Thursday, December 23, 2010

Appreciation of Heavier Metal

What a sharper view of beauty,
These panicked particles, twisting around,
As the center always, always remains lovely.
Coming down from the great bursting of light,
When quicker songs were more fun to hum,
We stood, or sank, hurling bottles into the ocean, dear friend.

The ocean roared, the monsters of the deep laughed,
The flowers floating on the surface screamed.
Free at last! the constancy of that solid dream,
The assurance of every late night before, after
And during winter. We were certain of the center,
Because everything else exposed our fears.

Afraid of what might happen to us,
Amused as the flood turned to snow,
Turned into a blizzard, back into sunlight,
It melted, as two scared runaways braved
The heat of the storm of the meaningless challenge.
In triumph, should we even remember the venust nymph?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Apology of Sunshine

A getaway into green grass,
A lime dance into fresher seas,
A light unto the simplest warmth.
The weeds wane away when the appreciation
Appears in the perfect planting
Of two pairs of feet under the brightest lantern.

Flooding waves of social ineptitude,
Forgive us, it's only social unnessecity,
With feet planted on the green grass
Of a savory day in the darkest of nighttime winters.
Oh winter, the brightest season of the year,
If only we could know patience like this.

The flooding sea comes where we stand,
Dear sister. For such an adoptive force,
The luminous waves make for substantial reasons
To stay here solidly, approachably,
Elemental, defending this simply deep structure,
Turning now to the examination of a heavier metal.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

For Lillya

(I decrease)

See the look in her eye.

Samuel stood by, going on about philosophies and theologies
With a book resting on the table.

Her legs hung over the edge of her chair,
Swinging in the air, never touching the floor.

Samuel opened the book and held it in his hands,
Turning to the correct page.

She played with the loose sleeves
Of her blue and white dress,
Just a little too large for her eight-year-old frame.

Samuel began to read aloud
About wisdom's amazing things.

She turned towards the window
And looked outside at the grass and the trees,
Where the sun reflected the morning brightly
Upon the hair of any child who stared.

Samuel paused and commented
About. . .something.

She put a hand to the brass necklace
Around her neck and held it between
Her thumb and her ring finger,
Playing with the links in the chain
As her eyes remained fixed on the sunlight.

Samuel rested a hand
On the text.

A smile came to her face as she slid from her chair,
As if unaware that she was now
Standing by the table,
Looking out the window at solid things,
No longer aware of the peculiar words
Coming from her friend and teacher.

Samuel stopped

She started singing a song she had learned
From the other children on a day
Much like this one, when light from the sky
Shone on them as they laughed and played
And imagined that the great things in life
Could never be found in ink, the truth could never
Just be heard in words—not even from the mouth of a friend.


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Shabbat X

Dry, always dry, and never enough to overcome cracking lips and fading voices that suffer from an unsatisfied thirst. All day long, as glasses of water stand on the table unused, as spectacular glasses mist from the pain of disuse, the more violent voices rush in and tear at the body of the one with no courage. So the spirit is left with a shell of a home, a house that is swiftly collapsing under the pain of a solitary murder.

They say, "Shut the gates before the flood kills us all!" But the water continues to rush into the city. The people look to the sky for answers, but all they find are poisoned arrows dropping down into the chest of the crowd, into the hearts of the children. And as the arrows strike, as the poison burns into the flesh and soul, a vague, screaming voice is heard, followed by a laugh, and covering their ears, everyone does all that is left. They cry—they cry and they feel pain. And not unlike the illumination of light, the culprit is seen clearly: violence has tricked them again.

"Assyria, you sold me to Babylon again!" The one with no courage now realizes and is ashamed. No wonder courage fled when thirst mounted war-horses to rush towards the ruthless enemy. The retaliation, the trick, should have been obvious, as it had been seen before. But no—and now, the resolution at hand, take the glass of water and drink. The bleeding tears of violence are now healed over.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Let It Go Dear, He Said into the Swift

The swift rush
of breeze through the end
of leaves and branches
into the air
we wait for the bursting.
Now onward towards the hills
of Ozark country and then
to the flat land of the orphan
and the song she sings.
My heart is a room with room
for this warmth.

But too much gold in your hull
And you sink with the ship.

And what was said
What was done
Here it is
There it will be now,
Don't you see how it can be how it was
How we are
You don't understand
You and me and our
Life that wasn't a love a hate
Instead of it all
Instead of a was that was what we wanted.
To be.

Give me miles of tall oak trees and a place of my own.
The swift rush of breeze
to seize the day
away from what we wanted.
And peace in the swift breeze
to let it go.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Shabbat IX

(Written on a Wednesday, in the dead of the week.)

Delight in the day—
Do not hold back.

Rejoice for peace
And know that freedom is here.

The gloaming turns to night,
But then it is burst by the bright dawn.

So tired in the evening, sleepy in the night,
How could we awake?

The beauty of creation calls us,
And it is only a shadow.

All the while the strings play out a song—
A song of love.

Not the kind of love
That makes us chase things.

Not the kind of love
That gets in my head and pushes me to pursue lust.

Not that kind of love.
Not the love that pulls me through the week.

Instead, the kind of love that makes me weep
And makes me dance.

That kind of love
That chooses the poor and the broken for the feast.

See, the one you love is caged.
Have you found the key?

See, the one you love is bound.
Do you have your knife?

Have you set the captives free?
Have you forgiven your debtors?

Are you washed by the water?
Because there is pain in me.

There is only one rest now,
And it is not about the ceremony.

That is not the sort of fast I want.
I don't want a show.

I want the things I hope for,
The things that are more than I have ever seen.

Let me count up these costs.
Let me build something real.

And may I sing for gladness—
May I delight in the day.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

How Travel Is Like a Science Fiction Novel

The key to any good science fiction novel is that something really weird happens to the protagonists. The normal method for this weirdness to occur usually involves something that would be really cool if it was actually real—like time travel, a wormhole, or high-speed travel to a distant planet. Or you can have all three, if some silly aliens are involved. If one has read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, then this might make a little bit of sense.

See, at the beginning of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, the main character’s planet (Earth) is destroyed by aliens. At that point, he has to move. And so it is with travel. You’re not at home anymore, so you might as well go somewhere else. Chances are you get into some sort of vehicle which hurtles you forward at speeds that will almost certainly kill you if something goes terribly wrong. So what do you do? Well, you don’t panic, and you hope you’re carrying a few extra towels, or at least a change of clothes. Sure, everyone you come into contact with is at least slightly crazy, but at least you’re not panicking.

Or sometimes travel is more like an Isaac Asimov story. Maybe you’re traveling to a place you have never been to before and you face an I, Robot dilemma. Really, how were you supposed to know that these new people had the potential to be as intelligent as you? In the end, however, you realize that all you have to do is find the main computer and unplug it—or at least hope they let you check out of the motel without any hidden fees or costs. Again, don’t panic.

