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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Deprivation

Week Four of the Artist’s Way presented a few challenges. In particular reading deprivation on top of social isolation & distancing. Is editing chapters of Picture Perfect for the blog reading? What about daily meditation books? So I did a bit of a compromise – blog work isn’t reading. Editing isn’t reading. No reading in the bathroom, no reading in transit, no podcasts. No twitter or ‘tooling’ around until evening. I finished chapters in the books I was reading & stopped there. 

Some of these were time frittering at best. I have more time as a result. Some of these may become new habits. Eliminating the superfluous is freeing. When I stopped carting my iPod everywhere I felt less encumbered, one less worry. A much as I liked creating playlists etc not to have t keep refilling it is freeing. I only use it for guided mediations & podcasts. Walking without it has been a small adjustment but I feel more open to what is round me without a constant soundtrack in my head colouring everything. Plus it gives me an extra coat pocket 🙂

The chapter give lists of things to do as an alternative to reading – many of these things are showing up as suggestions for folks frustrated by social isolation. My days go by quickly enough with my routines without resorting to new activities. One of the blessings of being an introvert. I enjoy my own company. 

Thanks to social distancing artist dates have become more a spin than an actual event. I did three mornings of yard work (without iPod soundtrack). Those were 3 artist dates. I shared some selfies with my fans. Being where things grow was good in the face of the mounting covid toll. Things grow regardless of much of what is going on around me. Nature can recover quickly given the chance. The better air quality means better sun which means better plants. 

Boss of Me

John’s theory is that

our leaders are all puppets 

figure heads

who have bought 

into the illusion of power

they are unaware

that they are hollow images

taking the heat 

for the real powers

that hidden consortium 

of non-public figures

who make the real decisions

who exert the right squeeze

and our little leaders 

slump or pop up

to do what has to be done

take the blame for what has gone wrong

because leaders are just frail men

with no power to wield

no clout to get the job done 

often not even attractive to look at

thus even more believable

 

John tells me that politics 

are another form of entrainment

media fodder

to keep us diverted

from the real holders of power

so that we are amused  numbed

by the constant barrage of sound bites

cell cam videos

of presidents getting blow jobs

when they should be getting us out of wars

wherever the hell they are

because even where they are

isn’t the the real war 

it is a more elaborate movie set

with real lives being lost

to keep our attention from

what is really going on

 

John isn’t sure what is really going on

he is confident it isn’t what we see

it isn’t what accept as the truth

because there is no truth 

only monetized divertion statics

the struggle for freedom

from Tibet to Kensington market 

is upscale name branding

he is sure of that

 

sometimes I believe John

sometimes I don’t care

where do we place our faith

what is worth the energy to change

if it can be changed 

because revolution

has been copyrighted by 

estee lauder

the latest scent 

a mix of blood oil jasmine

with woody undertone

 

John is convinced 

that if it isn’t making someone money 

it isn’t going to happen

war happens because it is big business

pandemics are even bigger business

even as the population dwindles

going green isn’t happening 

because the profit margins 

are too low

some people can’t afford 

to save the planet

& that he finds is sad

I don’t disagree

when I do it starts another litany

of who runs what

who really holds the power

or if there is any power

stronger than futility

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– sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

The Boy and the Book

samprules2

Working through the  227 Rules For Monks. Who knew the simple life could be so complex. This another of the 92 pācittiyas.

The Boy and the Book

the dad admonishes

‘do not eat the book’

to the little boy

old enough to talk

but clearly pre-school

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

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2018’s capfireslam.org – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

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