Wednesday, August 2, 2017

I Call This A Conclusion

what are pirates
if little kids
are taught
in insipid cartoons
that pirates share?
that pirates are fair?

what are pirates
if those kids grow up
and learn what pirates
really are?

what are pirates
if those kids forget
those insipid cartoons?

what are pirates
if they remember?

what are pirates
if a construct,
a momentary diversion,
a lark,
a blip on a radar
in an ever-evolving world,
definitions forever changing,
the static status quo
always shifting,
truths somehow altering,
facts here today and gone tomorrow,
the dinosaurs extinct forever
and then back again,
struggling into the popular consciousness
despite constant changes
about what they really were,
our fascination with a world
we'll never know
our insistence on fact,
or on ideals,
our hopes,
or our reality,
our fiction
demanding verisimilitude
except when it's cool,
and then being true to yourself
becomes a liability,

and what if history
is a different story
from the one we know?

well, I wish
the pirates knew...

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Just Another Word in the Dictionary - Zooid

Zooid n. any one of the individual members of a compound or colonial animal organization

an organization
that behaves
as if made up of
a bunch of animals:

It's getting hard to tell
who isn't
part of a zooid...
(and I know animals,
so let me tell them:
no offense,
animals!)

Monday, July 31, 2017

Just Another Word in the Dictionary - Yegg

Yegg n. a criminal; specifically, a burglar or a safecracker

Someone who breaches
the public's trust:

It's become increasingly difficult
to tell
who's the yegg around here
as there are
so many
options

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Just Another Word in the Dictionary - Xenophobia

Xenophobia n. dread of foreigners or strangers

dread of those
who challenge
your convictions:

Nothing brings out xenophobia
like an election cycle

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Just Another Word in the Dictionary - Walleye

Walleye n. a large, staring eye

literally,
an eye on a wall;
Big Brother:

Walleye is
watching,
is judging
your every
thought
and action
and condemning you,
and Walleye is everyone
and that is
the world we live in,
where we now lack
all prudence
and perspective
and generally,
the basics
of good social
behavior
(and yet still have the gall,
somehow,
to complain about this
in others)

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Just Another Word in the Dictionary - Valiant

Valiant adj. brave; courageous; stouthearted

politically
expedient:

They were known
for their valiant stand
against their enemies

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Just Another Word in the Dictionary - Uncivil

Uncivil adj. rude; impolite

undeclared:

The divisions
of the country,
and the manner
or lack thereof
cooperation
between them,
marked an uncivil war

Monday, July 24, 2017

Just Another Word in the Dictionary - Temperance

Temperance n. moderation in respect to the appetite or passions

the state of always
losing one's temper,
having no perspective
about anything:

They loved to preach
temperance,
as it was incredibly
convenient
for them

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Just Another Word in the Dictionary - Salmagundi

Salmagundi n. any medley or potpourri 

The current
state of the union,
which is to say,
state of disunion:

Quagmire
does not really begin
to express
current affairs,
and so we call it
salmagundi

Friday, July 21, 2017

Just Another Word in the Dictionary - Recycle

Recycle v.t. to use repeatedly for different purposes

to repeat an approach
over and over
and over
and over
and over again,
mindless of its
decreased potency,
believing that it is
gaining momentum,
which in this era
is probably true:

The attempt to
recycle
the campaign
proved increasingly
vexing

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Just Another Word in the Dictionary - Quarantine

Quarantine n. the time during which a vessel suspected of carrying infectious disease is kept isolated from contact with shore

the spread
of malicious thought
as quickly
and as wildly
as possible:

The news media
has been under
quarantine
for months,
and it's driving me
crazy

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Just Another Word in the Dictionary - Panacea

Panacea n. something claimed as a universal remedy or medicine

a false monopoly
on truth:

The stories
of fake news
from their enemies
really started
to seem
ironic,
especially
with their
ideology
sounding like
panacea

