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Untitled #1

November 3, 2011 1 comment

Watching The New World, the only Terrence Malick film I haven’t seen. Its pretty good but i’ve been way to restless to just watch a movie for a while. At least one on the TV. I got a late start on it, as its 2 hr 15 min but I was still giving a crack at the novel in a month. Got discouraged  with my process. Might not be terminal but it sure ain’t healthy for getting a novel done. Maybe I’ll just have to try to publish a book of abandoned first chapters.

Maybe I’ll just blog. I was blogging every day most of last month and I rather enjoyed it. Managed to create a poetry page, which has allowed me to know for sure what I have up and gives me the chance to put up more stuff. It was fun reading a lot of my stuff too. Only found 2 duplicates.

One noticeable omission was Untitled #1 as I only had the second stanza up and that fairly recently. I wrote it as three separate pieces all in fairly quick succession as well as a handful more in what I remember as a red notebook maybe all in the same day. It was flowing then, I couldn’t contain it. I couldn’t get anyone to listen to it though. No one much wants to hear what a crazy person has to say. Definitely the worst part of a mental illness is how people treat you. fortunately I was protected by boisterous manic self confidence or I might have despaired not to create. I kind of wish I had spent more time writing, it was good stuff and am thankful for what survives. A lot of it I wrote and gave away so there might be more out there.

This one is three I pulled out of the notebook and put in my head when I was trying to sing with Milk Carton. It was a metal kind of song with heavy base and I tried out four as a spoken word piece. The first stanza was the most gothic and a lead in, the second I thought went with it and the third and a lost fourth verse I tried out and ended up keeping the third only as the song came together.

I used it as my first poem in the first poetry slam I was ever in down in Fayette Arkansas when I was visiting my buddy Jay with Rebecca in the fall of 1998. It was a gothic slam as it was near Halloween and I think people just liked it because it wasn’t as cheesy as the ghost and goblin stuff other people were doing. I also did” I don’t go to zoos” which I also need to put up, which scored a 9.7 from the English teacher judge and I ended up winning the slam and getting $25. Context really hit me, from the unlistened to ramblings of a mad man to getting 25 bucks to say it, context is everything.

Untitled #1

Slash, feint, perry

The mind is a weapon

Carving subject from object

Truth from fiction

The rational mind unleashed has become a threat to all life

And yet we still look to it for rescue

Salvation even

From the very problems it has created

Once there were alternatives

Other ways of knowing, of being, of caring

But those days are gone

Mowed down under the scythe of technological advancement

Until only It remains

Silent and gleaming

In the new darkness

Of unasked questions

Because there are no more words.

Spring can be as cold as winter

For the mind without purpose

The heart without love

New life is inevitable

But not your life

Not our lives

Our Acts of Being

Are as meaningful

Or as meaningless

As we allow them to be.

Spring can be as cold as winter

When we refuse to allow

The Life Force to shine out

Brilliantly and forcefully.

And what is to be done

With this world of ours

Seeingly able to absorb all of our passion

Yet rippling the missteps into torrents

The excuses mount steeds of excess

To ride over the backs of the innocent

The holy ones without voice

Watch and listen and learn

Categories: insanity, poetry

i believe i am a pattern

October 30, 2011 Leave a comment

I have been working on a poetry archive on my blog with links to each of the poems I have posted. You should definitely check it out if you’re into that sort of thing. One of the bonuses is it gives me a definitive list of what I’ve got up on the blog. This one I could have sworn I put up as I recall posting different versions as it came together but the the most recent version I came across in the poetry category was incomplete. This one I’m quite proud of as it says what I believe in a pretty tight and succinct way. Hope you like it.

I believe I am a pattern

A pattern of information

Built from millions and millions of simplicities,

Organized through emergence

I arise up from the bottom,

I am many but still I am me.

And I believe I am a pattern

A consciousness construction

Will, sense, imagination, memory

And though I surely rise up from my body

I am much more a story

Told in the hearts of everyone who knows me.

And I believe I am a pattern

A pattern set in motion

In oscillation with the tides

Not just the ocean

But the Universe besides.

