The letter "A" mysteriously appears in the clouds. Lots of interesting words begin with this letter. Which one d’ya suppose the clouds had in mind?
POEM STORAGE LOCKER
Remember the Weapons of Mass
Destruction? The ones they never
Found? There are those who’ll tell
You they still exist somewhere, but
It’s a secret. With all the technology
And good old American know-how
They still can’t tell us what became
Of those WMDs, their excuse for
Spilling all that blood. When they
Shrieked ‘the sky is falling, let us
Save you’, the whole country bent
Over and said ‘as you wish’. Now,
As then,they don’t even need an
Excuse, never mind a court order –
To spy on you because they think
You’re interesting. Better not be
Too interesting. Better be a bland,
Dull, boring little drone, otherwise
If it’s a slow day they’ll aim all that
Technology at you just to find out,
In the name of public safety, who
An interesting person gets to sleep
With, and whether you’re concealing
A WMD between your sheets.
When I come up with something
That seems halfway intelligent,
I try and put it into some form
I can share with you, because
Most of my day I’m just as
Speechless as everyone else.
I look at things and just go,
What the f—k. I feel like a
Sheepdog trying to keep my
Charges from falling prey to
The freedom that comes so
Naturally to them, and which
Wolves depend on. And who
Do they get mad at? The wolf?
No, me. Need I explain further
Why I’m mostly speechless?
What a sentimental dinosaur I
Must sound like, seriously sad
That the era of books seems to
Be ending. Global warming will
Mean fewer trees for paper, and
A cheap alternative to printing –
Texts right to your computer –
Already exists, so it’s really a
No-brainer. What paper that
Remains will be needed for
Toilet tissue, until computers
Can wipe our asses too.
Consumerism and spirituality dance a
Mutually suspicious tango together
In December. Alas, my letter to Santa
Would reveal I’m just as materialistic
As anyone else. But if you were Santa,
I’d ask that you slide the benefit of a
Doubt down my chimney. And were
I to find even the smallest present of
Your trust under my tree, that would
Move me far more than any glittering
Bling from the mall. I’d put forgiveness
On my wish list, along with healing,
Acceptance and grace. If we could
Share the gift of understanding, then
I think we’d be getting closer to what
Christmas is all about.
I know I should have asked you
First, but you’re my doctor – that’s
All there is to it. You’ve got the
Cure if you ever want to use it.
My skin may be thick but it’s full
Of nerve endings. Honestly, my
Thoughts can’t all come from my
Well-ordered, logical brain, which
Actually prefers the comfortable,
Logical, practical, and reasonable.
Nope, my edgy thoughts must
Come from my skin when it rubs
Against poison plants or gets
Surly over weather variations or
Bristles at certain personalities.
My normal conversation wouldn’t
Resemble some of my more out
There observations, unless you
Were to listen to my skin.
CONFUSED WITH FOOD
Don’t you just wish sometimes
People were like food, existing
Just to please, just for your
Benefit, just for you well-being?
Don’t you love how food says,
Do anything you want with me.
Eat me hot, freeze me for later,
Spice me to your taste, bathe
Me in seasoning till I make
Your mouth water. Yum, yum,
Honey I’m home for dinner.
I believe I’ve illuminated the
Obesity epidemic spreading
Across America insidiously as
Communism in the ‘50s, but
Were I your food, I’d sincerely
Want to be a balanced meal,
Lots of what you like but also
Lots of what’s good for you.
If magic wands weren’t standard
Issue just for wicked witches, I’d
Wave one and say presto, abra
Cadabra, it’s all sorted out and
Everyone’s happy. All loose ends
Reconnected, all pressing questions
Answered or rendered irrelevant,
All with Heaven’s smiling approval
Because it’s done right. That’s what
I’d do if I had a magic wand. While
We’re at it, a broomstick in lieu of
Plane tickets would be great too.
You can’t rely on magic, but that
Doesn’t mean it’s not there. It’s
Fickle, it hides, it’s unreliable, it
Would make a lousy employee.
Even Wizards get wounded when
Their spells backfire. Magic won’t
Make you a superhero. Magic is
Best approached with a certain
Humility, maybe a willingness to
Nurture without a constant eye
Towards a desired harvest. Keep
A pleasant garden for magic. It
Holds dear safe places it can rest
Without demands put upon it.
