How Could You Do That?

Now that I’ve done, for now, the Corporal, I’ve started into the Spiritual Works of Mercy as writing prompts. The first one being ‘To instruct the ignorant.’ As I found for the corporal works the prompt gives me more than one train of thought. In this case both tracks worked out well enough to keep working on them.


My first take spun off that old saw ‘teach a man to fish …’ It then moved off into it’s own direction – the smugness of thinking we can teach anything, the limits of what we teach, our expectations of what we are taught etc. Then after a spiritual nod wraps up with echoes of the opening images.

lost paws
lost paws

I let that sit for a day and the notion of ‘ignorant’ opened up more to me from the angle of smugness – of the things we say when trying to teach someone a lesson or when we feel someone is ignorant and point it out – as if merely pointing it out is enough to teach them to change. If it teaches anyone anything it’s that being asked ‘how could you that’ is more about shame than guidance.

how the flighty have fallen
how the flighty have fallen

So many of these shaming questions floated up from my school days, from things I’ve heard said to children on the street last week, even things I sometimes think when I see how people behave (but which I never utter). How could I even think that? Guess I’m human after all 🙂



Spiritual: To instruct the ignorant: Take One

You Can Do That

yes   I can show you how

to tie a knot

but not how to make

a pair of shoes

I can show you how to bait a hook

but not how to clean a fish

yes it is possible to fish here

but I can’t promise you’ll catch any

I can’t guarantee how long those shoes will last

forever if you don’t wear them

I may seem to know everything

and I’m not going to disabuse you

to instruct you allows me to stay

in a position of control

while telling you

that I’m not in control of the fish

the shoe makers

I can adjust the flow of information

to a sufficient trickle

so we both feel we are making progress

yes I know were are making progress

but I can’t tell you to where

no one knows

that’s what prayer is about

sure I’ll show you how to pray

but not who to pray to

so put on your shoes

it’s time to go fishing

To instruct the ignorant: Take Two

 How Could You Do That?

how could you do that

don’t you know any better

you’re not a farmyard animal

don’t try to explain

you’ve got to do better than that

is that the best you can manage

whatever possessed you

where’s your head at

you have to be kidding me

you idiot

you stupid ass

only a fool would do that

you didn’t expect to get away with that

didn’t you learn anything at school

what sort of dummy would act like that

you have to be crazy

why don’t you listen to anyone

why can’t you try harder

just sit there and do nothing

don’t say a word

I’m not gong to tell you again

don’t make me go over there

that’s not how its spelled

don’t say something like that

what’s so hard to understand

yes I’m talking to you

how many more times do I have to tell you

it’s not that difficult

read the directions then follow them

if you don’t know now you never will

get out of my sight

be grateful someone knows what they’re doing

there’s no going back

ruined is ruined

I’ve had it with you

shameless oogie on stage July 28, 2013
shameless oogie
on stage July 28, 2013

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