Why Two things?

Almost everyone wants
to be a writer, claims
Clive James.

I am two things:
an old man of a type or
a kind, and I am
a writer of some sort.

But I
am not of the almost
or even most who
want to be. It is
what I am.
An identity.

Some things I do
because I must –
I eat, shower,
shit and shave –
walk about and I
swim. I take pills
and shots of various
kinds in odd places
like my right ear
or part of my derriere.

I read because I
must, but also
because I want to
just for pleasure.

Why do I write?
I don’t have to,
but it’s like I
need to. If I
don’t, I’ll become
impacted with
words. My muse
may stop visiting
and my mind will
go and I will die
from constipation
of expression.

So, I write this shit
and it feels good.
The old man part is okay
but can’t say it feels as good.

Look both ways at the buffet of life, sample it all.
Mind the gaps to find a treasure of pleasure.

Poetry: Gettin’ Shit Done

I live my life on a road
somewhere among stop
and smell the roses,
live this day like it’s your last,
or be active and get shit done.

Torn a little between bitchin’
‘bout being old and its baggage
and happy as hell to be so well.
Lucky is what they say, privileged
to be no worse, like dead ya’ know.

I used to say — live fast, love hard,
and die young. Like the Meat Loaf song,
two out of three ain’t bad, and besides,
I’m still having fun wonderin’
and wanderin’ up-n-down this ol’ road.

It’s time for some wildflowers
and maybe tomorrow I will
stop and look them over, and live that day
like it’s my last, dance like y’all ain’t lookin’
maybe I’ll even find a way

to get some shit done.

©Bill Reynolds 6/4/2019

Live, love, and look both ways. Find and mind all the gaps. Live well.

Poetry: Fixing Things

broken
dirty
people who want to feel better

puzzles and problems

edit to make it better
fix by ignoring edits
aligning painting adjusting
solving brightening or darkening
and resolving

healing and being healed

fixed or broken

repeat

© Bill Reynolds 5/30/2019

Look both ways and mind the gaps.
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it unless it’s poetry.
Always fix a poem.

********

Poetry: A Place for Weeds

Jim was watering his experiment
for his ag doctorate, Grasses of the Brazos.
The good ol’ country boy let his smile show
when I observed and laughed at him
for making a big deal out of a bunch of weeds.
They were not flowers or cash crop plants.

Jim said, without looking at me,
“a weed is just a plant out of place.”

Over fifty years now. Where did they go?
I remember Jim
and his greenhouse full of weeds at A&M,
we’d go spray water on them weeds daily.
Later Jim would defend his dissertation about
Brazos Valley dirt and river bank weeds.
Doctor Jim was a dirt man, agronomist.
Just a plant out of place.

Jim got his Ph and D in dirt.
Then, he moved away to California;
who with his high-pitched, out yonder,
Texas drawl, old Jim
was decreed Doc Jim, the good-old-boy
from Meridian, Texas.
In his own way, he became
a plant out of place.

Many times, I have been a weed,
a person out of place,
or so I felt.
I needed to be in a different place,
to feel unweedly,
wanted by anyone,
or not. Was I where I belonged?
Or, was I just another plant
out of place?

Was I
in the place I was supposed to be?
Bloom where you’re planted,
that’s what they say.
Weeds need to grow everywhere,
but it is nice to find your space.

No longer, am I,
a plant out of place.

©Bill Reynolds, 5/23/2019

Look both ways crossing but look all around for misplaced plants and people.
Mind the gaps, weeds grow there.

Poetry: About the Artist (NaPoWriMo) Day Twenty-two

Today, I’ve been challenged to write a poem that engages with another art form that I have experienced. My prompter declared anything to be in bounds, but I must use the poem to express something about another form of art.

My wife once said to me,
“you’ve always fancied yourself an artist.”
I wouldn’t have said that,
But she was right. I have and I do.
I like saying the word fancied,
Quality notwithstanding any measure.

I ask you now, but what is art?
Is a child’s first drawing art,
and is he or she not the artist?
Will my last dance be art?
What (I ask you now) is not art?
And of all, who is not an artist?