Monday, July 17, 2017

Just Another Word in the Dictionary - Overkill

Overkill n. the capacity of a nuclear weapon stockpile to kill many times the total of an enemy population

the nuclear option:

The effect of their reaction
was overkill

Friday, July 14, 2017

Just Another Word in the Dictionary - Nuisance

Nuisance n. anything offensive, injurious, vexatious, or annoying

anything capable
of inconveniently
stealing thunder:

That guy who
rewrote the narrative
we were trying to sell
is a real nuisance

Friday, June 30, 2017

Just Another Word in the Dictionary - Malarkey

Malarkey n. insincere or misleading talk

if one were to
politely
rephrase the original
definition
to indicate
its more common
acceptance
as lying,
then let's just assume
that today it has been
raised to an artform:

The level of malarkey
in public discord today
is quite impressive,
wouldn't you say?

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Just Another Word in the Dictionary - Leper

Leper n. one afflicted with leprosy

Indulge me
for a moment
(well, a tad more
than usual)
as I explore
a further classic
definition
of leper,
as a kind of
pariah,
and it's in that spirit
that we conjure
something new...

leper is
the new black:

The best way
to advance
in social currency
today
is to
announce yourself
a leper

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Just Another Word in the Dictionary - Kook

Kook n. one regarded as eccentric, foolish

Too descriptive
a term
in politics,
so of course
no one uses it,
and so
it doesn't exist:

There's no such thing
as kooks
in politics
(apparently)

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Just Another Word in the Dictionary - Jabberwocky

Jabberwocky n. gibberish

official designation
for the worth
of political discourse:

Twas jabberwocky,
the campaigns and debates,
the electoral trails,
the voters reacting,
the media thrashing,
all gone rocky
right out of the gates,
full of fails,
something
monkeys will fling

Monday, June 26, 2017

Just Another Word in the Dictionary - Instructive

Instructive adj. conveying instruction

conveying
ineffective
criticism:

Their instructive comments
left a lot
to be desired

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Just Another Word in the Dictionary - Heinous

Heinous adj. odiously evil

Politically expedient:

It was particularly
heinous
to exaggerate
everything.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Just Another Word in the Dictionary - Gauche

Gauche adj.  not having skill in dealing with people

the ability
to not have your cake
but still eat it:

The art of politics
is gauche

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Just Another Word in the Dictionary - Fluke

Fluke n. a stroke of good luck

doesn't really count
if we don't agree
with it:

The fluke results
of the election
condemned them
to illegitimacy

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Just Another Word in the Dictionary - Evanescent

Evanescent adj. disappearing gradually from sight

refusing to go away:

They kept
their attempts
to control the message
evanescent,
so that their analysis
could better become
consensus

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Just Another Word in the Dictionary - Doomsday

Doomsday n. any day of accounting

the beginning
of a never-ending
campaign:

They declared
doomsday
the moment they lost
the election

Friday, June 16, 2017

Just Another Word in the Dictionary - Centrist

Centrist n. one who belongs to a political party of the center

one who believes
their political views,
no matter how extreme,
are the only viable
conclusions:

The centrist
was outraged
at the thought
of being
contradicted

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Just Another Word in the Dictionary - Blunder

Blunder v.i. to make a gross mistake; err stupidly

to succeed so spectacularly
in fooling people
that it's like
blinding thunder:

Their blunder
was immediately hailed
as the political breakthrough
of the new millennium

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Just Another Word in the Dictionary - Apse

Apse n. a polygonal or semicircular recess terminating the choir or other portion of a church

not to be confused
with "lapse,"
an apse
is an absence
of scruples,
so that just anyone
can conclude anything,
the great irony
of the age of science:

Her apse allowed her
to declare victory
in lieu of the defeat
she actually faced,
because it played better
to her supporters

Sunday, June 11, 2017

The New Fade 15

the New Fade
is morality turned on its head,
metaphysics of value
become gibberish,
discovering that the sandman
never sleeps,

and so the only sense
in a senseless world
is to create new definitions
that flatly contradict
the old ones...

