EGOTISTICAL SUBLIME

I thought: What is this world?

What is all this? And then I saw four letters

Staring at me from the label on a stranger’s coat,

Their back to me on the train.

T-O-M-S. And it grabbed me by the throat.

“Tom’s” suddenly flashed upon my brain.

The answer was simple, delicate and fine.

The world—everything thought, seen and felt—is mine.

Here is the secret to the whole world.

You couldn’t figure it out, my sweetest girl.

You couldn’t figure it out, psychiatrists and sages,

Priests and gurus, poets through the ages.

The transit authority stamps its “T”

On the sides of trains—and that’s me.

If the truth were announced, everyone would look.

I don’t want that. The secret is not found in a book,

Or in anyone’s mind; it’s not a crude matter of fame,

Because the truth of the world and the world are not the same.

It is the truth of all time, and it begins with a “t.”

I didn’t see it because I was too close to it—the truth is none other than me.

She—who I loved—was never able to see.

She told me that on two separate occasions the answer almost came,

While she was in a meditative revery,

But it was lost! She recounted this bitterly

While I, her lover, listened helplessly,

But now I laugh, for the truth is known—

She almost found the truth because she was profoundly alone

And nearest to the secret—the secret that she was the secret.

But poor blind thing! A searching—but not a great—soul—she lost it.

Though—profoundly timid—she never wrote poetry,

I knew she was a poet—it seemed obvious to me.

“Tom,” she would cry, in our ecstatic embraces,

“Tom! Tom! Tom!” Cried among kisses drenching our faces,

Love speaking my name, beautiful and sublime,

Reminding me! Reminding me! That life is—mine!

 

 

 

POEMS WRITE ME

Poems write me

Even as I die in this boring life

With business matters dangling over the days and the wife.

A sentence keeps me in line.

The soil is usually a line or a phrase,

Which may end up being the pretty flower,

The title, or the poem’s (yawn) most important line.

Helpless, I let creation have its say.

If a line is what struck me first, it will probably stay.

Of course, I may end up throwing what fell from the sky away.

Oh, and the root of every inspiration is you.

In this poem, for instance, you wait in the stem.

There you are. Strike that line. No, that will do.

Poems write what they please. I don’t write them.

PAINTING WITH MY LEFT HAND

The universe spins in a certain direction;
That’s how we know we’re—here.
This line moves at a certain speed:
Music finds its beat.  Conversations are clear.

But it’s not the business of poetry to tell you this:
Science is factual; what’s scientific about a kiss?

I did not wish to intrude on science’s domain.
But delightful kissing will make the kissing poet vain,
So love disguises itself as wisdom, making itself even more plain.

I write right-handed,
But throw with my left hand.
I am going to throw my signature at you.
I want to do something dumb;
Paint with my left hand, to make the drunken Muse come.

THIRTEEN (FOR MY DAUGHTER)

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Life is made for a thirteen-year old girl.

All that is strange and entertains us in this world

Is made for her, from the carefully painted toes

To the old, comedy television shows

Produced by fashionable drunks and their wives

Who make adult situations out of the situations in their lives

Which recall an earlier day and an earlier age

When the playful was more important than the sage,

And history, the wreck we carry on our backs

Needs to be forgotten, so every adult can just relax.

No longer attached to mom and dad,

Too much time ahead, too proud to be boring or sad:

Everyone wants, in their hearts, to be thirteen,

No compromise, nothing in-between,

Too young to be nostalgic, too young to be wise,

And old enough that one burning smirk sits like all the world in her eyes.

 

 

 

WHEN YOUR QUIET MUSIC

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When your quiet music fell upon the world

The warmth of the stars added to their light

A new and remarkable night,

A universe of hearts who burned mysteriously like stars.

Each male heart was warm, holding in the curled right hand the curled hand of a girl

And each girl’s heart could have been like a cloud that envelopes the sun

When sunset makes violet and golden bars.

Of all those girls and boys, you and I were one.

If there is a twinkling music, here it was,

Nimbler than I ever remember music being,

Yet with sweet understanding—as when smiling faces reflected are the faces seeing.

There is always a substance missing when delicate delights are contemplated;

So it is with music, and all refinements attempted;

The sorrow of the parts are real, for they are not the sun.

They are the impulses and clouds which undulate and run.

