Book of Rain

Humidity palpates the heedless air
then, blue nits pound the city dust
and china cabinets rattle in its thrall
a piano falls out of it, a pulled
muscle, a gash in silence, the ivories are
fisted in pedal depressed clusters
divided by earth into sky
upturned at the brim of its bay
buckles the paper, warps its print

We scatter seeking cover, but
the sky is our cover, the rain covers
and rends the book of sights
now the thrill of lost footings
leaping curbside puddles
I feel suddenly late for something
and after, I cannot begin
to catalog all the sounds
now that it is quiet

_

This bit was started shortly after TS Imelda inundated the Upper Texas Coast with absurd amounts of rainfall, and has since been revised and rewritten, modified and culled dozens of times. Raining, as it is this morning, I had better go ahead and send it on its way. “A piano falls out of it,” was the seed that germinated.

Identity Itself is Mounds Of Information

Photographer Kazuto Ishikawa is the Edge of Humanity Magazine contributor of these photographs. From the book/project ‘Humanity’. To see Kazuto ’s body of work, click on any image. This artwork is about modern society, information overload, and lost identity. Loads of data easily travels fast around the world and it […]

via Losing My Identity Under Mounds Of Information | Modern Society — Edge of Humanity Magazine

Poetry

Here’s my idea for a poem:

Here’s the poem:

If we could dispense with
all this elaboration

And just transmit our ideas
directly

There’s probably a Buddhist tantra
that shows you how

And a Nihilist aphorism that
says why bother, but

Isn’t the ramshackle an honest look
at how things go ?

Image (1st) by Pete Linforth from Pixabay
Image (2nd) by Vicki Nunn from Pixabay

The Late Mr. Middleman

“Punctuality is a disease of the mind which habituates the tendency to prioritize all the wrong things.”

When we refer to people who have passed away, we often prepend to their names, “the late”, which is a custom I find charming and a little strange. One of the chief benefits of being dead has to be the fact that you don’t have to show up for things anymore, which, for me, is one of the great joys of being alive, that is, when you can manage to pull it off.

Sometimes you have to show up though, and when you do, it is fashionable to be late. I have been told this before, and have tried in earnest to believe it. Being late, they say, establishes your reputation within the upper ranks of the hierarchy, provided you are properly dressed. This is the sort of conventional wisdom that may well work for others. I myself have found it necessary to take a different tack.

My own reputation is that of a man who always shows up on time and then lolls about not doing much, to the relief of everyone in the organization, who all have vivid recollections of what happens when I roll up my sleeves and attempt to accomplish things. It wasn’t long before upper management saw the advantage of giving me my own office and getting me out of the way.

My advice to anyone who would mimic my rise in the world of business is to first of all be on time. I have shouldered the burden of punctuality my entire life, making me the bore at parties and the least admired among coworkers and the most likely to be tapped for that position in middle management where one abides for the remainder of his days, or until they downsize, which ever comes first.

In the mean time, you get to abide in that sweet spot between the pressures of fiduciary responsibility and the grind of actually producing things that consumers are willing to pay for. Then when you finally die, let them go ahead and refer to you as The Late Mr. Middleman. It is a badge of honor, my friend, and one that you and your little alarm clock have earned. It is the secret reward crowning your lifelong campaign of punctuality. Because the day you don’t show up, they’ll know what you’ve trained them to know your entire life: you’re not late, that’s never ever happened, you must be dead.

And then finally, having shed all worries of tardiness, you will get to sleep in.

