Pleasure Seekers

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Pleasure seeking animals
with little self-control
satisfy our libidos
with stiff pegs in soft holes.
In need of self-fulfillment
we’re like moths to a flame,
we flutter round desired
till actions leave us maimed.

Humble human beginnings
two-thousand centuries back
dealt mostly with survival
and warding off attack.
Pleasure was not just fleeting,
it was down and dirty;
quick, unromantic couplings
tween moments fight or flee.

Back eleven-thousand-years,
Fertile Crescent, barley,
expanded hunt and gather;
inkling of time that’s free.
Hierarchy established,
division of labor,
paved way for all us homos
from life to expect more.

Fast forward to two-thousands,
that’s C.E., nat’rally,
most of world’s population
has opportunity
to indulge in great pleasures
that flesh doth surely hold,
still seems our highest mission’s
ways to mate peg and hole.

Humans, we say, are top-notch,
top-drawer and number one,
evolution’s pinnacle,
named sapiens’ bastion.
But if we’re high and mighty
then please explain to me
why we’re so self-destructive?
Rule idocracy.

Hearts and minds most primitive,
souls both selfish and cruel,
indulge in destructiveness
and over selves don’t rule.
Ich esse gerne große
is how we masticate,
binging on television
“activity” first-rate?

Purpose driven existence,
focus on worthy goal,
gives pleasure higher meaning,
experience extol.
Puritanicalism,
no pleasures of the flesh,
absurd as hedonism,
relentless pleasure quest.

Each day is new beginning,
“The first day of our lives,”
upward we could be climbing,
for meaning we must strive.
Joy rides that make us healthy
and sire better world
can create pleasure cycle,
uplifting Tantric whirl.

 

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Allen Blue

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Image may contain: one or more people  It’s funny, but I’ve reached a point in my life where I’m jealous of people in constant pain. I think that constant pain may well be more manageable than pain that is ever-present but highly variable. For the preceding ten days my pain level had been higher than usual and as a result I opted out of running a four-mile Independence Day road-race that my wife had signed us up for.

Oh, wait! No I didn’t! I should have opted out, but instead towed the line for the Keep Raleigh Independent fourth of July road race. If you look up pig-headed in the dictionary you’ll actually find my picture. Don’t think so? Google it!

July Fourth I carefully rolled out of bed, planted both feet on the floor and winced as I rose shakily. My legs moaned, my back screamed, and my feet revolted. Leaving the bed I share with my wife I closed our bedroom door and climbed down our sixteen steps in thirty-two movements, using banisters on both sides of the stairwell for support and dropping first my left and then right foot to each step. Slowly, laboriously and painfully I carefully descended, each footfall uncertain and unpleasant. Pity-party much?

I had slept in, rising at 4:30 for a seven-a.m. departure for our race, and after customary morning rituals sat down at my computer with a mug of coffee, wrote and recorded, Substance, a short poem of praise for my ever-loving, and then wincingly rose from my chair around six. I had things to do.

I stretched, got my necessary items ready for my after-work bicycle ride home (we locked my commuter on the car’s bike rack in preparation of the goddess dropping me off for a truncated ten-to-four holiday workday) and greeted my darling as she descended the sixteen steps in sixteen footfalls.

“How you feeling?” she asked.

My right cheek rose in sardonic, mute response. “Made you coffee,” was my non sequitur reply.

Climbing into the car I breakfasted on a banana and shared water with my wife (You Grok that?) as she drove to the race start. Exiting the car made me wince but I stifled the moan of pain. Mostly. Every step hurt but standing hurt too. It was going to be a long four miles.

At the start line we drank more water and I kissed the goddess before heading toward the back of the pack. This was a race and it is incumbent on participants to queue up according to likely pace. My likely pace was thirteen-minute miles, so my place was in the back.