It is the beauty that is fading; the loveliness, itself, the death

That makes us slow down our breathing and love each next to last breath,

As we listen to the composer’s particulars glisten

In the slow overriding sound,

Like a planet coming near and slowly touching another planet’s ground.

Music cannot replace love.

Our composer’s revery has let fall what had delighted us in the fast-breathing regions above.

Love has returned to me all the remarkable love it found.

I drink the notes but now gaze at you from afar,

A warm planet now a cold star.

FOR _________

Let practical life and its lackeys,
Immersed in details and laughter,
Stand, impenetrable, to my mad poetry and my mad desires.
I can laugh as well as they,
And am warmed by the same fires.
I would not have that practical edifice fall
Or the practical things fail.
I, too, have needs, and must put things in my little pail.
Contemporary art is kindergarten
And yet its billions
Are the envy of bad poets, who number in the millions.
Philosophy wrecks itself on science
Which is a slave
To everything the brutally unscientific crave.
Love is the only glory.
The one I love says: “Where shall we meet?”
This is poetry—this is all—and I fall at her feet.

TAKE MY WORDS, PAINTER

Take my words, painter;
Give them the dark and the light
Which attends creation.
My reader is blind!  Give her sight.

My words are blind. Let her see
Her meaning to me
Travel in her own eyes.
Make her see, for the first time, my poetry

In all its hues and cries.
Let her see my pleas to her
In our hearts, where worlds occur.

All she hears are futile sighs:
“My love, my love, my love!”

Let her watch the lowlands where my sorrow flies,
And walk through the fields of meditation with the dove.

Speak, painter. No, sing.
Poetry can say nothing.

TAKE MY WORDS, COMPOSER

Take my words, composer,

And make them your own.

Add music. For I have lost my love

And all I can do is groan.

 

Take this heart, composer,

No longer glad or light,

And fix up my utterances

For a somber and solemn night.

 

Take my loss, composer.

Your music might something keep.

Play my words with music

Until I fall asleep.

IT WOULDN’T BE BAD IF YOU LOVED ME

It doesn’t take much to make me glad:

A dip in a mountain lake, a long walk under stars by the sea.

And it wouldn’t be bad if you loved me.

 

It doesn’t take much to make me glad:

A bowl of strawberries for dessert; on the piano, a melody.

And it wouldn’t be bad if you loved me.

 

It doesn’t take much to make me glad:

Thinking about you. Thinking about you every day.

And it wouldn’t be bad if you loved me.

 

Did I tell you I like Brussels sprouts? And guacamole?

I know. You have your own special recipe.

And it wouldn’t be bad if we had some tea.

 

I like going places alone. I’m a bit of a loner, but not too bad.

Do you like being alone? Does that make you glad?

How are you under stress? How do you handle the mundane?

I like desire, and I don’t mind the clingy—that’s how much I like desire.

 

But you have your doubts that you can always be on fire.

And I notice you are not good-natured. That’s going to get worse.

Okay, maybe it wouldn’t be bad if I thought this out more.

 

This started out as a clever, sentimental song.

How did it go wrong?

Who am I kidding? I made it wrong.

Or maybe this is how it is supposed to go.

I wrote the wise parts fast, the foolish part, slow.

 

 

 

A WOMAN IS A MAGAZINE: FASHION POEM NUMBER FOUR

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A woman is a magazine.

A magazine is why most women are horrors.

We all know the beautiful girl is mean

And the one who dresses best is the young teen

In thrown-together combinations wild,

But selling your soul to Conde Nast

Kills your soul pretty fast.

I didn’t know anything in the world

Until I realized she was a Town and Country girl.

A simple blouse and skirt, the center of her casual pride,

Prada bag, leather sandals, pretty watch, wealthy and dignified

The essence of her, the real her inside.

She sized me up as a careless, earnest, poet without style

Who—protected by her Town & Country brand—she could dally with for awhile.

Town & Country is a dual symbol—not two-faced, exactly,

But she liked its implication of social flexibility.

Something in my temples and neck she found vaguely aristocratic.

When I wore blue shirts bringing out my blue eyes,

She knew Town & Country had made her, a poor wall flower, pretty damn okay

By making her pleasant, without having too much to say.

With her love of nature, and her Yves Saint Laurent perfume,

I forgot my learning when she came into the room.

