Such Savings!

“Did you know that you can save over a thousand dollars by making your own coffee instead of buying it at the coffee shop?” asked the self-help website dedicated to making sure that every man has a shot at the good life if only he is willing live frugally and forgo many pleasures and consider entering into a new asceticism that has the sheen of self-reliance but is actually warmed over common sense that still relies on the generosity of others. Also, you can save hundreds by cleaning lint out of your dryer. Thank you Internet, Sincerely.

Libraries in the Mind

As my grandmother lies dying, half a world away,
I search the Internet for what it is like to die,
For how to deal with grief, for wisdom from ancient Stoics.
I imagine I am in a dim and cloistered library, leafing through books,
on Virtues, cardinal and theological.

This has been coming, as it will for me too.
Go gently, without rage, and reap the blessings sewn in youth.
Blessings should be sewn past that too,
Even in those earthen depressions we trundle through.

I will miss you.

Yet Another Ten Haikus from the Mechanical Turk

I hate haiku, yeah.
It is very hard to write.
The sky is blue, yeah.

—–

The glorious Trump
Orange skin and hair so fair
Nothing can stump him

—–

Golden curled crown prince
Born into nobility
Competent leader

—–

Go duffy in here
Hit your dance left right, go girl
Go duffy on them

—–

I’m breathing the air
In and then out of my lungs
I must be alive

—–

E birthday today
Love his crazy butt so much
Happy birthday boy

—–

Flowers in a vase
Sitting atop the table
Bend towards the sun

—–

staring at a screen,
never engaged in working,
i am a worker

—–

Sitting in the park
My son plays in the hot sun
It will be snack time

—–

Maybe not today
Perhaps later, tomorrow
I will die slowly.

Eighty-One Days Ago

Eighty-One Days Ago your body was discovered
Laying down, without life.
Many rejoiced at your end;
Many smiled in secret;
And many more mourned.

Days later, in suits they stood,
And in rows, to watch your casket pass
Up marbled steps, to be laid
In Repose before your peers.

The time for mourning, though,
Was over shortly after your body was found.
In place of politic behavior,
Calculations, coldly made, immediately commenced.

Eighty-One Days Later, there is no resolution; and none
To be found for at least 81 more.
A respectful period of quiet reflection
Was not observed, but then, perhaps
You were better served by the cacophony.
(Perhaps not.)

On A Boat I Drift Idly

On a boat, I drift, idly
This way and that, backwards and
Forwards. The current bears me
where it will. I paddle rarely.

As the current bears me, so
can I bear it. Not aimlessly,
But also not purposefully.
That control which I have,
Is slight. A ripple here and there
Will invariable diffuse into nothing.
Don’t make waves; it is an impossibility.

Make the best of what you have.
Feeling powerful is overrated.
So to, though, is feeling powerless,
Despite it all.

All Fiction is Exploitative

I cannot write fiction, because I cannot in good conscience reduce a character to his traits. While waiting in line to purchase Biscoff cookies (Europe’s favorite cookie with coffee!) at a CVS Pharmacy, I watched an excited, likely homeless, black woman look at a stuffed bear that was on sale for Valentine’s Day, and exclaim how it was a million dollar bear, but was actually reasonable and fair, and not marked up as much as it could be. Her accent, diction, demeanor, and appearance fit exactly in with the stock ‘slightly-unhinged-vagrant’ archetype. A good writer of fiction would have no qualms about using her as a character.

But she should not be reduced to those traits. There is more there. But in writing, you can only describe so much, and what isn’t written does not exist. Whitman was large, contained multitudes; we all do. But we cannot grasp them. We exploit our traits, and others. We cannot help but exploit some while ignoring others. Life is fractional.

Short Declarations

Boredom. Apathy. Ennui. Whatever.
Throw back a bourbon. Throw back another.
Put on the music.
Solve a problem. Jive to the beat.
Get stuck. Squint your eyes.
Figure it out. Jive some more.
Play those drums in the air.
Bob your head. Back and forth. Side to side.
Hit your desk in rhythm to the beat.
You are there.
You are there.
You are there.
There you are.
There you go.
Sobriety returns.
Back.
Gone.

But on the Inside, It’s Very Different

1.

Incredible! Unbelievable! Really? Just Disgusting!
I can’t believe you would treat me like that!
Don’t you know who I am? You’re such an ass!
You’re nobody important; who do you think you are?
Forget it. I will take my business elsewhere.

I walk – no storm! (actually, I suppose, walk) – away,
Disgruntled, upset, and steaming with indignation.
How silly; I’m nobody important. But still!
Can you believe how he treated me? Fuck!

2.

Really? OK, Whatever.

I walk away.
I go on with my day.
I’m somebody important.

Proustian Anamnesis

When I was walking into the office this morning, I caught a whiff of some vanilla and coffee from the outdoor coffee shop, and I was transported back to my freshman year of college, on a cold rainy day when I had no classes, and sat in our apartment in the dark woods, stirring Maxwell House International Café French Vanilla powder into hot microwaved water, and watching a TCM marathon of Aubrey Hepburn movies on a twenty-seven-inch CRT television.

Later, buying lunch at the grocery store, I saw a box of Lemonheads candy on sale for twenty-five cents. I bought it, ate one, and suddenly I was eleven years old, visiting my father’s office, with the scent of singed circuit boards and solder hanging in the air just outside the lab. Innocence lost, and now and then, fleetingly visible.