Magic wants to help, but knows
Too much help can be more like
Harm. Still, who knows, when it
Wakes it could always sprinkle
Your day with unexpected grace.
This house feels like a home
Because of the ones who
Were here with me over the
Years, many long passed on,
But the kitchen feels like
They’re still here. This is
Where they took care of
Life’s most basic business –
Food, drink, doing dishes,
And I still live by what I
Learned from them. Do we
Really have any choice about
Ideas of right or wrong
Drummed into our heads?
Is it anyone’s fault the ones
Doing the drumming had no
Way of knowing the world
Beyond their kitchen?
How do you really see someone?
Can you put on sunglasses to cut
Their glare without perceiving
Them as darker than they really
Are? Does what you see through
Rose colored glasses really have
A rose fragrance to go with it?
Can you put someone under a
Microscope in the name of science,
Analyze their germs in the hope of
Curing their sickness without
Catching it yourself? Different
Ways of seeing give you different
Images, but the word image is
Always close to the word imagine.
The truest way to see someone
Is the way they see themselves,
But how would I know what that
Is when I can only look from afar?
When they say don’t love the world,
They really ought to qualify that as,
Don’t love the world of man. As for
Our planet, it needs all the love we
Can spare. The world of man is an
Abstraction, indicating our species
Considers itself separate from its
Own origins. Just because man
Invented language, our definitions
And dogmas don’t make us more
Than a luckier class of monkeys.
Like monkeys that discovered how
Bones made excellent weapons
And proceeded to hit each other
Over the head just because they
Could, our so-called discoveries
Have just as often been our own
Undoing as our salvation. Relative
To our species’ long tenure at this
Address, we only recently
“Discovered” that we live on a
Rock floating through space. Left
To our devices, we ruin our planet
As casually as an infant soils its
Diapers. Don’t love the world?
Hey, the world gave you a tongue
To say those words with. And this
Is what you give back?
Carelessly piled in rude proximity
To each other’s soils and smells,
Pelted with goo or white flake,
(Usually by a white flake), then
Drowned in darkness as the
Heartless machine’s waters turn
Hostile. It’s receding leaves us a
Crumpled, damp distortion of our
Once beautiful selves. And as a
Final indignity, we’re spun about
Violently for what seems like an
Eternity till we collapse in a
Bewildered heap. Is this what you
Have to go through to get clean?
Beware, housewives of America –
What goes around comes around.
Precious, I’m on to you by now –
You throw me in that torturous,
Spinning thing, but I know you’ll
Just make me dirty all over again.
How do you acknowledge all
That you know, all that you’ve
Felt, and all that you’ve thought
Without making it seem all of
That’s more important than
Everything you’ve yet to know,
Yet to feel and yet to think?
Only by choice. Sometimes
Even the wise pretend that
Yesterday never happened,
While only the most foolish
Pretend tomorrow never will.
Hope in change for the better,
Fear of change for the worse –
The scale starts out balanced
Equally, then we start moving
Around, acting, reacting, beliefs
And feelings and feelings start
Shifting from one side of the
Scale to the other. I wish I could
Weigh in just on the good side,
But I’m only part of the balance
And sometimes my choices
Put me on a different side than
I’d intended. I need someone
To jump on the good side with
Me. We could tip the scale, I
Know we could.
There’s a built in flaw with words –
It’s nice to catch thoughts, but
Thoughts are life fish, they don’t
Have life unless they flow. Don’t
Take anything I share with you as
The last word. Thoughts need to
Be fluid, not frozen, not stuffed
Like trophies, not canned, labeled
And sold at competitive prices to
Stimulate the economy, not made
Into sandwiches nor marketed as
Fast food hamburger alternatives.
Think living fish, moving. Truth is,
Like the moods of the sea, one
Thought flows into another, then
Into another, ad infinitum, which
Is why what’s hurting us today
We often end up laughing about
Tomorrow, and vice versa.
Nobody wants to hear about the
Bad stuff, but it’s what makes the
Good stuff good by comparison.
