Tag Archives: self-determinism

Baby Elephant, Walk!

When we are young, they begin to fit and clothe us in raiments for battle: the helmet of self-esteem; the breastplate of self-confidence; the shield of self-assurance; the sword of self-righteousness – before we understand the “self”, when what self we possess, if any at all, is like a baby elephant whose trainers fit its infant leg with a band of iron fixed to a chain and slender stake too strong for a young beast to pull from the ground.

As we grow old and that first armor rusts they clothe us in uniforms for endless toil: the cap of self-doubt; the coat of self-interest; the boots of self-loathing; the jewels of self-pity – and although our self has outgrown its plate and mail cage, like the elephant, tethered from childhood by that same narrow band and slender stake, who at their full grown prime could with a simple, small gesture easily pull their leg free from any bond, we quietly wait, and do the master’s bidding, not believing, not imagining, not even trying to escape.

09 JAN 2017

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What You Do Not Seek

Assuming you don’t write your own,
whose poetry assumes your voice
and would, with no small arrogance,
usurp the words that form your world?

Assuming that you do not play,
whose music fills your waiting ears
and would displace the silence there
with its own song and not your own?

Assuming that you do not dance,
whose rhythm would inform your bones
and chart your course across the stage,
its curtain drawn upon your birth?

Assuming that you’d dedicate
your years to some creative spark
should it make obvious itself
and fill with purpose your short life,

what makes you think it cares to wait
while you stand silent in the wings,
content to sing another’s song,
wasting your breath on other’s words,

or learning some odd stranger’s dance?
What good is that to a small spark
that seeks a kindling dried and gnarled,
not soaked through with another’s sweat.

Assuming you are not your own,
whose god have you imagined yours,
that will appear somehow at length
to give you what you do not seek?

27 NOV 2006

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Inappropriate Happiness

Maybe sanity’s a side-effect of living;
some folks get it, while some others never do.
It’s just a minor irritation that can do no lasting harm;
you can shake it like a slight touch of the flu.

Besides, in a world that’s gone a little crazy,
it’s not mark of great success to learn to fit;
and to have it all together isn’t much of an achievement
when all you’re taught from birth is how to live with it.

Being well adjusted isn’t everything, you know
Keep your medications up there on the shelf
The price of high is sometimes you must be a little low
Who cares what is inappropriate for anybody else?
Make your happiness by just being yourself.

Maybe happiness is never inappropriate,
It just breaks apart the stretches in between
When reality goes on and on and never seems to quit
its insistence that we should know what it means.

Besides, in a world that’s gone a little crazy
It’s a marvel we have happiness at all
We all act so damned surprised when it sneaks up in disguise
like a parachute that interrupts free fall

Being well adjusted isn’t everything, you know
Keep your medications up there on the shelf
The price of high is sometimes you must be a little low
Who cares what is inappropriate for anybody else?
Make your happiness by just being yourself.

31 OCT 2006

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What’s the Point?

What’s the point? I want to ask
the Mormons on their bikes,
who leave their own nice neighborhoods
to share the view they like
that they are sure contains the answers
to what’s wrong with us,
and don’t mind spending hours
on the front porch. We discuss
the book they’re peddling, free of charge,
the origins of man,
how God moves in an unseen way,
while we do what we can.

Their exposition on their faith
leaves me, at length, unmoved;
while my opinion on the universe
remains unproved,
at least, to them, because my book
has either not been writ,
or none have yet to take a look,
or maybe, it’s bullshit.

My entire life has been like that:
I understand their plight;
despite my great attempts to speak out
where I think I’m right,
the bottom line is no one listens;
no one gives a damn;
the world wants nothing of the truth,
and who I think I am
to people out there, on the streets,
is of no great concern.
They’d neither light a fire to warm me,
nor piss so I’ll not burn.

So in the end, who gives a f**k
about some grand design,
about nirvana or great bliss,
my neighborhood’s, or mine?
F**k new ideas, f**k advance,
f**k thinking for yourself;
f**k listening to the cosmic dance,
f**k those books on your shelves.
F**k gurus, mantra, holy books,
f**k pilgrimmage and prayer,
f**k hours of meditation,
f**k all gods who aren’t there.

F**k cities, f**k the small towns, too;
f**k hypocrites and saints;
f**k those who swear there’s something else,
f**k those who say there ain’t.

F**k friends who never call,
and those who won’t leave you alone;
f**k every last iconoclast,
f**k every single clone,
f**k me, and then go f**k yourself
and when you’re finished there
f**k those too f**ked to give a damn
and f**k those left who care.

‘Cause what’s the point? You live,
you die — that’s it this time around?
A sack of meat that keeps a pulse?
That doesn’t seem profound
enough to build religions on,
or claim some higher cause;
why bother with psychiatry
to correct minor flaws
when the whole purpose seems to be
just feed and breed and die,
and in between kill off those
who don’t like your reason why.

