Going too fast to go faster…

CP9PMK_2332698bHindsight is such a funny word (you can quote me on that).

A Good Fit
In a fit of frenzy
(is there any other kind?)
I gave thanks without pausing
without ceremony, without stopping
to smell roses, coffee or spring’s perfume,
because unlike the behaviorally manipulative
life is my sacrament and no priest slows me down.

Permission or Forgiveness
If only, if, if, “If I knew then
what I know now” I know I’m not
smart (or good) enough to do
anything differently; I know that I
don’t know how to know
differently, I know that even
with 20/20, clear as day,
sharply focused and contrasted
lines diagraming right and wrong,
touch and don’t touch, walk
and don’t walk, buy and sell,
I would still act stupidly
and need forgiveness
instead of permission;
because it’s only later and
not at the time that I know
what I should have known,
and I’m fine with that because
I’m enjoying forgiveness.

 

Gravity is overrated – especially in dreams…

gravityGravity is perception.

Gravity is only perception.

It is a force pulling together all matter; maybe even a force pulling together all that matters.

The more matter, the more gravity; the more that matters, the more gravity.

But it’s still only perception.

Don’t ask NASA. Don’t ask Kepler, Newton or Einstein (although Einstein’s the closest).

The apple didn’t hit Newton on the head, and Newton’s head didn’t hit the apple. It was simply deviation.

And that’s why gravity is overrated – especially in dreams…

 

My Gravity

I was awakened from a dream,
a dream about me – they’re always
about me it seems as the axis
of the world is under my feet,
all eyes turn to me, all words
are said for me as if pulled by
my gravity, and yet I never speak,
never a word, as space shrinks
close and closer, faces approach,
the ground and sky too come
to me, and just as it is all to be
enveloped in me as a fold
I wake, and I speak but no one
hears me, the sky opens forever
and forever away, familiar
faces withdraw, turning
carelessly, no calling stops them,
no motion halts the sky, I’m
being spun by the pull of true
gravity and lean back into
myself just to keep from falling.

 

The World’s End

The world ends somewhere,
I know it does;
not sometime as in a date in some apocalyptic
‘you’d better watch out, you’d better not cry’
kind of way,
but a place, an edge, a cliff that
doesn’t look like the end until it’s too late
when you’re hit with that falling sensation
from dreams
or the lurch in your stomach that only happened
when you were a kid,
in the backseat of the family station wagon;
that end somewhere
is not where people don’t live or work or love
or care even, because they don’t care at all
where the world ends,
but I do and you should too – I think it’s
somewhere just past Aurora, if you’re wondering.

 

Meanwhile

Meanwhile everything’s the same,
fish swim downstream as well as up
so don’t be fooled by cliché’s fame,
because virtue’s virtue will corrupt

itself and all who still pretend
there’s a something beyond it all,
thus refusing to bow they ascend,
proud as Icarus they rise to stall;

meanwhile the rest of us plod along
doing what must be done less airs
allowing a dream of being so strong
but saddled with every day cares.

 

 

Boredom is cool…

bored spaghetti o'sThe word doesn’t begin to appear in dictionaries until the late 1850’s, and it was first used to describe the influence of industrialization, mechanisms, and technology. Boredom is our problem, exacerbated by the experience of connectivity.

Boredom has three uses: weariness with repetition, leisure time, and alienation resulting from impersonal social existence (a Marxist idea, but still an idea – http://pubs.socialistreviewindex.org.uk/isj79/cox.htm). It’s most closely associated with early adulthood – from high school to early college years, and then it reappears in mid-life crises. And it is most often described as a dissatisfaction with life (as in, the quality of life), Boredom is what we call the feeling that something is missing or we’re missing something.

And boredom is cool… sort of… if you think about it…

David Foster Wallace

When David Foster Wallace wrote about
boredom, he did so in a tedious way – shaking an
angry fist at the storm as it roared around,
daring to be consumed, defiant enough to breathe
in the air of monotony and exhaling the
excitement of crafting a three-page sentence;
immune to tedium but not unawares,
certain it would be unpublishable except for the
reason that he was David Foster Wallace.


Boredom

The word is new,
a product of the industrial revolution,
to capture monotony and
the small-mindedness
which would rule us with reasons to
bemoan our own
passivity, daring others to
divert us with things we’re told
are meaningful, convinced
by others to desire,
and the greatest loss is the will to
choose for ourselves
what will be loved
in the new melancholy of boredom.