And if you suddenly find yourself traveling into Frank Herbert’s Dune, don’t worry about it. If you come across some weirdoes that are addicted to some unusual local substance, it may not be that bad. After all, they know how to ride the sandworms, instead of being eaten by the monsters. Just explain to them how you are actually their prophesied leader, and all will be well. They probably won’t kill you.

So the next time you travel, take some sci-fi books with you to read. Sure, maybe you won’t get any great or profound insight about traveling by reading books about unreal things, but at least you won’t be bored. And most importantly, you won’t feel the need to panic.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Lumen's Shadow

We rushed through the meadow
To the poetry house.
Rising up from the center a light
Shined into the sky.
Or perhaps, we hoped,
The light shone down.

Up the porch we ran.
Through the door and into the rooms,
We frantically searched the rustic setting.
The source of the light
Was not apparent,
But we found a hole in the floor.

We went into the basement,
Up from which we had seen the light
Through the hole.
And in the basement we found
A man holding a flashlight
Pointed at the sky,

Like a fool.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Mr. Cheshire's Voice

There was a cat
Reclining on a bed,
Listening to human words
That were somehow unfamiliar.

And so to keep up with the times,
The cat voiced its opinion.
And though few noticed,
There was one polar bear

That came running around the corner,
Waving its claws in response.
The cat sprang up,
Back arched,

And went running down the hall.
It ran into a table,
Knocking over a vase of laurels,
Ending a less persecuted age.

And therefore it was,
With nowhere left to hide,
That the cat ended up in a corner—
The polar bear's roaring laughter drawing near.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Shabbat VII

And into the city came the flood and it wouldn't stop.
In came the water, suffering the fools,
Having no mercy on the righteous,
And what could they do to stop it?

"Close the city doors!"
Someone cried,
As the flood entered and ripped away houses.
Doors were in the streets with trees
And chairs and children.
"Someone shut the gate!"

So the guards strained and pulled
Against the flood, but the rush of flow
Was too much for their quickly wearying bodies.
They became tired.
"We need rest," they said.
And rest they were given.

A flash of light, a snap of the ropes,
And the flood was stopped.

And the people went into the street to gather the bodies,
Free at last from victimization
At their own hands.
For they had seen the flood coming and left the doors open.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Broken Cisterns, Pt. 3

After lunch I slowly walked home. It had been a nice meal at a small restaurant, and the conversation had been friendly. The entire time, I could not help but think of the envelope in my pocket. The cliché was true: it became heavier the longer I held it.

As I sat in front of the flames in my fireplace—created this warm spring day only for the purpose of burning the letter—I slowly and carefully opened the envelope. I had not decided yet whether to read it or not, but it seemed then as if I ought to. I would destroy the letter, for Jonny’s sake, but how could I let it go without being read?

Inside the envelope was one sheet of paper, folded into thirds, with writing on one side. I unfolded the paper to read the text. The words, formed in black pen ink, were written in a compact yet looping hand.
It read:

How are you? I am well, and sorry that I have not written back to you sooner. But it was not because I didn’t want to. In fact, I just got your letter today, even though you sent it over a month ago. So I am writing back as soon as possible.
I think I am not ready to answer some of the questions you asked me in your letter, but I will keep them in mind, my friend.
In the meantime, I am thinking of other things for us to discuss. My sister is here with me right now (she says ‘hi’) and she reminded me of how you used to talk about starting a school some day. I know you never talked with me about it very much, but I still think that would be a great idea! I don’t know how we would ever do it, but why not try, right? I would be glad to help you start it and run it, if we ever got that far. I guess this sounds a bit crazy, but it is such a neat idea! I really think it would work.
What else to talk about? I am reading my bible more these days. I don’t know what I should read, though. You always seem to have a good recommendation. I read the first chapter of Jeremiah earlier, but stopped when I got to chapter two. It was interesting, but kind of boring too. So what do you think I should read next?
Well, I cannot think of anything else to write at the moment, Jonny, so I will keep this letter short. (Easier for you to write back to sooner.) My sister says hello again and to be safe. So be blessed, and I hope to hear from you soon!

Your Friend,

I read the letter a second time. I’m pretty sure I laughed out loud at the irony of it all, and then carefully threw the paper and envelope into the fire. As the yellow-orange flames quickly combusted the paper into water and carbon, I tried to forget about what it had said. My mind refused to forget though, because Jonny would never know what he had missed. That is, unless this Eliana randomly tried to contact him some day. But knowing how path leads to path in life, I doubted the road should ever return this way. As I stared at the fire which was warming the room to an intolerable temperature, I could not determine if the situation called for weeping or further laughter, so I did neither. I sat like this for some time, and then there was a knock on the front door.

I stood up and walked to the window. I peeked around the pale brown curtains and saw Kerah standing there, so I opened the door.

“Hello,” she said.

“Hello,” I answered. “Please, come in.” Kerah, arms crossed loosely over her stomach, took a few steps inside as I held the door open. “What brings you here?”

She had no prelude, no preamble, and no excuse. “Did you read the letter?” she asked quietly, looking me in the eyes.

I considered denying knowledge of a letter, but figured there was no good in that.
“Yes, a little while ago.”

“What did it say?”


Kerah nodded her head and looked away. She had a sad look in her eyes when she turned back to ask, “Do you still have it?”

“I burned it,” I said, pointing vaguely toward the fire.

She nodded again and stared at the door, which I still held open for some reason. I asked, “How did you know I had this letter?”

She hesitated, but said, “I’ve known Jonny had this letter tucked in his bible for several months. At first, I was slightly upset that he kept it there. But I realized that he was not going to open it, and almost began to feel sorry for him. He has talked about this girl and is sad not to know her anymore. He would deny being sad, for my sake, but he misses her.”

“He loves you,” I said out of obligation.

“I know,” she said, relief suddenly flooding her face. “And I resisted for these several months to open the letter when he wasn't looking. But he also resisted opening it, though I don’t know why.”

“I don’t know why either.”

“What did it say?”


She nodded once again and said, “I should go now, before Jonny suspects something.”

She laughed, and I laughed too. She walked out the door into the warm spring evening. We waved goodbye to each other and I closed the door.

I went back to my place in front of the fire. The letter was completely consumed and I tried not to imagine all the trouble it could have caused, had it been read by either Jonny or Kerah. Still, I couldn’t help but wonder how things would be if they had. Sometimes answers are exactly where we don’t want to look for them. Maybe that’s why the water seems to keep on falling, from our broken cisterns and from our eyes.


