Poetics Dismissed by Gods

A Lesson – Half Understood – In Poetics

As I walked, I turned, and saw Apollo beside me.
“Why do you rail against the world?” asked the god,
holding my book of poems in his hand.
“I want to strike, like lightning,
opening men’s minds to the truth.”
“This is pointless,” said the god,
“Men are but the mere implements of God,
and this world will be righted, as necessary
in due time.”
“But that would be bloody, and devastating,” I protested.
“Mortal fool,” chided the god, “abandon your false pride.
It is not for you to direct your kind.
Men are but the many blinks of the eye of God,
and whether one is a drop in the tide of blood
ending one civilization,
or a glint in the flow of honey
at the cresting of another,
it matters not.
I, in my unknowable infinitude
will rewind the spring of time
and replenish the well of knowledge,
to maintain the eternal cycle.”
“But can’t we try to steer our culture to the good?” I pleaded.
The god shook his head with a patient smile,
“Life is given to you,
make the most of it,
achieve what good you can,
but do not attach yourself to prideful dreams;
all of this has come and gone countless times,
and it will cycle uncountably on.
Hew to what endures.”
“In my poems, I seek the essence of God,” I said,
“to present Him so as to touch hearts
and open minds to a greater awareness –
perhaps leading even just one person to greater good.”
Him, Her, It, Them,
The Great Unknowable Void,” instructed the god,
“Thought is to God as a ripple to the ocean,
a leaf to a forest,
the whisper of a breeze to the expanse of sky.
God is immeasurably beyond the confines of mere words and concepts,
and no man can know anything about God
by the word.
Release yourself,” commanded the god.
“Still,” he said as an afterthought,
handing my book to me,
“the effort has merit.”
I blinked, and he was gone.

8 July 2002

<><><><><><><>

Lord Krishna, Disguised as Apollo, Dismisses My Writing

“Parasites neither herd nor flock –
they accumulate.
They all have identical aims
yet share no goal in common.
Humans may be the most cannibalistic of parasites.”

Suddenly, he was there, leafing through my book,
muttering an answer to the question floating in my mind,
“Yes, it is a work of genius, too bad.”
“Why!”
“Well, no one will read it.”
“But how…,”
ignoring my voice to answer my mind, he continued,
“Men are wedded to their delusions,
they only want to see what conforms to their views,
enlightenment is tenaciously blocked.”
“And women?” I asked.
“Women, too, are deluded,
though, of course, they are wiser than men,
and so, they are oppressed.
Women have less compunction,
their focus is their young,
or the surrogates they adopt when childless.
If you wish to be read,
write what people think,
do not challenge their ignorance.
By elaborating the general delusions,
you will be honored and rewarded;
by exposing them
you will be shunned to invisibility.
The seekers of enlightenment
are disappeared from the world
by the collective defense of popular delusion,
not by a choice to become meditating hermits.
The world is delusional,
and to live in it is to participate in the collective madness.
This is why the world collapses
and periodically must be wiped away.
It is the cycle that endures,
not the phases of delusion that revolve through it.

You can reach enlightenment, but you cannot transmit it.
You feel compassion for some,
because your heart is still mired in the world,
and in your love for these others
you wish to pass on knowledge.
But that, too, is a delusion.
Only they can find their own enlightenment,
which so very few choose to do.
So, ultimately, to awaken
one must release all emotional entanglements –
whether of pride or love.
You cannot save the world, only live in it,
you cannot save your loved ones, only appreciate them,
you cannot save yourself, only awaken.”

10 July 2002

<><><><><><><>

Ghosts

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>

Ghosts

Ghosts crowd the mind,
living flesh only mirrors images cast by memory —
realities lost to dust —
scattered into wind.
A woman, alive only in fantasies of desire,
an aroma in the mind, gardenias?
How is it I can feel the palpitations
under a receptive embrace
now not even a breath from butterfly wings?
Motionless life fills thought
while lifeless motion crowds vision of the street.
Who are these people?
They appear real but they are castaways
boring through their mutual unconscious
with blaring determination,
their horizons close,
filled with illusions but free of ghosts.

I sit in a eucalyptus grove,
the afternoon sun cascading down tiers of leaves
shimmering to the eddies,
the streaming air shushing
through swaying fronds, against vaulting trunks;
a weaving dance of light and shadow,
the shifting of veils hung from a dome of light.
Spirit brushes along quivering green,
the caress of light warming earth’s uplifted hands,
massaging warmth down eager limbs
drawing the milk of life deep into folds
below the darkness of all birthing,
beneath the gravity we rise from.

