POEM: Epictetus & the Gentleman

Epictetus asked a man if he was free.

“I own land, can vote, and am deemed gentry.”

“But are you free?” the stoic repeated.

“Are you daft?” the man’s words came out heated.

 

And in that outburst the truth was revealed.

 

POEM: Window

I looked through a hole in the world

to the lands that lay near beyond.

I saw the salmon glow of clouds,

and what the soot and dust had spawned —

a mighty sunset at mid-day,

a world betrayed by tides and time,

no light to feed the greens or blues,

but a bold palette from sky grime.

POEM: Counting Mysteries


The boy sat upon temple steps counting mysteries,
but he lost count upon discovering that one mystery is all mystery,
and all mysteries are but one mystery.

They are the word on the tip of one’s tongue.
They are the dream unremembered that leaves a flavor in one’s brain.
They are movement glanced out the corner of an eye,
vanishing when one focuses one’s mind or eye upon it.
They are the unknown, but vaguely felt.
They are an itch amid thoughts, offering nothing to scratch.

POEM: Ubiquitous Jangle

faintly jingling anklet bells
jarred by lightly padding feet

accompanied by the jangle
of arms bejeweled in bangles

can’t silence be trusted?
each movement must be accounted for?

bells are put on cats to track their mischief
bells are strapped to livestock
so shepherds can track rogues & runaways down the valley

but why bedeck oneself in bells?

is silence more dread than sound?

silence is stillness is potential energy winding tighter
perhaps lost potential is a sacred tragedy,

begging one question:
while squirrel away nuts never to be consumed?

POEM: Schism

A schism ripped inside my mind.

You could picture a tear in a piece of paper.
But, that would be a lie.

The message on either side of torn paper can be reconciled.
Two halves of a page = one message —
disrupted but not beyond restoration.

When the tear is in the mind,
the further down the page one reads,
the more disjointed the message becomes,
until transformation becomes inversion,
and what one side of the page says is opposite the other.

“You must be reasonable!”

“Reason be damned!”

“It will be your down fall!”

“I have no further left to fall!”

POEM: Alchemy of Choice

Oh, they sang about the world’s end —
felt it must be around the bend,
but the world, itself, was a stinkin’ lie.

False choices: live free and do or die.
Dying was always one option,
but like birthing or adoption,

choice assumed life and death could be controlled
like alchemists turning lead into gold.

Sleep Haiku

eyelid weight
like snow accumulates
to avalanche

 

what world is this
where doors are portals
through space-time?

 

sleepless, and
processing drops to
dial-up speed

 

your meeting
is more sedating
than telling

 

the world blurs
walking insomniac
slows to zero

POEM: Forced Philosophizing

Life makes philosophers of us all.

You’re forced to decide how you will know your truth.

And it is “your truth,” or “my truth.”

We are powerless to determine THE truth, having only a limited capacity to even discern it.

“Your truth” is the concoction of fact and fiction by which you dance through life.

Now, you may say,

“Life may force me to be a liar, a whore, and a scoundrel, but I’ll never stand for it to make me a philosopher!”

Maybe you think you can side-step philosophy by taking answers straight from science, scripture, or lockstep walking with your tribe, but making that decision has still forced you to philosophize.

No matter what default you choose, knowledge of truth will remain limited and sometimes faulty.

I favor holding truths like an intact bird’s egg found fallen out of a nest — careful not to grasp too tightly for fear of either crushing it or having a misidentified velociraptor chick pop out and bite off my thumb.

I can’t say that this is a better approach than those who hold truths in the way of a rodeo rider with a dislocated elbow and shoulder who — never-the-less — stayed his eight.

It’s not just in matters of truth and knowledge that we are forced to philosophize.

One also has to determine what constitutes a virtuous life, and to what degree one finds chasing said path worth the effort. Again, the choice to outsource future thought to a holy book is still an act of philosophizing.

I understand that most people don’t want to be seen as a philosopher anymore than than they would want to be seen as a masochist — a lifestyle which bears something in common with philosophy.

After all, the philosopher is one who insists on engaging in rigorous and tedious thought on subjects that offer no right answers — just a huge slate of equally least-worst options.

If she wanted to engage in such thought AND uncover the right answer, she’d be a scientist.

If he wanted to wax eloquent on his love of living in the dark, he’d study language or literature.

But the philosopher likes his thought like he likes his tragic figures of Greek mythology –Sisyphean.

POEM: Faceless

the faceless, in my dreams, play at chores i can’t comprehend,

leaning over consoles  — big powerplant-style consoles,

neither typing nor jabbing buttons,

just sitting, attuned to the lay of the world according to indicator lights

i shout to them

of course, they can’t shout back

but they don’t even flinch

zero acknowledgement

i can’t tell if they have ear-holes,

whether they’re ignoring me, or can’t hear me

i guess i should consider myself lucky

if one turned its faceless face toward me

i’m sure i’d shit a dream brick

POEM: The Last Word on ultima Thule

ultima Thule / əl-tə-mə-ˈthü-lēn. 1. a distant unknown region; 2. the extreme edge of the discovered world



“Where lies the ultima Thule?”
he inquired about the edge of discovery.



“It’s down in cave, beyond the cold,
in a pocket that’s hot and noxious.”



“I’m sure it lies in the Challenger Deep,
far down below the waves.”



“It must be out amid the void of space,
where frozen silence reigns.”



“If it lies not in the recesses of my mind,
I’m sure I’ll never see it.”