agnes and I guess there’s no better
reason to have a choir, besides
praising the Lord, of course; and if
you care about Paul Edward please
don’t send flowers, just give some
money to a church choir instead;
that’s when I remembered what I
was searching for in the first place
but I don’t care as much about Kim
and Kanye right now.

He might have been god…

The Name of God

I never knew the name of the man in the red vest,
with seven pockets and a knife sharpened pencil,
fingers dirtied with iron dust from picking nails,
clipping lengths of rope or showing men how-to
just about everything there is to-do that drove them
to the hardware store early on a Saturday morning,
every Saturday morning with my father who looks
and carefully lingers, sorting through nuts and bolts
waiting for our turn to ask about the broken part
dirtying my Dad’s palm and me wondering why
my father who knew everything didn’t know this;
I stared at the man’s boots that looked like
they were never new, his navy blue pants with
bottom inch turned-up into a cuff holding sawdust
as he told, then showed Dad the how-to to-do
and I nodded along with them like I understood it all;
I never knew his name, but it might have been God.

Once upon a name so great…

To Be Alexander

Names are fine and good
until they become larger than life,
like Alexander born to be the 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,
and another.

When I grow old I won’t be old…

The Year 2000

When I grow up I will be old,
but little else will be different
I remember dreaming at night,
like running will still be easy
but maybe I won’t want to
run as much as I do now,
I don’t remember thinking
about choices or school,
having more or less money,
hair loss, getting fat, or sex;
and everyone would still be
alive but they wouldn’t and
I didn’t realize it back then,
there’d be sunny summer days
with baseball games and
watermelon but no mosquitoes
and bees would stay near the
flowers and leave me alone
while I ate hot dogs and
salty potato chips, and drink
fruit punch like it was beer,
and far off into the future
it might be scary to be me
like the year two thousand
when I’d be forty years old
if I ever lived that long.

What is the Great American Novel anyway…

Dear Author

It has taken me all month to finish your novel,
the one about two friends who were once close
but for some unexplained reason are no longer,
living lives vaguely dependent on each other
in some mysterious, invisible cosmic fellowship
which you take six hundred pages to explain,
how once they finished the other’s thoughts,
liked the same ordinary, everyday things
which fill lives without reason or purpose
but define idiosyncrasies like dental records,
they both had a bad experience with wisdom teeth,
girlfriends, tomatoes, an inability to finish things
like friendships until they meet again on a train,
airport bound and discover nothing’s changed,
just older and fatter and both flying to Houston
for the same trade show, one selling, one buying,
same hotel, both divorced, kids indifferent
and unimpressed by life, they should grab a bite,
catch-up, where has the time gone, etc.,
but they never see each other it turns out,
and that’s okay – that’s how you end the novel,
and the dust jacket is dotted with quotes
from famous peers, all filled with praise
about how this is the Great American Novel,
because this is America according to everyone.

I’d prefer not to die…

Ode Not to Dying

In this poem no one will die
no one is sick or will grieve
it’s not that everyone’s blissful
for that would be a silly lie
but we could use a reprieve
from the funereal hymnal.

This could be about life or joy
pleasant parks, a May flower
yet some don’t love Spring
allergies and rain may annoy
for some it’s love turned sour
or that they’re denied a ring.

Can-do bravery is pleasing
psalms of life, into the valley
when others perish bravely
we’re moved to day seizing
coup de grâce to de foudre
lifely lived, lively not gravely.

But I’m Irish – death’s our theme
the grave the cradle’s twin
gentle Lady silenced by Joyce
Heanley’s Naturalist midstream
Yeats killed off Paddy Flynn
Wilde at the grave’s lost voice.

But I’ve promised no decay
disease, mortality or demise
instead we’ll think of the morn
and life as a grand parfait
beauty we will not despise
nor emote so as to mourn.

So here is the happy end
ever after, fondly, cheerful
hoping you feel better with this
and sleep better, life commend
laughing instead of tearful
and not dying (today) is bliss.

Then there is the miracle
when death is itself done in
but how often does that occur;
hope is fine, gullibility satirical
and none escapes original sin
for death one may not defer.

When I pray I wonder…

Morning Prayer

Good morning, God – well
at least for me; since you
neither slumber nor sleep
and never get tired (I’ve tried
that but it doesn’t work for
me), and you’re constantly
observing (what we like to
call stalking, but that’s a harsh
word), and eavesdropping
(again, our word… sorry),
on your creation, it’s hard to
know what’s the appropriate
greeting, but since you know
all things and I don’t I’m
assuming it’s okay to just go
with what I know and you’ll
be understanding; and that’s
why I’d like to talk about with
you – some understanding,
but you know that already,
and I’m tired so I’m going to
take a nap soon (but that’s
something you don’t get
to enjoy and I feel bad about
that). Amen, and amen.

We don’t understand what we don’t understand…

The Nelsons - Ozzie & Harriet, David & Rickey. DESERET NEWS MORNING ARCHIVES

The Nelsons – Ozzie & Harriet, David & Rickey.
DESERET NEWS MORNING ARCHIVES

Maladaptive Adaptive

We don’t understand normal anymore,
don’t understand what’s happened, before
we’ve became the new black, the new average,
and maladaptive became all one could salvage.

Making-do and not expecting too much,
a reasonable way to cope – a sacred crutch;
lest any be forced to act out of compulsion,
a violation of will leading to convulsion.

The mushroom cloud of the family,
looms large on the horizon of the latchkey;
and any invocation of is dripping with guilt,
a poor rendering of the intricate human quilt.

This was not always our social affinity,
but an industrial product of economic viability;
accommodative adaptivity in a pragmatic vein,
we collect round the character campaign.

From Ozzie and Harriet, Ward and June,
to the village it takes to raise this tune;
we’re better off not asking too much of any
for disappointment weighs upon all heavy.