Fifty Gallon Drum

(Another notebook dump where the yammers have gathered like little critters nesting in the walls.)

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They didn’t drain the swamp, they drained
the brains. Are the valves not properly labeled?

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The day will come to grind it
And tomorrow comes behind it
Too bad you can’t unwind it
Take comfort where you find it

-:-

I think people who identify as skeptics are overreacting to the error of blind faith, which they rightly fear when they see it take hold of others. They overcompensate in their belief that blind faith is the only kind there is. But evidence is accepted on a reasoned faith—that subtle errors or deliberate deceptions have not slipped into the conclusion at hand. In the end: a little leap of faith, because facts are endless and it is literally impossible to consider each and every one. Reason cannot function without both faith and skepticism.

Faith on its own will likely run rampant without the skeptic to keep it in check. Skepticism on its own is just a brute prejudice, slamming doors shut for whatever notion it latches onto as valid, not at all unlike blind faith.

The third leg of reason’s little stool is called curiosity, or wonder.

-:-

They dismiss the supposedly irrigorous logic as magical thinking, as if the intellect was the retainer and not the retained. As if thinking itself is not magic!

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They say you should choose your fights but I never find any I like.

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How many nihilists does it take to not be?

A nihilist is an eternalist who has resolved the first of the two errors.

A nihilist walks into a bardo…

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We working class white people who do not think ourselves the powerful oppressors of others should still contemplate the level of privilege upon which we operate: I can drive to the store and never have to think about being pulled over, arrested, or even shot, after having been seen doing nothing more than driving down the street.

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When it comes to the sun I try not to look at the bright side.

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If you’re somebody, you better watch what you say.
If you’re nobody, it’s better to keep it that way.

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Worry is an outlier indulgence, mentally going to the place you are afraid you’ll end up, while the remedies to impending troubles are left neglected, undone.

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The knees, they do a thankless job
Midway twixt the heel and hip
Protruding like a misplaced knob
To cap the pavement when you trip

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Sometimes I stick my head in an empty 50 gallon drum and speak loudly the things that might otherwise go here.

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Not being nothing, space fulfills form. Not being something, form fulfills space. Not two, yet not not-two. Not something, not nothing.

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I’m not a pull-string
talking doll, y’all, but
sometimes the things
I say: no way.

The phrase automatic
on instant recall, someone
come finish this for me
okay?

-:-

A lot of people take things for granted, but in stores they call that shoplifting.

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I wonder what would happen if they pressed all my buttons at once and I collapsed without recourse into a short-circuited heap of malfunctioning habitual responses.

-:-

Knee-deep in needy
wit’ a dolly made a hay
all she wanna do be holler
golly all a day.

(to be accompanied by banjo and Jew’s harp)

What All

or, real as a
boulder clutched by five
hundred-year-old roots
in the fluid of a mountain’s
gradual crest

or, our own
skeletons remain
clutched by continuity
in the fluid of a moment’s
gradual assumption

assume rise
crest fall, and
what all

Why So Quiet?

I look, dumbfounded, at the
world, I think of my mom
saying, “don’t stare, it’s rude.”

I look away, in a
hasty search for a new fixation
and think of my dad
saying, “finish what you started.”

I look down at
my shoes, and think
of everyone who ever asked
me, “why so quiet?”

Tread Wear

Steel Belted Radials

They don’t make movies like
they used to, he said, but they
never made tires like this—then he
says it: haltingly, wistfully, as if
it were a line from a popular ballad

Steel Belted Radials

as if Leonard Cohen himself
were standing there before you
casting tire-buying spells with
magical incantations and smiles
backed up by the pedigree of
a pure bred confidence

Steel Belted Radials

spinning, orbiting
they sing against the pavement
with a melody above, apart
from the automotive implication
of a sure grip on a slick surface
or a rolling rampart

against punctures, evoking
scenes of roadside despair
with passengers pressing sad faces
against rain speckled windows
as you labor with a jack handle
against fate itself

Steel Belted Radials

upon the radiant bearings of
the gods, such a car would soar
on a cushion of air, uplifting
inspired, like an ode to a planet
draped gloriously in robes of
carbon monoxide, cinched by cords
of endless highway

Steel Belted Radials

you reach for your wallet
like a magistrate for his gavel
to the background hum of a
grinding economy, and spit gravel
peeling out of the flag-draped lot
and drive, you drive back to the

bottoms where your domain asserts
a stubborn little imprint, the tread sipes
in a dirt driveway, within patterns too
large and convoluted to comprehend
perhaps, and the radio is tuned
to a country song about disgrace
and redemption

Seizures

eyes open at dawn
darting like fish in a bowl
gathering sparkles

~

eyes craving the light
cross and double everything
bountiful mirage

~

eyes speculating
outbidding the richest dark
cunning investment

~

light and distraction
the secret wealth of vision
from the fount of tears

~

these eyes are pennies
their pictures bought and paid for
bagged like possessions


#575 #Haiku

Black Arrow Tonglen

Have the patterns stopped being patterns
or is this something new?

Am I craving repetition and motif while
I cheer the onset of change?

The goose flesh lends a pattern to my skin, which I lug around with me like a favorite sweater. Like a fiddler crab, I am shelled up in it. At night I spread it out and sleep on it. The sky, like old skin, looks tired of stretching itself over the frame. The air is stubborn, full of picky fish bones. You have to pick at the air, most carefully, if you want to breathe it.

I replicate the land with thoughts, streaming
(like fabric spewing out of a big commercial loom.)

It stinks and makes pollution but where
would shameful flesh be without cloth? Ill-defined goals

make it difficult to script these plays. I am
the wobbly table that supports my entire religion.

I rise from prayer, in prayer. I can see that the tiniest details all reek of scripture, holy and encoded within the ratcheting make-work of a creation that cannot seem to stop unfolding. Worry, sharp little digressions, like fish bones in pudding, is self-asserting: Will they have properly placed the blame before they get around to me? Will the cancer of such faithless doldrums feast upon me? Will Christ’s sacrifice be seen to have appeared in a mirror? Could death be a reflection?

Countless archers, all points of life
they all release their sufferings:

the sky fills with it, fills with black arrows.
I magnetize them, draw them all in

—my own pierced flesh transforms into light, shining
purified, the shafts are all sent back

to their quivers, as light.

The fish swim out of the air taking their bones with them and they are gone and nobody knows where. They were last seen on the surface of a street puddle. Their disappearance was a reflection. But everyone is breathing easier, attributing the relief to various causes, including but not limited to the will of God.

Clueful

Debate

A conflict settled
by debate, away
will rise in appeal
some other day.

A Hybrid of Life and Death

The disease will not settle
for medicine, nor will the
remedy quarter the disease
doctor bills, they are piling up
a shot of whiskey, please.

Continuance

Things appear
to die, and I appear
to keep living
the welders are in dry dock
assembling the hulls
of sunken ships
at what point in the
figure eight of continuance
can one say end, or begin
at all points
amazing, how gracious
how sweet it is.

Clueful

I’m feeling clueful
today, little hints peeking
out from under bushes
the neighborhood jingling
like a phone full of urgent texts
bits of the crux of all matters
sparkling here and there
like gems tossed out
over beach sand.

Epitaph

Long in the hair and
gray in the tooth
he learned how to dodder
then he died, forsooth.

Pray (sol dep)

In the six regions
throughout the three times
under the one sky
peaceful, happy.


An incoherent notebook-dump from October 2018