Friday, July 12, 2024

rough passages and poetry

    God, Fate or Something came visiting from several directions.    

Run to Write
Gratitude for Moving Through...
a Family Crisis


JULIE B. HUGHES Substack Newsletter 

 JUL 12

I couldn’t wait to share this with you! 
I had the privilege of being a guest on The Eddy Network Podcast hosted by Ed Brenegar. I was grateful to have the opportunity to talk with Ed about lessons learned, unexpected gifts, and gratitude during my husband’s cancer diagnosis. 
I hope it is a light for another family going through cancer or an unexpected medical diagnosis. May it bring glory to God. 
Please share with someone you love. 
See you on Monday,
Julie 
P.S. Thank you for letting me drop into your inbox today. Happy Friday!

Sloan Bashinsky

Based my experience with prostate cancer, which radiation remitted, yet the radiation damaged my urethra and colon, and my mother’s fatal experience with lung cancer and my favorite niece’s lethal experience with cervical cancer, and other people I have known’s brush with or fatal experience with cancer, there is nothing glorious about it and I'm reminded of the grace under fire approach taken by Ernest Hemingway in his novels, and even in his own life when he was losing his mind to brain cancer. I hate for anyone to go through the hell that cancer is and I hope for people who do, they are able to retain their dignity and a sense of humor, sarcasm and comfort in knowing it too will pass and death is merely a passage, and God by whatever name is in the middle of it, even if that cannot be understood.

Julie B. Hughes

Thank you Sloan for you message here. It is not easy. I was grateful for my faith, running, writing, and support to lean on during this time. I'm so sorry you have had to face it in so many ways. Take good care. 

    From Erik Rittenberry’s Poetic Outlaws Substack Newsletter:








 

 

Poetry is Where Everything Happens
By: Alejandra Pizarnik 
JUL 11        

Poetry is where everything happens. 
Like love, humor, suicide, and every fundamentally subversive act, poetry ignores everything but its own freedom and its own truth. To say “freedom” and “truth” in reference to the world in which we live (or don’t live) is to tell a lie. It is not a lie when you attribute those words to poetry: the place where everything is possible.
In opposition to the feeling of exile, the feeling of perpetual longing, stands the poem—promised land. 
Every day my poems get shorter: little fires for the one who was lost in a strange land. Within a few lines, I usually find the eyes of someone I know waiting for me; reconciled things, hostile things, things that ceaselessly produce the unknown; and my perpetual thirst, my hunger, my horror. 
From there the invocation comes, the evocation, the conjuring forth. In terms of inspiration, my belief is completely orthodox, but this in no way restricts me. 
On the contrary, it allows me to focus on a single poem for a long time. And I do it in a way that recalls, perhaps, the gesture of a painter: I fix the piece of paper to the wall and contemplate it; I change words, delete lines. Sometimes, when I delete a word, I imagine another one in its place, but without even knowing its name. 
Then, while I’m waiting for the one I want, I make a drawing in the empty space that alludes to it. And this drawing is like a summoning ritual. (I would add that my attraction to silence allows me to unite, in spirit, poetry with painting; in that sense, what others might call the privileged moment, I speak of as privileged space.)
They’ve been warning us, since time immemorial, that poetry is a mystery. Yet we recognize it: we know where it lies. 
I believe the question “What does poetry mean to you?” deserves one of two responses: either silence or a book that relates a terrible adventure—the adventure of someone who sets off to question the poem, poetry, the poetic; to embrace the body of the poem; to ascertain its incantatory, electrifying, revolutionary, and consoling power. Some have already told us of this marvelous journey. 
For myself, at present, it remains a study.
________________________________
Translated from the Spanish by Cole Heinowitz. You can find this passage in— 
 A Tradition of Rupture: Selected Critical Writings

Sloan Bashinsky

I think, feel, everything is poetry at some level. for 49 years, my only poem was for my senior law partner’s 40th birthday. In 1991, the next poem came. It seemed to write itself. In 1992, the next poem came, it leaped out of me. That’s how all of my poems came. They just happened. Sometimes there was an external provocation, such as the birthday poem for my senior law partner. But mostly, the poems seemed to come from somewhere else and I was their scribe and their target and their subject within a surrounding soup or sea in which I swam. There was only one draft, but sometimes a comma, dash, period, semi-colon was added or removed, and when I typed it, it had to be spell-checked sometimes.

