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.

Through the valley of the shadow of death…

GraveA Psalm 23

When my mother died
I said nothing, I had
no words – me, her boy
who didn’t shut up,
couldn’t, it seemed,
and would talk her ear
off, or so she claimed,
but I don’t recall her
ever telling me to
stop, unless I missed it,
quieter but not silent;
so where were the words
now – they’re not in
the dictionary she
said she wasn’t when
asked how to spell;
so I had to borrow the
lyrics she taught me
by her own mother’s grave,
about how to see the
valley of the shadow,
and fear no evil,
trusting the Lord
was her shepherd also.

Matchmaking on the highway…


Another slow and agonizing commute
from the southern suburbs to my home north
and I have to find a way to pass the time,
do some good or at least no harm.

Behind me is a mouth-breathing Neanderthal
eating aggressively – beef jerky and nuts maybe,
alternating his well-balanced diet of commuter snacks,
but so distracted that he is constantly slamming
on his brakes to avoid rear-ending the car in front
which is mine and I am to blame he indicates
with extended middle finger, for being here
so inconveniently obstructing his progress
to some world-changing destiny; I see it all
in my rear-view mirror and he makes me nervous
in so many, many ways.

In front – intermittently – is a little red car,
with its brown-haired female distracted
by her phone, her radio, her hair,
something in her eye, her phone again,
and the apparent lack of lift or something in her hair
which she tries to remedy as she moves back
and forth from my lane to the next and back again
without consulting her mirrors or signaling
her capriciousness with a light so designed;
she must be perfect and all must defer.

Caveman-in-mid-meal behind, and she-self
primping in front – the two seem made for each other,
it occurs to me, if only they would meet – but how
on a road crowded with thousands of others, nervously
and impatiently cursing each and every one of
the thousands of others who presume to slow
one’s evolution and inconvenience their life.

And then my moment appears, as he reaches
for something dropped across the seat (but
certainly not a napkin) and she discovers
an unevenness in her brow that must be corrected
for the world to continue its revolutions,
as I quietly slip into the next lane and it happens,
for she has not signaled and he has not looked up
in time to stop the fender-bender that will
unite this perfect couple in their destiny
and I am their matchmaker – driving on.

What is greater than love…


Hate is stronger than love
like up is higher than down,
it’s as simple as that, like
water off a duck’s back, but
it seems ducks enjoy
water on their backs; or
when left turns to right,
eventually, but it takes so long
to get there;
while everyone’s busy
keeping track of what
makes them so uncomfortable
they just have to hate so much,
love doesn’t stand a chance.

Playing and being played with…

Toys1Words are toys.

When is When
When – that’s the best way to start
a poem about memories and tears,
and ‘tears’ is such a good rhyme
for fears, hears, nears and years
which brings us back to when and
timing which is everything except
for emotion caught in time’s gears
(there’s that rhyme again), ripped
from childhood and baptized in
disappointment called adulthood
(you see, that’s how it’s done);
keep these things in mind and
compose away, don’t be afraid
to play with emotions and linger
while meaning disappears
and when becomes lost in years.

Hate is stronger than love
like up is higher than down,
it’s as simple as that, like
water off a duck’s back, but
it seems ducks enjoy
water on their backs; or
when left turns to right,
eventually, but it takes so long
to get there;
while everyone’s busy
keeping track of what
makes them so uncomfortable
they just have to hate so much,
love doesn’t stand a chance.

What’s original about sin…

Eve-shoving-the-apple-in-Adams-mouthBlame the serpent (that’s Eve’s ploy), then Adam blames Eve (though she was just a toy), and God who created it all; add this together and we have the fall.

The history of religion is the history of blame, the motive for religion is guilt, the means of religion is empathy, and the denunciation of it all is sympathy. That is, only those who care go to hell.


History of Sin

History a tale of fallen’s friends
giving account of what had to be,
fixed  by a sovereign who sees the end
saddled with desire to be free;

lost to be found, but only through Rome
intrude on our lust, our passion, home,
named ex opere – the lusty lie
sprinkle the babies lest they all die;

create the fright, threaten what’s scary
touch our babes, but you’re still necessary,
triumph assured, all wars justified
feelings condemned not capitalized.

Who erred that all are born this way
simply answered, we all come astray,
it’s sin, not hunger, that babies cry,
and not biology why we all die.


Love Story

We met at the beginning of the circle
when all was new just to each other,
soon we thought we were always we,
stories merged like one on another;

what it was, was easy enough to be
always something, everything undone,
damned by fruit of a forbidden tree
critiquing what once was begun;

tested, not tempted, fallacies, not lies
our Kant dared us from infants to grow
question by taste, deceived by our eyes
stop just taking, trusting, we can know;

no prudes, no rules, the circle begun,
exemplary yet derided for immemorial
blamed by Hippo for perfection undone
but not the cause, simply the tutorial;

we’d eat it again and again in love,
the defiance was arbitrary after all
as was the command – it was a shove
toward deconstruction and not a fall;

it’s quiet, our story, beyond this plot
we loved, with fear – that our glory,
wandering together for what we ought,
we are Eve and Adam – a love story.

