Friday, September 26, 2014

Kindness

Kindness is the art of letting a person know that he or she is good.  Kindness is the act of taking all that is good in oneself and giving it away.  Kindness is an expression, an expansion, of peace.  Kindness hates needless suffering.  Kindness is an extension of selfishness, but it is not self-centered.  Kindness is honesty free of impurities.  Kindness knows when to shut up and do.

I don't know how to react to an act of kindness.  As someone who avoids people, I don't exactly attract kindness.  So when it comes I am surprised and happy.  But happiness makes me uncomfortable.  It is a rare vintage, saved only for special occasions.

Since moving to New Mexico ten days ago, I have been treated to innumerable acts of kindness from my Aunt Bonnie and Uncle Charlie.  They have welcomed my intrusion into their daily routine with patience and generosity, despite being extremely old and set in their ways.  Also, I think they have drinking problems.  But that's not important.  They're great people, but they've done many things to make me happy, which is very kind, but not very nice.

I don't, in any way, aspire to niceness.  I see it as an invitation to phoniness.  Sure, some people can be simultaneously nice and genuine, but I don't think I'm one of those people.  Besides, being nice would ruin my reputation.  Kindness, on the other hand, is a virtue I struggle towards.  Kindness and phoniness just don't mesh.  I can't think of any way to pull that off.

Kind people, I treasure you.  Nice people, be kind.  The rest of us, maybe we can get there.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Things Desired, Now And Real

Note: I once posted a poem entitled, "Things Desired, A Long Time Ago."  Read that, then read this.  You'll notice some self-plagiarizing.  There's a reason for that.  That's all.


A singing bird
A howling dog
A rolling wind
A good night's sleep
A good night love
A hope
A home
A clarity
A purpose
A patience
A smile
A laugh
A wife
A daughter
A son
A place along the way
A courage
A boldness
A bravery
A vengeance
A peace
A kindness
A goodness
A justness
A dad
A friend
A bike
A book
A focus
A consistency
A constancy
A knowledge
A true approximation
A daydream
A scream
A hurricane
A hailstorm
A flood
A life
A death
A dimness
A quiet
A calm
A meditation
A thought
A revelation
A brownie
A hint
A hint
A hint

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Constancy

Contention is of the devil. You're of the devil, waiting for a feral yelp, a sign of frailty. You've formed no opinion of your own. You're uninformed, unformed. But you argue. You argue for the devil. And you convince yourself that your argument has merit. And you convince yourself that your argument matters. And you convince yourself that you have convictions. And you convince yourself that you've had these convictions all along. And you convict yourself.  And you convince yourself that you've proven your intelligence. And you convince yourself that intelligence is the same as wisdom.


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Schizologue #4

A: Where are we now?

B: In Auburn.  In our bedroom.  Is that what we're looking for?

A: Maybe something a little less literal.

B: Well, we are about to make some pretty big changes.

A: Such as?

B: We've decided, sight unseen, to move to New Mexico.

A: Why?

B: We know why.

A: Of course we do, but don't we talk to ourself so publicly so that we might let others . . . ?

B: Nice day out.

A: Yes it is.

B: So we're of one mind.

A: Sort of.  We share the same mind, but we don't always get along with each other.

B: What does that mean, exactly?

A: That should be evident to both of ourselfs.

B: "Ourselfs" isn't a word.

A: We made it up.  Look, we're obviously trying to steer this conversation away from what we were talking about.

B: We're very observant.  What were we talking about, exactly?

A: New Mexico.

B: Oh, right.

A: Why are we going there?

B: There's something there that we need to find out.

A: We're being a bit vague and mysterious.

B: We're that way by nature.

A: And annoying.

B: That, too.

A: Then why are we talking about this at all?

B: Sometimes we need to let a little air out before we pop.

A: Do we really know why we're going there?

B: Not entirely.

A: But we are.

B: Yes.

A: Because we have something to find out.

B: Because we have something to find out.



Sunday, August 31, 2014

Precedence

There is a lawyer
a scholar of rules
who calls me Brother
who seeks devotion
who begs obeisance
for his is hallowed ground
but his foolish Brother
constructed of spit and clay
and unsteeped in precedence
that holy of holies
falls so short of perfection
as to void all virtue
and justify lies
that tell a new story
writ in misery and hate
of a soulless manchild.


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Karen: A Biography

My much older sister harshly criticized my previous post, "My Life, Semi-Abridged."  After she spouted forth a stream of words so profane as to make a sailor blush, she called me "too negative."  Greatly humbled, I decided to write a much more positive biography of her life.  Enjoy and be amazed.


