Poetry: The Tractor

The tractor rests, over near the barn
she’s not minding the cold, snow, and ice of winters
nor the dry pounding heat of summers,
a little rust, peeling paint, heavy worn tires,
little more than time causes the hulk any harm.

Made to plough and cumber a heavy beam, this ox
of steel and rubber carried men to the work
of sowing seeds with a seeder and a drill,
for tilling of soil with tiller and rotary box.

This mammoth hand of farm and ranch alike
pushes and pulls all kind of cultivator and harrow,
she drags wagons full of fertilizer to make
bull and cow shit fly over ditch and burrow.

Pulling mowers and rakes for the gathering of hay,
with bailers in tow bringing seed in to feed,
with tires made heavy with water in and mud out,
that tough old tractor stands ready for more work.

The Case International, the Massy Ferg’ and the old Ford;
the John Deere and the New Holland or Caterpillar rig.
Germany’s Fendt and Japan’s Kubota.
Canada has a claim with Cockshutt tractors.

Maker of the world’s finest cars will not be omitted,
As Italians lay claim to the craft for the harvest
with a Lamborghini (seriously) trattori pulling that shit.

This old boy was just a wee lad
when he grabbed hold of the wheel
for learning to drive in the only front seat
of a farmer named Dixon and his old Massy Ferguson
we all had great fun in the summer’s hot sun
as the day’s work of the land got done,
for the wheat and the hay (and a little play).

©Bill Reynolds 3/11/2019

Poetry: Peace Be With You

 

Dark Night Warrior

I love the common, the warm blanket of peace,
the soft whispers of a perfect and quiet day,
the calm of nature, birds, and other people
smiling and loving and happy.

But the Dark Night of thunder and storm,
of lightning and wind and rain excites me.
I feel more alive in a storm than safe
in the banal aspects of a sheltered existence.

My every dream is a warlike challenge
of attacks and kills and fights to a death.
Even mine.
What warrior is content to watch the battle?
Half of me belongs to the night, the dark.

I believe in war, combat, risk, and battle.
Bore me not with stories of contentment.
Challenge me with fear and excitement
before I die from fucking fattened monotony.

© Bill Reynolds, 2/11/2019

Look both ways and ask what kind of existence you want.
The gaps?
Oh yes, there are always the gaps to mind.

Poetry: Unbelief

The greatest sin of unbelief

They tried my soul –
and found it guilty
of the greatest sin,
its unbelief.

There it is
for all to see, the bad is there
all about me, can’t you see?
not rape nor torture or the harm
of murder
none of that is my sin.

I killed no gods or goats
all souls still running free
to come and go,
but my only sin – no god
shall I ever know.

How do I dare
to declare
my mind be free,
and so bare. is it not right there?
show me any god,
then might shall I to care.

Condemn my soul,
if you must. but look at me
and you will I trust
see all I can be,
is humanly free.

The day I die and somewhere lie,
you’ll accuse me as others cry,
not of being bad nor good,
but unlike you,
I just did not believe to be true,
my unbelief in god now flows
through as all my being goes.

©Bill Reynolds   1/28/2019

Look both ways. Mind the gaps.

Poetry: How it was

 

we were wine drunk in a sad state
rain fell softly, our feet bare in tall grass
we discovered and devoured everything
it was a time, I wish we could go back to

a place that no longer exists
nothing is the same
we are not the same
like rain runs off an old tin roof

we did our best
we were all winging it
without a book of instructions
we loved and tried and cried

sickness taught us about mortality
and of time
of right and of wrong
of a balance of life based on mystery

life gave us as much as we took
we were brittle, we were broken
we looked deep to encompass pain
to draw a circle around it and around us

the circle around us, that was grace,
I, just a boy, you, a girl, we
to each other, every boy and girl
we had ever had and lost

we wanted to leave, to not exist,
to go leaving no tracks or marks
to be forgotten and not followed,
we yearned only for us to be

we wondered how to live
for ourselves and for life and
because we believed
in each other as one spirit

we wanted to see the sky,
to go home, but how ?
we did not think past us
over our shipwrecked lives

everything was falling and not falling
the next toehold in life was
sore tired hearts and bodies
of the children we were, we are

we lost, unsure of what was real
we didn’t know what to do or to write
or to say or to ask, to only feel a sad
liberating acceptance of a deeper sadness

we were stripped of a dignity in life
of all things tried and failed
all the love we’re ever given
can be invoked long after it’s gone

I’m here
we are here
in this moment, this place, a time
when once there was this: us.

