Tag Archives: conversations

The Jam

Don’t ask me what I’m thinking
unless you want to know.
Don’t ask me where I’m headed
if you aren’t prepared to go.
Don’t tell me where I’m headed
if you’ve got no proof it’s so.
Don’t act like your great secret
is enough to stop the show.

Don’t look to me for answers
if you don’t like where I’m at.
Don’t start a conversation
unless you’re prepared to chat.
Don’t ask to come and visit
if you see no welcome mat.
Don’t act as if you know the score
and it won’t come to that.

Don’t ask me how I’m doing
if you don’t truly give a damn.
Don’t tell me where I’m at
until you’ve figured who I am.
Don’t act so smug and confident
if you’re still on the lam.
Don’t wiggle like the jelly
if you’re only just the jam.

4 JUN 2015

Share This:

Somnambulism in the Rain

Conducting one’s life outside the immediacy of meatspace is ALMOST as exhausting as if one had to actually physically travel to conduct conversations with one’s geographically far-flung “friends” in the flesh. I’m so tired of the forced interaction and the need to constantly be entertaining, provocative or at the very least annoying – but once you remove sensation, disruption, shock and awe and the whole Sturm und Drang from virtual reality, all you have left is ennui, disconnection, general malaise and overall pathetic disinterest (both incoming and outgoing). They say, or at least they used to, that to be “interesting” you need to be “interested”. Well, I just can’t dredge up that kind of enthusiasm when I know that the minute I myself border on the every day, average and non-controversial, all those “listeners” out there in that land will with a quick carpel-tunnel click be on to the next car crash, celebrity rehab, political faux pas, Freudian slip or meme misquote. Honestly? Is maintaining a daily conversation with the world necessary or even possible? How urgent do our lives need to be? How important ARE we, anyway?

Share This:

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

Share This:

Conversation with a Mirror

I said, “Before I write another word
and send it, helpless, out into the void,
I’d like to find a topic less absurd
than how the world leaves me only annoyed

when I encounter it each passing day;
it does not woo me as in years now past,
but hawks its wares draped in pale shades of gray
that only serve to say they will not last.”

To which my mirror self made this reply:
“‘Tis not the world that has ceased to inspire,
and let its palette’s spectrum fade and dry.
Who would lay blame to life is a poor liar,

that with a wish to leave their guilt unsung
would find the taste of even sugar sour;
and name the fault not in their wretched tongue,
but cast aspersions on some unnamed power

that in a cruel and senseless show of strength
could hold one tiny soul in such regard
to bother with its quality or length
and make that path alone bitter or hard.”

“Alas,” I then replied, “perhaps you’re right:
that life has lost its savour is my shame;
what effort I could make to end this plight,
I’ve left undone. Excuses? Mine are lame,

and make me out a victim, weak and tired;
they reek of indolence and wasted years,
when I, who was so proud to be inspired,
succumbed instead to ordinary fears.”

‘Twas then that my reflection gave a laugh
and whispered, “To admit that, is a start.
Now, write yourself a different epitaph;
and this time, don’t pretend to be so smart.”

22 MAY 2007

Share This:

Let the Other Fellow Be

I don’t talk politics down at the honky-tonk;
doesn’t seem to make much sense to me:
stirring up a hornet’s nest with some of ol’ Milwaukee’s best
and finding out just where we disagree.

We both want the same things, besides, more or less:
love and understanding with some happiness.
What’s the point of splitting hairs on points of law?
Let’s agree nobody wins, and call this one a draw

This is a free country: we each pay for our own drinks
it doesn’t really matter what the guy next to you thinks
If you don’t like my politics, don’t saddle me with yours
we’ll get along while the beer’s cold and the malt whiskey pours
What’s good about America is folks like you and me
Can put aside our differences and behave civilly
Besides, the hardest part of freedom is, it seems to me,
Being smart enough to let the other fellow be.