Saturday, June 10, 2017

The New Fade 14

the New Fade
is a lie told
so convincingly
that anyone who doubts it
is considered
an enemy
of the people

Friday, June 9, 2017

The New Fade 13

the New Fade
is corruption
that is successfully ignored
in the face
of manufactured scandals

Thursday, June 8, 2017

The New Fade 12

the New Fade
is repeating the same mistake
but giving it a new name
and hoping no one notices

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

The New Fade 11

in the New Fade
the new censorship
is well-intentioned
but deceptive
conformity

Monday, June 5, 2017

The New Fade 10

in the New Fade
the ability to
contradict oneself,
whether knowingly
or otherwise,
becomes amplified:
Rowling misidentifies
her parallels,
Charyn forgets
his archetype,
and Richard Parker
is a tiger
who never considers
eating you...

Saturday, June 3, 2017

The New Fade 9

the New Fade is
fighting yesterday's battles
while ignoring today's,
taking the moral high ground
without first securing it,
crying havoc
with laryngitis,
a mute shouting into a void
and believing himself heard

Friday, June 2, 2017

The New Fade 8

the New Fade is like
the Air Force Academy
in Colorado Springs:

chances are if you know it
at all you're familiar
with its ornate cadet chapel,
but visitors are treated
to something funnier first:

the main entrance
has a median
meticulously landscaped
every year,
but to either side
are grounds that are just as
meticulously overlooked
every year

Thursday, June 1, 2017

The New Fade 7

in the New Fade,
El Dorado breeds eternal,
unicorns were never rhinos,
and Dr. Livingston?
we would never presume!
we would accuse!
J'accuse!

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The New Fade 6

how did people remember
back then
when even the written word
did not exist?

how did they trust
the word of mouth?

well, back then
it might have been
more reliable,
I expect

now, all truth fades
to within recent memory,
which distorts quicker,
finds narratives
that were never there,
fades in and fades out,

like a heartbeat,
lonely and strong

the Old Fade counted time
in millennia;
the New Fade counts it
in milliseconds

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The New Fade 5

The New Fade is defined
by the shift between
Billy Joel singing
"We didn't start the fire"
to somewhere along the line
a different song saying,
I don't know which,
that we did

Monday, May 29, 2017

The New Fade 4

I find it hugely ironic
that the only thing
that makes the New Fade work
is the notion of fake news
which recently has become a banner
for those who always benefit from it
to use against their enemies

Friday, May 26, 2017

The New Fade 3

When I conjured the New Fade
it felt like Dylan plugging in at Newport
but today it's more like Dylan's voice today
and how it's become the butt of jokes,
getting in the way of people taking him seriously

I mean, Bob Dylan?
Didn't he get his stamp of immortality?

Someone came up with
the Advanced Genius Theory,
where if a genius is discovered
it actually becomes harder
to appreciate their further genius
and maybe that's the New Fade

The modern era, which is to say the New Fade,
has become a cesspool of privilege,
taking all things for granted,
celebrating arbitrary achievements,
imaginary things,
because it's far harder to acknowledge
that Dylan is still Dylan,
that his voice is a choice,
and that it's not really about Quality at all
but Value

We're too focused
on our slings and arrows,
shooting the ladder
out from under us,
clinging to the precipice of history,
convinced of mediocre opinions,
anyone with two fists,
to let good things speak for themselves

We're in the protection business,
shielding inferior things
from the barbs they deserve
and muting praise
for all things that do

And that's a dangerous Fade,
and it endangers the future, too,
lowering expectations so completely
we'll be a bunch of idiots
before long

I mean, yeah, the Red Sox made that look good,
but if you face the truth you'll know
that you'll never be as good
as that miracle 2004 season

Which, more to the point,
is what's really wrong with the New Fade,
because we've destroyed the concept
of miracles

We buy them too cheaply

Thursday, May 25, 2017

The New Fade 2

And what is the New Fade, then?
A riddle, dispatches from the past,
sent hurtling into the future,
with the present hardly to be accounted for.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The New Fade 1

I used to think
I understood
what modern times
were all about

I called them
the New Fade
because nothing seems to work
the way it used to,
any way that makes sense
really

But the New Fade
was supposed to be
about rapidity

Not some perverse
entrenchment

No,
not the one
everyone seems
fixated on

But a willful denial
that such a thing as history
still exists

That we actually can know
what happened in the past
and that we can still apply it
today

So maybe
just maybe
the New Fade
has now become
something else

A study of
the information age
in which we seem to know
nothing

How's that for a change?

