Go Ask Alice

Do without doing,
make something from nothing;
recycle, repurpose,
revise on and conquer.

Gather resources,
interpret instructions;
imagine assembly
as other-directed.

Practice inclusion,
leave nothing untended;
let symmetry guide you
off-balance at times.

Do, or do not do,
remake while unmaking;
there is no old recipe
for what is baking.

Music and dancing,
bring drums for the solstice;
plug in the instruments,
join a new party.

Practice at something:
being and nothingness.
Wake in the morning;
the coffee is on.

for Alice Guffey Miller

26 JUN 2017

Share This:

You Could Change: tanka

You could change the world
if just given half a chance;
why are you waiting?
It really doesn’t matter
once the moment’s gone away.

You could move mountains
if just sincerely inspired;
what more do you need?
It doesn’t really mean much
to speak loudly but not act.

You could light the way
if these clouds would only clear;
how is that helpful?
When the darkness has dissolved,
no one needs a raging fire.

You could change the world
in an instant, with a word;
why not start speaking?
You might as well say nothing
if no one will ever hear.

11 APR 2013

Share This:

I do not wish to change the world

I do not wish to change the world;
its own design is near enough
some muddled state of constant flux
that nothing I could add or try
would make much difference in the end.

I do not wish to shape or mold
young minds to fit my own intent;
Ye gods! Imagine them grown up
and emulating my life’s work!
Why duplicate such a mistake

I do not wish to change your mind,
or gain your trust or force your hand;
my own revolt at such nonsense
turns my own stomach into knots;
I can imagine your dismay.

I do not wish to change the world.
I cannot even change my mind,
or stay a course for long enough
to make a ripple in a pond;
one moment here, and the next, gone.

11 SEP 2009

Share This:

Difference Song

Just shut your eyes and zip up your lip;
let the illusion of indifference slip

you in a coma of the beautiful life

you pretend.

It doesn’t matter which way you choose.
Your revolution is yesterday’s news,
lost in a column on the bottom right

of page ten.

Here it comes again…

the feeling you should not be feeling,

the knowing right from wrong,
the urge to find the answers,
the make a difference song.

Just keep your mouth shut, don’t say a word.

Don’t let on that you think it’s all absurd, 

a trick of light and mirrors meant

to fool the marks.

It doesn’t matter, those who get paid

are on the right side of the barricade.
The choice is death by drowning,

or life with sharks.

And here it comes again…

the feeling you should not be feeling,

the sense that something’s wrong,
the need to turn the light on,
the make a difference song.

09 JUL 2009

Share This:

If Words Alone Could Change the World

If words alone could change the world
the poets would still reign as kings,
and those who may rely on swords
would spend their time on lesser things.

The lure of verse, both blank and rhymed,
would tempt young minds to greater heights;
to cast aside appearances
and reclaim beauty as their right.

If words alone could change the world,
then love would be the ruling act;
for more has been said on this verb
than said on any other fact.

The search for meaning would consume
that span that runs from birth to death;
and those who would conceal great truths
would waste both time and precious breath.

If words alone could change the world,
each pulpit, podium and stage
would needs be guarded night and day
lest some loose phrase escape its cage

and in an instant, raze to ash
our vain illusions, leaving naught
except the aching poet’s mind
that dreams of texts no longer taught.

19 AUG 2007

Share This:

Crime and Punishment

I would admit a lesser crime
if only it were worth my while;
but in these days when wish makes fact
the simple notoriety
of having lived will sentence me.

There is no justice in the world
when thought alone is quite enough
to stripe a convict without bars,
at least the steel variety,
and clang the door shut on their cage.

What bargain would I strike, besides?
Admit the world is right as rain,
that equal opportunity
exists to knock on every door,
and offers all their dollar’s worth?

What kind of poet would I be,
were that the case? What kind of man,
to live and breathe among such lies?
What shame that such a bold offense
results in nothing but fools’ praise.

I would admit a lesser crime;
but what’s the use? The truth will out,
and I would rather form the noose
from my own actions, my own words,
than feign guilt worth a coward’s mind.

05 AUG 2007

Share This:

Mailing List

Remove me from your mailing list:
that one that keeps me well-informed
of all the wrongs done in the world;
I either should already know
these things, if I would give a damn,
and having lived quite long enough
in search of any kind of truth
could not have helped discovering some.

Because what’s wrong is plain enough;
it needs no leading story type,
no eloquent reformer’s tongue
to wrap its fact in velvet lines.
The simplest fool could vouch for that;
only an educated mind,
that learns pretending as an art
and would deliberately insist,
“There is no wrong”
could fail to see it.

Remove me from your mailing list.
The world is full enough of woe;
to think that learning its extent
will change those who react, is mad.
It’s just a question of degree:
if I accept the little wrongs
that seek me out in my small life,
and would not fight injustice there,
what use is giving me a cause
out in the world to rail against?

Because what’s wrong is plain enough:
and either I already know
the depths to which the evil runs,
by simply being in its path,
or else I am a part of it
that being silent, gives consent,
and profits as it does the things
you would note in your mailing list.

16 JUL 2007

Share This: