EightThese poems are based on five groupings of eight, beginning with Robert J. Lifton’s principles of thought reform, as identified with despots and cult movements: milieu control, mystical manipulation, demand for purity, cult of confession, “sacred science”, loading of language, doctrine over person, and the dispensing with of existence. Next will be eight tactics of subversive propaganda: interrupt target’s work, create false urgency, denigrate all achievements, shift goalposts, abnormalize the normal, sow paranoia (attribute setbacks to “someone doing it”), withhold information, generate enemy relationships. Third, heading back uphill, the Bushido warrior’s eight virtues: righteousness, heroic courage, benevolence, respect, honesty, honor, duty, self-control. Fourth, Aquinas’s preferred form of logical determination, the disputatio legitima: question, answer, thesis, agreement, refutation, argument, suggested proof, final resolution. And last, the noble eightfold path of Buddhism: right understanding, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration.

 

 


 

 

Thought Reform

 

Milieu
Mystical
Purity
Confession
Sacred Science
Loaded Language
Doctrine
The Dispensing

 

(Jump to Propaganda)

 

 


 

Stylized photo of woman with closed-smile

Milieu

 

You like and you don’t like

Thin chances but first to subtract aplomb

A fellow’s duty done

Subtract an unobstructed view and brace

Like Dr. Bellows dressed

In oilskins, your slumbering other self

Can’t help but help

Be national interviewee miked and lensed

Smooth criminal’s aileron roll on hurricane winds

A sly, ingenious, patron-gifted, faux autistic

Foe lays a cunning trap, strikes a deceitful pose

Craft, as the fang of a cat, fatuously arrayed

To tempt

Or not

Or so you think

Or so time says you nay

Five points to the order blank, pole star

No, you’re not meant to like it

Though Orion’s dog might have scented it

All that money changing hands

Top cats get cash, you, football, get

Your kicks, riches of embarrassment, but

Coy you, the way you wear your hat

The way you eat your crow

The bird’s eye’s heartless assessing

Ceiling-mirrored show

Why, you, it was you, your face said that

 

 


 

Stylized photo of Black-eyed Susan flowers

Mystical

 

A tribute to your thoughts

Brother Nostrazerof**k

The gift of seeing first is yours

That tweet you called it

Months ago when others snored

Coincidence is the crossing

Of a tool’s path with the genius

Groove laid down by his new master

 

You wake in the mornings

Tapped on the chest by your guardian angel’s rummaging

Drawers in a multi-bayed Garage Mahal

Where shiny Craftsman tiers on wheels

So red and bright as to raise the spirit

Of William Carlos Williams

Depend on that

All alike, old human lives and their paraphernalia

New inventory to purgatory’s clearinghouse

Comes continual

Here’s yours

Of silvery screws, a few, dropped in a jar

Dropped a-purpose, little seer, they clink out one by one

A Tropicana

Flying Down to Old Havana

marimba tune

Dink dink…dinka dinka dinka dink…dink dink

You wake in the mornings

You carry awareness of great things

You find an ankh and wear it

A Cherokee bear tattoo it

A Nepalese mandala

A Celtic maze

Peramble it

Amulet of moonstone

Yinning you to fearful excess

Balance this with dreams of rockets

 

 


 

Digital art of mournful eye among abstract black shapes

Purity

 

Can you be more use to the world?

Wend into your twilight and return your minerals

The tab-man counts the unatoned dollar

Spent to see firsthand

A grateful Europe wrought upon by science

You accept that power seeks its balance

That men of vision won all this for you

You accept your low-tier back-queue status

Accept the cracking altarpiece’s wrapping

The satin bow with its pronging pin

The blue planet in an Easter basket

Handed across for you to look at and then

removed

Fingered-over public items interfere with the IV tube

 

You accept the origin myth is altered

You accept it is not god

It is the father

You accept that sacrifice is virtue

You accept you are an earthly angel

For sacrificing more than had belonged to you

 

To be not at fault for anything

All fault be named and numbered by the visionary men

To be not at fault for anything

Occultist warnings jesting late

Flitter down reshuffling files, stories’ dates

To be not at fault for anything

Halt the growth inside the brain

To be…why did you come here…why at all?

