Forever Dog

If I could choose
the last thing, I wonder.
The last thing I would ever see.
You understand me: I mean the last thing
I would see before I die. It should be
wonderful, like a bird. No, a bird
would never remember.
A dog.

A dog running.
A little dog running to me.
A dog laughing and running.
I wish for a dog running and watching
the small birds alighting in the grass.
A dog of my own forever, just
a dog forever and ever.
My dog.

 

J. Kyle Kimberlin
Creative Commons Licensed

Sitting in the drive-through of the bank today, I looked up between the buildings and saw a gull catch a gust of wind. I thought, What if that was the last thing I ever saw? It’s beautiful. What if people could plan ahead and choose their last vision. The poem began forming in the next minute or two, so that I had to pull over and start scribbling it in my handy pocket notebook. Jack London was right:

“Keep a notebook. Travel with it, eat with it, sleep with it. Slap into it every stray thought that flutters up into your brain. Cheap paper is less perishable than gray matter, and lead pencil markings endure longer than memory.”

Now I wonder, friends, what would be your choice? What would be the image you’d like to carry with you into eternity? Feel free to leave a comment or create your own expression and share a link to it.

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Thinking about upgrading

This blog has ads on it sometimes, doesn’t it?

I don’t notice them very much from my end, but recently I was talking with a friend and wanted to show them a post on my blog. When I opened the post on my iPhone, it had 3 huge ugly ads about Bitcoin. It was atrocious, embarassing.

I usually don’t mind if free services are tastefully monetized, but it was gross. Why on earth would WordPress think anyone would benefit from the same ugly ad 3 times? Whoever paid for the ad is wasting their money.

I’m thinking about spending some of my money to upgrade this blog to ad free. If anyone has comments or suggestions on this idea, I’d appreciate hearing from you.

Thanks!

Barlow

“This life is fleeting, as we all know – the Muse we serve is not. John had a way of taking life’s most difficult things and framing them as challenges, therefore adventures – by their nature awakening and maybe even fun. He was to be admired for that, even emulated. He’ll live on in the songs we wrote…”

– Bob Weir

Faring thee well now.
Let your life proceed by its own design.

 

https://www.eff.org/

Litany

If I tell you the mums
by the driveway are blooming
that is holy.

If you tell me the crow
in the tall palm sounds like a dog
that’s holy.

If I remind you there are children
in this town who went to bed hungry
that is holy.

If you say the rain is light, the sea is calm
and this town can change
that’s holy.

When I tell you our love will die
but first these things matter
we become holy.

 

J. Kyle Kimberlin

Creative Commons Licensed

“To be a poet in a destitute time means: to attend, singing, to the trace of the fugitive gods. This is why the poet, in the time of the world’s night, utters the holy.”

~ Heidegger

Brainjunk

Today, we eat a rich and decadent buffet of brainjunk — of useless tweets, of photos of people we don’t know, of articles that were written in ten minutes to stoke the content boiler. The dopamine cycle ensures that we keep on craving more content, the exact same dopamine cycle that makes a Happy Meal a happy meal.

techcrunch.com : Brainjunk and the Killing of the Internet Mind

This article makes the argument that we should pay for the content that serves our interests. (And by implication, tells the truth?) Free content isn’t worth what we’re not paying for it. It serves the interests of advertisers, not consumers. And because people won’t pay for quality, purveyors of quality content are crashing and burning, or deciding instead to generate the crap that people demand for free and advertisers will buy in bulk.

I agree, which is why I’ve been struggling to break the dopamine cycle and finding content that I’m willing to pay for. I’ve cut the TV cable in favor of services like Netflix and YouTube Red, where I can find what I want without commercials. And I subscribe to magazines*, even those that have a lot of free content online. It is essential to support what matters because The Big Cheese is trying to kill it.

I recommend The Nation, which I first found in College, back in the 1980s. It was already a formidable 120 years old back then. It’s published weekly and the Kindle subscription is $1.99/month.

I skim other political news once a week, because watching the nightly effluvium of MSNBC is like deliberately choosing the slow drip of Chinese water torture. You might approve of washing your face, but nobody thinks that’s a good method. Sure, it’s infinitely better than Faux Spews, which is water-boarding its braindead viewers with tanks of raw sewage. Still, no thanks for the nightly news from any direction. After all, we have lives and trumpism is somebody else’s problem, as I’ve said before.

Long story shorter, my friends, if you don’t prioritize your brain, somebody else will. Guard it vigorously.

*I also subscribe to print versions of
Poets & Writers, Poetry, and TIME. 

