Category Archives: Poetry

Poem, Valentine, Be my

Love and Topology

I crease the square
of origami paper
on the diagonal

halve the diamond
to an abstract silhouette of Mt. Fuji
and trim the triangle

scissors cuts paper

down to a breaking wave,
the half profile
of a valentine.

paper covers rock

I fold and fold again
the half hearted paper.
I snip nicks, cut rough chevrons,

slice snowflake geometries
into the folds
leaving the leading edges uncut.

Butterflied confetti
flutters
to the floor.

rock breaks scissors

I unfold the murder, press flat
a whole heart,
a heart full of holes,
a heart cut down to crude lace.

Be my valentine?

Note: I wrote Love and Topology for Mrs. Dr. Omed in February 2004. So far as I can remember, it is the only occasional poem I’ve ever completed in time for the occasion. I duly posted it on the previous incarnation of the Tent Show on Valentine’s Day 2004. Since 13 years ago is equivalent to the early Ordovician Period in Internet time, I feel it’s not too soon to post it again.

The Facts, Ma’am, Just The Facts…

…are a kind of poetry. Also stone knives.

stone knife crop wc 35 rot crop

I read the text posted below to Mrs. Dr. Omed and she declared it a kind of poem, and perfect. Who am I to disagree?

It consists of an agglomerated string of dollops, collops, and loplops of prose scooped into the bento boxes of “Comments” to an unoffending and innocent Facebook friend’s post asking her fellow FFs to list reliable news sources. She used the word fact. Several times. A trigger word for me. Oh, the epistemology! I was off:

What is fact?

The root meaning of “fact” comes from the Latin: factum, a making, from facere to make or to do. A fact is not a given, something received, found or uncovered, it is what someone makes of what is given or received. A made thing, an artifact, or the making of it.

Question all facts, ask who makes them, and why, who passes them on, and why. This is especially important when the fact is asserted by friends, allies and trusted sources. No thing made by humans, tangible or intangible, is innocent of art and intent.

And if you aren’t making your own facts, you are accepting something secondhand. Readymade*. If you make your own, you will have an appreciation of the difficulties, skills needed, exploitation of materials, respect of materials, the mistakes and deceptions and manipulations involved even in the making a useful, solid, well made fact.

Also think on how facts are repaired, reused, repurposed, discarded, stripped of context and original meaning (use) like artifacts looted from a tomb.

We make facts to create, protect, and enhance meaning, not just for ready use. A leaf-bladed stone knife is made to be beautiful as well as useful, and spear throwers are carved with animal heads to speed the meaning to the target. A stone knife is a fact in the hand, ready to cut or stab.

And of course, in a market economy, particularly a digital market economy, facts are commodities, consumer products. But, as digital social media consumers, we can’t really speak of them being sold to us any more than we can speak of a can of tuna being sold mayonnaise or salad dressing or a jar of pickle relish.

Come, let us make beautiful tuna salad together, and together we shall be comforted by the warm fact of whole wheat bread under and above us.

Amen. The text is unedited, except a question mark replaced by period, a paragraph cleaved in twain.

*The entire Internet should be signed R. Mutt.

The Trouble with Normal

So many people in my Facebook and Twitter feeds adamantly retailed the meme, the posting of said meme peaking a week or two ago, that the Trumpening shouldn’t be “normalized,” and we shouldn’t slip into accepting Trump and the coming Idiocracy/Republic of Gilead as normal. I don’t necessarily disagree with that. I find it hard to think of Trump as normal, or to think that I would ever think of Trump as normal, particularly as he presents as a clinically abnormal personality. But I have trouble with the word normal. For one thing, a lot of “normal” people voted for Trump. For another, I have a clinically abnormal personality myself. But more importantly, I think many things we collectively as Americans have already accepted as “normal” are exactly what brought us to Trump. I thought, “The trouble with normal…is it always gets worse.” This is not an original thought. It is the refrain of a song by Bruce Cockburn, released in 1983. To wit:

Strikes across the frontier and strikes for higher wage
Planet lurches to the right as ideologies engage
Suddenly it’s repression, moratorium on rights
What did they think the politics of panic would invite?
Person in the street shrugs — “Security comes first”
But the trouble with normal is it always gets worse

Callous men in business costume speak computerese
Play pinball with the third world trying to keep it on its knees
Their single crop starvation plans put sugar in your tea
And the local third world’s kept on reservations you don’t see
“It’ll all go back to normal if we put our nation first”
But the trouble with normal is it always gets worse

Fashionable fascism dominates the scene
When the ends don’t meet it’s easier to justify the means
Tenants get the dregs and the landlords get the cream
As the grinding devolution of the democratic dream
Brings us men in gas masks dancing while the shells burst
The trouble with normal is it always gets worse

Per William Blake, manacles are forged in the mind, and the hapless Soldiers sigh/Runs in blood down Palace walls.

Grendel’s Laundry List: Annals of Twitter

To be continued, as necessary, according to Dr. Omed’s First Law.*

*First, I enjoy myself, and the rest of you are on your own.

Random Photo: The gold that stayed

floyds-fork-milkweed-gold

Found,

in abandoned pasture,
empty milkweed pods.

The only gold can stay.

Lit Only By Fire

In a room
lit only by fire,
curled like nested dormice

we lift each other in the heavy
hissing silence
to listen.

We hug tight the lost ghosts,
selves we think our own,
under a midden pile

of old overcoats,
quilts and blankets
leavened with pushed off socks.

All night we hear trees creak,
crack,
and fall,

under the weight of being
green things
in a cold cosmos.

The crash of limbs
sounds untrue,
distorted and amplified

exactly like God the Foley artist
munching celery
in a cheap horror flick.

Doom cracks its knuckles,
shivers timbers,
makes candle flames flutter,

and huge shadows
limn and loom and lunge, on walls
lit only by the flicker of fire.

We blind ourselves to truth
with too much light.
When the power comes back on

with hum we make noise white,
and launder silence
of its holy stain.

ember 11, 1906

On Kenosha Pass

I came to see if the aspens had found any color,
panning in the streaming air
of cooling nights,
yellow ore shivering in the wind at dawn.

The sky, blue steel, could strike sparks
from the flinty eye
of god himself,
light fire to the aspen groves
and smelt fool’s gold among the evergreens.

I turn back into the slant doorway
of the wrecked cabin,
to read its walls,
lined with layers of old newsprint.
I peel the corner of a page from the wall
like bark from an aspen,
read a date—

“ember 11, 1906”

In the month of ember I came as a stranger,
a guest neither welcome
nor unwelcome,
to whisper a few words
among the ghosts
homesteaded on the rocky ground
planted like rows of corn
under makeshift markers and weatherworn stones.

“ember 11, 1906”

Do these ghosts
look to the aspens,
in the month of ember,
in the year of ’06,
knowing that this fool’s gold
is a hard hue to hold,
mountain winter on the way,
and nothing gold can stay?

Posted for Spike. Note that I rip off Robert Frost in a major way at the end.