Little Done

in physics, material arises
from an energetic potential and
not the other way around

but me, I just lie here
beguiled by the fluttering
portents of hope, my mind

affixed like a wax seal
to the docket of these sly days
where much is doing, little done

the rest, unsettled, like an
almost melody when the tones
leak out of all the fickle things

Flattering

Always check that the cause of the puncture
be it a nail, a thorn, a shard of glass

An inconsiderate remark, a petty theft
a selfish motive, a hankering for revenge

Has been removed from the treads
before changing the tube. If not, the air

Of all your effort will burst and flee
with a pish and a slew, ardently pressed

To get even with your atmosphere, and
there you’ll be, a lump on the shoulder

In a cloud of gnats, that proud upper hand
grips the frame, this bicycle built for none

Your former comrade in the righteous cause
of flight and mobility, now a fanged partisan

For the higher truth of gravity, you let a
recalled sense of decency bid you be humble

Well, it’s a tough row to hoe, to walk
it all back, in the heat of disguised blessings


Image by Etienne Marais from Pixabay

I, Madness

I host little parties for
the ants and the flowers and we
talk and we talk, for hours and hours
the madness can’t vex us in the way
it does some, it follows and listens
to the songs that we hum.

And we forget everything that we
hear and we say, the minute we hear it
all giggled away, and that’s how
we roll, we won’t let a madness
become such a thing or take
hold, like a sadness.

Red Admiral

I watched, through the kitchen window, a butterfly dive again and again into the up-blast from the A/C condenser unit on the deck. It would zoom straight in, just above the spinning fan, twirl and flip up like litter caught in a dust devil, and then circle above for a moment where the flow had dispersed. A few seconds later it flutters back down and dives in again.

It did this enough times to establish that it was deliberate, it was clearly having fun, like a youngster going back for another spin on the roller-coaster. After five or six times the A/C unit cycled off. The butterfly landed on the nearby table and rested, like a kid exhausted from play.

I still don’t know where to file this bit. It’s a whole new category for me.


A Red Admiral behaving like an adult.

Delta

I was barely in the door when she spoke, without looking up. “The devil’s layin’ for those who walk the path of righteousness,” she said, apropos of nothing.

She put on an old delta blues record and started a little striptease to it. The bottleneck slide put a sadness in the air, becoming of her dim little bedroom. Sun dapples of late afternoon played on the shear curtains through the crepe myrtles by the window, and the walls glowed the yellow of candle-lit paper. I sank into the springy seat of a musty old wingback as she moved in fluid half steps, her petite form swaying. The record popped and hissed and a gravely old voice tried to warn us about some beautiful true thing. Some unavoidable thing.

I thought about God’s righteousness. It’s a suit of clothes. We play dress-up and save virtue for a rainy day. Always a goal, no more livable than a memory. There’s your devil, right there. The good in me is almost close enough to touch, but church people rub me the wrong way. I caught her eye and she gave me a wink. We go way back. You’d need a passport to get there, and better go soon. The memories have already lost a shoe.

There was always something of the healer in her, and she knew things. Myself, I never got away with anything. She could out-think the natural, make ailments shy away—or become severe if you had crossed her in some way. The rain would stop, even, if it sensed she’d had enough of it. That’s how people saw her, anyway. They would seek her counsel in matters of personal doubt, like you would a preacher. She had that reputation, and a kind of congregation had formed around her. She tolerated the hangers-on with a resignment that troubled her not so much. I was one of them, come to think of it. Closer than most, but not apart from them, or above them, as I sometimes wished to be.

She paused a moment and fixed me with a look. “Who are you again?” A good question. I supposed I was following the natural order of things. You lead yourself around by your own nose, and then wonder why you end up where you do. I told her I didn’t really know. I used to think I did, but not any more. She nodded thoughtfully and continued swaying to the music, working the sweater draped across her shoulders in a provocative way. I always felt forgetful around her. Like memory is just a treading water. The song ended and the phonograph lifted its little arm and clicked off. I felt pressed to get out of there.

“We’ve got to get going, mom,” I said. “Where do you want to eat? Let’s try to keep our clothes on, okay?”


Image by Johannes Plenio from Pixabay

Slam

A slammed door
means to be heard

It is not exactly
protected speech under
the first amendment, but
ask it if it cares

It is not assembled
peaceably, this petition
for the redress of grievances

Its fury is as brief
as an infatuation, and lingers
in the silence that after
follows you around

It is a microphone
dropped at the conclusion
of something better
left unsaid

And I think
you know what I’m
talking about