It quickly became a contest, which she knew she could win:

Tortured wordiness versus sweet, casual, Town & Country grin.

I liked everything. Even Rolling Stone. My sense of taste was vile.

Town & Country was all she needed to enjoy me for awhile.

 

 

 

 

 

MY POEMS AND MY LIPS

My poems and my lips taste the same
As my flesh, as my name.

A shape—before touching—which you see
Is how my lips first spoke for me.

My lips still have nothing to say
To your beauty on this beautiful day.

Your beautiful name in the night
Swings back and forth in my brain like a light

In the breeze of an approaching storm:
Cold at first, and then very warm.

My poems speak for my lips:
On the ocean of my sighs, the ships.
Do you see my poems, lighted things,
In the mist, longing for shore where the longing shore bird sings?

I told my lips the other day,
My poems, in scintillating array,
Will be a navy for my lips, which cannot say
What it feels like in our hearts when ships take our hearts away.

My poems and my lips are almost the same—
Each made of dust, one crying your name
In a glorious attempt at fame:
Yours—if lips are not shaped the same.

 

 

YOU, ALREADY IN LOVE

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You, already in love, I did not see you there,

When I first fell in love with your shadow,

Who, although a shadow, presented a show

Daring to love me, and loving that I might dare

To love you; two minds embracing all love might know,

As two finally move into shadows with a sigh,

Knowing all they are is about to die.

There were warning signs, that I

Was only loving a shadow—“love is a madness,”

You said, and “everything must finally end,”

And you not wanting children;

I should have known; though I did guess

Something wasn’t right from the start.

I loved a shadow, a shadow! with all my heart!

And you, already in love, simply could not be

The shadow your shadow was when you first kissed me.

 

 

 

 

HUMBLE SITA SPEAKS

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“The Ramayana…is a divine romance…of undying love between Sita and Rama, two aspects of one divinity whose separation from each other…is illusion…acted out for the benefit of their devotees.”  —Self help psychology book

Why should I care about what you made up in your mind?

I’m not your epic poem. Fuck off. I’m not your Sita

And you’re certainly not Rama, you pathetic oaf.

You think if you steep your shit in ancient religion

It will impress me? Words, words, words. Psychology

And poetry and desire and big fat fucking deal. Listen:

Dinner and movie and you pay. Then we’ll see.

You must be confident. And funny.

Hey, put your poetry aside and look at me.

Sita gives all the guys hard-ons so don’t fucking think I’m going to be

Impressed by yours. You don’t know anything. I’ll show you femininity.

I’m better than you. I use you. Finding me might not be a good find.

Poet-Asshole! Why should I care what you make up in your mind?

 

 

 

 

 

EVERYTHING

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I don’t praise Everything, but stand in awe of it.

I had an insight today and realize how much we are enslaved by the everything of Everything.

Capitalism, Everything’s cousin, is disliked, and looking for a pair of socks this morning, I finally understood why.

My drawer is filled with unmatched socks, and as I studied my various dark socks in the light to find an exact match, I asked myself,

“Wouldn’t it be easier if there were One Dark Sock Factory that served all feet, making one dark sock that fits all?”

You see, I couldn’t care less about these subtle varieties of dark sock—and here Everything confronted me—countless varieties of socks exist because someone wishes to make money with their brand of specialized sock.

So I cursed capitalism.  If sock manufacturing were a socialist enterprise, all my dark socks, made from one simple model at a fair price, would match.  The variety of socks in the world—the Everything factor—was wasting my morning, as I attempted to find a match.

Things, the minions of Everything, take revenge against us if we do not pay attention to them.

My shoes, conveniently placed under my bed so I could put them on upon waking, somehow managed to get themselves far under the bed, so I had to bend over and reach for them, feeling about under the bed, in a flurry of curses.

I have been trained, however, to make what annoys me bear fruit.

I notice that nothing falls into place for us—Everything makes things difficult, annoying, and displaced—Everything is unruly and runs away from us: shoes, socks, the sheets and blankets on the bed—which always arrange themselves in such a way that ‘making the bed’ is an odious task.

There is no time for anything.

There is no time to make more time.

Everything is a cage.

We are trapped, and trying to escape traps us further.

But putting our finger on something, articulating the problem, makes us happy for a moment, at least.

