Religious labels always confound me
I've been a Baptist, a Buddhist and a Jain
flirted with AA and Scientology
Christian Science and The Latter Day Saints
I say hi to Allah now and then call Krishna on the telephone
I've witnessed Jehovah, been confused by Confucius
Dabbled in Crowley and LSD
Catholics are grand in their ritual
The Greeks have elegant Orthodoxy
I was an atheist for awhile, I couldn't believe it
and all the Wiccans go witchy on me.
but I must say a prayer and be realistic
I have to call myself a
I Knew a Woman --Theodore Roethke I knew a woman, lovely in her bones, When small birds sighed, she would sigh back at them; Ah, when she moved, she moved more ways than one: The shapes a bright container can contain! Of her choice virtues only gods should speak, Or English poets who grew up on Greek (I'd have them sing in chorus, cheek to cheek).
How well her wishes went! She stroked my chin, She taught me Turn, and Counter-turn, and Stand; She taught me Touch, that undulant white skin; I nibbled meekly from her proffered hand; She was the sickle; I, poor I, the rake, Coming behind her for her pretty sake (But what prodigious mowing we did make).
Love likes a gander, and adores a goose: Her full lips pursed, the errant note to seize; She played it quick, she played it light and loose; My eyes, they dazzled at her flowing knees; Her several parts could keep a pure repose, Or one hip quiver with a mobile nose (She moved in circles, and those circles moved).
Let seed be grass, and grass turn into hay: I'm martyr to a motion not my own; What's freedom for? To know eternity. I swear she cast a shadow white as stone. But who would count eternity in days? These old bones live to learn her wanton ways: (I measure time by how a body sways).
Unrequited love is the most difficult thing for me to handle. Nothing is as painful than to love someone and see that they don't share the emotion. I can handle scorn or opposition or derision or competition, but loving and not being loved is a hard and bitter dish.
But you can't blame the other one. They only feel what they feel. So, you must blame yourself. "I wasn't good enough." "I didn't do enough." "I did too much." "I wasn't smart or pretty or rich enough." etc, etc.
There are whole genres of music and literature devoted to this subject. Some say it is the only legitimate subject for poetry--unrequited love.
The commerce of love is just as baffling as any economics. Is it about giving? Is it about trading? Is it about stealing? Who knows? If love is like economics, it's all of the above and anybody's guess.
It's a plant not watered, a pet unfed.
If we are to progress beyond our teenage years
we have to learn that love is a matter of acceptance, not demand.
Poets are prone to fall in love with love rather than actual people. The actual always disappoints the ideal. I guess that's what makes poets.
George Bush and The Dalai Lama --Odd Couple for release 09-16-07 Washington DC
When I learned that the Dalai Lama was going to meet with President Bush I had to pause and rub my temples. It's not that I feared what the meeting would do to China-US relations, I just wondered: What could these two men possibly have to talk about? If ever I could be a fly on the wall and listen to the conversation going on in a room it would be this one.
OK, my imagination is running wild. Maybe it would go something like this:
Secretary: Mr. President, The Dalai Lama.
Bush: Pleased to meetcha Mr. Lama. Can I call you Dolly?
DL: Yes, Mr. President you can call me anything you wish, a blade of grass, a breath of wind.
Bush: Well, you can call me George or just W or ....hehe....Mr. Decider. Since we are both spiritual leaders I figger we ought to be on familiar terms.
DL: I agree, Mr. President. You can call me Spike. Sting is already taken.
Bush: Ok Spike. I wanna talk a little about...you know... enlightenment. Few years ago I was talkin' to Billy Graham. You know the reverend?
DL: Yes, we correspond.
Bush: Well, he turned my life around. I was in Kinnebunkport one summer and I was about to snort this big line of cocaine off of the bathroom counter when Dr. Graham came in to use the potty. His coat brushed the line of cocaine down the sink. And from that moment, Spike, I was a new man. Reborn. I knew I was to be the leader of the free world and to establish a new order of democracy and good ole Southern Christianity and capitalist freedom all over the world.
DL: Billy never told me that story. However, I am glad that you experienced a moment of enlightenment. The problem with enlightenment is that you can also be mis-enlighted.