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Broken Cisterns, Pt. 2

It was a year later when I saw Jonny again. He never came to the Monastery anymore, and I eventually decided to find out what had happened to him. He had started a school after all, and it was set up in a small, old church on the south side of town. I came to the old church on a warm, rainy Wednesday, and saw from the sign outside that I was just in time for class. As I walked into the long, dusty room I saw the tables and chairs formed in neat rows, facing the far end of the room where there was a small, brown desk and one of those whiteboards on wheels. Jonny was alone in the room, sitting at the desk and reading the Holy Bible, so I went up to him.

As I came close, he looked up from the book and stared into my eyes, much the same way he had back in the Monastery. “Hello,” he said, giving me a smile which seemed forced. “It’s good to see you again.”

“Good to see you too, Jonny.” I paused, and he played with the pages of the book as he waited for me to continue. “The sign outside said there would be classes right now. Where is everyone?”

Jonny shrugged. He sat still then, staring past me, with a distant expression on his face. “Nobody came today. It’s all voluntary, of course, so some days nobody decides to show up.”

“How many days per week do you have classes?”

“Twice a week; on Saturdays and on Wednesdays, in the afternoon.”

“Do people normally show up?”

“They showed up in decent numbers at first, but now only half of them come on Saturdays, and almost none on Wednesdays.”

“Why don’t they come anymore? Did they get bored?”

“They always said it was interesting, and they seemed to read what I asked them to, for the most part. Although, I can always tell when they are about to stop showing up. They are the ones who have not read everything, or not read very closely.”

Jonny stood up from his seat and walked over to an open window, where sunlight streamed in. He put his hand on the sill and began tapping his fingers.

“So does Kerah help you run the school?”

He did not turn from the window as he answered. “Yes, she helps a lot. She teaches one class every two weeks, and I always talk with her about whatever we are studying.”

I nodded my head even though he didn’t see it. He was in no mood to talk, it seemed, but I did not feel like abandoning him too quickly. I walked over to his desk and looked over what he had been reading. I asked, “Is this what you were going to go over today?”

He finally looked away from the window. “Yeah, we are studying Jeremiah this week.”

“You are on the page where it talks about broken cisterns,” I said. “The same thing we talked about last year at the Monastery.”

“I’ve been thinking about it again.”

“Find anything new?”

“No, just what we already suspected.”

“And what is that?”

“That we always make ourselves broken cisterns.”

“True, but we don’t have to be broken cisterns, if we are well made.”

He shrugged and tugged on the sleeves of his shirt. “Still, nothing we make for ourselves can hold water, like this school.”

“Ah, surely it’s not that bad, Jonny.”

“It’s a lot of work to keep putting the water back into the cistern every time it falls out.” He returned his attention to the window, and I didn’t feel like saying anything more on the subject.

I began paging through his bible and finally came to the back cover. I wasn’t careful enough, and an envelope just inside the cover fell out onto the desk. I picked it up, saw it was still sealed, and turned it over to see the addresses. It was to Jonny from the girl he had been waiting to hear from. I looked at the postmark and saw it was from the previous spring.

“When did you receive this?” I asked.

His eyes looked tired when he returned his attention to me from the window. He briefly glanced at the envelope and said, “Last spring. The day after we met at the Monastery, actually.”

“Why didn’t you open it?”

“Didn’t feel like reading it. I was too busy, helping Kerah start the school and such. And I don’t want to read it now.”

“Why not? Well, it is too late now to respond to anything in it, but why not see what it says anyway? And why didn’t you feel like reading it? If I recall correctly, you were waiting rather impatiently for this.”

“Yes, but then I didn’t want it anymore, after the Monastery.”

“And you haven’t seen her since then?”


“Well, why don’t you read it now anyway? Who knows what it could say?”

He sighed and said, “That’s the problem. I’m afraid of what it might say, now that I’m going to marry Kerah.”

“I see. When are you going to marry her?”

“At the end of the summer.”

“Well then, if you are afraid of what this letter might say, why do you keep it?”

Jonny waved a hand at the letter. “I don’t want to keep it, and I should just get rid of it. You can have it if you want. I don’t care if you read it, as long as you don’t tell me what it says.”

I looked at the letter in my hands for a few moments, not sure whether I should take it. “Well, I don’t….”

“No, please take it,” said Jonny, holding a hand up towards me. “Do whatever you want with it, but please take it. If I kept it, I would try to burn it, but I don’t know if I could bring myself to do that.”

“Well, then I'll burn it for you, Jonny.”

“Thank you,” he said.

The doors opened then, and Kerah walked in. Jonny glanced at my hands before turning to smile at the young woman, so I stuffed the letter into a pocket in my jacket.

Kerah noticed me standing there, and after a moment recognized me. “Hello,” she said without any shyness.

“Good to see you again,” I replied.

“No one showed up again today, Jonny?” she asked him.

“Not a single person, except our friend here.”

“That’s too bad. This is the third time in three Wednesdays. Maybe we should really think about meeting only once a week.”

Jonny sat down at the desk again and said, “Maybe.”

Kerah looked sad and about to say something to him, but she instead turned to me.

“Well, since no one seems to be showing up, maybe we should all go out to lunch.”

I nodded slowly and said, “I am willing to do that, since I haven’t had anything to eat today since breakfast.”

Kerah turned to Jonny, her eyes asking him the question, and he said, “Yes, let’s go get something to eat. I’m hungry too.”

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Broken Cisterns, Pt. 1

I walked into the Monastery on the hill and scanned the opening hall and the chairs that lined the old stone walls. This was a restful place, with small plants gracing the narrow hallway to please the eyes. I came here often, at least once a week, to sit in the quiet hall and read the newspaper. On this day, I was glad to see a friend of mine sitting in a chair about halfway down the hall. I walked over to him, feeling comfortable doing so, as he was sitting in the same place as I had first met him.

“Hello, Jonny,” I said, and he turned his face toward me upon hearing his name.

When Jonny looked me in the eyes, it was not with enthusiasm or liveliness, but with certainty. He was a young man, and yet he gave the impression that he had knowledge. I sat in the chair opposite his and watched his right leg bounce steadily as he tapped his fingers on the armrest with the same rhythm. The yellow school bag on the floor at his feet was partially open, and a copy of the Holy Bible was falling out.

“Did she write back to you yet?” I asked him.

Jonny stopped tapping his fingers and plainly said, “No.” He turned his head to the wall past my shoulder and rested his chin on his palm. “I wish she would, but things are simpler when she doesn’t.”

“Don’t worry about it, Jon, she’s probably busy.”

Jonny tugged on the front of his shirt with his other hand as if the room was warm, which it wasn’t. He finally stopped bouncing his leg and looked at my face again, smirking. “I won’t worry about it. There are more important things to think about, even if I don’t think about them.”

“Like what?”

“Like life, and such things. I was reading the other day, and there was this one interesting thing I read. It talked about broken cisterns, and how they can’t hold water.”

“One of two evils,” I said, knowing the passage he meant from Jeremiah. I quoted, “For my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, to hew for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.”

