The Love Poem I Can’t Seem to Write (Songs for My Tribe)

The Love Poem I Can’t Seem to Write (Songs for My Tribe)
06/29/2017, Deon Mumple

It’s still not good enough, I’ve written the same poem four times now.
I keep trying to say it just right, keep trying, but I don’t really know how.
How do you say this thing, this feeling? What are the right words?
I don’t want to say the same sounds I know you’ve already heard.

It didn’t turn out those times before, when your hope needed fulfilled
And those last two times, when you swore, no more, after the dream was killed
I don’t want to be that way,  I want to be different, and never see you hurt
But I know the times I’ve failed before, don’t trust me,  trust me, you’ll get burned

I’ve written this poem five times now, just trying to say it right
I want to make the promises and keep them, so we always win the fight
I want to be superhuman, and be heroic, but at the same time, be real,
But I don’t feel real; I’m up and down without flying, can’t even control how I feel.

I’ve written this poem six times now, and it’s never going to be perfect
The same as I know about you and me, but I’m not, and you’re not, and we’re not.
I’m afraid, you’re afraid, it’s not going to work, but I hope you’ll give it a shot.
Like this poem, I’m trying to write it right, and keep on writing it wrong,
Me versus verses that don’t have choruses, and a form that’s far from correct
Sometimes even the best composers build a bridge to write a decent love song.

I’ve written this poem seven times, this is the last time, then I’m through.
It may never be exactly right, about like trying on the wrong sized shoe,
But if a hope is just deferred but somehow I know it was meant to come true,
Maybe mixed up words will make the longing fulfilled, so I can win and keep you.

Not Writing About What I’m Writing About?

I got up early today and have taken my daughter to school.  It’s not something I want to be in the habit of doing, but then, she’s already 17 so it’s a way to bond I guess.  It’s bad inasmuch as it fosters her laziness and encourages a lax attitude about time management, because she has a safety net to fall on.  It’s there, but I don’t want her to take advantage of it and just think it’ll be there her whole life.  My slightly more responsible son caught his bus.  Today she had gifts for her friends and wanted a ride so she could easily carry everything and not have the jostling and space issues of the bus ride.

I’ve had a cup or two of coffee, I’m back home and feeling nicely focused, but maybe easily distractible, it remains to be seen.  The squirrel joke is no joke.  I’m hoping I can have a little “me” time (writing here) and still enough time to walk the dog before the rain comes and get some chores and maybe a little extra catch up work done before I have to get to work today.  That upstairs…  I want my floors,  I want my desk.  It’s just that I’ve been like a pack rat for a while with no place to put “everything in its’ place,” and my wife is worse because she’s better at packing big things into small spaces.  No, NO, stop.  I mean like getting more stuff in the suitcase, or in the car, like that old game TETRIS, not THAT.  Although…  Nah, only if she wants that.  I surrender.

I started out wanting to write about a specific writer who has recently moved to the US after running into some difficulty because his government took issue with his writing.  But I tried to research and didn’t find anything accessible.  “This content is restricted.”  If his native government wants to restrict his thoughts and he restricts his audience, who knows what he’s talking about?  I’ve read a few comments and a few things in news articles I presume were quotes, and two year old or older blog things I found, and all I can think is, who the fuck cares?

It’s a fucking blog, like my own.  I guess, if he tells people to riot in the streets or kill someone or commit crimes, there’s a problem inasmuch as his words might actually have a direct impact on my life or the life of someone I know.  So yes, if he advocated violence or actual crime, I’d stand against that, but I can’t find anything to know if he did that.  And I consider myself a pretty damned good online stalker.  All I could find is stuff where he said, essentially, that both Christians and Muslims are idiots.  He’s an athiest, I get that, and again, my reaction is, who the fuck cares?

Well, radicals who profess either religion might, but I don’t.  He posted a picture online that was deemed “obscene.”  That’s stupid.   I’ve seen “sacrilegious” “art” before, and I don’t care.  Express your lack of faith in Jesus, who came back from the dead, or that “prophet” guy, who didn’t.  I don’t care.  Express your lack of faith in the government, I don’t care about that either.  America has elected a lot of presidents that people called names.