Not at fault.

 

 


 

Pastel drawing purple figures surrouding as interrogators seated figure

Confession

 

You want to resist

Oh yes. You resist the teaching, you do.

Hadn’t they insisted at the little meeting

Hadn’t they insisted

(Oh, but I think you know what I mean.)

Hadn’t they shared with you, trusted you

Been kind to you, for joining us may be your redemption

And yet, it won’t.

Because you won’t be redeemed.

Your head seems lowered and your eyes shifting

You were asked a question and your leader, sadly

Smiles. He would be happy if recruits

Could be trusted. But they can’t.

Can’t yet. Can’t advance yet.

His fatherly love is not bandied

It is a thing hard won

When you came in, your gait…

Your walk reluctant, your sitting in your chair

Attitudinous, disappointing, heavy.

You make noise.

You do not sit erect and answer with alacrity

You hide your stubborn worldliness

Thou hast not put this sin away from thee

You, then. It may be you don’t really belong

Worse, you are rather dishonest

All along, he murmurs, I suppose

…been that one’s purpose.

It grieves the leader, speaking louder, turning to them all again

Grieves him, but he admits, sometimes, yes, the envious…

Sometimes, yes, we find mere hirelings…

Mere hirelings

Of the enemy, infiltrators

He glances right and left

His two lieutenants nod

Sometimes, yes, betrayers…

But the loyal members, after all

I don’t blame them. They feel strongly.

Now, do you love me? No, you don’t

And here I’ve come to speak to you myself.

 

 


 

Oil painting of man in strange landscape stalked by bird

Sacred Science

 

The Light is the Light

It is thus, New Ones, cherished Flowers of the Sun

The This

The Instrument of Inner Tunefulness

Our Helmsman, He our Earth-Names denote

Father-Sage

He Whom the Light Awakened

Is the Helmsman Whom the Light Awakened

As the Ultra of the Nebula Pulsahria

Ordained

And the Teachings that to him were given

Are the Teachings that to him were given

And the Empty who were called to follow

Are the Empty who were called to follow

Now be filled

 

Kernel-Stars of the Ultra, question nothing

The Lesser, who are falsely filled

Are falsely filled with Love of Earthly Lucre

Keeping ties with lying counsellors

Earth-Bound counsellors who shall not be taken up

On that Day of Great Return

Why (answer this, if you’ve a heart to)

Should lovers, friends, and parents care so much?

Dear Children

Perhaps it is not you, it is your money

But the Helmsman has thought of this

In his nightly Emanations he has not summoned these

 

Father-Sage,  Replenisher, the Helmsman, knows

That Which the Helmsman Knows

And knew, when first he sensed your Being

The Atomenes in their billion millennia of Ages

Gain passage through the Flesh of their Former Selves

And when the Light journeys here at last

To Herald the rebuilding of the City

By their faith shall The Tuneful be new-made

 

 


 

Digital drawing of fisherman and sea-creature

Loaded Language

 

The housing of Dillard’s vital organs

A compress wrapped to resist untightening

Larded arteries under dress clothes

Slick heels on his buckled shoes

Cocked in a goatskin executive chair

His limbs clench at the camera’s disclosure

Despite he kicks in feeling rancor

He shoots from the situation room table

Remounts his seat in a sluice of warning wind

His black socks pillow

Despite he puts his ankles up

A button just above his belt is off

But Dillard’s Self in its flesh-bound husk

lives entrepreneurial

A loveable fraud like the peddler of Oz

If worse, he never seemed so

His actual wife, thinks of telling this

to the press

Thinks of appearing on a game show

Kernel Junior, dough-faced, pimples bright as tumors

thinks of killing

Dillard, their Helmsman, gears to speak

 

Strangers aggress themselves climbing the compound gate

The monitor Dillard watches on, cathode ray

He believes it, no one can hack these things

Feels smugly retrogressive as to technology

 