In every mind’s eye there is a cup

Its not the one from which I drink

But its close enough

Occam’s Razor cuts simplest is the best

Is my idea of cup unique from the rest?

Or do we all drink

From the same cup

After all?

For I believe I am a pattern

A process not an object

Like pendulums swing together

When they’re on the same wall

My heart beats to the rhythem

Of the One and the All

And I am subsumed in

The One.

And I believe there is a pattern.

Black Iron Prison

October 29, 2011 2 comments

Phillip K. Dick talked about the Black Iron Prison as a descriptor for ever growing systems of control. I like the term and have been working on a piece about it for the last four or five years. Five years after posting this I am putting in the final (for now, I’m still not entirely satisfied with the ending) stanza. I finished it maybe three years ago and reads a little prescient with the election of Trump. I am putting together a chap book tentatively called “Words for Dark Times” and leading with this piece. I finished it on a road trip to Death Valley for Christmas I believe three years ago. That Christmas John thought it was my best yet.

Black Iron Prison

There’s a Black Iron Prison

Casts its shadow across the land

From the tar-sands of the North

To The Wall at the Rio Grande

So show us your papers

Your biometric ID

And remember a time

When you thought you were free.

And power corrupts

As always we have known

And absolute corruption

Is what we have sown

Just as the sun sets in the West

It rises in the East

and Total Control is the Mark of the Beast.

 

And you’ll show The Mark

to buy your bread

And show it when you sell

And without a trace of irony

You’ll call out for your Hell:

“Oh keep us safe from terrorists

Those oh so evil men”

And lock us up in cages

‘Til its safe to go out again.

And watch our every movement

And listen to every call

Analyze the meta-data

Until you know it all

And what Hitler wanted

But could not have

Will have finally come to pass

And we shall be a people

A people…

Made of glass.

Categories: poetry, politics, religeon

Meaningless, Meaningless, all is Meaningless

October 15, 2011 Leave a comment

“The really important kind of freedom involves attention, and awareness, and discipline, and effort, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them, over and over, in myriad petty little unsexy ways, every day…. The only thing that’s capital-T True is that you get to decide how you’re going to try to see it. You get to consciously decide what has meaning and what doesn’t…. The trick is keeping the truth up-front in daily consciousness.” – David Foster Wallace

I wish I was  artsy and I would put it in graphics and maybe it would become a facebook meme. I was looking at Amazon recommendations and kept coming across his name and looked him up on Wikipedia. Probably recommended because I always pre-order anything by Pynchon and I’ve already crushed his oeuvre (a cool word I can’t spell or pronounce).’

I think Wallace nails it here though and makes a couple of important points that I kind of hammer on myself, if you know me. One is that its the little day to day things that are most significant in our lives. The small little courtesies and shared experiences that let people who are struggling a bit know that we are all in this together.

I also think he makes a great point about meaning and how it is a created thing. That I think is one of the fundamental truths. We know meaningful work is one of the few correlations with happiness. Knowing meaning is within your power to create is powerfully empowering. There are things about work or other life situations that have some relationship but there is a lot of freedom in interpretation. Researchers define meaningful work as having three qualities: Autonomy, Mastery, & Purpose. Sometimes a shift in focus can help move things into the meaningful category.

I always use working in a fast food restaurant (another word i can never spell) as my example. Its routinized, of dubious social value, low paying with little autonomy. But when you see someone working there with a developmental disability, pleased as punch to be wiping tables and picking up trays. Proudly in their uniform being out with the people and having a purpose you can see that even McDonalds offers an opportunity for some pretty intense meaning, as long as your bringing it.

I’ve touched on it in verse with a stanza out of “Untitled #1”:

Spring can be as cold as winter

For the mind without purpose

The heart without love

New life is inevitable

But not your life

Not our lives

Our Acts of Being

Are as meaningful

Or as meaningless

As we allow them to be.

