A Thing: barzeletta

A thing before the eyes, so crystal clear,
a vision any fool could plainly see:
the fate of any government of men
who choose, not to subdue nor comprehend

the reasons why a thing should come to pass,
or be, thing-in-itself, more than a dream,
perhaps just fancy, winged with gossamer
that looks good in parade, but cannot fly.

The thing our focused energies engage,
what matter that it live on undefined?
A drooling child could scarcely fail to see
that wasting time is all it guarantees.

But something, or just nothing? ‘Tis the rub
that rattles conversations on and on;
and wears great minds from sharpness, down to nub,
until such things are worth the thinking on.

The thing, the magic thing! Oh happy day,
when we may glorify it with a name!
‘Tis such a shame it takes so very long
for any thing worth naming to arrive.

16 JAN 2017

Some Sense of Meaning: ballade

The world is what it is, the pundits claim;
and City Hall no pugilists defeat.
No matter where you go, things stay the same;
you either like your bourbon iced, or neat.
A thing is in itself almost complete;
just unifying theory holds it back,
a brave philosophy in which to beat
some sense of meaning when they feel its lack.

The picture is designed to fit the frame;
and even honest men practice deceit.
No matter how its critics might defame,
life runs along, wash, rinse, and then repeat.
As even excess sugar loses sweet,
so kindness turns to malice on the rack;
and gives to those who think best on their feet
some sense of meaning when they feel its lack.

The clever find someone to take the blame:
a scapegoat they will not most likely meet,
some part of their brave psyche soaked in shame –
the heart perhaps – and never miss a beat,
while fools still strive to enter and compete
in one more pointless lap around the track.
Like sheep, they seek for answers, as they bleat,
some sense of meaning when they feel its lack.

The world is what it is, wholly complete;
Each moment marches on, not to come back.
Men write philosophy to give blank sheets
some sense of meaning when they feel its lack.

13 JAN 2017

The Oxymoron of Social Media

Social media: the name implies communication (defined by me as an exchange of ideas only possible between individuals who consider themselves equals) yet most of us seem to use it exclusively to sell ourselves – our products, our services, our ideas. There is neither space (i.e., post limits) or time (i.e., lifespan of the average post) to conduct in-depth meaningful exchange, and the medium itself gives us the illusion but not reality of personal interaction, if only due to its inability to effectively transmit sarcasm, irony, humor, or any other subtlety. It is as a result the drink that temporarily sates, but does not satisfy. If it refills our “social” meter (to use a concept from the SIMS), it does so only vaguely, like a sugar or caffeine high that leaves us more tired and alone than before we indulged.

The media is indeed the message: Keep your thoughts brief, your repartee sharp and lightning fast. Use emoticons to reduce a wide range of human emotions to a small set of easily recognized and irritatingly vague options that transcend the need to maintain (or even develop) language skills at all. Show solidarity by sharing – but not by sharing reasoned, thought-out, and well-spoken dialogue between equals (see “communication”, above), but by changing your screen icons to the same colors.

These all-too-public gatherings are not water cooler conversations (at worst) or coffee shop klatches (at best). They are sound bytes that convince us we’re watching the same movie – and each hearing excerpts of an assumed larger and shared soundtrack to our lives. This assumption gives us “brotherhood” without commitment, “sharing” without sacrifice, “community” without neighbors, “friends” without relationship.

How does that work, exactly?

The Dance: balada

And there upon a hardwood floor
the dancers gather, to once more
repeat the steps and spin around
betwixt mid-air and solid ground,
their minds affixed on meter’s mark,
the breath between time’s light and dark,
a march toward a last release
that once begun can hardly cease.

And how they shimmer as they twirl,
girl clutches boy, boy clutches girl,
each entertaining joy, and fear,
extending now, then drawing near
in measured movements circumscribed
by time, convention, and their tribe.
The consequences? War or peace,
that once begun can hardly cease.

And if the dance should slow or stop,
the dancers, much like spinning tops,
would falter, falling to one side,
let loose their partners, and collide,
and while the gentle music fades
forget to maintain the charade,
the vain illusion and caprice
that once begun dare not to cease.

12 JAN 2017

Morning Breath: awdl gywydd

Through the mist of dawn it slips,
on its lips a whispered sigh
that echoes through the damp air.
Almost not quite there, it flies

between the slow waking trees
whose rough knees, still stiff with night,
begin their conversation, too –
with morning’s blue everywhere.

11 JAN 2017