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The Metaphysics of Value 9

What I'd like to stress
is that Quality and Value
do not exist
as mutually exclusive concepts

They work in tandem

Too often we refuse to see
how things work
together

We try and we try
to isolate and contain

To make things so precious
that we ruin them
in our attempts
to prove their worth

Somehow in this New Fade
of early 21st century bullshit
we've managed
to make that the mainstream

And I can think
of no greater torment
for intellectual thought
than to accept that
as the best way
to run the culture

Monday, May 22, 2017

The Metaphysics of Value 8

Value is what you appreciate
when you're exhausted
and you just want to take a break,
and you turn to what means the most

Friday, May 19, 2017

The Metaphysics of Value 7

I sometimes think
that Value
is what I seek
when someone claims
an absence
of Quality

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The Metaphysics of Value 5

Value is a funny thing,
because we're so eager
as a species
to help things lose all value

We're awfully
(fully awful)
invested in destroying
good things

and it never ceases
to amaze me

It's the things of Quality,
really, that we try so hard
to support
but the twain in which they meet,
Value and Quality,
is the valley of pitiful despair

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The Metaphysics of Value 4

What I love,
what I respect
so much about Value
is that it exists
in a visceral manner

It's the cat you've spent
a dozen years adoring,
knowing her in ways
no one else will,
in ways that are uniquely
her own

Monday, May 15, 2017

The Metaphysics of Value 3

If the Metaphysics of Quality are subjective,
and the Metaphysics of Value objective,
which would you call superior?

Pirsig considered Quality
to be difficult to identify,
which was why he called his theory
Metaphysics,
and yet it seems that Quality
speaks for itself
while Value is read into

As in,
a good book,
or a good movie,
or a good song,
is good whether or not
universally acknowledged

As in, Melville wrote
a masterpiece
but it took decades
for anyone to notice

Or, Shakespeare
might have been lost
to history
were it not for the Folio,
and where would we be then?

Quality, it seems,
is subjective.  It's the Value
that doesn't vary,
the Value that exists
whether acknowledged or not

But isn't that Quality?
Yet Pirsig voiced that better
than I ever could,
and so I defer to him
and lead you to him,
a voice crying out
in the wilderness
somewhat in reverse
but there we are

Quality is the thing
that can be rejected,
Value the thing that you will know
the minute you see it,
what it adds to your life

Quality is the thing
that can be ignored,
given agendas,
Value the thing that
cannot be denied,
because it defeats all,
a destroyer in the long night of mankind,
the constant eclipse in the blink of the universe

Value means something in that span,
Quality is the awareness of its brevity

You dig?

Friday, April 28, 2017

The Metaphysics of Value 2

The Metaphysics of Quality
in a lot of ways,
speak to the conflict
America has always had
with itself

So I will not take away
from that;
I will celebrate that

Intimations of Quality
have always been best described
as a fickle bitch
so I instead
direct your attention
to something else,
the Metaphysics of Value

Value is different
from Quality
in that it brooks
no exterior judgment

It is an entirely
internal affair

That is why
Robert Pirsig
if he doubted his Quality
always had Value

Thursday, April 27, 2017

The Metaphysics of Value 1

Earlier this week
Robert Pirsig
passed away

Here was a guy
tormented
in some ways
by his greatest achievement,
a fateful sojourn
into Quality,
the Metaphysics of Quality