Spring can be as cold as winter

When we refuse to allow

The Life Force to shine out

Brilliantly and forcefully

Categories: books, feelings, philosophy, poetry, work

eulogy for my father

September 27, 2011 1 comment

Its coming up on six months ago since Dad passed away. I’ve been missing him as baseball season winds down. He  would have been so happy seeing his Tigers winning the division and playing so strong going into the playoffs. He admitted to me that it was a bigger deal the Tigers winning the World Series then me being born back in 1968. They hadn’t won since 1947 and he had other kids. He denied it when I teased him about it later but I didn’t take offense. There was no competition in his love for baseball, it was welcoming and  I knew it didn’t mean he didn’t love me a lot, he just really loved baseball. Watching it with him taught me some of its nuance. I’m still not really patient enough for baseball but its coming.

I wrote the first half the night that Dad died. It opens very strident and I guess I was mustering gumption to do something different, defy convention. The second I wrote the weekend after and put most of a week into feeling my grief full time. And walking the dog. It was time well spent and Dad had an easy story to tell and I was blessed to be privy to the details.

These words brought me a lot of comfort and I am indeed blessed to have been raised in such away to cultivate them. Dad was really a poet. One of the last things really hit his lyricism, “I’m so tired of holding my eyes closed”. He could be sparse like that, spare I guess is a better word. Well its already a long piece so I shouldn’t put in too much of a prologue, except to say I hope it makes you think and if it brings you comfort I’m glad.

“Eulogy For My Father”

3780 words or so

 

“This above all, to thine own self be true. “ I am not really a minister and I don’t really want to be doing this. I am a grieving son and I want to be sitting next to my brothers and sisters, crying some, laughing some, squeezing an arm in reassurance, an arm across my back in love and support. I want to hear words of beauty and consolation in celebration of a life well lived by someone who knows and loves my Dad and will tell his story with truth, compassion, and respect, in accord with what my dad believed in a way that resonates with what I believe, with what we all believe. That was simply not going to happen. There is a narrow band of belief that dominates most discourse on matters of the spiritual. If you adhere to one of its dominant strains you might not have even noticed, or only noticed the slight difference when you hear someone talk from another dominant strain. But many of us are outside of that, un-believers or simply un-churched. We patiently sit through funerals, weddings and the like and listen to stuff that is irrelevant at best and often frankly offensive. So if I talk about some stuff that church people feel uncomfortable with just hang in there and bear with me, hold on to what is good. Believe it or not, I’m trying to be a uniter not a divider. Take what you need and leave the rest. But for a half hour at least these words are mostly, for the rest of us.

Mr. John Paul Trapp Senior has a story that is long and complicated. It spans generations, a continent, and is in small part outside the bounds of what the masses of men believe perhaps, at least what men say they believe. Funerals are fundamentally an act of the sacred and need touch upon the ineffable, the spiritual wonder of the transition to the next great adventure, or how else are loved ones to be comforted?

John was never comfortable about talking about spiritual things. When asked what he believed I always described his spiritual orientation as backslidden Christian. He believed in that whole thing, sort of, but wanted to do what he wanted to do. Mostly drink beer and smoke cigarettes work hard and raise his kids right. So how does a backslidden Christian raise his children? He exposes them to church, lots of them, if they want. Doesn’t encourage it or discourage it, but makes it clear he is not really into talking about it. He’d heard enough about it already, he would say.  Enough to feel judged, unworthy perhaps; but also defiant, resilient, and able to stand on his own two feet.

About a year ago Dad solemnly informed me that he had become an atheist. What???? An atheist at 73? Who does that? There are no atheists in foxholes the liars say who preach a spirituality of cowardice, of toadyism for rank gain, a theology of threats and bribes.

Dad had been watching the Discovery Channel and had heard about the Big Bang and it seemed a lot more reasonable, he informed me.  And the Big Bang is a beautiful and wondrous way to understand where we all come from. Condensed to a single point, a place with no dimension, only location. Containing all the matter in the universe. And then bam, everything there is flying apart in all directions, hundreds of millions of years pass and the uniform layer of hydrogen has ripples and perturbations and clumps coalesce and begin burning through nuclear fusion and stars are born and grow the heavy elements and die and explode and the star stuff keeps flying apart. Bigger and bigger.

12 billion years pass and dirt and such collects and spins around a midsized yellow sun on the spiral arm of a typical galaxy that we like to call the Milky Way, and so is born the planet Earth.

