Poetry: For a Little While

For a little while longer
I will annoy you with my
banal sarcasm, seasoned
with a pinch of wit.

For a little while longer
I will stare into your eyes—
making you uncomfortable.
I may annoy your sensitivity

With wise cracks or politically
incorrect observations of truth,
but only for a little while longer.

Until I stop, I will stake my claim
to a share of our relationship.

I may touch you, hug, or even kiss you
for a little while longer, and for as long
as I can. For a little while longer,
maybe forever, I will continue
to love you.

Of the forever possibilities, we’re all ignorant.
Look both ways here and now.
Do it now, say it now, mindfully minimize the gaps.

Poetry: Nuthin’ Man (NaPoWriMo) Day Twenty

Happy Saturday, y’all. Today I am supposed to write a poem based on language as it is spoken in real life, as opposed to more formal “poetic” speech.

what is it with you — nothin’ man, what choo you talkin’ about — that chick — what about it — we’re friends — fuck that shit, man, you’re tryn’a save her —
she needs help, man, that’s it, i help my friends — how many other chicks you helped, you gotta stop, man, ya can’t help them all, you can’t fix everybody, and where are they now —
get off my ass, just helpin’ a friend, that’s all —
you got some sorta complex, dude, sir galahad or something,’ like yer a knight in shining armer or somethin’—
bull shit, man, you dunno what yer talkin’ about, it ain’t like that — look man, i know it ain’t like yer tryna’ get laid —
you need to stop, it’s not yer business.

maybe he’s right — maybe i’ma sucker — i help guy friends too, if they ask — besides, it’s done and she is ok now— i admit it feels good to help — is that a complex, it seems normal to me — she asked and ah said sure — there’s no problem and it’s not his beeswax anyway — but maybe he’s right about me.

Hey, how’s it going — livin’ the dream man, how ‘bout you — it’s all good, you goin’ to the game tamarra, it’ll be a good one —
i dunno yet, but I think so —
hey, how’s that chick we were talkin’ about —
who, oh her, she called me, said thanks, it’s all good now, she’s sending me a check, i’m glad i helped her, she’s good people —
good that you were there for her — yah, it feels good to help, you might try it sometime —
hey, look man, ima sorry fer what i said —
it feels good to help people, you oughta try it sometime —
fuck you, i help peeps, i’m jist more careful —
sure, whatever man, i’ll get back with you about the game, i may have a date —
oh, who with, you got a date, with who — talk at cha later man.

that’s great, now he thinks i’m seein’ her, let him think what he wants, he’s a dick anyway — but he is my friend — sometime i’ma gunna have to tell him, she set me up with her sister, we hit it off — i’ll tell him when i’m ready — for now, he can wonder — i can be a dick too.

© Bill Reynolds 4/20/2019

Look at things both ways for a clear perspective.
Mind the gaps.

Essay: My FWB Neighbors (3 of 4)

 

I have always liked the Diamond Rio song, Norma Jean Riley, so it follows this dribble for no other reason than I like it.

Part 3 of 4: Norma Jean (not Riley) and Mac

I met Norma Jean and her hubby, but I recall little about either of them. He was quiet; she was not. I had no judgmental opinion, but my wife seemed to like them. That means they are “fine.” They were longtime residents of the neighborhood and had raised their kids there and all of that. But, we all have our foibles, right? So, I will set this up for you.

We rented the house on the cul-de-sac we lived in for three years. When we announced we planned to move, the owner put it on the market and sold it. The couple who bought the house had children, were of some middle eastern ethnicity or nationality, and of the Islamic faith. I never met them, but I may have seen them when they looked at the house, since it was being shown while we lived in it.

As I understand, after we moved (bless her heart) sweet ol’ Norma Jean, who is of the Southern Baptist tradition, went to meet and welcome her new neighbors. It’s what we do. Being neighborly, right? In classic, southern, Bible Belt fashion, she invited her new neighbors to attend church and especially invited the children to Vacation Bible School.