    A Crestline Heights Elementary School classmate wrote to me on Facebook about the   

Melchizedek Sunday School for lawyers, priests, business leaders, politicians and humans post, and it went from there ...

Peter
My vivid memory of Lee Graham [pastor of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Crestline] was when he would come and give some vigorous yanks on the church bell rope because I wasn't pulling strongly enough!
My family left Crestline for Forest Park and Saint Mary's Episcopal in the summer of 1955. My mother thought David Wright was a saint.
Did you ever hear of an experimental Episcopal Church in Birmingham called The Church of the Transfiguration?

Sloan Bashinsky

I attended Transfig for about 2 years when Bob Ross pastored it. I knew most members by first name. One year, I was the church’s treasurer for a while and I got to see every donor’s check and some of them were earmarked for this or that, which was very revealing. As were a whole lot of other things that happened in that congregation. 
 
Peter

Well, I attended regularly from the Ross era into the Bill Yon era. So it may be that Transfig is why I remember your name more than Crestline elementary.

Our paths have crossed in interesting ways. I would say that we have both been fascinated more by the unconventional in our world than the conventional.

Sloan Bashinsky
I remember Bill and Lib Yon. That was the time of encounter groups, open marriage discussion and perhaps more, kumbaya, Vietnam angst, and a great deal of personal angst in me and my marriage which did not help my children. I wonder why I don’t remember you there? Maybe my head was stuck somewhere the sun didn’t shine much. 
 
Peter

Ned Wright

Sloan Bashinsky
Ned Wright?

Peter

Son of David Cady Wright, minister at St. Mary's church.
   
Sloan Bashinsky
I think maybe I was in St. Mary’s once, perhaps for a wedding. When I was in the black night of the soul, I ate some meals in nearby St. Andrew’s soup kitchen and did a little cleanup afterward in the dining hall and bathroom, because I needed something to do. About two years later, I attended a service there with a friend from St. Luke’s, it was right after a man had called me one morning to say God had told him when he was praying that I needed to read the Letter to the Hebrews, which I did and understood I was in Melchizedek chastening. When the priest offered me the wafer at the communion rail, something knocked me off the rail and my friend caught me and pulled me back to the rail. Similar when I was offered the communion wine. My friend was very interested for some time in my reports of not of this world experiences, and he weathered my time at the communion rail that day. I  lived in his home for a while after separating from my 4th wife and the black night began to lift. That was a really rough patch for me, but it was easy compared to the black night, which was like half my brain had died and I was only half there for 16 months.

sloanbashinsky@yahoo.com

Thursday, July 11, 2024

It's better to live a difficult life than to be known for having no spine

 

    Borrowing from Donald Trump’s speaking style, two hugely important things happened yesterday.

    The first was, for the second time in two weeks, I inadvertently emailed a blog post to some people I know with their email addresses showing, instead of being bcc suppressed. For the second time, I was mortified. I did it earlier this year, and was mortified.

    I became plagued with dyslexia when I began 1st grade at Crestline Heights Elementary School in 1948. I wrote a word or a number in a test, and when the test paper came back marked with the teacher’s red checks, I was mortified to see I wrote something I knew was wrong, but I wrote it anyway and I did not see it. For example, I wrote there for their, or I wrote 5 x9 = 54, instead of 45. It also appeared in typographycal, er, typographical mistakes. I just now really did made that mistake. There was no talk of dyslexia when I was a boy in school. On my report cards, my teachers checked “makes careless mistakes". I felt awful and kept doing it.

    I took a physics course in high school, and found I really liked physics. I thought I Aced every question on a physics exam, but the teacher gave me a 54 out of 100. Although I set up every equation correctly, I made arithmetic or algebra calculation mistakes. I chuckled last night when I thought maybe that was not an accident, but was my soul or God’s way to steer me away from physics and mathematics, because my path lay in metaphysics :-). And in writing. My math-wiz father advised me to take a typing class my freshman year in high school, because being able to touch type would come in very handy later. :-). I type today without thinking, and boy does dyslexia love to play with that :-).

   Even after I run something through Google Doc’s spelling and grammar checker and publish it at one of my blogs, or in an email to someone, I later see a mistake or two or three in it. If I go back a day or so later and read it again, I see another mistake or two or three. Nothing I can do about that but hire a professional proofreader to live with me and keep me on the writing straight and narrow. Or it might happen again.

