as he spends the day reading in the air conditioned cool...
that she shakes as she passes...
double-time for the bathroom, passing a new guy. a
a week (and, okay maybe they're not gay.
and the middle-aged woman. a mid-life student
an idiot's guide to happy living
how are you? they say, by way of
great, I say, considering
where I started...
this is part of my philosophy
of getting through the day,
being of good cheer whatever
the temptation to be otherwise
that's my life strategy
assume the worst is past, for even
if it isn't, why ruin a perfect sunny day
with thoughts of dark and stormy skies
this good cheer philosophy, it's an idiot's guide
to happy living, denying the truths of close attention -
but a happy idiot I think I'd rather be
than any of those others,
always so miserably aware
learning to be straight
the poet, taking the form of a bump on a log
& sits some more...
finally listening in on the conversation
of two women at the next table,
talking about men and the foolish women
who let men run their lives, needy women
who allow their life to drain away
waiting for men to say the "L" word...
and yesterday, another bump, another log
sitting next to several men talking about women
and the games you had to play just for a quick feel
and a blow job -
needy women sucking the manly right out or their men...
listening to the two sexes talk among themselves
about the other, wondering how the heck
over-population ever became a problem, thinking
about how seven and eight year old boys & girls
are both sure the other kind has cooties
and how hard biology must have to work
to get us past that point, or, at least how to appear
to have grown past that point
how hard biology must have to work
to keep us straight
a good reason for summer
some I know are offended
by young women in low cut summer blouses
and tight short shorts that flex in passing
churchly folk of the tight-assed contingent,
followers of St. Paul who preached against
any suggestion the sex was anything
but a base animal function,
necessary though it was to propagate
the brotherhood of Christ, The Holy Eunuch,
certainly never to be enjoyed,
and feminists of the more flaming-eyed variety,
sharing more with Paul than they usually
are to admit
and those two,
because of the squirming ugliness of their souls,
despise all beauty,
like the Taliban who destroy all statues of the Buddha...
but that's not me...
I like it -
searching every year for a purpose to summer,
the pleasure of such fresh loveliness around me
at the supermarket is the best reason
I've come up with for the season
Now for something a little different, a couple of verses from the Koran, taken from The Essential Koran, The Heart of Islam, published by Castle Books in 1993.
The verses were selected and translated by Thomas Cleary.
Not a whole lot of difference in these from what I read in my Sunday School classes when I was a kid, except, of course, for the profoundly unchristian affirmation that there is a place in Paradise for any good man or woman, no intercession by any intermediary required.
Anyone, male or female,
who does what is good
and is faithful
will enter the Garden
and will not be oppressed at all.
And who is better in religion
than those who surrender
their being to God
and do good
and follow the way of Abraham,
For God took Abraham
as a friend.
And to God belongs
what is in the heavens
and what is in the earth;
and God encompasses everything.
We have inspired you,
as We inspired Noah
and the prophets after him;
for We inspired Abraham
and Ishmael and Isaac
and Jacob and the tribes
and Jesus and Job
and Jonas and Aaron
and we gave David
the Book of Psalms.
And there were messengers
of Whom we told you before,
and messengers of whom
We have not told you.
And God spoke directly to Moses
There were messengers
who brought glad tidings
and who warned,
so humanity might have no dispute
after the messengers.
And God is most mighty, most wise.
But God witnesses
to having revealed to you
by divine knowledge.
And the angels bear witness,
is enough of a witness.
dreams of wet
the woman with very large feet
orders a latte,
flexes her long red-tipped toes
in her flip-flops and waits
with the lean, rangy body of an athlete,
blond hair with a look of chlorine burn
hangs down her back in a pony tail...
is my guess,
very active in her sport,
maybe professional, the look of a fish
out of water that good swimmers get
when forced to make their way on dry land,
amidst us dirt people
I can tell she is one of those,
dreams of wet whenever
This poem is by Robert Pinsky. It is taken from Poetry journal, February 1973.
Pinsky, poet, literary critic, essayist, and translator, has 19 books and was Poet Laurate of the United States from 1997 to 2000.
When the trains go by
The frozen ground shivers
Inwardly like an anvil.
The sky reaches down
Stiffly into the spaces
Among houses and trees.