The father of the children explained to sweet Norma Jean that he and his family were Muslims. He added that while his family would be following their own religious tradition, Norma Jean and her hubby were invited to a sit-down discussion of religion so that they might understand Islam better.

I don’t know what Islamic sect or part of that tradition the family followed. The conversation ended there. I’m sure Norma Jean sweetly declined the invitation. But then, bless her heart, Norma Jean shared the experience and her take on it all with my wife.

Apparently, Norma Jean was quite upset (shocked?) by the invitation for a chit-chat on the topics of Jesus and Mohammed. In righteous indignation she contacted my wife and shared her venomous opinion of such a request. “I have never been so insulted,” is how she felt about it.

I asked my wife how Norma Jean could in good conscience invite a Muslim family to a Southern Baptist church and to Vacation Bible School, but be offended by an offer to compare notes, quid pro quo, especially about two of the three Abrahamic religions of the world.

Some things I will never understand. Most people I will never understand. Southern Baptists and Muslims are two groups that fit both categories. But, that is fine since it is unlikely that they understand me either.

Look both ways in comparing notes with others. Turnabout is fair play but mind the gaps.

Who ya gunna trust?

A few weeks back, the headline was about Olympic athletes being robbed in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. After a few days, it turned out that they were gold medal contenders for the what were you thinking? event. One US swimmer won the liar-liar, pants-on-fire trophy across the world. I wonder how much trust will be restored after all the damage control that followed.

Trust2

We know what trust is. We trust others. They don’t earn it. Either we give it, or we don’t. We also trust in portions or on a sliding scale. Some get more than others. We also know that trust depends on a lot of things. Past behavior is a big one.

When will Charlie Brown learn that Lucy will pull the football back at the last second? She does it every year (link).

About the same time that some of our athletes were not being robbed at gun point in Rio, I was in a discussion about trust. I thought I had trust figured out. I learned some things (I usually do when I shut up and listen).

Trust3

I’ve never thought about the fact that we need to trust. Carrying that need a bit further, we also need to not trust. It would be great if we had this perfectly figured out. Often, people we trust teach us valuable but painful lessons on who not to trust, and when. As it is with love, when we trust we become vulnerable.

I once asked a work-mate why he left money on the table when he did not put a small percentage of salary into a retirement account, which our employer matched (free money). He didn’t need the money. His answer was, “I don’t trust them.” I was dumbfounded by his answer and I changed the subject. He paid for his lack of trust.

Trust1Competence and honesty are two other conditions that effect our trusting others. Our trust may have a few variables and conditions that go with it. I may trust you to suggest a good dentist for me. I will not trust you to be that dentist.

When my cardiologist showed up to place stents into my coronary arteries, I trusted him more when he told me how many he had done. I liked the guy, but that had nothing to with his competence. His experience did.

So, in addition to the things I mentioned earlier, we may trust others in differing degrees. That degree may increase in proportion to competence and experience. Generally, we don’t trust people who we think are dishonest.

When I discuss trust and judgment, I use the word discernment. Our ability to discern improves over time, often with a trail of painful lessons because we trusted people we shouldn’t have. When Ronald Reagan used the oxymoron “Trust but verify,” he was really saying “do not trust them.”

Erik Erikson theorized that trust is learned during the first couple of years of life. Regardless of how accurate that is, it seems logical and emphasizes the importance of trust in our lives from early on.

What I think is important regarding trust is not how much we have in others. We usually have some, even in total strangers. What is important is that we learn to use reliable judgment, based on experience to discern how to trust.

In her TED talk, What We Don’t Understand About Trust, Onora O’Neill says it much better than I can. Click here to watch it.

Trust4Trusting seems natural. America’s motto is In God We Trust. Another is E pluribus unum (out of many, one), but in 1956 we wanted to make sure that our country was not confused with the atheistic USSR.

In America, it seems that we want to trust more as we deal with each other every day. Are we worthy of the trust of others? Who do we trust?