So Many of My Old Poet Friends…
… have died, Which anyone Who knows me, Will not be the least surprised To see me writing about. Patti says I should title this poem, “One foot in the grave” Since I’ve had one in for 40 years. But today, while Alphabetizing my Books of poetry I came across Some books, Some signed and others not, By poets who’d once been close friends. And I found a couple By Don Wilsun A poet I knew In the 1960’s in Seattle. I Googled him Only to see that he was dead.
He died in 2003.
A few hours after I looked him up I remembered that I had Heard about him dying Long enough ago That I’d forgotten it. Thus can poets die, over and over again.
Did you know that Frank O’Hara was killed, at age 40, By being run over by a dune buggy on Fire Island in 1966? Me neither, But the Australian poet Bruce Beaver knew this as evidenced by his book Letters to Live Poets, (which just today I alphabetized) published in 1969.
I want to emphasize, Bruce knew this dune buggy thing, knew Bruce Beaver knew (past tense) because he died himself in 2004 Officially making his Letters to Live Poets into a book by, that’s right, a dead poet.
Beaver’s book is composed of letters written to O’Hara, who’d already been squished on Fire Island.
Where am I going with this?
Like every reader and every writer of every poem we’re all gonna die one day. and thus we’ve come full circle to poets dead and dying and already dead but still dying and just plain old Dead: Like Don Wilson, RIP And Frank O’Hara, RIP And even Bruce Beaver, RIP.
All of them...
...Ah hell, You know the rest, RIP, Robert.
Enlightenment & You
A second-person examination of finding all that’s left to find
You know and accept that enlightenment is an odd concept, a word filled with pretensions and all the risks therein.
Yet, late at night when you awaken and lie in your dark room thinking, “What is it I need to value now, as I age and as all the things I once valued so greatly have begun to lose their power over me?”
You should be asleep but this is yet another gift of growing older and eventually, if you’re lucky, old.
In the darkness, your eyes begin to adjust to the shadows of night, the darker moments unfolding from the darkness, ghosts maybe? a demon or two?
You wonder, “when does a ghost become a demon, and when is a shadow made of darker darkness just a shadow?”
Now, though, you wonder what more is there for you to accomplish? What more for you to do with the time you have left, however great or small that may be?
More sex? Greater wealth? Expansion of fame and your name as a brand? But none of that is it. That word “enlightenment” pops into your head, as if being whispered by a ghost or demon or a shadow, and you whisper to yourself there in the dark, “Sure, why not?”
Enlightenment: The final piece of the puzzle, being tucked into place. Or at least the search for that puzzle-piece and for where it goes to finish the picture of your life.
A short poem in love and honor of my wife Patti and her sister Donna (RIP)
Last night,around midnightPatti’s sister Donna died.Because of Donna’sDowns Syndrome,Patti,12 years older,had been Donna’sprotector, friend,champion,all Donna’s life.There are tears in this world for othersand tears in this world for ourselves.But some tears flowwith such ferociousnessthat they must be forsomething more.Tears in honor ofwhat will one day beeveryone’s fate.Tears for all of us.Tears, again, for all of us.
Facing Facts First
Change is a lot easier when you can face reality and truth
When I used to be a therapist, one of the things I learned quickly was that when clients were untruthful about what was going on in their lives, it doubled the amount of time required for me and the process to do them any good.
First, we had to overcome the lie, and only then, once we’d agreed upon reality, could we start in on the conduct that had landed the client in trouble with themselves or with others.
This was especially true with court-adjudicated offenders particularly sex offenders. When the guy sat there and denied responsibility via of a wide variety of ways, (excuses, explanations, blaming) including basic lies and being untruthful about conduct and facts and reality we already knew, nothing could happen until that denial changed.
When his statements were either delusions or simply untruthful attempts to avoid owning his bullshit, that had to be overcome first.
I recently read a story about a woman who had refused to get vaccinated for Covid-19, betting she could ride it out because she was “fit and healthy.”
Both she and her son ended up in intensive care and only barely survived.
The experience changed her attitude and beliefs completely. That change is the first big step towards getting herself straightened out. Regrettably, as she states clearly in her story, it’s taken her until almost beyond too late, the take that first step.
The sooner one faces facts and the truth acknowledging them for what they are, the sooner whatever life is ahead of you can start to be lived.
Too bad it takes nearly dying for some people to see the simple steps they could have taken to live.
Image by Terry J. Pratt, author with poet Robert Sund (RIP) circa 2001.