Flower Poems

It is so hard to write about flowers nowadays. Wild weeds. Feral medicine crowding creeks or bark off cedar tree heads. There is a dead duck on the lake shore line. Could lift that as an analogy just fine. Wind bent dead branches clean over. And rotten leaves in stagnate water.

But I don’t want to write poems about them. I want to write about the sanguine tangerine colored sunset that was just eaten by the great lake Ontario. I want to put down sentences uplifting the truly inspirational people I’ve met over the past few months. I want to search my memory for words to describe the color of their eyes. But it’s getting harder.

I keep pausing movies to ask who thinks the lead will be in the headlines soon. I keep looking sideways at people in public, trying to see their eyes move when they think mine aren’t. I keep getting into arguments with incredibly decent people. Defending indecency.

I’d rather write about how green the grass stays up north even in early winter. How many times I’ve been outside shivering. Yet these naked little no more than leaves live out here all year round and do not freeze. Do not die. But thrive. Grow bumpy pale yellow stumps if you let them go tall enough.

I had New York beneath my fingernails this afternoon.
Burying orchid bulbs in black mud.
I had the sun. Held it in my mind just behind my eyes as they chewed up and swallowed slices of orange. There are little white ones with white petals fluttered like eyelashes in the lawn. There are lavender exclamation marks and yellow o’s candy striped green and a little bit of rust color on everything.

I don’t want to write about the nuclear bomb.
I don’t want to write about if it is or isn’t okay
to make adult decisions with children.

No decent man or woman wants that discussion.
You drive down the road.
No one decorates destruction in their yard.
They plant flowers.
Even the worst of us prefers flowers.
And I want years and years worth of flower poems.
And all my favorite poets.
Busy planting orchids.

Keep no living heroes.

That is my advice in response to the sudden wave of awareness about the disparagement between sexes. You will find no easy data here. No clear answer. Just when you come up close to thinking it is all of them, you will be surprised. That is the way it is with humans. These are human issues. Within the procreation and sustained development of Man,
the existence of both women and men is required.

Are we surprised at the symptoms of patriarchy?

We took it on without any scientific exploration. We just keep pushing forward forms invented solely by men. More specifically, predominantly white men. We’ve updated our colored pencil collection. But it’s still their black and white drawings we’re filling in. And it’s producing boys who treat the world like toys. To so much surprise. If these are the celebrity stories spilling out, just now, after years, imagine the backcountry congregations and small hometowns and gated neighborhoods full of nobodies exposing themselves without permission, taking liberties with children, even members of their own families. I have heard the stories. Just about every single one of the females in my life has multiple stories that ball my fist, and make me wonder how anyone let these men say and do these things and live.
That’s the typical want to be a good guy response. More violence.
On top of our problem. With violence.

I’m angry. But not surprised. I’ve been a man my entire life. I played soccer in high school, I was in a fraternity in college. Anyone who defends or seeks to lessen an impact of, or response to, any of these forms of sexual violence, is apologizing for their self, their friends, their younger years, their peers, a son who got caught, the many more who were not, ever. Out there in the world leg crossed on the couch. Kids springing throughout the house. A spouse. And when he says a drawn out well, or begins a sentence with but, he is forgiving his own actions. He is doing what he has always done. Since that night. That afternoon. That morning when no one was around, and an implication did the work of social demonstration and time. And the thought that flashed through his mind. If not now, when? Maybe never get this chance again. He didn’t even wake back up into himself until after the flowery flutter of his orgasm had passed. He goes back to the path he was on. Doing what men do best. Committed to lives of distraction. Things work out. The universe doesn’t crash down karmic revenge on his head. In fact, now that he’s committed this act, he is open to an entire social circle of other men who have done the same thing. Who apologize for one another as often as they can, in the company they keep, with the policies they change, their plans.