From other cameras, chaotic scenes

Sewing machines unused, uniforms half-crafted

Dishes in the sink draw flies

Khaki-sack-clad men and women

Oily-haired, shamed about the eyes

Weep boarding vans and give their names

 

“Let the unworthy leave us…the jealous…”

And he adds, a new address, “My Beloved”

“Let the losers,” he says, “flee to the arms of their

Lying exploiters”

He falls silent and Junior takes the microphone

 

 


 

Oil painting gold and cerise background five faces

Doctrine

 

They said there was a sage and revered man

Who for his vows spoke never, but did chant

The psalms, his mien aloft of earthly cares

And soul among the blessed…this was known

A bird of fields, he, counted it a break with God

A deeper thing than ordinary sin

To have taken thought for his next meal

 

When in the villages illness came or famine

Ah, then did they beseech his prayers and oft

Were there any crust of bread to share

Bade him be sated, his sainted lips, their cup

A living mystic’s relic borne in awe

To the sick-bed, whence his miracles gained fame

 

They said his arm-bone measured a golden mean

That, for the sake of sanctity, it came to be

That of the abbey dedicated to his name

Each block was hewn, fit flush to this same length

They said that war, when veiled anciennes

Alone still told the ordered words of orison

And fasted Wednesdays, lest the deity forsake them

War machines, made by men whose gods were other men

Had crushed and set aflame the charted layerings

 

It was no more the faithful had been asked

Than trust of Will, in webs of the Divine

This math, of a greater power’s design

In symmetry and intricate

Bloom on bloom

Feather on feather

Wave on wave

All puzzle-cut in plainest sight before our eyes

The hermit’s holy measure moved to garden walls

And street pavers

 

 


 

Collage of magazine clippings featuring phrase "People are ready for"

 The Dispensing

 

Is the person, as such, pleasing

 

In ways, does the person please, and in ways offend

If the good were scissored free from, we will say, four inferior samplings

Sleeve, bodice, skirt, stitched, with a neat, tooth-to-tooth intermeshing

Of their pinked edging

We should be left to ask, part two, whom does this garment fit

 

Need it fit?

If so, we do not wish the person to be other than he is

We might pick out the seams, remake him, retaining the idea of the person, but altering

the perception of the idea

He is not to be made out of whole cloth, styled sufficient in autonomy to maintain

unpredictability, as threat or bringer of fortune

Oftentimes, a Tom, a Dick, a Harry

Dressed in anecdote, a player fabricated to beguile

But the mannequin is like a man, he serves, in that he moves and speaks

He speaks, sketched in with crabbing fingers pinched

He moves, made to do right at key points, the audience

 

Marionette Tom or Dick is elsewise of no use

 

That he lived contents us

A certificate of birth and a likeness

One or two remembered acts predictive

And if the story is of victory

And if the story is of failure

Let the story be the one at first, and then the other

And when the strawman falls from favor

We may dig from his file a daughter

 

 


 

 

Propaganda

 

Interrupting
Urgency
Oh, You Did That?
Lines Attached
Abnormalizing
Picking Brains
Withholding
Enemies

 

(Jump to The Bushido Warrior’s Creed)

 

 


 

Digital painting of futuristic living room chairs facing eyeball

Interrupting

 

Bright comes the sun o’er prospects verdant

Bright comes the upglow of new-booted screen

Bright the blue ink on fresh-peeled Post-it

Bright the gay tinkle of first text received

 

Here is a pincer move to keep the target tautened

The dandiest thing in banquet platters, name-tagged, yours

Heaped with meats and glistening sauces

Heaped with southern layered biscuits

Pies that steam out pumpkin spices

Only you had better get that

No, rather not, sign a petition

Well, yes, one cares about the subject…

Just, though…in point of fact…

In the room behind, the feast puffs out its little heat

But of course…can’t commit

under pressure

And in the interim, someone has taken it away

 

It takes some brooding on…but to feel bumpered

Plenished with that sense of not going it alone

Say hey gang to a few non-friends, vent via bad day emoji and meme

Check again

 

Next you find yourself in Dutch

(And mental note: Can one still say so?)