    My pediatrician uncle Leo Bashinsky quit practicing medicine after he realized he sometimes was forgetting appointments with his baby patients and/or what hospitals they were in. His wife told me it was the result of him contracting encephalitis, which affected his brain function. However, he later was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and perhaps that was the explanation.

    I remember important stuff pretty well, perhaps all too well sometimes. But I am known to space out a doctor’s or some other kind of appointment even after I write it down on my paper calendar. My friends can attest to that. 

    The second hugely important thing that happened yesterday is I found someone online who might be from the same or similar planet I am from. He showed up after I republished the Imagine an America where Christian lawyers, priests, business leaders, politicians and ordinary citizens experience the Melchizedek fire and spirit baptism of Jesus and Mary Magdalene post at religiousforums.com yesterday morning.

    It took me several days to finally finish writing that post. I thought I was done, and something new came to me to put into it. That happened several times. By the time it was done, yesterday, I felt it was the most important thing I ever wrote or will write about Christianity. 

    I republished it at religousforum.com and someone showed up who seemed so very different from anyone I had discussed Christianity with online.

B
It's funny, I skimmed your post then decided to open up my bible program on the laptop. My last reading or study was in Hebrews, but I backed up this morning to Hebrew 6, then located a Melchizedek reference. Our positioning in life varies between everyone, and while I don't expect everyone to understand your view of Melchizedekian fire, I'm certain that a truthful spirit will win out over deception one day. Me? Well, I'm an unaffiliated student who honors truth the best I'm able. To me "the fire" is about development and learning how to live in truth. We are "disciplined as we live our lives, learning the differences between truth and error. It's easy enough to set this on the side burner, but keeping it stoked up and active would offer greater increase in our abilities. A truthful spirit, imo, should be leading our actions always, but we know it isn't going to happen without forgiveness first, which doesn't seem very promising for a lot of people. Consequence is ever present, and Hebrew 12 alludes to this as being the way, also ... I suppose it's good to teach a truthful spirit young. I should've listened better myself, but I finally caught on. It helps keep me out of a more troubling mix, nowadays. It wasn't easy "coming clean" after a lifetime of "under the radar", "hush hush" type of living recklessly. 
 
Redneck Mystic
Thanks, I’m 81, and I didn’t really learn much during my church-going days, and that dramatically began to change in early 1987. 

Hebrews 12:29 
For our God is a consuming fire. 

What I see here of my post is not all that I posted. The beginning up to my recount of childhood church experiences is not showing, and Hebrews 12 and all that follows, including the Mary Magdalene parts, are not showing.  
 
Are you familiar with the Sufi poet Rumi’s "Chickpea to Cook" poem?

translated by Coleman Barks) 
A chickpea leaps almost over the rim of the pot where it’s being boiled.​
‘Why are you doing this to me?’​
The cook knocks him down with the ladle.​
‘Don’t you try to jump out. You think I’m torturing you. I’m giving you flavor, so you can mix with spices and rice and be the lovely vitality of a human being. Remember when you drank rain in the garden. That was for this.’​
Grace first. Sexual pleasure, then a boiling new life begins, and the Friend has something good to eat.​
Eventually the chickpea will say to the cook,​
‘Boil me some more. Hit me with the skimming spoon. I can’t do this by myself. I’m like an elephant that dreams of gardens back in Hindustan and doesn’t pay attention to his driver. You’re my cook, my driver, my way into existence. I love your cooking.’​
The cook says, ‘I was once like you, fresh from the ground. Then I boiled in time, and boiled in the body, two fierce boilings.​
My animal soul grew powerful. I controlled it with practices, and boiled some more, and boiled once beyond that, and became your teacher.​ 

