Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The ass in assumption.

'Strive to be useful'
Says this proverb, attributed
To Einstein himself
And who could argue?

Indeed (so many questions)

Who could live out their days
In grim utility
Without occasion to ponder the meaning
Of sanity?

But we are alive (call it luck)

Because the sun is not ambitious
And the moon does not strive
And all save the human mind
Rests in happening

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Sometimes, sunrise is the last thing you need.

One truly courageous
And gentle man
With a voice to speak
And a heart
Worth butchering
Could turn this little world
On its funny little head
Or cause an earthquake
In just the right place
So that more is gained by the loss
And (though obviously no scientist)
I've seen enough of things
To wisely ignore the odds
And (though obviously no saint)
I know enough about the nature of cracks
Whether in bone or earth
To believe that graves can grow
Up, like roses
Like hungry, blooming mouths
Full of roots
For teeth
And the soft, nurturing flesh
Of all silent life
Yes, I know enough
To wait (still!)
For that One to appear,
Brave, and ready
Like the essence of possibility
A new Jesus or Gautama
Full of freshness
And not some dutiful, decrepit sage 
Old and abandoned
In some crisp hospital room
Far too tired now
For the weak trivia of redemption
Too tired even to wonder
Why nurses are always beautiful
And doctors never look twice

Monday, September 26, 2011


It's been some time since I've written anything and I don't particularly know why.  The days are getting shorter now, but only moderately cooler.  I'm sitting here in my apartment alone, watching some Kurosawa epic about samurai warlords.  That's not quite true.  I'm listening to it; the Japanese language relaxes me, and occasionally, when I do look at the screen, the costumes and settings are also soothing.  But mostly I just listen.  Images are difficult to connect with.  Sounds are more understandable, and they seem to go deeper.  Alas, this film is full of men with gravelly voices; they bark about honour, about peace, about killing their enemies.  Occasionally, they laugh.  There is silliness.  The Japanese seem well realized.  Old cultures are like that, I suppose.  They can lean on their history.

Young cultures look ahead for validation.  The familiar patterns of desire and attachment are evident whether it be a single person, a small group or a whole country.  Why not?  Nothing done by humans is bereft of human assumptions.  Somehow this is overlooked in the final evaluations.  We trust in so much nonsense and wonder why things get out of hand.  These silver screen samurai know better.  In a single scene, they are variously exuberant, morose, severe and light hearted as the situation demands.  They adapt perfectly despite their rigidity, and perhaps even because of it.  Their clothing is chosen, manners are well defined; they're oriented to the world by a system which they've been conditioned to respond to with a great deal of trust.  Without the burden of endless, superficial, stylistic decisions, they can react more naturally to what comes.  Is their nonsense better than our nonsense?  No, but they seem to have embraced it as such, whereas we tend to believe in what we see.  They're talking strategy now, bowing gracefully to each other despite the evident tension.  There's a battle taking shape.  They know what's at stake and still they laugh.  It's all just what it is, though it could easily be something different, something more humane, without losing any of its effectiveness.  But goons are goons the world 'round.  Manners are just manners. 

And greed is just greed.  The trouble with ego trips is that the return ticket is a bastard to get.  These journeys are indistinct, uncertain.  You feel yourself moving, are encouraged to move, but nobody can say what the destination is.  You're expected, so you go ahead confidently.  So much is left behind, so much more taken on.  Wanting is so easy and maybe that's the tip off.  That feeling of permanence you can buy into, but never really trust.  It's always "one of these days" or "wait and see" as though seeing were believing and believing could be enough to justify a lifetime of deception.  There's no salesman on earth more effective and dangerous than the one in your head, and none more easily defeatable.  What can we do, really.  Live in accordance with ideals that make us feel valid, leave alone what we can, and handle with care what we can't.  Is that naive?  Plenty would say so.  Plenty more would say it's narcissism to be so concerned with your own life.  I don't think that's true, it's just true with some.  All you really need is to need less.  Less talk, less stuff, less input.  Less as a principle, as a starting point.  And then, finally, less of less.
Wait and see.


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Life Spent Is First Earned

Tonight, everything is perfect
And in the morning
It will be the same
Nothing ever changes
Though we say
That tomorrow, tomorrow
Comes after today

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Breakfast, Lunch And Dinner

This morning came and my world
Was born like a heartbeat
All the little perfections
Reflected infinitely
Everywhere, altogether
Without knowledge, without need
Existing, prevailing 
As life will

There was murder
A cat in the garden, sleek, guilty
There was benevolence
Old maples shading
The smallest of their kind
With strength and wisdom
And colossal silence

All of this and everything, happening
As sunlight broke my windows
And breezes took my words
Like quick angels 
Insects gathered my bones for a scaffold
Sparrows got my clothes
Foregoing reason, incapable of rhyme
Until only a mind was left behind
That least dependable item

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Paid In Full

Empty liquor bottles
Huddled together on the dining room table
Stale relics of another Sunday  
That cloying bar-smell permeating the whole house
And as I wake to start my day
I find a local drunk
Passed out in my living room
She snores horribly, as I consider
Whether or not to throw her out
Between coffee sips, teeth grits
And deep breaths 
'You awful mistake,' I lean down and bless her,
'You cheap filth.' 

-Get out of my home.  I would kill you if I could.-

My eyes are gleaming, murderous
As I turn away from her 
To face the man responsible 
For all these years 
All these mornings
A grinning man 
A man like cancer, like a stain
I could so easily wipe away
If only she had the courage
To be alone
If only she had the courage 
To let me be her son  
And scrape this shame off our lives  

-You were never family, you worthless shell.  You were tolerated.- 

Sunday, May 15, 2011

A Drop Of Want

Used to think
I could just exist
Somewhere maybe
Quiet and closed off

You know the place.

Just a little spot
Not far
Beneath the safety
Of a greening horizon

Like a new heart.  Like joy.

Used to think
I was carrying it clean
In my otherwise
Empty pocket

Wrapped in waiting.

But now I see
My pleasant dream
Is a dream in need,
Imagining me

Too proud to refuse.