LIFE IS

Life is not

The acquisition of money, material possessions

Life is

The pursuit of a passion

A life’s dream, a contribution to society

In youth, it is the pursuit of a job

A career, a profession, a calling

In adulthood, it is the maintenance of a lifestyle

In maturity, you realize that life is a pastime

And along the way, it can be

The accumulation of experiences you will be happy to remember

But, in truth, life is

The formation of the kind of person you want to be,

Learning who that is

To be and become who that is

By means of and through and despite

What life will bring your way

To be and become who that is

By whatever powers or Power you know

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DOCTRINE AND LIFE

It seems to me that intellectual assent to

Some doctrinal formula

Won’t cut it

If you stay the same person

Or rebirth isn’t new birth at all

And repentance is but a Biblical, Latinate word

Some say faith will do it, alone

Some say without works, faith is dead

If I stay the same, the same nature, natural man, I’m dead

I shudder, chagrin at where I’ve been

And in the development I know hope blossoms

Planted in this fallen, fallible flesh, this clod of clay

Torment, foment, and a breath of inspiration

Bringing life,–they say I’m living better

If living matters amid faith alone

All I can say, can see, is I’m less restless, fractious, caustic, cynic

I know life is better for me, some serenity

I don’t know if it’s the Spirit moving over the faces of the deep

If it’s rebirth,

Or even if new life matters amid intellectual assent to

Some doctrinal formula

I know what I am, and what I am agrees with me

And I agree, assent, with the life coming at me

Aging

I am aging

But I don’t feel like it

I’m as full of life as I was at 20

But young people remind me of my age

When they have no interest in what I have to say

My body reminds me of my age

When it gets stiff, strains, twists, sprains

Days get better

I am happier, more content

Bothered by less

More pleasant

With age

Aging is a good thing

True, death is nearer

I don’t fear it

I’ve had a good run

Given life my best shot

I expect to be here a while yet

Aging is a good thing

Life is a good thing

Saint Lucia (An Epic)

I am posting a poem called “Saint Lucia (An Epic)” over a few days.  It is a long poem in 5 parts.  I am posting one part per day.  Yesterday I posted part I.  Today I post part II.  My girlfriend said that passages in part II sound racist.  My intention is social criticism, not racism and I hope that readers will understand my intention.

II

Arrival: The Resort

Beyond words, beyond generous

Our luxurious resort home for a week

Riding through impoverished exclusively Afric locals

We few white riding into opulence

Did I detect resentment in our driver’s responses to our questions?

 

Morning coffee overlooking the ocean

Reflecting about self, self-esteem, why we are who we are

What we want, what we wish for out of life

 

Last night I saw the Southern Cross for the first time

My camera can’t photograph it

It belongs to the sky—the dark, night sky

 

Breakfast and the pool for a while and some Wallace Stevens

A Hobie-Cat, a snack, and some Wallace Stevens

The pride of the atheist and texts of atheism

Smart words

 

We few white

Pleasant indolence, calm, tranquil

And some Earl Klugh

And there is no time but the clocks and the calendars mark it

What day is it today?

Is it Tuesday?

And enjoying Joe Zawinul

The easy pace-in everything-leads me to wonder if my life in the city is too frenetic

Life Winding Here

The life I’ve led is winding

I have made plans

I have made choices

And the life I’ve led winded here

I can look back

And wonder at the path I’ve taken

The path that took me

Happy with that path in retrospect

The life that winded here

To this pleasant place

Now I am here

Now I am happy

Happy with it all

The path, the past, the present

 

I have choked and spat out

Unhappy options I had little choice but accept

And endure time

But winding to this place

This pleasant place

Here, now

The good path that winded here

Now

 

Yet here faith and mistrust oscillate

This place so contingent

This pleasantness

So easily brought to ruin, potentially

And the future a guess at best

Not even

There is yet faith, growing faith

Trusting that it’s all going to be all right

 

Thinking back

On a life lived long and well

In expectation of life yet to come

Probably long life

As life now

As life was

Will be

To wind to another tomorrow

A Life

There was me

Me getting by

And that’s about it

Just getting by

 

Then there was life

And that life was you

Is you

 

Life now

Living now

Loving now

Loving life

Loving you

 

Even alone, you are in my life

Even in pain, want, struggle

Your pain, want, struggle

My pain, want, struggle

I live, have life

Have a life

Have you

 

In success, accomplishment, happiness

Yours or mine, yours in mine, mine in yours

I live redoubled

Love redoubled

Love life

Love living

Love you

Life Is

“You’re going to have a hard life,”

My boss told me, in my 20’s

I’ve had dreams crushed, my heart broken

But who hasn’t

I’ve lived impoverished a long time

I didn’t feel it as a Harvard student

When I got my Ph.D.

I was worse than impoverished, deeply in debt

And I felt it

I’ll likely never get out of debt

I wrote and published a book

When I was poor

I lowered myself to begging a few times

Was relegated to the back seat of a lot of cars others owned

All the while I played and wrote music, poetry, lyrics

 

Some people live a comfortable life

To them, a good life

But shit happens, even to them

Some people are rich and complacent

Some people are very rich and dedicated to acquisition

I have known a few years of comfortable middle-class

And bought expensive art prints

A piano, an amp, guitar

A couple crystalline rocks

I travel places with my partner

 

My life has been hard at times

And I have known accomplishment, and contentment, and bitterness

I have no regrets

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