“Yeah,” Jonny said, “and I’m not sure which one is worse.” He stopped resting his head in his hand and continued bouncing his leg and tapping the fingers of his right hand on the armrest. I said nothing in response, and he kept looking me in the eyes before immediately averting them. Finally he said, “Her sister knows me too well.”

“Why do you say that?”

Jonny drew his eyebrows down momentarily. “I don’t ever talk to her, but I think she knows me and who I am.”

“Why is that bad?”

“It’s not. It’s just that it worries me when I think about it. How can someone know another person so well if they never talk to them?”

“You worry too much, and you are forgetting to remember who holds your heart.”

Jonny turned his head completely away from me and again stopped bouncing his leg and tapping his fingers. He gave a brief, dry laugh, and shifted his weight in the chair. “I’m not worrying, and it’s not her that holds my heart anyway. We are all broken cisterns, so how could she hold my heart, even if I asked her to?” He looked me in the eyes as he finished his question. He had surprisingly gray eyes, but today they seemed particularly gray. Not gray like storm clouds, but like a night time fog.

I did not say anything more, and a few minutes passed in silence, during which I unfolded the newspaper and pretended to read. He pulled a cell phone out of a pants’ pocket and glanced at it. “I need to go now,” he said.

“Good to see you again,” I said.

He nodded as he bent down to zip up his bag, pushing the Holy Bible inside. He stood up slowly, slinging the bag over his shoulders, and walked away into the Monastery with a half-hearted “See ya.”

I began to earnestly read the paper, but found nothing particularly interesting. There was some stuff about wars, and some stuff about the economy too. There was even a strange article about a man who was told by his doctors that he only had six weeks to live, so he gave away everything that he owned, only to be told the next week when he went to see the doctors that the tests were wrong. He was going to live after all.

After about twenty minutes, I heard the doors open at the end of the hallway which led further into the Monastery and saw Jonny walk out. I put down the paper and looked at him. His expression was downcast, and he flopped down into the chair opposite mine, letting his bag drop to the floor.

“What happened?” I asked.

He stared at the floor somewhere to the right of my feet and said, “They won’t let me join.”

“You want to join the Monastery?”

“Yeah, I thought I might, but they said it wouldn’t be a good idea.”

“Why not?”

“I didn’t want to commit to all of their rules.”

“Well, that seems fair.”

Jonny looked at me, brows drawn further down than before. He slowly began tapping the fingers of his right hand on the armrest and looked away again, sighing heavily. “They said they would want me to forget about her.”

“Surely you knew they would want that.”

“Yeah, but I didn’t want to hear it when they finally said it.”

“She will write back to you.”

Jonny shrugged and turned his face towards me, anger no longer showing through. “What if she doesn’t write back? I think about that a lot, you know. That’s why I wanted to join the Monastery, in part.”

“Maybe you should join the Monastery anyway.”

Jonny laughed. “What for?”

“To serve, of course. That’s why you read that book so much, right?” I pointed at his bag.

He stared at me emotionlessly. “Yes, that’s why I read that book so much.”

I chose not to say anything else just then, but instead looked down at the paper and thought about Jonny’s case. He wanted to hear from that girl he wrote to, but I could not remember why. He probably loved her or something, and wanted her to say the same to him. That could explain a lot, but he was still acting strangely.

He spoke up again and said, “If it comes to finding a way to serve, then I could probably find something better to do.”

“Yeah, probably. Have you ever thought about doing anything else?”

He smiled and said, “I always thought it would be cool to start a school. Not a school like every other school that teaches math and English and history, but a school that teaches about that book.”

“They already have schools like that.”

“Yeah, I know, but I’ve never talked to anyone else who sees things quite like we do, where I go.”

“That’s true, Jonny.”

He nodded and appeared to almost be staring through the wall behind me. I figured he was deep in thought. His leg started bouncing again and he began chewing on his bottom lip. After a few minutes of this he stood up and declared, “I have to go call someone.” I nodded and he walked out of the Monastery, leaving his yellow bag lying on the floor.

I went back to my paper and waited for him to return. It seemed like nearly an hour before he returned, but it was hard to be certain as I was not wearing a watch.

He picked up his bag without sitting down in the chair. “I called an old friend of mine,” he said. “She and I have talked before about starting a school like this. Always seriously, but never really thinking it could happen. But why can’t it happen? It would be a good thing, I think, and we could get people to come to it.”

“Yes, I’m sure you could,” I said.

He nodded his head gladly and said, “She lives near here, so she is going to meet me outside in less than an hour. Until then, I’m just going to wait outside. It’s a nice day, you know. Come and join me if you want to.”

I said that I would, and we both walked out of the Monastery into a sunny midmorning light. The spring air was warm, and before long I took off my jacket. We talked about a lot of things while he waited, but mostly about this young woman who was a friend of his. He told me she was nice and that I should stick around to meet her, so I did.

She approached the front of the Monastery with a smile on her face. She appeared to be about the same age as Jonny, but with a prettier face than his, and longer brown hair. Jonny introduced her as Kerah, and I listened as they began to talk.

“So, you really want to do this?” Jonny asked her.

Her smile broadened into a grin. “Yes,” she said.

“Well then, how shall we start?”

“I suppose we should go somewhere to discuss it, if you want to.”

“Yeah, where do you want to go? No reason to keep standing around here.”

She looked thoughtful and said, “I don’t know; where do you want to go?”

He shrugged and didn’t say anything, she just kept looking at him thoughtfully, and I eventually looked the other way.

At last, Kerah said, “Well, I’m hungry, so we might as well find someplace where there's food.”

“Yes, in town somewhere,” said Jonny. He looked at me and I smiled back. I thought he was about to invite me, so I pre-empted his attempt.

“I think I should head back home. Somehow, I’m always ready to return home after visiting the Monastery.”

Jonny relaxed visibly, probably in relief. We all said goodbye, then I walked away in one direction and they walked away in the other.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

In Praise, the Insufficiency of Words

Why should one strive and struggle to write words
That sound so very superfluously good,
When all they mean to do is praise their Creator?
Create an image, they say—
But the image I see is infinite.
All the trees of the forest
Condense into a single point in a single instant
And then explode into an ever-expanding reality.

And in it, here I am sliding about,
Not only amongst the trees,
Because it's not only the trees,
But also amongst all the images,
Everything that is made up of shadow.
Exploding from the point comes an intense light
That has such luminosity as I might be blinded
As it washes away my mind.

But the beauty is that I know this light
Is merely a shadow of something grander,
Something deeper, something thicker,
Something fuller, something more.
And so why should one struggle to write words that can never show
The deep inner gravity of everything true,
The full assurance of something that cannot be changed,
Or the inner solemn joy I have?

