An Arguable Truth

The Monopolization of Need

It takes the greatest power to give up power. It is the rarest trait witnessed in Mankind. There are those in the world in the grip of lesser power who scoff at the idea that anyone would give it up, they laugh and they deny the existence of those who would refuse to drink from their rim-stained cup. They hate their lives, which they’ve turned into never ending seeks and never ending hides, and their new friends are always their best friends until they find new friends and it never ends that they always end. Haven’t called their mothers in months. But will sit on a barstool and sob to strangers such strange confessions that no one knows what they are listening to, crimes or allegations. 

It is a well-funded, well-dressed, and quite sober seeming lie, nonetheless, money alone has never made anybody happy. Look at the lives of celebrities. Look at the lies of politicians. They hate their lives. Their words will deny, but look in their eyes, it is the terror of someone who has claimed their neighbor and called them their slave. There are conversations that happen in safe rooms where rich people say things that would bring a protest down on their ten acre lawn. We’ll forego the American letter-writing version, and go straight to la révolution française. They will never make it right because that requires confession and repentance. They will desire to quietly have things change and never admit their level of complicity in deciding large factions of us will live in perpetual poverty so that the few of them won’t have to look at their choices on their morning commute.

Fear has no muscle except grip. That’s why it’s easy to let it steer the ship. But it won’t let go when time comes. When that wind and ocean turns and that rudder doesn’t, there is no ship under fear’s control that can stand an instant against it.

They will not give it up. They have the government. But the people have the power. And no one wants to share what is only ours. When slaveowners had their say in the shape of our economy, they left their mark, to say the least. They ultra-defined the top and middle classes, but left the bottom dark and murky. There is no profit, not anything like we see today, without some form of slavery, without someone’s labor going unpaid. By people who can not feed their families or their selves without the work. Who have no free, accessible environment to survive in, only an economy, a few dollars buys something like dinner, two hundred pays the water’s bill. May not get to the rent this month.

I’m not being deep, or philosophical, or idealistic when I state, slavery. Our modern economy is a form of human trafficking. Because of the lack of any option to survive otherwise. If you want to live a full happy human life, outside of your government’s economy, where does that happen? On the land you’re taxed just for having? In a State or National Park where the wildlife has more rights than humans.

Freedom means living freely with no cost other than the effort required to access the resources required to sustain productive, fulfilling life. Food, water, shelter, hopefully from sources that naturally, or with a little assistance, replenish. If that option does not exist, then this is not freedom.

I can’t say it any more plainly. By definition, if the resources required for life (we die without them) cost money and are not available from any other naturally reoccurring source, then we are not free.

This is not a monopoly of a product. The crime I described here is the monopolization of the need.

Fear and Pride as Strengths

Plants will hold up cups above their heads to catch bees in but bury their roots beneath the soil so that half the rain runs off before it soaks in. Trees will grow up tall and huge and heavy and spread out thick green sails from their oaken masts and dare the wind the topple them: perhaps they push the continent, perhaps it is why we still sail across the Atlantic, why California continues to be nibbled by the Pacific. If a human were a tree it would grow wide and flat close to the earth where no wind could tickle it. If a human were a plant, they’d put their bright colors beneath the ground in fear for anyone finding them. Lift their roots up to the elements so they can feed freely and never learn why their seeds bear no germ.

The Spotlight

The spotlight is not on. The switch has been flipped and it turned on.
But it clicked off before it was hot, and now it is not. Someone please
turn the spotlight back on. The tricks and switch-flips that turn things on.
Theater. A play. The one kind adults can do respectfully.
Sit in a seat and stare at a stage and give eyes a feast
of only the things that eyes like to eat. The tongue is the eyes,
the teeth are the ears, slurp down every sight,
chew up every word you hear.

There’s a dance in how an actor walks
and a song in how they talk
and if an actor knows their place
they’ll look the audience in the face
they’ll pull them up on stage
they’ll give them up their rage
and clone their tears in you.

That’s the only way you’ll smile later.
For the joy that is tied to sacrifice, some happiness conceives in pain.
The baby born is gut-busting laughter, oh wait, it’s twins, we’re in stitches.

The switches flip on and this time they stay. Two actors eyes locked backstage
tighter than a lock. More like a chestnut. No key quite like a hard object.
They crush it. And uphold buried treasure in the palms of their hands
before frozen styrofoam mannequin face-spaces on the fronts of hollow heads.
Fill them up with likenesses of whatever frightens them
and reminding them of events hard to live through
but delightful to behold through the refracted lens
of other people’s problems.
It helps to spotlight the drama.
We cork and ferment our trauma.
That is why it is opening night.

And after all these years, I find the theater
a place I can play with my pain
and raise a toast to all my fears.

Notes of the Daydreamer

Oh me, Oh my. No exclamation will meet the mark.
Give up a pen that shouts. Sparks fly and flint flakes
and fire sighs sight and reveals strong citations.

Textual evidence of a higher power
keep my eyes on my naval
and off thy sight.

Education. Psyche. Eros. High school.
Kids. Jokes. Festered into identities. Titties.
Boys obsessed with misremembered memories.

I am going to treat you like you are intelligent
until your behavior shows otherwise.
Offer language supports. This is asinine.

