Monday, February 15, 2021

Read Selected Poems from Fractalverse: Volume Three!

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Inside, loyalty waltzes with discomfort and elation.
It wasn’t the plan.
I couldn’t have foreseen the consequences.
The price for most is half again as high as their souls
—on their best days.
Learning to embrace loneliness is a requisite to any life worthy of the title.

If I look outside, I don’t see colors or shapes.
I don’t smell the day; I don’t touch time; I don’t taste my food;
and I certainly don’t hear your protests.
Thank God.

Finality is reserved for connection, not concoction.
It’s made for moments shaped by trust,
for a shared sense (there it is!) of communion.
Too much for you, I know.

I mount the scars of my life like an explorer
crossing a mountain range.
Some peaks are too tall, and remain barren and remote.
Others are covered in vegetation.
The forests are beautiful, rich, and diverse, as are the hazy vistas.
Here I can smell the cold sky,
here I can taste the pine.
Here I finger the tattered pocket of my denims,
and here the burble of an unseen creek echoes in a grotto.

Here my failures—and my victories—demand witness.
Rain is falling today.
It comes in sudden squalls, icy-cold and voluminous.
My mouth is dry.
My heartbeat is steady and undisturbed.
I’ll exercise later and give it something to get excited about.

Change removes doubt while sowing the seeds for more of it.
The crop needs to be regularly harvested or weeds set in.
It’s a full-time job.

Dust settles on me.
The setting sun smells of hard work yellowed by advancing age.
The must is pleasing. As a boy I’d stop and fill my lungs
whenever I caught a whiff of it. I do that now.

My hands are calloused.
The horizon blazes to my left; to my right the farmhouse
traces shadows of closure.
There is no one out here but me.
The moment is heavenly.

Tomorrow it may rain.
The seeds will germinate.
The sun should not always blaze, like it did today.
A good crop requires both gloom and glory.
A good farmer fears neither.

The truth was always beaten or humiliated out of me.
It was always too threatening.
Deception became my pillow and my clothes.
I wore them baggily and let them get very dirty before washing them.
Silence took my side and we became dear and secret friends.

Was I a coward?
No. I was just a boy.
If anything I was quite courageous, for I adapted, evolved.
I learned to protect my being. I learned to protect my soul.

Fists and two-by-fours couldn’t dent those allies.
Screaming and raging couldn’t make them wither or abandon me.

He did, though, not soon enough.
The sun, so long gone, cracked the leaden sky.

The true hero loves truly.
The fight leaves Imagination
and sends up clouds of dust in Mundanity.
But love …

The blackbird soars under the wings of her evening song.
Under … or within—
So tremulous, and impatient, and, so often, hard-edged.

Time bends to the wishes of deepening dusk.

The hero loves.
She prays.
Call it what you will.
Recognize her, and you recognize
what is highest within you.
So driven and thrilling and, so often, malleable.

Draining daylight bends the wishes of time.

What a soul is:
death and language.
An appeal to grass.
Muddy fingers.
Sweeping the floor.
Homemade pizza.
Watching finches.

Admit nothing, and you’ll see nothing.
Admit the possibility, and your mind inhales freshly.
It isn’t so scary as you might think.
Whatever you do, ignore the critics and cynics and doubters.
Often they are one and the same person.

I’m not your teacher. I fucking hate teaching.
There is nothing more full of betrayal
than trying to teach someone something.

I’ve experienced it for myself.
Students don’t learn a damn thing.
The ones who do are desperately rare.
It’s one of a zillion reasons why this world is so fucked up.

Death and language.
An appeal to grass.
Walking on hot asphalt with bare feet.
Summertime shade.
Gray sunlight in winter.
A nap, clovers, watering plants, hard work,
no work, healing, hoping, hell-raising.

Still don’t get it? Don’t worry.
Everybody’ll tell you it isn’t important.
Listen to them.
You’re a student, after all.

You want me to cower before your pot-bellied idol.
You want me to detach.
Life is suffering, you pronounce as you sip herbal tea bought at Starbucks.
(Or was that the Coffee Bean?)
But the wax of your philosophic is thick and noxious,
and I’m not listening.

How is it that so few think their way through life?
How it is that so many just parrot shit
without bothering to think about it,
without bothering to find out if it’s really true or not,
without bothering to learn?

How is it that so many are parrot shit?

Plastic is the true essence of humanity.
Thinness is humanity’s dimension.
Brittleness is humanity’s condition.
Consumption is humanity’s mode of being.
Is it any wonder then that humanity believes
that “life is suffering”?

How I long for a universe of freedom,
a universe without.
A universe of solitude.
A universe with no chattering, bickering, politicizing, pontificating, or perverting.

A universe of quiet.

Society bears down, constipated.
Landfills overflow with the discarded stools of consciousness despised.
Shit wins.
Shit rules.

A species devoted not to peace, not to devotion, not to the commonweal
is a species that eats shit,
dines on shit,
fucks shit,
births shit.

I sleep better these days.
Maybe because I have given up trying to get Shit’s attention.
I no longer care what Shit thinks.
I concern myself with matters that Shit claims are worthless:
the jays at the feeder,
the daisies I planted last week,
the love in my life,
our home,
the dusty moon,
the heroes who’ve made my soul their friendly port, and their stories.

That is enough. That is more than enough.