How to stay off those subjects
When they’re part of what forms
The story, part of why things are
The way they are today? The bad
Stuff is like a horrible creature that
Emerges from the sewer at night.
The bad stuff will hurt you, and
You know very well it’s there but
Not how to talk about it. Yet it
Holds the key to unlock the
Reservoir of pain, let it empty
So something more joyful can
Fill it instead. The bad stuff is as
Ugly as sin. Have you got the
Guts to look it in the eye?
COOL AS ME
People cool as me never admit to
Needing someone. People cool as
Me are expected to act like if they
Want company there’s a menu of
Willing individuals only too happy
To comply, but mostly they just
Want privacy. People cool as me
Act like they’re married to their
Mission in life, regardless of how
Long ago we got a messy divorce
From it that we’ll forever be
Paying off. People cool as me are
Alone on Valentine’s Day, wishing
They had someone they could be
Themselves with, someone to
Hold in confidence, someone to
Enjoy the world with, someone
By their side to while away those
Lonely hours even the coolest
People can’t avoid.
I found a voice, and dammit,
I’m gonna use it. Do I really
Have anything to say? Does
Anyone? Actually, I do have
Something to say, but it’s
Not something you’d say
Outright. It’s there between
The lines. And it’s not just
Having a voice that makes
Speaking worthwhile, it’s
Knowing there’s someone
Listening. You have more
Power than you realize –
You’re really the poem,
I’m just the voice.
Superhero, now we need you. Go
Make Russia mind its own business.
Throw their tanks back across the
Ukraine. Make them stop being
Such vodka brains. Superhero,
Scare off their armies, tell them go
Direct traffic in Communist Square,
Not invade other countries. Cause
Russians are weirdos with nothing
To lose and a chip on their shoulder
From way too much vodka and too
Much cold weather and no rock and
Roll and they’re mean to Pussy Riot
And Communism never worked
Anyway – no wonder they’re mad,
But when mad equals stupid, we
Need Superheroes for villains like
Godzilla and Russia under Putin.
WISH I KNEW WHAT TO BELIEVE
Wish I knew what to believe.
Is it just up to me? Would you
Leave such a crucial definition
To the village idiot? If nothing
Else, at least you’ll get an
Unusual perspective, but alas,
Not necessarily one that will
Change things much. Is it the
Acceptance of things as they
Are or the persistence in trying
To make things different that
Defines an idiot? Or is it both?
Someone said no, no, that’s all
Wrong, it’s all about where
You’re coming from. Well, I’ll
Have you know, I aspire to
Come from someplace clean,
Honest, honorable, true, but
All I know for sure is, I come
From my mom. Or so I’m told.
Wish I knew what to believe.
Conspiracy theorists are already
Tweeting it was aliens took that
Plane from the sky. There’s a
New Bermuda Triangle up in the
Skies above Asia. Planes fly in but
Don’t come back out, or maybe
They all will in 500 years, when
The Triangle expunges the lot in
A single eruption, like a giant fart
In the time-space continuum.
Unsolved mysteries suggest too
Many possibilities, that’s why we
Don’t like them. If it wasn’t aliens
It could have been hungry clouds.
Or there’s a giant bird up there
Collecting planes the same way
Some of us collect butterflies. Or
The plane flew into a time warp
To 1000 years in the future, the
Planet of the Apes, where a fuzzy
Faced Sarah McLaughlin is on TV
This very minute singing “In The
Arms Of An Angel” on behalf of
The passengers and flight crew.
BEARS IN WINTER
Winter sends her message in
Such a cold way. We need to
Learn secrets of survival when
All turns to ice for awhile. Only
For awhile – in time even this
Freeze will melt so the water
Can flow again. For now, time
Out, red light, cease fire, halt
Till further notice, hunker down,
Carry on as usual – if you want
To freeze to death. Unlike the
Bears who have the right idea
And sleep through it, I’m awake,
Feeling every cold moment.
I guess I could get better pictures
If I used a fancier camera, but as
I’ll explain to anyone who’ll listen,
In my experience life goes by too
Fast to focus a fancy camera on it.
