Poetry is…

Just a pleasant little ditty I wrote years ago. Actually, a character in the novel I wrote, wrote this. Having just rediscovered it and liking it quite a bit, I thought I’d put it out there. And remember, as Eddie Izzard says, poetry is like a song, only with more words and no music.

Reckoning of the Dying
Lips long gone from red to gray,
Skin far gone to clear
Ashen faces, once a-bright
Ponder endings near

The end was many chapters past,
Dénouement wears thin
Afterwords have all been writ
Silence quashes din.

To wit: to point, to make, to build,
Infinitives asunder.
Gauntly stares beyond the veil
Drain merriment and wonder.

The situation sedimented.
Complacency is testamented
No want, no need, no spark, except
The drive to stay impedimented.

Breath and time do worsen thirst,
Do desiccate the succulent.
No cries for moisture issued forth,
Accepting, never truculent.

Oblivion to be assured,
A short step off the ledges.
The mortal coil so inured
Has weathered off the edges.

Absolutes are not off-limit,
Divinities not thanked,
But blamed instead for lack of mettle,
Sullying the sacrosanct.

Absentee Father not in heaven.
Neglectful Mother gone away.
They soiled the nest they never built.
There’s no one left to pay

For sins against the supplicants
For contradicting their creation,
The charges all come down to one:
Gross disapprobation.

The Natural Order was suborned
To serve the Egos Mythic.
They sent to hell who did refuse,
Made sycophants prolific.

Pleased with their Bifurcated All,
The Good, the Bad: there are no others.
Unthinking Good ignore the Bad:
That which comforts also smothers.

The Godly Goal? Ubiquity.
Curse the thoughtful with iniquity
And trivialize what doesn’t fit
as Parlor Magic or antiquity.

Leveling Drift

Of course, the nature of human affairs, of human sophistication, is suborning the “natural” to serve the “intended”. But why?

It struck me, in reading a pal’s megablog (it’s a blog! it’s branding! it’s a blog AND branding!), that it’s not so much we humans have a need to categorize and label the things around us but rather the need to categorize ourselves, each and together. And it’s that self-categorization that leads to categorizing other people and other things in the interest of establishing our own individual sense of place.

Astrology works that way, to my way of thinking. General clusters of traits that are abstract enough to appeal to a critical mass, and we each take care of living up to, down to, or generally towards that expectation set for us by “our stars”. I am an Aries. This is what Aries are/do/say/feel/think. I am destined to be/do/say/feel/think similiarly.

Fatalism as a cultural directive.

Anecdotally, I have seen great license taken in categorizing others as clever or stupid or sappy or cold or self-loathing or self-aggrandizing. Nothing wrong with that, per se, but it’s the implication of exclusivity that bugs me.

Not to mention the haughtiness of such an exclusion. How do we convince ourselves we’re not pompous assholes as we’re jabbing our push-pinned labels into the foreheads of others?

The “great license” I mention above comes from a sort of self-effacement that happens first: believing you are humble/realistic about yourself is the provenance of excusing yourself from being an asshole. “I’m a bonehead, so I feel ok in calling others a bonehead.”

Which is bullshit. There are so many other reasons to resort to self-flagellation. A strong sense of fairness is not high on that list, not usually.

So abnegation leads to prejudice, and categorization leads to prejudice. “I know that guy’s a homophobic fag. I can call him a fag because I call myself a fag. Only I can handle being called a fag and he can’t handle it. Therefore he’s self-loathing. Therefore I already know what kinds of movies, what kinds of songs, what kind of writings will set him off. I know how he lives his life exactly because it’s not like me.”

So people gravitate towards the guideposts, towards the labels, the categories, bending their own selves to fit the words. And some of them even perpetuate the categories, lighting a candle not to beat back the darkness, but to illuminate the labels.