15 AUG 22

What is our conversation now,
in this new world of self
where all our time and energy
just builds a cluttered shelf
for trophies that we give ourselves
and prizes we amass
to demonstrate a sense of worth?
It seems a little crass
to focus our attention in
so tight a frame and sphere,
while worrying our waking hours
that we might disappear
without that click-and-clack applause
from friends who use our name
to sell their own inventions,
in a never-ending game
of who said what and when to whom
and why should someone care.
We all pontificate and cast
our notions on the air,
expecting a contagious wind
to drop them here and there,
in pockets of sunlight and shade
where they will die, or grow;
and give us more to talk about,
or nothing. I don’t know.

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The beginning of something

It’s true in companies as much as in society: evil flourishes when good people do nothing to stop it. That’s particularly true when both building and destroying evil are not absolutely binary, but tend to creep in, their gray shadowy influence working by osmosis rather than immediate absorption. The little things, both positive and negative, slip in unannounced, unnoticed. You can be as mindful as possible, and still the busyness of getting through the day distracts you from the weeds breaking the soil surface that unchecked will choke out your roses.

We all wax philosophic about excellence, quality, continual improvement. Our focus is on managing up, building engagement and momentum, developing leadership traits, and putting our best feet (and attitude) forward. 

But at the same time, regardless of our efforts to be our best selves and organizations, discord sets in. It’s human nature to be suspicious of change, after all, even beneficial evolution – which requires long-term wide angle vision and not myopic self-concern to appreciate, anyway. The lullaby of “we’ve always done it this way” is like a siren’s song that draws many a corporate ship on the rocks. And there are those among us, as Alfred from Batman noted, “who just want to see the world burn.” 

How do you fight against an enemy you can’t see – a particularly passive-aggressive guerrilla fighter who pops out of the jungle when you turn away to sow the seeds of discontent and dissatisfaction? You have to pay attention to the naysayers and Cassandras, if only to get a sense of the weather. And you learn more from mistakes than victories – so you’ve got to lose. As if there were a choice. You don’t get the 10,000 hours of experience required to build expertise by making all your free throws. At the beginning at least you probably miss quite a few. 

But it gets better. So long as you don’t think in terms of “forever,” like “Will I have to do this forever?” You really have to remember the old saw, “This too shall pass.” It may seem like an eternity, but it isn’t. Nothing, you included, good or ill, has unlimited time. Everything else has limits, too. We occupy a finite space that only exists right here, right now. There is only so much each individual can change – directly. But good, like evil, grows by osmosis, by contact. 

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6 FEB 2022

If what is real is unseen by the eye
and what surrounds us each day is a dream;
if striving is just filling time with try
while waiting here to die in vain, it seems

a pointless waste, a useless, crying shame
pretending our investment is worthwhile.
Who cares who wins or loses at this game,
or if the victor chooses skill or guile

with which to gain advantage? In the end,
if all is merely ghosts and make believe,
why bother with imagine and pretend
that we arrive, and killed by time, we leave?

Because. Because the journey is the point.
Enjoy the view; it does not disappoint.

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No Substitute

There is no substitute for it, you know;
it doesn’t grow on trees, or wait,
like opportunity will, for you
to make a stab or take a chance.

Just what it is, is hard to say;
at least, descriptions formed by words
most often tend to miss the mark.
It doesn’t fit well in a box.

It isn’t what you think it is;
besides, it’s not so stuck in time
that mere conveniences apply
or easy labels stay affixed.

There is no substitute for it; and yet,
its absence most won’t even note.
Like air, that seems so commonplace
until it’s missing from your throat.

04 AUG 2020

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Out in the biosphere

Last year about this time I dug into nanowrimo and started writing an autobiographical novel. Sadly after about a week I ran out of time, steam, focus, and purpose, although not necessarily in equal proportions nor in that exact order.

This year I find myself with even less “free” time. Between the 12-hour days driving to and from and working in Shreveport, I’ve got about three hours a day during the week to hang with Sondra, eat, and pet my dogs. Weekends there’s usually at least one gig, shopping, the endless house task list and catching up on sleep – again not ranked in any meaningful way.

So I’m not writing a novel this year. By next month, I may have some more time to at least blog/journal regularly, but there’s certainly no guarantee there.

Thoughts are of course coming fast and furious. I don’t have time to catch them – and catch and release doesn’t really work with ideas, most of the time. I’ve begun to better understand impermanence, however, so their loss affects me less and less. I never really owned them in the first place – and besides, who was it that thought them, anyway? That person is dynamic, and he who waxed philosophical yesterday is as real as any other historical figure.

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Doing Not Doing

What was I doing while others were sleeping?
What did I dream while I seemed wide awake?
Something or Nothing, doubt or believing?
What falls like crumbs when the world starts to shake?

What was it moving while all things were silent?
Who was it whispering there in the dark?
What in the stillness of time felt so violent,
Lighting the slumbering world with a spark?

Who is it wondering, who asks the question?
Who takes a step and declares it a path?
Who testified, and who raises objection?
Who hears the riddle, and who starts to laugh?

What was I doing while others were sleeping?
Was it me dreaming, or was I awake?
There in the silence, a moment of weeping,
Mourning the ripple now lost in the lake.

29 OCT 2018

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The Wider, More Ignorant World

Your words can live forever
cast out in the virtual plane.
They truly are immortal now,
and the internet’s to blame.

No matter your intentions
or the crowd you thought to reach,
your thoughts will be interpreted
and stretched until they reach

the few who you expected,
several more who understand,
a couple dozen converts,
maybe some who’ll take a stand,

and thousands, who although confused
by how you use your terms
will swear your wisdom isn’t fit
for thinking men, but worms.

But that is not the full extent
to which your text will go.
In violent, fiery rhetoric,
some radicals will show

that you are either full of light,
or bullshit, and your words
will serve to fuel the fires of hate,
no matter how absurd.

And nothing you can do or say
will make that flag unfurl,
once you decide to publish for
the wider, more ignorant world.

23 AUG 2017

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