Fancy cameras are for when you
Have the luxury of subjects who’ll
Hold still for you. I need my quick
And dirty little point-and-shoot for
The kind of subjects I catch. I want
People living, not posing. What a
Demanding bastard I can be. Am I
Enough of a cunt yet that you’d
Consider me some kind of artist?
SHE HAD A TERRIBLE VISION
She had a terrible vision in the
Post office parking lot. She saw
Samoa fifty years from now,
When most Samoans will look
Like me, in denim instead of a
Lava lava, and worse still, part
White. All I did was get out of
My car and I gave this old lady
A terrible vision in the post
Office parking lot. I know I did.
It was written all over her face,
I felt her terror and sorrow,
And now I’m just as scared.
Psychological mechanism, whether
You’re aware of it or not, it’s what
You do on impulse, without thinking,
Almost as if it did itself. Like when
You shut me out, not just once, but
Time and time again. Makes me
Wonder what you’re thinking, why
You believe that’s what I deserve.
When you spoke to me, is that the
Impression I gave? In my company,
Is that how I made you feel, like
Someone you need to shut out, not
Someone you need to open up to?
What you need to know is, I don’t
Have a clue. I take my cues from you,
But sometimes I wonder whether
You even know why you so naturally,
Spontaneously, automatically shut
Me out like you’re a vampire and
ALL YOUR FAULT
Investigate, detective, analyze
The crime scene. Compile a
Profile of the perpetrator, try
Guessing their motive. Using
Wit and intuition, crack their
Puzzle, expose them in the
News, soothe public concerns
The criminals are taking over.
No, criminals are predictable
And secretly long to be caught.
They just crave the stimulation
Of knowing they’ve engaged a
Mind as brilliant as yours to
Figure them out. In fact, were
It not for you, detective, the
Criminals wouldn’t find crime
Even worth it.
Does roll-on or spray keep you cool,
Calm and collected better when
Someone you care about gets you
Really upset? Can this glue can hold a
Relationship together? Which plastic
Container will best protect my heart
From being jostled and bruised?
Which of these scissors is quickest
For cutting through the bullshit? If
She drinks this cola, will she really
Open her happiness for me? Every
Single item in this store says made
In China. So what would Chinese
Buy if they were trying to connect
With someone special? Whatever
Looks most American? That would
Not quite explain overpopulation,
In China, unless their condoms are
About as reliable as their radios.
ROCK & ROLL
Old folks can’t rock & roll so well
Anymore on the dance floor, but
In their hearts the music never
Stops. When I say you rock me,
I mean you move me. I don’t
Know why, you just do, for or
Against my will, either way, and
I’d rather celebrate it than hate it.
We needn’t drag each other through
Hell. Rock & roll has a dark side,
As does most things first intended
For a more Heavenly purpose. It’s
Just the way we feel each other’s
Rhythms, and when you and I find
Our groove, it’s like the angels
Are rocking out.
In the days when Samoa was further
From the center of western society
Than most could even contemplate,
White men who saw it would jump
Ship and hide in her mountains. They
Thought they’d found Paradise, and
By comparison America or Europe
Was a hell they had no wish to ever
See again. Nowadays we don’t worry
Much about sailors jumping off ship,
More about locals trying to jump on.
Western society has always had some
Trying to escape from it, so now we’ve
Come full circle and some from here
Are trying to escape island society.
I guess your perception of Paradise
Depends a great deal on what you
Can compare it to. I wonder whether
Those longing to escape island society
For its first world counterpart could
Ever see Samoa the way it looked to
Those first eyes that knew enough to
Make that comparison so long ago.
Babies know joy instinctively, even
In the midst of the worst troubles
Going on around them. When adults
Aren’t causing pain under a misguided
Notion it will keep pain from being
Inflicted on them, they’re desperately
Trying to dull whatever pain still
Penetrates their armor, even though
Not feeling is just the same misery
In different makeup. With all the open
Pain warfare around us, it’s not as if
We’re unaware that others hurt too,
It’s more like we don’t care. Pain is
The currency of exchange between
Our bodies, minds and spirits. Spirit
Pain is the deepest hurt a person can
Feel, and many don’t realize how deep
Into darkness their spirit has sunk until
Something or someone unlocks the
Chains and their spirit can fly again.
