Tag Archives: journal

The Prophet Redux

Image

8/22/12 7:48am

I woke up late (at 6) and washed the dishes I’d left from last night. I had wanted to wake early and go to the Y, but I did not set my alarm.  After I washed the dishes I sat down and read Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet while applying the heat pad to my ankle. Very nice except where I chose to sit the rising sun was shining directly in my eyes.

I have always loved The Prophet, ever since that day (well it was a late night) that the messenger (Oscar? Ben? Bill? I can’t remember his name) sat me down and explained why this was the life of all life, book of all books. I think he thought it was a secular bible.  There was another book that he was obsessed with, something new agey (this being 1981, it was an outlier) that he also liked, it might have been RamDass or something that stupid. In any case he spent an hour or two after midnight evangelizing this text as I drained a 40 of Ballantine Ale (or three). As I said “I’ll be right back, I need another,” he confessed to me that he was a heroin addict. I’m not so sure why it mattered that I knew that, but I definitely filed that bit of intelligence away (people not to be trusted any more) he became even more passionate about The Prophet.  We stayed in Washington Square until 3 or 4 in the morning talking about that book and the ideas that it provided.

I have very few clear memories of Ben after that day. I saw him once on Madison in the 20s and on 5th below 14th (Funny how early in their addiction addicts can be found in the Village). I last saw him in midtown, near triple-six-Fifth, the DC building. He was looking run down. I wonder if he survived. Most addicts from ‘81 died of AIDS.

I wonder why people have always wanted to talk about books with me? I was a simple drunken messenger back then. But still people wanted to talk books with me. I’d been pretty good at avoiding the Jehovah’s Witnesses and other religious fanatics who want to talk about “Their Book.” But when I was in early recovery in Harlem and in other unusual places people have always come up to me and wanted to discuss philosophical texts. I must have a bookish mein to myself.

I’ve always considered that night in Washington Square and the book by William James The Varieties of Religious Experience that an Addict at Gracie Square gave me in ‘86 odd. But somehow I felt like Siddhartha, someone with a huge destiny because people brought me books to read in unlikely places (these are not the only 2).

In my paper journal I wrote about The Prophet, but I don’t have time to retype that here now. Sad, really.  Previously I had loved “Marriage” because of the idea of separation and love: “For the pillars of the temple stand apart.” But now, these days, with teens, the passage “On Children” really moved me. I am comforted and tortured by the passage that says “For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.”

Thing 1 has proven herself to be a totally independent thinker, who suffers instruction unhappily.  However she does follow rules, like most older siblings, and has made her trajectory towards the future clear. Thing 2 -TACITURN youth- has little communication with us, though he seems to know that we are excluded from his future.  He suffers our interruptions unhappily, knowing this. Thing 3 has become prematurely knowing.  She is the tween sister of two teens and has started salting away their mistakes for her future use.  Clever, she is.

Celebrity Predators

Thinking about the Penn State Football Greed Cowardice I wrote these poems. I wrote the numbered ones first and added A-through-E the next day. I think, though I may not have expressed it well here, that this stems from the same malady that permits bullying: stardom. Aren’t the cooler kids and jocks essentially schoolyard stars?

A. We allow the rich/
To “get away with murder”/
Because fame matters/
#haiku

B. The laws of mortals/
Don’t apply to powerful/
To spite our values/
#haiku

C. Prize college football/
Over children’s innocence/
Because of money/
#haiku

D. Pleasure of many/
Permits the torture of few/
Until rich get caught/
#haiku

E. Demand rituals/
Of this consumer culture/
No matter the cost/
#haiku

21. Humans give extra/
Privileges to people/
With higher status/
#haiku

22. America has/
Institutionalized this/
Favoritism/
#haiku

23. From the movie stars/
To the pee-wee-ball prospects/
We entitle some/
#haiku

24. This “entitlement”/
Erodes the rights of others/
To some fair treatment/
#haiku

25. The scramble for wealth/
Creates and justifies this lie/
That fame equals good/
#haiku

26. The common person/
Is creation’s true zenith/
There’s your role model/
#haiku

27a. The celebrity/
Consumerism’s monster/
Makes us unequal/
#haiku

27b. Celebrity is/
Consumerism’s monster:/
Inequality/
#haiku

28. Look within yourself/
For that which you seek without*/
We are all equal/
#haiku *in fame

Haiku Journal (Fire Island Day 14)