Bush: Boy, tell me about it. The CIA said that Saddam was up to his neck in yellow cake and that he was gonna sneak terrorists disguised as dope smugglers into our country and that Al Queada was taking jacuzzis with his harem. What was I to think? I had to invade. So, we had to cook the enlightenment a little bit. 'Weapons of Mass Destruction' had such a mantric ring to it. It became our chant. It was strong as the OM, Spike.
DL: Mr. President, can we talk about the occupation of my country by the Chinese?
Bush: Well, Spike, my CIA, which I like to call my Cosmic Inlightenment Agency, has told me that your country is occupied by the Chinese because of the lead. Let's face it, Tibet is just a bunch of mountains and snow. But the Chinese are using the lead in them thar hills to spike our Barbie dolls so that the next generation of Americans will all be lead poisoned retards. I know what this feels like. When I was a boy in West Texas I used to chew on my GI Joe.
DL: Yes, I had a statue of the Buddha to which I was very attached. It was made of hashish and opium. You have a great responsibility, Mr. President. I pray that you carry it out with faith and wisdom.
Bush: Yesh, I think I have faith and wishdom. I watch Joel Osteen on TV every Sunday, and Dr. Phil. My faith centers me. I always know the right thing to do. That's why they call me The Decider....heheh.....
DL: Enlightenment can be a simple as opening one's eyes.
Bush: Exactly, Spike. We should open our eyes to every telephone conversation and every e-mail and every text message. I have a whole agency for this called the NSA.
DL: I can't afford agencies, Mr. President. I am a government in exile.
Bush: Well don't feel lonely, Spike, I'm about to join you.
And that's the news from The Poet's Fly.
Day after day, Alone on the hill, The man with the foolish grin is keeping perfectly still, But nobody wants to know him, They can see that he's just a fool,
And nobody seems to like him They can tell what he wants to do. And he never shows his feelings, But the fool on the hill Sees the sun going down, And the eyes in his head, See the world spinning 'round. ---Beatles
it's 3:30 in the morning and Lightning Rod stares at a blank page
the bed is too cold to occupy
so I must ply my occupation, the blank page
death is a dream compared to poetry
at least it's quiet
just as 3:30 should be
but not tonight, which is really this morning
even the roaches are asleep
lucifer's nightmare is only in the second reel
his Ambien pill isn't working any better than my libido
and it's not the speedos that are cramping my style
It's past closing time but I'm drinking anyway
3:30, just me and the blank page. Set 'em up Joe.
I'm staring into white purity. There's nobody in the place but just you and me.
vagabond desert emptiness. One for my baby.
a promised dawn in the lingering night. And one more for the road.
Every lost love and dashed dream smeared
on the whiteness of that page intact as a virgin
my version of the Mona Lisa would make
Leonardo blush red as blood on a page, a blank page
the page of my occupation.
the dawn is narrow in the Eastern time zone
it's my job to be awake to answer the phone
but the ringing is only in my ears
it's three-thirty, I've lost count of the beers
they told me that poetry was for geeks and for queers
but what they didn't tell me about was the fucking blank page
and you can imagine my rage when the truth started sinking in
at 3:30 in the morning Eastern time staring at a Siberian bed
I know it's all in my head
that was 3:30 in the morning
and now it's well past four
I don't know whether
to jump out the window
or walk out the door
just to escape this page and the coming dawn
with raspy stains of anemic blood
semen clear as a lens
the salt of sweat and tobacco stains
transparent as the ice in my bed
nothing on the page, the empty page
the page of my occupation.
for a while I was her boy toy
she bought me off the shelf
until she got tired of my music and my jokes
and decided to join the circus
it's the classic manic-depressive
compulsive shopping syndrome
she sees something shiny and takes it home
then decides it doesn't fit the decor
or was it made in China out of cardboard?
it's not love anymore, it's just furniture
So she wants to join the circus
she's got her eye on the strongman
because the lion tamer is gay
she thinks there must be a better way
I always join the circus when life becomes a bore
it's the only sensible solution
you find one trick and do it to perfection
anything to amaze and delight
something never done before
I don't know what her previous occupation was
something to do with being admired but never touched
so now she wants to join the circus
or anything to get away from the furniture that she bought
and her aging body and her dreams unfulfilled
house repairs are tedious. Leave the house.