Some say we take our sensitivity too
Seriously, but when we stop giving in
To the agitation of disquieting ideas,
These same sensitivities can make us
Sensitive to joy. This might take some
Re-learning, some remembering but
Luckily you can learn a lot from babies.
I speak to you in my mind and maybe
Occasionally say the right thing. We
Are more than just our ideas, way
More, but ideas shine a light on
What’s going on inside our walking
Balloons of flesh, blood and bones.
I put things together for you, like
A recipe, hoping my creation is to
Your taste. There’s a taste in my
Dreams, engages all the senses,
And I wake knowing there’s only
One real point in coming back from
Slumber at all. Whatever powers
I have of thought, speech or action,
I wish only that they be right for
Bringing you the recipe that comes
To me from somewhere inside.
NO WAY TO TREAT A GUEST
Goes by like a shadow outside the door.
Shiver. Ghosts don’t show up during the
Day – must mean this one couldn’t wait.
Is something urgently needed before it’s
Too late? Ok, I’m waiting, but I haven’t
Got all day. What is it you want me to
Realize? Is there something you hope
That I’ll recognize? I’m wide open to
Suggestions, but can you do more than
Just skirt the shadows of my awareness?
Uh oh, I think I’ve just insulted the ghost –
Spoke before thinking – you’re supposed
To be mysterious and it’s very special,
Very sacred, even very blessed in a way
That an entity from the other side would
Feels strongly enough about something
Here on this one to intervene. So here I
Sit, calm, clear, open. Seconds tick,
Nothing happens. Apprehension grows
I’ve insulted the ghost. I like to believe
I don’t intuit spirits when there really
Are none, but now there really isn’t.
No mysterious tingle, no strange noises,
No unusual signs. Not even a hint of what
It meant or what it wanted. It could be a
Misunderstanding, true, but there’s no
Mistaking the emptiness of feeling sure
Something came to me but wouldn’t stay.
MOON IN ARIES
My sun sign is Cancer, but my moon
Sign is Aries, which coincidentally the
Sun just went into. Man, my planets
Get kind of mixed up sometimes. I
Googled “moon in Aries” and was
Kind of horrified to find that what
It described wasn’t the person that
I am, but rather the person I try not
To be – impatient, inconsiderate,
Innocently self-centered, as in, why
Of course I’m the center of the
Universe. I’m Jim and your’re not!
No, no, I’ve consciously cultivated
Being kind when I can and even when
My first impulse is to kill dead. I take
Things very personally. Treat me like
Someone you want nothing to do with
And I will have a very, very hard time
Ever opening up to you. Treat me like
Your friendship is genuine, comes as
Naturally as breathing, and I’ll never
See you any other way. If I scare you,
Congratulations, your wits serve you
Well, but even celestial egomaniacs
Are capable of evolving. Honest.
It’s really funny you feel threatened.
Hey Einstein, if I was capable of doing
Something crazy I already would have.
But my craziness takes the form of
Expression, and if anything I’m more
Of a threat to myself than anyone
Else, just like Van Gough caught a
Form of craziness that caused him to
Cut off his own ear and offer it to a
Prostitute, not as payment but as
Some kind of token. True story. Pure
Madness, but look at the paintings
That came out of him. As for me, I
Can say with about 95% confidence
My ear is safe. At heart I’m more of
A mother hen, taking care of other
People hella more than anyone takes
Care of me, but that’s my token, I
Just try and look after things. You’re
Not threatened, you just bring out
The part of me that wants to express.
Aries is the time when impatience
Comes naturally – when it feels like
Whatever is supposed to happen
Should have happened already.
There may be a time and place for
Such a sentiment – it keeps things
From getting stagnant, shakes up
Our routines, reminds us that life
Needs to move, needs to feel new.
Once man feels the power of his
Actions to effect things, he thinks
Action is the answer to everything,
And inaction is worthy of contempt.
But what happens when you want a
Ripe peach right now, and the tree
Says sorry, it’s not ready yet? In a
Fit of impatience and contempt,
Should you take an axe and show
The tree who’s boss?
COLD ON A SUNNY DAY
Anxiety causes tension that affects
The body, weakens the immune
System. Anxiety can be like birds
Making noise, birds that feed on
Feelings, constantly announcing
Their presence, attracting even
More birds, making more noise.
