Category Archives: choices

I’m not Superman

Teeter and totter,
Mxyzpltk scratches, scribbles.
I reach into a fifth plane
unwind the riddle

I’m not Superman
don’t want to be
earning and angling to be
seen for what I

already see
Satisfied in solving
a puzzle, and proud enough
to cover my own news

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It follows

It follows,
the hollow hope
and knotted rope,
shot from starlight shafts,
a moving tide, air and breath
slips down the beam.

While ship’s width holds,
by the gravity of
its hulking apparition,
light reflecting on the
fog, this silver beard worn
upon a shadow,
the knot loosens.

Under the ring of bell,
the low horn folds the water,
though we exit on solid timber,
it follows
from heads to pillows,
it escapes, smoke from fires
lit deeper and
left untended to roam


Easy Crazy

I will plant myself at the end of my driveway.

Like an old friend, the chatter of a suburban world just past bedtime will hold me in conversation, like it had when I whispered, knowing my kids were dozing just above the garage, two in the same bed, there because the other one was.

My crazy will flutter under the beam of the lamp, dissolve into an old comfort.  This spot, where I pulled my knees up inside my arms, believing that newness in the world was an old letter finally finding its way to my home, will be different.  My crazy will attach itself to the moths and crickets dancing outside of me.

Thoughts will be of a friend whom I will soon visit, and what I will say.  No wisdom to impart, just a punched ticket and a lot of miles. He’s five years behind, and has no idea what the end of a driveway brings.

Thoughts of someone else.  Easy thoughts.

I will watch for shooting stars and feel at ease with my crazy.  The planning, the parting, and simpler things, like smiles and painting and dancing, will come easier here.  Being with me comes easier.  Sleep comes easier.

And I will wait for my crazy to return in a fox’s whine or the hum of the freeway.  I will wrap it up in humid summer air and see it to bed.


It Just Doesn’t Matter

Accepting and striving counterpoised. It all reminds me of Tripper’s speech, in the movie Meatballs…

That’s just the attitude we don’t need. Sure, Mohawk has beaten us twelve years in a row. Sure, they’re terrific athletes. They’ve got the best equipment that money can buy. Hell, every team they’re sending over here has their own personal masseuse, not masseur, masseuse. But it doesn’t matter. Do you know that every Mohawk competitor has an electrocardiogram, blood and urine tests every 48 hours to see if there’s any change in his physical condition? Do you know that they use the most sophisticated training methods from the Soviet Union, East and West Germany, and the newest Olympic power Trinidad-Tobago? But it doesn’t matter. It just doesn’t matter. IT JUST DOESN’T MATTER. I tell you, IT JUST DOESN’T MATTER! IT JUST DOESN’T MATTER! IT JUST DOESN’T MATTER!

And even, and even if we win, if we win, HAH! Even if we win! Even if we play so far over our heads that our noses bleed for a week to ten days. Even if God in Heaven above comes down and points his hand at our side of the field. Even if every man, woman and child held hands together and prayed for us to win, it just wouldn’t matter, because all the really good looking girls would still go out with the guys from Mohawk cause they’ve got all the money! It just doesn’t matter if we win or we lose. IT JUST DOESN’T MATTER!

It doesn’t matter…at least, the thing we were all supposed to want. This is not nihilism, but a rejection of some external definition of winning and losing in favor of some other acceptance. 

Detractors will appear. Critics and well meaning sages may offer unsolicited comment.

Settling? Perhaps. So what? 

I know what does matter to me most of the time, and it is different than it used to be.


Just Right Words

Words. Too many. Where were the words, the right ones, when they were being called back to the yard? Hiding in the treetops or under the foundation walls?

It was quicker to swallow the words that came, but not easier, and assuredly not satisfying. Or empty them out over everything.

They were knives to slice and stab; spoons to dig, overturn, and mix. So much cutlery, clanging.

Except … sometimes.

Sometimes chiming.
Sometimes singing.

Sometimes they were right for a moment when the right words were needed. Unrehearsed, freed expressions finding escape from webs.

In those times, the right words held power to heal, to explore.

And when the words left, so did their power, only much more slowly and a few laps behind.  They now linger at the edges, but as tired memories, lucky and leaden both. The rants, arguments, and rehashings are now reduced to what they always were: mere distractions from what was and is real.

But the words, their potential…oh. And, I have the luxury of keeping the ones I need, dare say, want.

The right words still taste of sweet poetry and play melodies in my ears, occasionally harmonies; these words I deserve to keep dear, even though that is the only choice available.