More generally, I thought of the universal effort to simplify our lives by simply ignoring a whole host of things—we tell ourselves we will not care about this thing or that thing, in order to make our existence simpler and happier—we will defeat this conspiracy of Everything by excluding a certain number of things from our lives.

But does this bring happiness?

No.

It is in the nature of things, no matter how divided, focused on, or excluded, to never satisfy.

If we exclude this or that in our life and focus on one thing, we think, if we focus on this, then we will be happy—but no, even the one thing we want, as we humbly give up our need for other things, eludes us, or proves disappointing—for no thing wishes to be ignored, and to focus on one thing means ignoring other things.

Things ignored take revenge on us—socks will not match, shoes will run away under the bed—not even one thing we attempt to make ours will be ours—everything conspires to make us unhappy, if we fail to give Everything its due.

We cannot exclude. And the following will illustrate this:

If we put our stock in poetry, and ignore the non-poetic, our most precious poem will be mocked and ridiculed in the public square, and we will be humiliated forever.

However, those who focus on the non-poetic and ignore poetry in their lives—the mockers in the public square—will discover, meanwhile, that a poet has stolen their wife.

You better know Everything. Or you—no matter who you are, or how “expert” you are—will get burned.

No one wins in the attempt to exclude; Everything will have its revenge.

If we attempt to make life simpler, if we decide, in an egalitarian serve-humanity spirit, to make life better by having one dark sock factory, this will backfire, like everything else.  The noble revolution will crumble and fall in despair, and finally, in humiliation.  Up rises Everything, and there shall be countless varieties of dark socks and your morning will be wasted looking for one dark sock to match another—because someone wants to get rich on socks.

I decided not to be bitter towards Everything and to surrender to its power.  After all, I thought, what about those poor souls forced to work in that dark sock factory?  How much fun would it be to be make one dark sock all day?

And, further, what of my own responsibility to organize my socks?  Is it not my sole responsibility to make sure my socks match?  How I launder my socks, how I purchase my socks, how I organize my socks—is this not the important thing?

Respect Everything.

Everything forces us to be organized, and is actually a moral agent, since being busy keeps us out of trouble.

So this, then, is why Everything exists, and why it exists the way it does—for moral, religious purposes.

Is not the Bible lengthy, and full of so many things that it requires long study? Of course it is. The Bible, like all religious texts, and like all documents involved in the legal tangle of capitalism, pay due homage to Everything, which is our true God.

Who has the time to pay attention to Everything? We don’t. Which is why the world is full of dull, unhappy people—even as Everything spreads its riches before us.

Here are the choices:

Bare feet: happy but ignorant.

Mismatched socks: socially condemned.

Matched socks: organized and dull.

And we see this roughly pertains to the three ages of Humanity:

bare feet, the Child;

mismatched, the Adolescent;

matched, the Adult.

The challenge is finally to take account of Everything’s moral nature, respect this aspect of it, and not let it make you dull and miserable, for it will make you dull and miserable if you fail to respect it.

The everything of Everything makes us busy, and this is how it makes us moral. Capitalism, which is the source of so much consternation on the Left, offends as a seemingly cruel and amoral system—but as we have shown, it is really the opposite—think of all the work that goes into producing a certain kind of dark men’s sock—merely because it serves the refining nature of Everything’s expansive complexity: in a word, the Civilized.

Why do we have children?

For one reason, really.

We don’t have enough Time here—so we hand off the task of living to our child: here, you do it. I don’t have time.

And then we find a child takes up all of our time.

Or, we don’t have children because we do believe we have time. We look young all the way to the end of our child-bearing years. Then age creeps in all of a sudden, and we have no children. Too late, we realize there is no time, and Everything discovers even more ways to torture us as we look into the empty mirror.

All the exhausted, unhappy faces that you meet—exist because of how many different kinds of socks there are. We are unhappy, moral, busy—our vacations brief and unsatisfying, our jobs tedious and unsatisfying.

Our attempts to “rise above” the mundane into the realm of love and beauty prove short-lived and untenable, as the spirit of Everything asserts itself, taking revenge on us for our vanity and our self-indulgence, for as soon as we embrace love and beauty, pride makes us irritable and thin-skinned—we continue to knock against Everything; fragile Beauty proves too difficult to maintain. 