Join the circus.
I recommend it.
In the circus you must live the show
you eat and sleep your act
you practice your craft all day long
when you are not hoisting tent or shoveling elephant shit,
you are juggling torches and walking the wire
while learning to live in a community of odd-balls
and geeks and dwarves and clowns
and practicing and practicing and practicing
that's the circus life
She was born to be a contortionist
a dancer of angle and stretch
flexible as convenience
she should join the circus
I'm the daring young man on the flying trapeze
I work without a net and never say please,
only thank you and come back tomorrow
it's the greatest show on earth
The trouble with running away to join the circus
is that no matter where you run to, there you are
and when you get to the circus you will discover
that you have to work on your act every day, every minute
just like you do in the life you are trying to escape
Do it with alacrity. You are in the circus now.
Dancing With the Stars--The Presidential Debates for release 10-23-07 Washington DC by Lightning Rod
I would like to tell you that The Poet's Eye hasn't been commenting on the ongoing and interminable presidential debates because I am 'above the fray.' But that wouldn't be true. I have suspended comment on this subject because it's such a crashing bore.
Dancing with the Stars is much better reality TV than watching the presidential debates where a dozen suits stand behind podiums to answer inane questions and deliver what they hope will turn into sound bites. It's pathetic, really, that our political process has been reduced to this.
The Lincoln-Douglas debates held in 1858 were the prototype of public political debates in this country.
Contrasted to the Lincoln-Douglas debate, the cable news version of a political debate is almost laughable. No, it IS laughable. In our modern debates, each contender has a few minutes at most to present not only him/her self, but also to present their political ideas.
In the Lincoln-Douglas debates, this was the format: one candidate spoke for an hour, then the other candidate spoke for an hour and a half, and then the first candidate was allowed a half hour rejoinder. The candidates alternated speaking first. People brought picnic lunches to listen to these debates. It was an all day affair to listen to a potential leader expressing his ideas. But we live in the age of sound bites, not sound ideas.
Last election I proposed that the American Idol model would be a better way to handle our elections. It would neutralize all of that hanging chad and voting machine fraud nonsense. Let the people vote by text message as many times as they are willing to pay. Eliminate one candidate per week.
But I think that the Dancing With the Stars model would be much more apropos to this election. We have progressed culturally and politically in four years. The reality shows are better. The political Special Forces units like Swift Boat and MoveOn have gotten more sophisticated. It's a different world in politics and reality TV.
The concept of Dancing With the Stars is brilliant. We should write it into the Constitution. You pair one professional dancer (like someone who actually knows what they are doing) with a billionaire or an aging actress or a country singer or a model who is already famous or rich. Why hasn't the tired world of politics snapped to this politically provocative format?
The Poet's Eye can just see it now. First you get an inconsequential but bombastic host like Tucker Carlson or Glenn Beck. Then you pair the famous faces with the real political pros like lobbyists and call girls and Karl Rove.
I can see Karl Rove dancing cheek to cheek with John McCain, or Heidi Fleiss doing a Rhumba with Mike Huckabee. We're talking real entertainment here, folks.
Of course Hilliary already has her partner who is such a pro that he can talk his way out of an Oval Office blow job and still be standing in line behind Al Gore for a Nobel Prize. Now, that's dancing!
Can we picture Ann Coulter doing the Tango with Fred Thompson? How about Arianna Huffington cutting the rug with Mitt Romney? Oprah hip-hopping with Obama? I'll bet Valerie Plame could make Jonathan Edwards look good. How much more entertaining would that be than the stiffs behind lecterns that we are having to endure?
If the ordeal of these debates and the subsequent primaries followed by the (yawn) conventions, is to go on for months, it might as well be entertaining. I say, 'Let's Dance.'
You can dance around the issues, give 'em the old song and dance or do the chicken dance. You can do the square dance or the party line dance. But it's all a dance.