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Shabbat VI

The day of Unrest:
The holy army advances
And the double edged sword slays
The men and women and children in the street.
In the homes,
The sword brings death.
The city is ruined.

But don't give up hope.
Is this the sort of Sabbath I want?

All is forgiven.
This is the sort of Sabbath I want:
Loose the bonds of oppression,
Feed the unfed,
Stand for those who can't stand,
Release the widow and the orphan
And the prisoner in chains.

All is forgiven.
Herein is freedom.
Herein is rest.
Atonement, my grace, my love—
Today is the day!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Shabbat V

To remember Rahab
May be a noble and wise task.
The second Passover,
The second escape from sin,
The second red paint at the lintel—
Behold, in Israel, the day of rest.

It is now
Fourteen steps to the entrance,
Fifteen steps to the exit,
But by faith comes escape.
By escape it comes to salvation.
Rahab escaped—cursed is he who rebuilds the city.

And it was Ruth who
Ran to be redeemed
In the face of the brethren.
The harvest came and she was not torn;
She gleaned the corners instead,
The corner or her redeemer's garment.

It is now
Seven courses to the meal,
Forty-nine broken pieces of bread,
And the fiftieth is dipped in the bowl.
But it was forgotten
That the seventh course cleans the palate.

So it becomes that there is no escape from exile
Until every redemption has been paid.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Shabbat IV

I think the answer is freedom.
The one day we receive
To not do what we hate.
It is ours to own,
If only we'd have it.
Just like the kingdom of heaven,
If only we'd have it.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Shabbat III

Dritte, we have a movie of something sweet.
A celebration they had
In the early hours
Of their great victory.
The end of the age is at hand
The new age is upon us
And you should have seen them dancing in the streets.
They had banners and streamers
With big, bold words printed,
Telling the world of their Banner.
But the world didn't need to read,
Because the world was defeated.
They had won,
They had won,
And oh, you should have heard them singing!
It sounded like the cool mountain breeze,
The scent of sweet lilies blooming in spring.
And then the sight I must share,
The one that will stay with me forever,
Is when I watched them cheer and
Jump and rejoice
When their Lord came up from the garden.
And what made me weep for joy
Was when I saw him walk over to a girl
Who was lying on the ground,
Suffering from a poison arrow in her chest,
Taken in battle.
He knelt by her, pulled the arrow out,
And said, "Talitha, kum!"
And she rose.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Shabbat II

I was waiting at the edge of the water for hours,
Waiting for her to show up.
But eventually my brother came by
And asked me to join him in his boat
So that we could go out on the water to meet our father.

I looked around for a moment, wondering what was taking her so long,
But then I went with my brother
Because I knew I'd be back later.
So we went out on the lake
Where the sun made it warm as we reclined and watched the waves.

I think I took a nap at some point out in the boat,
As my brother and I talked
About everything that was good in life
And all of the good things to come.
When we headed back to the shore, I watched the life below

Sway with the moving waters. At the shore,
She had not yet arrived,
But it was all right,
Because we had rested.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Mr. Cheshire's Collar

There was a cat
Sitting on a chair.
He smiled and it wasn't that hard to see,
Because all but the grin disappeared.

Yes, he was amused
And yes, he was diverted,
But I tell you this truly:
Inspiration may end, but he will not be halted!

Though with wisdom it seems
That one should run slowly,
Even while having too much fun.
Clearly, it has come to this.

Imagine the tricks
That could belabor a scheme
In the depths of the night
After the Kiwi art.

Hier Amuse

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Onward, My Muse

Maybe someday soon,
I will regret having written this.
But until then I must say,
It's a true tale—
You made me write this.

And it is always,
Always yours.
Because like the bumbling fool told you,
"You know you're not telling me."
But at last you told,
And so I wrote.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Shabbat I

I would wake up on a Saturday morning
Into the cool light of just after dawn,
That light that seems to chase you
Because you stayed up too late the night before.
And I lay there before my Judge
And I scream in my head,
I scream, Today!
Today, Father, give me rest.
And I'm praying,
Because I don't have enough faith.
There's not enough in my heart
When I see men and women
And children
Striving for something that cannot be earned.
I watch cold hearts grow colder
And fired hearts turn hard.
I hear words and rumors,
Gossip at its harshest.
Get out of my head!
Because I don't want to see
And I don't want to hear.
So sit in rows,
Sit in a circle,
Because it doesn't matter—
It would be better to stand.
But none of it matters—
It's all meaningless.
Go outside,
Find someone to care about,
Find someone to talk to.
But don't talk—listen!
Listen…to the words of the teacher.
Our schoolmaster says
To work for six days
And on the seventh day rest.
But this one thing should be clear:
You cannot earn that rest.
At least, not by striving after the wind.
This day is important,
This day is a weightier matter,
But this day is never for strife.
This day is for rest and peace and rejoicing.
So I would get up in the morning,
Prepare myself to smile,
Prepare myself for pain,
And remember the words of the Teacher,
"The Sabbath was made for man,
And not man for the Sabbath."

Friday, October 8, 2010

When Shiloh Comes

Candlelight Luminosity—
No, the gloaming limn.

Evening comes quickly,
Winter comes harshly.

For lo, when things are made new
The winter rains are over and gone.

So buy your oil,
Stay awake.

He's resting in the lily gardens,
And then he comes your way.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Nie Mehr

Es war Nekotag,
Wann die Kinder tanzte
Und Sie glaubte,
Dass Sie machtet
Eine Katze miauen für ihn.

Aber nicht so viel Menschen
Hatte ein Verstehen,
Wann Sie lachte
Und Sie wusste
Dass für alle die Leute:

Nie mehr kann man verstehen,
Dass für alle die Kiwikunst,
Es gibt immer Schwierigkeiten
Wann Sie über Wissenschaft sprechen.

Wovon dies: hier.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

While Mother was Away

Asleep in a cupboard
The boy clutched the front of his shirt in pain.
Trying his hardest to dream
He held on tight to the buttons that remained.
In his dreams
If he could have dreamed about anything
He would have dreamed
About screaming out-loud towards infinity.

Outside the cupboard
Another boy waited for him to finish dreaming.
He wanted an answer
About whether if what happened earlier had any meaning.
It had been an accident
Even if they had all meant for it to happen.
Now he would like to have dreamed
About screaming out-loud towards penitence.