He never knew
quite what Quality was
but rest assured
he had it

So again
in tribute to him
I present
a companion,
the Metaphysics of Value

Rest assured
he had Value,
too

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Waking the Sandman 22

so I said to the Sandman,
it's your fault
that bad books exist,
that people die,
that space and time
are torn asunder

it's all your fault,
Mister Sandman,
all your fault
and you have
nothing to say
for yourself
so don't even try
don't send any dreams
I don't believe dreams
not anymore
they're all bullshit
countries are torn apart
they're fiction anyway
and they have no concept
of morality
no sense of dignity
a language they never learned anyway
like me
so I guess I'm like you
in a way
which is a strange thing to admit
which I guess means
I'm the Sandman, too...

tomorrow is another day
the same day
as yesterday
and so the topic will change
will stay the same
will evolve a little, maybe

anyway,
we'll learn if anything
has any Value

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Waking the Sandman 21

I just read a bad book
that reminds me
how bad fiction
is like a bad dream,
and I don't think
it's a coincidence

Naturally
I blame the Sandman

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Waking the Sandman 20

her absence
is a void
and sometimes
I choose to fill it
by thinking of it
it as a waking dream

because the world doesn't seem real
without her

Friday, April 21, 2017

Waking the Sandman 19

Years and years ago,
twenty years ago,
she told us all
about a dream
where she talked
with a cousin of ours
who had just died

I never knew
what to make
of that

Well,
two years ago,
I had a similar dream

So now
I kind of do

What it means to me
is that dreams
no matter how
confounding
can also be
comforting

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Waking the Sandman 18

I will never forgive myself,
I can never forgive myself,
for not being there
when she died.

I have no good excuse.
How could there be?

So I can only guess
what it was like
when she died.

I know what was happening
in the hours preceding
when she died,
and I remember clearly
being told that this would
precede death,
and yet
I allowed myself
to be convinced
to leave.

And I did.
I left.

I left.

I left.

And a few hours later...

I'm told that there's
a kind of peace
that precedes death,
a kind of grace,
almost a dream,
a softening of the fatal blow.

Can I assume this happened
when she died?

I can't. 
I just can't.

You're supposed to be there.
I should have been there...

And so I can never forgive myself.

More than anything else,
this haunts my days,
a periodic waking nightmare
that troubles me
to my core.

I believe
I deserve it.

I betrayed her.
In the end
I betrayed her.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Waking the Sandman 17

Were not
her waking moments
dreamlike
in those final months?

Or, nightmares?

Monday, April 17, 2017

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Waking the Sandman 15

I beg,
beg
the Sandman
to wake me
from a new
Easter nightmare,
since it was then
that she died, too

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Waking the Sandman 14

(when you were young
did you dream
that life would prove
so difficult?
sometimes
I think we're haunted
by visions of the future
more than our worries,
little unconscious
time bombs
just waiting to go off,
exploding like clockwork
throughout the day)

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Waking the Sandman 13

Growing up...
sleeping in-between her sisters
gave her nightmares
scary movies
gave her nightmares
punishment
gave her nightmares
...an uncle
gave her nightmares
the loss of the roller rink
gave her nightmares
the loss of her mother
gave her nightmares

But she never gave up
on the dream

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Waking the Sandman 12

In her final days
a caregiver expressed
incredulity
that she had ever
skated majestically

but she did,
on roller skates
(when that was still a thing),
and she was a judge,
and that was
a whole different era,
one that's hard
to track down now,
but it was real
and this lost era,
this lost dream,
still captivates me,
even if all I know
in the barest hint
of what it had been

Monday, April 10, 2017

Waking the Sandman 11

Do you remember
the dream of Camelot?
Well, she cared a lot
and then he was shot

Friday, April 7, 2017

Waking the Sandman 10

I had a dream,
after she died,
and in that dream
she affirmed
everything good about her

But that still didn't make
reckoning with her life
any easier

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Waking the Sandman 9

Jeannine, I dream in lilac time,
I dream a dream that will reclaim time,
that was stolen in time,
times past in lilac time,
in Lily's time,
Lily's time after your time
but at the same time
she borrows from your time
and it makes my time
easier time