©Bill Reynolds 1/21/2019

Look both ways, but love the past we’ve lost to the cosmos.
Those gaps are gone, sadly.

Song Lyric Sunday – Sadness

The Song Lyric Sunday theme for today is Sadness/Crying. That sounds like the blues to me. I selected B.B. King playing and singing The Thrill is Gone. It’s sad of course, but with double entendre. The song was written by Rick R. Darnell and Roy Hawkins.

 

The Thrill Is Gone

B.B. King (Manhattan Transfer F/ Ruth Brown, B. B. King)

The thrill is gone
The thrill is gone away
The thrill is gone (baby)
The thrill is gone away
You know you done me wrong baby
And you’ll be sorry some day

The thrill is gone
It’s gone away from me
The thrill is gone baby
The thrill is gone away from me
Although I’ll still live on
But so lonely I’ll be

The thrill is gone
It’s gone away for good
The thrill is gone
It’s gone away for good
Someday I’ll be over it all
Just like a good woman should

Y’know I’m free free now baby
I’m free from your spell
Y’know I’m free free now baby
I’m free from your spell
And now that it’s all over
All I can do is wish you well

Songwriters: Rick R. Darnell / Roy Hawkins
The Thrill Is Gone lyrics © Universal Music – Careers, Universal Music-careers

Look both ways. Mind the gaps.
They can be unbelievably wide.

 

Click graphic for link to SLS page.

 

 

Essay: Romantic or Realist?

Disclosure on me:

I’ve been told that I’m a sensitive man. Given the smiles and nods around the room, it was intended as a compliment. The unstated enigma was that men normally are not.

I was recently told that I am a romantic (noun) because I’ve written romantic (adjective) poetry. The person who said that was laughing at the time because in her view, that is ironic. She claimed the higher ground of a realist (noun) partly because she was on her third (two bad experiences) marriage. This time to a man who was quite ill, adding to the reality of life.

The poem was about the dreamy desire of a (real) woman who was not in a happy, romantic relationship. It was my interpretation of her romantic dream – how she wanted things to be.

I responded that I accept who and what I am, that one can be both romantic and realist (definitions-dependent), and that a romantic realist is a thing in art, if not in people. Realistic art does not necessarily point to a realist artist. A writer of romance literature or romantic poetry need not hold personal romantic views. But, she was partly correct about me (does not know me well).

Most of this is because people attach my writing to my persona (or vice versa), which is okay, but what I write is not always me and certainly not about me. Often, I write about the world and people or things I see. In this case, my poem was about someone I knew who is struggling with life and her circumstance – her dreams and desires, perhaps pushed beyond the limits of practical reality.

Once bitten, twice shy

I believe that we learn best from the most painful lessons of life. We recall shocking or painful times well, if not always accurately. For my age group, it might be when JFK, RFK, or MLK were shot, among others. I suspect that the lady judging me formed her view because of her personal life experiences. That’s fair enough. But given the number of times I have found myself speaking in defense of reality and things as they truly are, a true romantic I am not.

The paradox

I haven’t posted about the paradox of love in a long time. I’m uncertain and struggle with what to say and how to say it. What will people say or think? I worry less about my writing and more about the subject or content. I sometimes wonder if I wrote about crime (I haven’t) if the FBI would show up at my door with a search warrant. But let’s give this a go even if I admit to the romantic leanings of a realist with both feet planted in the real world.

How long is long enough to love someone? In both quantity and time, “I love you now and I will forever (time), to the moon and back (quantity).” Is one day or night all there is? Is 20, 30, or 50 years enough? My mother died about 30 years ago, but I still love her. I’ve been married over 50 years, and my wife and I love each other.

I write about the Paradox of Love, loosely basing some of what I say on a book of the same title by Pascal Bruckner. I add my observations and limited experiences (in the worldly sense mostly, but I love many people, most seem to love me back). There is no shortage of material on this topic, many experts, and hundreds of ways to look at it.

The paradox to me is when love is added to the learning mix of life, painful lessons do not seem to stick. For some, the devastation from damage where love is involved is virtually unrecoverable. Yet, I have seen many times when the paradox of love allows us to move on with life and with love. Once again, “I love you forever…we love each other….” For me, that is the paradox. The human relationship quandary. However, as with the lady who labelled me a romantic, we may move on with less romantic naivety.