Anonymity and other unknown things… (part 2)

When nobody knows anybody (or is it ‘When anybody knows nobody’?), life is what we call normal. If that bothers you as much as it does me, then you might enjoy this…

Humanized Anonymity
It has come to my attention
that doctors have a 100% failure rate,
if life is what they preserve,
and I’ve never seen one attend a funeral
unless it’s theirs, of course,
so I propose they be required to show
last respects for all their patients,
by law they must be there, embarrassing
as it will be, and apologize
along with everyone else saying ‘I’m sorry’
in the line winding around
the casket, and they will be one of the
only ones who truly mean it;
while I’m at it, I propose that
historians be forced to stand in public
at regular intervals, reciting
the names and a brief paragraph about
the millions and millions
they gladly ignore or anonymously label
when writing their big books
of sweeping, majestic generalizations
while a mother’s baby failed
to thrive and died in her arms yesterday,
a stupid boy, so unloved,
thought nothing of shooting a neighbor
so he might belong to a family
he’d never had before, or the paranoid,
wrinkled woman named Lucy
who spied out of her drawn drapes
at her new neighbors because
they didn’t belong in her neighborhood;
with funerals well attended
and public recitations going on daily,
we’ll be quite entertained but
probably not concern ourselves as we
go about ignoring important things
until we see our doctors dressed to mourn
or hear our name recited; and,
doctors would be so busy with funerals
that they’ll be unable to save lives,
and the writing of history books would
suddenly include observations
of the practice of public recitations and
how this is just a concession
to a silly and meaningless public clamor,
for meaning for humanized anonymity
that they’re happy to supply.

Archaeology and other ways of telling stories…

zzzzcrema_potsherdArchaeology is storytelling.

A potsherd, flecked with bronze color, fine as dust, a broken piece of comb nearby, and we know this was an upper-class family, probably with two servants, enough money for oils (plural) – maybe for ritual sacrifice to a patron deity or private cultic ceremony honoring a father or a father’s father; the woman of the house would use the comb to capture her long, flowing brown hair flecked with sun-streaked strands she might have used the comb to highlight in social prominence or hide in embarrassment of her southern genealogy, yet as the wife and mother in this midlands household she would have been afforded deference, the home actually like a small estate with rock walls demonstrating ownership as well as creating a rare sense of privacy; and the male would hire laborers to tend the fields to the east with wheat or barley but probably not great success as the arable land extended just several hundred meters to a rocky and abrupt incline hardly useful except for the children to climb until summoned home by their mother who has put her hair up using a fine comb, and her voice is either strong and confident or embarrassed.

Bill + Mary
Bill + Mary in the shape of a heart
remains, somehow, to be unearthed,
discovered, dated and recorded
as archaeological relic in the storytelling
of a science that is not at all that;
it’s been etched, carved or inscribed
in some semi-permanent dust,
covered and cosseted by years
of ignorance of Bill and Mary,
neither royal or memorable
their love may not have been
love at all, it could just as easily
have been Bill’s fantasy, or lust,
or Mary’s romantic dream,
maybe the vindictive jealousness
of a spurned lover Bill and/or Mary,
and of so many other options
come to nothing at all for either,
no courtship or excitement,
proposal, troth pledged,
no toil or nervous first kiss,
nuptial shyness or blushing,
no love at all for Bill + Mary,
but that never stopped
archaeologists before, has it.

Wow and other words of love…

sle-love-is-heartWe all like to assume we’re good at something like or close to or approximating that strange thing that makes the world go ’round – love.

There are a few of us, in sad and lonely moments, who would decry this, and make ourselves unlovable thereby in a self-fulfilling prophecy of self-loathing.

You see, those who talk incessantly about love often do not know what love is.

And for the rest this ignorance is too painful to contemplate.

And when someone wants to quiz or test you about your love – it’s quality or degree or sincerity – that’s the cue to abandon all hope. The relationship (if there ever was one) is over – at least in terms of love.

All this is to say that love is one thing, and talking about love is another altogether. I do not pretend to comprehend either.


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’s 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, and we’re
awed, every day, she knows what it means.

Love and Anything

It’s an affront to the totality
of love to place a conjunction with it;
demeaning all other reality,
by simply linking ‘and’ in transit.

Love refuses rivals,
with passive opposition it denies
challengers their titles;
a simple tie sacrifices the prize.

Adding anything in place
by union with the fame of one word,
counting all else as base,
with a simply conjunction’s embrace.

Try it; put up for debate,
‘Love and’ anything will degrade;
‘and’ sex, food, marriage, even hate,
this fall is impossible to evade.

To say ‘and life’ is sad,
as if it’s worthy without the former;
to claim ‘and war’ is had
only by ignoring hate in the warrior.

For love changes all,
concurring sum with a simple ‘and’
casting this pall
over juxtaposed allegiances banned.

The lesson is clear,
that love suffers no fool gladly,
intolerant as severe
treating all pretenders badly.