We find ourselves in our bedrooms. Tears rolling down our cheeks. An annoying song on the radio. A stupid piece of instant “wisdom” on social media.  Crying over lost love.

And our holy consolation?

Oh God!

Sorting our socks.

Everything crushes us under its Wheel.

Everything, the One True God.

The only thing the fortunate are thankful for, thanks to our God, Everything:

I didn’t have too much time to be unhappy.

 

 

 

OVER

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Is it over then? Has the last note been played?

Must I go home? Without getting laid?

How bitter this ending! Just a minute ago

You excited me with talk of doing something slow

And now you frown. Every inch of your demeanor says, stop.

You are the greatest musician in the world. Did you know?

You can pick up a concert hall and let it drop.

I will now be hungering for the rest of a tune

That ended back there with strings and bassoon.

The solo piano played like the moon.

I will expect its entrance tomorrow at noon.

The concerto resolved, and yet did not.

Forever now! I will dream of that tune.

When provoking desire is an art, a spell,

That a magician, a musician, a woman—does well,

Music and love mutually swell, they mutually dwell

With passion! I cannot speak!

Broken, I composed this poem last week.

If only I’d spoken—instantaneously—the whole

Joke the moment you were cruel! Music would have won your soul.

 

 

IT TAKES A WHOLE LOT OF SORROW TO BE SAD

It takes a whole lot of sorrow to be sad;
The world needs to pile wrong on wrong
To spoil even one song,
But with a smile you’ve made me glad.

 

It takes a whole lot of sorrow to be sad;
The breezy finds it easy to ignore so much.
The sad lacks the light touch.
But with a touch you’ve made me glad.

 

It takes a whole lot of sorrow to be sad;
Sorrow’s armies are marching up and down.
Sorrow is going to take over the town!
But with a glance you’ve made me glad.

 

It takes a whole lot of sorrow to be sad.
It took some time, but you knew, you knew, you knew
You were the only one I wanted. Come here, you.
In a moment we’ll be glad.

 

 

 

 

RUMI’S LOVE IS HOW I LOVE YOU NOW

Lovers don’t meet anywhere. They live inside each other. —Rumi

Once there was a longing for you so strong
I could not be away from you for long.

I cursed the time away from you;
I was nourished in your intoxicating presence;

Having hungered my whole life for a love like this,
I fed on you like the hungriest animal

And grew mad for more and more of you
And to reach you, wrote you many a poem and song.

 

You were Isolde to my Tristan: passion
Fighting pride, that, even as sweet hunger all our passion won,

Sought honor even in the feeding, our rage
A kind of lust, wings of love stretching in a cage

As secrecy and homelessness cursed our kisses
Even as our love rejoiced in love which the simple eye of the public misses.

Wanton yet proud, your beauty burned like fate in my eye,
My destiny to consume myself as you desired me, in poetry,

Until things like time and place and “when and where will I see you”
Began to weary us, for the love given was never the kind that will do;

Our love had to fight for every inch of ground
Which by reproving public vigilance is drowned.

Exiled every moment, always thinking how and when and where to go,
We’d look at each other helplessly: yes, my love, I know.

Where can we love? Where can love that wants to love go?
There was not a crack in the world we could fit through,

Obligations to worlds and shadows and worlds is all we knew
And our love lay helplessly stretched upon

One shadowy bed; life—which conspires against love—won.
We should have been together constantly,

Harmony chasing routine inside ecstasy,
So love, building with love, not absence,

In constant delight, might have a chance.
The wrong endured became the thing sought,

More absence to aid desire, or so we thought:
I will make her miss me, I shall stay away.

Love! What is it? What shall it do or say?
Until the horror of staying away too long

Became its own prophecy.
Love dying, we did something wrong.

 

Now a sword lies between Tristan and Isolde.
Eternal love has surrendered to the dying world.

You look away, you cannot look at me,
It is not because you do not want to look at me.

It is only the passion and the pride
Of Tristan and Isolde. Tristan and Isolde have died.

Love is reborn in the love which Rumi
Knew as the highest of all.

There is no end. There is no wall.

THE BATH OF LOVE

If the angels are angels
Who swim in the elements above,
We are almost as lucky here,
Who swim in the bath of love.

The bath of love is where we love;
Where the moving waters move,
Our love loves when it gently moves,
As the moving waters of the bath can prove.
When loving loves,
The waters move
To the moving we make as we love.
Your mind and mine are the waters of the bath;
The movement is much, much more than math
But real, like the tiger, like the dove—
In the warm and swaying bath of love.

