October 9, 2017 § 1 Comment
Some seventy years ago
Ray was a Catholic kid at Holy Redeemer,
a DC school with nuns in black and white,
girls who flashed bare chapped knees
below navy blue pleats,
and boys who, in defiance
of their mandatory neckties,
were as wondering and
irreverent as any.
In addition to the rote round of
the squeal of chalk on board,
was the annual field trip.
Even then DC was rich
But the Holy Redeemers went to just one.
Not the Smithsonian,
not The National Gallery,
not the Renwick.
No, the band of Catholics single-filed
onto the street car
(the tracks ran right by the school)
and rode to
The Medical Museum,
to ogle its two-headed baby,
its anatomical anomalies in murky jars.
But every year the same rumor
was passed around,
boy to boy,
elbow to ribs.
September 27, 2017 § 7 Comments
All the earlier selves are hidden inside the one you see, still there, preserved.
But unlike those wooden dolls, each of the selves hidden inside that old body is different.
One has skinned knees.
A second is reading a Nancy Drew book.
A third wears a prom corsage.
Another holds a baby in her arms.
I wish I’d known that when I was a kid seeing my grandparents as only that, grandparents. Inside each of them was a kid as young as I was, and on the outside, a kid as old as the one I would become.
I know about these hidden selves because, much to my surprise, I am old. And young. And everything in between. I am every one of those dolls down to the tiny one at the very center.
2. The inanimate is just the animate holding still.
Existence is an addition problem. It is the sum of everything.
Each rock, feather, man-made object, holds the life force.
It moves like a cloud shadow across the landscape but we are too distracted, too human-centric to notice.
We, the kinetic, the perpetually in motion, are not attuned to it, but if we become aware, the inanimate befriends and anchors us, it puts our insignificance into perspective. Feel that force and we understand that we are just one more number in that long, long addition problem.
I know, because I feel the life in the rock I rest against, and in the favorite sweater I wear year after year. Still my whirring self, and the company of all that is surrounds me. « Read the rest of this entry »
September 13, 2017 § Leave a comment
You whose name is God,
Which is fitting.
God, the great intangible.
Dog, who with nail-click,
familiar stink and scrubby fur
God is omnipresent
while you, oh dog,
are simply present.
You live in this
roll in the grass.
This scratch between the ears.
May we learn
from your example.
You are not God,
but you exhibit his patience
with us, the impatient,
Thank God, we pray.
But thank dog, we live.
July 16, 2017 § 2 Comments
Buskers, those street musicians wearing tragic hats and faded jeans, are the filter feeders of the music world, gleaning pocket change and an equivalent amount of attention from a busy, going-somewhere audience.
The signals that let listeners know, “Hey, this is a big act! These guys are hot!” are absent.
No band bus.
It’s a hunger that will never be filled.
June 21, 2017 § 4 Comments
Mind offers an opinion.
That’s what a whirring machine like Mind does. There are so many factors to take into account! Past experience, prejudices, things read in the paper, the weather, how my hair looks today.
Mind is a more-is-better opinion generator, a fun guy, but one who never stops talking.
Today I want to speak up for Mind’s silent partner, Body. If you want an opinion rooted in the present state of things ask Body. And you do have to ask, because, like I said, Body is silent. And rarely in charge.
Mind makes most decisions in this partnership, bossing Body around big-time.
Mind says, do this, and Body does. Body would add a “Yes boss, whatever you say boss,” but Body exists in a language-free state (one of the reasons Mind disrespects it).
Mind never asks for Body’s input, and when Body tugs at Mind with the need to, say, rest, Mind gives Body a quick pep talk. Suck it up! When the going gets tough, the tough get going!
Mind has little respect for Body—that dumb old hunk of meat.
June 15, 2017 § 2 Comments
In this relentless present there is no calm, no oneness with the universe.
A place of isolation and aloneness, this endless “now” goes by the name of Poverty.
Those who live in poverty in this affluent country stand perpetually in the snow looking through a brightly lit store window at all that is out of reach. And the needle of time barely moves.
The poor try to luck their way out, but poverty is the scratch-off ticket that never yields to luck, but is ditched instead in the convenience store parking lot where it lies with it’s worthless brothers soaking up the rain. « Read the rest of this entry »