On the other side of the room
A small girl stood and watched these things.
She wore blue dresses
And on one hand always wore two rings.
It would have been an accident
If they had not said that they were going to do it.
But now in her hands
She held onto and cried for a dying red-tailed lark.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I can't vacuum...the light's not on

I had the Epic poem of the century today

was amazing
the problem…

I didn't have pen and paper

nothing exploded
It's gone

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Cisterns That Can Hold No Water

He looked out the window
And saw steam rising from the nuclear power plant.
He had tried so many times to make it make sense,
To find a path towards the extra measure,
The extra molecule of life and love.
But it wasn't so simple as that time next to the willow trees
Where he lost his life's love and returned
A less hopeful man, but still curious.
So as the steam rose into the air from the tall chimneys,
To where it would return eventually,
He considered his lesser tries.
The time he met the Lorax and his trees,
With the lesson to be learned and the price to be paid.
The time he sat in a lecture hall and listened
As a secular man told him that he was right.
The time he sat in a gymnasium and was cut to the heart
As a religious man told him that he was wrong.
And the time above all when his mother had passed away,
Before he made it to the hospital from the airport.
And he tried to imagine
What all of these times had in common.
Setting down his glass of grape juice
He put his hand on the window to feel the cool,
To imagine what real faith felt like,
Before pain hardened the world to times like these.
He tried to imagine a beautiful flower meadow
With a poetry house in the center,
The center of which had a clear column of light shining daily.
He imagined a place where love wasn't an abstract idea,
Because poetry never worked out his personal catharsis,
Nor had much to say about this particular moment.
Not really.
He picked up his glass of grape juice and took a sip,
Tasting the bitter sweetness,
Thinking about how a thousand saints had died for times like these.
And looking out the window
He saw steam rising from the nuclear power plant.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Tired of Eating Fish

I don't want to live there
In the deep forest town
In the dark jungle that hides me
Where the dire woods leave me.

But instead I'd rather live here
In a meadow
With a tree and a flower
And a kingdom full of priests
And a whole love of bright sun
Luminescence to drown out the sound
Of thousands of humming birds.

And I think I'd like to have a city
Named after my favorite food
With a capital building so clear
That I can see what everyone is
Thinking and knowing and wishing to have.

And I think it would snow in the winter
And be sunny in the summer
Where the fall and the spring
Collide into a shiny tangle
That assumes we know too much
When we haven't know enough
But still want to know more
Even though we never can.

That's where I want to live
With anything I can call my own.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

It's Over, Fair Sleeper

They fall down from the treetops
And catch all the little ones in their teeth.
They jump from branch to limb
And gnash and claw to the earth.
They grab you from the side
And tear until you can't feel a thing.
They take what you give
But what you lend isn't enough.

I swear I saw them walking around the park
Last Thursday afternoon,
Right before the moonflowers bloomed
And the wedding party walked through.
Didn't you see them too?
I swear I saw them running down the street
With their claws bared,
Not that anyone was scared
When they took the children and the elderly—
Did they take them too tenderly?

You know I'm not crazy.
You know I'm not the only one they keep up at night.
You know.
You know.
You know you're not telling me.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Twenty Minutes

It was starting to get dark as I sat in the corner of the walled, stone-paved courtyard. I looked at the big digital clock posted by the large exit gate. Twenty minutes to midnight. If ever there was a time, now was the time to make a run for it. A few other people wandered around the courtyard, but no one seemed particularly interested in any immediate action or conversation. Now was the time to leave. Only twenty minutes to midnight.

I stood up slowly, so as not to wake the sleepy polar bear resting near the gate. I announced, as if to encourage myself, but perhaps said it too loudly, "I'm going to leave now." A couple people turned their heads, saying nothing, and the polar bear opened its eyes and let out a brief growl. I changed my mind. I would follow the rules instead.

I walked over to the clerk by the north wall and picked up the proper forms. I scribbled down the answers on my application and approached the polar bear. It looked at me with disinterest as I placed the application on the ground.

I'm not entirely sure what happened next, but I think I saw the polar bear smirk as there was a bright flash of light, after which I looked and saw my application was gone. Blamed kiwi lux. The polar bear got up then and began to prowl in front of the gate. Taking a few steps back, I looked up at the clock. Still fifteen minutes to midnight. There had to be a means of escape. Next time, I told myself, I would study law and find a loophole in the rules.

I wandered about for a few minutes, staring at the grimy walls in thought, now and then. I considered conferring with some of the others in the courtyard, discuss a possible plan with them, but they didn't appear to be particularly helpful in this case. One guy even fell into a pit that opened underneath his feet. The fall and crunch at the end were fairly mild, so I assumed he would appear from the hole again, but I didn't see him again before midnight.

The polar bear made a sound and I looked up at the clock. Only seven minutes to midnight. Suddenly panicked and griping to myself about lost time, I again approached the polar bear, but this time with more boldness. It just stood there, blocking the way. I considered making a rude dash for the exit, but a sudden feeling of politeness filled my soul instead.

I tried reason. "Look, polar bear, we all know it's getting late, and it would be nice if I could leave now." I tried this and a few other tactics, but nothing worked and—I swear it was true this time!—the polar bear grinned at me and turned its head towards the clock. Fifteen minutes had now passed me by since my initial attempt to depart from the courtyard.

So it was then, with five minutes to spare, that I embraced the polar bear's game. I had to ask myself, how much do I really want to leave? Wouldn't it be even better to stay here all night and play games with my fiercest competitor? Yes, I thought, that would be very nice—to laugh and speak joyfully as the polar bear slowly nods off to sleep…. However, there was no time for that now, though a game was still in order. A longer stay the polar bear would get out of me. But a full twenty minutes? Never.

As a crowd began to form, I knew my only comical choice was to revert to Shakespeare. With feigned sadness and displeasure, I made a show and played Horatio. Or was it Hamlet? Oh, who can tell now? It's of no matter now, because the crowd was pleased and the polar bear played along.

Smile on my face, I looked at the clock—one minute to spare, and the polar bear no longer so forcefully guarding the gate. But even as I looked at the digital display, I saw the numbers shift and I knew that midnight was upon us. I had failed. A moment later the polar bear noticed the time and began to celebrate. And I swear this is true, it began to dance around the courtyard. I watched for a few moments, somehow defeated and yet glad, but then I noticed that the gate stood open, and with a quick movement I would be free to leave. I began to walk towards the exit, but the polar bear lunged and landed in front of me.

Feeling that obedience only created by fear, I fell to the ground and awaited my terrible fate. But when I gained enough courage and opened my eyes, I saw the polar bear backing away. And I don't know if it was by magic—it could just as easily have been science, or even religion—but a copy of my application, completed and officially stamped, rested on the ground in front of me. I stood up and grabbed the document, lifting it up over my head. At last, it had come to pass. The polar bear looked just a little bit sad and the crowd looked confused, but now was my time to celebrate.

As I walked through the gate, I couldn't help but think of the polar bear and the coinciding failure and victory I had obtained. But I set my eyes ahead and looked beyond the gate. It was dark outside of the courtyard, now after midnight, and the sky was cloudy so I walked home slowly.

I made it home in due time, lay down in my bed, and reflected on the night's events, plotting how I might retell this tale. I couldn't help but miss the fun, and it came to me then—I wasn't dreaming.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

She has come and She has gone

Winter is the only time
That winter will ever make sense.
The rest of the time
The weather just isn't cold enough.