Sanctimonious. Cynical and negative.
Turning my camera off to take a drink.
Passing. Barely. This class. Life.

The ones where I’m the student.
And the ones I have to teach.

Red Oak Tree

Cut a foot into a century tree and find a maggot who beat me there.
Like a shook soda, black ants pour a fountain out of another cut.
Cut the whole tree down and a twig of a limb throws off my chain.
It’s not a dogwood, but the bark has a bite. We’re both bleeding from the wrists.
I knew the risks. The tree, I’m not so sure. A white oak cherry poplar surprise.
Sourwood, sweetgum, sassafras, sick of more. Maple a muscle. Cedar I’m sore.

I burned gas, and dripped oil, and filed down metal teeth to see where that insect was.
I murdered many burglars when I tore down the house we were robbing.
And I saved a tree by killing it. Given it an eternal death in preservation
its hundred year form could not afford. I went to school with a beetle
in its larval stage and we each learned how to lap our tongues clean
through the limber heart of timber.

The infant who wrote a dissertation in his crib. I cut mine to inch and quarter floorboards.
For a house that will outlive me. But me and my classmates, we’ll forever be the only ones
who knew the sound it made when a hundred years of red oak tree smacked the ground
and made it shake.

Someone else’s grapes

Off to dig a hole deep and wide
enough to bury three and a half foot of railroad tie
and hang warped, ripped, busted cattle-fence against
to trellis unpurchased infant grape vines

not a branch, a pole, a shovelful is mine
not even seconds bloomed minutes wilted leaves hours

at work toward a harvest I will never taste is like grace
building trellises for someone else’s grapes.

Singletary Lake

Sand flats and scrub oaks and Spanish moss you pinch because
it is so real it looks fake. As the pictures you take.
The sunset through trees. Not out over open breeze.
Loblolly candelabras coned allover tips ablaze in the AM sun.
The trees stand on singed feet and wherever you are going
there are signs of omens
where fire has been
where water is.

White Hot Home

Hot pink. Cold blue. Lukewarm brown. Tepid canary.
Vacation-ocean turquoise. Pine taupe. Cedar flesh.
Red oak rose. The green that shows in paint but never nature.
I don’t know the nomenclature. But I know what you mean
when you say poop brown. City-gray. Brick orange.
Charcoal roads that lead the way to white hot home.

Honey Please

Whether means a choice between alternatives. Weather does too. Wether does not, because a wether is a ram with his alternatives removed. You’ve got heather light as feathers forever. And then never. Never lands right where it is spoken, and creates a sort of token so that others can revisit and trade their famous catchphrase, ‘I told you so’. Say never never, or never say never, I can never remember, directions to Denver. I’ve never been. On an endeavor west of east. Homebody with the last name Homesley. I figure. It was meant to be. I was mean to bees. They gave it right back, and I took it wrong and ran headlong leaving off the clothes I had on in a funny looking trail behind me. Ground bees. Into a fine powder. Honey please, come back after an hour. Omniscience hopped an Omnibus and read an omnibus of her favorite books, and wrote a line in the margin of one, it read, do I know how it feels to forget? Can’t know everything, can we? Lost is forgot becomes forgotten. Cost is your loss becomes a profit. You’re not a prophet for reading road signs. Those guys are sweating in assembly lines stamping out printed signs, and they read the writing on the wall of the breakroom with precise, six forty-five aim. Quitting time. Oops, hit the wrong letter. Quilting time. Everybody go to your haystack, find your needle, and thread it. If I was a betting man, I’d say a bedding man could bring his work home with him every night and no one would mind. But when the betting man tries the same, let’s just say, the horse isn’t the one who loses the race.

Clear cold now

On a clear cold now, with a coat of snow on the shimmering hillsides, the train in town sounds like a truck coming up the road. The moon is bright and round buried behind clouds. But a minute ago it was naked in the woods. Shivering in the snow. Like daylight on a different world, ghastly, ghostly, opaque. Like the moon glimpsed its reflection in the snowshine for the first time and realized it wasn’t beautiful the way it thought it was. But pale, a sickly light no good can come by. A gossipy glow whispering what’s going on in town. The train is. Hear. 

Eyes go through windows easier than rocks do. Vision. A cold trickle of steady err. For the eyes are blind to cold. Skin sees cold a mile away. But a clear cold window hoods the body’s hood and skin is blinded by wood stoves. 

There are more coyotes in a farmer’s imagination than were ever born in the world. Tonight they circle these woods injured in yipping droves. The instinct to play prey. Mm. Compliments to the chef of camouflage. God overblesses a worthy enemy. 

Moonlight is like the water that escapes the body with the blood. It’s the thick semi-translucent plasma that gets called empty space even though it’s heavy and sticky and gelatinous. Moonlight is a ridiculous phrase for the very same sunlight bouncing off a nearby rock that is very likely actually a broken off part of earth. Taking two hundred words to describe how it looks bouncing off snow that is actually regular old rain it just happens to be cold. The way moonlight is in existence, but you can still look through it, ignore it, like it isn’t. 

Moonlight is the color of memory. 
Staring through a window at three am. 
It just occurred to me.