Poetry: Ich hatt’ Alte Kameraden

 

Goodbye my old friends. You’ll be missed.
But we have no ways to keep you all
held together. Your time has passed.

We all get old. If we’re lucky, we live
purpose driven lives of building memories. Yet,
wear and tear take an unrecoverable toll.

For so many years, you’ve held it together for me.
All nights and all days, when I called, you provided
me with comfort, support, and security.

You took beatings on hot days, the soakings
of untold rain and freezing weather in three states,
absorbing blows and poundings meant for me.

You guided my way on many paths of life,
through dust or mud, up ragged hills, through raging
flood waters of life, you gave your self for me.

Now your hollow dismembered carcass must go.
Leaving only podophilic memories for soles
to recall in gratitude for your long support.

We have harvested your organs, internal and external,
hoping to preserve your memory and to provide
transplants for younger, stronger soles soon to follow.

Were we a military unit, we would give you a medal
for valor and service. Governments would give you
citations for long dedicated self-sacrifice.

Thank you for your service. Old sneakers never die.
They just wear away in a soft squeaky whimper.
My feet, toes, and ankles salute you both: Comrades!

(21 foot-stomp salute!)

Bill Reynolds 10/18/18

Run through the jungle looking both ways and minding foot gaps, slips, and trips.

Will I Care? Don’t Talk Like That!

The past happened without me, as will the future.
Beginning on what day will I no longer get out of bed?
Unable to remove the mask and walk away,
to pee or whatever. Will I know anything?
On what day will I no longer want coffee?
I can handle not to have. But not to want?
Does nirvana or moksha reflect happiness or denial?
On what morn I’ll no longer begin a day’s reading?
Is not my quest for knowledge stewed in desire?
To have and to hold, to want and to need. To care?
There’s more I want to know. Will I care? Do I?
Must I stop loving her on that day? As the Jones song goes.
Will my dignity be intact, or will it be the first to go?
Will I die in a puddle of shit? As many would see that as fit.
Will I remember my name, yours, where I am? Will I care?
Is there such a thing as death with dignity? Or do we
just pass on to return life for life? Don’t talk like that?
Away and towards. Turn, turn, turn. Say I love you.

I care.

I do.

Love you.

 

© Bill Reynolds 10/15/2018

Look both ways; to the beginning and toward the end, when gaps no longer matter.

Song Lyric Sunday – Hide

Helen’s Song lyric prompt for today is hide, or hiding, or hidden. A great prompt for me cuz four songs came to mind. I selected one but changed my mind to Lyin’ Eyes by the Eagles, written by Glenn Frey and Don Henley. The hook line for the prompt is (of course) ‘you can’t hide your lyin’ eyes‘ but this song also has one of my all-time favorite philosophical song lines, ‘I guess every form of refuge has its price‘ – and it does, right?

I put the lyrics below the video so you can read as you listen.

Lyin’ Eyes

City girls just seem to find out early
How to open doors with just a smile
A rich old man
And she won’t have to worry
She’ll dress up all in lace and go in style
 

Late at night a big old house gets lonely
I guess every form of refuge has its price
And it breaks her heart to think her love is only
Given to a man with hands as cold as ice
 

So she tells him she must go out for the evening
To comfort an old friend who’s feelin’ down
But he knows where she’s goin’ as she’s leavin’
She is headed for the cheatin’ side of town
 

You can’t hide your lyin’ eyes
And your smile is a thin disguise
I thought by now you’d realize
There ain’t no way to hide your lyin’ eyes
 

On the other side of town a boy is waiting
With fiery eyes and dreams no one could steal
She drives on through the night anticipating
‘Cause he makes her feel the way she used to feel
 

She rushes to his arms, they fall together
She whispers that it’s only for awhile
She swears that soon she’ll be comin’ back forever
She pulls away and leaves him with a smile
 

You can’t hide your lyin’ eyes
And your smile is a thin disguise
I thought by now you’d realize
There ain’t now way to hide your lyin’ eyes
 

She gets up and pours herself a strong one
And stares out at the stars up in the sky
Another night, it’s gonna be a long one
She draws the shade and hangs her head to cry
 

She wonders how it ever got this crazy
She thinks about a boy she knew in school
Did she get tired or did she just get lazy?
She’s so far gone she feels just like a fool
 

My oh my, you sure know how to arrange things
You set it up so well, so carefully
Ain’t it funny how your new life didn’t change things?
You’re still the same old girl you used to be
 

You can’t hide your lyin’ eyes
And your smile is a thin disguise
I thought by now you’d realize
There ain’t no way to hide your lyin’ eyes
There ain’t no way to hide your lyin’ eyes
Honey, you can’t hide your lyin’ eyes
 

Songwriters: Glenn Frey / Don Henley

Lyin’ Eyes lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

 Look both ways with yer lyin’ eyes. Mind the gaps cuz refuge has a price.

