Monday, November 26, 2007

Mother Russia

Would you not also want to return?
To where snow and ice and lonely soviet tracks
feel like glow?
Where something so dull and bleak, were it placed
anywhere else in the world,
sparkles and entrances and steals you
and becomes you!
Where something embedded with so much pain
calls to every thing you are
so that you can not let it go,
like an abused child who loves her father deeply--
more deeply and with more tears than you will ever know?
Who can evade the yearning
for a homeland you do not have,
but feel it deep within you all the same?
It is Russia I tell you!
It is the harshest land, the cruelest home,
but the one all lands call mother--
Mother Russia.
And who does not yearn for Mother?

Saturday, November 24, 2007

red ice

Don't tell me I'm great and that everything is ok.
You don't tell me that without your own agenda--
Patronizing me like you're creating me;
feeling the warmth for yourself after thinking you tucked it around me.
But I'm not warm by you
or anyone who thinks they own me through charity.
I'm the owner of fireless sticks
I'm lashing into rafts.
You too would look sour at the gentleman
who looks down upon my pile of sticks,
then smiling with pity discards his cigar
into the wood for igniting.
And thinking he's done his good turn,
turns away
with fake warmth in his heart.
He might as well have sprinkled salt in a fish bowl
for thinking the goldfish in search of the sea.
And what a grotesque thing
for the gentleman to turn away smug
with his virtue, with his selfish gratification at being selfless,
while the fish chokes in his last drink.
You burnt my sticks to ash,
But the blaze you saw in my eyes
was not warmth and blessings piled up in store for you.
It was coldness and ire--
red ice
for the gentlepeople who won't think like a fish,
who won't think like a man building rafts,
who won't think like the child in the ghetto,
who won't think like the man addicted,
who won't think like the prostitute in debt,
who won't think like the younger or the older or the other who is different,
who won't think like anyone else.
How lonely never to think when giving.
And can you really be giving when your ultimate goal
is to feel good from it?
Feeling good is a by-product
when the product is good.
But the raft is burnt and the fish is dead!
Will you turn to look?
Or do you fear what you might see?
or how it might make you feel?
But if you think too much you might be a hypocrite,
so don't think too much.
Your conscience can't get you if you keep it ignorant.

Monday, November 19, 2007

We are not Fools

We are not fools--the ones who cry.
The fools are those not wondering why
or how or where the meaning's gone . . .
or when the devil silenced song
that played a life in gripping tones.
But life is memory still unknown
'till now, when watered cheeks are all
that's left reminding us of all
we had and all we were and all
the life we can recall
in yesterday.
Give me the fool who cries this way
And I'll show you the one who'll pay
the price for living happy then,
then stand to pay the price again.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Here's a tip . . .

So I'm at ward choir practice right? Choir director lady pulls out the Christmas music and the first piece is "Lo How a Rose." Everyone starts to whisper to each other.

"Isn't this the Castleton's song?"
"Yeah, this is the one the Castletons sing when they carol at our house each Christmas."
"They come to my house every year."
"Whatever, they come to my house every year."
"They first came to our home in 1995--haven't missed a year since."
"That's nothing. They started in the 80's at our place and we always give them fudge."
"They hate your fudge."
"Whatever, they hate yours!"
"We don't give fudge. We read Luke 2 with them each time and have an impromptu testimony meeting."
"How could you hold a testimony meeting? You don't have a testimony!"
"Your dad works in a bar."
"Your mom works in a bar!"
"Lets see how loud you scream when I pull your hair."
"Stop touching me!"

The whole room soon fills with shrieks and punches and threats of poisoning each other's Christmas fudge. The choir director is new to the area and is bewildered by the scene. In desperation for what to do, she spies the Castletons grouped together smiling and cheering on the upheaval--the look on their faces showing they regard the whole affair as a complement. She yells for them to do something. They don't. So she jumps on the organ, makes sure every key is down and floors the pedal. Everyone stops and covers their ears. After laying off the organ, she stares horrifically at the choir to convey the question, "What on earth is going on!" Everyone looks at the Castletons in response. With broad smiles, slant postures and arms resting on each other's shoulders, they all turn to Joe . . . except for Joe. He's responsible to assess damages and deliver a verdict and he knows it. He takes the toothpick he's been chewing out of his mouth and examines it before responding. His week-old scruff, long curly hair slicked back into a would-be mullet, and large poke-a-dot tie, say most of it before he does. Without looking up he calmly says, "You're new right? Here's a tip," then slowly lifts his head to smile straight at the choir director, "Don't try to sing our song."

The ward choir will be singing "Rudolf" instead . . . with choreography. Call now to reserve your place on this year's Castleton Caroling List and receive two years for the price of one. Just say "Joe is funny" when you call, and we'll stay for fudge at your house this year! Restrictions apply: no nuts, raisins, or cranberries in the fudge. Your right to an encore is immediately forfeited upon the discovery of these dilutes.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Until Nothing Means

Until nothing means anything anymore.
Until I spill the liquid running the machine,
Until I scream.
I won't go for a while.
I used to run over things, through things.
Now I watch.
I'll scream.
None of this means anything anymore.
I want to mean something--
"Too many metaphors," he says.
"They get in the way."
So what if I don't want you understanding what I'm saying?
If you starve on gaps, go back to the boring stuff.
I didn't create all the mysteries.
Communication was born clothed.
It only lies to you if you want.
You can want it to be true if you choose.
And anyway, I don't care what you want to make it mean;
I mean something of my own,
And I'll change it how I want.
Burden to you.
I can't carve the toy soldier you imagine;
So take my words instead and carve what you will.
Words are like clay anyway.
You make them what you want,
But let me keep the original.