Sunday, February 22, 2009

Telling Tales

To execute a real attack,
It must be hidden
Outnumbered and o’ershadowed by
Countless lies, fakes, teasing shadows
And facsimiles

Cast out playfully as
Lures and distractions
To bait, and draw you in

All the while knowing
In myself
Absolutely which is which:
The decoy and the true


Often I find I only fool myself
Finishing impaled upon your point
As you recognize my perjury for what it is
A feint—an unconvincing one at that

Give me second chance to spin this tale again
Look…over there!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Changing Shape

Over time
My rough edges have worn off
My angles rounded
Sharp corners, knocked against the world for fifty years,
Have softened and conformed

Like a limpet
Settled for all time in one specific place
Where my infant drift chanced to descend
My rocky home has molded to my shape
Cradling, constraining
Holding me in place
Settled and secure

This late developmental spurt
Has buggered that
As D’Arcy Thompson pointed out
The chance of growth proceeding
Uniform and constant over time
Is vanishingly small

My whole configuration shifts
Veering off in new directions
Altering proportions
Spiraling where once my linearity progressed
In clear and measured pace

Small wonder, then
That nothing seems to fit
Not people, places, livelihood or habits
My tailored niche
Uncomfortably tight

At this late stage of life
Can I regress,
Recapitulate an early state
Release my limpet grip
And float?
I know it's my own effort
Clutching at the earth
That holds me down

This is what I've read:
With any relaxation—tense the muscle ‘til it hurts,
Breath into resistence
And release…

Monday, February 9, 2009

Beyond Words

The smooth, elastic, living feel of dough
That signals it has been sufficiently massaged
And wants to rest and rise
The proper thump of nail against a finished loaf
The judgment that, no matter what instructions say,
These cookies need a half-cup more of flour,
A pinch more spice

I can’t explain these things in words
I know them as impressions gleaned from scent, touch, sound
I can only show you, time and time again
And hope you catch the subtle cues
That constellate this art

I know the same is true for you:
I push you to explain
“Good moment for attack”
How my intuition will discern the proper action
What it means to “trust my body”
The need to collapse the distance on defense
And when to feint

You can no more transplant
An understanding of my adversary’s mind
Than I can parse the smell that signals when the cake is done
You can only drill me, time and time again
And hope I catch the subtle cues
That constellate this art

A lifetime's not enough for mastery of one domain--of course I try for both!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Wisdom of Liars

Thoreau, de Beauvoir, Rajneesh, Castenada

Henry lived a dedicated life
Inspired thousands, millions, even
Bright-eyed, dewy idealists
Shed the world for cabins in the wood
At his example,
Seeking in themselves for self-reliance.
How much does it matter, then
That his prose conveniently omits
The weekly trek to mother’s house
For food and laundry?
Men’s independence ever rests
On women’s work

And women’s independence!
Rebellion from the social drudgery
Traditional provision of food, shelter and succor
Simone the pennon held aloft
To lead the charge.
To those who held her “mannish” she replied
“no, just a person.” Yow.
So, how much does it count
That Sartre trampled her affection
Dignity and pride
Left her bruised and battered in the dirt.
Her principles were sound
If not their application

This being so
Why should I dismiss the words of
Spiritual sages
Dragging feet of clay?
Or in the Bagwhan’s case
Ferried in a fleet of eighty Rolls
Symbols of his so-unworldly life.

And Carlos, what of to make of him?
Those pesky call slips
Giving him the lie
Dreaming in the stacks when
His thesis puts him in
Don Juan’s fierce tutelage.

Maybe earnest liars
Are God’s fools
Deceiving their disciples, and the world
While accidentally touching
Some great truth
Despite themselves

It’s worth considering
Buddha had it right: the lotus grows from mud