Simple Ways: pantoum

Some say that simple ways are still the best;
as we add complication, things decline.
How we live puts that principle to test:
it’s so subjective, what one thinks is fine.

So, adding complication wreaks decline?
Stop making babies; that’s simple enough.
It’s so subjective, what one thinks is fine;
applying principles yourself – that’s tough.

Stop making babies; but that’s not enough.
End all this mad charade of cheating death.
Applying principles yourself is tough;
it’s work that needs more effort than just breath.

End all this mad charade of cheating death!
The purpose of this life is growing old.
it’s work that needs more effort than just breath;
those simple ways, if possible, are best.

11 APR 2017

Nothing But Us: echo verse

What happens at the point the point
when we get in our lives in our lives
where decisively, we choose we choose
something to believe in to believe in
much greater than ourselves, ourselves,
and with surprise we find, we find
instead of a great something something
out there, giving us a sense of worth, worth
that we waste our lives seeking, seeking:
nothing but us. Us.

03 MAR 2017

 

 

14. See the World, Part 2

A lot of people proudly claim to love the city they live in, or the one they’re originally from. In general, I am not one of those people – and having lived a lot of places across America, I’ve had plenty of opportunities to make that visceral connection. Yes, I’ve appreciated the history, architecture, planning, flora, and fauna of physical places. There is something about the way a place smells, the way its natural element presents themselves both visually and orally, its latitude, altitude and distance from large bodies of water, the way the stars (including the sun) are arrayed at specific geographic locations, that make each village, hamlet, town, city, and metropolis different and unique.

I understand a deep and abiding connection with land. I’m of Swiss, German, and Irish stock. That connection is part of my heritage, part of my cultural consciousness. I recognize this, in part, because when I traveled to Bern Canton in Switzerland, where my paternal grandmother’s family originated, I recognized a landscape I had never before seen, experienced a “homecoming” if you will, a sense of deep understanding when I walked down narrow city streets, crossed Alpine meadows, and stared up at snow-covered Alps. I’ve not really had that experience anywhere else; I’ve not traveled to Strasbourg, Germany, Cork, Ireland, or any other family originating points for comparison. I’ve had other physical memory of places: for example, I was born at William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan. Watching a movie about Jack Kevorkian almost 45 years later, I felt a physical sensation of recognition when they showed scenes at the hospital. I’ve also felt a sense of loss, rather than belonging, when happening by former addresses in Ohio, California, Boston, Memphis, Seattle, and New Orleans.

But that doesn’t seem to me what people feel when they say, for example, that they “love New York”. Maybe it’s a PART of it, sure, but I don’t believe just connection to a physical place is the whole of it. That’s like saying that the physical act of sex is the whole of loving a person.

There are a number of factors that tie us, directly or indirectly, to a place’s physicality. Logistics, convenience, knowing where things are, having the interstate system memorized, understanding and appreciating landmarks necessary for navigation, social interaction, and safety – these are indirect physical attributes of a place. But honestly, I’ve accumulated systems encompassing these factors for most of the places I’ve ever lived. Yeah, some places are better, or easier, or faster, in terms of their layout and features. But usually some part of that set compensates for other parts. It all balances out, in the end.

The rest of what makes a place a place, though, is its people. The actual individual people who live and work in a city. The infrastructure supporting those people – the education, culture, spirituality, politics, diversity, and so on. And that infrastructure affects still another set of indirect factors contributing to love: security, privacy, safety. Those things are indeed derived from a place’s people, not its physical attributes.

I’ve liked and loved a lot of people, wherever I’ve lived. And whether they were natives or transplants to those locations, a lot of what they were was the result of how they grew into or adapted to those locations. Some of those people, if you moved them somewhere else, would not have been so lovable or likable. Others that I didn’t really appreciate where they were, might have become MORE interesting. I’m definitely not sure that if you took everyone I loved across the world and put them all in the same physical location, that they would either get along, thrive, or survive relationship with me.