It is a beautiful story in its stark simplicity, and the lesson it teaches is the truly grand scope of creation. It has all the more power for being factually undeniably true. You can generate testable hypotheses and learn more about its nature, that is how science advances. In all the creation stories of all the peoples the Actual Truth turned out to be far more vast and far more wonderful. For when John declared his independence from the belief in god he was not rejecting the God Who Made the Universe. He was rejecting some weird little cartoon god he had heard about when he was a kid. A god who rejected all that was fun and demanded the humorless life of a drudge. A god who judged and made one feel small and unworthy.

I took John’s atheism as a step in the right direction. A rejection of something that should be rejected. And the universe is a vast and wondrous place. Currently in my day job I am a substance abuse counselor and I wrestle with helping addicts find a source of spiritual support when drugs and alcohol have taken control of their life. It is no accident that a chapter in the AA Big Book is called “We Agnostics”. Recovery is developing a way of life that is so positive, healthy and fulfilling there is no longer any room for nonsense, and so it becomes an exercise in serenity. And so they say: God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

But what of atheists and agnostics, is sobriety denied to them?  Not by any means. I have heard a number of workarounds, Good Orderly Direction (G.O.D.), the program, door knobs and file cabinets, anything to reject the toxic selfishness inherent in addiction.  I, a little from the outside, as a treatment person not a recovery person, humbly propose the Universe. The universe is sufficient for the serenity prayer and has the advantage of being self-evident to all. ‘For I believe the universe exists for I have seen and heard parts of it. I have tasted of the summer fruit and smelled the coming rain; felt the gentle breeze as it rolls across the plain.”

The serenity prayer neatly divides the universe into two categories and gives us advice on how to deal with both. First, there is everything under our control. And what is under our control? Only our own actions and those we meet with bravery. Everything else, literally everything that is not our own actions are outside of our control, and so we meet everything with acceptance. The intersection of bravery and acceptance is where we find wisdom. And the universe is sufficient for the serenity prayer. It will hold the things we must accept, it is sufficient for serenity. It offers peace in a time of loss. You can say it with me if you want to try it on for size. “Universe grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

So does a belief in the Universe as science understands it preclude a belief in God? Absolutely not. 96% of Americans believe in God and that included Einstein and most scientists. The universe doesn’t compete with God as creator but is the fundamental proof of the scope of creation and that its source must be vast and mighty. For this message is not one of atheism or agnosticism for I am fact am a believer, a passionate dedicated believer in the God Who Made the Universe.  This universe, the real one. Personally I believe that like my body has a spirit which animates me the physical universe has a spirit which animates it. But I know what I believe is not what everyone believes and for today I want us all to reach for common ground in which to lift up the spirit of John Trapp in communion and love for remembrance, celebration, and comfort.

For even though he called himself atheist once, Dad told me that Mom was waiting for him. Dad was on a ventilator toward the end and when they took him off and brought him out of sedation, he told me, he had died, and he told me, with assurance, that Mom was waiting for him. I believe him. It is in her character. It is about all I ever saw my mom do. And so it begs the question if Mom was waiting for him where exactly was that? I can honestly say that dad didn’t care and didn’t put much thought into it. I already said he was uncomfortable on matters of the spirit. He was not uncomfortable in contradiction. And neither am I. The truth is too vast the universe too big to not contain many contradictions.  I like to believe in a personal god who cares about me. I like to believe in a universe governed by immutable natural laws that can be known and predicted and depended upon. I like to believe in miracles. I like to believe that Mom and Dad still live still love me and care about me, still speak to me with their wisdom. I know they still live in my heart if nowhere else.

John Trapp was a simple man and when I asked him how he wanted to be remembered it was as a Working Man. He worked hard growing up on an organic farm, though in those days they just called them farms. He was born in the heart of the Great Depression and the war years were lean ones on the home front. But the Trapp family was self-sufficient in a way that now we can scarcely understand. He had to churn the butter, pluck the hens, weed the row crops, feed the animals, there are others here who know these stories better than I so I will leave it at that he worked hard even as a small boy. But he played hard too. Fondly remembered tales of hijinks and adventure, messing around with the dogs, sledding, skating, hunting, how he earned his switchings, his sister Alice and her friends holding him down and kissing him.