Click graphic for link to SLS page.

Poetry — Octo-eventide

I hear the soft sounds of eventide’s song,
as it sings the transition of day into night –
of colorful gloamings where wonders belong,
while whispering air adds drama to sight.

Night birds respond by taking to flight
before today wrings darkness from light
The darts and the dives of the soaring black kite,
mixing their trills, flying into the night.

The sky-blue sunset is dotted with cloud,
as the stars drag the moon into the shroud,
where red and orange, and some yellow are glowing.

Adieu to the light as darkness keeps growing.

As the swift and the nightjar sing
songs that awaken
the owl tonight, a night yet to come.

From this part of life is another day taken,
and as humans will be,
by this darkness we’re shaken.

I feel the call of a long restful sleep
as evening pleasures promise to keep.
Remember this day as something we’ll miss.
Lie with me Love and share this sweet bliss.

©Bill Reynolds 10/12/2018

Look both ways into the night and the day,
mind all these gaps in a special way.

Poetry: May I try?

 

Why can’t I be a poet?
What is that anyway?

The maker of sounds
and finder of words to say.

Poems à la muse must
be creative and see
imaginative ways,
to say,
expressively,
what we,
so capable and specially
can feel,
in a poem’s
certain way.

Poets are
sensitive.
We read (love)
dead poets!

Good at it? Yer a poet.
Writes poetry so well?
Maybe yer the bard
who shows the way.

Poetry is verse.
‘tis a versifier ye are?
Is it not?
How to tell?

Not up to par?
A poetaster you are.
If that’s in me,
a lessor poet’s what I’ll be.

What is inferior?
My poem, or me?
Or is it that my verse
is just too dern terse?

Write a poem of wit
and magic,
or a salty limerick
of some jester’s
funny verse.

Be the bard yer born to be.
Sing like a minstrel
along with me.

Be the poet
and you will see.

© Bill Reynolds 10/8/2018

A note from Johnny Cash.

If yer gunna try, look both ways and mind the gaps.
Let us feel the poems as you write.

Song Lyric Sunday – Found

Helen’s song lyric prompt for today is find or found.

Hanging out with teenage friends at Lombardelli’s Pizza place back in the day, I recall Richie Cramer tormenting his girl friend at the time by singing this song. But Richie changed some of the lyrics to her name, Rita Hill. I found my thrill on Rita Hill.

The original Fats Domino song, indeed a sad lost-love song to an unnamed person, addressed a place: Blueberry Hill, where Fats found his thrill.

A founding original artist of R&R or R&B, and a 1950s icon, Fats died a year ago this month at 89 rockin’ years young.

Blueberry Hill

Fats Domino

I found my thrill
On Blueberry Hill
On Blueberry Hill
When I found you

The moon stood still
On Blueberry Hill
And lingered until
My dream came true

The wind in the willow played
Love’s sweet melody
But all of those vows you made
Were never to be

Though we’re apart
You’re part of me still
For you were my thrill
On Blueberry Hill

The wind in the willow played
Love’s sweet melody
But all of those vows you made
Were never to be

Though we’re apart
You’re part of me still
For you were my thrill
On Blueberry Hill

(Songwriters: A. Lewis / Larry Stock / V. Rose)

The video, a 2007 rendition of the song by Elton John, adds timelessness to this memorable oldy tune.

 

Look both ways and mind the gap on Sad Song Hill.

If ya wanna play SLS, here’s the link:
https://helenswordsoflife.com/2018/10/06/song-lyric-sunday-theme-for-10-7-18/

 

 

 

 

Essay: God do what?

While I say I don’t pray, I kind of do – accidentally. A believer might consider my praying to be blasphemy, but so is embracing atheism or agnosticism. As with so many words, blasphemy is only a thing if god exists (like sin), and it is only bad if you happen to believe in god (Satanists not withstanding).
No god = no blasphemy, no sin, no hell – make sense?

I have a few old habits and knee jerk reactions I’ve tried to shed without success. Two phrases I use too often are God damnit! and God bless you. In both cases, I am apparently invoking the supernatural to my wishes. But since intent matters, in the case of god damning, few of us mean it. In the blessing case, it is an old version of universal well-wishing when people coughed or sneezed. It goes back to the bubonic plague days in Europe. How well did that work?

Since I speak fluent profanity, I don’t blurt out the damning one very often. I’ve always been more of an f- or s-word guy. Yet, if someone near me sneezes, I usually have god blessed them before their next breath or sneeze. I’ve been doing that most of my life. When I don’t say something, I feel like an ass. I need to use gesundheit or one of the other secular phrases from around the world, of which there are many. This sounds like fun.