The Poet's Eye envisions guest performances. Like one by Sen. Craig and Alberto Gonzales. It's a tap dance. Or you could call it an entrapment dance. The set consists of two toilet stalls. They do the old soft shoe tapping each other under the stall to the tune of Tea For Two. The finale is two toilets flushing and the handcuffs snapping on.
If the political processes which address the real questions that we face in our lives, such as peace and healthcare and survival are to be melded with the world of entertainment, then let's do it right. Let's Dance!
I want my arms about you That (those) charm(s) about you Will carry me through... (right up) to heaven, I'm in heaven And my heart beats so that I can hardly speak And I seem to find the happiness I seek When we're out together dancing, out together dancing (swinging) Out together dancing cheek to cheek --Ella Fitzgerald version
They'll bury me with a ballpoint in my stony heart. Like a lanky old literary racehorse fletched out from being doped and ridden like a carnal investment. Spread those cheeks, ole thang, and show me the pink. Crack your scuzzy canines on my ball bearings. It's a race for everything you've got. This planet is like a proud woman raped. I feel her pain and her forbearance. I'll do my sentence from capital to period. If I was Barabas making bond I'd praise Jesus and baptize the multitudes with my slinky wand. My prose is a rose with scarlet barbs. Damn my body for the miracle it is. I was hopeful as a young hippie but that's before we knew the windows were down and the cancer had spread. Do you have Mormons crawling like lice over your family tree? It's a service you'll pay for with your Levis stretched tight as the genome. We live in a world of spy-planes and missionaries shot out of the sky for drug smugglers, inches from an Inquisition. It's hard enough to follow the rules without having to make them too. If Christ and Torquemada were alive today who would have fans and who would have disciples? If I'm getting punchy it's from pulling too many g's often as I've looped the loop. They tossed 22 slugs at my wedding but you can bet I don't have rice in my Uzi.
Universal Soldier--Blackwater for release 10-26-07 Washington DC by Lightning Rod
On Sept. 14, 2001, The Poet's Eye observed that as terrible as the spectacular acts of vandalism which had occurred several days before were, they were to be a minor disaster compared to what we were about to experience in the aftermath. It wasn't 'the terrorists' that I was worried about, I didn't fear an invasion by wild eyed Muslim fanatics. I feared what the arrogant nut-jobs who had already seized control of our government were about to do to our rights and freedoms and our fortunes using the fears generated by the events of 9-11. The real enemies to freedom and liberty and democracy were already on our shores.
My advice that day to anyone who had enough money to invest, was to buy stock in private security companies. At the time I envisioned a growth industry in patting down our own citizens while they were being held prisoners in airports. As usual, my expectations were exceeded.
There are now about 30,000 armed security contractors in Iraq. They are hired by numerous shadowy companies. The most prominent of these companies, Blackwater, DynCorp and Triple Canopy, were started and are run by former US military men. But these companies hire mercenaries from all over the world.
Mercenaries can be defined in many ways, but for the purposes of this discussion, the definition of a mercenary is someone who is serving in a military force whose allegiance is not based on nationalism or politics or ideology, but on money.
It's not as if mercenaries are a new thing. Mercenaries have participated in almost every war and conflict in recorded history. We've just given them a fancy Newspeak corporate sounding name now. We call them Private Security Contractors.
Ain't free enterprise great? You can hire a bunch of ex- Navy Seals and Green Berets, pay them ten times what Uncle Sam did, and with just one little invasion score a billion dollar contract to do the same things that any grunt marine can do and should be doing not for pay but for patriotism.
On the high seas, a mercenary is called a privateer. Governments used to issue what were called 'letters of marque' to sea captains. These were authorizations which gave the pirates legal right to loot, rape and pillage as long as they did it to the designated victims. What used to be called 'letters of marque' are now called 'government contracts.' We give them to companies like Halliburton and Blackwater (which is a name strangely similar to another pirate and mercenary, Blackbeard) so that they can legally loot and rape a pillage.
America has long prided itself for being a nation governed by its people and defended by a citizen army. Neither of these things is true today. We have a professional class of politicians who run this country and a 'volunteer' military which must be supplemented by mercenaries in order to accomplish its missions.