What concerns me is that people take the words of a fifteen or sixteen year old that seriously.

You want people to treat your religion with respect?  Get a religion that’s respectable, and be respectable with your faith.  You want people to treat your government with respect?  Get a government that’s respectable, and exercise your authority in ways that respect your constituency.  The people at quotesgram.com and quoteimg.com sum it up in short and then in long:

Image result for respect is earned not given

I don’t know how long it’ll take for me to earn my kids’ and wife’s respect.  Been working on that for more than 25 years for the latter.  Taking my daughter to school when she’s overburdened, giving a hug or a supportive remark when she’s sad or feeling insecure, helping my wife with chores and being as romantic as she’ll allow, helping my son in scouting and in becoming a young respectable man, helping the kids develop life skills and independence, it’ll eventually add up to respect.  Maybe.  I hope.  Work is a lost cause.  They want to demand my respect just from having authority to fire me, not realizing that at work, my respect can be bought, to start.  After starting with buying it with a decent wage commensurate with my experience and training and tenure, THEN it can be earned by helping me succeed in my career and developing me to the point where I can actually retire before I die, and hopefully have enough years to catch up with all the things I don’t have time to do between work and family and church and other activities.

As a blogger, if you don’t like me, you won’t read it.  You won’t follow it.  I’ll either get the message or not, but what do you care if you quit following me.  Just like the TV, or radio, if I hate the show or the commercial, I endure it or shut it off.  It has zero impact on the producers or the advertisers, but they are free to express whatever shit they want to broadcast and sell whatever shit they want.  Who the fuck cares?  And why?

There’s plenty of things I’d call “obscene” on the internet.  Why are people so afraid of someone offending someone else?  I think if a person has talent and respect, they ought to rise to the top.  But in the modern era what seems to rise to the top is infamy.  For some reason, the tacky, the cheap, the lowest common denominator, is what people want to see more of.  It makes them feel good about themselves and doesn’t challenge them to strive for better and more.  For some reason, the crafty, the villain, the ill-mannered, get the vote for fear that the one who seems honest and trustworthy might have some kind of hidden agenda the talentless, seem to get the sympathy vote because here in America we don’t want anyone to feel like they should keep on looking for their specialty, and try something new until they find something they’re really good at.  Our little baseball playing toddlers don’t keep score (but the adults do).  Art that people don’t think is art might sell to someone.  And someone might pay you to blog.  I wish they’d pay me, but I’m not holding my breath.  Plus, I need something either huge and inexhaustible, or huge and reliable over time.  I’m settling for reliable over time, but with that plan I’ll be working until I’m dead.  How disappointingly depressing is that?

I’ve vented enough, and I’ve thoroughly disappointed both of the people who strive to encourage my writing to be better.  So now I’m going to get myself ready to disappoint my boss, by working my ass off as hard as I can with my motivation high and my expectations low.  I think the boss pretends to be disappointed, and secretly they’re impressed trying to figure out how I’ve stayed so long for so little reward, and keep trying every day.  Maybe that’s why Mrs M is keeping me.  She’s secretly impressed, but also my worst critic, trying to encourage me to do better.  At doing what she wants me to do, mostly because she doesn’t want to do it herself.

I hope you find your inner motivation today.  I hope I do do.  I need to accomplish things when I take my breaks, because I didn’t accomplish anything great yesterday or today.  Except maybe I offended someone because I don’t take offense at sacrilegious, satirical, or political art or language.  If you’re offended that I’m not offended, you know what to do.  That’s right, have me arrested.  No, learn to park big things in small places.  No.

I hope you can do something good, that makes you feel good, or makes you happy because of either the sense of accomplishment or the gratitude of a friend or stranger.  Or, for a little while, do nothing, or something just for you and feel good and eventually harness the energy you have from taking a little “me” time to rest a little.  I hope I can too, but it’ll have to be snuck in between and after work, since I haven’t invested the morning in tasks.