But mostly he talked about working. Mowing grass, being the first to get a chain saw and cutting down trees. Hiring out as a farm hand, eventually for his sister Norma and her husband Joe. When the season ended he moved to the kill floor, slaughtering beef, hogs, and veal. It was a short trip from there to being a meat cutter. A dollar an hour until the union came and then he moved up to $2.65 cents an hour. Good money in the 50s and he still played hard. Drinking, dancing, roller skating, shuffle board and pool leagues, convertibles and drag racing; mishaps and near escape. Some reckless driving in Monroe that inexplicably ends with him joining the army. Trained as a mechanic he was stationed in Germany when the Berlin Wall was doing its Berlin Wall thing. There he developed a lifelong love affair with trucks. Most of his army stories though are about baseball or drinking beer. Good local beers with each town its own.

After his time in the service he returned home and to meat cutting, bought himself a brand new 1963 Ford Falcon Convertible, courted and married Frances Eileen Allen. He didn’t care that she had three kids he loved kids and promised to raise them as his own. John still had a little growing up to do but rose to the occasion with his readymade family and tried to be a good father to Bob, Betty and Brenda and three more boys when they came. Dad worked hard and we camped in Lake City in the summers.

Tragedy struck early and hard on this little family when John’s youngest son Dennis drowned in the swimming pool in the backyard. Dad blamed himself as the army had only taught him adult CPR and he later learned it was different for little kids. He drank beer and pitched horseshoes, all four by himself. Eddie Trapp came over and walked with him, no one had anything to say. Dad couldn’t handle family life anymore. He was broken in a way that luckily few of us will ever get to really understand. It was only 7 or 8 years ago that he told me he had finally gotten over Dennis dying. He went on a six month drunk from what I understand I am too young to remember.

He couldn’t stay home and didn’t believe in leaving, John was no coward, so all there was to do was to become a truck driver. He bought a straight truck and started hauling furniture for Beakins Van Lines. He would always point out the parking lot where he learned to drive when we drove through Circle City, as he liked to call it. North America became his home.

He took his first trip and was frightfully lonely. I had the great pleasure of finding and reading some of his letters home to Mom, before moth and rust destroyed, and they were heartfelt and touching. A demonstrative loving side of John I had never seen.  On his second trip he threw me up in the cab with him and we were off to see the country. I was three years old. I would stay up all night to help keep him awake and we would talk about everything. I was his confidant, sounding board, and in many ways the repository of his hopes and fears. What an incredible gift to give to a child, your total attention, sharing from your heart. Showing him the country. I am so incredibly blessed I cannot describe. Having such an enriching early childhood in large part shaped who I am today. I was able to learn that people live all kinds of different ways and you can go to places and see stuff.

Dad was a character on the road. He knew this country comprehensively. Everywhere. He gave his own names to the flowers he saw. He knew the phases of the moon and how the stars change overhead with time and distance. He grew to be wise. He learned to instantly make friends. To make the most of a chance encounter. To be real with people. He stayed true to Fran though she had her doubts as she had seen him flirt, a lot. But he stayed true to her in death as he did in life and as easy and convenient it would have been to find another woman to take care of him. Instead he struggled on alone learning how to take care of himself for the first time in his life.

Hauling furniture was hard work. He would work hard all day and drive all night, running hard after the elusive dollar. But he also learned the culture of the truck driver and prided himself on acting as a Professional Driver. Driving safely and courteously, safeguarding fellow travellers, and caring for shared spaces. Looking for opportunities to do someone a good turn. Flashing in trucks when they passed with his running lights a quick flash of thank you when another truck did the same. He was also a friend to hitchhikers and transients, scooping them up giving them honest work and a chance to see the country, starting many in a career.

He helped many a stranded motorist or someone just down on their luck. Early in his career he was the first on the scene when a truck had smashed into a pick up full of migrant workers. There were bodies all over the road the truck driver who caused the accident was weeping and doing nothing. Dad began pulling bodies off the road, living or dead he could not always tell but he had no assurance traffic would stop and it needed to be done. He was a brave man who acted with honor whatever the cost.