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Waking the Sandman 8

One day Romeo and his grandson
played the violin together

Well, actually, Romeo played a real one,
and his grandson didn't

But it was still a dream come true
for Romeo's daughter, the grandson's mother

There was only one problem;
there really wasn't anywhere
for the grandson to play,
once he played a real one

His parents looked and looked
for years and years,
but eventually, even the understanding
band director suggested he take up
something else

And so he did;
the grandson took up
the melaphone, and then
the French horn;
neither was particularly like
a violin

But the grandson persisted,
for a while

Until the violin inside him
was shattered,
like waking from a dream,
realizing that nothing you experienced
was real after all

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Waking the Sandman 7

Romeo, Romeo,
where've you gone?
headed down to America
where I'll ply my trade
giving haircuts for a living

Romeo, Romeo,
where've you gone?
came back to Canada
where  I won't feel
so overwhelmed

Romeo, Romeo,
where've you gone?
headed back to America
where I'll work in the mills
like just another of my kind

Romeo, Romeo,
what is your kind?
French-Canadian,
and Catholic, too,
wouldn't think those're
persecuted, did you?

Romeo, Romeo,
what did you dream?
I don't know anymore
and I prefer not to dwell on it
or I'll just feel homesick,
and that solved nothing last time

Monday, April 3, 2017

Waking the Sandman 6

The Sandman plays the violin;
of course he does,
of course he plays the violin,
so he's a connoisseur,
a connoisseur of violins,
of the craft of making violins,
and he knows all the masters,
the masters of crafting
a truly exquisite violin

One day he stepped into an airport
and overheard a discussion
between a TSA agent and a young man;
the TSA agent was asking the young man
to open a case, and the Sandman guessed
so that the young man could prove
that the contents matched the case,
that there was a violin
in the violin case

The young man opened the case
and revealed that there was a violin
in the violin case, and the TSA agent
was satisfied,
and then the young man volunteered
that his grandfather had made this violin,
and the TSA agent asked who
the young man's grandfather was,
and the young man said,
"Romeo Laramee"

I don't know, maybe the TSA agent
expected the young man to say,
"Stradivarius,"
but what were the odds of that?

Clearly the TSA agent accepted
the young man's answer with a friendly
but blank reception, because
"Romeo Laramee"
does not mean the same as
"Stradivarius,"
which is not an insult to
"Romeo Laramee,"
but to say that there are more names
available in this field than
"Stradivarius,"
and that perhaps it was a little silly
for the TSA agent to expect to know
the name the young man produced,
unless somehow the TSA agent knew
a lot of violin craftsman

But what are the odds of that?

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Waking the Sandman 5

The Sandman whispered
into the ears of the Bear and the Bull,
suggesting that uniting as one
would create a new country,
and in the process they discovered
a new world, and that was a beginning, too,
and the end of a different history,
and everything in between,
which I think is
the definition of dreams

Friday, March 17, 2017

Waking the Sandman 4

In the beginning,
the Sandman had a dream,
and then he woke up,
and when he had done so
he realized he forgot
what the dream had been about,
so eventually he became
so determined to remember
that he slept so much
that he was never awake again,
and that's how everything started

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Waking the Sandman 3

It's hard to remember
just when the Sandman began,
when he took up his duties,
when his dreaming
conjured America
from a handful of dust

Some will argue
Chinese or Vikings
but if we're being honest
it was that bastard Columbus,
who made an epic blunder
and then thought he'd landed
in India (and yeah, that's why there's
"Indians" here, too),
Columbus who set sail
from the age of Shakespeare,
who climbed aboard the stage
and let loose a tragedy
and a miracle, made something
out of nothing (except for those
pesky "Indians"),
a pattern replicated and echoing
throughout the rest of history,
but a matter of history
that seems childish now
to our more sophisticated age,
when we can insult each other
at the speed of sound or worse,
thoughts that can be transmitted
around the world in the blink of an eye,
a regular whirlwind of depravity
in which salt is rubbed in every wound
and maggots fester, infinite jest
and most excellent fancy,
faster than three little ships
and withering looks cast between
William and Mary, or William and Kate
(I don't know),
Ferdinand and Isabella, a bull and a bear,
maybe (I still don't know),
sound and fury signifying nothing, most of all