Compare the light and sparing touch to this translation by Chittick:
Look at the chickpeas in the pot, how they keep on jumping up, driven by the fire.​
At every instant the chickpeas boil up to the top and let out a hundred cries: “Why are you tormenting us with fire? Since you showed your appreciation for us by buying us, why do you treat us with contempt?”​
The housewife keeps stirring with the ladle:​
“Now, now! Boil sweetly and do not jump back from the one that made the fire.​
I do not cook you because I dislike you: I want to gain taste and savor.​
You will become food and then mix with the spirit. You do not suffer tribulation because you are despicable.​
Fresh and succulent, you used to drink water in the garden; your water-drinking was for the sake of this fire,”​
His Mercy is prior to His Wrath, so that Mercy could acquire a stock-in-trade: existence. For without pleasure, flesh and skin do not grow.​
If they do not grow, what can love for the Friend waste away? Gentleness will come again, asking forgiveness:​
“Now you have purified yourself and jumped across the stream to safety.”​
She says, “Oh chickpeas! You fed in the spring pasture, and now suffering has come as your guest.​
Receive it well. So that the guest may return in gratitude and tell of your generosity before the King.​
Then in place of benefits, the Benefactor will come; all benefits will envy you.​
I am Abraham, you are my son. Place your head before the knife: I saw in a dream that I must sacrifice you. 
 
B
I've never read this before. I guess the difficulty helps balance the equation - All work no play - all play no work, etc. Conditioning, strengthening, and navigation. 
 
Redneck Mystic
Here’s the ending that was left out of my post, which ties in Mary Magdalene and what Hebrews presented, which I never heard mentioned in a church.

Hebrews 12 NIV

12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
4 In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5 And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says,
“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, 6 because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”
7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children.For what children are not disciplined by their father? 8 If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. 9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! 10 They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
12 Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees.13 “Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.
14 Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy;without holiness no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. 16 See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son. 17 Afterward, as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected. Even though he sought the blessing with tears, he could not change what he had done.
18 You have not come to a mountain that can be touched and that is burning with fire; to darkness, gloom and storm; 19 to a trumpet blast or to such a voice speaking words that those who heard it begged that no further word be spoken to them, 20 because they could not bear what was commanded: “If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned to death.” 21 The sight was so terrifying that Moses said, “I am trembling with fear.”
22 But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, 23 to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect,24 to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.
25 See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven? 26 At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.”[e] 27 The words “once more” indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain.
28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, 29 for our “God is a consuming fire.”

In 1991, as I recall, I was put into a trance and this came from very far away:

Melchizedek

Melchizedek is an order of angel that comes to a planet in trouble to prepare it to receive the Christ

Christ does not come to a planet without Melchizedek 

Mary Magdalene was of the Order Melchizedek  


 Melchizedek Star

I later was told Mary Magdalene wrote Hebrews anonymously, because it was known no man would read anything a woman wrote. Here’s her poem:


Rosa Mystica
Sweet Mystery
Blood of Christ
Living water
without which
there are no Rainbows
and God is dead.

Imagine an America where Christian lawyers, priests, business leaders, politicians and ordinary citizens experience the fire and spirit Baptism of Jesus and Mary Magdalene.

B
I had never heard the association until now. I have understood Melchizedek being associated with woman before, but I had never placed Hebrews 12 in perspective of a woman teaching a son. It's interesting. The star of David equates to a Melchizedek star, then? I wonder where Solomon fits into the paradigm. I'm looking at this from the perspective of someone who views life under the sun as being the lake prepared for the devil and the angels, which would include all of us also. We're developing here, and I might suggest a type of refinement process takes place as we learn how to navigate more effectively as people. Honestly, I think it's quite natural for some to understand the precept and for them to adhere to the guiding principles. I couldn't imagine everyone, at least not yet, being in tune with this mindset. Some are expecting disaster sooner than we would be adequately prepared to meet the challenges and others don't have enough concern to consider much at all. Maybe it'll balance out one day. I'll suggest that we are much like he was and that we are not exempt from the difficulties associated with life under the sun. I thought of a song when I read your post. It's titled "The Light" by: Disturbed. It may not be your flavor, but it touches point well enough to understand.

Redneck Mystic
Judaism borrowed the Melchizedek star.
What’s going on in America is mayhem chaos. That is not just confined to America, but I live here and I must deal with it as well as what all else crosses my path.
I found the lyrics to The Light and like them. They remind me of Leonard Cohen singing there’s a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in, and of the title to Gloria Steinem’s book, The Truth Will Make You Free, But First It Will **** You Off [religiousforum.com’s moderator suppressed Piss], and of Jesus telling his disciples in the Gospels, if they abided in him and his ways, they would come to know the truth and the truth would make them free.
This poem fell out me in the fall of 1995, as I was starting a huge change in my life, and I can’t say I lived the poem very well. 