Cold and the end of February…

WeatherComplaining about the weather doesn’t change the weather.

Somehow it makes some feel better. Not me. But it’s worth writing about.

Living Here
I hear the pain of tires
running hard on frozen streets,
the crackle of limbs aching,
the bursting howl of
an incessant chill wind,
the absence of songbirds’
singing at discovered seed,
and I wonder how anyone
would live here, like me.

A Cold Spring Day
The wind whistles through decaying frames
slowed by layers of paint hiding rotting pine,
layer on layer, year on year, teasing drafts,
cold against my skin, seeping into bones,
uninvited but expected; a spring sun failing
it’s one and only task of breaking through
winter with a hint of encouraging warmth,
sluicing pharisaic whitewash of season’s tomb
caked on soiled panes lighter in the focused
circles of optic’s tunnel, dust twisting, dancing
haplessly in gusts, then resting meaninglessly
leaving ugly uglier, pained residue of my life
distorting what is already unclear, darkening
the glow of knowledge in the carbon of all’s return,
straining like a sieve the truth about me
into a portrait mirroring imperfectly what
is readily apparent on this cold spring day.

User Errors
What if nothing was the same,
or everything different,
as in, unlike what has always been;
all is new, unexpected,
not just opposite but unalike, like
Heraclitus’s little stream;
surprising as a brother waiting
behind a door to jump
out screaming ‘Boo’ and laughing,
Tuesday is Friday, sometimes,
which would be worth celebrating
but Saturday could be Monday,
cold may be hot or not, birds bark,
salty – sweet, up – down,
we’d be afraid of low places, open air,
wrinkles are sexy
but sexy isn’t, fiction is fake,
history is real,
and user errors are no more;
I could live in a world like that,
once in a while at least.

 

Words are fun…

Playing with words is fun (being played with with words – not as much). But there are ways words can be enjoyed, not just twisted; played with for the joy of it.

ACBaseballWho doesn’t remember the word play of school days (pair, pear, pare), and the puns, witticisms, lyrics, double entendres, and classic name games like Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest (playing with nouns – Ernest – and adjectives – earnest) or the silliest play of Abbot and Costello’s Who’s On First (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kTcRRaXV-fg).

Abbott: Alright, now whaddya want?
Costello: Now look, I’m the head of the sports department. I gotta know the baseball players’ names. Do you know the guys’ names?
Abbott: Oh sure.
Costello: So you go ahead and tell me some of their names….
Abbott: Goofy, huh? Now let’s see. We have on the bags – we have Who’s on first, What’s on second, I Don’t Know’s on third.
Costello: That’s what I wanna find out.
Abbott: I say Who’s on first, What’s on second, I Don’t Know’s on third –
Costello: You know the fellows’ names?
Abbott: Certainly!
Costello: Well then who’s on first?
Abbott: Yes!
Costello: I mean the fellow’s name!
Abbott: Who!
Costello: The guy on first!
Abbott: Who!
Costello: The first baseman!
Abbott: Who!
Costello: The guy playing first!
Abbott: Who is on first!

Good, clean fun, right?! Well, only if it’s witty.

Let’s try a few more…

Nothing Rhymes With Orange

It just isn’t true
that nothing rhymes with orange
and it seems wrong
to convince the vulnerable otherwise,
as if a game is played
and couplet is the end of nothing
for any child can hear
that the word nothing doesn’t
come close to orange.


And I Quote

What is a quote to be quoted
and to whom does it belong?
those marks somehow borrow
what I wish was my song;
what I want as my own
but someone found before,
almost perfect way of words
I must have, and I adore;
sometimes because of who
but I prefer what is said,
the world is but objects,
not facts’ means instead;
picture what is or is not,
but what is written is read
stop asking what it means
or you’ll always be misled;
while I will quote as I wish
call me a plagiarist as well
all’s words and other words
not things we jsut misspell.


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.

Then there are the abuse of words and grammar – for those who know enough to be mean about words (further vs. farther types, for instance).

Grammarizingly

There may be no matter more alarming
Than a grammarian who thinks himself charming
With quips and quotes from days past
Uttered snidely at every evening’s repast.
Throwing out rules of should not and never
Correcting chit-chat he thinks himself clever.

And that’s enough for now.

Such is life…

Distractions are as ordinary as, well, distractions. So many things blink, flash and scream for our attention; so many things are distracting. In our ‘get something done’ world, anything that distracts is a problem.