Once after he was done with furniture and hauling freight for BJ McAdams he picked up a hitchhiker in spite of the company rule against it because the kid wasn’t wearing shoes. He drove him somewhere, bought him a meal and gave him some money, and didn’t think much of it. Some months later he was tracked down by a private investigator from a fuel slip. The kid had remembered his handle, Trapper John in those days and John was flown in as a surprise witness in a Perry Mason kind of way and exonerated the kid from a bogus charge of armed robbery. Dad did a lot of heroic shit. Stopped rapes, beat men down for disrespecting women and was pulling out his deer rifle out of his truck when the police gunned down a mass killer in a bar he was drinking in. If the cops had been three minutes later John would have taken care of it himself.

He ended his long career, 37 years and well over five million miles driven without a major accident with Anderson Trucking, ATS. Dad loved Harold Anderson, a war hero, truck driver who parlayed his truck and a granite contract into a billion dollar company. He treated John square. They recognized Dad’s excellence and made him a trainer. As racist and sexist as John could be they tried to give him all the women and black folks because he treated people decent and gave everyone a fair shot.

John hauled freight and ATS specialized in specialty loads. A lot of granite and all kinds of big stuff, mining equipment, giant machines, and cranes. It allowed him to be a piece of history. He hauled in granite for the FDR memorial. He hauled scaffolding for crowd control for presidential inaugurations. He hauled a fair chunk of our industrial capacity to the Mexico border and brought back the things we used to make here. He hauled pieces of the space shuttle. He hauled the Disney Parade and towed the Goofy Car in the parade when it wouldn’t start. At the end of his career he specialized in Wind Mills. Technically difficult blades being 150’ long the rear wheels of the trailer were steered by an escort driver. He also loved being part of something good, something for the future. He drove truck until he was 70 about as old a driver as I have ever seen.

Retirement brought some new challenges but also some new joys. He got a little dog he named Myrtle. He had always called his trucks Bessie and his trailers Myrtle and Myrtle followed him around like a little trailer and was a faithful friend when he suddenly for the first time in his life had time on his hands. She was a little dog a chow mix with a leaky heart valve that left her short winded and easily tired. John could relate he was as well by this time. He struggled to pay the bills on a fixed income and could not work his way out of his spending problem like he always could in the past. I made him a deal, I would buy a house if he would come and live with me and help me with the upkeep.

It was a beautiful arrangement that renewed his sense of meaning to his life. Work, that could be done but didn’t need to be done. Perfect for a working man winding down. As my friend Lisa said in a consolation message: “Mike, I’m so sorry about your dad. I know that he has been a huge part of your life these past few years and you will feel his absence every day. You made such a difference to him during these past few years. I could tell that being part of your bustling, friendly household made him feel connected and loved. You took such good care of him.”

As Dad began to decline he began to lose interest in things. It’s a process I’ve seen over and over as people prepare for death. The Tao Te Ching 16th chapter speaks to this and has been a source of strength and guidance for me since my mom was dying:

Empty your mind of all thoughts.
Let your heart be at peace.
Watch the turmoil of beings,
but contemplate their return.

Each separate being in the universe
returns to the common source.
Returning to the source is serenity.

If you don’t realize the source,
you stumble in confusion and sorrow.
When you realize where you come from,
you naturally become tolerant,
disinterested, amused,
kindhearted as a grandmother,
dignified as a king.
Immersed in the wonder of the Path,
you can deal with whatever life brings you,
and when death comes, you are ready.

If you wonder why we had John cremated it’s because he’d be spinning in his coffin as I have decided to end with a song. John had to abandon music when he married a woman who not only was tone deaf but could only make tone deaf children.  I sing this not only because it is the only song I have written about John but I wrote it when Mom was dying and it speaks to what I believe about these things.

When your wife is dying in the summer time

The ministers go on vacation

The road workers do their excavation

But the truck driver stays at home

Alone with his regrets

He drinks cheap beer and he frets

About his dying wife and his debts

And if he should have stayed on the road so long.

