How Tragic: epistle (rubliw)

Dear Dick:
That’s quite a trick,
to make a story stick,
dipped in pure bullshit two feet thick
and built up solid brick by brick.
Must say it makes me sick,
you egocentric
big prick.

Dear Rich:
I hate to bitch
about your latest pitch:
All lies, some truth, I can’t tell which.
Yes, you have truly found your niche:
you just speak and we twitch;
we are bewitched!
How rich!

Dear Rick:
Look, now, how quick
the carrot on your stick
turns out to be rotten and slick,
and your fawning, backstabbing clique,
who think themselves so suave and slick,
find themselves up the creek,
their charm toxic.
Tragic!

17 MAR 2017

Lines from Our Epitaph: chant royal

’Tis morning, for the cock at dawn has crowed;
and in the bustle of the waking day
each wipes away the sleep and takes their load
from where it slept – and moves along their way.
Some burdens may seem lighter than the rest,
mere trifles, more akin to happiness
than heavy sacks of lead, that like regret
retard our steps to what’s not happened yet,
and on that journey teach us not to laugh.
Each morning thus compels us to forget
when we erased lines from our epitaph.

’Tis midday, for the luncheon horn does blow;
we clamor at our labor’s too brief stay
to gossip cursed luck and need to know,
then guess what waits thru the rest of the day.
In blind and muted prophecy, the jest
of some wild, mad extravagance suggests
of universes far beyond us yet;
eternity, with lies, makes us forget
the vanity of hope, prayer of our past,
the time before this toil, and work, and sweat,
when we erased lines from our epitaph.

’Tis twilight, for the sun is falling low;
we wander aimless home at break of day
and with the last of energy’s brave glow
lay down our burdens to escape the fray.
For some, the pause is the part they love best:
the proof of having passed some trying test.
While others, in the dull and sticky sweat,
self-medicate to soothe plaguing regret
that their grim lives just slip away so fast,
still filled with what were dreams not happened yet
when we erased lines from our epitaph.

And now the sun at last is finally set,
its golden hours replaced by hues of jet
with just a few pale lanterns on the path,
to hint at what had not quite happened yet
when we erased lines from our epitaph.

7 FEB 2017

A Thing Survives: byr a thoddaid

So: can a thing survive a fall,
then lift itself enough to crawl
from where it lands to some safe place, to heal
and hide its bruised, scarred face

until the foe that pushed it down
has doubt it ever was around,
then too late, as the counterstrike arrives,
regrets its choice to leave a thing alive?

26 JAN 2017

1. Don’t Worry About Death

I can honestly say that right now, I don’t worry all that much about dying. I don’t fear what is, or isn’t, to come. I thank my parents, and their introduction to their parents’ religion, but an otherwise free-thinking non-religious upbringing. Although of course soaked in that Protestant idea of work as a holy thing, their point of view was “let them draw their own conclusions” – a logical perspective for an engineer and a biologist. I often felt that the holy trinity of our house, rather than the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, was Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein, and Henry Ford. For some time now, probably first felt instinctively when I was around 10 or 11, but definitely reinforced after taking a hit of acid and then subsequently reading Ram Dass’ Be Here Now in the hours after receiving news of my father’s death in 1993 (at age 28), I’ve believed that we are after all merely energy borrowed that must at some point be returned. I do worry over those I leave behind: how will their needs be met, how will they cope with any grief over my absence, is what I leave behind the best possible representation of what I have been? Of course, others’ happiness and peace of mind is ultimately not my responsibility. There is little I can do, especially after I’m gone, to ensure that those I love continue to seek and find happiness and peace rather than sadness and strife. While I don’t fear death per se, I do fear becoming a burden on anyone in that period preceding my departure. That I would need someone else to tend to my care and feeding, like a pathetic zoo animal, causes me continual worry. Not enough worry, however, to look to my physical care to a greater degree or attempt in any serious way to that deterioration.

There are have been periods in my life where I seriously considered signing out prematurely. Which raises, of course, an interesting question: what does it mean “to die too young”. You expire exactly at the time you expire, not a moment later or sooner. So much of “if only they had lived longer” sentimentality is nothing but greed. We want more art, more sacrifice, more for us, out of the life in question. I rarely see this idea suggesting that the extra time is desired to allow us to give more to the person we miss.

The years 15-18 were especially trying for me. Likewise, a later interval between 22-25 was also difficult. I think part of the problem was, as is often the case, that I really didn’t have anyone’s problems other than my own to occupy my time. In those years I was single and really didn’t have close friends. Isolation, I think, more than any other factor, contributes to depression and hopelessness. Of course on the flip side, I find social immersion with people with whom I find no common ground, no shared interests, equally as oppressive.

But a death wish, or desire to stop living, is NOT the same as boredom, and certainly not temporal hopelessness or that sense of simply being overwhelmed. I think focusing on one’s hopelessness is worrying about your life, not your death. After all, depending on your spiritual bent (and the strength of those convictions), death is either an end, an upgrade, or a detention.

 

The Speed of Now

What use is feeling sorry
for what might have never been,
some chimera of fantasy
that if it had appeared
might easily have torn to shreds
the life it would improve,
inspired to burn too brightly,
leaving nothing in its wake?

What use is sad reflection
on a course you left behind,
now overgrown in disrepair,
its signposts worn away?
The journey down that avenue
might not have led you here,
but who’s to say what’s for the best,
or where footsteps should lead?

What use is reminiscing
on the glory days of yore,
mad hours of strength and courage
when you and the world were young
and did not know of what to come,
of bridges yet to burn
whose light would fade out, in the end,
to soot and bitter ash?

What use is feeling sorry
for what still may come to pass,
imagining the road ahead
determined by those past,
a die cast in some yesterday
that cannot be undone,
a somber, gray formality
that withers into death?

What use in such pretending?
There is no course so set
that it cannot be altered
or made to turn or bend.
Leave off such mad dejection,
if you would live at all.
We travel at the speed of now
or stagnate where we fall.

16 APR 2013

Ground Zero

What conversation would you like rejoined,
pretending that no years have intervened
and that the cares we once thought so immense
still weigh in at their same old magnitude,
when those long idle hours spent in talk
with no intent except to measure time
with Prufrock’s gilded set of coffee spoons,
pretending some profundity in words
that seemed so easy then, rolled off the clock
like AWOL soldiers beyond duty’s fence?

What alternate reality would seem
the right place, now, to take up where we left,
imagining somehow the world had stopped
at just that precise moment when we two
in some ungainly ballet both were cast,
commanding neither balance or much grace,
and fumbled blindly at each other’s steps?
The music for that dance has long since stopped.
An awkward silence echoes from the stage
that swallows whole all kinds of might-have-beens.

What conversation that we never had
(at least, aloud in words, in the same room)
needs finishing at this point in our lives?
There is more water underneath that bridge
than fills the seven oceans of the world.
No, if we speak again, let’s talk as friends
who simply compare mileage and confess
no secrets, or regret for past mistakes;
what participles dangle in the mist
are sentences we’ve both served long enough. 

17 SEP 2009

No point in calling it

No point in calling it a cryin’ shame
Suffering in darkness for want of a flame
New boss or old boss, pretty much the same
Only thing different is a brand new name

No point in wallowing in might have beens
Pretending enemies are long lost friends
One signal receives, and the other sends
The means still leave their mark on how it ends

Float me down river, on to New Orleans
Fix me a plate of dirty rice and beans
What water doesn’t wash away, it cleans
How it works out in the end depends upon the means

27 DEC 2006