How do distractions work? They take advantage of impulses, lack of control, reactions in-the-moment – thoughtlessness, instinctive, knee-jerk kind of responses that make us wonder Why did I do that?!

Remember that Facebook update from a friend saying, “I’m signing off Facebook for a week (or month, or year, or forever) because it’s too distracting” – but it’s nice that they leave a note to explain why we won’t see hourly updates of what the kids are doing or what lunch looks like. That all-or-nothing approach to eliminating distractions seems like it should magically solve the problem. But it doesn’t.

BrokenFence_smallThe old rabbis (are there any other kind?) told a story about distractions that is a little different from our all-or-nothing solution. It’s about building fences – those binary, all-or-nothing, either/or reactions to distractions, impulses and what we should probably just call life.

We’re sure fences should work, but they don’t…

Such Is Life

In the Talmud, so I’m told,
there’s a how-to about how to
control impulses which get
the better of us all, ever day;
it goes something like this,
build a fence around it –
that impulse which distracts
and makes us forgetful
of the right ought of duty
in pursuit of the wrong ought
of desire and appetite,
and when that fence
doesn’t work, which it won’t
build another fence around
the fence, and when it fails,
which it will because all
fences fail, look at the mess
of fence-building you’ve
made all for an impulse
that was probably harmless
and now build a fence
around fence-building
before you forget
what’s truly important;
for such is life, my friend.

Once upon a time…

Heraclitus-829Memories are the stuff of stories – the unchangeable past meets the fleeting present to confront an unknown future, with a moral or a sentiment (loss, sadness, good thing missed and unappreciated until it’s too late, lessons learned but only in perfect hindsight, and once-upon-a-time dreams unfulfilled or dashed on the harsh, unforgiving, jagged rocks of time).

We write once-upon-a-time tales about primitive themes – what was once perfect, great or good is now lost to us and imperfect, distant and gone. Primitivism is more than sentiment, it is a way of viewing time, the world, people, and ourselves, and complaining about or assigning blame, for the difference and distance we perceive between a romantic past and our troubled present.

And it’s a lie.

Once-upon-a-time isn’t necessarily a lie. But primitivism is almost always a lie.

That stream has passed; it’s not wrong or evil or sin that time is time, biology is living, the earth is turning, or life is different. The idealized past is possibly the greatest corruption of the greatest gift – memory, by means of a moralizing that accuses as virulently as it accepts.

The solution? We try to ignore the past. That doesn’t work (remember memory is always with us). Pray for selective amnesia? It comes easily or too suddenly or harshly or sadly to be a genuine blessing. Or, we may make an agreement that although it may be otherwise, we will live with the wink-and-a-nod of the second naïveté – the born again trust of immaturity after suffering the harshness of modern hopelessness. It may be otherwise, but we agree to trust what others refuse to believe; not because it can’t be otherwise but because one can’t live with the nothing of a vacuum – the void of life without value, meaning, and hope (but often without reason, evidence or proof which makes it impossible to affirm, love or trust). Thus, we make an agreement – a covenant, about that stream (thank you, Heraclitus – the weeping philosopher) which can never be stepped into twice – all is in change, nothing remains the same (the opposite of primitivism to be sure, and so much better).

That Stream

That stream – the one that’s never
the same stepped-in twice,
at the same bend, with the same
sameness – will not refuse my dabbling
toe; she will yield to me, and I to her,
not out of pity or sheer desire,
but because we have
agreed not to continue the charade
of indeterminate, transient mockery
that idles youth, corrupts good
and haunts the aged.

There are nouns after all – persons,
places, things – that are, not because
of forms but in sentences which are
like streams with dabbling toes
and bubbling eddies, shapely bends;
so inviting and seducing, calling
with her come hither of comeliness.

Yes, the waters flow, the bed and silt
are stirred and is upset by every touch
of my foot but I step into the flux
and flow nonetheless, I stoop to
cup her cool waters and sip contentedly
for she yields to me and I to her,
but unhurried, unchasing motion
in symbiosis as we move together
in rhythm – our panta rei
joined freely in flow.

Let those who scold and chide
these many, many years continue
their fluxing prater of fuel and flame,
for we, my stream and I, have come to
an understanding and will agree to
agree that this day we are the one;
her cool waters are as real as
my weary step – sensations rippling
in her as much as me,
as tangible as the rush and tingle which
tickle my limb and stir her bed in swirls
of sediment twisted awake from slumber
dancing along current and wake we have
made together in our covenant today.