“The Fruits of Reason.”

This is a companion-piece to “Fierce Desire,” the previous post. I hope you like this one, too. 🙂


The Fruits of Reason

It doesn’t matter what the page will say;

I feel the text is cogent. If it’s not,

I’ll deck myself with Scripture’s arsenal

And beat back all the demons in my mind.

I know that they are Legion, and I fear

Myself run wild among the ancient tombs,

Not heeding when I cut myself in rage

Or caring when my discourse makes no sense.

I follow every thought to its own end,

Remarking on the death of every flower.

 

My courage is not born of knowledge; no,

It is the progeny of ignorance,

Of knowing all the little that I know.

My gaze is narrow, for I gaze on ink,

Collecting every memory of joy

Like twenty freshly-ripened citrus fruits,

To squeeze them dry of all their tender truths,

To mash out all the meaning from their flesh.

 

I nonetheless can feel my gaunt resolve

Still stiffened, like a British bayonet;

It still stares down the starving corridors

Where rows of mindless theses line the walls.

My iron will still strikes upon the stone

Of tapped-out brain and overburdened heart.

I feel my flaring neurons waken me:

One more! If I could just write one more word,

It might fulfill the promise of my life,

The prophecy enclosed in my true name,

The endless quest for meaning and for peace.

 

I know that words can’t fill my hungry soul,

And concepts cannot keep me warm at night.

Their meaning lies behind the printed signs,

Because words point to love, to fond embrace,

To laughter over games, to pints of beer.

Sometimes our sentience serves to isolate,

To wall us off from feeling and from growth;

Our words and deeds must blend to form our life.

 

There’s nothing wrong with rationality,

But reason’s light will quickly ebb and die

Without the kindling of relationship.

The twining passions set our hearts ablaze

And light our vivid paths, like earthly stars.

“Fierce Desire.”

I wrote this one last night under the influence of a can of  Boneshaker. It concerns my decompression from my thesis. I hope you like it! 🙂


Fierce Desire

I feel a quietness suffuse my soul,

A calm that rolls through me like seaward tide.

I feel the gentle loss of stern control

That comes on me when I let go of pride.

It doesn’t matter what the page will say;

It matters little where the footnotes fall.

I wrote a cogent text, in my own way,

Because I felt its urgent, whispered call:

I can live out the joy, the vibrant grace

That is my birthright from the holy flames;

I must discern a loving, welcome space

Where all my friends can hear Love speak their names.

My text is holy, full of living fire,

Because it joins true love to fierce desire.

“Sometimes Fear.”

This poem is sort of like a found object. I was depressed when I wrote the first part, last fall; I was depressed again when I finished it last night. So…it’s a chronicle of depression? I hope you like it.


Sometimes Fear

Some days, I feel ahead, and full of joy;

I fly around the worlds in my mind,

And map their verdant contours with an eye

That sees into the turquoise mystery.

I’ll taste a sweetened mocha on my tongue

And feel the gentle touch of soft white hands.

Some days, I scurry down a terraced hill

Into the waiting arms of those I love,

And find my laughter and my solace there.

 

On other days, I’m dogged by whispered fears—

The fear that I am never good enough,

That no part of my work is valuable,

That nothing that I see will ever change.

Will they befriend me, just to run away?

Is there a cell at Sinai just for me,

Beside the other empty, angry ones?

I fear that I’ll be emptied of my love—

Or worse, that all my noble words are vain,

For people are not saintly after all.

I am afraid to name my selfishness,

To wonder at the hardness of my heart.

 

I feel afraid to offer you my hand,

Because a gentle handshake hurts too much;

Sometimes when we’re together, I can’t speak,

Because I cannot know what you might say…

 

What can I call my soft timidity?

What name describes my fearful reticence?

Sometimes I call it sadness, sometimes fear;

Sometimes it blends with ancient pent-up wrath

And all my anger spills across the page

In scarlet, searing bursts of imagery,

In words as hot as arid desert sand.

I hope, one day, the rage will go away,

And leave me with the greening pulse of joy.

 

I hope to paint that joyous scene again,

The quick, effusive dance of laughing eyes;

I want to feel the sunlight in my veins,

Suffusing all my deeds with unity

And giving substance to my narrative.

I’ll see my sorrows bound with silver cords,

And feel anew the pulse of agency.

 

“Contours of Eternity: the Return.”

In light of a great experience sharing my poetry with some colleagues in California at an academic conference, I’ve decided to reboot my book of poetry, Contours of Eternity. Here, once again, is the link to the book, newly-priced and ready to sell!

http://www.blurb.ca/b/4705289-contours-of-eternity

I hope you like my work!

“Shadow-song.”

I wrote this l ast night; I’ve been thinking about it for six days…

And I hope I don’t have to explain it more than that. 🙂


Shadow-song: a Sonnet for Chris Cornell

Your liquid melodies are tidal waves,

Embracing us and drowning all our pain,

But there’s no lifeline; there’s no hand that saves.

