I wrote this poem as a response to something I discovered in 2003. It had to be pried out - rather like creating something not of one’s own making - an uncomfortable feeling. Was it an act of creation or completion? It seems appropriate somehow, that this poem has an undecided “lineage.”
”Facts all come with points of view
Facts don’t do what I want them to.”
I have inconveniently
been visited by
some uncomfortable facts.
They will not go away.
Instead they poke me
through the pockets
I stuffed them into
to keep them out of sight.
Persistent little devils, aren’t they?
Now I must take care
that my pants aren’t too tight
and I have to be really careful
when I sit down!
Maybe I can buy them off
like corrupt legislators
or absent parents
bribing their children.
Inconvenient facts are most uncomfortable
in the present tense
which confers the undeniability
of a mess still to be cleaned up.
And hence less susceptible
to the spin of revisionism
or the myriad murky layers of deceit
that we deposit on the corpse of truth
as an act of misdirection or slight-of-hand
to cover up the many unseemly things
better handled by politicians.
But isn’t it paradoxical
for me to react this way?
How can I feel like a hostage to facts
when the truth will make you free?
Frank McCourt Memorial from joely on Vimeo.
This is a memorial for Frank McCourt with his younger brother, Malachy McCourt.
Frank McCourt didn’t start writing until he was 68, and then as he says: “He wrote it all down.” If you’ve been touched by Angela’s Ashes, this is for you. If you haven’t, it’s also for you – an introduction to a body of work you don’t want to miss, one that has heart.
I left the classic Whole Foods plastic bag out after using it for the COJ picnic Sunday, and Buster saw its greater potential.
“Look Daddy, this is my clubhouse.
You have to know the password to get in!”
I bought a car Wednesday, and will be saying goodbye to the Porsche after 26 years. I’m really glad to have the newer vehicle; it solves a lot of problems for me!
It’s an ‘87 BMW with many miles, but it’s been very well maintained, and I won’t have to deal with Porsche mechanics anymore. They made my life way too “interesting” at times.
The BMW has one feature which the Porsche didn’t have that I can’t live without: The ability to block all outside air. So, now, I won’t get a headache if I’m stuck behind a diesel. Also the anti-lock brakes seem like a “must have.” I didn’t know it had them when I bought it - neither did the former owner. So that was a nice surprise. Plus it drives well; the Porsche has problems and I’m glad not to have to deal with them this time.
The BMW’s differential makes a bit of noise when going over 45, but I just turn up the stereo. The former owner is an amateur musician. It has a very nice stereo and speakers.
My software obsession.
Free tax software for Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger and 10.5 Leopard
Buster snoozed through my return from COJ today. I guess he finally feels “at home” here :-)
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Through the unknown, unremembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning;
At the source of the longest river
The voice of the hidden waterfall
And the children in the apple-tree
Not known, because not looked for
But heard, half-heard, in the stillness
Between two waves of the sea.
Quick now, here, now, always—
A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing not less than everything)
And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
When the tongues of flame are in-folded
Into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one.
I attended a talk describing the recent discovery, reconstruction and translation of the Gandhara Scrolls, the oldest surviving Buddhist texts. While ruminating on their temporal scope and import, this began to form in my mind. I waited to harvest it, hoping that it would ripen, but finally picked it anyway, knowing that further verse wouldn’t grow until I did. When a friend stipulated that a fragment can be seen as finished, I had a strong sense of what she meant. Perhaps it is an appropriate parallel that this verse is fragmentary, as are the texts themselves.
A Late Dessert
like a poem sitting
in someone’s heart
for ten thousand years
an ancient gift
always there but
coming from a precursor
like a sacrament
to be decoded
by anxious lips
after untold millennia
an almost invisible tear
in the corner of the Buddha’s eye.