Eclipse: Shakespearean (English) sonnet

There is no time to lose, soothsayers tell us;
Make hay! The sun will shine just for a while,
and once it’s gone, the world will turn to rust,
deprived of motive power, warmth, and style.

All things depend on endless solar power,
that radiating energy that fuels
the moments of our lives, the days and hours,
the actions of both conqueror and fool.

While artificial light may serve its purpose,
there is no life without organic heat
extending far beyond the simple surface
into the core, where being’s heart must beat.

Such darkness none on earth have ever known
like what will come when the sun’s fuse has blown.

1 JUN 2017

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What Good is That: rime royal

What is the Truth, that we spend all our days,
from birth to death, imagining so fair
that we invent, seek to avoid or praise
some vain ideal constructed from thin air,
that as illusion is beyond compare;
it casts religions merely to take form
that neither breathes nor catches fire to warm.

What is the Truth that holds no little lies,
that is just pure just “that” and so and so.
it disappears from view when cut to size,
each grain of sand both yes and no;
the smoke and mirrors added just for show.
Each leaf of truth is part seed of deceit;
the laurel leaf the child of base defeat.

What is the Truth? An absolute so still
it stagnates to allow algae to grow,
and in the rotting flesh of every kill
injects the future’s chance of overflow,
converting into yes each maybe so?
What good is that, some fickle god’s ennui,
to folks just trying to live, like you and me?

2 MAY 2017

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If Privacy is Power

If privacy is power,
then our public-facing selves
are palimpsests of who we are;
and that which we pretend to be
(that hides our truest form)
has more in common with a mist
than blood, muscle or bone.

If privacy is freedom,
then construction of our cells
begins the moment we arrive
and lasts throughout all time.

If privacy is sacred,
then our gods are merely dust;
and our Valhalla in the clouds?
Bankrupt and turned to rust.

If privacy is power,
guard your every waking thought,
and never show just what you know;
your shy, divergent secrets
are what make you worth recall.
There is no greater good that needs
to know it all, right now.

15 DEC 2016

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Single digit blues

I hope that I shall never see
the poor in our democracy
convinced to vote Republican
believing they’ll become the one
percent. I hope, but feel, alas,
that both the elephant and ass
are run by callous millionaires
who each say they’re the ones who care.

I hope before that tragic day
the poor man’s eye scales fall away
and see that God is nowhere in it.
We all lose the very minute
we stop doing our own thinking,
and pretend our Kool-Aid drinking
is the cure for our malaise
and will return the good old days.

I hope that I shall never see
the end to our democracy:
when in the din, all reason’s lost,
and none speak out against the cost
of trusting those with profit shares
from selling guns and signal flares,
who win no matter who will lose
and dance while poor men sing the blues.

30 SEP 2014

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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

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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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Thoughts on the Power of Authority

Today, an online friend sent me the following message, I assume intended to inspire:

“THE POWER OF AUTHORITY: When we speak, we must speak with authority; when we walk, we must walk with authority; when we showcase our talents, we must showcase with authority; when we lead, we must lead with authority; in every aspect of our being, we must exercise authority. Our authority must be inspiring, respectful, and earned. We must contemplate profound ideas and share the profundity with others. We must exercise self-control and -respect. We must take charge of our present and future situations. We have a world to impact.”

For a number of reasons, this seemed to rub me the wrong way. Here’s how I responded to the message:

I respectfully must disagree. Responsibility comes before authority. We must do all these things with responsibility to prove that we are capable of shouldering the authority. One of those responsibilities is to defer to those with greater authority so that they can fulfill their responsibilities.

To be in authority without first having taken responsibility is to be a dictator.

But authority means more than simply to be “in control”. It also infers that we are “in the know” — that we are an authority means that we have devoted significant study to a thing and know it, understand it.

To claim to be an authority without first having studied the subject, is to be pompous (and ultimately a fool).

Even after years of study (and having been considered somewhat of an authority on the subject by myself as well as others), I would exercise more than self-control and self-respect, particularly when deciding which ideas were profound and whether or not any resulting “profundity” needed sharing. First, I think I would exercise self-examination, self-doubt and not a little caution. At the very least, all that I am sure of is that I am an authority on myself. Not on speaking, walking, showcasing, leading. Certainly not on being inspiring. I know about respectful. But who is to judge what measure is used to describe “earning” or “earned”?

There is only a need to take charge if the problem at hand requires the expertise, experience and skill that you possess. For example, if my present situation required the fixing of a faucet, I would call a plumber. But if that plumber needed a poem written, or music at their wedding, I might assume leadership. That’s the beauty of power-with, or egalitarian social structure. Like a circle, there is no head. The point on the line where direction is focused is based on the needs of the circle, not any individual — and the individuals who are most qualified and capable to address the issue at hand are those behind which I, who may be the “leader” at other times”, willingly follow.

We have a world to impact? Who are we to think it is OURS to change?

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