Is it art to color outside the line,
to sing off key, to skip a note,
and must creativity be voted upon?
Do art teachers grade the art,
or the artist? And what is an
artiste? Do you do art?

Is cooking or baking or brewing art?
May every and anything be artful?
Do you deny being an artist?
If so, why? Do you hide your art
in shame that you are an imposter
artist, an unskilled fraud or a fake?

Sane or crazy as a loon, drunk or sober,
from the first try to the final straw,
done well or poorly, what we do is our art.
Show me your art, sing me your song,
play me a tune and read me your verse,
but do not tell me you’re no artist.

I fancy you, as you should too,
to see yourself (an artist),
to be human, as artistic, as
artisan, as creative, as anyone. Now,
shall we dance? You lead!
I promise not to sing.

© Bill Reynolds, 4/22/2019

Look both ways,
from your first cry to the final whimper.
It’s art.
Mind the gaps, but just do it. Do IT! Do it.
It’s been there waiting for you.
Now go do it.

Poetry: Our Place in Line (NaPoWriMo) Day Eighteen

Today, the NaPo lady challenged me to write an elegy of my own. One in which the abstraction of sadness is communicated not through abstract words, but physical detail.

As far back into childhood I recall,
they say my day, my time, will come.
One day, perhaps quietly
or in some fitful mental agony
it will be my time to die.
But the bell has not
yet tolled for me—
soon enough—
it will.

Every pet, dog or cat,
lightning bug in a jar, turtle
or Easter chick; every snake, worm, or
ant; butterfly or bird, fish
or tarantula , things that flew,
crawled, walked or ran,
or just a sighting in the wild—
they’re all dead now—
I don’t know
what that is—
but they’re gone.

Every childhood friend is dead,
my mother died long after dad,
sisters both gone,
(estranged brother
I don’t know about,
he may outlive me,
if so, let it be).
I won’t know.

Uncles and aunts, one cousin (sort of) all
gone and others I don’t know about,
but they (ones I knew) are dead.
There may be some still doing,
but people of my memories
are past life. And this,
my friend,
is normal.

Some things don’t die, all people do.
Poets die (some never replaced)
but poems don’t.
The two most important
breaths we take,
the first and the last—
all the others
we call living.
That’s life,
Frank.

My sister would telephone,
“Billy” she’d say, “guess who died?”
she said, and then
she’d tell me.

When everyone and everything
I know of has died,
how do I know
who is next in line?
Is it I?
Or is it you?
Not if,
but when!

© Bill Reynolds, 2/18/2019

Know why you look both ways, otherwise, it is simply a meaningless turn of the head.
There will always be gaps but mind them anyway.

Poetry: Evil Darkness Denied (NaPoWriMo) Day Thirteen

Today, I wrote a poem about something “mysterious and spooky!” (As the prompt challenge defined it.) I mused the denied duality of human nature as set forth in the classic Jekyll and Hyde, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde [1886] by Robert Louis Stevenson. My review of the book is here.

***

Not evil I but you
Live with a darkness
of truth denied with
not to Hide mind
what must be true.

Wretched are you
to ask me to see
a truth as part of I.
Created by god
no evil must I be.

False belief is
the sinless soul
of self-righteous evil,
within you disguised
as good and pure.

As Lanyon needed
Jekyll’s truth to see
from Hyde’s reveal,
to accept the two,
both part of you.

There is no light without darkness,
no good without evil,
no truth without lies,
no life without death,
no two without one.

Seek out truth in you,
of more than half,
balance reality or die
from the only good truth
is really a lie.

© Bill Reynolds, 4/13/2019

Look both ways to find evil and good in you. It is your one and only truth.
Mind the gaps of fear and self-deceit, they hide your Hyde.

“O God!” I screamed, and “O God!” again and again; for there before my eyes—pale and shaken, and half fainting, and groping before him with his hands, like a man restored from death—there stood Henry Jekyll!” Dr. Lanyon’s words and recollection serve as the climax of the story. The question of Dr. Jekyll’s relationship to Mr. Hyde is resolved.