"I am humblified beyond audaciousness,
Transquilified through personal capacity
To mentify I had talent."
First, last, and I guess always, I am a reporter. If given facts I can spin them, quickly, making gold where others see dross. As Will Sonnett said, “No brag. Just fact.” Combined with a natural inquisitiveness, a need to understand what I was looking at/hearing, a need to make sense of things, it all served me well. I used these skills to write important documents for drug manufacturers when I knew only a little science and even less engineering. Asking questions make you seem intelligent, it seems, at least if they’re intelligent questions. (Yes, Virginia, there are stupid questions.)
For that reason, I’m redirecting this blog. The poems and essays won’t disappear, but I will write more frequently if I indulge my many ideas playing across my mind, ideas which don’t fit neatly into the holes for “essay” or “poem”.
I spent my teenaged years with a significant amount of time at the kitchen table just talking with my mother. She liked to talk. I like to talk. When the conversation turned to “what are you thinking for your future?”, my response was, “Ideally, I would have a job where I could just talk like this and make money from it.”
I partially achieved that when I graduated from college (finally–it took an “extra’ 18 months) and started working as a news editor/reporter on a weekly newspaper. I listened, I wrote, I published, I basked in the glory…or rather, I got paid a paltry wage that seemed a gift from heaven. After moving to another paper, though, I realized, “hey, I don’t really like going out to find things that people are saying or worse, aren’t saying but we really would like to know. I want to just say things from the heart of me, from inside. I don’t want to have to go find it.” Truthfully, going out there and trying to drum up stories seemed like work.
So I went into teaching. That was great. Except that I realized after nine years…I don’t really love kids, not like my fellow teachers said they did. It was a great run, taught me a lot about being assertive and ‘out there’, gave me a great background in labor issues when I negotiated the collective bargaining agreement with the school district’s administrators (or later, lawyers), but in the end I just accepted that as much as I liked TALKING for six or seven hours a day, this wasn’t my gig.
I decided to realize my dream of being a freelance writer, i.e., a writer who writes what he wants and somehow makes a living at it. I had no idea how to do that, and basically learned over 15 months that I had absolutely no discipline to do this for a living. I entered the business world, used my skills at writing, analyzing, and computing to make a very successful career. But…..
Writing manufacturing process assessments and standard operating procedures (SOP’s) didn’t permit the craziness to get out. I found minor ways to let it out, but they were limited. Some semi-anonymous vice-president isn’t interested in my poem about the reality deep in my hidden soul. After more than a decade of this, Facebook seemed okay for this sort of thing, at least a little….
Pissing away my writing skills on Facebook festered like a chancre. I harbored the desire to write. After this, after that, I started this blog in September 2021. Now, a year later, I realize the need to write WEIGHTY STUFF just isn’t there, not in the sense that it’s going to happen here on a regular basis. Maybe it’s the lack of discipline thing again. Accordingly, ….
I’m repurposing this blog. It will be the lengthy post I could never do on Facebook, the chattiness that drives my wife crazy, the off-the-cuff observations that might not have any substantial exposition. What is written may fuel the more substantial things which will appear also.
One piece of writing has been sitting for twenty days at this point, waiting to be born. If I worked solidly at others, that wouldn’t be an issue, but that’s not what is happening. The piece of writing I reference had a timeliness which said “publish me quickly”. That hasn’t happened, and now it needs to rewritten. I need to keep priming the pump with whatever is on my mind, even if it’s not sufficiently weighty or well-written. I need to be chatty again.
Here we go.
American sentence #2
Glass half empty? NO! It’s upside down! Turn it over. It’s full to the brim!
wriggling fish eludes grasp
rewritten…see later post
My first American sentence*
Raven-black part of my consciousness
Why are you there?
Oh, yeah. You’re me.
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
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.
“He writes poetry to maintain his sanity, and hopes to succeed some day.”As seen in the bio of James Piatt, octogenarian, on Ephemeral Elegies
(this is not a poem)
This is not a poem. This is not a diatribe. This is not a manifesto. This is not much of anything at all, Except one man accepting his Legacy from another.
He carried burdensome feelings of inadequacy, imperfection, insensitivity, all of them tamped down hard, buried deeply, like a stone in his heart. He layered it with each failure, consoled himself with "At least I am providing for my family." "At least I do good work, support my co-workers with grace, with fairness." And mostly with "At least I fear God." Though whether fearing God came from his true heart or from his boyhood he never knew.
Each new layer of failure or consternation or losing control to anger resonated all of the other layers. Each new layer seemed heavier than the last. Eventually his heart-weight became too much. One failure too many. He said to himself, "I am perfect enough that never, never should that have happened." He said it again. And again. And every day again. He repeated it, haunted himself with it, layering and layering his heart until it only could beat when he didn't think-- and he only could not think by shutting out his own voice, stopping up his ears to his heart-stone: taking flight in sleep, in blessed nothingness.
Five years and five months he stayed chained to that heart. Then he died.
I saw that man yesterday. I see him more frequently these days. I recognize his ways. It seems I live with him more and more. I wish I could cradle his rounded, load-weary shoulders, caress the thin hair of his head. Tell him it's okay.
Then ask him, "Could you do the same for me?"
No, definitely not a poem. Poems rhyme, poems have meter. Poems make sense.
Brain Dump, Open Tuesdays
Gnaw Orleans, population one. Surrounded by tusked tasks, centered but not, paralyzed. Icy tears bend old branches--will one break? Violin music screams out its bow-stressed catgut attack. By your aches shall ye know you're alive. By my ass shall alligators gnaw me. Hey, Thoreau, when the quiet desperation's gone, Where's my motivation?
"You must sort like with like; Unlike items may not be grouped. Please Do not place viable problems among Long-dead festerments of imagination which Likely never lived in the first place. Your Concerns must be separated into irritants, Road-blocks, and show-stoppers. If you need help, please use the app on Your phone--attendants appear only to Add worries to your concerns."
Henry David, I'm gonna need a hand here. Give the catgut to the alligator, melt This ice offa me, distract a few of the tuskers With your burdensome thoughts while I Attempt to choose which of these ass-gnawing, Branch-breaking stressors will be coming Home with me tonight...