Failed at reading the urgent email

Is a filter’s sensitivity anyone’s fault?

Algorithms seem to go by their own seditious thought

 

By afternoon, fancies of spring weather

Living in a camper-trailer

Funding findings on the road, of kitsch and retro

Learning to penguin-walk backwards interviewing Self

Who knew there was a museum dedicated to the witching ball

Or this place, the birthplace of the inventor

Of miniature golf

 

 


 

Stylized photo pixelated mountain scene

Urgency

 

Being on a holiday maker’s tramline

That rendezvous with Moment

Or the narrow, might be boulder-strewn

Road that hugs the mountainside

Just past the curve, or here. Where you are marooned.

Warning signs say      warning signs say

ROCK FALLS

Rock falls…it won’t help knowing

You hardly know how to do the brake thing

But then, for the going up, where traffic’s crawl has slugged itself

Wholly into stasis, it seems your fate again, stuck in a gear

You doubt you’ll have the crucial hang of changing

Momentum meant a lot, and you’ve lost it

Still you have the vista

Diagonal below, through the side glass like a TV show

Depending those worse off ones

Bad luck’s baubles on a string

They weren’t expecting this no escape scenario

If the serial killer is a pot-shotter as well

Bored with easy pickings car by car

Or, if rock falls, why not cyclones roar

Is that shine on distant clouds the end of day

Or deathly cataclysm’s roll?

 

But relief at the hotel

A brief scurrying in with bags

Majesty and awesomeness, why does nature importune thus?

Sitting in a restaurant with a window view

Lasering sun finds every mole in bas relief

Maybe this the terror your mind should focus on

Next year perhaps no further of this travel

Think of how they’ll fire you before the tests come back

Was your see you Monday taken with a smirk?

 

 


 

Pastel and ink drawing of white and yellow birds

Oh, You Did That?
(Denigrate All Achievements)

 

Feathering yourself as a useful magpie

Quick and quicker your knack to apply that eye

Does a trained birdbrain need a pat on the head

Flies know a trick too

Everything carrion to them banquet once to you

And it is the spoilment we speak of

Never mind the worthy principle

That we don’t thank people for doing their jobs

We don’t belittle the dignity of labor

Suggest the worker’s state disgraces her

She only petitions the bossman with favors

And so we break a little bit

Your psyche aches to leave its seat

She strives for you, you claim an upper hand

that isn’t yours

Not your cog (ig) nition

spins the globe

Sputtering a bluish smoke

You dive…you right yourself with a master crafter’s

mind, set assuming your printout diploma

crony-minted by your school of Fair Chances

Lets you arbitrate the lesser birds’ adaptations

A hummingbird…why pretty why beloved?

(Why dainty and protected…why fed and not expected

to bear loads?)

A crow that counts and uses tools

A blue jay hustling up some action, a stork

That corners the baby-making racket

A flock of pigeons’ modern take on public statues

A cardinal who for his wife’s dull coat

Cites religious exception

A sparrow identical in markings to his mate

 

 


 

Oil Painting with digital enhancement glowing orange red and black

Lines Attached
(Shift Goalposts)

  

Bulletin: All leaves are cancelled

Spring clamped tighter in a chamber locked

For the next release ASAP

The initiative going forward hews to

Lines attached can safely pull it down

A limited set of data, determined by newer measurements

taken in recent months

 

Bulletin: Everyone is to develop a skill

An empty mall with a chance of housing

When called upon be ready to deploy

Undam the superheroesque chest swelling

Ignore the menu printed on the 31st

Stand by to learn where A-F, G-L, M-R, S-Z

Are scheduled to rehearse

 

Bulletin: All individuals must pass a fitness test

Those most apt for throwing tantrums tapped

To siphon trusted capital, “up here”

And demonstrate their competence at math

Suited best to punch the card in protest

Conversances in languages desired but not

Designated disqualifying for combat

 

Bulletin: At checkpoints find the highway closed

Carry in your lap safe conducts references

On request, old shackle-mates who vouch

if not found out

People you count among your happier successes

Yours now to prove their testimony germane

There is at the beginning, starting

 