Have a good day.  Both of you.

Boundaries and Protecting the Guilty

You know it’s coming: an old school rant, because I’m old.  And someone put an evil raccoon in my shorts. (But, Deon!  You NEVER rant!  What’s wrong?  EVERYTHING)

First, I understand that accidents happen.  “Accidents” are unforeseen events, one believes those are not preventable.  They cause destruction and that’s why one buys insurance, either to protect their own assets, or to provide remuneration for other people’s assets if one is found at fault.  I’m fine with that.

I’m NOT fine with the willful destruction of property and the reckless loss of life or liberty, and then the legal system having the penchant for protecting the guilty.  I’m not fine with willful disrespect of appropriate boundaries.

Part 1:

This week the news was ripe with Cincinnati’s own little Johnny Darwin, who decided it was a good idea to leave his mother’s watchful care, climb a three foot boundary fence, cross a few feet of boundary hedge, and drop fifteen feet into the Silverback habitat.  At the risk of becoming unpopular as a blogger, my first gut reaction was to think, the sniper missed.  Except there’s no signage saying “trespassers will be shot.”

I hear your horror.  While I’m acquainted with a three year old’s enthusiasm about getting where they want to go, I’m also aware from personal experience with child harnesses, call them leashes or whatever and I don’t care, that they exist.

We learned our kid was a runner at age 3, and bought a leash for museum and zoo trips.  And we used the damned thing.  Maybe it was Johnny Darwin’s first escape.  We’ll never hear the truth of that from Mrs Darwin.   My second one was to wonder why the fence wasn’t higher.  It is NOW, too little too late for Harambe.

Sadly, the only “animals” in Harambe’s unfortunate case, were the humans.  I firmly believe Johnny could have been retrieved without harm, by a zoo handler.  I also firmly believe, that due to Harambe not understanding human speech, he was frightened for the boy, who the humans might have thrown in, and he was protecting his new charge.  They were noisy, they were yelling, they were upset, and maybe Harambe thought they were angry with Darwin, who looked innocent, therefore the safest thing to do with the boy was to collect him and put him in the safest place available, using himself as a shield.  If Harambe wanted to harm little Johnny Darwin, 400 lbs of gorilla vs 40 lbs of 3 year old, it wouldn’t have been any challenge, and the caveat-ed award would have been won.

The meme above about the leashes is right, except the leashes aren’t to protect your kids from the gorillas, rather, they’re to keep the gorillas safe from your kids.

The lesson to be learned here is, in the name of all that is good, please, teach your child appropriate boundaries.  I’m a dad, I get that it’s sometimes difficult.  We had our adventures when our kids were 3.  We learned from it.  I have very vivid memories of chasing after a quick toddler (we were only a few seconds behind him), and upon catching him, quickly correcting the behavior, in an old-school kind of way.  And as soon as we knew we had a problem child, we nipped it in the bud and got a leash.  Arrest me for child abuse, but a), he never got away with that kind of SHIT again, and b) he had learned by the third time he tried that we didn’t approve, and not to TRY that kind of shit.  My bet is, it wasn’t little Johnny’s first offense.  I bet mommy started counting before the 911 call.

Mrs Darwin: “If you don’t come back right now Johnny, I’m going to count to 10!”
Johnny: (thinking) Well, she doesn’t really get mad until she reaches seven, so… I’m still gooOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD!  Oh shit, what do I do now?!

Counting is not discipline.  It’s stupid.  Harambe did it right.  He didn’t count.  He grabbed the kid by the arm, and took him to safety.  It’s what mom should have done.

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Part 2:

The end of the world will not be caused by a natural disaster.  It won’t be the volcano at Mount Yellowstone’s fault, like was predicted in the movie 2012.  It won’t be flooding, or storms, like were predicted in The Day After Tomorrow.  It won’t even be tidal waves, or global warming.  It will be a disastrous chain reaction set in motion by someone taking a damned SELFIE, or driving while texting.

