As she lay in the hospice ,
cranked up by morphine,
she thought of Mr. Barnes
That little red rooster from her childhood days
In Battlelake, Minnesota.
That Barnes — he was something,
Puffed out his chest and walked through life:
“I want the biggest and the best and the most of whatever
He had attitude.
He had a harem.
One day when she was home from school with chickenpox
She watched Mr. Barnes
Fornicate with his hens forty six times and that was when
She was awake.
He was the sheik of Battlelake
Even strutting off to other farms.
That Mr. Barnes!
He thought the whole world belonged to him and beyond that —
The sun, the stars, the Milky Way — all of it
& as she lay dying
She hoped to meet him on the other side.
do you have a hero? what qualities do you admire in that person?
do you have an animal you admire, either in literature or real life?
Does my comfort discomfort you?
What would you have me do?
Lie on a bed of nails?
Put tacks in my shoes?
Quite early in life I was labelled a hedonist. I craved comfort the way some people craved adventure. It was my natural state. I mostly landed on my feet, things fell into place. This would annoy some people. I could see why but should I create a prickly existence for myself so others feel more at ease? I was feline. We had a cat who liked nothing better after a meal than to curl up on the lid of the rubbish bin and soak up the sun. I am like that though I prefer a mattress to the lid of a bin. But it does come with a cautionary tale:
Look at that little hedonist
Curled up on the bin
Better watch out the rubbish van
Doesn’t tip him in
Trains of thought have no timetables.
Nor, if they did, would they keep
Trains of thought always pull in when
you are busy doing something else.
They require no ticket, no payment
only that you get on board and leave
your luggage behind.
Trains of thought have their own itineraries
And take you places you may otherwise
Never visit. Bring a notebook with you.
Trains of thought run on the fuel of
Of which there are endless reserves.
Matt has been hired by a plumbing company to sell toilets. His old man who works for the same company got him the job. What could Matt do but accept? He was good at nothing else.
Larry, a hotshot salesman goes out with him one day and lays it on the line: “I don’t tolerate laziness. It’s a form of treason,” he says.
Matt says it’s not his fault he’s not pulling in big figures. He has no sales experience and no one is willing to train him.
Larry shoots back, “Baptism by fire.”
But Matt whines and says it’s been over a year and he still has no idea what he’s doing.
Then Larry comes back with this: “Your job is to go out there every day and get your face kicked in. It’s the only path to Enlightenment.”
I don’t know if Larry and the Buddha were talking about the same kind of Enlightenment and if they were would the Buddha have agreed with Larry’s method?
Is Larry right? Or can’t you find Enlightenment through the toilet trade?
Are some trades/professions more inimical to Enlightenment than others? Can a politician find Enlightenment? would it help him in his job?
The trouble is I can’t let go.
I go in for a scan and am and told
they will contact me in due course.
Within days I hear nothing and think of phoning back.
How many days does it take to read a scan?
Persistence is a virtue but so too is Patience.
How to balance one against the other?
I phone back anyway.
I’m put on hold.
I’m always put on hold when I practice persistence.
Perhaps it’s a lesson.
Perhaps I should listen..
When does being persistent become pesky?
It’s tricky being human.
It was World Turtle Day last week.
I was a little slow off the mark
But I’m onto it now penning these lines.
I’d write a little more; trouble is
things are whizzing by , my head is spinning.
I’ve got to slow down, take a pit stop,
Pace myself a little. Whew!
I should be done by next World Turtle Day
But I wouldn’t want to stick my neck out.
I was walking through the new state-of-the-art library
Looking for a book of poems, any book of poems.
It was like looking for dodos in the zoo
or passenger pigeons in the sky.
Do you still keep poetry books? I asked the librarian.
I’m not sure , she said.
She had to do a search
Then called the chief librarian who came with a swagger
Looking for that rarest thing— a poetry book.
Here, she said. Here they are.
They were squeezed Between ‘War’ and ‘Sports’,
The whole Western World’s canon reduced
to ten books on a tiny shelf.
And the ultimate irony?
There were more books on extinct animals than poetry.
do you see evidence of the death of poetry?
when’s the last time you bought a poetry book? or borrowed one?