The race began sans a singing of The Star-Spangled Banner (On Independence Day!?) and I plodded forward at a leg and back stabbing pedestrian pace. I “ran”, refusing to walk, and was thankful for the uphills where my slow-as-a-snail pace allowed me to pass those who see hills as rest opportunities.

As I trudged I waved to and thanked race volunteers. I’m never going to win the Grace and Poise portion of a beauty contest, but I can at least strive to be MS Congeniality. I checked my watch around thirteen minutes and wondered if the course had mile markers posted. Thirteen-minute miles is a pretty slow pace and as I wasn’t walking I figured I must have completed mile number one. Wrong.

I reached mile marker one in 16:30, a pace I don’t even consider a fast walk. Distraught, I shrugged my shoulders and wondered if this race had a maximum time cut-off. Feeling sorry for myself, I continued and immediately encountered orange traffic cones that segregated the road into two distinct sides. A pickup-truck approached, emergency lights blinking, and the truck was followed by a trio of cyclists who led the way for a lone, off-the-front runner. The front runner was traveling roughly three times the speed I was maintaining, and I cheered for him as he approached. Feeling miserable doesn’t have to lead to acting miserably and I chose to clap and cheer the oncoming racers. Misery may love company, but I try really hard not to give into my most base urges.

As I plodded and cheered a funny thing happened; my pain abated. Instead of each footfall bringing agony it only brought discomfort. With a diminution of pain my stride lengthened, and cadence quickened. Soon I was running; not fast, but at least I was moving faster than a geriatric octogenarian with two canes. I continued, scanning the oncoming runners for the appearance of my wife. She did not disappoint.

Seeing my beloved, I began screaming, “Durga! Durga! Durga!” as I ran, inching left to the cones where I raised my left arm in classic invitation for a high-five. A man running in front of my wife slapped my palm, I grinned, shook my head and then high-fived my wife before saying to the woman who ran alongside me, “Durga is the most fierce of all Hindu goddesses. She’s the one with eight arms. That’s my wife all over; fierce!”

As my constant pain reduced from DEFCON Four to Two I broaden the scope of my well-wishing from race volunteers to fellow back-of-the-packers. Climbing a hill a very large, young, white-man was slowly running while those around us walked. Seeing him I said, “You, sir, are showing incredible tenacity! Keep up the good work.”

“Thank you, sir,” he panted as I inched away.

The uphill ended and the very large youngster and I caught another large man, this one African American. We came abreast of the third man just as we crested the hill and the young white man and older black man picked up the pace. To their escaping forms I cried, “See you at the finish!” and continued on.

Rounding a curve I spied another black man walking ahead, his shirtless form displaying a muscled back that glistened in the sun. Approaching him the words, “You’re too pretty to be walking,” formed in my mouth but I decided that this was too glib and instead I pointed about a tenth of a mile ahead and said, “See that parking lot up there on the right? Run with me to that lot.”

The man sighed, looked at me, grinned and started running. When we got to the lot he kept running and I said, “You don’t have to wait for me.”

Nodding, he replied, “It’s all good,” as he stopped inching away.

His pace was just fast enough to push me without being fast enough to crush me and I worked a little harder to keep with him. “What’s your name?” I asked.

“Allen.”

“I’m Keith. Nice to meet you,” I huffed as we hit a hill and passed those who slowed from a run to a walk.

Coming to a corner I thanked a volunteer and he responded excitedly to our passing, pleasing me. Allen slowed, and I gently grabbed his elbow, willing him not to break stride. “You got this!” I declared as we trotted upward. We reached mile-marker three and, glancing at my watch, I said, “Thirty-six! Not bad.”

I heard Allen say, “I’m thirty-six, too.”

I took Allen’s declaration to be about his age and laughed. “Thirty-six! I’m old enough to be your daddy.”

“Yes, sir,” and we both chuckled.

(It turns out that I misconstrued what Allen was saying. He was referring to his race time and I’m only 12, as opposed to 21, years his senior.)

