Friday, April 29, 2016

Yes and No

For me, everything must be either a yes or a no, but there is no distance between yes and no. I provide the distance. I know what I need because my desire tells me: If I am thirsty, I need water. If I am hungry I need food. Desire is the rudder of the body. But I could also say desire is a fetter. Both could be true, and there is no distance between them. You have to distinguish for yourself. and provide your own distance.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Desire

How do you know what you need? Think about that for a moment. If you are thirsty you need water. If you are hungry you need food. Desire is the rudder of the body. Without it the ship is adrift and lost. Don't dig up the root of thirst; water the plant.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Friends, happiness, etc.

My friend Ben Collins called me a few days ago.  He said they moved to a spot in Madison.  This is good news as he is closer to me than he used to be.  I try those I love.  I pull and try to get more traction, inviting them over when I can.  (I need to go see them more often.)  I do what I can, but I am still basically a hermit.

Another friend, Stephen Locke, just returned from a trip out west a few days ago.  He said he had a wonderful time.  He drove all the way from Athens, Alabama (our hometown) to California, so he can now say he crossed a continent the hard way.

I think often about an acquaintance who must remain nameless, who committed suicide about three years ago.  He was a good poet, and he helped me in one of my darkest hours (mania, not depression--I never get depressed anymore, just strung out on anxiety).  Anyway, I never met him in person, but we did exchange emails.  I remember once I told him I thought I was similar to a Neanderthal because (I thought) I have a large lower jaw.  Pssssst...  He heckled the hell out of me in his next email.  I guess I deserved it for laying the bullshit on him.  A few years later Geico came out with those annoying commercials about "the Geico caveman."  God, it's amazing how many people would probably not know what a Neanderthal is.  They had to call it a caveman in the commercials.

Happiness comes to us when we least expect it--unlike joy, which is earned or given as a boon.  Thus, the "hap" in "happiness" is the same root for "happenstance."  Most people don't know the difference.

Tits out,

Joel

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

This is a poem I had published a couple of years back in a journal called POEM, which is published by the Huntsville Literary Society, in Huntsville, Alabama.  Once again I am confronting my past and remembering my grandfather and his life along with my life in suburbia.  I hope you enjoy this.

Another Winter 

I listen to the trees at the farthest edge
of the suburb, to the combing voice
of the wind grooming my amazement. 

Winter bristles with my stories.
Old folks populate my voice.
My grandfather rises before dawn
with an intention that sharpens steel. 

Grass grows in every place
I have lived, every crevice that conceals
my footprints. Solace is the sunlight shining
between houses that quickens my survival. 

I have trudged through a lifetime of snow
to believe myself, to trust my eyes
and follow my hands through a starry upheaval.

My nights at home follow
all my notions
of struggle, when soldiers make
their beds in tanks, when innocent men reminisce
over their guilty days, when fear
is meat and bread, a sacrilege
everyone consumes through all the wars,
a way of calling each day by its name. 


To understand life
is to follow the gaze that underscores pain,
that movie no one can stop talking about,
the warmth that creeps down my neck
at the farthest end of feeling.

A man like me conceals the circumstances
of his laughter, which call him
back to his shame, that dismal breakfast,
through the words of a joke he plays on himself,
a lie he learns to repeat, comfort
he shares with no one.