Is some of the air you once breathed
now drifting in this stream?
Is some of the force of your life
now rippled by waves of birdsong?
Is some of the heat of your passion
now a whisper of love
absorbed imperceptibly from this day?
Am I as much a ghost as you?
Yes, of course;
this breath is what matters,
this kiss is what matters,
this love is the vessel of life.

I hear the voice of Maria Callas —
la divina
an echo preserved to rekindle sensations of presence,
to relive our own times of transcendence,
to feel life.
And yet, what of hers?,
less than the whisper of sunlight on seafoam,
now as much part of the Aegean wind
as the smile of Helen of Troy.

And, so it must be,
as we loose our last breath
we melt into the earth’s breathing.
Perhaps our bones will imprint future rocks,
perhaps our ashes will trail the last eddy of our body’s heat
like spent candle soot coiling up into darkness.
Is that your memory, a lingering warmth in the darkness?
And now you mingle with so many,
my mind a country of spirits,
new immigrants arriving daily;
a land I can know yet never visit.

Shall I tell you about it?
There is a wonderful bar, top shelf in the well,
jazz trio backing Ella;
all the many Jesus drinking wine, relaxed,
dancing with Mary, Martha, Salome,
the intense political debates resolved.
Down by the river, the poets convene,
and I listen as their word plays
wrap around the fire and lift into velvety night
twinkling unseen with the chirping of crickets.
At dawn we stretch to greet the sun,
naked bodies flushed with warmth, washed of time.
At night in the city
I will hear sopranos and drink white Burgundy,
I will see Don Giovanni and drink Médoc.
The once ambitious wander the streets bewildered —
harmlessly deranged —
there will be no order, only peace.
At the shore, a poet will say of the dawning light
“It is as bright as the love left behind.”
I hear the voice — love is an art.

29 October 2006

<><><><><><><>

A Day with Ella – #822

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>

A Day with Ella – #822

It was a perfect day.
It started with mother waking us both far too early,
and on such a damp chilly morning,
a holiday for us, mother rushed off to work.
As always,
you had to have your way,
so we were in the park while the ducks were still sleeping,
one leg up and bills tucked in back under a wing,
the pond glassy still,
white tufts of down spread over its waxy surface.
The swings were coated in dew
and I used all but one of my pocketed paper napkins
to wipe one dry for you,
and after a minute you were all done.
Swinging through the quiet chill of heavy morning air,
just you and I alone in the entire park –
besides the sleeping ducks –
is not much fun as it was on Saturday,
a balmy sunny day with children laughing and playing everywhere.
You reached for a high bar to swing out on
but the dew-coated metal slipped right through your hand
and you landed on your back in wet sand –
shocked, hurt, angry.
I had to hold you in my arm,
brushing off the sand
as your cry filled the empty quiet over the pond.
I held you that way a long time,
through the park, around the town,
and later back at home.
We spent the whole day together,
never more than an arm’s length apart.
We washed a little,
sampled the aromas of all the herbs and spices –
some things must spill, it’s not important –
and we made a tent,
a big one with three chairs and a quilt,
then we went inside and turned on our flashlights.
It was very funny being in that tent,
quiet too, you hardly heard the rain pattering on the roof.
In the end, you fell asleep on my chest,
while I slumped on the couch,
listening to Mozart piano music
and motets by Thomas Tallis.
As Spem in alium floated into the corners of the room
and your warm heaviness sank into my heart,
misty rain filled the forest on our mountain
and I began to reclaim some of the oceans of sleep that I’ve lost
these last two or so years.
I know it was a perfect day.

21 January 2002

<><><><><><><>

Paradise Rejected

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>

Paradise Rejected.

History, if it continues to exist beyond the mid 21st century, will record the society of the United States of America as the most idiotic that ever existed on the face of the Earth. Having achieved the pinnacle of wealth, physical power, knowledge and technological advancement of any society during the entire course of humanity’s existence, it nevertheless managed to miserably and abysmally fail to use its unparalleled capabilities to ensure lives of physical, economic and medical security for all its people, as well as liberation for them from unnecessary work – and most work today is unnecessary.