Another hill approached, and Allen slowed. “No, no, no!” I cried. “You can do it.”

A volunteer waved at us and I waved back. “Man, I’m a heavy smoker,” Allen moaned, looking over his shoulder.

“Don’t look back, look forward,” I exhorted. “Unless you got somebody back there.”

Allen nodded. “I do,” he said, breathing hard.

“You need to get a patch. You need to quit.”

“Yeah,” he said, slowing again.

We had nearly reached the hill’s crest and I started counting down from twenty. “Twenty, nineteen, eighteen,” I said, stopping my chant at six. “There! We made it! It’s downhill from here.”

Allen nodded but slowed to a walk. “Yeah,” he said. “Go. I’ll see you at the end.”

I raised my hand in salute and went. The finish soon appeared, and I completed my race in forty-six minutes, meaning I’d covered the last three miles at a sub ten-minute-mile pace, a speed I now thought of as reasonable for broken, old me.

My wife waited at the finish and we grabbed water. I needed to get to work but said, “Hang on. I need to find somebody,” and went back in search of my running partner. Allen was surrounded by well-wishers as I went up to him.

“Good job!” I said.

“You too,” he replied. “You know I walked here. Came all the way from Transitions.”

Uncomprehending I looked at him, but my wife said, “Transitions? Right here? Isn’t that the half-way-house?”

“Yes, ma’am. I’m getting clean. I’m gonna make something of my life. I’m going to get me a future.”

“Wow,” I said, extending my hand. “Just wow. Good for you. God bless. Good luck. Hey, Allen! What’s your last name? I’ll write about you.”

“Allen. Allen Blue.”

“Cool. Allen Blue. Thanks. God bless,” I repeated.

Walking past the free beer was difficult- after all we’d paid for it!- but I had to get to work. As we headed to the car I realized that the host of race volunteers who had responded so animatedly in recognition of my shouted thanks as Allen and I ran by weren’t excited to see me at all. They were happy to see Allen, one of their own, a man of the immediate community, working to better himself.

Wait. Did I say, ‘Working to better himself’? No. Allen Blue was bettering himself.

Pain sucks. Physical obstacles that cannot be fixed and make daily life difficult are soul sapping. Every year brings more challenges, more pain into my life, but I’m positive that my life’s a bowl of cherries compared to Allen’s. God bless, Allen. God bless, and good luck.

Poles In USA

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There’s a world of difference
between hand-outs and hand-up.
We owe it to our siblings
to allow them to grow up.
To castigate and browbeat
those that live in poverty
is cruel victim blaming game,
what’s needed is empathy.

Conditions we live under
for each of us are unique.
Equal opportunity?
Bald-faced lie we falsely speak.
Talk of level playing-field
in good-old US of A
is how the “Haves” lord over
disenfranchised every day.

We live in a rigged system
where the rich get to protect
their accumulated wealth
while the poor have poor prospects.
Scribe Horatio Alger,
with his rags to riches tales,
inspire those that made it;
in anecdotes good prevails.

Showcase the few exceptions
who fought their way to the top
insist, “You too can do it!”
Simply patent poppycock.
To take one-in-a-million
and declare that one’s not rare
is to deceive most cruelly
in old game of class warfare.

Not saying that it’s hopeless,
no way pressing for white flags,
but revolution’s needed
to end folks living in rags.
Charity is for children,
those for whom self can’t provide;
goal is self-sufficiency,
accomplishment comes ‘fore pride.

Racist screams about welfare,
declaring, “It’s just not right!”
need to look at reflection,
stop blaming folks for their plight.
Defunding education,
giving poor the poorest schools,
is a sure-fire template
to ensure those with gold rule.

Education’s just first step
climb to self-sufficiency.
Want economic justice?
Provide opportunity.
Stop demonizing siblings
who currently need a hand,
with smiles feed the children
who are future of this land.

