several terrible short poems about terrible short poems

 

 

A local resident walks on a dried-up riverbed at Huangyangchuan reservoir in Lanzhou, Gansu province July 16, 2009. U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Commerce Secretary Gary Locke visit China this week to press China to join with the United States in stepped-up efforts to fight global warming. REUTERS/China Daily (CHINA ENVIRONMENT SOCIETY IMAGES OF THE DAY) CHINA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN CHINA

***

i

 

once the creek

flowed

gave life, was

life,

indeed lived

quite of its own.

but somewhere back the

course changed, crushed

by a rock or

a landslide,

perhaps.

shit happens.

now there is

just dry ground.

 

ii

 

finghers like

spoo,ns

on keys made fro

tines

 

iii

 

after a while the

guy stops playing

pickup basketball since

his knee hurts, and

since he just gets beat, and

it kind of just

isn’t fun

anymore

 

iv

 

pick up a pen with your

non-dominant hand and

write your name with your

eyes closed. now

open them and

enjoy the hilarious mess.

 

***

best i can do right now. if anyone is out there, enjoy the hilarious mess.

rw

oh to die instead in egypt

photo credit: www.devon-photography.com

***

i do not know

  much of the sea

    (i have yet to get my

      sea-legs and remarkably i

        still get ill at the

          waves, most of the

            time) and yet even

              i can tell that boats

                left unsailed and unanchored

                  will neither stay moored

                in the place they were

              docked nor will they by

            glorious happenstance

          reach some tranquil unknown

        beach on foreign shores but

      very likely will simply

    run aground in the

  very place that they

just departed

***

Fiction is a Fiction. (or: Fiction is History)

photo credit: Huffington Post

***

Let’s begin with a limerick, because they’re fun:

There once was a young man from Austin

who wrote stories one could get lost in.

But the actual cost:

‘Twas the plot that got lost

And his readers just wound up exhausted!

I have decided that, at least for now, I’m going to give up on writing fiction. There are a few reasons for this, but the most notable one is that I am really not good at it. This is not to say that I couldn’t be good, if I were to continue practicing, which I might do in my spare time, but I don’t think there will be much posting of fiction, at least on this blog. (Readers rejoice.)

My writing gifts (modest as they are) lie much more in the realms of non-fiction (read: short opinionated essays that require no research) and poetry, so I think for the most part I want to concentrate on these.

Fiction still appeals very strongly to me, but I have to confess a great deal of this appeal comes from the possibility of selling a work of fiction and reaping either financial rewards or notoriety. Neither of these should be goals of mine, at least not if I am writing purely for the sake of writing. If they end up being ancillary advantages, I wouldn’t turn them down, but if they are an objective, if they are an intent, then my work will be tainted, even if it ends up being well-respected. I have talked before about my feelings regarding bandwagon fiction, and though I am hardly alone or revolutionary in this outlook, I nevertheless feel that the perversion of writing (or the co-opting of it, perhaps) simply for the sake of financial gain leads to phenomena like this, and shortly thereafter what would previously have been called “romance” novels completely overwhelm the “Fiction and Literature” section at the bookstore.

I don’t want any part of this, and I do not wish to be a writer who succumbs to any emotionally dishonest trend. But let’s be realistic: I was light-years away from this objective anyway. The first step in making marketable fiction is to write something that interests people, and I haven’t done that yet, at least not in my fiction. But regardless, I want to at least nip in the bud the proclivity for sacrificing art, sacrificing the potential to make something truly meaningful, on the altar of success.

And just as a disclaimer, do not think I am of the opinion that all writers who have achieved a level of financial success or critical acclaim are doing something wrong. I am reminded of this verse, though it is perhaps only loosely applicable:

“Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.’”  – Matthew 19:23-24

I think the same is perhaps true of people who are truly following a calling. Perhaps it is not impossible to remain artistically uncompromised following success, but it sure is freaking difficult. That’s why I don’t even want to start down that path at all. Instead, if you want to find me, I’ll be in the (pitifully meager) poetry aisle.

***

Oh For the Love of All Things Theatrical

***

I’m not sure whether it is the third or fourth year in a row now, but what began as a budget move and continued as a way to avoid horrendous crowds has now become a Valentine’s Day tradition for Sara and me: going to our favorite Tex-Mex restaurant. That’s about as fancy as we like to get on February 14th. Frankly, we couldn’t give two hoots about the day. But before you start to think that I am one of those vehemently opposed, I’m-so-against-Valentine’s-day-it-rules-my-life-just-as-if-I-am-celebrating-it people, I want to demonstrate clearly where I stand on the day.

It isn’t that I am against the alleged holiday, it’s just that it loses its lustre when it falls in this cluster of events:

11/27: Sara’s birthday

12/15: Our wedding anniversary

12/25: Christmas

1/1: New Year’s Day

2/23: My birthday

We have plenty of occasions to celebrate and commemorate our love during that 3 month stretch. Valentine’s just doesn’t stack up. In general, however, I am very much in favor of being intentional about marking special occasions with a spouse. This one just isn’t all that special. Now if it fell in June or something, it might be a good excuse to get off our duffs and make sure that we were appreciating one another.

