Saturday, November 4, 2017

Be Again as Fools

Be Again as Fools
We've had enough of gizmos and of new, addictive apps.
We’re thirsting now for teatime with the old, familiar chaps.
We're weary of this slaving that enriches banks yet more.
We'd like to switch from racing ‘round to walking, nice and slow.
We'd love to be like puppies and like kittens. Dogs and cats
Are better at this living than our modern human rats.

We sit all day in cubicles. When home, we're staring still
At glowing screens that make us dull and also make us ill.
We're penned within our cities—where we cannot see the stars.
We live in violent "peace"—and then we die in needless wars.
We scurry and we're anxious, lacking time for grief and love.
We cannot feel the ground below or see the sky above.

Let us be no more as rodents that are trapped in metal cages.
Let us touch the trees as primates that had known them through the ages.
Let us sit beside the ocean or the stream or lake or pond.
Let us look and let us listen. Let our hearts be gentle, fond.
Let us weep—and join in wailing. Let us sing and let us dance.
Let us plan—and see our planning turned to nonsense then by chance.

Let us smile and join in laughter. Let the sun and rain and air
Then sweep away the prisons that we've built from lack of care.
Let us cease then with our buying. Let us savor night and day.
Let us open up our purses, so our savings blow away.
Let us leave the mines and offices, the factories and schools.
Let us free ourselves from Mammon, and then be again as fools.

We are tired of being clever as we're driven with the herd.
Let us feel the joy of tasting and of letting go a turd.
Let us leave the wretched cities—or turn them inside out.
Let us gather 'round in circles. Let us join our hands and shout.
Let us take then our vacations here at home. That vacancy
Is what we need to be again—the fools with sanity.

2017 November 4th, Sat.
Berkeley, California

(first 4 lines of 2nd stanza
& 1st 2 of 3rd added later,
in Brooklyn, New York)


Friday, October 27, 2017



source: unreachable

When desperate and caught, it seemed,
within the devil’s coils,
I turned to verse to calm the storms
that roiled my inner seas.
And so I found a quietude
that lasted then a while—
an interval of peace, in which
that clamor would subside.

I typed out lines and sent them out
as if into the ether,
and now and then I’d hear a voice
that spoke in text to me.
And so it was for many years,
until my writing ceased—
but still at times I write my lines
and send these out to be.

For sentences can live awhile—
and even when we’re gone.
Perhaps my musings still may bring
my solaces to some—
or so I still imagine, though
the chances may be slight.
But in this way, I find relief
to carry on my life.

2017 October 27th, Fri.
Berkeley, California

Related: Solace (


Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Balance and Delusion

Balance and Delusion

Our pleasures may enliven us
And pain could make us dull.
But pleasure, pain are needed, both.
Their sum is never null.

So when we’re robbed of pleasure and
Of joy, we might complain.
Yet wisdom comes from suffering
And empathy from pain.

Within our lives, we might find joy.
We surely will find sorrow.
But grief can give us depth, and woe
Today is light tomorrow.

There might be times when we rely
On faith and hope alone.
And yet the dark despair is when,
For sins, we might atone.


We could survive in the hardest times—
But fail when times are slack.
So soldiers might, in battles, surge—
And then, in peace, fall back.

Civilians die in droves in wars
In these, our modern times.
But where those wars have ended, still
The bell of karma chimes.

When food is scarce, but still in reach,
We seek—and so subsist.
But when there is surfeit of it,
Our minds and bodies list.

We starve from lack of nourishment
And die from its excess.
We strive for more of this and that—
Yet thrive when we have less.

There is a balance that we need
That Nature once provided.
But now we need a discipline,
By which we might be guided.


So some are helpless, forced to work.
They slave, until they sicken.
But some, who need no longer work,
Might then, by this, be stricken.

We find ourselves within a crowd—
And seek relief from this.
But then we find that solitude
Is often far from bliss.

Our children need our firmness, yet
They need us to be kind.
The middle way is often best—
But often hard to find.

We feel that we are ignorant
And so we try to learn.
But then our knowledge causes mind
And heart to fret and burn.

Our knowledge may be useful, both
For evil as for good.
So bodies may be healed by it—
Or burned like kindling wood.


Some spend their years in search of love
Or sex or both and find
The one cannot be sought, the other
Snares the hapless mind.

We work to earn our living and
We work to be secure.
But then we meet the ailments that
Our money cannot cure.

We thirst for recognition, yet
May find that it’s a curse.
And I could carry on, for more—
But now should end my verse.

So I will end. Too little love
Can wound; too much can spoil.
And so it is with everything,
Including rest and toil.

2017 October 24th, Tue.
Berkeley, California

Friday, October 20, 2017

The World is Flat

The World is Flat

They tried it first in the U.S.A. and honed it to an art—
For selling what they wanted folk to fork up cash to buy.
And then the Nazis used it too—and others, so that men
And women bought the party line—and did not question why.

Some call it “propaganda”, and others, “advertisement”.
Some do it rather plainly and others are more subtle.
It’s useful.  It can take a lie and turn it into truth.
And that’s a transmutation you can bet they’ll never scuttle.

A lie that is repeated—that is whispered in your ear,
That’s written into textbooks and is linked with what you cherish,
That you hear and read and then repeat—is turned to something dear,
And so in time becomes a truth—a staple that you relish.

And so it is for me and him and her and all around.
In every place and every time these methods have been used,
They’ve worked as they were meant to do. So lies have long prevailed,
And those who held to truth or questioned lies have been abused.

So what to do? Remember this—it’s only things you’ve seen
And heard and smelled and tasted, felt—and not through others—that
You should believe without a doubt—for you were there yourself.
All else is sadly suspect. Till you’ve seen, the world is flat.

