Only the children and the animals can make us better people.

That just occurred to me, suddenly, but what does it mean? I think that what it means is to be good is simple and all of our evolution and intellect and religion and forward progress really has nothing to do with being good. Good is there in its most basic form. You can see it in children and you can see it in the animal kingdom. That’s enough. The rest is all of us just trying too hard to claim it.

a stump a storm a stone

A Stump

There’s nothing more sad than a stump.
A hole in the sky where once was majesty.
A disk. A flat, ruined, pointless disk.

A Storm

April is the cruelest month
when days in the fifties
are marched back to February
by eagerly unwanted snow.

A Stone

They combed the beach for agates
gathered whatever they found
they named them all agates
then left them on the ground.

Just because!

We do lots of things and believe lots of thing without really thinking about them and sometimes someone else shines a little light on the strangeness of it all. To wit: I came into the bathroom and my eight-year-old daughter was holding one of the large bath towels. The area between her two hands – an eight inch circle – was soaking wet. She was obviously washing her face with it.

“What are you doing?”

“What?”

“The towel – it’s soaked!”

“So.”

“That’s a towel!”

“So.”

“You should be using a wash rag!”

“Why? It’s the exact same material.”

“Wash rags are for washing!” I was getting a little snarky. “Towels are for drying!”

“Wet things.”

“What?”

“Drying wet things so they get wet – like this.” She held up the towel.

“Not like that they don’t!”

“If it’s wet enough they do.”

“Yeah, but now…”

“It has to dry.” She finished my sentence. “Like it always does when it gets wet. And then it gets dry and everything is fine.”

“But that’s too wet!” I said and just then realized how ludicrous this all was. Two pieces of the same material – one two feet by four feet, the other six inches by six inches. I’ve always known that the smaller piece could get really wet and the bigger one could not! Period. End of story.

But why? Just because!

the republicans have been robbed!

Part of me wants to say “Hip Hip Hooray for Rob Portman!” The republican senator from Ohio came out yesterday in support of same-sex marriage – which is gutsy in a party that generally thinks homosexuals are deviants, the earth is seven thousand years old, and all you need are bootstraps to be as fat and happy as Wall Street CEOs.

It seems Rob’s son came out to him and that is what changed his mind. This is all still laudable, but when you are unable to have empathy for any sort of person until there is one of those sorts of people in your own family you might be lacking a sufficient amount of empathy. I’m not even sure empathy is what we feel for our own children considering the absolute closeness we feel with them. The sadness and joy we feel when our own children feel sadness and joy seems closer to some sort of Vulcan mind meld than something called empathy.

Either way, I’ll go with “Hip Hip Hooray!” And add, “Welcome to the enlightenment, the 21st century, and common human decency!”

i felt bad

i felt bad
because i called it stabbing
when it was fencing,
but then figured, shit,
it might as well be called stabbing.

Hagiography

I can’t say how much I love how Edward St. Aubyn skewers the holy, high and mighty, landed, nam-ed, people of his Patrick Melrose novels. But I also feel a similar anger toward his own prodigious talent. Like, well, fuck you, Eddie, with all you got through whatever genetic re-redistribution that led to your own genius! You are the heir to whatever it is you do. You skewer them with the same unabashed cruelty and poetry that they do others. Yes, you are infinitely better and more able, while they skewer, you fillet. And I Iove you for it. But I hate you, too. That cruelty doesn’t come from nowhere.

And that’s the point, I guess. I love you again.

andiwaslike

My kids say, “I was like…” all the time. And it fucking pisses me off. [Full disclosure: I say it all the time.]

“I was like…”

Whatever happened to “I said…”? or “I turned to her and replied…”? or “I looked at him and basically screamed that…”?

It’s all, “I was like…” now.

It’s a verbal simplification that will destroy the minds of man. Over time.  All of us.

The simpler we make things, the stupider we make things. Consider the tweet or Ikea. We find so that the mind doesn’t matter more and more. Design for the dumbest among us. The quickest fixes. The quality falters.

And what? Hope for the best?

Geographical Chauvinism

Duluth looks down on Two Harbors. Rochester looks down on Duluth. St. Paul looks down on Rochester. Minneapolis looks down on St. Paul. Chicago looks down on Minneapolis. Los Angeles looks down on Chicago. New York looks down on Los Angeles. London looks down on New York. Paris looks down on London. And Two Harbors knows Paris is just a bunch of queers.

 

His wife was small, diminutive

His wife was small, diminutive,
kept order in the place they lived
made lists of things and scolded him
when he bought something on a whim.

The girl was round, voluptuous,
she ordered fries and chicken strips
chewed bubble gum she shared with him
before they worked out in the gym.

His wife would wait at home and cook
and clean and read another book
and glare at him when he came in
fresh showered with a sheepish grin.

The girl would go out to the bars
and drink and dance under the stars
and send him pictures and silly notes
he read in the closet behind the coats

that smelled of must and of his wife
to whom he’d promised all his life
that day when she seemed worth it all –
open, caring, beautiful.

But now she’s scrunched and crumpled up,
filled with contempt, her loving cup,
tired and weary, wrinkly and prudish,
so, really, was he being all that brutish

by wrapping his arms ’round something so soft,
so round and moist that lifts him aloft,
that giggles and smiles and laughs at his jokes
and teases and tickles and fondles and pokes?

Must he avoid this happiness
to uphold a law that was really a guess?
Should he stay with scrunchy or go with the lass?
The answer, he knew, was of course, yes.