Infinity

I read a book once.
I checked it out 
of my high school library;
I was a sophomore. 
It was arranged like this,
one concept per line, and
it explained infinity.
A difficult concept, so
only one idea per line.
It taught me that
one infinity can exist inside another,
therefore the second infinity's bigger.
And if you add "1" to the second infinity,
it's bigger than it was before.
I read this book while waiting
for our wrestling team to compete.
I co-managed the team, and
I relished being the one 
to watch the locker room during matches
meaning I could read uninterrupted for a long time.
This book both increased,
and decreased,
my awe for The Infinite,
and it did nothing to explain
how more than fifty years later
I see/feel/understand what went through my head
as I read this book
while young men in stretchy uniforms
grabbed each other's crotch.

once upon a time

Once upon a time–

Time? It’s in two-two, just
beat as you breathe–

But it happened,
like this, like–

I only meant you live time differently,–

No, we’re timing
differently, but–

Where everything happens
simultaneously does
it happen? At all?–

Your beatings annoy–

My bleatings annoy-

So it goes…once…


	

write me poetry (wriggling fish eludes grasp)

"Write me poems,"
she said. "Not that
sonnet, rondeau
crap. Make it formed,
but not formal.
Make it happy,
poignant, heartfelt."

Whew! Tall order.
How to commit
to words which don't
bring despair, don't 
touch my psyche's 
crackling third rail?
'formed, not formal'?

Wrapped around my
neutrality
entwine serpents
of dark, of light,
yet both truthful.
One favors pain,
despair, sadness.

Countering, its
mirror favors
hopeful, joyous
optimism.
But it whispers--
'gainst its brother--
screams less, asks more.

"Everything's great!"
doesn't cut it.
Good news--no news.
Seismic shifts, stabs
to my heart grab
more attention
than goody-ness.

Problems add edge,
life's hoppy bite,
offsetting its 
malty sweetness.
But she challenged!
Can happiness
inspire poems?

My life-garden
hosts tangled plants,
gnarled, tall, choking
new growth. Little
shoots blossom up
regardless, and...
Something happens.

My ultimate
Gardener, my
concept of God
nurtures sprouts, brings
forth fresh flowers
striving to vie
with woody growths.

Despite these new 
optimistic 
upstarts, my soul's
garden remains
wild: poison vines,
weeds, burrs, thorns. No
apologies.

Who am I to
question what grows,
what does not? Why
question my lived 
reality, 
denigrate my 
totality?

Are we happy
now? Are we mired
in hopelessness?
Do we focus 
on pretty new
blossoms? Do we
ignore the whole?

Without yin there's
no yang. Without
black, white on white.
Speak to truth no
matter its source.
Shuffle the deck;
deal ALL its cards.

Thirteen sevens
multiplies two
potent numbers,
magical yet
at odds with each
other. She will
appreciate [this].

My first American sentence*

Raven-black part of my consciousness

Why are you there?

Oh, yeah. You’re me.

American crow, Wendell, NC. January 2010.

I was reminded today of Allen Ginsberg’s definition of an American sentence as English’s answer to the haiku. I’m stealing most of this from another blogger. And here is another bit of definition. Ginsberg felt English needed more freedom to achieve what the haiku accomplishes with its 5/7/5 structure. To write one, use 17 syllables in a grammatically correct sentence (or sentences). One full line, arranged if you like (as I’ve done above). In my opinion, one should attempt the juxtaposed twist in meaning at the end as one reads in a traditional haiku. (Is my photograph a visual twist? “Raven” becomes “crow”?)

one You to rule them all

Mongol pencils from mid-1960s

I’ve waited more than three months, I’ve written it in prose, then verse, then a different verse, then rewritten the prose. This may be as close as I get, and it’s not to my liking, yet I’m publishing it to get it off the e-desk and out of my mind.

Two Voices Debate

“There are rules,” she said.
“Rules rule.” Pitiably, I 
Know what she means.
=============================
Put the colored pencils in
Sequence according to height,
Says my ten-year-old inner voice.
Nice. Now rearrange by color,
Rainbow-like. (Look up the spectrum
If you must, Kenny.) Now,
Place the colors violet through green,
Left to right, into your rack 
with space between, because…
Double back the ‘light’ colors from
Right to left, ending with red between 
Violet and blue. Good! But now,
Arrange them alphabetically 
By color name. Now put them
Away. We’ve no time to actually
Do anything with them. Besides,
You’re no artist anyway.
=============================
When you walk to school, step
Precisely between the expansion
Seams of the concrete sidewalk.
If there’s a crack, step in the bigger
Piece still between the seams.
For extra points, step equidistantly
From each seam. No care for 
Mother’s back in all this—just
Walking how you color…
=============================
Oh, beautiful algebra! Lovely
Geometry! Your rules so pristine,
Your road to explainability, to
All’s-right-with-the-worldness. And
Diagramming sentences! Who cares
If it’s useless? It’s beauty cannot
Be denied! Science, though,
Its physics, its chemistry, its 
Squishy biology stuff, no,
Not abstract enough, not
In-your-head enough. Too
Practical, too mundane.
=============================
You have to call her, man.
But…today? Is three days a
Proper amount of lead time?
Would twenty-four hours be
Too little? Would it be better if
I called in the afternoon or 
Evening? Oh, why did I ever ask
Her out in the first place?
“You know, I think I’m not going
To go to the prom this year after all.”
=============================
”No, I’m not going to wait twenty
Minutes to eat, especially if I have
To wait outside. It’s cold.” He drives
Off spending forty minutes to 
Save twenty minutes.
=============================
“We could gas up there.” Wrong side
Of the road. “There’s one.” Nope.
“Too seedy. There’s one!” but, 
Crap, every pump’s occupied.
Ding! Your car says, "feed me".
=============================
“Isn’t life too difficult this way?”
Asks Creative-Emotive Voice. “Can’t
We take it easy? Just roll with it?”
Try that. Good too. Shut Obsessive-
Controlling Voice into its compartment
Deep within one’s gray cells. Overrule 
Edicts for living, for walking, for performing
Every. 
Single. 
Act. 
Of. 
Human. 
Existence.
“If you’re going to be A Writer, how
Do you expect to do it listening to 
That Guy? Feel your heart surging? 
Sure you do. How can you ignore it
By following these silly rules?”
Drink too much. Eat too much. Drug
Too much. Watch movies while
Neglecting one’s bills, one’s friends,
One’s social reason for being…
One’s stated creative urges. But:
Give Rulemaker his short leash.
Gentle grid of rules on fields of
Creative abandonment. 
Create. Create. And create. Short 
Circuit all words with singing,
With photography, with poetry (yes),
With—of all things—computer 
Programming. (“How can I fail 
At explaining what I do 
When I program?” Sorry, 
Dude, no words involved then,
No words available now.)
=============================
Uneasily, after many misstarts to
One’s Life Direction,
Let them both talk. Let one
Over-rule the other, let one
Overrule the other. Blend,
Mend, learn Selective Voice
Attention Mode. Leaving one
Question, one conundrum: 
who selects which Voice? 
Who are you? 
Who are “You”?

It begins like this

(to my mother, a bit, but mostly to me)

It begins like this, this
path toward normalcy,
the funeral two weeks past:
One less beer before bed.
Dreams versus nightmares.
Willingly entering the jail of work.
Discovering your face is smiling.
Telling jokes.
Wondering why your friends
can't get along--then
not caring.
Considering
your life may continue as
once it did, an insensitive, joyous
expression of "Yes I'm Alive"...
Undermining this carefully
cultured mourning pose you've adopted.
And guiltlessly saying goodbye to it.