20120714-070715.jpg
[it took me a while to get to the point, stick with them, these poems get better]

4. All of us alive/
Get our way most of the time/
So be more grateful/
#haiku

5. Living simply proves/
Survival’s a miracle/
show some gratitude/
#haiku

6. From the Boson-Higgs/
To the clean water we drink/
Miracles abound/
#haiku

7. Tribulations give/
The existence we enjoy/
Some necessities/
#haiku

8a. Even enemies/
Offer something important/
In this crazy life/
#haiku

8b. Diseases provide/
Something important to life/
That we can’t perceive/
#haiku

9. Necessities are/
Food, company & shelter/
Be grateful for them/
#haiku

10. We do not need more/
Our species thrives with good* work/
Not with luxuries/
#haiku *hard

11. Life’s simple pleasures:/
Hearth, Food, friends, & time to think/
Are true luxuries/
#haiku

12. Luxuries are not/
Things you can buy and save up/
They are our freedoms/
#haiku

13. Freedom ain’t pretty:/
With it we can make mistakes/
& Hurt our neighbors/
#haiku

14. Free to be tacky/
Corny-self-righteous-jerks is/
Also important/
#haiku

15. We’re free to believe/
The most absurd of theories/
Of our creation/
#haiku

16. Freedom demands our/
Tolerance and acceptance/
Of people we don’t like/
#haiku

17. “G_d’s” snake handlers/
Have the right to spit venom/
No matter my thoughts/
#haiku

18. Freedom makes demands/
That seem so cockamamie/
But we must relent/
#haiku

19. Nothing’s guaranteed/
No sacred life is promised/
We are but mortals/
#haiku

20. So I’ll try to help/
And accept the eccentric/
To let freedom live/
#haiku

20120714-071023.jpg

Spring Growth

20120501-083329.jpg
May Day
Today I will notice people working/
And ignore advertising/

I will celebrate students learning/
& smile at loud cries for attention/

I will do my very best to help/
& not judge those who don’t/

I will satisfy only my needs/
& observe the “wants” needy cries/

I will do my job diligently/
So I can help the world improve/

I will not notice when I find others’ faults/
& try to see assets & motives/

If my outlook changes anything/
It is the entire world that will improve/

You may not notice it out-there in the world/
But you can transform the world in your HEART/

~Stafford

Power (IMBALANCE) #Haikus

Another entry from my twitter haiku journal:

1. Ancient emnities:/
Domestic dogs versus cats/
Contest for handouts/
#haiku

2. Scarce resources cause/
Un-needed competition/
Our fear creates greed/
#haiku

3. Constabularies’/
Job, since their creation: to/
Keep “Have nots” from “haves”/
#haiku

4. Control and power/
Disguised as security/
Eat our freedoms up/
#haiku

5. Most power corrupts:/
The “Top-down model” creates/
Loyalty upwards/
#haiku

6. Liberation needs,/
Paradoxically, freedom/
For misbehaviour/
#haiku

7. The “top-down-model,”/
Most of all, must be free of/
Ideology/
#haiku

8. The “top-down-model,”/
Most of all, must be free of/
Formal religion/
#haiku

9. The “top-down-model,”/
Most of all, must be free of/
Fundamentalists/
#haiku

10. The “top-down-model,”/
Most of all, must be free of/
Christian phalangists/
#haiku

11. The “top-down-model,”/
Most of all, must be free of/
Islamic nut jobs/
#haiku

12. The “top-down-model,”/
Most of all, must be free of/
White supremacists/
#haiku

13. The “top-down-model,”/
Most of all, must be free of/
All Utopians/
#haiku

Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Tenure and Haikus

Here are a could of days Haikus beter formatted and, I think, more interesting.  There are two mini stories embedded in it. I like the “Transvestite Epiphany” and the “Democratic Neighborhood” cycles.  Remember as you read them -brave soul- that they are in reverse order.