*********************

Karen Anita Dryden was born on June 23, 1957, in Washington, DC, the eldest child of David and Dona Dryden.  She was brought forth into great privilege, her father being a U.S. Senator and her mother an heiress to the Chef Boyardee fortune.  She was a bright child who learned to read while still in diapers, at age eleven.

When Karen was twelve, a series of fires broke out in federal buildings.  Suspecting his daughter's involvement, David decided against seeking another term in office, and the whole family, now consisting of seventeen children, moved to its massive landholdings in Brigham City, Utah.  David returned to his law practice for five years, before reentering politics by joining the mayoral race.  He was the clear front runner, before Karen once again put an end to his ambitions.

At the age of seventeen, Karen gave birth to her first known child, a bastard she named Mark Andrew.  In a last ditch effort to stay in the race, David and Dona claimed Mark as their own child.  However, rumors of Karen's promiscuity quickly spread through town, exposing the family to much hostility, including accusations that Karen was a witch.  David was not only forced to drop out of the race, but the entire clan was driven from town, having to sell its properties, including the largest peach orchard in the inter-mountain west, at a loss.

The family, including Mark, settled in Alabama, but Karen chose to stay in Utah, moving to the liberal bastion of Salt Lake City, where she found friends more tolerant of her lifestyle.  Karen joined a gang, who called themselves the "Madrigals" and were heavily involved in the distribution of methamphetamines to schoolchildren.  The gang was infiltrated by undercover federal agents, and its key players were all arrested.  Karen got off with minimal jail time by agreeing to testify against her friends.

Her six months in jail changed her greatly.  She converted to Islam, then back to Mormonism.  After her release, she served a mission for her church in Taiwan.  It was there that she met her future husband, Kè Léi Gé Wòkè, a Han Chinese engineer who worked on an oil rig near Kaohsiung.  She moved in with him when he emigrated to the United States, where he adopted the American name Craig Walker.  They eventually settled in small-town Americus, Georgia, where they opened a little restaurant called "Kè Léi Gé's Super Happy Food Place."  They married, and the next year Karen gave birth to her first legitimate child, named David after his grandfather.  The birth of this boy helped Karen make peace with her estranged family.  She and Craig eventually had seven more children, all girls.

Meanwhile, Mark (whose middle name had, for unclear reasons, been changed to Rasputin) had been raised to believe that his grandparents were his parents.  On his twenty-fifth birthday, Karen decided that it was time that Mark knew the truth.  After giving him a pair of knitted legwarmers, her standard birthday present, she told him who his real mother was.  He reacted poorly, eventually becoming addicted to both Kaopectate and Ex-Lax.  After years of intestinal confusion, he entered rehab, where he was able to kick his habits.  However, doctors have told him that his bowels will never be the same.

Despite her advanced age, Karen still occasionally stops by the restaurant to greet guests.   Now well into her fifties, she is sadly illiterate, though she derives much enjoyment from listening to audio books.  She is a curmudgeonly old goat, though still absolutely adorable.



Karen Dryden Walker, August 2014


Monday, August 25, 2014

The Ash

"Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash.”
-Leonard Cohen


I write poetry.  I don't know that I'm any good at it, but I'm a poet, and I've posted several poems on this blog.  Poetry, for me, comes from pondering something approaching truth, sometimes to the point of exhaustion, until words come to my fingers.  I then rewrite until my fingers agree with my brain.  I've written some terrible poems, that's for sure, but I've written and posted a couple that I've read repeatedly and still like.

"Magnanimity" was posted in May of 2012.  It reflects my feelings about the peculiar type of close-mindedness found among self-aggrandizing men who aspire to be recognized for authority they don't have.  They are so sure of their greatness that they don't recognize the unjust nature of their actions.  I was inspired by specific experiences and specific people in my life, who caused me great harm with no hint of remorse.  I constantly tell myself that I'm moving on, but in all honesty I'll never be over their betrayal.  This poem is a monument. 

That same month I posted "Things Desired, A Long Time Ago."  I've tried many times to explain my childhood, but nothing I have ever said or written has summed it up as well as this poem.  Children want to feel significant.  They want excitement.  They want peace.  They want signs that they are loved.  So I've listed some of my past (and, in some cases, still present) desires.

Poems should express a single thought, which explains why I have chosen to include virtually no punctuation in most of mine.  I consider each of these to be a single sentence.  I know that this can sometimes make them confusing, but that's the way they are, and that's the way they will be.

I only write poems when my soul is on fire.  I need to have some modicum of clarity to reach that level.  I don't burn if my mind is muddled.  By the way, you may have noticed that I haven't posted a poem in quite a while.  That's not a coincidence.  I'm not living.  I see no ash in my future.  I'm in the process of forcing a change that may revive me.  Let's see if the words can find the fingers again.