Daily Archives: May 19, 2004

An Hour Gone Past Midnight

An hour gone past midnight;
the songbirds try out new trills:
sparrow, robin, mockingbird,
wren, finch and whip-or-whill

all whistle at their favorite tunes
now that the traffic’s pace
has slowed to stopping. The pale moon
reflects in pools of fallen rain

left from the evening storm,
their mirror surfaces broken
by the floating corpses of termites
caught out during their swarm
tonight, seeking wood and water.

Across the street a houselamp shines
against a window’s lattice bars;
and locked inside, these neighbors sit
illuminated by the eerie glow
of a brand new fifty-eight inch god.

That’s a light you can’t hide under a barrel,
I think, then listen to the birds, again.
I like not knowing what tonight’s program is.

Surprise me, oh great universe
with what is yet to be
for the unknown is never worse
than dull monotony
Let loose the new, and strange and wild
I will not be depressed;
No matter how you show yourself
Likely I’ll be impressed.
It’s all been done, the cynics say,
there is no more unique;
but I must strongly disagree
when I hear each day speak.
The words may be the same, it’s true,
strung out in well-known ways,
in sentences and paragraphs
like yesterday’s displays
but each word, if you pay it mind
is different from the rest;
it lives for just a moment,
then it fades in silence, death.
Behind these brief, temporal sounds
an underlying hum
continues on; it shakes the ground
like a low-pounding drum
The heartbeat stays the same,
only the synopation varies —
the flitting words that scat around
seeming so ordinary.

A half hour gone past one o’clock
and all the birds, asleep.
Like me, they’ve done their exercise
and now have jobs to keep.

The locusts and the crickets now
come out, and take their turn;
another unwrit manuscript
I think worthwhile to learn.

19 MAY 2004

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The Element Book of Mystical Verse

Covering the poetic ground, so to speak, from the Vedas through Stevie Smith, this is a book that I picked up on a discount rack at Barnes and Noble about a year ago. Recently, I dug it off the shelf, looking perhaps for something to link myself as a poet to the ages. And I discovered something — modern Poetry tends to the concrete, to examining the trivial as if it were somehow majestic and universally enlightening — which it is, of course — and treating anything that touches on greater themes, on the piercing of the veil, reaching through the “Cloud of Unknowing” as some kind of wishy-washy, meaningless search for existence outside of the existential quagmire that we have created with our technology. Most of the Poetry I read lately from modern sources seems to be like our cultural bias — absolutely materialistic, with little or no spiritual significance to the reader. Most of it deals with our fascination with cynicism, and disregard of something more elemental.

Who has the time, most would ask, to delve into the dark night of the soul? After all, the darkness has been artificially illuminated by night-lights, television sets, street lamps and glow-in-the-dark alarm clocks. We are as a culture surrounded by the white noise of our own busyness. And that, I think, is our greatest tragedy. That regardless of the spiritual path we think we are on, we seek to remedy symptoms not recognizing the cause of our sickness.

When did we, as artists, become so useless? Where are those touchstones upon which the future can be solidly constructed? I realize that EVERY religion, regardless of its temporal might, is always only one generation from extinction. But we insist that the precepts and underpinnings of those religions can be passed from generation to generation with laws, edicts and some kind of controlling mechanism that will direct the energies of youth into suitable pursuits, with the spectre of eternal ostracism as the deterrent to aberration.

There is a sobering lesson to be learned from reading such a treasury of “mystical works”. Mysticism is about absolute personal and individual interaction with something larger than yourself — however you choose to define it. Ultimately, that is freedom and liberty — and perhaps anarchy. But it is absolutely essential to the development of humankind. To their evolution into something more than parrots who regurgitate upon command the experience of someone else and pass it off as their own interpretation of reality.

What we as a culture suffer from is spiritual plagiarism. And rather than fight against it, advising the individual to seek their own truth, based on where their feet are actually on the path, so many of our so-called elders rely upon the convenience of control to shape the world to be. No wonder there is “nothing new under the sun.” It is because we instruct our young to seek within the box that we ourselves are constricted within. So few wonder what is beyond the confines of the cardboard — so that when the natural elements deteriorate the boundaries, there is great shock and concern that the actual SKY can be see through the remaining wisps of corrugation.

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A Strategerie of Diversionism

OK, so don’t ask why but I was at Howard Stern‘s website tonight — some link from an article on the FCC brought me there, I guess. One of the letters to the show was an anti-Bush joke that I thought I’d share with ya’ll:

There’s a teacher in a small Texas town. She asks her class how many of them are Bush fans. Not really knowing what a Bush fan is, but wanting to be liked by the teacher, all the kids raise their hands except one boy–Johnny. The teacher asks Johnny why he has decided to be different. Johnny says, “I’m not a Bush fan.” The teacher says, “Why aren’t you a Bush fan?” Johnny says, “I’m a John F. Kerry fan.” The teacher asks why he’s a Kerry fan. The boy says, “Well, my mom’s a Kerry fan, and my Dad’s a Kerry fan, so I’m a Kerry fan!” The teacher is kind of angry, because this is Texas, so she says, “What if you’re Mom was a moron, and you’re dad was an idiot, what would that make you?” Johnny says, “That would make me a Bush fan.”

Ah, well. You get your humor where you can.

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