The human condition

Yet, love is forever until one of us blinks, looks away, wants more, samples greener pastures, or simply decides it’s over. Then all bets are off. Forever isn’t quite so long as we thought, right? None of that for better or worse shit, it must always be better and continually improving. Bore me and you’re gone. Then there is the ubiquitous found someone else. I admit to being dramatic here, but I’ve seen ugly romantic breakups and divorces. I could add friendships, but I am focusing on romantic love. What makes it work so well for many, yet repeatedly fails for others? Why?

I get it. The human condition is imperfect, and these things happen. People in love can, and do, fall in love with others. How many times do we love before we spend a lifetime with someone? Some people are polyamorous (one is not enough – a blog for next time).

Rarely is it okay with the other person to act on this. And if we do act on it, often all the shit in hell piles into the manure spreader and is sent flying (shit storm). On the bright side, without all the misery involved with love, over half of country music’s best crying in yer beer tunes would have never been sung. That’s also true for much R&R, R&B, and opera. I enjoy romantic comedy, but there’s room for tragedy in my mind. And is pain not the best teacher?

Free love – by the book

In his book, Bruckner describes the 1960s liberation movement (mostly civil rights, anti-war, and feminism) as a time of “free love” (especially within hippy groups but certainly not for all). No commitments, openness and a willingness to share even the most intimate and sexual experiences with others. That still goes on, I suppose, but without all the publicity of post-1950s drama.

Many good things came from the movements of the 60s: improved equality (woman, people of color, others), better human rights, music, long hair, care for the environment, and others. But the oxymoron idea of free love was not one of them – fortunately, according to Bruckner and me.

Free and open sex is just that. And love is also just that, meaning it is neither open nor free (e.g., she/he is mine). While I can’t speak for anyone else, and certain groups (religious, LGBTQ, cultural) may see or experience this differently, the romantic love two people may share could be about the most powerful emotional human force we possess. But, (and my idea of the paradox is) it is also among the most destructive.

All my exes live in Texas

A friend of mine who had been married several times, looked at me one day and informed me that her latest husband told her that he no longer wished to be married. Obviously shaken, she further confided that she had never loved him. I didn’t ask her (or him) if he felt the same way.

After the divorce ball was rolling along, he asked to reconcile (meaning he’d been dumped). She declined, which pissed him off, and it was not a nice, amicable divorce after that. The third thing she told me was that she was sure that she was not good at marriage. A difficult time followed for her, but that was mostly recovering from financial and ego damage. In time, she survived both and eventually remarried a guy after a long partnership (News update. I recently learned they divorced, and she is engaged to a new man).

Which are you?

To love and to be loved are wonderful things. Romantic me. To love often may also be wonderful. To be the couple in my poem is indeed romantic, but is also realistically feasible. Yet, to love comes with great risk and personal vulnerability. Remember, even the realist was on her third marriage. What is this human condition I call the paradox of love?

My original post on the paradox of love was over a year ago. It is more about the book than my thoughts. Read it by clicking here. You can read the poem that started this by clicking here.

Look both ways in romance and reality.
Be especially mindful of gaps in romance and real world relationships.
Live and learn, love and learn. Risk love, always.

 

Note: paradox synonyms; contradiction, contradiction in terms, self-contradiction, inconsistency, incongruity; oxymoron; conflict, anomaly; enigma, puzzle, mystery, conundrum, dichotomy, and incongruity.

Poetry: Benching

Benching

I’ve been benched
watching
and thinking –
but mostly resting,
feeling sore and angry
because I do know the score.

Sit down and shut up,
sit on your hands
she said.
Be a good little nobody.
When the tyrant teases,
take it like a man.

Fuck that. I am what I am
if that is not pleasing to you,
eat me, ass hole sick breath.
I dunno why I’m here but
not to please you is for sure.
Not one damn bit sorry am I.

I benched myself, to rest,
to think and to talk, to look
and to waive my wave or
give the nod, an atheist’s blessings
be upon you and your dreams.
The pains and gains piss on the bench,
and the next and next after that.

Feel the pain in my body, my mind and my core
I’m benched — out of the game. On my ass.
Sitting here watching dogs and deer,
wondering when this all will pass.
Sympathy and anger, it’s all the same to me.
On the bench is where, I can always
be – or is this all that I now can be?

Now you can tell me, to get off my ass
to make the pain come on back, to stretch,
and move, to walk and run and to see and feel.
Benching is good and it feels so bad.
Move over dip shit, this is my bench,
My time to cry, my time to rest

on the old man’s bench.

© Bill Reynolds 1/14/2019

Look both ways and know where the respites hide.
Mind the gaps. Broken slivers can hurt.