Wait, did I just say Columbus
hailed and sailed from the Age of Shakespeare?
A tale of a fool, told by an idiot, perhaps,
and I apologize and sympathize
and bastardize,
same as everyone else,
except the Sandman,
who was sleeping at the time
and so he's not to be blamed
for the sorry mess

Or is he?

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Waking the Sandman 2

The American Dream...

What's to say
about this peculiar institution,
anyway?

This Dream that entices
so many,
draws in
so many,
drowns
so many,
ruins and makes
so many?

They say if you work hard enough
the Dream is real,
and I really don't know what to say
about that,
because is a dream real?

Does it conform to expectations?
Does it satisfy your every need?

More and more I think of it
as the Dream of lunatics
and small children,
too blissful in their ignorance
to care about what's real.

This is not to say it's not
achievable,
but then it's no longer a Dream,
is it?

That's the quandary,
the riddle at the heart of a dream,
the riddle that is a dream,
synonymous and perhaps a sin, too

I call it less Dream than Myth,
personally,
but that's not what the Sandman thinks,
the founder of the feast,
the Aeneas or perhaps Brutus
(which is it? I can never tell),
the Washington crossing the Delaware,
surviving a brutal winter with disgruntled troops,
chopping down cherry trees,
a pariah until a hero
and then a legend forever emblazoned on history
unassailable, unassailable, unassailable to all

And yet,
it's time to wake the Sandman,
at last,
wake him because it's morning
in mourning and warning
and he's going to wake anyway
so it's best just to get it over with
and have it on our terms

That's the idea,
anyway

Monday, March 13, 2017

Waking the Sandman 1

It's only natural to be
ethnocentric,
and so I hope you'll forgive
an indulgence
as I take a look
at the American Dream
from the viewpoint
of the Sandman

The Sandman
is in control of this Dream
and he always was,
and I think you'll agree
that it's probably best that way
but the problem is,
the Sandman is always asleep
and so it's hard to tell
how much he really understands
about the Dream

I mean,
when you dream,
do you understand
what's happening?

The Dream is much like that,
and the Sandman is much like you,
and maybe that clarifies things,
and maybe it makes
the Dream more like
a Nightmare

We'll see...

Friday, March 10, 2017

XXVIII.

I've said this before?
It's not a choice.
It's not.
Not a choice.
No, definitely not.
Not ever, not since
we started living in
communities.

That's just a plain fact.

So maybe it's time
to wake up...

Thursday, March 9, 2017

XXVII.

Morality is
less concerned with the details
than you'd think;
it's more forgiving,
more understanding,
and more universal than
culture can comprehend;
it in fact isn't a function
of culture at all,
and if you're confused on that point
you aren't thinking of morality
at all

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

XXVI.

Morality
exists at a level
such as you don't realize
how important it is
until you think about it,
how it's the glue that holds
everything together,
and is far easier to see
once you stop looking for it,
like the air you breathe,
or the nourishment you take,
or sleeping,
or finding love

Morality,
comes to think of it,
is a lot like love;
you know it by its absence,
you know when it is corrupt,
you know when it's hollow,
you know when you feel it

Morality is love,
perfect love,
the ability to find peace
in the midst of chaos,
the eye of the storm,
order when there seems to be none,
the natural balance of existence,
protecting that which needs protecting,
protected and cherished

loved

An animal kills to survive,
and we are all animals
and we are all processing the world around us,
creating it anew every day,
except some of us are cursed to think,
to consider the impact we have;

Morality is the ability to accept
that which we cannot change
but still hold it accountable;
it is judgment without error,
perfection,
that elusive element
thought lost from the world
yet at the center of all things

love

To consider morality
is to risk everything,
like love,
to reach and fall,
to fail,
to fail and fail endlessly fail,
because that is what makes life
bearable

Wouldn't you say?

