Fred Sits Down

Fred feels thoughtful – says to the waiter,
“I’m but a short while here.

Your warmth and sun against
my precious wind and bitter
do battle,
deconstructing as they’re able,
the space I live within,
where I clutch at old things,

familiar and dear.

You offer me slowed moments,
an island vacation,
a time to set aside the immediate
of past and future busyness,
a chance for
relaxing blindered obedience.

I am doing nothing,

knowing nothing’s to be done
more than savour this night of sea breezes,
squawking radios,
languages other than my own.
I see dark humps in the distance
which sparkle,
perhaps lit by candles, laughter and
the tinkling wind-chime cocktail glasses
of someplace else.”

“As well,”

Fred notices and to himself muses,
“above, shines the quartered moon
as if it were a fault in the dome of sky
where light effuses, betrays another world,
maybe one from which we came
or another which we go toward,
if we ever die.”

Turning his head
enough to view the enclosing cap of
star-chipped black,
with its obvious crack,
Fred thinks,
“I didn’t end yesterday,
or today.
Though I have witnessed loss and sorrow,
the hour I finally disappear,
is distant, uncertain as tomorrow,
a bright light that is outside, teasing,
not truth yet,
nor proven yet a lie.”

He leans forward, says,
“Hell with it! Make mine a Mai-tai.”

A Clockwork

Who sips,
when drought
is done and cups are full
again?
Even childbirth lies forgotten
at
the scent of summer’s
lilac
drifting in.

Bury both lips deep
and soon as you can.
Ignore what dribbles
down the chin,
it isn’t wasted.

Sky, in metered time,
revisits trembling blue.
What spills from this
and sunlight’s offering
is tasted
by earth anew.

Where Did It Come From,Why Is It Here,Where Will It Go

The great river is alluring chance,
it’s old, graveled edge
an over-one-shoulder
seductive glance.
I am teased to wanting 
for sunny days and bright sand
that some folk say, 
“lies further south, around a bend, 
where each may go one day.”
 
Hushed rushing quickens the hour. 
I fear inertia’s awful power
to draw this weak swimmer, unready,
from the sheltering, familiar eddys.

Through western history,
the same books bore three great prayers
as cross-sparred boats
true enough to stay afloat,
steady
against the deep, rolling simmer
of liquid ambivalence.
I have little breath for those nor confidence
for the eastern sense of
layers.

My wandering heart beats timid,
its toes testing the water.

The river’s source, explained by science, 
is frozen things that thawed once
and a big bang made it all begin.

The ancients, equal as me, stood awed, 
gave massed water a sturdy name
based on its nature, understood as God.

Neither worship nor in-depth study
make swift currents the less muddy,
illuminate what’s ‘round the bend.’

In the end,
we’ll ride each cresting wave’s crown,
destined, born to and bound.

There’s a moment for each to decide,
to trust we’ve at least three times down
before we drown.

Plunge in, set hesitation aside.

An Emperor’s New Clothes

Passion glows,
witnessed through back-lit windows.
It’s nothing more again than darkness
and certain death called progress.
Where is what was promised thee?

This looking-glass, called ‘Galaxy’,
has empty pixels, tamed,
unlike the place, for which it’s named,
that’s balanced, occupied by everything,
mass and time and nothing.

Stripped to bare,
a changeling preens and we are unaware.
At first sight bright, much ballyhooed
by shopping malls and Hollywood,
the Emperor Future

weakens social sutures.
An amplified mind
spills fermented truth, unkind,
in ‘tweets’, ‘comments’, and ‘posts’
via a thousand growling stomach
hosts.

A beast has been set free,
and none can see,
that same old set of clothes.

