Innocent, As Charged

Innocent, As Charged

who gets what

has become a matter

of value

of potential

you may be worth protecting

but not worth saving

<>

you may innocent

but that’s no guarantee

you won’t be prosecuted

your alibi may be solid

but once it is questioned

it becomes a proof of your guilt

<>

you may be guilty

but directing blame

can get you off the hook

you can cast suspicion

on the innocent

for even thinking you are guilty

while you wash blood off your hands

<>

if your value is greater

you deserve the protection

while the innocent are worthless

blameless

disposable

sacrificed

The first verse of this piece was written about five years ago when I was working my way through the Rules as prompts. But this dichotomy of who deserves protection hasn’t changed since then. The limits of that protection are consistently tested by the likes of Trump (money, not law, protects him from the law), even in Ontario there is a tug-of-war going on over education priorities & control. 

Someone said something to the effect that the exploited have no rights, only mercy – that laws are made to allow the merciful to find more devious ways of control & when the exploited realize this, as they often do, they are legislated into being grateful for any justice that might accidentally occur. It seems that those billionaires forget that without the working poor their financial empires would crumble. If there was no profit in keeping the poor poor, poverty would end. Or be made illegal – lock’em up & funnel that welfare money into the penal system.

I am grateful for what entitlement I may have as an older white cismale. I don’t have to worry about being arrested for bringing in a package delivered to my front steps while I was out. But know as I get older, with my limited financial resources me options will get smaller but I don’t lose sleep over that, nor am I obsessed with justice – one of the many things one can become so focused on futility takes over. 

These are thoughts that drift through as I talk about these old poems. One of the keys to meditation is to let thoughts drift without trying to impose order on them- denying those thoughts doesn’t allow them to drift. Focusing only on those thoughts stops blocks the ability to see beauty. Besides I’m not that complicated.

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Eat This Book

The Boy and the Book

the dad admonishes

do not eat the book

the little boy

old enough to talk

but clearly pre-school

is gnawing on the picture book

 

I wonder

is the paper digestible

is the ink toxic

what about the plastic

on the shiny cover

is it picture book of animals

does the boy expect

to find out what

a lion tastes like

can what nourishes his mind

also feed his body

will this taste haunt him

as he searches for it

in books  cookies  flesh

that bring back that memory

 

or will he realize

books are for reading

not for eating

that filling his head

will leave his stomach empty

that no matter

how many books he reads

his mind will never be satisfied

that it’s time to close books

and start to feed the world

The line of dialogue in this piece is verbatim. I was a coffee shop waiting for a friend to arrive. A dad dad said this to his child. No anger but forceful enough to the boy to stop for a few minutes. When Dad went to get their order the gnawing started again. The set up is real & I started writing this piece while waiting. 

It quickly become a list poem as wonder what I wonder about paper, poison & the like.  The book belongs to the cafe as they frequently have families drop by so I also wondered about how sanitary it was but I’m not in charge & am very cautious about infringing on people’s privacy. Watching brought back a memory of myself at about the same age wondering why a picture of a piece of cake didn’t taste like a piece of cake. My mother thought that was hilarious.

Then I wander off into speculation – turning the moment into a meditation on childhood’s imprinted memory. Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past starts with a smell from his childhood that triggers the endless book. I have a few smells like that, though I don’t have specific moments conjured by them – the smell of baby powder is one, the smell of Evening In Paris is another. 

The piece becomes a bit more philosophical about aging – books aren’t for eating though ironically we are encouraged to feed our minds with information  🙂 The hunger for learning may never leave us but, hopefully, one realizes that the search for information can turn into an avoidance of action. There comes a time when one has to leave the expansive yet closed world of books & take part in the world. 

The piece pretty much wrote itself once I got started. It didn’t need much editing either. I have performed it a few times & it reads well. I love the innocence of it – no angst to grind, no politic or sexuality – just a sweet moment.


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