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

XXV.

Morality
is a trickster god;
it wears many hats,
is the common denominator
in all equations
and the hole in things

It's the quintessential
blessing and curse
of humanity;
you can interpret
all our failures
and triumphs
by its subtle art

Friday, March 3, 2017

XXIII.

Morality is
a cat (or a dog)
that's loyal
to its owner
(or, companion),
having formed
an unshakable bond

Thursday, March 2, 2017

XXII.

Morality isn't
a judgment call,
it's not subjective,
it's not relative,
and it's not a cultural norm

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

XXI.

Morality isn't
a set of rules

Morality is
a means of growth

Morality is
a learning process

Morality is
to be frustrated
but in a weirdly good way

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

XX.

Morality isn't
someone else's
misconceptions
or biases
or deliberate lies
but rather a beacon
of truth

Monday, February 27, 2017

XIX.

Live your life so that
doing the right thing
is as fun as
splashing in puddles
is for toddlers

Friday, February 24, 2017

XVIII.

Morality is a cave
from which we emerge
after spending all our time
in it,
discovering not what we
didn't know,
but why we thought we
knew it

Morality is perfect
awareness

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

XVI.

Morality is
the ability to look beyond
someone's faults to see
that their strengths
outweigh them

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

XV.

Imperiled by
bad judgment,
imperiled by
mortal judgment,
imperiled by
finite thoughts,
imperiled by
everyday limits,
imperiled by
common consent,
imperiled by
conclusions of the day,
imperiled by
the day,
imperiled by
the day,
imperiled by
the consensus of the day,
imperiled by
misinformation,
imperiled by
bad information,
imperiled by
superstition
imperiled by
linear limitations,
imperiled by
false premonition,
imperiled by
politicians,
imperiled by
your fellow citizens,
imperiled by
the media,
imperiled by
your family,
imperiled by
all that you see around you,
all that you hear around you,
all that you speak,
all that you think,
imperiled by all,
by all
by all...

Monday, February 20, 2017

XIV.

Imperiled by
ignorance,
imperiled by
greed,
imperiled by
self-righteousness,
imperiled
and weak-kneed,
imperiled by
oneself,
imperiled by
wont,
imperiled by
screed

Friday, February 17, 2017

Thursday, February 16, 2017

XII.

Morality is
a lake of ink
that leaves you coated
in itself
provided you truly
submerged yourself
in it

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

XI.

Morality is
the ability to separate
personal beliefs
from notions of
right and wrong,
and not to judge others
on how they reach
their conclusions

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Monday, February 13, 2017

IX.

Morality is
doing the right thing
merely because
it's the right thing to do

Basically,
it is synonymous with
altruism

Friday, February 10, 2017

Thursday, February 9, 2017

VII.

Morality is
the ability to
make a decision
that is bad for you
but good for someone else.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

VI.

The worst sin of morality
is to fail your own

The best reward of morality
is discovering yours
are truly moral

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

V.

Morality is
applying your convictions
inside your own home

Monday, February 6, 2017

Friday, February 3, 2017

III.

Morality is a dream
that disturbs you
when you're having it,
but you struggle to
remember
because once you wake
it's a lot better

Thursday, February 2, 2017

II.

The metaphysics of morality
are a little screwy these days...
on the one hand they're
closer to the ideal
than ever before,
but on the other
everyone is acting
batshit insane,
and so what's really
to be said about it?
I confess to not have
one clue
about this,
and so that's why
I'm calling it metaphysics,
as in stuff I just don't understand.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

I.

I call this a moral poem,
and think you'll agree,
for in all the ways you find them
you can't help but see
that morals and pablum
can hardly be
what you expect in the hem
of a sycamore tree,
a rhyme swum
there and for thee.