Exhibit A:

This statue was 126 years old.  It was an irreplaceable work of art.  And some fucking idiot came along and destroyed it “on accident” while trying to take a damned selfie.  Humans are, recently, irresponsible, destructive fucking idiots.  But it’s not just the modern selfie generation.  I give you

Exhibit B:

She’s the famous Venus De Milo.  I don’t give a shit who broke her arms off.  Someone did it.  We don’t know where the arms were, or how they were originally carved.  My guess is, she was probably being modest and covering herself and some jackass wanted to cop a feel.

Exhibit C:  You remember Ecce Homo (“Behold The Man”), priceless painting,  by Elias Garcia Martinez? He hung there to be “beh[e]ld,” for more than 100 years, in the Sanctuary of Mercy Church in Borja, but he was flaking out.  Along comes an art enthusiast who says, “let me fix that.”  Without asking her for samples of her restorative work, they apparently either gave permission or they covered her graciously by fabricating a story about giving permission later.  I didn’t get the feeling we got the true story of the restoration work.  But I got a feeling the woman was in way over her head.  Here’s how that turned out:

I wish they had made her do a few studies before taking on the whole project.  But there Jesus is, minus his ugly thorny crown and unsightly forehead blood, now wearing a more modern, stylish hairdo, a shave, and, bonus, sporting a lovely scarf!

It looks like something a kid might do.  Not terrible necessarily, but not as realistic as Martinez’ original work.    Anyone who has taken a recent trip to a “museum of modern art” can tell you that “art” has different definitions depending on who’s defining it.  But I say, if my kids can do better (and many times they can, those talented little jewels), then YOURS isn’t ART.  Young Miss M can do brilliant Romantic-styled landscapes, and more Modernistic math-inspired works, as well or better than any cubist or expressionist. Master M can do brilliant humorous post-modern work, as good as Worhol or Gaughuin.

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I seriously couldn’t watch this one all the way through. I saw the end on the news this morning. I started watching the beginning and had to stop, while wondering what the staff was doing instead of monitoring guests or their cctv. And wondering why this guest couldn’t be bothered to obey the rules everyone else has to obey, and has respectfully obeyed since the doors opened. If you can stand to watch, see if it doesn’t inspire you to want to yell at this stupid fuck. “HEY! ASS HOLE! Don’t touch it!” He keeps fucking touching it, not once but SEVERAL FUCKING TIMES!!!

Exhibit D:

D- for “Duhhh!!”  He keeps touching the thing until it accidentally falls off the wall accidentally allowing the power of gravity to destroy it.  OH.  MY.  FLYINGSPAGHETTIMONSTER.  The artist who designed the clock was very gracious and said he will fix it.  But really.  Boundaries.  Boundaries.  Boundaries.  It’s not just that it’s destructive.  It’s that it’s fucking disrespectful.
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But in the modern era, it’s not little Johnny Darwin’s fault, nor his mommy’s.  Oh, no.  Somehow it’s the fucking zoo’s fault that a gorilla was murdered after living there about 17 years in peace, because some little shit didn’t respect his boundaries.

The jury’s still being assembled for the guy who ruined the Portuguese statue.  But hey, maybe it’s not his fault either.  Somehow.  I guess.

It’s not Senora I-can-paint-it-just-as-good-or-better-than-a-painting-teacher’s fault she trashed the painting.  Her work was solid, we are just being overly critical of her improvements.

It’s not Mr. Let-Me-Make-This-Clock-I-Don’t-Understand-Start-Ticking-OOPS!’s fault he knocked the clock off the wall either.  It’s the museum’s fault for not enclosing the clock behind an acrylic shield screwed to the wall studs.

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Part 3:

Last, and worst, an arrogant waste-of-skin had his way with a girl and then killed her. And several others.  That smug little shit.  Van Terry, the young lady’s father, is a hero and should be allowed not just to flip the switch but to castrate the son of a bitch and remove his fingers and toes with a cigar cutter, by quarter of an inch intervals, allowing for partial healing in between each operation.