‘Thank you for covering your mouth and I wish you good health. Live long and prosper.’ (Vulcan Salute)

I used to pray often and for many people, but I didn’t pray for everything. I didn’t pray for rain to start or stop, or for any other change to the weather. I never prayed for bad events, personal wealth, or my own health. I don’t know why, but all that seems in bad taste. Likewise, I would never have prayed for anything bad to happen to any other person, unless you count the god-damning of nouns.

I carried a notebook where I kept notes of who to pray for and why. Seriously. People would ask me to pray for them or for some other person. If I didn’t write it down, I’d forget. Weekly, I would go late at night to a chapel room at our church for what is called perpetual adoration, and there I’d pray in the actual presence of the body and blood of JC (Holy Eucharist). That’s why it was there.

God was literally several feet away in a gold sunburst thingy called a monstrance, behind a tiny piece of glass, in the ‘actual’ form of the body and blood of Christ. He and I were alone most of the time. If what the Church proffered was true, I prayed a lot of folks straight to heaven – big IF. That was then. I still carry a notebook, but not for the same reason.

I’ve often prayed for dead people. That is customary for Catholics. Most Catholic parishes have a Book of the Dead which contains the names of the deceased loved ones we prayed for on All Souls Day (November 1st). It’s called praying for the ‘repose of the soul of’ the people we assumed might be in Purgatory; not in heaven yet. That’s how they say it. The repose part was to get them to heaven. A good thing, right? Just an odd way to say it.

Yep. Praying for other people, especially dead ones, was my favorite. Most of my other praying was reading (often aloud) from prayer books; prayers of adoration, love, or general holy stuff. I had my favorites and I still like what some prayers say. Like this poem by Mary Oliver:

I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
With your one wild and precious life?

— From “The summer day”;
New and Selected Poems 1992

I am sure that many protestants thought the real presence deal was bull shit. Maybe they were envious. The last time I prayed and was serious about it was about nine years ago.

When people say they will pray for me, I am unsure how to gratefully and gracefully decline the offer. I was diagnosed with cancer. People unaware of my atheism would offer to pray for me. If I requested a pass, they ignored me. So, I just said thank you and moved on.

Some who know of my unbelief would offer to pray, but then would backtrack. I would thank them and explain I understood the intent. I used to pray. I know why people do it.

 Lori Arnold’s (McFarlane) memoir, The Last Petal Falling, talks of her experience regarding prayer. That helped me realize I should be more diligent to replace prayer with action, honest love, or the offer, how can I help?

I usually don’t care what others do. Read a book, contemplate their navel, drink scotch, listen to disco music, meditate, or pray. I think one of those is wasted time, but that’s for others to decide. It’s not my business. Even if others pray for me. It’s okay. If that’s their thing, have at it. However, there is one well-intended prayer I would adamantly decline, if asked.

I hope no one wastes their time praying that god forces me, or any atheist, back to religion. It’s hard to explain, but that’s insulting. It is asking their god to take away my free will. If someone believes in god, I accept that as their belief and I’m ok with that opinion. May they cheerfully return the acceptance.

This kind of ‘praying’ usually involves more famous atheists. For whatever reason and given all the dumb-shit stuff there is wrong in the world to pray for, or all the people who are in need, especially the children; why so many people find it necessary to pray that an atheist will come to the opposite conclusion is mind boggling. I understand why some may wish and hope for change for loved ones. But it is still wrong.

One of the most prayer-group-prayed-for persons in US history was the late Christopher Hitchens. He was a famous writer and atheist of celebrity status who often debated with religious people. These people needed to find something better to do with their time than to pray for atheists (agnostics, free thinkers, skeptics) to stop believing as we do. It is insulting and demeaning. I will personally never recant my atheism. Never. Ok, if god physically shows up, I will. But not due to prayers.

How would a believer feel if atheists prayed for them to apostatize? What if we asked their god to turn them into atheists? How would that sit? Admittedly, a believer would see it as a damning petition. In a way, when people pray for us to recant, it’s the same thing; that we’re damned to hell simply for what we think.

I have a right to believe what I think truth to be. It’s unnecessary for anyone to respect what I believe (or don’t), but at least in quid pro quo fashion, one should give the nod to my right to believe it. Praying to take away that right, or doing so in the practice of one’s religion, is an attempt to take away an inalienable freedom: my right to think.

Some religious folks have the piety to keep their religion to themselves, but too many don’t. In many cases, that would be against their religion. If they must do something, they should follow the many religious who do something useful. If one knocks on my door, I may ask them to read my tract and come over to my way of thinking. Many do.

Look both ways and allow others the dignity to do the same.
Think. It’s free and helpful if you don’t over do.
Mind the gaps.