Love without truth
is mush,
Truth without love
is harsh,
Two sides of the same coin,
they live together,
or die. 
 
B
You allude to brokenness and scar tissue thickening the skin. It's true, but as you suggest in your poem, it takes two to tango. Love without truth is mush, truth without love is harsh. Two sides of the same coin, they live together or (die). I'll presume the dying is about fading or becoming obscure.
"It's better to live a difficult life than to be known for having no spine." - B 
 
Redneck Mystic
Don’t recall alluding to “brokenness and scar tissue,” but that fits the path and scar tissue is very tough. Your quote is priceless and such a life develops a spine. I told my best friend today about finding you at this forum and that finally I had conversed with someone online who seems to be on a very different wave length. The moderator of this forum moved my post to Journals, which is a restricted platform.

Here’s the beginning of what the moderator removed from my post:
    In April 2001, the second year in what would be a five-year stretch of being homeless, a familiar voice told me in my sleep, “You are an ordained Melchizedek exorcist priest going back into a prison where you once lived to help other people still living there.” 

    I saw myself in a facility of some kind, with men and women around my age dressed casually and milling around. Off to the right, I saw a way out of there and knew I would not use it until I was told to use it. I woke up, wondering what that was about?

    The next night, I was told by the same voice in my sleep,” You cannot do this work correctly if you are trying to get anything back from the people you are trying to help.” 

    As time passed, I came to understand the prison was Christianity, as it was practiced, which was very different from what Jesus in the Gospels was about. 

    According to Christianity, salvation through Jesus is believing he is the son of God, and he died on the cross for our sins, and he was resurrected from the dead and ascended to heaven to sit on the right hand of God. 

    Yet Jesus in the Gospels said such things as: many are called, but few are chosen; the road to life is difficult and the gate narrow and few enter therein; the work is great and the laborers are few; turn the other cheek; pray for and do good to your enemies; first take the beam out of your own eye; judge not and God will not judge you; it is more blessed to give than to receive; if someone asks for your shirt, give him/her also your coat; love your neighbor as yourself; take no thought for tomorrow, for each day has enough troubles of its own; you cannot worship God and mammon.

    I had many adventures since those two messages came through in April 2001, and I wrote a lot about that at blogs and in books, and I’m still in that prison, and I’m still being made to look at the beams in my own eyes by something a lot bigger and smarter than me.

    Let me back up and start over. 
 
sloanbashinsky@yahoo.com

Monday, July 8, 2024

to make living itself the highest art

    A recent offering from Erik Rittenberry’s Substack caught my fancy.


To Make Living Itself the Highest Art 
JUL 6 
 
The capacities by which we can gain insights into higher worlds lie dormant within each one of us. 
—Rudolf Steiner
 
 
The creative act… is a self-discovery within the fullness of Divine life. 
—Nicholas Berdyaev 
 
Rising out the world, you and I,
a finite flame among the infinite darkness
of two nebulous chasms… 
 
Born into a disenchanted world
of Cartesian rationalism, our minds
and spirits isolated from the universal,
a race of convulsionaries trudging
though the wastelands of a technocratic
nightmare, afraid of what we might become
if we rid ourselves of the empty shell of appearances and live out the soul's yearning--that luminous source that whispers from the depths. 
 
To become a nobody, in the highest sense
of the word, a BEING whose nature
transcends the lower realms of
the synthetic self, and to coalesce with the
timeless flame -- the "divine creative
energy resounding through all things." 
 
Those who know are calm and steadfast
and have no need to disguise their
ignorance with grandstanding and
lavish exhibitionism. Their identities
extend over and above the limits of
the garnished flesh, the wildfires of
intuition still ablaze, their transparent
eyes gaze upon a sublime truth
that lies beyond the paraphernalia
of the measurable, "a lover" they are,
"of uncontained and immortal beauty." 
 
Our cosmic task, my friends,
is to not piss away our
passing days on the
idiotic distractions cooked up
by this cosmetic culture, clutching
like desperate fools on to
possessions and prestige, shackling
ourselves to fixed formulas and
stifling belief systems. 
 