Your beauty crashes into us again.

Your voice still melts away anxiety,

Both scarred by cigarettes and smooth as skin.

Its angel notes caress infinity;

We stand in awe; with you, we cannot sin.

You call to us from fear and helplessness;

You sing of shadow through your aching heart.

You offer honesty and sweet redress,

Though loneliness and loss obscure your art.

Your longing tones still echo through the sky.

Your music feeds us still, and does not die.

“Weeping Sky.”

This is resistance, take two. I hope you like it…but even more, I hope you can reach out to others with greater empathy after you read it.

I owe the phrase “power-mongers” to singer-songwriter Bruce Cockburn, and I adapted the phrase “red calamity” from a line in Tennyson’s “In Memoriam A.H.H.”


Weeping Sky: a Sonnet in Protest against the Passage of the A.H.C.A. in May 2017

The shadows elongate, and fill my heart;

They press their leaden weights upon my chest.

The terror tears my every thought apart,

And fills me with a violent unrest.

A racist, ableist, sexist health-care law

Deprives good people of their dignity,

While power-mongers trade in shock and awe

And feed their souls with red calamity.

I pause for breath. Despite the weeping sky,

And gloomy news that makes me feel dismayed,

I’ll face grim chaos with an open eye,

And let no thieving thugs make me afraid.

I pray for equity, and won’t relent.

From Trump’s new health-care bill, I here dissent.

“An Outcry for Outcasts: a Meditation on Donald Trump’s Executive Order Restricting Refugees in January 2017.”

On January 21st, 2017, I wrote:

Although a fascist reigns in Washington,

And Earth is steeped in hate and bigotry,

We’ll march until the chains all come undone,

And everyone—all humankind—is free.

All right. Freedom is a good end-goal, but what about now? How do I deal with the INCONTROVERTIBLE FACT that Donald Trump has just banned refugees from seven Muslim-majority countries entry into the States for months?!

  1. Access is a human right. ACCESS IS A HUMAN RIGHT!
  2. He’s certainly angered clerics and laypeople all over the Middle East…which does the multiple peace-processes there no favours…
  3. He would remove people like Ali Khoshbakhti Vayeghan, an Iranian nearly returned to Iran by way of Dubai, from places where, nominally, they can be SAFE.

Let’s back up. Let me be perfectly clear. If access is a human right, and if everybody—EVERY FUCKING BODY—has an inalienable right to life, liberty, and human flourishing…

Then Trump’s order banning refugees and immigrants from Muslim-majority countries is IMMORAL as well as illegal. Detaining, deporting, and violating innocent human bodies is WRONG! WRONG! WRONG!

The order is immoral because it violates Matthew 25:35, just as a friend pointed out indirectly the other day. In that verse, Jesus asserts, “I was a stranger, and you welcomed me…I was in prison, and you visited me.” ALL HUMAN BEINGS NEED WELCOME, because when we welcome each other we grow together, and we increase the possibility for flourishing for ALL…but no. Mr. Trump would cast people he doesn’t even know into regions of possible and unspeakable terror and pain. Holy fuck…I can hardly breathe.

Trump also ignores, and therefore violates, Leviticus 19:33-34 and 24:22: “When the alien resides with you, you shall not oppress the alien…” Oh, AND Numbers 9:14 and 15:15-16: “You shall have one statute for the resident alien and the native.” Trump doesn’t have one law. He has two. Heaven help us, he likely has many laws…which, of course, reminds me of Tacitus. “The more corrupt a nation is, the more laws it has.” And absolute power corrupts, absolutely…

Okay. What can I do? How do I resist Trump’s executive order from here?

  1. I can—and I do!—affirm the dignity of my neighbours who are Muslim, and I signal-boost them whenever I can!
  2. I also scour the Qu’ran for material on hospitality.
  3. I breathe deeply, and promise myself to begin (anew?) each day to treat people with dignity.
  4. I celebrate the achievements of Muslims and persons of colour. In the former case, these include architectural concepts, Arabic numerals and algebra, and (some) literacy…oh, look, coffee. Apparently, coffee comes from Ethiopia and/or Yemen. Did Trump forget?
  5. I cry out every time I hear of Muslims being killed.
  6. I complain every time, every time, I hear of our media misrepresenting Muslims or people of colour.
  7. I will pray with, as well as for, my Muslim siblings.
  8. I will read Rumi, and possibly Gibran.
  9. I will continue to listen to R&B, rock and roll, and soul…and I will expand my palette of sonic inspiration to Middle Eastern music.
  10. I will report to my brothers and sisters of colour that I am a person of safety.
  11. I will join in solidarity with those affected by the mosque-shooting in Quebec in January 2017.

That won’t be enough, but I know I can do those things…and with all these measures, I can take small steps to END THE BIGOTRY against embodied difference represented by this hateful order.

Ready, steady…go.