Education’s a big word
means more than STEM, more than art.
First lesson we’re all needing
is each of us is a part,
a part of this great nation,
sworn to promote liberty;
incentivize our siblings,
help break chains of poverty.

Need hope on the horizon
to reach for a better life;
too long we’ve taught helplessness,
need to uplift from the blight.
Old saw, “Give a man a fish,
and you’ll feed him for one day.”
Need to teach siblings to fish
provide poles in USA.

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Founders’ Creed

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Sword of injustice hangs over our land
takes not overt acts to give hate a hand.
Sitting in silence while hate’s seeds are sown
fetid, fecund bed- injustice is grown.

Ideas grandiose where nation began?
Been a long, slow crawl on road to freedom.
Great Revolution, all made equally:
Endowed from our birth; U.S. Founders’ creed.

Vision of Founders, momentous great leap;
promise that was made, up to us to keep.
Sibilant forked-tongues whisp’ring in our ears
hiss Constitution has been commandeered.

Statues on the streets of our public squares
commemorating rebellious warfare.
Malice whisperers declare we debase
and nation’s history we long to erase.

Heinous monuments; Confederacy.
Place is museum for obscenities.
Lure of oppression spreads from sea to sea,
abomination of Neo-Nazis.

White supremacists know they’re in the right:
Xenophobic rage, cross burnings at night.
Prejudging siblings color of our skins?
Love’s antithesis and an abject sin.

Hist’ry white-washing, name of saving face?
Anchor round our necks, advancing our race.
Sins of the fathers acknowledged by sons
is needed first-step, not “racial treason.”

All men created, our Declaration,
advance of freedom, fight goes on and on.
Hateful monuments in our parks and streets?
Shining monuments to Klan ‘neath their sheets.

Sword of injustice hangs over our land
takes not overt acts to give hate a hand.
Sitting in silence while hate’s seeds are sown
fetid, fecund bed- injustice is grown.

Joe and Tony

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“I am not dissociative,” I said to two of me, “I’m surely not Joe Kleen and pray I’ll never be Tony.” Joe Kleen may get the blues but he’s elastic and rebounds, Tony Kneel is a narcissist who throws his weight around.

It’s a rare day I write fiction though most days say I do; patchwork memoirs sewn together told in ways I won’t rue. Joe Kleen’s the man I wish I was, both loving and steadfast, though he stumbles he does not fall; role-model unsurpassed.

Tony Kneel cannot be trusted, looks out for number one, cannot see beyond near future, tongue is forked, feet cloven. Evil actions I have taken, sins of the mortal kind, heap upon my Tony’s shoulders; to own faults Tony’s blind.

I’ve committed grave transgressions in my half-cent’ry plus, acted the part of a cockroach, ran when going got rough. My infractions misdemeanor with Tony I retell, with mea culpa contrition I could fill twelve novels.

Tony tale, What Would Padre Do? is a new departure from memoir patchwork tried and true for hound-dog Tony cur. Though haven’t done sin I ascribe to alternate ego writing dark fiction ’bout Tony’s got me feeling schizo.

I have two sons, one’s name is Sean, does go adventuring and heads to bed close to the dawn; created Argentine. It is a very odd feeling casting self as villain, hope there’s a road to redemption for me I have written.

“I am not dissociative,” I said to two of me, “I’m surely not Joe Kleen and pray I’ll never be Tony.” Tony Kneel may be a bastard but he’s every bit me. I hope someday Tony grows up but I fear it won’t be.

Sin Transgresión

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Un hombre muo macho down in Peru
with knitting needles he purls the day through.
In land of Incas gringo with a beard
for knitting prowess is greatly revered.

God Quetzalcoatl is bad-ass dragon
but he flees in fear at sight of this one.
El knitter de norte, he knows no fear,
de los bandidos defends with skewers.