Birds only know one song, but they
Give the performance their all. I’ve
Heard the same song interpreted
Many times, and you have to give
Them credit for staying faithful to
The original. It never changes, it’s
Constant as the color of the sky.
No one complains about the color
Of the sky, they just learn to see
It as beautiful. My immune system
Isn’t applauding the constancy,
But birds aren’t about to change
Their tune just because of me.
WHY IS THE DEVIL?
Why is the devil so attracted to this
Family? He must like our banter, the
Pomposity of our place in society
Echoed in our accents of faraway lands.
Why does Lucifer join us at our table
Every time the whole family’s in the
Same room? He must delight in seeing
Supposedly civilized community icons
Turn into savages after a few drinks,
Cutting and bashing each other with
Words instead of clubs, the nervy ones
Jockeying to establish dominance like
Apes forming a mating hierarchy. Why
Is God’s fallen angel always co-counsel
To our lawyers whenever our family
Mess inevitably winds up in court? The
Devil specializes in turning imported
Laws against the importers, reminding
Us that the higher the privilege, the
More prolonged the payment.
America’s mainstream spirit lives
Under house arrest in the gated
Community where the quiet
Monarchy bide their time. Now
That they’ve captured the voice
Of the silent majority, have you
Noticed it’s endless variations on
The same commercial? The ads
Promoting our country as global
Cash register, moral arbitrator,
Cultural enforcer? America’s
Mainstream spirit sleeps in its
Comfortable prison, its dreams
Often tormented by the older
Ghost of American humanity and
Idealism. America’s mainstream
Spirit doesn’t mean to demonize
The excluded, but in celebrating
The included, well, that contrast
Just has to stand out somehow.
Like a golden vision of perpetual
Prosperity, at least for some, the
Rockets’ red glare shines forever
In the lights of Las Vegas, where
For every spent Elvis waiting to
Die one morning on the toilet, for
Every spent engine of industry like
Detroit waiting for the scrap heap,
There is one more diamond in the
Crown of America’s quiet monarchy.
We all make our own choices, and
Mine have grown mellower with age
But once in awhile there’s still this
Quiet anarchy I feel, where I want
To just burn down everything and
Everyone who’s ever caused me to
Hurt, caused me to believe you’ve
Been dealing me cards all along
From a dirty deck, cause me to
Realize I’ll never succeed in any
Way unless I play a bullshit game
That feeds someone else’s control
And profit. See the old anarchist
Walking his dog with plastic gloves
And a paper bag. I have to clean up
My mess or else face a fine, while
You go scott free every time you
Take your glorious dump on me
And everyone else.
Such a painful situation
You wish you could punish
Somebody for it. Wish you
Could cast the first stone,
Wish you could bear damning
Witness, wish you could join
The witch hunt, but you won’t.
Punishment might provide a
Pleasurable revenge, but don’t
Forget, in love it’s better to
Give than to receive. Can you
Say the same of punishment?
I’m always wrong, but at least
The reason keeps changing.
One day I’m wrong cause of
This, next day I’m wrong cause
Of that, in a week I’ll be wrong
Cause of something else. I’m
The barometer or baseline by
Which you gauge what’s wrong.
If I’m always going to be wrong,
What can I do? Be wrong in
Creative ways, be wrong in
Original ways, be wrong in
Inspired ways, be wrong in
Ways that are at least true
To myself, be wrong in ways
An impartial observer might
Conclude are only wrong
Depending on one’s point of
View, which I’m sure you’ll
Immediately shift accordingly.
OIL AND VINEGAR
It isn’t someone whose faith
Blinds them that we need, it’s
Someone whose faith opens
Their eyes. And perfection
Isn’t what we should seek in
Another, but rather someone
Whose imperfections mix with
Our own like oil and vinegar
Rather than gasoline and fire.
Oil and vinegar are not terribly
Romantic, I know, but see how
Together they elevate the
Salad from bland to sublime.