The outsourcing of our national defense goes right along with the capitalist tendency to outsource all governmental activities. We stubbornly continue to outsource our health insurance and hand regulatory duties over to the industries which they are supposed to regulate. We want to outsource all of our manufacturing to China and farm our elections out to Dibold and our ports to Dubai. These policies are very lucrative for a certain few people but don't serve the interest of the commonweal.
The Poet's Eye easily sees that our present government is using the ruse of Private Security Contractors to avoid accountability for the piracy that is being committed on the Iraqis and our own people as well. As Bush has famously said, "We don't torture." No, we hire somebody else to do it for us. Our hands are clean as Pontius Pilate's.
there has long been a joke in orchestras about the oboe players theory goes like this because of the vascular pressure of blowing a double reed (they get red in the face) little vessels in the brain explode so oboe players are the 'blondes' in the orchestra
occupational hazard occupational mentality bureaucrats think a certain way engineers think another and artists? who knows what they think?
coal miners get black lung if you type your life away you get carpal tunnel if you are in the military, they will bury you at attention if you drive a truck you have the rhoids that I won't mention
occupational hazards what goes with the territory guitar players get blisters on their fingers judges have doubts that must linger
occupational hazards if you sign up as a soldier, expect to get shot a fireman has to count on getting hot there are always occupational hazards
pilots can crash quick as the stock market doctors go bankrupt from insurance disease writers go mad from the mean occupation athletes must replace their knees
I know I'll die of occupational hazards living is risky business but I wouldn't want to be an oboe player
Waterboarding and Mordida--Learn From the Mexican Experts for release 11-06-07
[SIZE="1"]by Lightning Rod[/SIZE]
We owe much to our neighbors to the South in Mexico. There are the obvious things like tequila and tacos and scads of cheap laborers. But there are also other and more subtle cultural influences.
Take the Mexican Federal Police for example. The Federales are a jovial bunch, just like cops everywhere, I suppose. But they are more entrepreneurial and pragmatic.
I've never encountered them in person. But when I was in the business of trading in Mexican vegetables in the late sixties, many of my colleagues had that dubious pleasure.
Two of my partners decided to take their girlfriends to Acapulco. They were riding around looking like rock stars, long-haired and all turquoised up, riding in big cars and throwing money around. The Federales grabbed them. They called it an arrest but it was actually a kidnapping. The next thing I know I'm getting an international phone call from Mexico--twenty thousand bucks and they'll forget the whole thing. Ransom in other words.
It was very creative police work. Why bog down the court system with unnecessary caseload when you can do the job in one smooth motion and send the gringos home and at the same time pocket twenty grand? Blackwater or the NSA couldn't have done it better.
It took me a week to raise the money and send it down there. During that time my friends were held under 'house arrest' at some hacienda outside of Acapulco. Every day the cops would bring them a bag of herb in the morning and in the evenings would take them out clubbing in town. Hey, that's better than an armed guard any day, and cheaper. What I love about the Mexican system is that they don't make things more complicated or uncomfortable than they have to be. They call it 'la mordida'. Cash will grease any wheel.
The Federales also had a method of interrogation to which I am harkened when I observe the recent news about American use of 'waterboarding.' Of course anybody that doubts that waterboarding is torture should probably experience it. But the Mexican Federal Police have a novel twist on the technique. When they want information from a suspect and they want it quickly, they use good old American Coca Cola.
The equipment is simple and the process goes something like this: First a piece of duct tape is placed across the victim's mouth. Then the interrogator takes a bottle of hot Coca Cola, shakes it and squirts it up the victim's nose. I'm told that the resultant sensation is very akin to drowning. The victim at this point tells you whatever you want to hear. Not necessarily the truth, but whatever you want to hear, to avoid drowning in syrupy bubbles.
This is the trouble with torture. Not only is it ugly and strenuous and troublesome, it rarely achieves the result that you are seeking, which is presumably to ascertain the truth.