Vaso de agua quien es alto
Limans gather round where ever he goes,
with quick flashing needles does mesmerize,
known for his knitting of enormous size.

Uncultured peones they criticize
call el norte weak, a man with no pride;
but I know this knitter and I profess
he’ll best your best Liman; any contest!

Un hombre muo macho down in Peru
with knitting needles he purls the day through.
In land of Incas gringo with a beard
for knitting prowess is greatly revered.

Èl se llama Tomás and he’s a king,
ustedes campesinos saben nothing.
Bow down before him, this gringo knitter,
for with his hands he knits loving sweater.

He is no doubter and he is sanguine,
this knitting gringo around world has been.
Niños estúpidos with Spanish pride
are surely eclipsed by this knitting guy.

So, vaya condios, Peruvians
let the first to slander be without sin
porque sin transgresión need to be
to equal the man you mock openly.

Un hombre muo macho down in Peru
with knitting needles he purls the day through.
In land of Incas gringo with a beard
for knitting prowess is greatly revered.

Boldly Forward

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Boldly forward, dreamed of journey
to a land of liberty;
freedom is what we were yearning,
escape yoke of poverty.
Teeming shore, tired, poor masses
breathing free, let justice ring!
All we ask is little patience;
we are assimilating.

In my dream saw colossus Dame
who was mother to exiles,
imprisoned lightning in her flame
no longer glowed the world-wide.
Two-thousand-feet, not half-a-mile,
over harbor New York named,
waterway barred my arrival,
Liberty hung head in shame.

Her soothing words and welcome mat,
promise of a golden door?
Barred gate’s what ignorance begat,
refugees now are abhorred.
Her tears flow as the tempest-tost
from great banquet we are kept,
seems storied pomp now rules the land,
with death of dream I’m bereft.

O, Liberty! America!
Why hast thou forsaken me?
Is it my brown skin or Allah?
Crushed is dream of living free.
Boldly forward, dreamed of journey
to a land of liberty;
freedom is what we were yearning,
escape yoke of poverty.

 

Here’s A Stone

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Here’s a stone, here’s a stone,
here’s a stone for you.
Here’s a stone, here’s a stone,
here’s a stone for you.

Stoned at dawn by the men
that I labor for.
Stoning’s not broken bones
it’s death by burden.
Tween a rock and hard place
eke out daily bread.
Piling on heavy stones
will cause my own death.

Here’s a stone, here’s a stone,
here’s a stone for you.
Here’s a stone, here’s a stone,
here’s a stone for you.

Every day little more
burden to carry.
Cannot see? Do not care?
That you’re crushing me?
Like the great Giles Corey
I scream for, “More weight!”
knowing that with my words
I seal my own fate.

Here’s a stone, here’s a stone,
here’s a stone for you.
Here’s a stone, here’s a stone,
here’s a stone for you.

Burdened by weight of years
still I struggle on;
realize few more stones
will crush before long.
What’s a man going to do
burdens overwhelm?
Stand and sneer and demand
a greater burden.

Here’s a stone, here’s a stone,
here’s a stone for you.
Here’s a stone, here’s a stone,
here’s a stone for you.

Starry night up above
swirling in the sky,
fear the stones are too much
and now I shall die.
Swept away as refuse,
tears of crocodile,
already been replaced
by worker young and spry.

Here’s a stone, here’s a stone,
here’s a stone for you.
Here’s a stone, here’s a stone,
here’s a stone for you.

Dark And Cloudy

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All my days are dark and cloudy,
all my nights just sit and stare.
Stare out through our bedroom window
wondering why you’re not there.
Promised we’d be bound forever
when we became man and wife.
Put my faith in peace of paper,
I need real love in my life.

Life where know that I’m the reason
that she wakes up with a smile.
Smiling face is just a memory,
no sonreírs in a long while.
Drifted away, did not drive her,
but that doesn’t change a thing.
Guess I put my faith in magic,
tarnished now our wedding rings.