 


 

Oil painting in purple and green tones with abstract figures

Abnormalizing

 

Should Dr. Comus mount to the podium

Begged before he dies, of a valediction, lightning-bolted by the gaze

When freed as angels his victims anneal him

And words break out, in patterns of revealing

His ilk, his false-named friends, a younger colleague

A theoretician, but a go-getter, they turn them out

that way, it’s admirable, the zestiness, of the United States

different kinds of cutters

shape the dough into different cookies

sleighs and stockings

bump-edged rounds

featureless limb-splayed men

Dragée smiles onto them, the wiser sort of guys

Who won’t be taken in, now prove that you are not a skull

wearing the healthy skin

of a human being prove you aren’t a radio receiver

Tuning voices from Pacific atolls atomized

Cries for answering cries, in still, early hours

Stating facts the stating of makes injured of

Secreted persons laying vials on slabs of white Formica

Let us choose for you your prize, absolution of the sin of pride

By a Calvinistic bent, it is your destiny to help

hidden even to yourself

Symptoms you display, thinking thoughts unbridled

And if the subject thought the thoughts we think

There would be no God

Everything is somewhat true, around the backside

of the globe, under knittings of squat palms

clumps of grass that bouclé steppe lands

Data of sequestered realms, sequestered truths all lock

their knucklebones together, fencing off

Grim Gordian knotters

Everything

Somewhat

True

Is it necessary to break the house

Life, you say and say, is mission

The old men linger, radiating their weak charisma

 

 


 

Digitalized photo of apple core

Picking Brains
[sowing paranoia]

 

Why are you here?

The silence extends. Though silence, in interview

via teletype is contempt, confusion, thoughtfulness

Thoughts of…what’s it mean, why really am I?

How do I work this thing, is it some kind of setup

Equipment breakdown, line traffic, any of those

What is your name?

I don’t believe they haven’t told you

This is an exercise, and so the rules are somewhat different

Uh huh, picking brains, what they said

That’s a good thing, helpful to you

Now consideration needed on this end

Sarcasm best answered straight-faced

In every case

Yes, you are being helpful, do you know

what you have been hospitalized for

to protect me from killers

Who are these killers

I would take care of that if I knew

What then

Excuse?

What then tells you that they are killers

as opposed to ordinary people

I am always told who I ought to look out for

You have a friend who tells you this

The killers tell me, I can read their thoughts

Silence again. A number of approaches possible

As, the doctor types, you read these words now

on paper? I mean, as though they were

No. It is a sort of cloud above their head.

And there are no written words

The words are read to me

By a friend

By God

But, none of that really answers my question

I don’t, in fact, know your name. Will you tell?

Len.

Are you a man or woman seems not apropos

The doctor has been taught a number of notions

Taken for soundness in that era

For female hormonal states, in the young

In the menopausal

His ingrained assumption being female paranoia

Has such causes, or for those never married

Or childless, an ill-defined and vaguely Freudian

Theory of incompleteness

 

 


 

Oil painting of couple against red landscape

Withholding

 

What is the act of picturing, given in imperative

What is useless while pitiless while infectious

Or the opposite of good

What is the consequence of forked currents and

stoppered things uncapped

What is the doghead to the loud man’s fingersnap

What is the faith that errand runners get their tips

What errand runners seeming to have laid their prints

In fossilized depressions rites of a commonplace bent

What roaring, jawing, neck-worrying, but shining, ringing

Space-dominating, figure gains the adoring eye

What office, being held confers a means of making

Questioning a crime

What is the leaky sack of borrowed time

Swung careless shedding Things to Do Together

What is beyond excuse a case of poor prioritizing

What is a case beyond excuse of poverty in listening

Of scavenger hunting in neighbors’ houses envying

Tags unclipped from middle-class possessions

What is the patient teacher of the slowest learner

What currency in flowering reduplication

Floats every boat and never cheapens

What parting of fingers squeezing dimes what stress

The argument is never yours to win

What, again the sack, the mind unshelved and dusted off

Spoken, prepared at least for speaking, the long promised

Coming of age story for elderly juniors not yet grown

What is the merry hornet’s nest prodding of the otherwise

Disabled as to right-things-being-done

What shame if the one in command

Is boringly expected to give orders

The Death List shared with charity workers

What is this shrugging accidents will happen

What needing what is wanted now and other people

Are not me and I get nothing from a book of fetishes

What is the defendant’s plea

Only countersuits and fresh venues

 