In summer when it rains,
The fruit trees soak up the water and flourish.
The produce grows bright and strong,
Reflecting back to us the energy of the sun.

Spring is always supposed to be happy,
When bears come out of hibernation.
But sometimes enjoyment is forgotten
When happiness requires all of our attention.

So it is in fall then,
When winter is truly appreciated.
Boring sites of beautiful colors
Tell us at last that the wait is now over.

Because: this.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Hum, Ocean Anonymous

A lullaby to start to fall down,
The grass cut razor lines in the sand
They sang to me out loud
And I danced around and ahead

The water up to my knees I held hands high
At last the moon smiles
At last she smiles upon me!
The grass held nothing on these dunes.

It started slowly,
When I wasn't looking for feeling
My ears heard it loudly
I heard it burst forth.

Green Flower fell into the water,
Hear her screams as she drowns
Goddess drinks in her own source
And I'm rejoicing!

The sand is so subtle, so course,
So I'm glad the grass withers to the sea.
And there was a humming I heard
When the grass lifted her higher.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

If Capuchins Went to School (or The Small Monkey with a Large Temper)

I'm going to get Calvins.
He destroyed my model boat.
I'm going to get him at school.
I want to hit him in the face.
After that, I will bite his arm.
Then I will pull on his hair.

After I beat him to a pulp,
I will stand there and scream.
The other monkeys will be scared.
Then I will jump up and down.
They will all run away.
Even dumb Mr. George will be afraid.

I'll say to him, "Hey, Curious!"
And he will look at me stupidly.
I'll say to him, "You want what Calvins got?"
And he'll run away to that dumb man,
The one with the dumb yellow hat.
And then I'll scream some more, just because I can.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Od of the Kiwi Lux

Always trouble talking about science.
I could have sworn it flashed through my flesh,
The excellent tempest of glaring joy.
The kiwi lit up the sky,
The sky fell down,
The lovely feeling came to me,
And all the white flowers fell face up!

But I suspect the lutulent faces
Came from unclear motives and dark clouds.
Turbid motives considering morbid trust.
But no, it cannot be because
Of the shining that bursts
Forth, with the sun to compare
That most wonderful illumination!

And it must have been Kolya who considered
The transcendence of kiwis.
There's always trouble talking about it.
A stray cat glowed,
Mewing in silence I'd say
Because of the brightness
That pierced holes in the fuzzy sides!

Oh her fur, I swear I never met its warmth.
To say such a thing and to be so brave is to try
To understand the lush green inside.
A kiwi.
The squishy and the green,
The envious circled me,
When I beheld the light of the kiwi!

Magnetically drawn to such a tremendous lamp.
Mesmerized by the sight of her laugh,
Realizing that I was yet to hear it around.
It must have been
A Palamon complex,
An Emily lost,
A legislative rule to be written!

I heard him say, "This is science, after all;
You get caught up in administration and paperwork."
I just wanted to play, or sleep.
Lucid arrows break away
From the kiwi's
Inner formal laurels,
Just in time for my storm-darkened eyes!

The foot of the candle swirls around my head.
The flinching of the catacomb's shadows
Was proof enough that the end had not yet come.
A miracle in essence,
A very small tree,
A kiwi,
It exploded into infinite particles of light!

"It's impossible at best!" I would have claimed,
Had I been in a cloudy Torino night.
My luminous face was proof enough by now.
You had to swim through it, friend,
Feel it touch your skin,
To understand
That science can't comprehend kiwi poetry!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Draw, Golden Pure Ghost

Go to the altar where the blood falls
Draw the hearts
Rip all the paper
Be alarmed for every burning tree.

Wasting time on worthless novels
Finding the goddess
The shadow falls
I recall a day when the air was sweet.

Everything I have I don't understand
Where love is now
With the final fight
Draw the line, I'll watch the dark horse.

For pretty hair or for naught
Knees to the ground
Draw the hearts
With all the blood that fell on my head.

In my hands I hold cups of blood
Doing nothing
My feet too pretty
I remember when the water tasted like grace.

I have every chance to educate myself
The flowers found
Nothing was found
I want to do more than survive.

I remember when everything was sweet
Make it clean
Make it clean
When golden pure bursts the sun.

Find someone to love and to shake
Everyone knows
What we don't say
Bloody, ghosts, curtains torn, draw the hearts.

Monday, June 21, 2010

How Good Is Change?

Well, change can be good. When you go from a state of worse to a state of better, then change seems to be something that everyone can gladly envision. Change, it seems to me, is derived from a hope for a certain outcome. When something is harmed or weak or in a state of disarray, we may have a confident expectation that it is healed, made strong, and set in order. This is our hope, and it can lead to change. But we are still left to consider, whether we like it or not, the consequences of change.

Change for the sake of change is never a worthwhile task. Sure, when something is broken, it needs to be fixed, but it must be fixed the right way. If it is changed from one state of brokenness to another state of brokenness, then nothing has been accomplished. In fact, it is likely that further harm has been done during the shift. Suppose you have a man lying on the ground with some broken ribs. He has been hurt and can barely move himself, and until more help arrives, you are the only one there to help him. While you try to comfort him in his agony, you notice that the man is laying on a hard dirt surface, and so you think he might be more comfortable over a little ways on a nice patch of grass you see. So what do you do? Do you grab him by the legs and drag him over to the grass so that he can have a slight bit more comfort as he lays there is pain? No, I think not. The process of moving him from the hard dirt to the patch of grass would cause far greater pain and discomfort for him than the comfort gained from being on the grass. It is like this with change, if done in a careless matter.

Perhaps I might say that in my time in this world, as I’ve moved about to different places, seen different things, I’ve begun to wonder why it is that people get so excited about change. When man puts his hand to change, it is something to be done carefully, not recklessly. If we have hope for something better, then there is no reason for worry. Change will come, and may even come swiftly in our lives, but it is not something we should look to without understanding what it means. Change for the sake of change is not good, and neither is changing without knowing why. It’s nothing to get excited about unless you know for certain that it’s going to work, whether you have a hand in it or not.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

On the Life of an Average Live-In Elf

The life of an average live-in elf is not uncomplicated, though the principles by which it must live are simple. First, the elf must swear fealty to its master, promising to hold entirely to the word and discipline of the master. Second, a live-in elf is primarily a servant, and only secondarily a friend of the master, if the master so chooses to befriend the elf. Third, a live-in elf must at all times have a clean nose. Live-in elves are known for their poor hygiene--and this is normally accepted by the master--but the elf is even so given to the duty of having a clean nose, representing its desire to promote good personal hygiene.