I don’t feel so at home on the
Range, where the deer and the
Antelope make territorial noises,
While my own thoughts about
Unclear boundaries compromise
The night’s quiet. Like a Hamlet
On horseback, the uncertainty of
A stalemate situation eats away
At my peace of mind. Any kind
Of move would be going cowboy,
Riding in with pistols blazing.
Might save the day, might just
Leave a big mess. Feels like a
Rescue is called for, though no
One is yelling help. It’s fine to
Go cowboy, follow no rules but
Your own, if you want to break
Free, but if you want to return,
You ride alone, trying to recall
The trail home on a dark night.
Just a way to get a word in, talking
Without voices, without eye contact,
Just words symbolizing meaning,
Representing feelings, self-centered
By necessity because propaganda is
Always a distorted exchange, forever
Open to interpretation. Hardly the
Optimum way to communicate, but
The alternative is total silence, history
Interpreted in opposite ways, with no
Basis for agreement or understanding,
No common meaning because you
Can’t treat meaningfully someone
You don’t acknowledge even exists
Anymore. How strange to feel like a
Ghost in someone else’s world when
You’re not even dead yet.
American Samoa was born in 1900.
The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
Was born in 1922. American Samoa,
Which is not quite America and not
Quite Samoa, is still trying to figure
Out what it is. The USSR, which was
A Union only by force, rape by any
Other name, Soviet and Socialist only
For as long as it was convenient, until
Its Republics grew strong enough to
Assert they wanted to be countries
Themselves, is also still trying to figure
Out what it is. I was born in the late
1950s, and I’m still trying to figure out
Who I am. You were born in the late
1980s, so if you haven’t figured out
Anything yet, that’s understandable
Given historical precedent.
Costumes and uniforms, I’ll dress
The way I need to. One day one,
Another the next, any kind of
Outfit to please you. What we
Wear will make some kind of
Statement. It’s better, I guess,
Than walking ‘round naked. Put
On, put on, take off too. Same
Old me but the costume is new.
Poor Mr. Fixit has forgotten about
All the things he can fix perfectly
To obsess on one thing he can’t
Quite figure out how to repair. Yes,
He says, I’m well aware there are
Things only God can fix, but if He’s
Not working through me then it
Must be due to some fault on my
Part. To find the solution within, I’ll
Purify myself. Friends say, Mr. Fixit,
If you were any more pure you’d be
Invisible. Friends say it’s turned
Into a battle of wills, of pride, of
Honor, of ego between Mr. Fixit
And the one thing he can’t fix. He
Knows they’ll never understand
How desperately motivation needs
A victory or else accomplishment
May as well be an accident. Besides,
He wonders, how can they say I’m
Overdoing it if I can’t get it done?
Sweetie, I think your poetry
Is beautiful, just like you are.
You move me, always have.
Sweetie, I think you’re scared
Of me, and I can’t say I blame
You, but come on – compared
To Jesus, we all kind of suck.
THE DREADFUL PINK EYE
If you don’t want to catch the dreadful Pink Eye
Don’t look at someone like you wish they would die
Because if they suss that that’s what you think
They’ll punch both your eyes until they turn pink
Don’t antagonize with the things that you say
Or you’ll wear sunglasses all night and all day
Don’t provoke somebody to charge like a rhino
Or friends will all ask if you’re turning albino
MIDDLE AGED PRAYER
Age brings the same old problems,
Just with a more thoughtful response.
Still the same old choices soon as you
Wake. Always wishing things could be
Better for everyone, things could be
Fairer, things could be kinder, but the
World’s the way it is like a cookie
Crumbles the way it does, sort of by
Design but mostly at random. Lord,
Deliver us from randomness, except
When it brings something wonderful.
Opinions on what exactly constitutes
Questionable conduct will usually
Vary depending on who you ask and
Whatever/however their relation is
To the one whose conduct is called
Into question. If we all understood
Each other perfectly, no conduct
Would be questionable because
Whatever question there is would
Already be answered. Therefore,
To question another’s conduct is
Really to say you don’t understand.
As to the question of whether or
Not understanding is any business
Of yours… That actually explains a
Lot of suffering and violence. It
Could just as easily be, how dare
You not care, as how dare you
Interfere. It can be harder to act
Than to understand, but I still say
You’re worse off when it’s harder
To understand than to act.