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THE STORY OF US

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I awake most mornings to a sense of deficiency; my mind is hard to move forward – like an old car with a slipping clutch. And I can’t sit in front of my computer anymore, put on my favorite music, and write down my heart. My words fail me – flooded as they are with anger derived from a Facebook stupidity or the NYT headlines. I know, I open that door every morning  – I walk in thinking somehow things will be different, someone will upload some piece of information that does not require a fear of going to hell or total annihilation to act upon.  It would be promising to see Times headlines speaking of peace in the Middle East, a true and peaceful blossoming Arab Spring. But no, truth is painful and  half -truths are doubly painful. I am retired, five years now – and I am prepared to quit my part-time adjunct position at the local community college – a job only meant to ease my transition from 24 years of high school teaching. It has done its job.  I sit on my deck now and watch the apples ripen on the ancient tree in the side yard – no it’s not like watching grass grow or paint dry because the growth of the apples signal a freshening of sorts, an advancing – of the deer and fall. It is unchanging – this seasonal slippage. It happens with no coaxing or caffeine induced rage. Unlike human nature, nature is separate – slipping the bounds of discovery and design. It is what it is – no more no less.  My knees and back ache. Yes, you could say it is simply age but I like to think these aches come from years of struggling under the weight of why.

  This week I began an online class offered by Coursera –  A Brief History of Human Kind by professor Yuval Noah Harari  who beams his talks from a chair in Israel to people as close as his Palestinian neighbors to hundreds if not thousands of students worldwide wanting to know the history of us. I’ve just completed session 1 which has moved me from why to how:  If we spent so many thousands of years being hunted and eaten just how did we maintain our grasp (however slippery) on that middle link of survival only to move to the top of that monstrous food chain? As my professor said, we had no physical strength or size, no great teeth, claws or tough hide to protect us and yet here we are – god of all creatures great and small.  I’m left thinking this accident of ascendance is because we are genetically wired to wage war and kill in mass quantities for purposes other than food. Maybe something as simple as thumbs…? – But the great apes are equipped with such – they can still be captured and enslaved. So, thumbs are out. Maybe we began using our brains – proportionally larger than other beasts – to better advantage. Whatever the case, I agreed with my professor that man was (and remains, in my view) ill equipped for his role at the top of the food chain.

 So, after my first week of study, I’ve learned that cooperation within the species holds more weight than the phrase “survival of the fittest.” Indeed, according to professor Harari, because we have ascended so rapidly to the top of the food chain, we remain weak and vulnerable. So much so, we have the all-consuming need (for survival?) to fortify ourselves for protection (the fittest?). Harari likened early sapiens to ascendant albeit frightened lambs nervously scanning a shortened horizon for a leader. This suggests we are not really armed wolves fighting to survive but something far more dangerous – armed sheep.    

FULL MOON IN CANCER

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My upper deck yields the timeless, touchable orb

Back home and sleepy

I see nothing of my worries on its face

My misery must be bending somewhere

Kneeling, in the black gaps provided by the arbor vitae trees,

in full supplication before this sweet full vanilla moon

I can hear life, at the sound of my screen door closing,

A darting, scattering to

A lightless safety

Hiding the heads of bunnies bumping together

In consternation caused by

The impenetrable garden fence

Bunnies don’t understand the science of immutability

With a lexicon fueled by the tender leaves of lettuce

They barter their bodies for change

Leaving me in brief study of Lorca

Living life in quiet desire, burning

With its greatest punishment

A body in service to fear

Selling remnants of material existence, but

Unlike the garden-bunnies, hiding in

Shadows of shame in incompleteness –

Smiling from the arms of flesh

GET A NEW WORLD

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Get a new World

throw the old one out

whatever is is not

one can drink the doubt

 

Etherized village

housing the bomb

spasms of brilliance

an end to aplomb

 

Playing in the fields

of gods abstract

nothing more deceptive

than obvious fact

 

Slouching to birth

a World’s small event

butterflies’ wings

create human rent

 

It is easy

with water & babe

throw out the bath

than new self be made

 

Cool ourselves in heat

of possibility

easy a new World

than heart’s humility

 

THE BOOK OF TRUTHS PAST

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Oh that there were a book

With no question to its accuracy

Where one could only look

And see mistakes of history

Learning would be inherent

No shadow of greed to fall

Across the heart the parent

Not young enough to know it all

The book would stand tall behind

The door of every man

A shotgun of knowledge kind

And aimed with a steady hand

The book would flow torrential

Facts and historical drama

No skimming of great potential

Or dreams of instant karma

Book: A dramatic monologue

Proving Adler’s aggressions

Book: The human travelogue

Of our material obsessions

A book impossible to read

Through rose tinted lens

Reality’s ugliest seed

Blooms real and honest gems

This  bible of truths past

Will center all ceremony

And anchor our future fast

Outruling hate and acrimony

Twist the question marks of life

To laws inherent day-to-day

Book of past truths will be rife

With lessons to show the way

A  dictionary to live and sleep

Between the sheets of truth

With rent my room and board my keep

And honesty for my roof

Who will the first page start

Tempting suspicion of cynics

Dare a brave message from the heart

And peacefully slay the mimics

TERRIBLE GOODNESS

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We legislate our terrible goodness

As if nature didn’t exist

As if she will not open her great maw of

Poetic justice and suck in her

Poisoned air

   As if she will forever

Keep mighty trees propping up

The stars that have died eons ago

  As if she will forever allow

Freedom to be

The barometer of a civilization

   We have failed in our charge

Blind to the vision of bleached and

Scattered bones of an

Earth free to be

Legislated to death

    The bomb in the baby carriage

Tells us

We should all be enslaved

By limitation

    There should be no freedom

To be evil

To the earth  – or

To each other