Celtic Punk

My new kick: Celtic Punk.

More “full” than my childhood punk music, but coursing with the same angst. More than a nod to traditional music and boiling over with modern story. As a consumer of punk rock for over 30 years, I know that the genre’s rivers run much deeper than the extremes of silliness and nihilism that are the sharp outlines of the cartoon. But even this seems different – an older cousin who buys you cigarettes and reads the political editorials, and later, the one whose forearm is wrapped tight around your shoulder while singing pub songs. The rolling lyrics and mandolin are there; the fiddle and the dumpity-dum-a-dum drums as well, all backed by a heavy guitar and voices simultaneously growling, slurring, and singing about the “da devil” and dear “mudder and fadder” over the choruses and breaks. And the pipes, of course.

Hailing from the Isle, Scotland, Boston, Chicago, New York, New Orleans, and even San Francisco, the sounds draw from musical traditions of rebellion, tough living, hope, camaraderie, and lost love. Perfect punk themes. Folk as well.

The Dropkick Murphys, The Pogues, Street Dogs, and Flogging Molly were already on my iPod playlists.  Put Sticky Little Fingers in that mix for a more UK punk vibe. Pandora radio opened me up to the Real McKenzies, Young Dubliners, The Bollox, The Tossers, Blaggards, and two-dozen more.


Comfort

Define achievement and success in terms
so basic, banal, and un-spectacular,
in a grey and beige shelter
of business casual beams and
game night girders,

like daddy-daughter day,
or coaching, or concerts,
or buttered noodles and green beans.

Like replacing a cracked windshield,
upgrading my smart phone,
or dinner with an old coworker.

Or trees, trails, and falling April skies
on a lone Sunday.

Comfort.

Comfort in chasing clients, winning trust,
making decisions for everyone stuck,
consulting with those who won’t speak up,
and the priveledge to
be trusted in the role. 

Comfort in designing a world that can be sustained,
in holding everyone to account,
Me first.

Who has been saved, included?
What questions were answered?
What footprints were layed deep
enough to withstand erosion?

What can be called progress?

Any?

The uncomfortable answer, the one
that is past the guilt of not enough,

or not yet enough, is

Yes.


Multiple Choice

Phantom limb,
or persistent weather,
or mental gravity,
or re-runs?

Selective memory,
or self-delusion,
or cosmetic makeover,
or choice?

Necessary growth,
or attic clearing,
or season turning,
or loss?

Door, window, map?
Risk, reward?
Hourglass?
Dune?
Deluge?


Point on a curve

There is a point you pass and never see it.  When you wake up and don’t react personally if it’s cold, rainy, sweltering, or mild, you’ve passed it. You don what you think you need, prepare for the environment, take your chances and count on your best self, your faith in your own resiliency and skill that those are enough.

When winning and losing still matter, but you stop re-playing the losses and missed opportunities in your mind with a sense of regret, you’ve passed it. The universe isn’t focused on thwarting you – it isn’t even considering you.

General unfairness in the world wears no specific name tag. Unlucky stars have no bearing, and yet your luck and fortune continue to fluctuate. Specific affronts, on the other hand, are drawn in solid contours. Obstacles, just or unjust, reveal themselves for what they are, often opportunities, often needed challenges.  They resist generalities.  They have names.

When the brilliance and vibrancy of the world has increased, but so has the seriousness and gravity, you’ve passed it.  You move with greater purpose and the moments of directionless stasis are more rare, sometimes only present as memories or left-over notions. You shift your concerns from small to large and back again, without losing your grip.

I wouldn’t call it transcendence, though it is akin to the notion.  More like living in true color. You begin seeing the relief in high-definition.

Shy of that point, you may get stuck. The cloud around you is glued to your skin. Time may push you through it, but I believe you have to consciously decide not to carry the cloud with you.

Once you’ve passed that point, you start piloting the curve ahead, plotting it, changing its direction, gliding over its curves, and dodging or barreling through its uneven patches.


Sustainable

Truth is that life is struggle.

Accepting that, dropping the frustration at inconsistency and the search for righteousness, makes way for applying considerable skill and resources to the short view goals and the long term plan.

Each circle emanating from me, from my very self outward to the world I know, gets a part of me today. Today, some events in the greater circles will get special attention. Excitement and organization is building around an idea, my idea.

Today, I’m planting more seeds in one field as I reap the harvest from another.

I am the earth I tend, and it is high time to get back to work.