Monthly Archives: September 2006

Ayn Rand

So you would change the world
and make the roughest edges plain,
extend your level down the field,
widen and pave each lane,

erase what makes a difference
between one soul and the next,
reward in equal measure
with the coin of self-respect,

enforce equality across the board,
no matter what,
regardless of the steps it took
to get each to that spot.

Forget that it’s adversity
that defines who we are,
our flaws as individuals,
the perfect surface marred

that makes a talent marvelous,
a special gift unique,
a voice worth recognizing
in the mob from which it speaks.

The world is not an easy place;
it is not meant to be.
A price is paid for every breath,
for every liberty,

for each kind of convenience,
for the smallest bit of joy,
for every gift you choose to squander
or by luck, employ.

To change the world,
to make it so that each has equal share
when some work harder
than the rest seems blatantly unfair;

that’s like imagining auditions
to find out who’s best
that don’t require participation
or some kind of test.

I wonder how you pick
a winning singer on a show
where everybody thinks they’re great
because someone said so;

despite the fact they have no rhythm,
sense of key or pitch,
and will not listen to advice
but instead only bitch

that those who judge are blind,
or worse, malevolently cruel,
and cannot see that every lump of coal
contains a jewel.

Which isn’t so. Only a few,
that persevere in time,
and overcome the pressure make it
to the finish line.

Would you lay out your hard earned cash
for coal and gem the same?
That’s not the change that this world needs.
It’s already half lame.

19 SEP 2006

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Elizabethtown

Some kinds of closure only come
in story books and movies;
real life rarely turns out quite
so neat and clean:
with one door neatly sliding open
as another firmly shuts;
such coincidence is rare
and far between.

To compress the waiting lifetime
in a moment on the screen,
or a couple hurried pages
seems obscene;
or at least, over optimistic
that the lessons to be learnt
are so obvious
as to be what they seem.

That a random chance encounter
on the escalator down
could result in an epiphany,
is rich;
just more pablum for the masses
who believe in self-help classes
and still fail to understand
that life’s a bitch.

Or that centuries of training
can be quickly overcome,
unspoken prejudice and hatred
swept aside;
just as likely as a fear
of heights or sense of isolation
can be vanquished
by a kiss, or airplane ride.

Some kinds of closure never come
at all, except in bits
and pieces you pick up
each new day:
once you learn your profound losses
are the only thing you own,
and you wouldn’t have it
any other way.

19 SEP 2006

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Outside the Box

The next idea, the one that rocks,
will be born “outside of the box”,
beyond the thinker’s comfort zone,
where daring, they have gone alone
into the dark and scary mists
to reap the untold benefits.

But once they get there, settle in,
I’m sure the process starts again:
the stale taste speech leaves in the mouth,
the sense that the world’s going south,
that notions rise and notions sink
and for true vision, one must think
outside the box that’s larger now;
it seems an endless quest, somehow,
to always walk that extra mile
into the dark, where you now smile
because it’s land you could map blind
by now, at what point do you find
a new idea when your zone
of comfort includes all you’ve known,
and every inch of common ground
has been exhausted and walked ’round?
What good is having visions then,
when everywhere is where you’ve been?

08 SEP 2006

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Time the Devourer

Tradition, will your ancient prison walls,
behind which all are born and most will die,
hold firm against time’s fervent battle cry
that need not force its soldiers in your halls

but deep down in your dungeons simply waits
while you parade its likeness on a throne,
pretending what was muscle is not bone
piled high against your cemetary gates?

For how long can this mad charade go on
before your weak nostalgia does not sate
nor satisfy the hunger of your state?
The flexing of its jaws is no mere yawn,

but warm up for the table. It will dine,
devouring ours and theirs, both mine and thine.

05 SEP 2006

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The Devil’s Daughter

Thinking for some reason of this song I wrote and recorded probably 15 years ago, during my “Elvis Costello” period…

I used to dream with my eyes wide open
I would sing songs for the deaf and paint pictures for the blind.
I spent my life destroying
every good thing I could find.

I fell in love with a bad idea;
I could look in the mirror and tell myself lies.
It was easy to believe
that there was nothing left inside.

Spent my life looking for the Devil’s daughter
and now all I’ve got left is some wine that used to be water

I used to think through my mental blinders
that the worst thing you could do is learn someone’s last name.
I could never be tied down;
just kept shooting the horses when their legs went lame.

I used to think it would all be ending:
we could dance down to the river and sing songs with the king;
but now looks like the castle’s empty
and it ain’t guarding anything.

Spent my life searching for the Devil’s daughter
and now all I’ve got left is some wine that I wish was water.

Yes it’s true. Pride can bring you down;
just look at anyone after they fall.
You may have seen a miracle, but when the deed is done
the water’s gone, the wine is gone;
there’s no much left at all.

I’ve spent my life living with the Devil’s daughter
and now I’m waiting for someone to come
and change this wine back to water.

1988

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