Daily Archives: April 28, 2005

My Wheelbarrow is Broken

So much depends
on an audience that resents
a two drink minimum.

So much depends
on people who don’t support
reality TV.

So much depends
on someone who listens
so it’s worth lying.

So much depends
on removing education
as an obstacle to learning.

So much depends
on how much is recycled
versus thrown away.

So much depends
on waiting for someone else
to decide.

So much depends
on not rocking the boat
too much.

So much depends
on using your wheelbarrow
to haul shit to the garden.

28 APR 2005

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Gratitude

Thank you for not giving me
the Powerball numbers from the astral plane;
for postponing that move to the Florida Keys
at least another decade;
for the psoriasis that precluded my career
as a playboy Lothario;
for the hesitation, that lack of killer instinct,
that limited my musical ambitions;
for my overdrawn bank account,
for the grey hair on my head,
for the gumption to quit college,
for the brain cells I’ve lost to self-medication,
for the little things.

Thank for the bathroom walls
rotting into disgusting flakes;
for the vinyl siding hanging down
against the untrimmed rose and jasmine bushes,
for the neighborhood watch that always reports
when my lawn misses a week’s worth of trimming.

Thank you for a self-centered teenage child
with a hand full of gimme, and a mouth full of much obliged
(although, truth be told, not too often with the thank you);
thanks for senior year expenses:
cap and gown
announcements
college applications
senior portraits
prom gowns
car insurance
cell phones

Thanks for all those unwelcome comparisons to other parents,
who obviously have their act together,
and know how to understand and respect
the needs of hypochondriac, selfish shopaholic children
who can’t be bothered to clean their own dishes,
cook their own food,
or even pick up the bath mat after themselves.

Thank you for these extra hundred pounds
that make me much more difficult to lug around
all this gratitude and appreciation.

Thanks for long hours, high standards of living,
neighbors that vote Republican and think they’re doing the right thing,
and will debate me,
like the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Mormons,
that society is to blame.

Thanks for the patriarchy, and for right-wing conservatives
that help me keep in perspective my own radically different value system.
Thanks for the 78% of Americans that call themselves Christians,
but act anything but. It helps me with my own hypocrisies.

Thanks for being there, even when you’re not there.
Thanks for the dawn, and for twilight, and the hours in between.

Thanks for all those payroll deductions that represent money
I’ll owe to the IRS anyway.
Thanks for credit card interest, for installment loans, for insurance premiums.
They help me keep it real.

Thanks especially for those big, flying cockroaches.
Killing them gives me some fleeting sense of power.

Thanks for keeping the sources of my inheritance alive
but not making me resent them for it.

Thanks for nothing. Thanks for everything.

I don’t say it often enough.

28 APR 2005

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Who Says That Poetry Dare Not

Who says that poetry dare not describe,
except in abstract, the signs of the times,
when modern culture abounds with sound bytes
from cinema, like Puzo’s line
that all business is personal,
and we hang with pride by electron pins
our ragged, besmirched angst,
so that a global web of public noses
can share our hampers’ contents:
the tattered, faded t-shirts (now vintage wear)
that in high school twenty years ago
could get us suspended for dress code violations
(I think of the Ramones, the Clash, and Bauhaus,
who sell more accessories now than
they ever dreamed of during their lifetimes).

Who says that poetry must first, before all else,
be small and disheveled, a Pigpen trailing the muck
of his own me-o-centric dust bowl,
or soft and insecure Linus, grasping desperately
to the security of psychosis,
lamenting years of analysis that have left us,
as a people, addicted to neuropathic drugs
and fattened the wallets of countless would-be-Freuds
and their pushermen?

Who says that language must devolve
to suit the temper of the times,
instead of lifting, by the scruff of the neck,
its whining, self-centered congregation
beyond the dry and brittle pews of academia
into direct experience with the Divine?

Who says that poets must wait, patient,
while the world argues and decides their fate?

Who says that poetry dare not touch
upon the sacred? Without tangents
such as these, what good is it? Why, then,
keep on, and on and on, ’til break of dawn
insisting that the pen is mighty?
Wherefore comes that might? From lashing
oneself to the mast of culture’s speeding craft,
so that the Sirens on the rocks
may loose their soft, seductive stream
of sacrilege,
and yet not sway the poet’s course.

24 APR 2005

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The Loss of Art in School

There is no good in writing it,
for no one cares to read;
no point in baking word-filled pies,
there’s no one here to feed.

There is no point in singing it,
for we have all gone deaf;
besides, no one remains who knows
a bass from treble clef.

There is no worth in painting,
for we’re all as good as blind,
and tend to favor style and flair
instead of good design.

There is no use in playing;
Why not sample? Why waste time?
Those who can tell the difference
are but few and quite sublime.

There is no good in writing it,
except to help preserve
a history beyond these times
that poetry deserves.

There is no point in singing it
except to save the voice
so in some future silence
those who wish, will have a choice.

There is no worth in painting,
save to safeguard fading skills
against the simple, quick and cheap.
If you don’t, no one will.

There is no use in playing
except that future museums
will not know about instruments
if all you can do is see them.

28 APR 2005

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