 

The Art of Poetry

is changing, has changed. It’s a good thing, a beautiful thing.

I’m not a young dude. I’ve been trying to write poetry since 1980. My school is Eliot, Pound, Frost, Bly, Stafford, Kinnell, Strand, Collins, Roethke, Olds, Oliver …  so when I began to hear spoken words forms that sound a little – to me – like somebody rappin’, I resisted. I was wrong. Poetry is change, like any art. Art lives by changing. And it’s all good.

 

There’ no debate it’s not too late and if I hesitate then I reiterate:

Poetry is above all a concentration of the power of language, which is the power of our ultimate relationship to everything in the universe.
– Adrienne Rich

Choices to Make

Imagine this: you’re on a long overnight flight and the pilot announces that since everyone on the plane is over age 18, the in-flight movie will be hardcore porn. The movie starts and you take exception. It’s not your kind of entertainment. The flight attendant says maybe you shouldn’t be such a prude, it’s only sex, and maybe you have a problem you need to deal with. I have a feeling there’s going to be a scene, yes? A bit of a roshambo.

On a number of occasions lately, I’ve had someone tell me that my distaste for seeing and hearing Donald Trump is a problem with me. I should “toughen up.” I’m too stressed out and uptight about him. And I have a civic duty to consume all the news about his crimes and incompetence that I can feast my eyes on. I try to explain that the only person in charge of what goes in and out of my brain is the same person who decides whether I watch porn. Me. And I choose No.

The Clown Prince Covfefe is a horror show. He’s a con man, a misogynist, a megalomaniac, a national shame, and a waste of carbon. He’s also the national obsession. Not since Watergate have the people been so addicted to such a national shitstorm, or wasted so much of their lives on something so stupid. And on a daily basis, entirely meaningless to the average American.

Being obsessed with the nightly news minutia of the daily clusterfuckery of the so call president is not a sign of good citizenship, it’s a sign of obsession. Obsessed is as obsessed does. So I’m here to tell you that if you want to get on with your life and think about the things that add value to your existence, and the people who brighten your path through this land of grief and exultation, I’m with you brothers and sisters. Check back with us later about this deal. Trump is not your problem.

Trump is a problem for a very small number of people who can solve it; for the rest of us, he’s a situation. A problem, by definition, has a solution. If you can’t solve it, it’s not your problem. For further reference, see The Serenity Prayer. You probably know it.

Most of the time, I don’t give a f–k about Trump. I did for a long time, but I said here on this blog even before the election that he wasn’t worth our undivided attention, and I’ve said it since. So eventually, I carefully considered the fact that there are a limited number of things about which I can realistically give a f–k on a daily basis, and Trump isn’t one of them.

Giving a f–k means you care. You’re willing to give a certain about of your time, energy, money, and spiritual and mental resources to the subject. If you are willing to do this for Trump, then great. It’s your life. Respect to you. But I am deliberately trying to declutter him from between my ears. I’m throwing away something that adds no value to my life – the 24/7 Trump Show – in favor of concentrating on things that do. That’s my free choice. That I elect to feed my mind and soul on better things, things that add value to my brief existence, that’s the sign of a human mind at work. It’s not a sign of weakness.

Sorry but I’m not sorry. It’s my brain and I get to decide what not to give a f–k about, then not give a f–k about those things. I’ve tried being honest and reasonably polite and if that doesn’t work, I’ll try communicating differently. But since I’ve been honest and clear about this, I don’t have to be sorry.

Beyond the appropriate expressions of resistance, including voting, worrying about Trump is optional. He doesn’t know that he doesn’t matter but I do. Now you do too. And it’s important because having a problem that’s obviously beyond your control and not freely chosen is the definition of suffering, in a world where real problems are inevitable and happiness comes from solving them.

We can’t always choose what happens to us. Most of us didn’t choose for Trump to happen to us. But we can always control how we interpret situations and how we respond. I’ve decided not to be obsessed with the daily ritual of inhaling the fumes of our national dumpster fire. I need just enough information on an occasional basis to be ready to resist when resistance becomes actionable and realistic.

So I don’t watch MSNBC every night. I don’t listen when Fuckface Von Clownstick is talking, or any of his minions. I don’t watch videos of his putrid Velveeta visage wobbling around on screens. I read weekly magazines, with words printed in them. Old school? Yeah, works for me.

“Giving too many f–ks is bad for your mental health. …The key to a good life is not giving a f–k about more; it’s giving a f–k about less, giving a f–k about only what is true and immediate and important.”
– Mark Manson

In other words, life is too short for this shit.

alec-baldwin-trump