 


 

Pencil drawing of cat-like creature in sweater

Enemies

 

The way I fall in step is oldest news

But don’t ask me, the goods I got, it’s on authority

I could quote you the bible…or, how bout?

Tell you this, a little fairy story

I know you want sympathy, they all do

But you listen to me

You don’t have to be so low on the totem pole

Come on…I’m not too close? You don’t mind a little friendly

Touch…? Enemies. Well, yes.

Don’t rush me. What you wanna know?

Never mind, I’m telling you.

It’s how the troublemaker gets in the door

They say you don’t smile and be friendly

You make your little jokes, the way for some folks

Life’s a struggle, wouldn’t occur to you

Absolutely. No, am I on their side? You got it right

They don’t do anything but envy you

They try to make it all your fault

They’re cleaning up your messes in the background

I never said you could fix anything, you probably can’t

But, see, that’s the game, that’s the setup

But meanwhile, you should be a little grateful

No, you’re right, you got it, there’s no reward for trying to help

I have three enemies to clue you, and then I’ll mosey

She is, you know, her, lucky

Lucky people get more than they ought to

You wanna say there’s only so much to go around

So if you don’t got yours, who does? Fill in the blanks

Now, look out for the guy who needs a favor up front

You wanna be second banana all your life, agree to that

So third one makes you think you got a problem

Shoots a look at you when you’re doing nothing

You’re feeling cheated and mad at all your friends when he walks away

Oh, and, that’s all. See ya later.

 

 


 

 

The Bushido Warrior’s Creed

 

Righteousness
Heroic Courage
Benevolence
Respect
Honesty
Honor
Duty
Self-Control

 

(Jump to Disputatio Legitima)

 

 


 

Righteousness

 

They won’t go on horseback

The captains have decided even negligible waste

points to a fault of decision-making

You have to draw the line

The small picture should be as clear to your eyes

as the distance between these and the scout’s

salute

throw lives away at least

on footholds

gain by gain

 

so nothing but a thirty-leagues’ crawl

not food nor water enough to grant returning

Ravense, your face will never be forgotten

If you or any one change clothes with an enemy

to be carried with the wounded inside

Cut your own throat for the sake of

time

gain by gain

and that you cannot speak

 

I read the news and there is no news

The roaches swarm the larder

No news of flaming pitch from firmament

Or any sign the nibbling jaws are judged

There is no news and I read the news

in hopes the stores of sand-grained mounds

Stirred by feet as dirty as our own

remain

 

 


 

Oil painting of devils in cave

Heroic Courage

 

What it is is dying

that, but…    if a moment comes

you take them with your mouth shut, both

Respectfully, no…

Both

torture and release

No. I don’t think a hero can rescue a hero

No, you’re half right, never boast, I’m saying

Dying may not be requisite

However, the ultimate

Little engine of glory, dear, that pistons away inside he or she

the subsumption of self, ability to

Think, if one god defeats another, only the victor is God

 

here the drinks are waters from glacier melts

northern and southern caps the dare of imbibing

emerging bugs, old plagues, pandemics

 

They meet to discuss aims of a new party

inroads and ignorance ignorance inroads back athwart

the conversation the fat talk of canapé eaters

canapés littered with small infections

snipped from bloody gauzes

bitter chemicals

scraped with the point of a knife

from chalky or leaden elemental mothers

at the center sits the globe of a lamp

under it a cheese-sized chunk (purportedly) from

a rod extracted by a cleanup crew, waste of a near-armageddon

Because World Enders aspire to immune themselves

in millisieverts and micrograms

hard-skinned and incorruptable

to acids and poisons

but the speechwriter in the room

Asks again what is heroism, we talk about heroism, we cheapen

heroism, if heroism were easier to come by now

for being mass produced, we would see more of heroism

 

