Poetry: Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt

A song played on the radio
from WARM Top 40,
rock and roll—
sinful music station
in nineteen sixty-four.

Joe Dreier was driving when
I looked at the speedometer.
We’d not be doing a hundred
except Joe was drunk.

Me too. Maybe Ron
(who we called Dobbie)
Ganick wasn’t there,
he didn’t drink, but we did.

We all got home that night
of senior graduation parties.
Later when I was away in Texas
with the Air Force,

I learnt Ganick died.
His VW bug threw him in a crash.
I bet there was a song on the radio,
probably WARM 590 AM.

Look both ways for “fortune smiles on some,
and lets the rest go free.”*
Mind the gaps and wonder why.

(* from Sad Café by the Eagles)

 

 

 

 

Fandango’s Provacative Question (FPQ) #35

Fandango’s Question: Do you believe public figures (e.g., politicians, celebrities, athletes, authors) — or anyone, actually — should be judged by today’s standards for their words or actions from decades earlier? Why or why not?

In the Summertime was written by Ray Dorset, of the group Mungo Jerry, in 1970. Some of the lyrics can be questioned for time and morals, but also for culture and interpretation. The song also says, Life’s for living yeah, that’s our philosophy, which I like. A few other questionable verses make the song neither sexist nor racist, in my view. Dorset is a Brit, about four months my senior, and an active Freemason thrice married with six kids and some grands. He wrote the song in ten minutes. (For what it’s worth.)

The more I think about this good person/bad person in light of the times topic, the more it gets wrapped in the philosophical tentacles of my own confusing need for a balanced, fair, and just (maybe perfect) world. Do I have any right or business judging anyone? What shall I make of people like Jefferson Davis? He was wrong as hell in my book, but not in his. He remains a hero to many.

I mentioned this kind of issue in a recent blog where I discussed the artist Jonas Gerard. Comments indicated that we can separate people’s behavior from their art, but in Gerard’s case, there is a petition to remove his art from city property. And it’s not decades old.

Can we separate the good from the bad, or does a tarnished reputation make all the good suddenly bad? Do I declare a song such as Dorset’s or Baby It’s Cold Outside to be evil because of someone’s PC interpretation? Do I get to declare someone’s art, writing, or music null and void after I learn of their human condition, religion, or political views? It happens a lot.

Charles Lindbergh fell from grace following a pro-Nazi Germany speech. A sample of many more: Cosby, O.J., Armstrong, Burr, Nixon, Haggard, Dixie Chicks, and (oops) another one bites the dust. Yesterday, I was reading about Philip Larkin and how his past may have tarnished his work. Does it? Should it?

I like the book/story about Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde because it reminds me that we all have a dark side: that Jekyll was a good man, but Hyde was not, yet they were entities of the same person.

The answer to Fandango’s question is yes; but I’m sorry to say, also no. Yes, because by today’s standards (whatever those are culturally, interpretatively, or historically) are what we use to judge people today (not that we should, but we do). However, can we manage to form an opinion within the context of times past or some other mitigating circumstance?

Looking back on my life, I’m grateful that no nearby microphones were switched on when I said stupid shit; that no tapes or cameras were rolling when I did equally dumb stuff. While I don’t care or worry much about being judged, I prefer my lowest and worst moments be seen for what they were—not my standard, whatever that is or was.

I like learning that past heroes had weaknesses; dark sides mixed in with talent, wisdom, and intelligence. I have no time for idealistic nonsense. Right is right and wrong is wrong, but there are hundreds of grayish shades between. I’m not religious, but approve the idiom let he who is without sin cast the first stone. BTW, the song also advocates drinking and driving, or it seems to. It shouldn’t. So what?

Look both ways.
Beware not to place heroes too high on a pillar, nor allow your imperfect self
the hypocritical luxury of being the Judge, Jury, Executioner for others;
as so many fools before us have done.
Closely mind the gaps that contain closeted skeletons and dark secrets.

***

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Poetry: Death by T-Rex

Come to me. Closer.
Stand before me, your naked
judgmental ass, as I hold
in my hand
this fine blood red wine,
and my 45 (or is it 9mm?)

And you tell me what?
I am old, too old?

When I pull this trigger
and the bullet leaves
the holey end of this
pistolla headed for
your ugly mug,

Will it matter
that you will never
see and never be
as old as I—better
not to been born at all.

And you will have died
(not that anyone will
give a fuck)
at the hand of an old
washed-up and worthless
poet fuck who, after
you cried and fell dead,

Turned and wrote a poem
about cappin’ your
nasty smelly ass—
arrogant mother fucker!
How dare you,
Call me a dinosaur?

Look both ways before calling the firing line clear.
Mind the gaps and old farts who write poems.

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: Losing It

Losing it – not sure what it is,
specifically, but it has to do
with confidence and independence.
It is a quickness of response in
mind and body, of movement
and of deciding, an awareness.

We all grow into this from the
beginning and those confusing
middle years, even later
when I ran, as an old man –
marathons, and was fit as
ever, but now – that was then.

We don’t lose anything
but things change and fade
as we age, that’s how it works.
Or we die.

Some are old, others older,
some didn’t make it this far.
With each new day we gain
another new way to discover
and to find who we are
and to do or be,
or am I just too old,
and losing it?

©Bill Reynolds, 5/16/2019

Look both ways. Pay attention, listen closely, or they’ll say you’re losing it.
Mind the gaps. Many have lost it in the gaps.

Poetry: Unbleached Face of Death

Universal Death patiently awaits
each, forever it’s permanently there
welcoming every kind of life over eons
it’s always been the same, birth before Death,
if birthed at all, and some sort of demise
for both the stupid and the wise.

The universe knows each speck of dust,
each one of us for thousands of years
and will do the same for thousands hence.
We may count the minutes, hours, and days,
but in the end Death only counts the ways.

© Bill Reynolds, 5/6/2019

Look both ways in life, but we’ll not see beyond the veil.
Mind the gaps, in the end is the last gap.