The Keys To Sense of Purpose

Nothing To Lose

I was sure I left it there

it was there the last time I looked

I haven’t seen it

have you looked in here

have you looked anywhere 

or did you expect me to know

to keep an eye on things

without being asked

I don’t know where it is

I have more important things to do

no I didn’t move it

I didn’t see anyone take it

this is where I usually put it

I can’t leave the house without it

it can’t be replaced

there’s no reason for it to be moved

it has to be here always

it’s the perfect spot for it

it didn’t move itself

did it fall to the floor

is it under here

is it upstairs

did you even bring it with you

did you leave the house without it

you can always get a new one

it was time to move on

time to let go

of the hold of things

free yourself of objects

find a place

where there is nothing to lose

nothing to be looked for

nothing to be hidden

and everything

to be revealed

This piece is part list poem – various thoughts on misplacing something & usually not realizing until one is leaving, in a hurry but can’t got without it. I have a spot by my front door where I always put my keys, my sunglasses etc. Before heading out I have to make sure I have everything in my pockets or shoulder bag before I leave. Gone are the days of just putting a jacket & going somewhere.

 

By everything I mean phone, camera, coffee cards, credit cards, points cards, wallet (I no longer carry credit cards with my $), sometimes iPod, Kindle & something else, but I can’t remember what. If one of those items isn’t where I think I put it then I can’t leave without it. I change jackets and/or shoulder bags from day to day, so have to remember to transfer from one to the other.

 

Not too long ago I misplaced my Starbucks gold card. I searched every item of clothing I was wearing the last time I used it, shoulder bags were emptied, jacket pockets turned inside out, I checked the shop to see if I dropped it there. No where to be found. I went to the website to get a replacement but that process was endless & so I think I applied for a replacement but didn’t get even an auto-response so I must have done something wrong? 

The getting out a credit card out comes the Starbucks card stuck to it – I had tucked the card into a different part of the wallet than I usually do & never checked sufficiently the tiny tight compartment. It did mean I avoided Starbucks for a week or so, no big deal. The replacement never arrived, just as well, right.

Anyway back to this piece. It wavers between the list & a bit of a dialogue of being accused for losing whatever is lost – I didn’t see anyone take it. It take a slight philosophic turn with ‘free yourself of objects’ – to free myself of Starbucks wouldn’t be such a big thing. It delves into the mystic for the ending. What we can’t find may not be hidden or lost. 


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Snapped – Slapped

samprules2

Snapped – Slapped

some people

are just asking for a slap

you know what I mean

so I snapped & slapped 

it was so fast

I hardly felt it

but it worked

it shut them up

for a few minutes

a few scant moments of bliss

of silence

there wasn’t even an echo

of the slap

my hand hardly felt it all

you know what I mean

if it doesn’t hurt me

it surely didn’t hurt them

other than a bit of humiliation

in front of the others

I know to be slapped

is a social thing

if we were alone

I doubt if a slap would have happened

but with an audience

what else could I do

to teach them a lesson

about what I’m unwilling to put up with

boundaries have to be established

so I slapped

I would do it again

only harder the next time

you know what I mean

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Picture This 

Cast Aside

I take the picture

I point the camera

that’s it

 

the subject is usually in focus

it remains as I found it

I resist the temptation

to get it into better light

 

resist the temptation

to add to the scene

or take away from it

 

I don’t seek perfection

but let things

fall where they will

stationary in a context

that I didn’t create

 

the broken chair

the mattress still wrapped in plastic

never used

cast aside 

 

I take the picture

the subject tells the story

the picture tells you

nothing about me

 

I’ve blogged a few times about how my relationship to world was changed by my cameras. I started taking pictures when I read that blogs with photos get more hits. I didn’t want to use photos I found on  line – copyright mainly but also I didn’t want to spend time hunting down the right photo. 

 

 

I have a decent eye for composition but I am a point & shoot photographer. I didn’t want blog of typical images which forced me to be more selective & almost fetishistic in what caught my lens’s attention. Texture & pattern are my prime subjects – texture found in things usually thrown away – shoes, clothing, toys, dishes etc.

