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 🙂

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee at Capturing Fire 2020 – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

Way Back to 1978

I have a box of birthday & recovery anniversary cards going back to 1978 when I put the cork in the bottle, as well as ended other substance ingestions – other than coffee, that is. I have some from the anniversary of my first year up to this year.

lion

Many of the ones I’ve kept are from men who are no longer in this dimension. Names and faces that I’ve half forgotten & some who are still around today. I went into the box to see what was there and to take something out – nothing in particular but anything that didn’t hold an emotional charge so I could let it go before the new year.

I’m not sad but I do feel a bit of sorrow for these lost handshakes. I don’t ever remember the last time I went through these cards. Like my string of Christmas cards – I have some that go back years from people who have died. I have the last Christmas card my mother sent me.

chair

There is a meaning to me in each of them. Some are signed by dozens of people many of whom I have no idea who they are, who had no idea who I was expect, I was celebrating with them in Montreal, or wherever. I know I’ll be letting a couple of these cards go even though they still have an emotional charge.

chairs

Reading them I also see that I now believe the sentiments. For many years I felt people’s good wishes where done out of kindness not out of an authentic affection for me. I think that’s called growing up 🙂

samples

Fireworks

The lemon fresh bubble bath in the Jacuzzi made both Dish and Spoon feeling clean, refreshed and forgiving.

“Spoon dear, I am so sorry for my outburst this afternoon. Tossing Tea Pot’s lid into the midst of the shuffle board tournament wasn’t a lady like thing for me to do.”

“There, there, my sweet, I know you’ve been under a lot of pressure of late.”

“Still, the look on her spout was worth it.”

“I’ll say. Especially when the Salts scored the winning shuff – shuff is that what they call it when they push the marker across the board? Anyway she brought them the prize.”

“Spoon this trip on the Gravy Boat has to be one of the best ideas you’ve had since we ran away. I think we are closer now that we have ever been.”

“Thank you, my sweet. We just don’t seem to get the chance to spend this much time together. You’re always off to other meals.”

“While you spend too much time in dark drawers.”

“I do not!”

“Spoon, you think I don’t know what goes on in dark drawers. You and all that cutlery pushed together, sometimes mingling with forks.”

“I have never mingled with a fork.”

“Don’t deny it. I know these things. You cutlery are like that. Clinking away in the dark.”

“Oh, I see. And what about you? Nestled with those other dishes. Piled one on top of the other.”

“Suffocated in more like it. That’s why I love you so much Spoon we have similar shapes but you don’t smother me when we nestle together.”

“The sky is falling! The sky is falling!” a voice came from outside their cabin door. “We must run and hide. Do something!”

Spoon jumped out of the warm water and went to the window.

“The sky is falling! The sky is falling!”

“What is it Spoon?”

“Fireworks.”

“Oh, I love fireworks.” Dish pulled a tea towel around her to dry off. “Let’s get up on deck where we can it for ourselves.”

As they attempted to leave their cabin they were pushed back in by Chick.

“You must not go out. It is too dangerous. The sky is falling! The sky is falling!”

“There, there, Chick. It’s only fireworks. A show. Not the sky. Don’t be so alarmed.”

“Fireworks!” Chick bobbed back and forth. “Are you sure about that.”

There was a barrage of green puffs over head.

“I don’t believe you. The sky is falling.” Chick skittered along the rack in alarm.

Dish and Spoon walked hand in hand to the upper rack.

“If it falls, at least we have each other.”

clean enough to drink from?

Put Those Crayons Down

crows over cornfield
crows over cornfield

A friend of mine recently discovered Google street view & has been ‘visiting’ various houses, apartments, streets, schools she went to in the past. Some of which has triggered unhappy memories, some happy recollections. Soon there will be GooglePast, or an iPast app, where you can gaze into those old days – there must be a sci-fi story about this already – where one can see a brief glimpse of that first kiss, that first queer bashing.

the red guitar
the red guitar

A couple of recent Go Viral prompts sent me into my past. I went into my personal archives & unearthed several ‘paintings’ I did in the early 70’s. It’s been some years since I looked at them at all. I took pictures of them & have posted a couple as pics to go with my daily poem. A couple I couldn’t bring myself to to even photograph though – troubled memories with real razor blades incorporated. At least I was expressing my pain somehow – using the blades on the paper and not myself.

nice hat
nice hat

Critics (put those crayons down)

you call that colouring

if you can’t stay in the lines

why bother

why waste money on colouring books

you’ll never be an artist

till you can colour within the lines

you’ll never be a great writer

with handwriting like that

you have to write between the lines

not over them

not in slanting dribbles across the page

you’ll never be a writer

till you learn how to spell

you don’t smoke up

were never sexually abused as a child

don’t have a chemical imbalance of some sort

then you don’t have enough suffering

to be worth listening to

you’ll never be genius

you’re just too well-balanced

to be authentically creative

your too old too fat too queer

put those crayons down

it’s too late for you

no

writing sample
writing sample

Here’s another of the April poems:

Pride

I did this

it was not what I set out to do

it got out of hand

took on a life of its own

made my life hell for a while

wishing I had better control

that my technique was more precise

needing it to get back on track

be what I dreamed it could be

I couldn’t get a handle on it

but I saw it though

even though I was disappointed in myself

and now

people tell me

it may be best thing I’ve ever done

how did I do it

I don’t explain

I accept the praise

they think my lack of boasting pride

is some sort of humility

but my silence is because

I don’t understand

how it came to be

yet I’m certainly glad it came to be

though me

tea time submarine
tea time submarine