Stray Thoughts & recycled tweets

Late night thought:  Language is always behind the times and so rejuvenation in the form of poetry is always necessary.

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Poets and critics are like thirsty men in a desert. They arrive at an oasis. Both peer into the water hole. The poet sees the reflection in the water includes his own face, the tree and sky above. On closer inspection, he sees into the water. Underneath the water, resting in the sand below, is a white skull bone. Repelled, he doesn’t drink and instead finds a place in the shade and writes a poem about the poisoned water and his great thirst that might eventually kill him. The critic watches the poet the entire time. He reads the poet’s word and avoids drinking the water, thus saving his life. He tells the poet he enjoyed the story. He wrote a review that said the poem captured the harsh atmosphere and contained the right amount of depth but suffered the fatal flaw of failing to identify the skull as human.

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Critics are valuable. They can lend perspective to a work of art. They can help a wider audience appreciate it’s implications. They can tell us something about the times the author lived in that contributed to his work. They can even tell us personal information about the author, though this is of dubious value in understanding the work itself. They can even offer a brilliant analysis of the work itself, as if the critic were a lepidopterist pulling the wings off a butterfly to understand how it flies. He can do all that but seldom if ever do critics get close to explaining what makes poetry tick, because, like the lepidopterist, he studies after death, after all flight of fancy has been destroyed, and can never know the why. The power and mystery of poetry is tied to this one thing, the why of existence. It is like asking why human consciousness? Or why God? Or why me? The answer will take some fancy word flight to get close to it. It requires hints and suggestions. It requires some large field to fly over. It will change directions often to take advantage of the subtlest breeze. It will come upon us when we are least expecting it. It will likely be something not always welcome to our present mood. It is not often even sought after. It will, because it is part of our life,  delight.

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In a poem where beans, barnacles and baseball bats appear each is of equal importance, even if the poet personally loves baseball.

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All the protests around the world, even sleepy Wisconsin; it is as if everyone suddenly remembered you could take an ax to the prison walls and help each other escape.

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A Christian martyr is someone murdered because of their faith, not one who kills others in the name of their faith.

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At the grocery today an elderly lady approached me and said, “I have a screw loose. Where are the nuts?”

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At first reading good poems seem strange. They seem as if written in another world. The reason for this separation is that the reader has yet to reach the earth.

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Read a passage of scripture or a poem, even your own journal, from a year or two ago and you’ll see new associations, thoughts and feelings. Often it will seem as if someone else wrote the words.

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Why do self-published poets on the Internet make the mistake of drowning their words in a sea of graphic images? Are their words not enough?

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What’s the difference between pretending to be what you are not, and pretending to be what you intend to become?
I’ll take a stab at that. Here are a few possibilities. Pretending to be what you are not is at best playful guile and at worst insincere deception. Pretending what you wish to become is at best creative role-playing and at worst self-deception.
I’ll bet there are other possibilities.
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Some governments gradually morph into a form of institutionalized satanic activity. Too often a people don’t see this happening under their noses until it is too late.
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We are all free to choose our own direction, except in the case of self-deception.
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Today I renamed the Richardson Highway the Bulimic Hwy after its usual gorging on cars and then vomiting them into the snow berms between Fairbanks and NorthPole.

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