What’s that? You read me right. Or else, convince me I am wrong.
But first of all, convince yourself. It’s science, not religion.
And science can be questioned—and it shouldn’t just be priests
Or scientists that you believe. It’s fact, not an opinion.

But every doctrine is a lie. And so it is with this.
We cannot catch the whirling flow within the nets we weave.
A life that’s caged is sad indeed. So ignorance is bliss,
Until the knowledge that’s ignored says, “Here! Do you believe?”
2017 October 20th, Fri.
Brooklyn, New York

Thursday, October 19, 2017

In Mammon’s Jaws

In Mammon’s Jaws

We are angry at the others, we are angry at ourselves.
We are saddened, we are sickened and we find we are in hells.
What’s the reason for the anger, for the sadness and malaise?
What’s turned us all to turtles that are hiding in their shells?

That’s a question I would answer, if I suddenly could see
Through all of my confusion to the thing that’s driving this.
But I do not have that vision, so I’ll let you have a try.
If you figure out the answer, let me know then what it is.

You might give to me an instance, and that I will accept.
But if you’d dig a little deeper, to be nearer to the cause
That is driving humans crazy—and not only you and me—
I’ll be grateful for your efforts, as we writhe in Mammon’s jaws.

It’s a thing that’s new and ancient. It was then and it is now.
Is it evil? Is it madness? Is it sorrow at the heart?
I could ramble on about it, but I know that isn'’t wise.
So I’ll leave you with the question, as I bow and I depart

2017 October 18th, Wed.
Berkeley, California

Monday, October 16, 2017

Self and Other--The Cooler Spots in Hell

Self and Other  (The Cooler Spots in Hell)

The mantra is—it's I and me
And then perhaps some others.
And off to hell with all the rest!
We aren't sisters, brothers—

For even if by chance we were,
We now no longer are.
So each is free to cheat and steal.
All's fair, in hate and war.

And so we've made a hell for most,
And heaven for the vile,
Who sit upon their thrones of gold
And look at us and smile.

We hate the ones who're far away.
We hate the ones who're near.
We hate each other, even those
Who surely should be dear.

It's self that is the king, be it
The self of self or more.
The others are our enemies
Or those we should ignore.

And how is it we've come to this,
Where brother turns on brother?
We've bitten on the hook, whose bait
Is that of self and other.

Oh wake up from this dream, and see
The other too is you
As you are him or her or it.
Those bonds, again renew—

For lonely is the heart that lives
In isolation long.
Rejoin this world of joy and woe—
The one where you belong.

But see, we now are penned apart,
By pressure or by choice.
How rarely can one leap the fence
And then, in tears, rejoice!

We're told that we have freedom, yet
We now are worse than slaves—
For look at whom we adulate
And see how he behaves.

If only we could find within
That innocence of old,
And also all the wisdom lost,
In Man's pursuit of gold!

How many pounds and shillings earned,
At the dearest of expense?
How many starved, or burned alive
To raise the margin’s pence?

We prey upon each other and
We praise the ones who feast,
While mocking those who're feasted on,
In west and south and east—

For in those lands the natives too
Are preying on each other,
Although they still, on meeting, use
The greetings, “Sister!”, “Brother!”

But those are turned to empty words.
We use the behen or bhai, *
But then we set that all aside,
For each must sell and buy.

So each of us is caught within
That net that snares the world.
We see but self and other, so
We each are lured and hurled—

To land within the cooking pot.
And there we simmer, fry,
As all around we hear the ones,
Who suffer, wail and cry.

But look—how many stop their ears
And say that all is well.
They've found themselves the cooler spots
That still exist in hell.

2017 October 16th, Mon.

* behen, bhai:  sister, brother, in Hindi-Urdu and other languages of northern India and Pakistan
These terms are habitually used in some regions not only for siblings but more generally, including as a title or in greetings. This was meant to express sisterhood/brotherhood—as was, and in places still is, common in many cultures, especially rural ones, all over the world.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

What Wonders

What Wonders

When all we see is sorrow, let us then remember joy.
When all is utter darkness, let us then recall the light.
When all around is meanness, let us then remember love.
When all we hear is wailing, let us then recall the song.

And let us all remember that the moment is the prize
That yields its passing pleasure or yields instead its pain.
That moment, let us savor, let us greet it as a friend,
Who was with us when we started and will be at the end.

We are here between the atoms and the stars that light the sky.
We are stretched between the starting and the ending of the all.
We are less than motes in sunbeams, we are ants that crawl and die,
And yet we are as oceans that have depths that hold the all.

We are nothing that is special—no more than drifting leaves,
No more than dust that’s blowing—or specks of froth on waves.
And yet we sit and worry and grasp what we should yield.
But see—we ply our sciences and all our trades and arts.

Oh sing of this creation that needs no artisan!
Oh raise your arms in wonder and dance beneath the stars.
What filigrees are woven, what horrors and delights!
Oh savor this—your being, and your passing days and nights.

What wonder and what torture, what pleasure and what pain!
Our yesterdays forgotten, our tomorrows never known,
Our day, from dawn to sunset, our night in which we dream—
What meaning, in this marvel that’s the life that never stays?

I do not know the meaning and I doubt the ones who preach.
I’ve spent my life in learning and I’ve tried my best to teach.
But as my days are ending and I’m yearning for my rest,
I remember still your kindness, in this heart that you had blessed.

I still recall your singing as I still recall the dawn
As the dusk is now descending and I know that I’ll be gone.
I have seen the stony faces, I have sensed the hearts of stone,
But I still recall your smiling—and I know I’m not alone.

And so to those who hear me, I am calling from the past.
Let your present be your treasure, for the little while you last.
Remember still your pleasures, releasing all your pains—
And laughing at your losses, surrender all your gains.

2017 October 10th, Tue.