It's easy for The Poet's Eye to see that we have been learning from our neighbors to the South. We have a system of institutional bribery. In Mexico they call it la mordida. Here we call it lobbying and political contributions. And we torture our prisoners. I think that the Coke up the nose method of torture is ever so much more elegant than waterboarding though. The equipment is simpler, a coke and a roll of duct tape. We need to study harder in the torture department. The Mexicans should be our gurus. What could be more American than Coca Cola?
I'm bugged at my ol' man Cause he's making me stay in my room (Darn my dad) I came in a little late And my ol' man he just blew his mind (Blew it bad) Why did he sell my surfboard? He cut off my hair last night in my sleep I wish I could see outside But he tacked up boards on my window (Gosh it's dark) I can't hit the surf, can't drag Can't do a dog-goned thing (Wish I could) ---Beach Boys
My darling, you misunderstand where my feelings are in the depths of my chest aroused in dance
My darling, misunderstood again but appreciated replete and lustered by chopin breathing and giving it and taking it away just the way you are in a Sunday kind of minuet, appreciated replete and lustered by chopin breathing and giving it and taking it away just the way you are in a Sunday kind of minuet working for two bits a word this message is just for you, (paste name here), this day will bring you opportunities for love and minuets like chopin deeply lost in tommorrow and frustration like a waltz in three-four lustre of mankind My darling, you misunderstand where my feelings are in the depths of your skin on my minuet posing in letters claiming hopes and dreams bewildered by booze and understanding the minute sonata greased like the wheels of heaven swinging in its regularity and read by astologers working for two bits a word this message is just for you, (paste name here), this day will bring you opportunities for love and minuets and frustration like a waltz in three-four lustre my chest aroused in dance if not tearful joy and whining privately. Will our teeth last forever or our joyful tears or our worthlessness or our ten minute private room with sheets that need washing in the roulette maytag appreciated like chopin asking too much, too much worthlessness and too much forever that we are robbed of the present and tender moments like chopin deeply lost in tommorrow. I love your hands on my skin minuet, sonata eyes entwined; I get older; forgive my worthlessness. here in the next room bequeathed waltzing on teeth and tears. I will always love you and the thought of you waltzing on teeth and tears. I will always love you and the thought of you past death and circumstance. I love your hands on my skin minuet, sonata eyes entwined; I get older; forgive my worthlessness. giving it and taking it away just the way you are in a Sunday kind of minuet, minuet why not a waltz through the planets starting with the gas giants not strauss but one of his imitators
My darling, you misunderstand where my feelings are in the depths of my chest aroused in dance.
nothing lies like ice all motion stops as we approach absolute zero even the truth is put on hold
nonsense beware! lies are frozen as the lips of my love the deep-freeze of affection and frigid rejection
"don't make fun of me", she said "i don't have to," said he
The arctic bed makes me pray for global warming I light match after match just to burn carbon and wish for the greenhouse effect I wish I pray I genuflect
all that boils soon freezes and all that freezes melts there's science in the difference 'tween how we feel and how we felt
we will work our squared equation the matter doesn't matter but the energy some say it rises from below some say it settles from above the larger force or the smaller force? in some religions they call it love
Time forever moves along from steam to stream to glacier man will wear it like a hat but it's in a woman's nature he will call it this or that she has sterner nomenclature
Water is an H2Ho she will take any shape tall as a bottle, flat as a puddle she conforms to gutter spouts and douche bags sewer pipes and cesspools
the ocean is a salty old hag it takes beaches to confine her bitchiness she'll throw a hurricane just because it's a hot day
She does pretty well with floods and she wears typhus, cholera and malaria well and sure, she can carve a canyon or cook up a mudslide what would waterboarding be without her? but she can go from geiser to glacier in a heartbeat
When she freezes up on you, that's when the trouble really starts you're up to your ass in a snowdrift trying to dig your way to the woodpile or your new Mercedes is parked in the driveway and golfballs start raining from the sky or you're having supper on the Titanic when you suddenly feel a lurch
the icicle is the perfect murder weapon it can't decide whether to freeze or flow but when it punctures the heart it melts with no fingerprints and it's soluble in blood. Water is the perfect crime. She's an H2Ho.