Monday, October 29, 2012

Monday, October 22, 2012


For those new to this blog, and as a reminder to regular visitors who might have forgotten about the Archive page on my main website, “My Old Black Sport Coat,” a poem written in 2007 shortly after my first grandson was born, is the current offering there. I hope you like it, and of course you’re always welcome to browse the other pages, which are also “likeable” and “shareable” in the social media sense. Thank you.

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Clown

One intriguing aspect of my life is that even now, at the ripe and reasoned age of fifty-six, I don’t know if I’ve made a single major decision — that is, the kind of decision we generally associate with a change in direction, the advent of deeper understanding, or memorable accomplishment. I don’t say that decisions weren’t made. I simply can’t say with any certainty that I’m the one who made them; for I think it’s every bit as possible, if not likely, that the important decisions in my life were made by life, and that I am here expressly to abide by them and do its will.

Now, a peculiar part of all this is that I still feel responsible for the outcome. And yet I’m here by a force beyond my control, imprinted with characteristics I had no say in acquiring. Only in growing up, only in being taught that some characteristics are useful and good and that others are best subdued, was I able to find a place first in my family, and then in the world around me. In other words, I was taught honesty and survival.

It’s a hard thing, survival. One reason it’s hard is that honesty is lacking in so many. And remember, honesty isn’t really honesty if it has limits, and is reduced to a matter of expediency.

Are human beings capable of complete honesty? If our religions, philosophies, and political systems are any indication, it would appear that we have our serious doubts, or, at the extreme, are willing to believe we aren’t — a big difference; the difference. But it must also be remembered that vast numbers of us, in our deadly grace and poetic ignorance, sincerely mean well. So maybe we do believe, but are afraid of the consequences.

It’s quite possible that you are in control of your life; whether you are or not isn’t for me to say. I only know that I’m not in control of mine. I’m proud of some of the things I’ve done, and embarrassed by others. I’ve written poems and books, but I hope my best is yet to come. If any or all of this has come about through decisions I’ve consciously or unconsciously made, I own up to them. If they’re the result of decisions made for me, then I hope to better understand that process.

I don’t believe what countless others are willing and content to believe. I don’t believe what they are afraid not to believe. I don’t believe in me. I just act accordingly. The hand I hold out, the blood within that gives it warmth, the image of this aging mind and body reflected by the mirror, the memories I recall, the timeless sense of flight I feel, are as so many leaves in the wind. Of this, I’m glad. I don’t know how not to be. Should this deem me laughable to some, I join in your laughter. For it is just such a tragedy that I love.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Percy Anecdotes

Two volumes in one,
under the pseudonyms of Reuben and Shelto Percy,
Brothers of the Benedictine Monastery,
Mont Benger

New York : Richard Scott

(Book measures approximately 3½ x 5¾ inches)

Monday, October 1, 2012

Vanillo Gonzales

Another old book — and, as always,
the inhaling, and the quickening of the pulse.

“Doctor, is there hope for him?”

“Little, alas, as he heeds not my art at all.”

The turning of pages untrimmed,
unopened, unread.

“What course would you prescribe?”

“Stringent diet; painful exercise; subservience; a well-paid bill.”

“And should that fail?”

“We’ll see him at his funeral.”

(Such a novel exposition — as if they were not here willy-nilly, created on a whim.)

The History of Vanillo Gonzales,
Surnamed the Merry Bachelor

(Estevanille Gonzalez, 1732)

London : J.C. Nimmo and Bain

Only 100 Copies of this Edition on laid paper, medium 8vo,
with proof Etchings on Whatham paper, have been printed,
and are numbered consecutively as issued. No 69.