And that’s the real essence of Valentine’s day: to demonstrate that you appreciate your spouse or your beloved. My marriage has been chock full of occasions for grand gestures; it has been riddled to near saturation with Valentine’s Days. But this is because I was always playing catch-up. February 14ths have been pretty good for us, at times. Where I have dropped the ball is on the February 15ths of our relationship. On the May 3rds. The August 12ths. As it turns out, my marriage is much richer now not because I occasionally make some grand Say Anything radio gesture, but because I make an effort to show Sara that she is appreciated every day. Now, I do not always succeed, but I have come to realize that marriage isn’t always (in fact is rarely) about pink balloons and candy hearts. Most of the time, what makes Sara feel most appreciated is when I get up first thing in the morning and make sure that I am in prayer about my sinister heart. What makes her feel valued is when I take care of things that I say I am going to take care of without her having to ask. What makes her feel special is when I listen when she is speaking rather than being distracted by my phone or by the TV or by what scathingly brilliant remark I am going to make next.

Again, let me be clear: I am a fan of the romantic, there is no question. I like giant surprises, I like giving thoughtful gifts, I like serving her unbidden. But if I do not love her in the smallest of details, then all of these things are merely compensation for my failures to love her in actuality.

Christ’s love for us certainly took on the form of the grandiose: the grandest romantic gesture of all, in fact, still belongs to Him. However, He also continues to love us every day in the small things, too; in the petty, in the unworthy, in the seemingly insignificant. It is my belief, in fact, that He wants to be involved in everything we do. He wants to be involved when we are choosing what shoes to wear, when we are deciding on our meal, and when we are brushing our teeth (or forgetting to do so).

Psalm 139 says:

“O Lord, you have searched me and known me!

You know when I sit down and when I rise up;

you discern my thoughts from afar.

You search out my path and my lying down

and are acquainted with all my ways.

Even before a word is on my tongue,

behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.

You hem me in, behind and before,

and lay your hand upon me.

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;

it is high; I cannot attain it.

Where shall I go from your Spirit?

Or where shall I flee from your presence?”

This, as it turns out, is what love truly is. He sees us and knows us in every small detail. He is acquainted with all of our ways, and yet never leaves our side. Scripture says countless times that the Lord’s love is steadfast. It does not ever change or waver, regardless of whether my heart does (which it does). If I am to love my wife as Christ loved me, then absolutely I should commemorate special occasions. I should absolutely reach out and make profound gestures of my love for her, particularly when things are not going well. But I unequivocally cannot leave it at that. I must every day, in the smallest of actions, even actions that do not directly concern her, be loving her. Then, regardless of when Valentine’s Day falls, and regardless of what we do to celebrate, it will be certain to be wonderful.

***

dew

For Johnny

***

We have cause to be
greatly unsettled, at times. Unsettled as is
trembling, shivering flesh in
deep winter; out! springs our
warm breath into cold,
cold air, and hovers in front of us like
ancestral ghosts; and just like
those spirits, when it fades we
aren’t certain it was there in the first place.
When our private fog dissipates
mere moments after creation,
how can we know beyond doubt
that we even
breathed
at all?

And yet that mist, that
pitiful, minimal dew,
joined with the
moist air, with the
lofty, soaring cumulus, may still
find gentle rest on
vulnerable yellows, on the fragile blues of
flowers;
which thrust through the pavement,
fighting to bring
pollen, beauty, sustenance,
continuance
to the rest of cracked earth.

We have so much to
admire about this secret, select
brevity;
like gentle streams that flow through
our small, dry land,
bringing always new, always fresh, even if
never quite the same
water
to barren, parched lands,
assuring that
tomorrow’s petals will be as
fragrant, as colorful, as
brilliant and memorable,
as were, are, today’s.

***

“The light that burns twice as bright, burns half as long. And you have burned so very, very brightly…”

– Eldon Tyrell, “Blade Runner

***

folds

 

***

there is not very much room left in

this notebook now. (who uses notebooks anymore

anyway?) i have used it much for

various things; it is close now to filled, scribbled with inks of

different color, different density, different

viscosity i suppose, though i never studied inks

enough to know if that word applies. on some pages i was

taking notes in classes (the

subject matter of which i no longer need for my

profession), on others outlining books that i

never completed (in some cases

never even began), even occasionally dabbling in

drawing, though art was never really much of a

strength for me.

 

you read sometimes of some lost journal

found among the tattered belongings during the

post-wake post-media cleanout of some famous artist’s house.

Inside could be scribbled lyrics left sadly sans music perhaps; or the

manuscript of some great play that never quite

wandered its way to the stage; or even a passionate discourse on

some pertinent topic, like human rights or something

important like that.

 

this notebook is destined to be

no such journal. its sad white gyri are bloated full, their

contents distinguishable only by the mercy of

narrow blue sulci, deep cavities dark and secretive like

unexplored caves by

the shore of the

dead sea.

***

“write something today.

just…something. anything.”

this probably isn’t good, but i am out of practice. we shall see if that can change.

RW

Psalm 0

apollo11_earthrise_1920x1200

***

i think trust must be

knowing

that someday i will be

standing

somewhere a

good ways off (a

good time hence),

and not

wishing

it was all different.

***