I love finding cast off doors, art, empty frames, bathtubs, aquariums, ironing boards & specially lps. Or objects one wonders why they have been thrown away, or perhaps left for the scavengers. I hav passed stuff on my walk & it was gone on my return in less than an hour. But with bed bug scare somethings just remain until garbage men remove them. 

The pictures I post on my blog are somewhat random. I don’t look for the right picture to go with the content – too much work. I figure people will make their own story around the pictures anyway. Because, as the song says, every picture tells a story. But the pictures here rarely tell you anything about me, even when they are pictures of me.


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Stop Pointing


Stop Pointing

you aren’t the boss of me

no one is

doing what pleases me

pleases me

sure others can’t get away with it

but some of us

don’t have to be bothered

with what is required

so stop pointing out

what you consider to be the right way

this way is my way

so get out of my way

let those who have to obey

obey

let those of us who are above

that sort of thing

do what ever we deem fit

and you can deal 

with the mess we leave behind

at least we’re leaving you something


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Better To Be Talked About

People Talk

people talk

it doesn’t matter about who

the truth isn’t as relevant as 

the opportunity for spite

in fact the worse the better

who wants to believe the best

about anyone

when the worst is so much more interesting

it’s important to bring the good

down a peg or two

who do they think they are anyway

they aren’t any better

than the rest of us

even if they aren’t one of us

even if we we would never

do what we say they’ve done

we see through their facade

the sooner they get caught the better

no one is innocent

merely uncaught

 

The 227 Rules for Monks are often variations on each other – who knew micromanagement was part of the simple life – as a result some of these pieces are variations too. Part of the challenge of using the rules as prompts is to push harder against the restrictions of the variations – much like classical composers or jazz musicians or improv comedy I let things spin then edit – if I ever pull these pieces together for a collection I’d edit out the the repetitions.

 

The title of this came last but it reflects the nature of  our relationship with the press, which hasn’t changed since Oscar Wilde’s day. As is made clear by the current US president who gloats ever getting all the bad press he can generate. He has becomes an easy target for people to vent at – how much of that venting is sincere & how much is merely an opportunity for spite.

 

Stand-up comedy is almost entirely based on slavering cruelty. You could take routines from the 50’s, change names of targets & they’d fit in today. All that is different the level of anatomical vulgarity – the ten mother-fucking words one couldn’t say are now words you hear on cock-sucking sitcoms today 🙂

 

The piece is also about the emotional need that gossip fulfills, giving ‘us’ the opportunity to, momentarily, feel superior to those we gossip about – though sometimes it is tinged with envy – wishing we could get away with how the President consistently gets away with it. In today’s world it seems to be better to get caught & get away with it than not to get caught.


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Myth of Democracy

Myth of Democracy

rules change

I get that

this is not a democracy

I get that

we can bite and complain

but no one has a choice

we can’t force rule makers

to unmake the rules

we can’t force rule followers

to stop following

rules they have no control over

 

what is enforced

is not by choice

but by the mandate of others

others whom

we have voted into power

to make rules

there is no even playing field

 

rules change

but usually not 

in the middle of a game

of a fight

we are responsible

for knowing what those rules are

for reading the fine print

for understanding the fine print
for being able to sense

what community standards are

even when we aren’t

a part of that community

if what is illegal there

is legal here

 

we can’t find balance

because

even to question their rules

is breaking their rules


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Ask Me Anything

Ask Me Anything

why you are asking me

are you trying to make a fool of me

which by the way

isn’t that hard to do

 

so you didn’t have to put so much thought

into asking me anything

but first I need to know

why ask me

 

right that isn’t answering your question

so try someone else

or say what you mean

because you don’t want an answer do you

 

it doesn’t matter 

what answer I give

you are trying establish 

that I’m not as smart as I think I am

 

while I am willing to admit

I have no answer for you

for any question you might ask

so ask away

 

I’m listening


This piece is about the asking of questions. I see film stars interviewed about who is in running for office, yet never see politicians interviewed about who is in running for the Oscars. This reminds me of a commercial parody – “I am not a doctor, but I played one on TV, so I recommend ^^^ for you.”