And when your mom is dying in the summer time

The birds still sing in the morning

The red skies give the sailors warning

But the sad boy does not sail on

Alone with his worst fears

He stifles back his tears

He tries to bring his family cheer

As he writes another sad sad song.

And when someone’s dying in the summer time

People still go to the beach

But happiness is so far out of reach

We just all stay home

And we sit alone together

And talk about the weather

And what’s going to happen to Heather

When her grandma dies before too long.

But the birds still sing when we mourn

And with every death new life is born

We’re all just part of the Goddess anyway

So I’ll wipe away my tears

And learn to face my fears

And know there’s a new part of God to hear me pray

I know there’s a new part of God to hear me pray.

I don’t go to zoos

just looked through the poetry archive and i don’t have any of my milk carton songs. on a year game on facebook i realized the best part of 1996 [it was actually a couple of years later, i went mad in 96] was singing in a rock band. it was fun. we were stripped down and simple and i am no musician, tone deaf in fact but we were just having fun. we tried to straight ahead rock music with every song being different. a guitar player played bass and a bass player played guitar and me and the drummer were novices. we played mostly in a basement and pretty much just for friends. we made a great cassette and made 100. i wrote most of the songs or used stuff i’d written. this one started with the chorus i wrote when i went insane as i mentioned in ’96, that’s when i started writing songs and poetry. i wrote the verses on the drive from monroe to toledo for practice.

I don’t go to zoos

to see the animals in their cages

And I don’t go to work

to see the slaves bring home their wages

I know a secret I know the score

I know that money equals time

And they ain’t making any more.

You can’t get ahead

Playing by the rules

Laws are passed

By the ruling class

And only obeyed by fools

So step back and think about it

There’s only just one you

Do you want to go down in the history books

Doing what you do?

So why don’t you turn off the TV set

And go to the woods for a day

You might just be surprised

At what mother nature has to say

She might just tell you

To fuck it all

Give all your money away

Sell your house and car and VCR

And live in a tent by the bay.

I don’t go to zoos

to see the animals in their cages

I don’t go to work

To see the slaves bring home their wages

I know a secret

I know a score

I know that money equals time

And they ain’t making any more.

Categories: friends, poetry, work

“From Here I Go Crazy-Come Down On your…”

David A. Smith friend and poet wrote me a cool poem and sent me the only copy back on 11-21-10. Its been sitting on my coffee table but looks like personal correspondence so no one has been reading it. Thought I would share it here since I am home sick today and feeling restless. Head cold I think, with my scratchy throat turning into a cough and my sinuses starting to ache. I caught it early and have been aggressive with rest and fluids but i have been under a bit of strain for a time so i shouldn’t be surprised. We still largely reap what we sow in this world. I was starting to write i’m putting it in as a prose poem and ignoring the original line structure but looking at it looks significant so i will keep it. Enjoy and thanks Dave.

From Here I Go Crazy – Come Down Off your…

Found you on the floor in an empty apartment

dark it was in there – Could tell you were the

color blue barely in this dream. I asked you what was

wrong as I could tell you were drowning inside.

How you come to be here alone, empty I wondered

aloud, you told me a full apartment in the building turned

on you. Said they’d kill you. But here you were.

they there, closed door; open door here, thankfulness

in my heart. Did’nt question. care, ask how you

escaped; only what happened. The we were in the

mist of manic you state how Jesus has nothing on

you; better than Budda in your non-existent mind

your body of flesh immortal; Mohammad a neo-phyte

who need walk in your shoes, all this as espousing

philosophy

Categories: friends, insanity, poetry

drinking mead and pensive thoughts

August 28, 2010 1 comment

this week it shifted. i have been tired of struggling, of feeling like i can’t do it and i will soldier on nobly until i am ultimately destroyed is not a good plan for life. this week i consciously decided i would be happy and competent and that as far as it depended on me it was all good. only took a couple of days for that thought to invade my feeling world and by midweek life was good.

today was a challenge. painfully busy, whooosh. i am asked to be in three places. i jam all day without cease and fall painfully behind. my good mood is unassailable  is my motto, my watchwords. I hit the wall when i get home. i go upstairs and change my clothes and i can’t push on to garden, get some exercise, play with the dog. i lay in bed and crush my genre fiction. after much travail and uncertainty even against long odds the protagonist is successful.