F**k war. F**k peace.
F**k those who think
that either one can fix
a world where children are shot down
by raving lunatics.
F**k newscasts, f**k those on-the-scene
reports that never say
each one of us played some small part
in how we got this way.
F**k schools, if all they try to teach
is how to get along,
the best fraternity to join,
or how to load a bong.
F**k infancy, f**k youth,
and you can f**k the middle aged,
who somehow act as if they’ve turned
to some important page
of life, and yet prize youth and beauty;
as if they’re still there,
despite the fat around their waists
and gray now in their hair.
F**k getting old and being old,
used up and of no use
except to buy up scooter chairs
and suck down carrot juice.

F**k Democrats, Republicans
and anyone who spouts
it’s not their fault the world is f**ked
or they’ve got a way out.

‘Cause what’s the point, I ask
because I’d really like to know;
I’d like to teach the world to sing
and tell it what I know
Not because “it’s my duty,
for the Bible tells me so,”
but because it seems so pointless
to just live, and go,
without affecting anyone,
or causing them to think
about the reasons that we’re here,
and why in this small blink
that is human existence,
why we bother to believe,
and when no one will listen
why the thinking man must grieve.

08 OCT 2006

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The Spell Kit

Why bother to meditate,
chanting some mantra for years,
servant to some potentate
guru’s smoke and mirrors?

You’re right to hesitate;
what proof describes an answer
a fool could appreciate?
Only a clever dancer

could be seen no hypocrit.
Your path is no one else’s;
who else would have traveled it?
You must build your own spell kit.

01 AUG 2006

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Doing Nothing

Got up before seven, fed the dog and combed my hair,
put a pot of coffee on to brew;
spent no time deliberating what clothes I would wear:
some jeans and an old t-shirt ought to do.
Stood out on the back porch smoking my first cigarette,
watching as the sun began to shine
on grass that needs a mowing, still all glistening and wet.
A simple life? Maybe. I like it fine.

I was never quite expected to
be the one deemed “most likely to”
discover the great secret of our age;
so disappointment’s never come
(well, truth be told, perhaps just some)
and I’ve never been trapped inside that cage.

There’s always somebody smarter,
who’ll work a bit harder;
someone who’ll want it more than you, somewhere;
there’ll be someone who’s louder,
who seems a bit prouder
of where they are on some great corporate stair.
You can spend all your moments
in great angst and torment,
and call what you end with sublime;
but if you can’t just leave it,
you’d better believe it:
you’ve done nothing but waste your time.

Freshened up my coffee, scratched my head and wrote these lines;
it took me about six minutes to do.
went back out to the deck, took a moment to reflect,
the sun’s heat like intoxicating brew.
Watched the birds and smelled the flowers; it seemed like endless hours,
but it wasn’t even a ten-minute span.
And the world? It kept on spinning, turning losing into winning;
like it turned what I once was to what I am.

I was never the one chosen to
be “first among the great ones who
would change the world for better or for worse”;
so it comes as no surprise at all
like summer leading on to fall
that a blessing’s just the flipside of a curse.

There’s always somebody smarter,
who’ll work a bit harder;
someone who’ll want it more than you, somewhere;
there’ll be someone who’s louder,
who seems a bit prouder
of where they are on some great corporate stair.
You can spend all your moments
in great angst and torment,
and call what you end with sublime;
but if you can’t just leave it,
you’d better believe it:
you’ve done nothing but waste your time.

21 JUN 2006

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Play the Game

At some point, it doesn’t matter
if your bank account gets fatter
or you end up with the most expensive toys,
always playing at high roller
with illusions of control or
desperate attempts at mirrors, smoke and noise.

Despite all your wealth and power,
you won’t get another hour more
because you bought your way into the park.
Once the lights go down, it’s finished;
both the stage and crowd diminish,
and we each go home alone and in the dark.

And still we play the game,
thinking that we know the score,
thinking we can beat the odds,
thinking we deserve much more.
Doesn’t matter, win or lose:
they’re really pretty much the same.
What’s important is the way
We each decide to play the game.

Yes, the spotlight’s glare is fleeting;
in the center ring, competing
for a prize that fades before you make it home,
fighting for a piece of nothing
’cause it’s better sometimes bluffing
than to face it and remain a great unknown

but the time doesn’t go quicker,
despite some expensive liquor
or the company of fast and fancy friends;
the same minutes turn to hours,
like seeds slowly sprout to flowers
and then die and just the same begin again.

And still we play the game,
thinking that we know the score,
thinking we can beat the odds,
thinking we deserve much more.
Doesn’t matter, win or lose:
they’re really pretty much the same.
What’s important is the way
We each decide to play the game.

06 NOV 2006

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