Tag Archives: hypocrisy

To be in Kansas, nevermore

Some things exist beyond belief:
one might say angels, gods and such,
the perfect crime, the honest man,
safe diet pills, clean nuclear bombs;

while others, cynics to be sure,
add divine guidance, royal blood,
a true religion, rightful kings,
some kind of destiny, and fate.

For me, the things most hard to grasp
most others build foundations by;
I wonder how to justify
destroying in religion’s name,

exacting vengeance on a child,
enforcing segregated proms,
and with such blind and hateful rage
to claim your way a path of peace.

Why not let live, and try the same,
and when you click your heels, return
to Kansas, where you might just find
the winged monkeys you wish for.

06 APR 2013

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A Prayer for Kurtis Cummings

Say a prayer for old Kurtis Cummings:
went out in his rowboat and got lost out at sea.
Left his wife and two young children
waiting standing at communion with the Reverend Jerry Lee.

Picked up his old shotgun and his pea coat from the Navy,
walked out by the back door and left his extra key;
left a note for Molly, said “I’ll meet you at the service.
Give my best to Deacon Jones and the Reverend Jerry Lee.”

Kurtis stood out back,
and when he heard that they were leaving,
reached into his pocket for a shell.
No one heard the echo of the shot until that evening,
when the papers found they had a tale to tell:
“Reverend Lee says Kurtis C. is bound for hell.
Widow’s lawyer says it’s probably just as well.”

Say a prayer for old Kurtis Cummings:
went out in his garden and got turned out to seed.
Left his young wife and a thriving business
filling the collection plate for the Reverend Jerry Lee.

Picked up his old hat and the old shotgun from the corner,
slipped out through the back hall and gently closed the screen.
Left a note for Molly, said “I’ll see you when it’s over;
give my love to ma and pa and Reverend Jerry Lee.”

Kurtis slipped out back
and when he heard them at the table,
tossed into the breech another round.
No one felt the echo of the shock until much later,
when the papers printed up what they had found:
“Widow cries as Kurtis C. goes in the ground;
and the Reverend Lee has disappeared from town.”

Say a prayer for old Kurtis Cummings:
went out for a drive and got turned underneath the wheel.
Left his wife and two young children
waiting on their first communion with the Reverend Jerry Lee.

Standing waiting on communion with the Reverend Jerry Lee.

for Kurt Cobain

14 MAY 1994

A Prayer for Kurtis Cummings (demo)

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The Great Unknown

It’s not so much the great unknown
that gives me pause and food for thought.
The universe may hide itself
as it sees fit, and choose to show
what tiny bits my mind can grasp
according to some private plan.
No, what’s out there, the mystery,
is not what keeps me up at night.

What keeps me wondering, late at night,
is that part we regard as known:
the “noble” truths, the pieces, parts,
that over centuries have grown
like sand caught in an oyster’s shell
into some grand and lustrous pearl,
its surface easy on the eye,
its core an irritating grain.

How plainly wrought, self-evident,
appears the thousand year old pearl;
but knowledge doesn’t grow like that.
It starts with sand, that’s clear enough,
but different forces coat the wound;
and their own interests, or designs,
small nudges, bumps, missteps or lies,
change truth’s shape and blur its flaws.

There’s the rub: the hidden flaws.
If what we know, or think is known,
is based on endless, unseen lies
that piled together seem a whole
beyond reproach, what do we know?
How much, in our experience,
is quite that easy to achieve?
What ageless lies do I believe?

It hangs there, like a house of cards;
One dares not touch it, or to breathe.
A single whisper, just one word
could rock to rubble the whole world;
well, what we care to name the world:
the tiny, weak facade we make.
Perhaps that’s why they bind the hands,
and cut the tongue out, at the stake.

09 DEC 2010

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The Good Old Days: a bucolic

I mourn the past, the “good old days”; the world was simpler then;
how much I wish we could return to life like “way back when”.
When everyone was real down home, and said thank you and please;
more decent jobs and pretty girls than Carters’ remedies.