 


 

Digital painting of rocks with text

Benevolence

 

Off to beg

off to ask a promise be remembered

rifle charity clothes and find

wearable estates of men and women, botheration…

scoffing rid of Grandma’s stupid things

(amounts to spending, not inheriting)

senescent children shooting cheating sidelongs

This or that “worth something” hmm? (ooh hoo)

in vintage, maybe a dollar in a pocket

shining threads in a church or funeral jacket

where on the spectrum lights Earnest Will

if you keep quiet and aren’t asked to give it back

within the bounds of never making worry

of your sorry being here to Factor…Factor, dear

Merciful guardian

Be you pleased, don’t have Old Father Ben thinking

I waste my time

 

Courage is a challenge

Courage will come to be

But giving without your grudging fingers sticking

Taking what you have, have filled your shelves with

as life, what it offers

Everyone else is different

How very hard it is to find that virtue

And if you find it can you keep it

Do you need to preen and strut

Or to smack yourself so silly

with such glee Sweet Thee top-drawering…

You above all donors

bless your beggars and co-saint bestowers

 

 


 

Respect

 

When my child died to me, you had the task

of going from my sight, or if returning

If seeking your old place, no glance aside

No murmuring. For these rebuke, it is not kind

to come into my presence with such looks

That, saying much, and saying naught, dare teach

a parent friendship, flaunt a mourning heart

Vain! For ’tis, that you imagine only show

Long faces, weeping eyes, dark locks struck white

Those griefs of fathers we by legend know

Express what never, no more, shall be spoke

One hour my wrath compounds itself, and grief

Besets me in the guise of waste and shame

How little I incline to mercy’s balm

How like a tower young recklessness can loom

And if I flee and wander for a time

What do I see but haunts of my lost child?

Through glass I watched him play his games alone

Let this suffice, my work is done, done, done

 

 


 

Pastel drawing of posing figures against red background

Honesty

 

Honesty become a tool of abuse

Your hands pumping frankness

up your neck-strings, mottling your frozen features

with lifelike mantling, roseating from your mammoth pores

Soon

As, from your salesman’s case you pull nothing

Saleable to the present state

But bandy, as a bandwidth manipulator

Your loutish telling of your It

Like (you say) it is

Like the only mission worth pursuing

Had been to map the body’s nerveways

Soon. We’ll stifle the crying

No use for it, now we know you’re lying

It’s beyond, beyond, what you swear is true…har, har, you

Kidder. Outside eyes

narrow these days…those Orphan Annie dots of yours

(Little Annie…Hey. Let me put an elbow in your rib.

This is gonna make you blush

Carry that memory of yourself to the grave)

Arr, but sharpster, not you, you can’t accept excuses

Excuses, excuses!

Lips so crazy loosèd

Where is the honesty? Where the sincerity?

Right away you’re raging and disgusted

The human species’ doubtful range of “trust”

muscle twitches fool us…there is far worse

Did you know? Betsy Ross did not sew the first American flag

And so…y’all (your MC’s not from Texas, but she’s been there)

…they’ll tell you this is a pyramid scheme

(Ponzi she prefers, Italian names

Make her feel tough and mobby)

Did you know, if your lacrimal nerve was tingling

You’d convince yourself that you were weeping

 

 


 

Pastel drawing of baby-like figure with adult face

Honor

 

First no one gets blamed, no one can

You have honor enough to shoulder

the gross mistakes of humankind

You embody discarded virtues

No one wants to drown or burn

count seconds in a broken plane

Om! (sob) Om! (sob) Om!…wait

hemmed in by traffic

The tsunami wave, the nuclear cloud

the rolling fog, again the flames

Mumble forlorn curses…

What have they done? Use your fucking brake!

