Perspective

“Thou art a little soul bearing about a corpse, as Epictetus used to say”
– Marcus Aurelius, translated by George Long

Life is short;
The Universe is forever:
An ocean swallowing
The teardrops of human existence,
Born a thousand eons
Before our earliest ancestors
Had drug themselves from
The primordial ooze.
So long ago that
Only God was there
To witness the blessed event.
Though, perhaps, even He
Is too young to recall the day.

A dozen millennia after
Our great-great-grandchildren
Have become dust
Blown on the solar winds,
It will still be here,
Waiting patiently
For its appointment with Death
At the other end of Eternity.

19 July 1999

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Dreams of Poems Already Written

Allen was in Asgard reciting America and
Singing the Buddhist Bible Blues for All-Father Odin
While Bobby and Baldr compared notes concerning
Daily dreams of darkness, depression, and death.
Byron rode up and down Bifröst bridge
Writing a poem about Don Juan
(No, not that one, the new one!)
Marcus Aurelius read the mythologies of Midgard,
Studied philosophy with Plato,
Admiring the stoicism of Socrates,
As Rimbaud wrote rhyming prose about Ragnarök,
Containing nothing but the truth,
Delivering it to Valhalla for the consideration of
Siddhartha, Thor and Wōđanaz.

4/2/17

Poem #3 for National Poetry Writing Month (aka #NaPoWriMo)

When to be an Idealist

Hard to be an idealist when the world turns to shit,
Dreams and hopes, ideals and integrity suffocate
With cold stark reality’s boot-heel pressing on your throat.
Sweet cynicism is so inviting–
Not the Cynicism of Diogenes, simple virtuous living gutter monk gadfly dress in Socratic rags,
masturbating in the streets of Athens and telling emperors to stop blocking his sun–
Un-capitalized cynicism, giving up on humanity, everyone out for themselves
Motivated only by self serving ambition, materialistic greed and untempered desire.
Universe, a dark infinite cold uncaring meaningless place we live only to die.
No expectations, no disappointments, no pain;
No meaning, no happiness, no true flourishing of souls.

Socrates and Zeno taught me, nobody intentionally does wrong,
Ignorance and confusion over what is truly valuable,
Everyone is the hero of their own story,
Educate them or just put up with them, friend Marcus advised,
They can be a great people, they want to be.
They only lack the light to show the way. Be a light unto the nations.

Life is filled with suffering chaos and always ends in death,
Siddhartha showed suffering can be suffocated; Death need not be feared,
Many paths lead to the top of the mountain,
Some short, some long, some steep, some not.
Find a guide, be a guide; but you can’t walk the walk for them.
People only change if they want to,
For better or for worse.

Storm clouds gather, thunder in the distance,
The world returned to wilderness,
Wailing suffering of millions like a weight on my chest.

I remember watching Battlestar Galactica back in ’06
Refugees of a holocaust had found a new home,
Not perfect, but all their own,
Cylons arrive in the sky with fascism, slavery and death.
Their government surrenders, all seems lost.
“What do you want to do now, Captain.”
“The same thing we always do, fight them until we can’t.”

The most important time to be an idealist,
Is when the world turns to shit.

11/12/16

A Blink in the Eyes of Eternity

The length of human life is a single point,
A blink in the eye of eternity,
A brief bright light among many
Bordered on all sides by oblivion

Flowing like a mighty river
Swollen by storms, shrunk by drought,
Never stopping, ever changing,
Flowing out, becoming the sea.

The body is a decaying sack
Of meat, bone and mucus
Held up and animated by a dream,
Self aware smoke on the wind.

The past is dead and gone: a memory.
The future uncertain and un-promised.
The present moment slips through fingers
trying to grasp sand, ever slipping away.

Memento Mori (A Sonnet)

Went down the desert where the vultures feed
On human flesh rotting in the sunshine.
Pluck eyes, testicles, suck out the seed.
Bloated remains, corpses, on which they dine.

Bereft of life, we all end up a meal
For buzzards, for jackals, microbes and worms.
Most don’t want to admit that death is real,
Its a truth with which all must come to terms.

If you live like you’ll last a thousand years
The time to be a good man will ne’er come.
You’ll end your life with your soul in arrears,
Fighting the fate you can ne’er escape from.

Slaves to fear and death are ne’er truly free,
Socrates didn’t fear death, why should we?

10/12/16

Thoughts, Dreams and Reflections (For Allen Ginsberg)

allenginsberg

I. Thoughts

I thought of you today, Allen Ginsberg,
As I often do when the howls from
Desolation Row enrapture my mind.
Rapid fired images stolen from
Dreams and nightmares of America.
Starving in the streets like
Hysterical angel headed hipsters
And raggedy vagabond doctors
Crouched in darkened doorways
Snarling, scratching at the
Constable’s carriage for
A scrap of bread.

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