Uncle Charlie fell ill with a dyspeptic violence

In 1858, Charles Darwin corresponded with a budding young naturalist and adventurer named Alfred Russel Wallace.  Although Darwin was famous for his journey aboard the HMS Beagle, he had yet to publish his ever lengthening treatise on evolution.  Wallace, unaware of the extent of Darwin’s views, solicited Darwin’s assistance on his own evolutionary theory, which was remarkably similar in depth and detail.  Concerned that Wallace might preempt him, Darwin’s closest confidants arranged for a joint presentation of their theories before the Linnaean Society.

The brief poem that follows reflects my interpretation of that moment.

		Leading is a lonely life.
		Exudation and upheaval,
		before the type is set.

But first--and fierce--
the prize of pride,
do so many tumble for her.
	
	Then the meta-moment:
	owning up to self,
	but that pride is found
	alone in upheaval.

The songs, the songs.

Humans singing odes of joy,
taking ownership of this life.

Where are these persons?
And, where, this life?
The great minds hoping for the great feats.
Not knowing, perhaps, that hoping is willing,
willing but not ascertaining;
bending into shape to conform with desire.

The songs, the songs!  The songs we sing to ourselves.
The great echoes of desire.
Cease these songs for but a spell,
and hear the sounds of life lived.

the power of a park bench, pt 1

 

Question friends: have you ever seen a living wonder?  Who?  Where? When?

Among the many men of middling
ability and even disposition, she
found success relating to extremes.
White world, black woman –
     A truth, and not.

When twice the effort would yield
an infinite bounty, twice the effort
is all that will do.

On and on such tales go, till the moment
perched upon a park bench beyond
where any but the self may roam.
When in extremis slid past action and
tallied with emotion.  

She quaked mightily at her person,
slap-boxing stimuli rooted deep and long 
and feeling lonely 
like suffering set-adrift.

Strange times these,
with their demands.
Strange and lovely woman this, 
so apt and adept
hovering over the shadow of doubt.

 

Stand up and be counted

Take a look at the world around you
and start to add up the absurdities.
Before long you might find yourself
like the Indian King, the victim of 
an inescapable exponential progression.

Absurdities are not all.  There are 
people and places and individual 
circumstances that combine to form a
hefty dinner dressing.  The feast of
large numbers of which every person
is a part in some manner or other. 

Dissect and diagram your life according
to the irrevocable power of these
numbers and see them as the harbinger 
of the only permanence you will ever
know.  You are a part of them now,
the glowing figs of the existence tree,
and part of them you shall remain.

Beyond birth and life and the countless
tears and breaths, mistakes, 
misunderstandings and triumphs, hearts
captured and minds repelled.  None that
mean nothing, save for the permanence
that comes with being among the 
counted; that results from being among
the being.

Somehow this being is the being of "why,"
so often puzzling and scorned.  The being
of how, where, when, who and what. 

As to why? Because counted you were.  
And how? In the manner of the moment.  
Where? With those counted alike.
When? In your time.
Who? You -- among the rest.

What?  Counted is all.

And so it goes with our love

A reflection of the many relationships I see around me and a constant reminder of what to  avoid.

Happiness is the distance
that forms
between partners
who are parents
who were lovers
once before.

Peace is the division
of lives
once bound by oath
and a promise
of the will to thrive.

Faces of friends
who had love
and loss 
and lose now
only that love.

The sadness of 
acceptance
and the fate of a
bond broken
forevermore.

A view to private interest

I worry now about rule with a "view to private interest,"
and I do so while I hear the call of greatness and declarations
regarding primacy of place.

I am not a country, but a man.  
Am a working man, a human of this present
with a desire to exist peacefully and fluidly.
My primacy of place is fixed by my love of self, 
not the screeching of banshees propping themselves
upon the backs of others.

But the great spirit that protects me is vulnerable.
Hijackers, proponents of a collective disintegration, 
work their voodoo on the frazzled, hoping to string
us along together.

They feed on the sores of the body ideologic, 
drawing strength from the bubbling excretion
of the wilted body
as if imbibing a sacred elixir.

Come on Wednesday

Wednesdays are like come-ons.
Tempting while I blush
and engulfing me in the spirit of madness.
     The good spirit (sans spirits),
     a phantom release of pleasure.

Free from the escape,
unencumbered by the echo
of days just passed.

Wednesdays are to me an image
ripe and pure.
The vixens of the mid-week 
impelling my vocabulary,
nay, my gravity!
Altering the force of my axis and 
wielding me with naïve joy.

How sensitive and sarcastic of me to fight
an unearthly invitation.
Like the first cynic, 
shall I lie with the dogs?

Or open free and wide the lung space
I'm apportioned 
and open,
VASTLY OPEN, 
those breathing apparatus;
while owning the best of myself
on the best of my days?

A question to be sure,
but one of obvious resolve.

Like man, like state

Of the simple knave ask: education?
     They respond - but slight.

In such inadequacy, a force both restless and intemperate.
So we must probe the enduring dilemma --
     Wisdom as reflection
     or,
     an endless aspiration?

To know and name human effort and watch it crumble,
stifled beneath the myth and mirror of self-aggrandizement. 

In the fields,
each one a voice!
And beyond?
Nothing.

Behold reality as reflection: like man, like state.

Mid-May musing

The irony of human suffering along the sliding scale:
you are forced ever outward by centrifugal forces.
The clarity and peace of the origin
an irreducibly tiny part of your once effervescent nature.

Breath now, the musty air of time everlasting.
Taste the staleness of the fragile identity.
And in awareness of yourselves, may you find the
peace denied as you press ever outward.

In Bloom

For critics everywhere.

The false folk lament amid the din of their resounding trumpet.
leaving you sticky and stuck fast on the critical causeway.
Steamrolling giants for sport,
and sporting sessions prizing deconstruction of psychic pathways.

"I'm an arm-chair philosopher,"
and I am armed in a chair with pen and meaning,
letting fly all the stories of my heart.

I use you foil and foe, USE YOU, as you use me and mine.

Fuzzy glow

He liked to flatter himself in the light,
bathing it in like the redeemer,
unaware of how ridiculous he was
'cause all redemption is muddled in a fuzzy glow.

He beat proud there when she rolled through,
parasol in hand.
She, hidden from him no matter how he might
think to call the moment.

And they, all of them, want some too.
Each to their own, but in the mix
with whosoever is percolating.