That beautiful young lady, Shirellda Terry, did not deserve to be savagely attacked and then murdered, nor did any of his other victims.  I’m not even going to dignify him by mentioning his name.  He’s just a little shit who had no respect for boundaries, who deserves worse than death.  The defense argued to spare his life, asking for mercy for this monster.  And the smug little shit was smiling because the court and law enforcement officials were obligated to protect him.  Except for the method of his dispatch, the judge chose correctly.  Humanely.

I’d let the father loose with a wide cigar cutter, once a month, with the animal well-restrained, and when he was done, I’d throw a pack of gauze at the monster and tell him to figure it out or bleed to death.  And then, let Mr. Terry throw the switch, or choose a more fun method, to end it after he’s heard the animal cry and beg for mercy.  And it’s still not enough to be really called “justice.”  All the law enforcement and court officials would publicly decry my method.  They may not call my way  close to “justice” out loud, but that’s what it should be.  The death penalty is not enough for monsters like this.

Shirellda was a priceless, unique, irreplaceable work of art created by God and Mr. Terry and Ms. Minor.  She was their beautiful baby.  This arrogant, smug little shit presumptuously took her from the world.  I say, let Mr. Terry dispose of this trash any way he sees fit.  It’s what I would want.  I’m a dad, and I love my kids, and fuck the “rights of the guilty” if anyone ever does anything to hurt them.  Criminals lose their rights the instant they take their victim’s rights away from them.

Cool Cutting

(Alliterative for 1/3, Letter C)

Cool Cutting, 1/3/2016, Deon Mumple

 

The needle makes the smallest cuts,
The skin embracing every dot,
Each cut a scream of joyous pain,
As ink blots join like a Monet,

Pain brings its’ familiar feeling,
And feeling finally has meaning

Each pain is injurious artistic release,
Of a beasts captivity, temporarily ceased
In the community of cool cutting
One addiction satisfies another craving

Pain brings its’ familiar feeling
And feeling finally shows its’ meaning.

Really? WTF, people, Buy a book of poetry and READ IT!

In the name of culture, in the name of the arts, in the name of all that is good in the world,

The Washington Post says poetry is going extinct.  It’s an art form, just like dance or music, but the problem is, a lot of it sucks because a lot of people who shouldn’t be writing “poetry” are writing what they call “poetry,” and it’s just not good.  I won’t name any names, but the bad poets are ruining it for the good ones, because people are afraid to go to the store and buy it.  Also the abundance of good poetry online makes the sales numbers sag so it looks like extinction.  Read it, but know it’s not true.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2015/04/24/poetry-is-going-extinct-government-data-show/?tid=sm_tw

It’s not extinction, it’s evolution.  Some poets just give it away, and they should.  Because it’s crap.  Some poets sell it and they shouldn’t.  Because it’s crap.  But some poets really go to the trouble of thinking out things, structures, forms, concepts, and putting them into words and imagery, metaphor, simile, et cetera, and they make it good.  Those are the ones you’re looking for.

I know, a lot of poetry is just shit.  Sorry, bad poets, I’m calling you out, just not by name.  I know you hear stuff on the radio or in popular songs and you just want to gag because it’s so bad.  But there are good poets out there. I may or may not be one of them.  If you don’t explore the world of poetry, classic and contemporary, and encourage your children to do the same, they will miss out on the joy of Dr Seuss, Shel Silverstein, and later, they’ll miss out on appreciating James Taylor, William Shakespeare and other greats.  And they may or may not find a good contemporary poet who isn’t spewing the crap they put on contemporary bubblegum popular songs- although there is, rarely, brilliance to be found there as well.

Not all poetry is shit.  All I am saying is give poetry a chance.  Visit your local bookstore today!  Or go online, and find an obscure poet on Amazon or Smashwords or wherever, and buy their book!  Don’t let poetry die.  I implore you.  It’s not all bad!  It’s just got a bad rap.  Oh and not all rap is bad either, I like a lot of it, just not the ones where they overuse the word “Fuck” because it rhymes with “Fuck.”