week’s classes are done/
Foiled by an early sping break/
No papers to grade/
#haiku about 2 hours ago via web

We will be there, but/
Internet said six o’clock/
Is it 9 or six/

#haiku #tainted about 8 hours ago via txt

dramatic dawn.
Dramatic sunrise/
On this warm sunny morning/
After days of rain/
#haiku http://znl.me/P7Z98I about 9 hours ago via Zannel

But GOP friends/
Claim I’m too thin skinned about/
Racism’s rebirth/
#haiku about 17 hours ago via txt

@fadingad
“Lurid signs of spring”/
The freaky fecundity/
of Mother Nature/
#Haiku about 19 hours ago
via web in reply to fadingad

What would lib’rals do/
Without cheap conservatives/
To blame for hating?/
#haiku about 21 hours ago via txt

What would big-sky West/
Do without the finite East/
To validate space?/
#haiku about 21 hours ago via txt

What would Yankees do/
Without the spread-out Western/
‘Burb-spawns to “tsk-tsk?”/
#haiku about 21 hours ago via txt

What would Dixie do/
Without rich Yankees to hate?/
Start social justice?/
#haiku about 21 hours ago via txt

You’re not counting points.
Can count on me, however.
You are just perfect.
#haiku

Celebrate, they say,/
And do yourself a nice turn/
Work won’t grade itself/
#haiku about 22 hours ago via txt

On my way home on/
The Q39 bus/
What’s for our dinner?
#haiku about 22 hours ago via txt

crabs in a basket/
selfish shellfish are haters/
metaphor of poor/
#haiku http://goo.gl/4joE about 22 hours ago via web

Vampires or zombies/
Meetings greedily suck souls/
From the corpse I’ll be/
#haiku about 23 hours ago via txt

Sediment layers/
Of unwanted glances make/
Hijab attitude/
#haiku 2:20 PM Mar 23rd via txt

RT: @MATTERWILLIGER i gave a fuck once..never got it back…[What's the redemption value on a 16 OZ Fuck?] 8:00 AM Mar 23rd via OpenBeak

What’s the redemption/
value on a 16 OZ/
Frosty Ice-Cold Fuck?/
#haiku

Messianic faith/
In capitalism’s G_d/
Marks the #GOP/
#haiku 7:31 AM Mar 23rd via txt

1 in 20 men/
See desire’s semiotics/
Honed on teevee/
#haiku 8:17 PM Mar 22nd via txt

Make-up, hair and flair/
Pass him off as a woman/
These “Signs” drive desire/
#haiku 8:11 PM Mar 22nd via txt

When they realize/
How easily fooled they are by/
Symbols of women/
#haiku 8:08 PM Mar 22nd via txt

Six foot transvestite/
Factory worker enjoys/
Men’s shocked awareness/
#haiku 8:06 PM Mar 22nd via txt

20 Minutes Rain/
Waiting for the Q60/
Standing soggy wet/
#haiku 4:53 PM Mar 22nd via txt

Wait fifteen minutes/
Still no busses coming yet/
Q60 foils me/
#haiku 8:51 AM Mar 22nd via txt

spring springs.
Blossoming fruit-trees/
Peek over chain-link fences/
And see summer come/
#haiku http://znl.me/P6DP6G 7:52 AM Mar 22nd

Three A.M. Challenge/
Handball under the streetlights/
Loud drunken misses/
#haiku 6:47 AM Mar 22nd via txt

http://twitpic.com/1a37ab -
A shorebird in Queens/
Dies on a sidewalk, hungry,/
Waiting for his end/
#haiku 10:35 PM Mar 21st

Excuse Poem

12/28/2009 6:50 AM

For almost a year, now/
My journal has been kept in haikus/
All of it has been posted on twitter/
Life seventeen syllables at a time/
Just like my prose journal/
That I used to keep/
I’ve not reflected on it/
I know, however, that/
This I must organize/
Because the Haikus are/
Of certain life-themes/
Family, my wife, life and kids/
Philosophical, bromides of life/
Artistic, moments of beauty/
That I catch in seventeen syllables/
I really look forward to reviewing
The thousands of Haikus/
I’ve distilled my life into/