This is where we go to die,
In the bath of the seeing eye,
A liquid that looks
More tenderly than the brooks
And hidden streams
That lie quietly in our dreams.

When we are away
Every thought that falls will stay.

The bath of love is where we live.
The gentle pushing of the waters
Is how we gently love and give
Where all is loving already
In the one bath, that sways and is steady.
For the one bath is love already,
And contains our infinite minds
Which in the uniting body finds
The back and forth of loves
In waters that always move.

When the goddess gently knelt
To go into her bath,
All who saw, and all who felt,
Said they knew the ice would melt.

In love the dove flies within
Where the still bath has always been;
In gentle bathing there is no wrath
Or straying. All thoughts live in the one bath,
Where flies the tiger and the dove
In the swaying bath—the bath of love.

HOW DO YOU KNOW IT ISNT THE POETRY I LOVE?

Language is unreal. What’s in the letter

That I carefully seal?

What is it I’m giving to you?

Poetry is something you know that I do.

Love is a pleasure that can always get better

But there must be sentiments that are willing, and true.

How do you know it isn’t the poetry I love?

 

Your face is yours, the one that does the talking all day,

And what will you say to me as you open the letter

And read the inside of what I say?

Nothing belongs to us. Your face is the pretty kind.

I practice to make my poetry better

By sending, each day, a word of myself, which I do,

Like your face that does the talking for you.

How do you know it isn’t the poetry I love?

 

The more I love, the more unreal

You seem; your body hasn’t a thing to say

To what I say; it isn’t the poetry kissing you;

What is opening your letter is strange,

And doesn’t feel like me.

We can hold in our hands the scientist’s chalk.

We want to blast off, yet we are merely gravity.

Our bodies sitting around. The small talk.

How do you know it isn’t the poetry I love?

 

 

 

IF YOU COULD SEE ME NOW

If you could see me now, relaxed and fit,

You would know I no longer lament on the benches

Where the sad watch the world pass, where we used to sit.

 

If you could see me now, saying clever things,

Laughing with beautiful people laughing,

You’d know I no longer care what a day with you in it brings.

 

If you could see me now, writing these lines,

My long hands, biting my lip, never looking up,

You would know I no longer care who dances with you, or dines.

 

If you could see me now, safe at last from throngs

Who tortured us with gossip,

You would know I no longer care to ask why you love certain songs.

 

If you could see me now, without a care in the world,

Flying above dream-houses in dreams,

You would know I no longer care why you like this boy or girl.

 

If you could see me now, happy as a lark,

You would know I no longer miss the kisses

I gave you when we took our walks, and kissed in the park.

 

If you see me now, stretched out in the dark, flowers at my feet and head,

Do not move closer or watch me—what other dreams have I forgot?

To see if I am dead.

 

 

 

 

 

THESE KISSES ARE MINE

I want to give you kisses,
More than a few.
I want to kiss your face awhile
As I throw my arms around you.
Perhaps I’m excited by your beauty and the wine.
But just remember: these kisses are mine.

I want to give you kisses,
A hundred or more.
I want to kiss your neck awhile,
The area around your neck explore,
The skin and shape of your body’s design.
But just remember: these kisses are mine.

I want to give you kisses,
The more the merrier.
I’ll kiss your breasts, your belly,
Even your interior.
My love is yours; my life is yours; yours, this wine.
But just remember: these kisses are mine.

When you go away from me—
Or if you should leave me for good
And take my whole life—
I hope it’s understood
Whatever you are doing: loving, sleeping, drinking wine,
Those millions of kisses I gave you are mine.

IMPORTANT AND TRUE

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This is hard to refute: Nothing is important and true if it is merely important and true to you.

At the college where I work, I heard a humanities professor remark recently: the abstract is the basis of education.

By abstract, the professor means: All that is wise, good, and important is true for everyone, not just you.

The children who “get this,” grow up to be productive members of society; those who don’t, become those half-formed dreamers who merely survive, or worse, criminals.

Most of us are comfortable thinking that there is a ‘selfish curve;’ the more selfish you are, the more you ultimately suffer; the religious find contentment knowing God’s justice ultimately takes care of everything, but that doesn’t mean everyone isn’t irked when they witness selfishness in others; the religious are still motivated to “spread the word of God,” even though their all-powerful God will “take care of everything at last, anyway.”

