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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Nothing Here

Dig Deep

there is nothing here

nor is there

anything beneath the surface 

at least 

not worth searching for

what you will find

is that time has been wasted

looking for nothing

let the surface

be sufficient

looking for more

will result in disappointment 

dissatisfaction

when you find

that what is hidden from you

is hidden from everyone

hidden as the surface

not as something beneath 

it has no depth of perception

there is no need to strive to understand 

because understanding

changes nothing

the surface remains unchanged

no matter what you hope

to find underneath it

Is there more to me than meets the eye? It depends on whose eye is doing the looking. My Dentist sees a very different me than the barista at my favorite coffee shop or someone hearing me on stage. Which of these in my authentic self? Or does it matter? 

This cultural need to understand often gets in the way of experience. If we understand the why of a random mass murderer will that change what has happened. Does understanding make our grief & anger unfair to the killer. After all he/she/they came from a dysfunctional home & deserve our sympathy not an irrational need for revenge. 

This piece is a variation on my own reaction to this sort of emotional logic. Often understanding leads back to the same ‘secret’. It’s a wonder people continue to have children with childhood trauma the cause of so much destruction. 

 

I heard an interview with a painter who was asked about a certain ocean view painting. The interviewer wanted to know what it meant. The painter said he liked the view. The interviewer went on to ask what did it symbolize to the painter. He said it symbolized a nice view. The interviewer was disappointed with such a simple answer. 

It also come from people’s need to understand poetry, to understand art. It’s hard to grasp that often all there is the sound – the play of colours, the bounce of words, the image the words create. I recall a conversation about Walt Whitman with some English Lit MBA who felt only someone with a degree would understand Whitman. Perhaps they were right but you know, without understanding Whitman I love some of his writing & how its influence still resonates in slam poets today who have never heard of him. The MBA understood so deeply they couldn’t enjoy slam poetry. Besides it’s not as if Whitman had a university degree in anything 🙂

The piece says “understanding/changes nothing.” In recovery if one waits to understand why they were a drunk/addict until the stop they’ll probably be dead before they even understand. I don’t fully understand electricity but I do know how to change a lights bulb. That’s deep enough for me 🙂

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The Company You Keep

The Company You Keep

the owner of the cafe

had called someone

an inappropriate name

it was a twitter thing

a video 

posted of the 

owner saying 

those offensive things

now no one can go

to the cafe

without being considered guilty

of saying those things themselves

 

now

to be honest

I haven’t heard

what the owner said

I haven’t watched the video

this is all the context I know

and now

I can’t even mention the name

of the cafe

I can’t even admit 

that I’ve been there

in the past

or let it be known

that I regret

that I can’t go to that cafe

ever again


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Discernment

Discernment

I don’t like everyone

or everything

but I no longer waste energy

demonstrating my dislike

at one time it was 

a sort of performance piece 

to prove how superior I was

to what I disliked

it gave me a sense of self

defined by those opinions

 

as I aged

I saw that it made life easier

to stop scattering my energy 

on what I disliked

or even specific people

and focus that energy on 

keeping my mouth shut

so that even when asked

what do I think of so-and-so

I’d resist going into the litany

of someone else’s foibles

I’d say they can be difficult

and let it go at that

 

besides

I have more productive things to do

than talk about 

the egotistical ways of others

let’s talk about me

for a change

This was partially prompted by a discussion I had with a friend about how our likes change without us being aware of it. His example was Jerry Lewis – an actor we both found hilarious at one time but now makes him cringe to the point he can’t watch Lewis in anything. So when TCM showed The Bellhop, & The Nutty Professor I pvr-ed them both. Five minutes of each was more than enough to give me cringe spasms.

As hard as it is to believe I was once a mouthy, opinionated prick – as they say the less I knew the more judgemental my remarks became. I lost one drinking friend over a difference of opinions about something neither of us really cared about. Being critical was a proof on intelligence, of discernment. It wasn’t enough to dislike something one had to dismember it verbally. If you hurt someone’s feelings in the process – such was life.

 

I want to say I out-grew Jerry Lewis but that implies that those who love him aren’t as sophisticated or as mature as I am. Not that I expect to have a discussion about him ever again anyway but … there are often opportunities for me to venture opinions on popular trends, political situations that I usually take a pass on. I don’t have opinions I only have smart-assed one-liners.

 

I can’t pretend to be non-judgemental. I choose not to hang out with recreational drug users – I get tired of repeating what i said five minutes ago while they repeat what they said ten minutes ago every ten minutes. I also know that my likes or dislikes are often irrelevant anyway. When someone asked what I think I know they only me to agree with them or want to tell me what they think.

I love the way this piece ends with ‘me’ taking on the role of the one who wants to be talked about – I am never the one who ‘can be difficult’ 🙂
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Always

Always

the sex was good

but at this stage

for me

good wasn’t enough

I craved more than contact

 

he certainly enjoyed 

the flesh on flesh

but not nearly as much

as he enjoyed the download

the secret assignation 

his exploration of excitement

of things his wife didn’t provide

 

I was his walk on the wild side

that made the cultural box

he felt he had no way of avoiding

bearable

I was a non-threatening opportunity

that had nothing to do with me

as a person

as a spiritual entity

 

he only wanted the release

when he wanted it

his travel time here

often took more time

than we were actually together

time that was clearly

a vitally needed context

 

the sex was good

but for me

good wasn’t enough

I want desire

chemistry

there wasn’t enough chemistry 

for me to want more

not enough chemistry

to get an yen for him 

 

now to tell him

the next time he calls

and I know he will call

they always do


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36

36

cooperative doesn’t mean 

interested

supportive doesn’t mean 

approval

not argumentative doesn’t mean 

agreement

it’s like

I think vegetarianism is a viable choice

for those who make that decision

but doesn’t mean 

I’m going to become vegan


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