A wisp of harsh air snakes
Upward between glove
And cuff, quickening
The sense of life
Elsewhere of things, the things
You touched, maybe, numb
Handle of a rake; stone
Of a peach; soiled
Band-Aid; book, pants
Or shirt that you touched
Once in a store...less
The significant fond junk
Of someone's garage, and less
The cinder out of your eye -
Still extant and floating
In Sweden or a bird's crop -
Than the things that you noticed
Or not, watching from a train
The cold river of things
Going by like the cold
Children who stood by the tracks
Holding, for no reason sticks
Or other things, waiting
For no reason for the train.
thinking about places I liked to go to that have shut down in the past 12 months
I am a creature of routine -
my greatest excitement is when everything works out
so that my routine is not interrupted
I take it as validation
that my path is true and karma-appropriate
like all creatures of routine,
part of my routine has to do with places
where I routinely spend my time
places that lend a sense of peace
and feng shui orientation conducive to writing things
I sometimes cleverly disguise as poems
one unwelcome result of the flow of business and life
over the past 12 months is the lose to me
of places that had become essential to my routine,
places rich with karma and feng shui,
places where legions of trees could fall in the forest
and I would neither hear nor care..
those places gone
and not likely to return
I now ensconce myself at Borders in the morning,
quiet enough most times, other times, like today
overcome with screaming children and mothers
so accustomed to the screams of four-year-olds
that they seem not to hear, as if their children
were screaming in a forest and if they refuse to hear,
no one else would either...
but even on the quiet days
I feel so much older here in the company of old men
who gather each day to curse the Democrats and queers
and others of similar radicalistic bent -
and how I miss the young girls at Ruta Maya
who danced in the morning to the music overhead
as they brought my coffee and pan dulces
and that's why I sit here,
singing polly wolly doodle all day,
thinking about places I use to like to go
that have shut down in the past 12 months
a bad night
a poor night's sleep last night
my brain refusing to stand down,
scrambling instead with the errata of seventy seven years...
unresolved, old rages
still smoldering, lovers dead and dying,
as do they all
foolish preoccupations, like trying to run on ice,
slipping, skidding, getting nowhere,
with questions like
_ why do we say kidnaping?
nanny's nap kids, it's kidnappers who nab them -
just stumbling through the night and my brain trips
over something like that and the whole rest of the nap
or this whole conservative/liberal thing
that has been bugging me for weeks
and now invades my dreams -
how someone can define their being and the being of others
on the basis on some shallow political gospel...
who can ever possibly ever be just one or the other?
I support the death penalty on the liberal basis
that the money being spend every year to keep murderers alive
could be much better used educating children,
keeping them healthy
and even though I see it as morally questionable,
I support abortion rights on the conservative principle
that government should have no claim of control
over the bodies and moral decisions of its citizens,
male or female
and what about this "back and forth" thing? people say?
what rip in the space-time continuum is required before
a person can come back
prior to journeying forth?
or this whole handgun thing?
as a pragmatist I say if people want to carry handguns,
let them, as long as they carry them in the open
where all can see who are the potential murderers among us
and my very first dog when I was a little child...
she slips into my mind for the first time in years
Mitzie, a fat old fox terrier, mother of many litters,
until finally, one day, tired, lying down on her stop
in the corner of the kitchen, closing her eyes...
what's wrong with Mitzie?
I asked my mother
she's dying , mom said, stay quiet
so she can sleep through to her end
all these things just swirling and whirling in my brain
when I would much rather surrender to the night
so that I can sleep, so that Mitzie can find her way
in the stillness
bright silver coin against a cloudless, starless sky,
the clouds held back at the coast,
the stars washed away by Day's lesser Goddess,
radiant in Her temporary dominance
and me, again,
under the light, again like a great white
stranded on a grassy beach...
but not really again,
for the moon is higher tonight, more directly overhead
than last night, aimed to settle in an hour between the trees
not really again,
because there cannot ever be again in a universe
where all move in a collaborative dance of orbits
and forces of push and pull
the moon never travels the same path twice,
and neither does the sun or the Milky Way Galaxy
upon whose stage we totter,
and neither do we, you and I, for whom
each moment lived is a moment of life taken
as we dance in our collaborative, conflicting orbits,
some days we pass, some days we seek other passages,
some days we turn our faces, some days we reach
for a hold as we pass...
but never can we grip for our orbits are our own
and there is never room for more than one in each
it is the physics
of all things,
as we travel, always,
fast and light
can you hear me now?