Today is nothing special…

on-this-day-in-history-eventsOn this day in history
absolutely nothing of consequence
happened, to anyone, anywhere;
no ships sailed, no princes born,
discoveries in science, medicine
just didn’t happen on this day,
yesterday and tomorrow are
filled with life-changing people,
events, battles that turned great
wars into peace, even the subtle
alterations to the fabric of everyday
life made by once anonymous people
which reverberated into time and
made history; remarkable things,
great consequences, overwhelming
tragedies and brave exploits
all happened on other days, just
not today; of course some were born
on this day, babies loved, wanted,
even prepared for, but they remain
nameless to all but their mothers,
unknown to school books and
will never fill-in-the-blank’s of
literacy exams for they just were
and are no more; and the closest thing
to notoriety they’ll enjoy is that on
this day in history they’ve been
written about, sort of.

No one has cried…

I am the tree that fell in the wood
with no one caring to hear,
the one at whom dogs bark
out of hatred instead of fear;
I am the one who spoke loud and clear
with no one knowing I uttered,
the door that is still a door
and not a jar unshuttered.
I am the book written but unread,
with a spine uncracked or bent,
the lure considered but dry,
un-tied, untackled, and unsent;
I am the road often taken and trod
derided in gospel and verse,
the angel that didn’t fit on pin head
in the sophistry that’s so perverse;
I am the billions ten times over
who have lived and loved and died,
the everyman ignored or enslaved
and for whom no one has cried.

Every good story begins…

In every good story someone dies
(sometimes, but more frequently,
in bad ones as well); not always
tragically or poignantly, not always
sadly or in a timely fashion, usually,
importantly a death is required.

It may be that it’s a way to make
tales more authentic, but it ironically
renders death’s severity a mere ploy
in the hands of desperate dramatists
longing for gravitas yet in failure;
simply turning dust back to dust.

Occasionally it’s accidently but
unexpectedly; and if the desire is
manipulative – the death of a child,
boy or girl, either will do – to tweak
the emotions of even the hardened
with an appeal to the weak.

Now multiple deaths are a waste
to an author and thus school bus
fatalities (a kindergarten field trip
tragedy) are typically avoided
and mass murders’ victims aren’t
the story in the first place.

Too many tales are funereal,
too many yarns come undone
and too many wakes begin stories
of too many things gone wrong;
dramas of dads and mamas
until death does everyone part.

Narrators, of course, play God
knowing, seeing all, all at once
what’s in heads, hiding from light
but telling us only part of a story;
this or that reason for lost life,
providing knowledge we lack.

But the human story’s author
has wasted over a hundred billion
anonymous deaths littering lands,
mocking prophet amidst dry bones;
as the deity’s wonderful plan for life
trumps all novelist’s narratives.

I took no map…

I went for a walk
In the midday clear
Without a care
I started here
First I stepped
Down the way
Looking to turn
And go astray
Few set out such
Finding one lost
Choosing to remain
Found at all cost
Views first cleared
Then went belief
Next conviction
This path a thief
I trust no thought
That comes at rest
And make no vow
Without a test
No crumbs to trace
No map to cheat
This losing way
Made by my feet
I recall that once
It was très fictional
To banter such
And be equivocal
For keeping all
Enslaved in race
Made wars of life
With power in place
Until such time
As walks unrare
Became a fashion
And tactless aware
Question a question
Doubt a doubt
Avoiding tenure
Enjoying the route
Power is race,
Race is war,
Art is tactic
And strategy ignore
Limping along
There are ways
For undoing control
And refusing praise
Ignoring so much
Of important voice
Searching out stories
Learning to rejoice
Enjoying the noise
And lacking cares
Following slaves
Attending affairs
There is no way
No map to home
No loss of joy
And so I roam

The smells of home…

Do you remember what it was like
to know your mother was baking,
or doing laundry or scrubbing floors
by the way the house smelled?

One aroma drew you out of your
room to sample, the other drove
you to the closet to add something
you forgot and needed clean again,
and the third kept you away fearing
you’d be reminded how difficult
the work was and realize you don’t
appreciate clean floors nearly as
much as sampling baked goods.