I don’t talk religion from a barstool seat;
doesn’t seem appropriate to me:
mixing sin and righteousness like tonic and bad gin
seems to me a recipe for trouble to begin

We both want the same thngs anyway, my friend:
Love and some security for what’s beyond the bend.
What’s the point of arguing on some old books?
Let’s agree nobody’s right, and most of ’em are crooks.

This is a free country: we each pay for our own way
it doesn’t really matter what the guy next to you says
If you don’t like my point of view, don’t saddle me with yours
we’ll get along while the beer’s cold and the malt whiskey pours
What’s good about America is folks like you and me
Can put aside our differences and behave civilly
Besides, the hardest part of freedom is, it seems to me,
Being smart enough to let the other fellow be.

30 DEC 2005

Share This:

The Camel in the Room

Tonight, I answered questions
from a survey-taking girl
who wished to know where I weighed in
on God’s place in the world.
The purpose for the questions
seemed to me a bit unclear;
more fodder for pro-Christian ranting
or control, I fear,
but I took part, and did my best,
although the answers seemed
to only fit such a small range
of my spiritual scene.
She asked after my parents,
and the job I thought they did;
if moral guidance and the Bible
formed me as a kid.
I told her it was by example
that my parents taught;
they did not spell out right and wrong,
and certainly did not
expect that I would blindly follow
their belief or creed,
but rather taught integrity
and finding what you need.
It’s odd – responsibility
seemed not to be a part
of the survey; I guess
that would put horse after the cart.
Instead, did I attend a church,
or pray, or fellowship,
believe that Jesus Christ had sinned?
At that, my kindness slipped,
and I said, how would I know that?
I never met the man;
he lived two thousand years ago.
And if you think you can
believe what’s printed up in books
and sold like blessed snake oil,
there’s not much hope for anyone
escaping evil’s coil.
I strongly disagree that evil
is personified
beyond the selfish, clutching hands
who prey on those outside
the mainstream, where the status quo
dictates that blame be found
in others first, before yourself.
You seek God? Look around
and make the world a better place
by caring for more than
your own private and shallow soul.
Try that on, if you can.

Whose God? Whose Bible?
Whose church service
would you have me grace,
when everyone I meet has
good and evil in their face?

Truth is a pathless land;
it wanders beyond black and white.
To posit otherwise is like
a blind man, in the night
giving directions to a man
who cannot hear a word.
One’s map is forged, the others’ blank;
both seem a bit absurd.

12 JUL 2005

Share This:

Preparation for the journey

What is required of me, that you will listen
and subsequently think on what I’ve said?
No matter how inane a task, my mission
will be to fulfill that desire, instead
of simply guessing what you like to read
then stabbing it out with electron pen,
my want to please forgoing style for speed
and coming up still short, time and again.

The problem is, of course, that just your eyes
or ears, in single sense, are not enough;
if we are to peer through the world’s disguise
together, where the veils are thick and rough,
the whole of your perception must be used.
I know, it is presumptive that I ask.
After all, you likely did not choose
to simply browse, and then be lain this task.

But think on it, before you make reply;
and just imagine what may come of it.
With not much effort more, man learned to fly —
to falter now would mark us hypocrites.
The world in song, and words, and rhyme awaits,
its melody unheard for many years;
let not our time be wasted in debates
or pared away by worry, doubt or fears.

What is required of you? Your mind and heart,
a willingness to try, to fail, to laugh.
Just beyond the horizon’s where we’ll start,
and each day get no closer than by half.
Companions for the journey must decide
before they step one foot upon the trail
if there’s a chance their paths won’t coincide
five miles anon, lest their quest fail.

So let’s be sure we travel the same road:
to find out, if we can, the reasons why,
discovering an underlying code
that fuels the universe. At least, to try
to hear songs long forgotten by mankind,
those melodies connecting us as one.
Such treasures should be worthwhile things to find;
if we agree on that, our quest’s begun.

24 May 2005

Share This: