Friday, September 29, 2017

Grinning Like Fools

—Poems by David Wright, Sacramento, CA
—Anonymous Photos


I've always had to question everything.
(But still, there is free-will, and a tree is a tree.)
As a kid, a little shit I suppose, I'd say
"You can't prove it" to anyone about anything.
In the ring I always relied on my straight-right.
In arguments it was
"You can't prove it."
Time changes things, and with a
Spinal disc that likes to pinch a nerve
On my right side
I can no longer rely much on any straight-right.
(But a fighter will find a way)
"You can't prove it" though, endures.

But none of this is poetry, you say,
Pointing to the above stanza.
Where's appeal to senses?
Too much "telling" not "showing."
No meter, no required elements.
And what tie binds this stanza to that one?
Whitman proclaimed that poetry defies definition.
And when his little girl asked Bukowski, "What is poetry?"
He answered,
"Nobody knows."


When Nietzsche learned that young men were using his
Zarathustra as a substitute Bible, a curious case of
Sublimation, he offhandedly dismissed them.
Playing Adam, he named them, "Zarathustra's Apes".
Hell, Nietzsche never wanted
Even the Zarathustra of his book says that
Followers would be those who don't comprehend him.

How merciful for Nietzsche,
Eternal Recurrence has him
Always dying again in 1900.

If he had lived long enough to witness the
Death of Mind and Spirit, how could he withstand it?
The death of God,
An immense event,
Destroyer of galaxies and moral order was his
Great challenge.
He met them by exalting Mind and Spirit.
Just as man had almost washed away the blood of
God's murder, he commits new unspeakable crimes.
And don't you feel the drag of guilt everywhere?
I hear it in the songs of birds in my suburban backyard.

And everywhere I go, the stench of
Rotting Mind and Spirit.
To sing us on our way they gave us
TV commercial jingles.
Mr. Clean, Mr. Clean....

Could a better character be found than
Sheldon Cooper ("The Big Bang Theory")
Of an empty shell, in terms of "Spirit"
In Nietzsche's sense?
And do you know that Eric Kaplan, a
Producer on the show, is a so-called
Nietzsche scholar?
After reading Nietzsche he props up
Sheldon Cooper as an example of intelligence?
What will Mr. Kaplan propose next, that
Laurence Welk played Nietzsche's kind of music?

We Americans have forgotten what intelligence is.
And Spirit?  In a literary romantic sense?
We never got near the summit.

We tried for awhile, but then traded away what little
Wisdom we gained for
Household appliances, family sedans,
Drive-up churches,
High-gloss porn and
Vast amounts of data at our fingertips and we
Have no idea what to do with it.

No, if Friedrich Nietzsche could see us now, he
Could only hope for
Zarathustra's Apes.
At least they watched their backs on the tightropes.
At least they'd see the pathetic and ineffectual
Sheldon Cooper for what he is. 


We were out at Folsom Lake.
The water was a bit too cold,
But the wine helped with that.
And I had scored a second bottle of codeine
For having my wisdom teeth pulled.
Doctors of all kinds are easy to con but
I didn't know that then, so I felt real slick.
This was back when I hung with
Crazy Deb, a diagnosed schizophrenic and
Daughter of an M.D.
She always carried an array of meds,
Some prescribed to her and some she'd swipe from her father.
And I was stupid enough, or "I don't care" enough, to
Pop her pills.
Took an ambulance ride once doing that.
But that day at the lake, drinking down my codeine and
Some of her pills with White Port and Sunnybrook, I
Found such a state of peace!
Just no pain at all, no cares, the two of us
Sitting in a foot of water
Grinning like fools.

(After reading "Two Tramps In Mud Time")

So here he is, the renowned poet, and to the
Two lumberjacks watching him split wood,
He don't look like shit to them.
Spare me, I know Frost denies it's him in his poems.
But trust me just this once.
That's him.
A lost colt told me, and
A colt lost in the snow searching for his mother
Says the truth if he says anything.
Pretense scared out of him.

With his few lines about those lumberjacks
Judging others by what they do best,
Frost presents a common human failing.
The cure is implied; don't be like them.
Frost, master of understatement, would never say this out loud.
So I crudely will.

My grandfather was a lumberjack.
Great at ax throwing and arm wrestling and
Any man who wasn't was no man at all to him.

Aren't we all just like these lumberjacks?
And isn't it the cause of about half the misery in our worlds?


Today’s LittleNip:

—David Wright

His attacker slit his throat and
He laid there
Eyes wide-open,
Fearful eyes looking right into mine.
He was bleeding, but it wasn't arterial, and I could honestly tell him  
"You're going to be fine."
This is a universal instinct,
It's what everyone says.
Even when we think
No way he'll make it, we say
"You're going to be fine."
Even Kant, with his
Strict imperative,
Would have to approve.


—Medusa, with thanks to David Wright for this morning’s hearty poetry brunch! 

Celebrate Poetry—and suffer fools gently, if not gladly, 
grinning or not…! And don’t forget that tonight the 
Speak Up Storytellers and Poets will present 
Both Sides Now at The Avid Reader on Broadway in 
Sacramento, 7pm. Scroll down to the blue column (under 
the green column at the right) for info about this and other 
upcoming poetry events in our area—and note that more 
may be added at the last minute.

Photos in this column can be enlarged by clicking on them once,
then click on the X in the top right corner to come back
to Medusa.