Also, the society of the United States of America has failed miserably and abysmally to use its unparalleled capabilities to effectively and unselfishly assist the other 95% of humanity to eliminate poverty, eradicate curable diseases, dampen conflicts and quell wars, and in partnership with that “rest of humanity” to expeditiously raise the standard of living of the least advantaged and most vulnerable of this world’s people.

The incredible stupidity of myopic ultra-capitalist greed, and the obdurate stupidity of the ultra-egotistical, navel-gazing, bigoted, racist, willfully ignorant self-absorption of too many (I think most) of the American people will ultimately spell out the epitaph of what we now call the American Civilization.

It is true that much of humanity outside the United States of America shares these failings, but all of their societies, even in combination, lack the magnitude of capabilities that the United States possesses, and which could be put to authentically good uses.

If archeologists from alien worlds or future Earthly life-forms ever decipher the history of the United States and of humanity from their dead remains, they will no doubt conclude that the extinction of the United States was inevitable and well-deserved on the basis of its behavior. Those archeologists might also conclude the same about humanity as a whole if it had escaped destruction as a result of the American collapse, and yet had not overcome the same failings that doomed American Civilization.

What is most infuriating about all this is that such a sad degeneration and painful extinction need not happen at all. It is entirely in our power right now to think right and act right to literally make an Earthly Paradise of both the United States of America, and even the World.

What I have learned about people is that there is always an infinite reservoir of excuses for insuring inaction, and for continuing with conditions of abject stupidity and unconscionable cruelty.

My Biggest Mistake.

My biggest mistake is to place what turn out to be too high and unrealistic expectations on other people, and then being disappointed when they fail to meet them.

When I try to compensate for this error by assuming the worst about people I don’t know, and interacting as little as possible with others, I am accused of being negative, unsociable, grouchy, and unfair. If I respond to this criticism by being more positive, sociable, not grouchy, and fair, then I find that I fall back into my original and most frustrating error. In an effort to avoid this nauseating oscillation, I try to dampen my enthusiasm (which kills the spirit) and moderate my disgust (which insults intelligence), by being reserved – not extroverted – and saying as little as possible to others, especially when it comes to being truthful about them and their preoccupations.

People believe what they want to believe, and it is nothing but trouble to contradict them. Almost always it is an illusion to think you can help others by contradicting what you know are their mistaken ideas. What is frustrating about keeping your unwanted counsel is watching the everything all around you needlessly degenerate.

Even knowing that you yourself have your own preferred illusions, it remains disheartening to feel you are living as the sole sane individual in an insane asylum – The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari – or the sole hairless speaking ape on the Planet of the Apes.

As I sit here, looking out onto a beautiful scene of glorious early fall sunshine illuminating crystal clear air, and the radiant greenery of forested hillsides, with Stellar Jays squawking as they scavenge for Hummingbird eggs, remnants of fresh cat kills, and other morsels of protein; and of the many Hummingbirds clicking and twittering around my head as they drill through the air and swoop in to lap up the sugar water I put into feeders for them, I think of how slowly the elegant and amoral natural world and its animal life-forms evolves, and of how far these animals are from developing a civilization. And yet, compared to us humans, these animals are incapable of degenerating as precipitously as we have so abundantly shown we are prepared to do.

Bleed Patriotically For America’s Gun Masturbation.

The NRA is lobbying Congress for a state funeral for Stephen Paddock (look him up if you don’t know) as a patriotic ritual of celebrating the 2nd Amendment, which is the Holy Sacrament of the United States of America.

Gun Clutchers are obsessive-compulsive sociopaths whose sacred right to kill must be protected by whatever degree of human and animal sacrifice is required. It is the patriotic duty of all Americans (humans and animals) to accept being personally sacrificed (or have their children and family members sacrificed) to uphold the sacrament of the 2nd Amendment. Don’t cry, instead bleed patriotically for the freedom of American gun masturbation.

<><><><><><><>

The Family Wheel

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>

The Family Wheel

The family is like a wheel: the mother is the hub, the center around which the family revolves, and she is the anchor point for each member, who are the spokes.

Any spoke on its own is like a stick in the road, unable to move and at the whim of whoever passes by to either be picked up and carried along, or kicked aside into the ditch with other discards, or simply ignored to be trampled and to weather, weaken and splinter, eventually being scattered by the wind to disappear unnoticed.

The mother hub is the center into which each spoke is anchored by mother love, giving the entire wheel its strength by opposing and complimenting each others direction of force. And so the wheel can turn and the family progress spoke-by-spoke.