Sunday, At Church

It is raining.
Tiny brown/grey birds
(I believe they are sparrows)
huddle under eaves next door.
A dirty and thirsty one hop/flies up
for a drink and quick bath at
the metal trough above him/her while
the rest stare into a slanted downpour,
perhaps thinking private thoughts.
They are waiting for the rain to stop,
possibly chatting with each other
in the way that birds must do or
simply waiting for a clear spot in the weather
so as to take off and fly about their business
in relative safety.
These winged ones are patient,
having little else pressing
save the daily ritual of
eating, sleeping and procreating.
I don’t see a single
protest sign.
None are shouting,
“Down with the damned cats!”
None are shouting,
“Arrest the hawks!”
None are shouting,
“Pack the Supreme Court!”

The precious creatures can fly in the rain,
I have seen them do it.
Today, they choose not.
It is an ordinary day and
I don’t need to ponder what life means,
I can see it. (oooh, there’s a Cardinal!)

A Photograph of St. Aubin Street, July Twelfth, Nine-thirty P.M.

Everything the camera can see, it doesn’t show
about this ordinary street that wasn’t quiet
a couple hours ago.
In foreground, one door hangs from a last hinge,
another sprawls on the front porch floor,
echoing that hearts were singed
either by love’s impromptu riot
or shattered in methodical war
over that smashed-to-bits radio.

On the lawn’s barren husk,
up against commerce’s concrete wall,
with half-attempt at shady pleasantry
and from which dying birds might call,
a street-wise, disheveled tree,
blistered by the day’s remaining heat,
leans into the depth of dusk.

Within the frame, neat,
There’s a bit more about this scene
not described in the black and white,
those two between which
share every colour –
null to bright.

Friends,
linger with me in this moment collected,
stare into what is, by its absence,
resurrected.

A New Way

After a couple of wrongly directed shares (by me) and some tweaking of my tech abilities, I have a new plan. I am here sending a link to my website. If you want to check it out, please do and help yourself to a like if you think you want to read more as it comes along. I will otherwise not be sending links or shares. We all need a little peace and freedom from the hard-sell. So, here y’are, do what you will or don’t what you will… I am doing some further tweaking of the website in the immediate future and no advertising will appear, no information will be collected. I need to coordinate the update with a July cycle date. From that point forward it will be just me, no Google, no Facebook, nada

robertontheair.com

Bleah…

April 25, 2022

A dreary, chilly rain day today. I got my groceries, produce, fruit and the like. The young feller at Carl’s Produce had an odd look today, his hair was like Don King’s. I can see he is a handsome cuss underneath that shock of hair. I like the way shock works in this sentence, it has two meanings. His hair (being like King’s) is a bit of a shock and it resembles corn shocks. He was in a chatty mood and made some fun small talk about me ‘not having too many wild parties’. My first instinct was to say, “Well, I am an old man and I have a limited number of orgasms left. I have to make sure each one counts. Do you want to have a wild party and share one with me?” I am almost of an age that I could get away with that but still a few years away. As I reflect on that, I am realizing that it would make a good line in something I was writing. Maybe I could work it into ‘Dead Batteries’ at some point?

Writing waits for me, the guitar waits for me, the piano waits for me. The instruments are lonely machines and long for human touch. I am a poor companion, having many more things to do than practice or play. My neurosis keep me from the typewriter keyboard, so writing and completed books are lonely for human touch as well. I am sure that other musician/writers feel as I do about their abilities and delay the exercise of same. There are some who have healthy egos and clear assessment skills. Those who do can accept their imperfections and promote the skill that they do have. We unhealthy ego kids just shrink back from the keys or the strings. Maybe the same goes for sports folk? I don’t know. I am wandering, lost, unfocused.

I am wandering from thought to thought like those who crossed the desert a few thousand years ago. Banished, lost in the desert, camel free? Nah. I bet they had camels for the journey—- I hear that their shoes did not wear out and neither did their clothing. They must have been riding camels, then. I guess their forty years were according to a variation on the calendar we use today. It was a lunar calendar, best I can determine and had 12 months but with an extra month thrown in every two or three years to sort of catch-up with the sun. The lunar calendar had months of approximately 29 and a half days so things went off a little from time to time. Hence, the ‘lunisolar’ calendar came into being but that wasn’t the one Moses and co. were using… it didn’t develop until a long time after the wandering. Anyway, they gave up the wandering on November 1, according to a bible study website I perused. Since November 1 could occur on different days, then when the hell did they come in outta the heat?” But, as I say, I am wandering a little.

