What is original about sin…

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 a 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 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 must die.

More, more, more…

There Isn’t Always

There isn’t always, always more
to season’s joys or love’s embrace
to mothers’ love or men’s wars
there isn’t always, always grace.

When what’s lost is lost indeed
not misplaced but put away
not forgot but must concede
when what’s not stolen is stolen today.

To do what’s asked, asked of one,
with true design, the studied course
with stoic aspect, end undone
to do without will, without remorse.

Life entombed, entombed unbound,
this coward bent and now crushed,
this hero followed and not crowned,
life unearthed, death hushed.

There isn’t always, always more
when the promised one, the only one
when none are left, left but for
there isn’t always, always none.

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.

Stronger
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.

Living forever and all that…

fingers crossedIt could happen! (That’s my only hope… if I live long enough that is….)

Dumb Luck
If you live long enough you won’t die
because they’ll come up with something,
but it probably won’t happen because
they’re trying – it’s more likely through
dumb luck; like the two greatest
discoveries of this lifetime, or any
for that matter: Super Glue
made for battlefield wounds
and now it sticks anything together
especially fingers, and Viagra for
blood pressure and now we all know
what it does, plus it introduced the word
priapism into our vocabulary
and its effect is truly unbending;
all it takes is time and luck and someone
in a lab somewhere will be trying
to discover a way to make cat litter
smell like chocolate or looking for a way
to stop ingrown toenails and, poof,
just like that, we’ll be living
for hundreds of years, healthy and erect;
and it won’t be much longer,
if we can just live long enough.

The guy who brings in the grocery carts…

grocery cartsYou know him… sort of… probably not by name… but sort of… the guy who is sent out into the parking lot to bring in all the grocery carts because there aren’t enough carts for the new shoppers (except, maybe, the carts with bad wheels or the two carts stuck together). Yeah, that guy… you know him… sort of…

Edward and Charlie
The bright orange vest is florescent
and carries a nametag, ‘Edward’ in bold
block letters drawn with permanent
marker but he answers to Charlie with
a blank, silent gaze and simply, slowly
begins the task requested by a manager’s
learned gentleness of kindly caution
not shared with others; there’s a story
to Charlie’s life, maybe even a family
of Mom or a sister and probably some
disappointment or settling for what
came their way and fighting with this
strange, foreign thing called gratitude;
his anti-social shyness earns him an
odd reaction from most because he’s
almost seven feet tall with an uneven
haircut and only parts of his face carry
a beard of Pollock-like design that’s
mesmerizing, they stare up at Charlie
who gathers their emptied carts strewn
about the lot on a frigid, wintery day,
over and over again as shoppers justifiably
leave them wherever inconvenience
demands in haste and frustration, and
Charlie is, again, in the far corner
as he’s paged from inside the warm store
to no avail because he’s already set to the
task and because they’re calling for
someone named ‘Edward.’

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.

 

Taxonomy
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 (http://goo.gl/luA0Wd). 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.

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.