it is all good, i’m just tired. so much stuff. then i fight on facebook with the anti-mosque people. i am strident and harsh but don’t delete it, soften it or apologize for it for my Muslim friends. For Allah. Brother John read the Koran and when I asked him to sum it up he said “god is great”. what are you gonna do? Me I’m gonna drink the beverage of the gods and write some poetry, plan on going to bed early, and largely letting it go. I’m gonna write a blog post to hide the poem from casual readers. they don’t deserve to know where i’m at tonight like you do faithful reader:

I’m drinking mead and thinking pensive thoughts

Telling a work anecdote that requires so much exposition

I am left more feeling alone.

I’m drinking mead and thinking pensive thoughts

Wondering why poetry demands loneliness

A melancholy thoughtfulness not devoid of energy.

I’m drinking mead and thinking pensive thoughts

Spark shower madness the electrical cry of the cicada

Humming loud like an electric fence then…

The deafening silence of freedom

Oh that I was trapped here

To justify the loneliness

Honey sweet on the lips

Warm in the belly

Something at least

Fit for the gods.

Categories: feelings, friends, poetry, politics

“Village Burner”

With the 4th of July upon us once again I saw a post about Indians and the Revolutionary War. We like to think the war was about freedom and self determination or even taxation but one of the biggest causes were the colonists impatience with the British’s more moderate policies towards Native Americans. The British agreed to close off settlement West of the Appalachians and the Colonists were eager to steal those rich lands. Washington himself was a surveyor and land speculator eager to seize Indian lands for his personal profit. Besides being the cause of the war the ruthlessness of how the Colonist insurgents prosecuted the war against the Native Americans took warfare to a whole new level. Unable to track down the warriors causing us such trouble Washington ordered the villages attacked, the women and children killed and the corn burned. “Village Burner” is my attempt to tell the truth on this awful event in American history.

They didn’t call him the Great White Father

They didn’t call him Dear Old George

They never talked about no cherry tree

To the Mohawk he was a scourge

They called him Village Burner

He invented Total War

To make war on the women and the children

They’d never seen his like before

And Washington was a land speculator

And not just a holder of slaves

He surveyed and sold much Indian land

To many a worthless knave

And long before Adolph Hitler

Came to his Final Solution

Washington sought to rid the land

Of people he considered pollution

And they called him Village Burner

We must not forget his sin

To make war on innocent civilians

I hope we never see his like again

Categories: history, poetry

“Letter to a Sunday School Teacher”

July 2, 2010 2 comments

I thought I remembered posting this one. I wrote it after going church with a friend, but the story sort of tells itself:

Hey Teacher, Hey Teacher

I went to your class and I heard

What could have been the Holy Word

You know beauty, truth, and love

And Heaven up above

And Jesus and forgiveness of sin.

Well we had some of that

And you didn’t even pass the hat

And we talked and prayed in beauty truth and love

But on more than one occasion

You said of the gay persuasion

The Church is way too tolerant of Them.

Well I didn’t even know there was a Them

Because I thought there was an Us

You know every single human being

And the call goes out to all

And its the same Spirit that falls

Upon every heart that turns to God in prayer.

And I’ve been to a church in San Francisco

And another across the Bay

Where the congregation was less straight then gay

And the same Spirit filled the hall

That it does when I pray with you all

Surely God does love Her children all the same

And I call it a new circumcision

When you say you know with precision

Just how God does view every right and wrong

For if a law was good enough

Surely Jesus wouldn’t have it so rough

To make salvation a free gift for all.

And like meat sacrificed to idols

Lo, all is permissible

If its done with love to the glory of God

And Everyone who knows to do good

And does it not, that is sin

Love and only love is the highest law

And Everyone who loves is a child of God

That’s how God’s love is perfected

Love and only love is the highest law

And by their fruits we shall know them

And yet we must never judge

Love and only love is the highest law

In case you missed it,

Love and only love is the highest law.

Categories: poetry, religeon