This contradiction is not a minor thing. If God is all-powerful, why do you behave as if He were not?

You (the religious) are busy “spreading God’s word,” even as God, beyond all words and beyond all understanding, inhabits, in a vast, just, material, eternal manner, everything. Why so busy, then?

I could believe every single thing you (the religious) say as you “spread God’s word” and still find you excessively ignorant and redundant and tiresome—and tell you in all sincerity to please go away and never show your face around here again.

There. As you may have guessed, Scarriet is not a religious place.

And this sentiment is precisely where we are in the world today, with the secular world becoming increasingly exasperated and emboldened in their objection to religion, especially as it manifests itself around social media-driven flashpoint issues and events.

Anti-religious extremism threatens more and more each day to become mainstream, at least in the West, thanks to academia and social media, where the religious find their antiquated mists lifting before the winds of progressive and intellectual arguments; secular common sense is nearly impossible to resist as the “love of Jesus” is turned against every religious prohibition under the sun.

The immutable Abstract God needs human representatives—with human stories and human logic. When servants of the Abstract God debate with the professor/artist/social worker class, who represent The Abstract Benefits of All People, the servants of The Lord lose, and they lose because they are humorless and antiquated, and because Equality is the abstraction which trumps everything.

This does not mean the religious ultimately lose—they will surely never go away—and they do not ultimately lose for the following reason: Equality, or even the need for it, is, alas, an abstract theory, not an abstract reality.

Abstraction, itself, at its most powerful, exists as a reality, not a theory.

Those quiet ones, who skip the debate, knowing the One True Real Abstraction, God’s Justice, takes care of everything, and not in some theoretical equality-type manner, but with every unequal thing and person fitting into the great scheme at last, miraculously and imaginatively, the quiet ones who skip the debates, are the ones you should listen to, when you have a moment—not the self-assured ones on the left or the right.

To return to “you” and how your feelings are never the most important thing:

According to our wise secular professor, what you happen to feel is never as important as the abstracted feelings of the many.

But not only is Religion on the run in the West, but a counter-force, Romanticism seems to be making a quiet comeback.

The Romantic does value “your” singular feelings.

This is because “the you” is finally an abstract idea, as well, and those who defend “the abstract” find themselves trapped by the whole theoretical notion of “the abstract”: once we begin to sociologically impose abstract models onto everything, in the name of a benevolent but coarse system of benefits for all, the theoretical destroys everything in its path. Theoretically, the “you” joins the “many,” and science becomes farcically anecdotal, all in the name of abstraction, and of words abstractly used, with “them” and “you” swapped and traded in the blink of an eye.

The Romantic persists in being “wrong” in the face of all the wise theorists; the Romantic denies the abstract with passionate feeling: Ovid’s “I hate and love.”

The Romantic is worth listening to, because there are two kinds of Abstraction.

Our professor friend, who we quoted in the beginning of the essay, refers to the Abstract Abstract.

The Abstract Abstract is the abstraction we find in psychology, sociology and literature textbooks, the essential content of the non-religious liberal arts education: generalized information applied anecdotally and then traced back to the generalized information in a rough ‘what’s best for all’ sort of way.

In these liberal arts scenarios, passion is always reserved for “blind evil,” which does the things we professionals are appalled by, and cannot understand, as we, rationally, in the course of our liberal arts education, pursue our sane pedagogical goals: marriage for everybody, love for everybody, riches for everybody, etc etc.

But the Romantic and the religious refer to something else: the Real Abstract.

The Real Abstract is The Whole Universe, literally, that dynamic, grand design of the whole which God (whether or not He really exists) is short-hand for.

It is why Edgar Poe ventured to call his essay on the Universe a poem—the unity of the subject called for it.

The abstract is truly one thing and one thing only: the material, finite universe as it really in fact exists.

The rigor of this abstraction puts to shame the mere ‘good for all’ theory practiced by the liberal arts colleges.

Example: there is no such thing as a kind review. We never argue for something in a generalized manner: the one (poem, book, world, etc) contains many things, which, by necessity, if the whole of which the parts are a part is worth anything at all, succeed and fail as things to varying degrees. So instead of saying, ‘this is a great ___,’ we instead say which parts of ____ in any given ____ are good and which are bad.