I’m dying…

I’m dying, you too;
we’re all dying
(that’s what makes us
biologic, real, living);
and that’s what makes
me ordinary – nothing
special at all (and, you
too, by the way).

It’s the snowflake
thing; the ‘every single
one is unique’ (which is
not true – repeating
patterns and possibilities
– just not enough time
or data to prove the one
and/or the many).

Since we’re all
unique, and uniqueness
is what each and every one
has in common, then
no one of us – you, me,
him, her, us, them – is (are?)
unique (adjective; one
of its, her, his kind).

Moral ethicists wish
to motivate the
Bourgeois, hoi polio
to aspire, to rise above
the status quo, keeping-up
all dying but not all living
claptrap that sells
books and seminars.

No matter how
many times we’re told,
how much consolation
we gain from being consoled
by such dreams, we all
are the same in that;
all together, altogether,
all are all alike.

All die because
all live, all are alive because
all die; we all all
face the same doubt
of dignity, of compassion;
because, not in spite of
our biology.

As ears keep growing…

earWhen you get old you notice things
and that can be problematic if you care
like toenails (don’t ask, just notice if the elderly
ever expose their lower digits) or posture

that your mother always insisted was essential
in life but if so, life has taken a decidedly bad turn
and once again you must force yourself erect
which is another subject altogether too delicate

or hairs growing places they once didn’t or
shouldn’t or bushy eyebrows – have you ever
noticed that – I did once upon a time during
an office visit with my old professor as he
twisted and plucked his eyebrows insistently
to match his narration of Tell-Tale Heart,

I ran from his office to a mirror to inspect
my own, immature brow-décor and noticed
nothing unusually long or unruly… yet

but there’s another, unseemliness to growing
long-in-the-tooth about the ears because
they never seem to stop growing even as arms
and legs and necks and fingers stop on their
own, ears just insistently continue their merry
awkwardness as if to say we should listen
more and more.

Steinbeck and a pastry…

As we talk about others and ourselves and others
until we start back on us again across
the small coffee shop table with the whole world
rushing past us, nibbling on a pastry we share,
what Steinbeck said about having to get all our
autobiographical material out of our system
or it will hound us until we get it said
keeps interrupting my train of thought,
and yours as well as you ask me where my head is,
and am I listening, which, of course I’m not;
but that’s because we’re only pretending
to be the authors of our lives and this dialogue
we try every day – which you’re so much better at –
seems more accurate about others than us;
and I wouldn’t have it any other way
even though it doesn’t always seem so, and,
no, I’m not going to finish the pastry.

Ordinary people grocery shopping…

There are a lot of ordinary people in the world
and they all seem to be grocery shopping today;
not one of them beautiful, aware of themselves,
though several made an effort, it seems;

round bottoms balanced on skinny legs and
pants that are tights but not be any design,
flaky skin and moles with untrimmed hairs,
and some are itching at places best not seen

as they survey bananas, beans and apples
searching for just the right one among dozens,
hands on places approximately near hips
contemplating price per ounce of olives and
spaghetti sauces but not the chunky kind

because she says Frank doesn’t like that
and there is a sign that ordinary people care,
or at least this woman does for her Frank
and he might be the luckiest man of all.

Inescapable eddies…

eddiesI am a stone tossed into the rushing river

ready to be hidden and forgotten

disappearing where there is no memory

 

and late at night when everyone else

is calming and secure, the waters rushing over me

won’t be enough to wash away my sin and sediment.

 

I am a stone thrown by the child’s hand

aiming to skip but gouging at the water

and briefly, just ever so briefly, struggling to fly

 

my splash is of no consequence, no ripples

my wake succumbs to the silky churn of the waterway

where no thoughts can compel another end.

 

I am as a pebble in a strongman’s hand

no connections or care slow his effort to govern

fears and ways so he’ll be remembered as great

 

and when I sink obscurely along with many others

we are useful to his ends, his dream to be remembered

resistance is futile, will and passion only frustrate.

 

I am a stone once here, then nowhere

once sinking slowly, now nowhere else to go

so promising, so imaginative, so hope-drunk

 

my dreams linger as reflections on the underside

of eddies you see but ignore as fanciful fits of nature

as my story plays on above me, out of reach.