When you just knew your neighbors prayed to your God, in your way;
and good sense thinking never strayed from black or white to gray.
When truth was simple, plain and strong and always on your side;
and young folk never messed with drugs, or acted strange, or snide.

When men were men, and women kept their doubts between themselves;
and cleaned, and cooked, and birthed, and swept, and filled up knick-knack shelves.
When nothing new was ever good, when old ways still survived,
when people acted like they should: feared God and multiplied.

Exactly when were these “good days”? Who conjures up this shit?
How can someone with half a brain believe a word of it?
The times are no less simple now than they have ever been:
the rich keep getting richer, and the poor keep getting thin.

The politicians, country singers and rich preachers say
that “coming home” back to our roots is surely the best way
to save our selves, our world, our souls from falling into sin;
they talk and smile, and all the while they keep raking it in.

22 NOV 2010

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The Backhand Gift: a blessing

What blessing do you seek to earn
from some force named by other men,
who think to teach so all will learn
to reap the future’s might have beens?

What largess do you hope to gain
beseeching shadows for some gift
to ease your path, relieve your pain,
despite your neighbor’s shorter shrift?

What undeserved great benefit
sent from on high should you receive,
in truth, just for the hell of it:
because you say that you believe?

Take thou this blessing, in that case;
that you extort it, give no care.
Move quickly, lest it go to waste
and mix with someone else’s air.

Yea, bless thee, and more, all of thine;
behave as the sole chosen heir
to yours, and here, have some of mine:
look, your wealth is beyond compare!

A blessing on your humble soul,
now buried underneath such stuff;
a life, a house, a chair, a bowl:
how much exactly is enough?

Yea, blessings from that sacred source
your lips name proudly week by week,
like the rich owner of a horse
who loves to hear his own voice speak.

17 NOV 2010

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One Horse Town

Lucky it’s a one-horse town: it cuts down on the horse-shit;
but watch your walk, you’re bound to step in some.
And any fool can tell you there’s no trick to finding trouble;
it comes up on you ugly, mean and dumb.

The world ain’t too much different from one small place to the next;
you get around enough, you learn just what you can expect.
It really doesn’t matter how you think things ought to be;
they’re usually off target, more or less, to some degree.

Lucky it’s a one-horse town. It keeps the sidewalks cleaner;
but folks avoid the middle of the road.
They walk the straight and narrow down their own side of the street
and don’t wander out beyond the status quo.

But it’s not too much different, this place, from all of the rest;
it’s the absence of comparison that makes it seem the best.
It really doesn’t matter what they think, or if they even care;
so long as you sit here, and they stay far off over there.

Lucky it’s a one-horse town, it simplifies the transit:
there’s only one road out to anywhere.
And you don’t have to worry over what to pack for traveling;
you just need shoes, so bring an extra pair.

The grass is not much greener there than it grows right here;
it’s just different fertilizer and new kinds of smoke and mirrors.
You know, it really doesn’t matter where you think you’re gonna go;
different day, the same old horse-shit piling up along the road.

29 NOV 2007

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I Wonder How They Do It

I wonder how they do it:
save their sins for Saturday,
when the sirens at their honky-tonks,
their claws attached to whiskey-rocks
or draft beer cold enough to freeze
a witch’s tit, sing out the same familiar song.

I know they must have plugs of wax
stuffed in their ears, ’cause they don’t listen
to the band, or much to what the sirens say;
their only interest is the way
a pair of too-small jeans is filled
with that forbidden fruit they’ll spend
’til closing time trying to pick.
Then in the pew next to their wives
they’ll squirm and pass the buck,
blaming their weakness.

I wonder how they do it:
how they manage to survive
when every other thing about their lives
is cataloged and sorted out;
the neighbors know what business hours
you ought to keep, and just how long
it takes to make the trip uptown
and back. How is their secret kept?

And of these sirens? What’s their game?
What kind of life do they expect?
They sift among the wild or weak,
and hope these sailors will respect
their song, after the whiskey-rocks
are emptied from their hands
and they are perched outside the trailer door
to watch the low tide back at sea.

SEP 24 2007

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