We're here to honor our brief existence
by elevating our minds
above the sterile protocols of this
menacing matrix. To break free
from the cultural constraints
and unleash our own life-energies
toward a universal way
of being.   
 
We are here to evade the muck
that’s continually heaved at us,
and revel beneath the empty skies
like Dionysian gypsies,
opening ourselves
to the cosmic mysteries
that are playing out
endlessly
beneath the surface of
conceptual reality.   
 
We are here to strip ourselves of
the myriad of fashionable falsities
and to actively participate in
the poetry of life. 
 
Our task is not to lose ourselves to
the mundane necessities,
but to courageously overcome
all that keeps us from hearkening
the eternal throb of the spirit. 
 
We are here to doff our civilized masks
and reconnect with our higher nature.
To reacquaint ourselves once again
with the wisdom of the ancients,
to explore the majestic beauty
of the natural world,
to pursue the unknown in
spite of our fears,
to read,
to create,
to love,
to feed our divine curiosities,
and to make living itself
the highest art.  
 
Sloan Bashinsky
Sloan’s Newsletter

Jul 6
Liked by Poetic Outlaws  
 
Amen  
 
Earth-
the sacred prism
through which souls are refracted
into their elemental parts,
purified in Holy Fire,
then one-forged
and sent on their way
to not even God knows where,
simply because they are all
unique emanations of God,
Evolving…  
 
A year before that poem leaped out of me into my writing journal, this poem crawled one letter and a time out of me into my writing journal, as rivers of tears and snot fled my eyes and nose. 

He is the paper,
the ink his blood,
the pen his soul,
and the poet is God. 
 
Not long after, this arrived in similar fashion. 
 
He feels deep beauty in the dark pool from which his writings flow, she clings to him like fine silk precious oil, she feels compressed, solid- like a black pearl growing very larger from inside out with each stroke of his pen, pushing her precious waters over her banks into his dreams and life.

     What kicked off my being all I can be arrived in 1991:

"Living Poets" 
 
Dead poets are poets who never write
Who obey shoulds and oughts
Who live to please others
Who value money over God
Who die without ever having lived
Death is their mark 
 
Dead poets are remembered by the living.
Living poets are remembered by time
Dead poets never sing their song
Living poets never stop singing it 
 
The difference between the two is this:
One worships fear, the other life 
 
To be a dead poet is hard
It requires being someone else
To be a living poet is easy
It only means being myself  
 
One choice is hell, the other heaven
That is what is meant by free will  

    Egged on by this in 1992:
 
"The Mockingbird" 
 
I happened upon a mockingbird
singing its fool head off –
I asked it how and why it sang?
But all it did was look ahead,
all it did was sing.
It never turned to see if I was watching,
or listened for money jingling in my pockets,
or asked if I liked its music,
or expected a recording contract –
It was too busy singing
to pay any attention to me.
Thus did I learn
the greatest sin of all
is to kill a mockingbird. 
 
    And this in 1993:
 
“Rules” 
 
Who invented the rule that poetry must rhyme, have pentameter, be cast into verse? Yes, who invented that really silly rule? Surely it wasn’t the maker of the first stone — otherwise there’d be no stone to break all those slaving rules! 

     And by this in 2003:

 “I AM A MAN” 

I am a man. 
 
I said,
I am a man! 
 
What means it, 
being a man?   
 
A man is a warrior:
he lives by a code of honor,
his word is reliable,
his actions confirm his words,
his commitment is holiness,
his enemies are welcome at his hearth,
he fears but moves forward,
he cries and gets up again,
he hates but forgives,
he loves and let’s go,
he doubts but trusts God,
he’s a good friend,
he seeks resolutions,
he demands nothing,
he risks everything,
he regrets his mistakes,
he seeks to make amends,
he puts others’ welfare first,
he accepts apologies truly made,
he expects nothing back,
he lives ready to die,
he laughs when he “should” scream,
he screams when he “should” laugh,
he sings just because,
he shrugs off insults,
he learns from misfortune,
he cusses God for making him,
he wishes he was done,
he loves children and animals,
he relishes a woman’s scent,
he smiles when he’s content,
he knows God’s his master,
he walks in rainbows,
his garden is the world,
his way is nature,
he loves fishing,
his wife is his soul,
his food is life,
his pay is whatever he receives.
Yep, he’s crazy. 

 

sloanbashinsky@yahoo.com