Have I been different people, in each place I’ve lived? Sometimes, sure. It’s a social necessity to adapt, to conform to certain norms in order to establish each two-way definition of equality required to affect communication between people. Are these mere externals? I’m again not sure. Like when you move where a different language is spoken, you have to learn to think in that language to really absorb it, sometimes the energy of a place, by changing the way you do things (e.g., travel, shop, eat, split indoor v. outdoor time, entertain yourself or others), can change who you are – or at least who you THINK you are.

The point is that where I’m at in my life, right now, what attracts me to a city, a physical place – other than its striking physical beauty, particularly if its a geographical experience I’ve not had before – is less WHAT I can experience there, as much as WHO I experience it with. And the presence or absence of that connection (including the presence or absence of the possibility of connection) is what makes a place alive, to me. To find the right balance, to seek beauty that is alive, and life that I find beautiful: that is the quest, right?

Let the Cold Wind Blow

Let the cold wind blow,
let the weak spots show,
let the gray hair go
’til it’s there no more.

Let the days roll by,
let the hours fly,
let ’em say goodbye
’til it’s you and I.

There’s just no reason
that I can find
to leave a bit of
this life behind.

Let the loose lips slip,
let the hipsters hip,
let the sinking ship
take a long, cool dip.

Let the world roll on,
let the foolish fawn
let both king and pawn
fade until they’re gone.

There’s just no point
that I can see
to let it bother
you and me.

Let the raindrops fall,
let the time just crawl,
let the engine stall
somewhere in the hall.

Let the earth just spin,
let them all back in,
let both thick and thin
come around again.

There’s just no reason
that I can find
to ever have you
off my mind.

15 JAN 2015

A flame in darkness

It does no good to mourn one candle
when its flame goes out;
nor to try to keep it lit
when its wax melts away.

It does no good to sit in darkness
thinking of past light;
nor to imagine some bright place
where bulbs go to retire.

Each source is only one of many;
when one flame expires,
you must tend to the others
if you would have light at all.

The memory of dead lights won’t fade,
if they were truly yours;
they burn somewhere for someone else
if they once burned at all.

But those lights that are left behind
will fade out, if ignored;
if you would truly fight the darkness,
feed what fires remain.

29 APR 2013

Beyond this point: a cautionary verse

Beyond this point, please tread with care:
there are no guard-rails mounted there,
nor safety nets to break your fall.
You might not make it back at all.

The light is poor, the floor is slick;
to navigate is quite a trick.
Until your pupils focus down,
you’ll see neither the sky or ground,

and worse, once your eyes do adjust,
you’ll only look because you must
at crumbling walls and broken paths;
brave adventure’s epitaphs

whose faded script from days long past
is all that names what did not last
on this dark path beyond the gate.
Turn back, now, before it’s too late!

There are no signs, no maps, no guides:
just where you go, no path decides;
you follow, where the darkness leads
without a single guarantee

of coming out the other side
the way you entered, or alive,
at least the way you understand.
So put away your foolish plans.

Beyond this point, we all must go:
if we would seek past what we know
of spring and summer, in the fall,
and for a moment, live at all.

06 DEC 2010

Just Fine

Ain’t got no message I’m trying to get through
Got no agenda, and nothing to prove
Just trying to breathe as the moment goes by
Without pretending I need to know why

Ain’t got nowhere else I’m trying to go
Got no expectations or ultimate goal
Just trying to live without wondering how
Traveling on at the speed of right now

Yesterday’s gone and it’s not coming back
No point in scoring it or keeping track
As for tomorrow, nobody can say
Whether you like it it comes anyway

Ain’t got no slogan or theme song to sing
Got no idea what life’s gonna bring
Just trying to swim without needing the shore
Seems kinda pointless to want any more

Fish gotta swim and a bird’s gotta fly
They waste no time on the wondering why
As for tomorrow, like it or not,
Just hope and illusion, that’s all that it’s got

Ain’t got no method or kind of a plan
Got no time to waste figuring who I am
Just trying to live it one day at a time
Don’t need any answers, I’m doing just fine.

14 NOV 2009