How many reviews of friends’ poetry books and chapbooks are thorough, and truly objective?  They are almost never objective. They always feel, due to friendship and kindness, like advertisements: you must read this great book!

Passion is required for truth, and passion, by definition, is Ovidian, containing love and hate. The truly unique whole of the universe is both loving and hateful. The Real Abstract contains both beauty and necessity.

The merely Abstract Abstract, however, the one we get from the liberal arts professor, is necessary, but not beautiful: proper goodness must prevail, so that the poet, who is both student and customer in the new professional university environment, receives the proper flattery and is pleased—each part in the Abstract Abstract must exist abstractly, pleased to be an unreal part of what is essentially a pleasing, artificial (abstract) agenda.

The uneasy way the universe actually fits together produces the passion that is at once the cause and the effect of  its meaning—for those who attempt to comprehend it. (Poe perhaps having come the closest?)

Abstractly speaking, the universe, today, in our progressive age, is a “rainbow” of benevolent mixing.

What does this “rainbow” symbol mean, anyway? What does it actually mean?

Be nice to everyone. Accept differences. But isn’t this too general to mean anything?

A friend once asked us if Joan Rivers was mean or funny. The answer, of course, is both. The funny and the mean are inextricably mixed.

“Do you bite your thumb at us, sir?” will always sound in fair Verona’s streets.

Let us look at an actual example.

A black conservative judge, who opposes gay marriage, and his white wife comprise two races and two genders. The vast majority of gay couplings comprise one race and one gender.

Which couple most resembles a “rainbow?”

If there is no rational reason to oppose gay marriage—we cannot think of one; Scarriet certainly does not oppose gay marriage—perhaps it is only a “rainbow” impulse that does oppose it: is that an irony, or what?

Our benevolent “rainbow” idea belongs to the Abstract Abstract, one of those ideals, which, upon inspection, is found to be one of those liberal arts ideals whose “truth” is a highly convincing symbolism for the sake of an abstract good: robbing from the rich is “good” in similar abstract ways.

The Real Abstract consists of social minutia, flawed expression, breeding, borders, hierarchy and competing interests over time—messy and vastly complex mixtures, not given to easy Abstract Abstract ideals.

Hate and love, as a mixture, is never easily understood; love by itself and hate by itself, are far more easily understood, and they are understood more easily—because they belong to the Abstract Abstract, not the Real Abstract; the Abstract Abstract is what tends to be taught—in the schools.

We can gently refute our wise professor after all: very often what is true and important is true and important—to you.

SHE DOESNT TRUST MEN ANYMORE

She doesn’t trust men anymore.

One she loved, a long time ago now,

Left her, pregnant, crying on the floor.

You may read about that, in her murky workshop poetry with elaborate metaphor,

But she doesn’t like to talk about that anymore.

She tried a final time with one who couldn’t make decisions

And hated herself for finding him a bore,

Her caustic moments towards him imitating the very guy’s demeanor who left her crying on the floor.

So now, thoroughly self-loathing, you can probably guess what she’s like.

Happy. Pretty. Published. Lots of friends. Don’t feel bad, really, that she told you to take a hike.

INSTANT LOVE

image

Is there an instant love?

All love happens instantly.

Love is faster than we can see.

Avoiding love is how love becomes a possibility.

If love hasn’t happened, we only need to wait

For the one thing love needs: out-of-focus hate.

Passion is a mixture in the right degree

Of sad discord and happy harmony.

She studies the book and learns

Of what does not love. In love, she burns.

When she, on fire, sought relief,

I stole her fire. Love is the thief

That deals in fire and never cools

Itself and burns itself and burns the schools.

You never understood her love and why her love was rash

Until you found the world and all its wisdom is ash.

 

WE NEVER SAID THAT

We never said you could be
Something else. If you agree
To be different we will pretend
It somehow makes a difference in the end.

We never said it would be
Other than official. So let’s agree
To pretend the official signifies
Something more than perfumed lies.

We never said it would be
Just. Only justice as you think it should be.
There will be symbolism and you can think
You are right. With your friends. With the ink.

We never said it would finally be
Anything more than beauty.
In the end, to find beauty we need money.
Did you hear me? We need money.

 

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