Lie in a ditch, painted in sugar pop and ketchup

Ant-devoured, a murder hornet in your bonnet

the boredom of your brain dialoguing with your brain

suffer thou the racks and tongs of    jot this down

remorse

Heaven ordains it, apologies for the spoiler

Flesh you’ll shed, or are in process

of shedding, daily

under which the sterling core ought to show

Or would have by now, if it were going

to, why would God care, He, as soon

Would have you past endurance sorry

Sorry to know it counts, what you were harming

was dear little you yourself

Twisting tortured with it    relax

I tease, you can’t…

Lucifer’s mill forever churns

How do you pass into the kingdom

Short answer: you don’t

You have been fairly pleased, not hampered by belief

Only—

You believe, because you live

in faith that you’ll be better later on

 

 


 

Pastel drawing of wall with human images

Duty

 

“He is lauded for standing by his post”

“Standing by at his post…”

“Hmm…yes. Why say it? Are you happier about all this,

for picking nits?”

“Well, close by. Nearby. Remaining, anyway, as duty

required. We might find…”

“Might find…evidences, do you mean?

Perhaps you aren’t fit for the work.”

“You think I’m joking. I’m not joking. Don’t you think we will?

It must not, six years gone, be very horrid.”

“Sometimes great pressures cause a kind of…fusing.”

“And what does that mean?”

“Have a look. See how we climb the hill, but don’t

yet see…whatever’s to be come upon, the other side?

The view resolves slowly.”

“Something, you’re saying, that doesn’t look like much…

Will tell its story? A creeping revelation? Could be apt.”

“Another facetious remark. Any more of that tone…

I’ll radio back, have us turned around.”

The comrade falls silent. He does not know how

he produces this effect. He feels sober, counts himself somber, even

…to the degree that shades apply…

Shades…mild ha. A number here, may be, haunting.

At their posts. Close by.

Willing, he counts himself, with respect, to face down parts,

identifiable and not.

Pack them away in the foam-lined box

Sober, somber…if he said it, it would be taken for a wisecrack.

 

 


 

Oil painting of city square in abstract style

Self-Control

 

We enter the scene at an awkward moment

pending the interview where the two

where alive to tell the other’s fate

he shuffles a windowed passage talking over

under breath, his listening mind hears sound of words

his warning mind the rendering of account

the relations come the mythic ancient

in sedan chair delivered by sons and daughters

The story is a honeymoon story

 

You have this

a past to draw visuals from

a future to foresee the passings

of error, choice to right error

error again, rare freaks of risking

memory to measure things you’ve felt

feel this moment less and differently

or more and with less cause

you have been tired, dirt, diet…

tried, kept by questions, sometimes eager

sometimes feathered stinking falsehoods

a barnyard bird, you think, come roosting

to squawk in your tray of later’s to-dos

but slighting

lacking the rein

all within your self-control the chance to act in time

pride within that

anger within that

self-flattery within that

currying within that

putting off within that

assuming much within that

self-pity within that

envy within that

temptation within that

avarice within that

fearfulness within that

lassitude within that

bigotry within that

bad counsel, given and taken, within that

bad prayers for tiny terraces of cataclysm

to rivet eyes in a magic way and leave you unattended

each thing of import mild but threatening the next

 

The mother says, “You live and she is dead.”

 

 


 

 

Disputatio Legitima

 

 


 

Photo art of blue figures

question

 

Natural feeling

Natural detachment and attachment in—

Balance, Right Balance, and the difficulty in

the word itself

A sub-question. Do we want it to mean a mean,

a quality, a norm, a commonality

How much and what sort our chief concern?

Which is to run ahead of the point

And if indifference is the pure…envisioning a scale

You feel nothing but neutral and willing to care

We skew the objective putting value on the positive

All things ranked neutral-plus if encountered unknown

Attached to a storehouse of similar things

a value within a range assumed

The range more or less determined?

Asserting its parameted quality on our thing proposed

Not then of indeterminate value

 

You see, we begin already chasing circles

Gain is good for me and so my affection

Lodges at self plus gain

Equaling engaged support for gain plus self

Call that love

 

 


(more to come)


 

 

 

%d bloggers like this: