MY BLITHE SPIRIT (redux)

O, to be blithe

Hail to me, my blithe spirit

Blitherie is not whither my spirit listeth

To be blithe, I need to release much

To fly away some glad morning

Release more than just a few weary days

–More than the consequences that drove my ambition–

—-The momentous, heavy pressure, guilt, blame,

—-Blame my early family conspired to see was my guilt,

—-Echoing through a severe religious system:

—-“Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect”

—-Did anxiously strive to live such impossible words, yet the same, kind Master’s words

—-“My yoke is easy and my burden light,”

—-I never heard.  I can never be the perfect god I try to be, nor ever the perfect child

—-I try to be who will be approved by my father

—-No.  Not while I carry the guilt of my family’s sins, born upon the person

—-I am

—-Denied.  Denied confession, satisfaction, and absolution

—-Echoes through this self, denied, self-denial.

—-Enflaming ambition, the hunger, nay, to crave

—-Blessing.  In a degree, from a book publisher, record producer, an arena’s applause

–And now this dalliance with being blithe; hail to me, my blithe spirit–    

With spirits I’ve attracted in my Kirlian aura, karma

It would be a sort of religious conversion

To be a new version of the self I’ve been and become

Plato once told me that an unexamined life will never be blithe

I came up in conversation out at the pub, I heard later

I, back in the solitude of my hotel room

“Dave’s probably working on his book while we’re out here”

In fact, I was carried away deep in Beethoven’s Mass in C

Kyrie eleison.  Donna nobis pacem: have mercy; give peace—and I, a pastor

Which is what I mean about blithe

There are no trines in my astrological chart

All my planets are in the first house and everything

I do or that happens to me comes with a momentous upheaval

And I must be momentous, I guess, and not blithe

I think I could be blithe if I wanted

If I only wanted to be blithe, to let go, could let go of it all, wanted to let go of it all

Or ought to let go of it all and be blithe

EINSTEIN, THE IKON (A Spenserian Sonnet)

Einstein’s face: the universal ikon

The single signifier signing brilliance

We know how Einstein looks, but not Newton

Who has Bach or Swedenborg’s appearance

And all are equal in intelligence

But it is Einstein’s face we see as genius

Leibnitz or Descartes don’t stand a chance

For smarts, it’s only Einstein’s face for us

His smile, mustache, and wild hair all a fuss

MY BLITHE SPIRIT

O, to be blithe

Hail to me, my blithe spirit

Blitherie is not whither my spirit listeth

To be blithe, I need to release much

To fly away some glad morning

Release more than just a few weary days

More than the consequences that drove my ambition

The spirits I’ve attracted to my Kirlian aura

It would be a sort or religious conversion

To be a new version of the self I’ve been and become

Some of my team told me I came up in conversation out at the pub

I was back in the solitude of my hotel room

“Dave’s probably working on his book while we’re out here”

In fact, I was deep in Beethoven’s Mass in C

Which is what I mean about blithe

There are no trines in my astrological chart

All my planets are in the first house and everything

I do or that happens to me comes with a momentous upheaval

Like a religious conversion and not like the zephyr of a blithe spirit

I think I could be blithe if I wanted

If I only wanted to be blithe, to let go

And even this poem itself isn’t blithe

EXPECTATIONS

A whole community of us; a whole culture

A drop-in center, network, support groups, community clinic

Psychiatric symptoms so severe; we understand one another

We all knew each other when I was there

Yet, since we aren’t raving, regular people who see us expect

We function as if our symptoms are not severe

Who don’t understand us as we do one another

Grudge against government hand-outs

Which I barely function well enough

To be denied

Barely function

Function well enough

Just well enough

To be shamed by my co-workers’ expectations

That I function better

As if I didn’t have an illness

Not understand

That it is my best and I do have an illness

And so the whole community of us who understand

One another, our culture, our community, our symptoms

“You have an illness;” she said, “You shouldn’t be working.”

HEMINGWAY’S POETRY

And Hemingway tried his hand at writing

Poetry

And it never went anywhere

And everyone knows of Hemingway’s

Stories

And Gertrude Stein said that they were

And that he must not write stories that are

Inaccrochable

And Hemingway’s mother never liked his work

And they couldn’t read his stories in her

Reading group

And Hemingway wrote in a letter that he wanted her support

And for Christmas Hemingway’s mother sent him

A gun

And Hemingway’s father had committed suicide with

The gun

And Hemingway’s mother thought he would want it

And Hemingway unlocked the cabinet and used his own

Shotgun

And ended his illustrious literary career by his own hand

And had undergone electroshock treatments at the Mayo Clinic for

Depression

ABOUT

And what about content?—As when we talk

To each other and don’t deconstruct our meaning

We talk about things to each other

And don’t use artistic language

About

Time was words were about.  I’m not so sure

Poetry is invested in about

About anything

I certainly have other interests

Than only words in themselves

As when I talk to others and don’t use

Artistic words

I try to use the best words to

Express meaning

And when I do it well, there is no explaining

Come to think, I guess I’m done

Writing words about words anymore

I certainly have other interests

Like writing

About

REGRET: ONE MAN’S EPIC OF PAST FRIENDSHIP

“I like your hermeneutics,” he exclaimed, that night in the Newton pub

Which was a Harvard word where we met and became friends

He meant my interpretation of Cindy Lauper’s, “Time after Time,” as we watched the video

I think of that night, even now, 37years later, when I hear the song

We were, maybe, too old to be playing at those grad-school hijinks we laugh about

Good times I now recollect with sadness, recast  

Each of our Ph.D. studies beset us with distance: he stayed and I went south

And I took the Amtrak up to Boston from Charlottesville carrying my guitar

To play and sing at his wedding and I did a Bible reading

I understood, when he explained another friend—a longer best friend—would stand as best man

Time passed on; he put me up at the Harvard Club where he was a member

When I needed to do research for my dissertation at the Houghton Library

He, the kind of friend who cared, anxiously

Made earnest inquiries out of his field with his psychiatric professional friends

While I noticed others’ indifference or the sneers, fear, outright laughter and some avoided me

He made the precipitous phone call that saved me, deep in the psychosis that broke my mind,

And got me into the psychiatric hospital and he phoned me in there every day

So it’s not so easy

I saw his car in my apartment parking lot out my window

That week I wrote 100+ pages for my doctoral exam

Writing and editing all day and deep into the night

I couldn’t break my concentration to visit with him

And he knew to go to my favorite bar to ask about me

This my heavy tome culminated on the day he drove down from Boston

To sit in on my open dissertation defense in The Rotunda and he posed a question

We now laugh at the professor’s quip, “Who is this guy?”

He waited with me outside the interview room while the committee weighed my oral defense

And the same professor borrowed his pen to formally sign off on my successful dissertation

He presented me his pen, formally, in my favorite bar as his family celebrated with me

Which makes it hard to write him off

And hard to believe he would cross the line

Recently, during international travel, my Permanent Resident Card expired

–An oversight of mine that became strangely serious–

Stranding me in Florida, necessitating reems of paperwork,

–And, of course, an international lawyer–

Which he recognized I would need and found one for me and got me home

And came down to Florida at the time to keep me company a few days

His substance issues got him there in a mess, off the bus

And I helped clean him up so we could hit the town,

And, of an occasion, to pursue gentlemanly discourse at a favorite, posh cigar lounge

Which causes me to re-think the line he crossed

But certain things aren’t funny, even for us

No, not even for us

What’s Going On?!

I’m sure everybody by now knows that WordPress changed its format, at least it did for me. I had difficulty formatting the new poem I wanted to post, so I thought I’d better experiment with the new WordPress program. This post is a test. I apologize for sending this to the email boxes of those of you following me.

BELIEF, KNOWLEDGE, CON

Belief

In much of my faith’s religion

Knowledge

The fact that belief is not fact

Evidence

Foundation for fact, confirmation, confidence

Credence

Credo, personal consent, passionate, dearly held, deeply felt belief

Concrete

Facts the which personal consent plays no part

Con

Fabrication of alternative facts

Confusion

Belief for knowledge alternative credence

Conflict

Fact, faction, fractious, fracture

Connection

Faith, fact, fidelity, solidarity, community