POEM: Kintsugi

I asked, “Why are you gluing shards back into pottery?

He said, “Because fuck entropy, that’s why!”

I didn’t have the heart to tell him entropy was alive and well, given the energy he was devoting to the task.

But he was like that.

If you asked, “Why do you want to go riding in a hot-air balloon?”

He’d say, “‘Cause, fuck gravity, that’s why!”

He didn’t like that there was a set of rules that he wasn’t free to ignore —

regardless of whether he had any inclination not to comply, otherwise —

Maybe it wasn’t him.

Maybe, it’s the defining characteristic of being human:

being pissed off that there are things that aren’t at all under one’s control.

POEM: Strange Rivers

Lest you think you know rivers —

just water meandering mountain to sea;

there are strange rivers in this world.

There’s a river in Cambodia, the Tonlé Sap, that yearly switches its direction.

The Okavango can’t be bothered to get to a sea, an ocean, or even a lake. Instead, it becomes a desert swamp — obstinately creating a thing one might be forgiven for thinking impossible.

There are blood red rivers and licorice black rivers.

There are rivers that take a holiday, and rivers that only show up for the 100 year flood.

There are rivers that look like they’re barely moving that can sweep a man to his death.

Rivers with dolphins. Rivers with fish too fat to swim. Rivers with creatures, Mesozoic-ugly.

A river in India, the Sarasvati, up and disappeared.

There are rivers that aren’t even rivers, but metaphors for that which we think eternal but which vanishes each instant to be replaced by a look-alike.

There are strange rivers.

Christmas Haiku

lights blinking
colors bold and bright
inner child wakes

 

shops shuttered
hunched against frigid wind
lone soul stands

 

inner sanctum
a fire sparks and glows
skin flushes

 

a tinseled tree:
tropical dissonance
in Kuala Lumpur

 

pine, wood smoke,
& a vinyl bike seat
holiday scents

Forest Haiku

winter forest
light of the rising sun
passes straight through

 

needle litter
carpeting the forest floor
copper clean

 

straight trunks
standing tall and tidy
lack character

 

spring brings blossoms
but how can the trees trust
spring sometimes lies

 

the gnarled tree
stunted and deformed
stands post-storm

POEM: Confessions of Mindfulness Pimp

It’s disconcerting, discovering one is a pimp.

Don’t get me wrong;

-I’ve never slapped a ho’

-I’ve never even called anyone a ho’

-To the best of my recollection,

I’ve not even thought anyone a ho’

I’m empathetic to honest work reviled.

 

But I’ve known the hard-handed hustle of a product that’s felt about in much different terms than it’s talked about — felt an act of masochism but called “working late.”

-a product the customer wishes — with every fiber of his being — he didn’t need.

-a product around which distractions grow like weeds through the cracks of a post-apocalyptic sidewalk.

-a product the customer wishes he could fast-forward to the end-bliss, escaping the awkward preliminaries.

-a skill that the customer tells himself he’s good at, knowing if he had skills, monetary transactions wouldn’t be necessary.

I’ve dealt virtue like it was a vice.

“Psst, Buddy, want some clarity?

“I won’t tell a soul you’re out here looking.”

I’ve pimped mindfulness and wellness — unrepentantly.

BOOK REVIEW: A Portrait in Poems by Evie Robillard

A Portrait in Poems: The Storied Life of Gertrude Stein and Alice B ToklasA Portrait in Poems: The Storied Life of Gertrude Stein and Alice B Toklas by Evie Robillard
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Available March 3, 2020

Amazon page

This work provides a biographical sketch of Gertrude Stein, her partner Alice Toklas, and their life together in Paris. The vehicle is free verse poetry, although it reads more like a children’s book than poetry. That may sound as though I intended it as a burn, but that’s not the case. The marketing materials for this book present it as a child-friendly picture book, if not entirely marketed in the children’s literature market. What I mean to say is that the writing is simple, literal, and isn’t filled with complex metaphor or cryptic description that one might expect in adult works of poetry.

The book is illustrated in a child-centric manner as well, with whimsical, unintimidating, and colorful art.

I didn’t know much about Stein, and had only heard the title of the book, “The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas” in which much of this book’s source material presumably resides, and so this was a nice background, without getting too deep in the weeds.

If you’re a Stein fan and are interested in introducing a kid to her biography, or if you have your own limited but adult interest in her life, this is quick read to get you up to speed.

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