Monday, October 4, 2010

This one isn't mine but Kenneth Rexroth--

whose poems I truly like. They ring the bell. Starbursts. Mouth your own cliched metaphor for liking someone else's poetry and see how it feels in your mouth. A little like you ought to rinse and spit, am I right? I steals the copy from this link, because you must know I am too lazy to type all that my ownself.


I don’t mind the human race.
I’ve got pretty used to them
In these past twenty-five years.
I don’t mind if they sit next
To me on streetcars, or eat
In the same restaurants, if
It’s not at the same table.
However, I don’t approve
Of a woman I respect
Dancing with one of them. I’ve
Tried asking them to my home
Without success. I shouldn’t
Care to see my own sister
Marry one. Even if she
Loved him, think of the children.
Their art is interesting,
But certainly barbarous.
I’m sure, if given a chance,
They’d kill us all in our beds.
And you must admit, they smell.

Which is awful because it's true and I think if he lived now he'd have a blog, don't you? I once thought I learned two incredibly important things from literature--the first was that all people are equally useless from the jump. The second is that we are all equally dignified. What matters is how we employ our dignity. But part of the biggest stupidity humans fall prey to is dividing people up into race-this and gender-that. Here he just lumps the whole of humanity into the "to be hated" pile, employing all the cliches of bigotry. And suddenly, if you're included--don't you want to defend yourself? And any others under the broad umbrella of the human race?

It's crafty. I like it.

Friday, October 1, 2010

A Nursery Rhyme on Bullying--if one might be Needed

You want to teach your son how to be a man?
Teach him to be himself, if he can,
and then listen for the ways he'll show you how
he is who he is, and if somehow,
he's not the man of your expectations--
Is he at least good? Then the situation
is that you've raised a good person and that's the key;
they don't have to be what you expect them to be.
They just have to make it--stay alive--
Because life can be awesome for those who survive.

But truth is, the world can be a bad place for sons,
and daughters too, expecially the ones
who develop early or happen to find
they have an attraction for their own kind--
So start out early, and right out of the gate,
explain to them they're too good for hate.
And the people who would want to hurt them are wrong--
and that those minds are weak but love is strong.

And don't teach your children to be cruel,
there's still gold in the Golden Rule--
they shouldn't call names and they shouldn't throw fists,
they shouldn't name targets and they shouldn't make lists--

(Should a bullseye be on their back, too?
Would that thing be okay with you?)

And they should be respectful and appreciate others--
That's the goal, fathers and mothers,
Showing them how to be themselves and real
while respecting how other people feel
will make them strong and keep them true,
and they will come back with rewards for you--
or not, because they're only human,
but at least you didn't harm or doom them.

And always tell them that things get better,
even if you suspect they don't always do,
and maybe they'll believe it down to the letter
because it will count if it comes from you.
And if they don't even believe it themselves
they might be moved to come to you.
Because they want to see in your eyes that it's true.

And it does, it does get better, kids grow up and out!
And the world makes more sense and seems more sane
now they're old enough to know what they're about
and their old foes aren't there to give them pain--
and your kids seem better and even free--
Not maybe exactly who you thought they'd be,
but here, and loved, and make no doubt,
lives can be rich when they are lived Out.