I never thought I’d say this, but I’m very fortunate to suffer from a massive overabundance of trust issues. A highly anxietized form of bold curiosity. Too much imagination for my own good, essentially. And when these boys told me their stories of playing with all these toys, sometimes until they broke, I listened. And I kept thinking how a well placed pocket knife would have taken them out of the gene pool for good. I am angry. So I think stupid things like how women should work blades and small weapons into their boots and stockings. When I know they should never have to. But these boys will never change. You can not wait on them to become men. It will not happen. They would have to go back to that night, or whenever, whatever it was, and make it right. And they won’t do that.

Another symptom of having only half a species invent, establish and organize society
without equally consulting the other half. They forget they are only half.
Half the species. Half the experience. Half of their crime.

I say keep no living heroes for that exact reason. Heroes are only half. The other part of a story like that, is struggle, loss, war, monsters and devastation and suffering are what call heroes out of hiding. Patriarchy is hero government. Their power is defined by destruction, not by a pursuit of peace. Of ease. Of simplicity. No heroes required. The self fulfilling prophesy of one half believing it’s the savior of the other half. When there are no more clear villains, that is what the living hero will become. He won’t be able to give up his cape.

He’ll be obsessive about instances of imitated control.
He will consider his strength indicative of dominance.
He will let the people he loves come to harm so that he can don his cape and save them.
He will construct a government for all people thinking most about what his sons will do for a living.
He will apologize for criminal actions because he is internally crippled by the guilt of what he got away with.
God will look like him.
Messiahs and saviors and saints will be erected in his image.
Cities will function as monuments to fallacy.

He will do most of this subconsciously. And bringing it to awareness will assuredly bring out the villain in him. And he will fight a war against the world, before he breaks down and confronts his own memory. I have no patience or forgiveness for heroes like him.

I learned to keep no living hero. All mine died a long time ago. Their stories are known.
Told by the only honest author in existence. Time. Try not to take it personally.
We’re just a far more trustworthy species once we’re done navigating life.

Hard Medicine

You do not apply a tourniquet to kill the limb. But to stop it from bleeding. We have lots of hard medicine like this. Never ending analogies for when we restrict a thing temporarily in order to help, or heal, or understand it. So I am confused how so many of us are convinced we have to be for or against. Everything. All the time.

You can support gun ownership, the second amendment, you can support high volume magazines and rapid fire semi-automatics, and still admit there is a problem. When someone suggests increased legislation, you are allowed to nod along and understand. Because it is understandable. You can absolutely love something, someone, and still hand them bitter medicine every now and again, because you know it’s good for them. No one likes the taste of these words. This conversation.
And the silver lining is, we aren’t supposed to.

You love the limb. I know how much you treasure this hand.
But when it’s bleeding, don’t blame the doctor who brings out a tourniquet.

Once the bleeding has stopped, and we go a year or two, maybe a few, without that arm being involved in a violent mass murder, you will find an incredibly accessible, appropriately positioned platform to defend your right bear it.

But for now, you have to understand this is medicine.
I know you hate the idea of it, of maybe losing your hand.
But it is time to stop shaking your head.

I’ll go so far as to say, if you would argue against anyone who suggests restricting access to the destructive instruments involved in every single one of these incidents, I don’t know where you and I go from here. You can support gun ownership, the second amendment, anything you like, really.

But suggesting restrictions for murder tools is a natural, normal, expected
and anticipated response to this sort of violence. Arguing against that response,
because an industry has made you believe you have to be either for or against
some set of tools you really like, is emblematic of a deeper character flaw.

I get defending your right to own a weapon.
I do not get defending it in the face of loss.

The arms you do have the right to bear are clearly bleeding.

I don’t hate your guns.

But I’ll be damned if I watch this country
bleed to death because of them.

What did Trent say? #oldjournals

I used to make myself write about headlines.
As if my perspective would be sought after some future day.
That some roguing scholar might say,
what all did Trent write on the bailout,
on this election, our first not full white president,
on Libya, Syria, Benghazi, the Mayan prediction,
the Iphone evolution, the social media revolution.

Well, I used to, but then,
I was writing to be the author I desired to be,
and not the one I am.