The existence of skin

Sometimes I curse the existence of skin— how it makes some people lose & some win— yet, without skin, there’d be nothing within. * Image: William Blake, 1796

Propagandist

I’ve taken it upon myself to educate mankind. I’ve studied much psychology, much science of the mind. My stamina’s uncanny; my resolve is absolute: I’m speaking for the underdogs who’d otherwise be mute! I do their thinking for them— that’s what I was trained to do. You wonder who I am? I am not Red. […]

concision

The beauty & brains of concision are rooted in clear-eyed decision.

Train Men

Daniel Celentano, 1935 traveling unnoticed & unknown traveling together but alone the cargo of this train’s the pain of men who’ve sacrificed in vain

If you are creative

If you are creative you’re never alone: your drive to create has a mind of its own. You’re bound to its service & soon you learn well: you put it to work or it makes your life hell. * Image: Salvador Dali

Charisma

She graces who she pleases, unattached to looks or wealth; she’s powerful in poverty & faithful through poor health; she’s drawn to freaks & outsiders, but princes have her, too; she’s blatantly bisexual & favors no skin’s hue; she has no code of conduct or unbreakable taboo except this: she demands the most of both […]

Taboo

I think the purpose of taboo is sort of as a last resort: When people cut their love lives short— when isolation walls us off— then, like a lung-awaking cough, taboos are broken & people open up to the nakedest of things— love, which is why the caged bird sings. * image: Shatner & Nichols, […]

poem for Socrates

Jacques-Louis David, 1787 If words transcended time I’d say thanks, Socrates, for to my day you set a golden standard & example, stand in sanity when truth is trampled, immortalize humor, lead leaders to love being wise & remind me there are always times to fly by the seat of your conscience.

poem for Jordan Peterson

Only after your time will Time decide how well you’ve served our species as a guide, but, since a leader’s life’s the life you lead, here’s how I hope (& think) we both agree: 1 A good teacher won’t preach what he thinks; instead, he shows the thirsty where he drinks. 2 The more he […]

poem for Ayn Rand

When Reason, man’s most perfect power, is exiled from the Ivory Tower, you stand outside as fearless proof of its unconquerable truth. While institutionalized minds grow coddled, sheltered & unwise, you teach bright people to be free & draw their strength from liberty. You set the tone, you set the stage for freethinkers of every […]

Advice for readers

Vacations taking nothing but your mind exist in inexhaustible supply, so never settle. Keep your standards high. Great writing moves you fast ahead, and far; Bad drags you back, or leaves you where you are. Great writers help their readers come away equipped not just for tasks, but for the day: Aware that facts can […]

rhyme on rhyme

Rhyming though it may seem quaint is good for when some things are worth rhyme time & some things ain’t.

the way we’re headed (re: social media)

All anyone wants to do is sit around with friends, laughing & philosophizing till the wide world ends. We know social media is getting in the way, but it feels like up and leaving it is not okay. They will make excuses for us when we’re dead and gone, like: “How could they know better? […]

4 questions

How can something as dainty as a rhyme stretch to accommodate a paradigm? How could stone slabs, slowly inscribed by hand, carry the weight of 10 divine commands? How did the founding fathers—all mere men— give birth to a nation with a pen? How do hearts split apart by loneliness let themselves be opened up […]

Playtime

Want a useful thought? Here’s one: play is good for more than fun. Through play, even wild wolves explore in peace their readiness for war, & language (“give a thing a name”) is mankind’s first recorded game. The rest is simple to derive: we work hard & play hard to thrive. The most advanced tribes […]

the typewriter

one of each color one of each stripe all stories i write i rewrite for all types! some like em funny some like em sad some like em crummy some like em bad. whoever you are, your opinion’s embraced. i guarantee something is typed to your taste! one for each pipe-dream one for each gripe […]

like father, like son

like father, like son, you’re destined to see insight blunted by blind scrutiny & innocence deformed by violent hate & beauty overwhelmed by spectacle & conscience crying out against its fate & Mary ridiculed by Jezebel & straightforward direction made obscure & power-hunger crippling strength, & pure & simple truth labeled stupidity: like father, like son, […]

Brainwashers

Brainwashers in the churches, brainwashers in the schools, making worship into mockery & students into fools; brainwashers in the Bible Belt, brainwashers on the coasts; brainwashers taking dollars, brainwashers taking votes— you’re all the same, brainwashers! you think you’re slick & sly, but I can see right through your grand disguises to your lies & […]

Marginal Revolution

for Tyler Cowen Shortcuts to the spotlight are the hallmark of our age— why labor making thoughts bright when outrage takes center stage? Seldom can a centrist (however strong his form) cut through the division that’s increasingly the norm. Rarer still is one who can sustain his measured stance among any admirers he enchants. You’re […]

labyrinth

Though close friends often know it before you, no one can tell you what you’re born to do. There is no Oracle who sees your fate. there is no guarantee it’s not too late. There are no pre-made maps to travel with; there is only a vast stone labyrinth whose pathways wind & wander to […]

The Crier (An Allegory About Social Media)

“Hear me, hear me!” all day long he cries, soliciting thumbs-up from passerby where the people are many & most of them cry just as loud—why he tries to be heard over the crowd is beyond me, but there’s always somebody responding. “Here’s my story!” he yells. “Nothing to hide! I’ll play-by-play till the day […]

Platonic

There is a cave where people are enslaved with manacles around their necks & ankles & made to sit silent & well-behaved beholding shadows cast from many angles. Eventually, one prisoner gets free & sees (in horror!) the machinery that’s been projecting his experience. He knows this is his disappearing chance & climbs out of […]

a definition of desire

Desire (n.) a self-devouring snake, its scaly tail convulsing in its fangs; whatever satiety it feels is fake; there’s not even a momentary break as it ingests its own abdomen’s pangs for emptiness alone fulfills Desire, which eating itself eats you along the way. what’s more to say? you’re empty of, or else feeding, Desire; […]

the ballad of Willie Lester

Willie Lester was a man who toured in Afghanistan; he left when he was barely 18. on that day, his mother cried with sunshine in her eyes; her son looked better than she’d ever seen. he was decorated some for how well he used his gun, but mostly for the lives he fought to save; […]

The Receiver

There once was a quiet dystopian town where the people amazingly found one among them was born with an uncanny gift: taking bad memories. He’d just lift pain from your brain like it was never there, each trace recollection erased. How it worked: This ‘Receiver’ himself made space for your suffering in his own mind, […]

verse designed to convey

verse designed to convey understanding will fail.            stiff, shallow & opaque, like ice on a lake, it restricts movement instead of inviting swimming, boating & stone skipping;               rather than explaining, it drains each sinking, suffocating idea of all its warmth.                          this is the difference between force & power: words that disclose thoughts already formed before […]

Gethsemane

Cold blood beading like sweat on his brow, he fell to his knees pleading, “Take my place, God, if you have any power now, & quench the bloodthirst ravaging my race! After I’m killed, they’ll only kill again, but maybe with your death, the killing ends.” The Lord supported troublemakers then, so before he felt […]

Cheating Venus

the modest god of blacksmithing was husband to Venus, which, in my opinion, means he wielded a fine penis; but (being immortal) Venus craved variety, so with the violent, forceful Mars came impropriety. without missing a beat, the blacksmith took to his forge & forged a silvery net where two gods could be stored & […]

Sun worship

in antiquity, the sun was said to be a god (shaped like a man) who ran all day, cooled his burning feet in the western sea & came home with his rays docile & dim to his beloved, waiting there for him. he’d give her anything in his peerless power, which is what turned their […]