Geometry of the Soul

If my soul was a geometric shape
It would be an unrelenting square
Unyielding to the requests for compromise
Like so many couches I’ve helped move
Being asked to negotiate the entryway to an elevator
It will not give an inch
It demands that the external world conform to its dimensions
And as such, is often left on the curb
To be lashed by the elements

"Fire Within" by Canadian painter, Osnat.

“Fire Within” by Canadian painter, Osnat.

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A Fond Farewell to 2013

If my year was a movie
Playing on the big screen
Here would be the plot points of 2013…

My career path was corrected
Goals brought into focus were finally seen
Prince, P!NK and the Postal Service
Were my musical caffeine

In Portland for birthday 39
With friends as fierce as wolverines
They fought a lot but Mount St. Helens taught
Even old volcanoes turn back to green

A class reunion long over due
Took me back in a time machine
But we had some laughs (and Casey’s General Store escaped my wrath)
On our mnemonic trampolines

I experienced magic in Montréal
A welcome break in my routine
Many thanks to Jay who saved the day
A friend-turned-tour guide reigns supreme

Saw the film “Gravity” which made me cry
And for the lonely this was your theme:
You must give your best to pass the test
And remember Endurance (your best vaccine)

So keep what has value and sever the rest
But make sure that your cut is clean
Because you can’t do it over – there is no magic clover
And bring on 2014

When I Made the Leap But No Net Appeared

I thought the path was concrete
But really it was water vapor

My instincts were like iron tanks
But the bridge was made with tissue paper

For someone who claims their lenses so clear
He was keeping his distance
I thought he was standing right here

Crossing that kind of gap
No smile would be wide enough
I embarrassed myself but I got him to laugh

People say, “I bet guys fall for you all the time.”
Well it’s quite the contrary

All the people I fall in love with
Turn out to be imaginary

"Like Tears In Rain" by Martin Wittfooth (2013)

“Like Tears In Rain” by Martin Wittfooth (2013)

Nothing Gold Can Stay

When I was in high school, I saw a film recommended by my older sister. It was called Point of No Return and it starred Bridget Fonda as a street junkie who commits a random murder and is sentenced to death by lethal injection. The authorities fake her execution and the U.S. government secretly rehabilitates her. She is then trained to be a deadly assassin taking out diplomats and other pre-selected targets. It was based on a French film called, La Femme Nikita.

MSDPOOF EC049What I remember most about this movie is not the constant killing or disposal of bodies in bath tubs of acid, but a single line quoted in the first act: An elegant but sinister Anne Bancroft is tasked with teaching students at the assassin school how to function with manners and grace, especially since they will need to attend embassy dinners with upper crust politicians and arms dealers before they blow their heads off. In her first scene with Bridget Fonda’s character, she says:

“Do you know what ‘nature’s first green is gold’ means?”

She goes on to explain that the line means “that the first is best, that youth is better than old age.”

I don’t know why that line found residence in my high school brain. I am sure most of us feel like fragments of movie dialogue and song lyrics become stuck in our psyches like flies to fly paper. It must have had a lot of resonance for me to remember it this long though.

Being struck by the sentence, I eventually found the source – which was a poem by Robert Frost called “Nothing Gold Can Stay”. It’s actually quite famous in poetry circles, and when I read it, I recalled a conversation I once had with a friend somewhat older than me. I was telling him that as I aged, it was getting harder to find things that felt like “brand new” experiences. He basically gave me the less flowery version of Frost’s eight lines of rhyme: “Well duh, you only fall in love for the first time ONCE, you only attend high school ONCE, you only travel to Europe for the first time ONCE. That’s life, buddy. You can always try to repeat things, but nothing will ever feel like the first time again.”

It was a depressing (but refreshing) reality check. It made me think, “Hmmm…I wonder if there is life beyond death or other lives we’ve had, and we simply chose to forget them as to experience the new all over again?”

I miss the new.

The Punishing Life of The Most Distal Toe (An Aria in Red)

I stubbed my toe on the bed
And this little piggy sang
A choral harmony in red
I could’ve ran for bandages
But I sat and stared at it instead
Like a miniature train wreck televised
For the God of War inside my head
But a little pain is good for you
That’s what my father always said

blood

Pepper Grenade (In My Mouth)

Had a salad for lunch today
“Delicious, it was” as Yoda would say
Full of green lettuce and yummy Caesar dressing
I may be agnostic but this salad was a blessing

But that was until the lunch hour passed
And I was back at my desk and feeling harassed
By the shrapnel of greens caught in my teeth
Enough in there to make my own Christmas wreath

As I cleaned my fangs with my trusty tongue
Something came loose, from a crevice it flung
Harmless and small I decided to bite
But, to my horror, something wasn’t quite right

You see, it was a particle of black pepper and if you’ve done this you know
This speck is a grenade with a most violent show
And now my palate feels like Full Metal Jacket (or a theater of pain)
This small piece of seasoning is the reason I’m insane

<dramatic bow>