When I see her I see beauty,
over me her eyes just skim.
Know that she’s my greatest treasure,
know her love I must re-win.
Before altar made a promise,
before altar exchanged vows.
She cut me not with betrayal,
there’s no cherish in her now.

Words of wooing do not move her,
I no longer captivate.
Our flame’s in need of rekindling,
fear too little and too late.
Diminished by her rejections,
wonder if I am worthy man.
I’m not object of affection,
just unsaddled champion.

All my days are dark and cloudy,
all my nights just sit and stare.
Stare out through our bedroom window
wondering why you’re not there.
Promised we’d be bound forever
when we became man and wife.
Put my faith in peace of paper,
I need real love in my life.

Again?

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     I had been wandering without purpose, walked with clouds in air rarefied and cold, when I spied an orange robed, pudgy bald man up ahead on steep Himalayan road. Meditative man sat with pretzeled legs, on flat rock did hover, smile curved his face.

     “Must be the sun’s angle,” said to myself. Seemed to float skyward as I came apace.

     Where once supine, now abruptly upright, stepped from his dais, said as I walked by, “Seems destinations once more are the same. Let us be companions in climb to sky.”

     “I don’t believe in reincarnation,” I said to Buddhist monk in a diaper. The monk smiled in patient benediction before he laughed aloud and reassured.

     “Wish I had a dollar for every time and every life you’ve said you disbelieve. Lives go on regardless of believing; it’s through our loving actions that we’re freed.”

     “Hold on just a cotton-picking minute,” I replied to the round man in a robe, “sounds like you’re trying to insinuate you and me’ve previously shared a road?”

     “Shared a road, shared a life and been partners, best friends, best men, brothers and confidants.” Funny, new-found traveling companion  declared our fates were tied up in one knot.

     Shook my head and grinned at the bald Buddhist,  replied, “Don’t know what it is you’re smoking. Destinations the same, let’s walk along. Prefer to have companion when trekking.”

     Trek was long, and trail was mighty dusty, we happened on two youngsters in distress. We two stopped and asked them of their troubles and, sure ’nuff, teens were in terrible mess. Teens had tied the knot, though folks told them no; with vows of passion turned out on their own. With Shank’s ponies couple had hit the road. Sore feet, empty bellies now did atone.

     “Headed for my grandma’s,” groom did declare, “Other side of mountain. We’re nearly there.” Caught eye of companion, knew he agreed, newlyweds were doomed; didn’t have a prayer.

     “Ya know we’re headed in your direction,” I said in a tone conversational. “We’d be glad to help you with your burdens and as a foursome head on up this road.”

     My monk nodded at my invitation, the groom hesitated, bride not one whit, rising from ground said, “That would be lovely,” their possessions we four did distribute. Weary and hungry, fed the newlyweds, their few belongings, we carried along. Sojourned ‘neath the stars and next day awoke, delivered them safely to grandma’s home.

     “We cannot thank you,” groom declared to us, “with anything but words. Bless you, my friends.” Embraces freely flowed, heart swelled with pride, soul declared beginning rather than end.

     “Did you recognize our great-grandparents?” Buddhist companion asked when we were free. I merely exhaled my irritation, no saffron robe would get the best of me. I would not give him the satisfaction of spoken denial or a debate, I was content in knowing we’d done good for nothing beyond doing goodness sake.

     As we walked along memories did rise, of me and my traveling companion over seemingly endless place and time, working together and good deeds we’d done. “I don’t believe in reincarnation,” I said to Buddhist monk in a diaper. The monk smiled in patient benediction before he laughed aloud and reassured.

     “Wish I had a dollar for every time and every life you’ve said you disbelieve. Lives go on regardless of believing; it’s through our loving actions that we’re freed.”

     Lives go on regardless of believing; it’s through our loving actions that we’re freed. Lives go on regardless of believing; it’s through our loving actions that we’re freed.