The movement of such a wheel will be bumpy, and its integrity lost if any one spoke fails when the entire weight of the family rests upon it. Preventing this is what the father does. He is the rim of the wheel, absorbing the bumps in the road and dissipating the shocks of the journey into a gentler pressure transferred uniformly around the entire wheel, to smooth the travel and preserve the integrity of the wheel.

Of course, a family is an organism, a living wheel, not an inert assembly like the wheel of an oxcart. So, in time the child spokes will mature and need to go out into the world to become the hubs or rims of their own families. Also, the aged spokes of the family wheel will come to the ends of their lives, fade away, and only remain anchored to their descendant hubs and rims as memories. Eventually the family wheel will be spoke-less, with the father rim freely orbiting the mother hub – revolving in her own thoughts – as the boundary between the external world and the inner space of family memory.

It may even be that a spoke-less family wheel floats apart, as the old mother hub and father rim each drift away into their own personal oblivions. Another wheel of life, its journey ended but its legacy continuing as a new generation of family wheels. Organisms of temporary existence carrying forward and then passing on the weight of the enduring urge for life.

<><><><><><><>

Hallelujah Armageddon

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>

Lumpers versus Splitters:
Incoherent hopes for socialism excluded
by relentless sociopaths driven to punish.

Blind:
A shrinking island of increasing opulence,
to a surrounding ocean of deepening ruin.

U.S. foreign policy is imperialism,
its economic policy is militarism,
its domestic policy is colonialism, and
its management policy is patronism.

American politics is how Money talks to itself.

The glory of American Capitalism:
There is nothing we can’t ignore today
and commercialize tomorrow.
“Nuclear Climate Change War:
How We Became Extinct.”
The greatest TV Series of all time:
Beautiful people unlike you
doing things you can’t afford to,
having thrills you’ll never know,
and getting rewards you’ll never see.
You’ll love it!
And forget your dreary lives for hours!
And buy the crap the commercials push
to keep your illusions alive
of connection to the fantasy.
We want your money, not you:
die broke, and thank you!

American Capitalism is too important
to let human survival get in its way.

The job of American police
is to enforce the race laws.
These are clearly understood
but not written down
to protect the egos of the privileged.
The crimes of all those arrested
are the same: existing.
The punishments vary:
impoverishment,
exclusion,
incarcerated torture,
execution.
The application of punishments is random.
The American Judiciary is paid to
protect the owners from the dispossessed.
The purpose of the High Courts is
to protect Capital from Democracy.
The purpose of the Low Courts is
to protect Property from The Poor.
Justice is incidental.
Am I being unfair?
Get arrested, then tell me.

Okay, now go pay your taxes —
for their government.

<><><><><><><>

Horizon

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>

Horizon

I drank from a hidden fountain:
everything stopped,
sound froze,
cracked, fell to the ground as powder;
light melted,
dripped, clung to the skin like sweat,
sank in.
I breathed in cold darkness
and exhaled puffs of light,
my eyes illuminated everything,
my vision bore through steel,
rocks, smoke;
mirrors evaporated.
I closed my eyes
and saw a brilliant azure sea
caressing a band of dazzling white
stretching away past the edges of sight,
fringing the toes of flower strewn dunes;
the air alive, vibrant, yet light as grace,
and all in a shower of warmth
under the luminous dome of sky.
My eyes opened,
I saw my other cell mates,
“We can get out,” I said,
“You must leave,” they replied,
“Come, let me show you,”
I said, leading them to the great iron door,
it was unlocked, as always.
I opened it, walked out,
calling for them to follow, saying
“We are always free.”

They closed the door behind me,
pushing hard to keep it sealed,
“Go, do not come back, do not speak,”
they screamed without speaking,
“Wolves will eat your flesh,
your bones will lie in the open,”
they cried in fearful anger
and returned to their cells.
I can see them,
each staring at the texture of the bricks
in the walls of their cells,
pining for freedom,
clinging to the certainty of parallel isolation.
And I am cast out, left to die,
wandering the dunes, eating wild strawberries,
watching the flight of birds,
the unfolding of clouds,
listening to the hymn of wind across sand,
the fall of water into the embrace of surf,
sheets of water wiping the face of the beach,
the hissing kiss of foam on wet sand.
Mountains have grown and been ground flat,
washed into the sea –
and still, I am here.

17 April 2002

<><><><><><><>