In order to remain in the service of his master long enough to reap the benefits of his master's grace, a live-in elf must be eager and willing to practice these three principles of proper behavior. However, simply practicing these principles is not in itself admirable for a live-in elf, except in the case of a newly trained live-in elf. Instead, a live-in elf should seek to learn and understand the purpose of the principles, knowing the reasons upon which they have been established. The experienced live-in elf of a benificent master will understand the purpose and lesson of the rules, thereby surpassing the discipline of the rules and coming to rely soley upon the instructions of the master, who will in turn graciously provide for the needs of the elf.

--from The Handbook for a Successful Elf-Master Relationship, 3rd Ed.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

A Brief Recollection of the Events of August 19, 1994

Yeah, I remember it.
The chickens passed by without a word.
The dogs were afraid to say anything.
We kept to ourselves.
If the chickens were up to something, then okay.
Who were we to stop them?
Just because this is a farm don't mean we don't bow to the chickens.
You see, they had a plan.
After they took up torches and egged the cows
The chickens headed to town, and yes...
Yes, I remember it....

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Gloaming Limn

In the gloaming limn there are things like darkness, because it is told what terrible things are coming to everyone. And then there are promises made--despite all of the darkness--of good things to come. And it is explained, to everyone's amazement, that light will come because the darkness is foretold.

So the gloaming and the night are meant to be endured for the sake of the morning and for the sake of all the new things that come with the dawn.

A choice is presented in the gloaming limn--a choice of importance to those listening. It is found that there is a difference between darkness and illumination in which a decision is necessary. There is a lack of perfection in those who witness the gloaming, and so by the limn have their choice.

May the choosing result only in life and never in death.

The morning will come and everything will be seen new. All will awaken and all will bloom and all is now hope. For all of their fashion, those in the gloaming limn know their cold incompletion. The sun is gone, the night is here, and they swallow their pill.

Yet the choice remains, the hope of the morning, with Truth himself telling us: "Have your fashion, it is yours."

In the gloaming limn
We are tired and lonely.
We find that together we are alone,
With nowhere to run.
There is darkness dying the sky
And light grabbing our clothes.
What fearful times are these,
To know that what we are promised,
Just might kill us.

Are you going home?
In the gloaming limn
What truth do you want to see,
When mercy marks us
To be inwardly assigned?
The clouds cover our bright red moon.
The goddess casts a long shadow.
Our children prophesy.
And in the gloaming limn, I still believe.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Shall We Gather at the River?

Harrison and George stood at the fence. They were going to make a break for it; leave the good ol’ USA and wander through the Canadian wilderness.

“There it is, George,” said Harrison. “Canada!”

“It sure looks nice, sir,” said George.

“It is nice. Very nice, in fact. Have you never been to Canada before?”

“Not ever.”

“Well, now is your chance, George. All that is left between us and freedom is this tall fence with barbed wire at the top.”

“I never imagined that the fence would be so tall and violent, sir.”

“Of course the fence is tall and violent! Don’t you know why it’s here? It’s obvious George, the Canadians want to keep us out. And I certainly understand why. Do you know why George? It’s because if we all invaded Canada like we want, then the majority of the population wouldn’t be Canadian! It’s a political thing, George. You have to think about these things.”

George looked at Harrison, and then down at his own hands. “I should have thought of that, sir, you are right.”

“Don’t worry about it, George, that’s why I am leading this expedition.”

“So what do we do next?”

“We find a way over the fence, of course. The hard part will be the barbed wire, but that is just a matter of careful work to overcome.”

“Sir, I am wondering something….”

“What is it, George?”

“Well, I have been looking at the ground on the other side of the fence and have noticed that it's all dry and dusty, and the little bit of grass is rather brown and gray. Isn’t the grass supposed to be greener on the other side of the fence?”

“You might think that, George, but that doesn’t apply to situations like this! You see, clearly the Canadians want to keep us out, so they have made it look worse over there! But it's just a trick. You see, it's actually great in Canada. This is shown by the simple fact that they have made it appear worse on the other side of the fence. They have reversed the saying, George. They have made their side look worse, making our side appear to be the better side of the fence, while all along they keep us out and their side of the fence is made better by being made worse. You have to think about these things.”

“Of course, sir.”

“Now, let’s get to finding a way over this fence. Let me lead you in this, George, since this is the hard part.”

“Yes, sir, where will you lead me?”

Harrison laughed. “It is a funny thing, George, what I just realized.”

“You figured out why the only green things on the other side of the fence are those cactuses in the distance there?” George pointed.

“What? No, listen to me, George. You see, I just realized that I am just like Moses, leading the Israelites into the Promised Land. You would be the Israelites, of course, and Canada is the Promised Land. Having come out of slavery to the ways of the United States, I have led you to the border of a better place. We have walked through the desert on this side, for what, forty hours? And now we have come to it at last! Only one last obstacle to overcome. This fence, much like the River Jordan, is all that keeps us on this side. Come, George my Israel, let us wait no longer. Let your Moses lead you into the Promised Land!”

George nodded his head and asked, “Didn’t Moses die before Israel went into the Promised Land?”

Harrison stared at the fence for several minutes. “Shall we go home now, George? I think we have seen enough here.”

“Yes, sir, let’s go home.”

So Harrison and George walked away from the fence, with the setting sun on their left.

Monday, April 5, 2010

On the Crauhnice Principle

Interesting Observations about Life by Joy Osympelmin
From Chapter 12, "The Crauhnice Principle"

It has come to my attention recently that there is a thinking among the amused that involves doing quite unexpected or strange things in an attempt to spread amusement, as well as other equally unexpected goodness. The idea being that there is good in the thing itself, or the action, or the words, rather than in the way that it is presented. This is a principle which I like to refer to as the Crauhnice Principle. ‘Crauhnice’ simply being a word used to describe anything that is so strange, abnormal, insane—crazy, if you will—that it turns out to be nothing other than truly nice.

Now, crauhnice things, actions, words, events, people, etc. are wonderful things to behold when you find them. It is because there may be no greater way to discover beauty than when it is unexpected. So these crauhnice things, when found, tend to bring joy to those who gain by them. Thus, those who live by the Crauhnice Principle, meaning that they try to invent that which is crauhnice, try to spread their adventure to those around them. True, this can easily—and often does—lead to some confusion, but the crauhnice people tend to believe that in most cases this minor confusion is acceptable sacrifice for the times that produce that which is truly crauhnice.

I have personally observed crauhnice behavior to be an amusing and somewhat entertaining activity. So I must consider that the crauhnice people, who are indeed out there, may be on to something. However, those who wish to live crauhnice must fully implement it into their thinking for it to be effective. So, I did find that it was worth a try; but it did, for at least the short time I tried it, take up my thinking. This may have merely been because of my self-training in it, and may recede with time, but it was work. I suppose, however, that the more ways in which one applies crauhnice activities to their life that it will be much quicker to learn, and be overall more effective.