 

I recall being interviewed, with a couple of other poets, on the radio. The host asked the others about their inspirations, aspirations & upcoming events. When the host got to me the questions were about my record collection. Apparently their interest in me a poet was non-existent. Oh right – the other poets had creative writing degrees too, so they were real poets.

 

This is also a variation on my theory people only ask what you think so they can tell you what they think. What you think is irrelevant to them. I’ve learned to say things like ‘I don’t know’ or ‘I’ve never given that much thought.’ Both relatively harmless replies. I once did ask directly ‘What difference does it make to you what I think?’  They had no answer.

The ‘ask me anything’ also reflects a willingness of my part to share things about myself freely, if I think they are relevant. One my recent trip to Cape Breton I had a great conversation with my niece about the nature of novel plotting, publishing & satisfaction. She actually wanted to hear what I had to say & actually pushed me into more complex answers about the psychological drive for writing.

Once when I was in Indigo someone asked me where a certain section was. When I said I didn’t know they got a bit miffed that as an employee I didn’t know. I said that I was a shopper not a clerk. They muttered something about bad customer service & wandered off. Ironically it turned out I was in the section they were looking for. Why ask me?


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Running Out

Running Out

I was running out of excuses

no  not excuses 

I was running out of lies

it’s not easy being a nice guy

really

 

it’s a conundrum

when you have great sex

with a guy who isn’t your type

who says he had a great time

and wants to see you again

while you aren’t just that into him

if the sex were boring

it wouldn’t be so complicated 

so that’s when the lies start

busy

sister visiting

sore throat

 

why can’t he take a hint

why can’t I just say

I’m not that interested

there isn’t enough chemistry 

between us for me

it’s nothing personal

well I guess it is pretty personal

it is him you are saying no to

 

even after the second time

when I had run out of excuses

the sex was good

but good isn’t enough for me

I want to feel 

not necessarily an emotional connection

but something 

more than the need to make excuses


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Joy To Compost

Joy To Compost

on the thirteenth day of Christmas

streets are lined with death

discarded red wrapping paper

crushed into snowbanks

silver garlands mashed into ice

green ribbons wind-tossed into trees

gold bows under snow tires

unopened gifts jammed

into recycle bins

broken ornaments in gutters

eager excitement drained

 

on the thirteenth day of Christmas

dead pine trees

sacrificed for someone’s joy

threads of stubborn scarlet tinsel

remainders reminders

that pleasure

like life

is temporary

that death is permanent

 

on the thirteenth day of Christmas

my true love sent to me

the message of

dust to dust

joy to compost

You are correct to think this was written early one January. Someone described some of my poetry as being reportage. This one is literally what I saw on various mornings on my walk-abouts. Some years I’ve seen trees out on December 26. The ribbons & bows often start their glittery littering early in December. I don’t know what is worse the early start to store decorations or the early start of decoration discarding.

 

The repeated “thirteenth day” is an echo of both the Christmas carol & the unlucky reputation of 13. It is truly a season in which our ‘joy’ comes at the cost of sacrifice yet there is little reverence for the sacrificed after the glamour of the moment. Everything becomes disposable & ruthlessly cast aside. Very little of it is biodegradable – mostly philosophically degrading 🙂

 

I have a fake tree that we’ve used for decades. I’m sure Xmas tree farms are more humane that chicken ranches but killing a tree for the birth of JC doesn’t have scriptural support. In Toronto the cast-off live trees are collected for composting of some sort – get tossed into a tree shredder & are used on hiking trails. I’d love to see them used instead of salt on sidewalks. That fresh pine smell would making slipping a little more pleasant.

 



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The Rules

The Rules

the rules don’t apply to him

though one isn’t sure

if he understands the rules

he nods

smile

when anyone explained them

then never follows them

he acts as if his lack of respect

is your problem

that it is no big deal

when he does what he wants

regardless of how disruptive

it might be

he says

politically correct is bullshit

he speaks his mind

without apology

he talks wherever and whenever 

he wants to 

your need to hear what others say

isn’t his problem

shushing him at a lecture

is pointless

he takes phone calls 

at the movies

turning his cell phone down

isn’t going to happen

your thought control isn’t for him

you can take

your control issues

and fuck right off

he is a free man

and will never let you

hung-up tight-ass bastards

forget his

unspoken rule

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