Interesting.

I guess the wandering ones had some complaints to air whilst they were riding or walking. Mose-y probably had to listen to a lot of whining. I am whining today. It is a rainy day and I am not in the desert but I am whining anyway. I am whining because I had a chat with a city representative about the conditions next door. There is a rooming house being operated there and I am not happy. Folks come and go, cars block the laneway and there is a large trailer full of construction and other garbage that is just parked in front of the place. The guys don’t make a lot of noise, they don’t have record players or tvs, I guess. Thus far, no gunfire or unsavory women hanging around. Why am I complaining? I am complaining because it is illegal and I don’t like all the folks wandering out front or coming and going. That disturbs my peace. Too bad, I guess. The chat I had with the city guy was not encouraging. Basically, he said, “There is nothing we can do because when we knocked on the door or called the owner, no one responded”. So. There you have it. Rooming houses are illegal but it doesn’t matter, you can operate one as long as you don’t answer the door or the phone. I wish Moses were here to open his complaint department. He had connections. He could get things done.

It is a rainy day and stuff bothers me. The rain, I can deal with. There is nothing to do for rain but to carry an umbrella. No problem. The rooming house and garbage situations are insoluble, so I can ignore that. At least, I think I can. Maybe I can put up an illegal hedge that obscures the trailer? After all, it’s legal as long as I don’t answer the phone or the door. The wandering in the desert does trouble me though. I am off course and have been for a while. Divorce and getting fired from the church threw me a little. I lost my camel. My shoes are worn out and my clothes don’t fit anymore. Covid and the world’s governmental response to same have left me stranded, confused, lost. We were locked in, now we are unlocked but there was a heck of a lot of back and forth about how to proceed. No one wanted to commit to a plan and follow through because everyone was complaining. Even at this point I don’t have a clear idea what way is forward, what path is safe or if there even is a true safe.

and orgasms? Well, let me tell ya…

April 20, 2022

Government and Rights

Where does my front yard end and your front yard begin? Since there are two of us, at least, we must come to an agreement by some means. Shall we vote and elect a third party to oversee the question? In order for there to be an understanding or any sort of resolution to the question of where I end and you begin, we must both agree. We need to choose a government or negotiate between ourselves for mutual satisfaction.

Choosing a government has historically been the preferred option for human beings. All of our little groups, from the earliest days have had a government. We have had kings, emperors, queens, chiefs and leaders as far back as history goes and likely further. We choose a government because it is extremely difficult to get two folks who disagree to resolve, to each give a little, to each meet in the middle.

I choose government, too. I like rules for defining edges, it’s easier to see what the lines are and easier to have an assistant to settle any differences. Ok, you think your line is here and I think the rules say it is there – we get adjudication, a third person’s evaluation. That extra weight is then two against one, majority rules. Ok. Fine. All good. No war.

Now. When I ask the city to step in and have my neighbour remove the garbage from in front of our shared building, he does not do so. I call the city (government) and they attempt to enforce the agreed upon rules. Unfortunately, my neighbour does not accept the authority of government or rules. The garbage stays. I stay upset. The city can do nothing without getting yet another party involved, the courts. Then, the courts can do nothing without the police and that leaves violence alone that solves the problem.

Why. There are those among us humans who refuse to recognize any agreed upon or elected authority. There are those who just leave the garbage and that’s that. The rest of us are forced to either accept the garbage or go to war. Unfortunately, these same rule breaking types of folks often claw their way into an authority position. They do so without due process. They do so by not following rules in clever ways or using violence to circumvent rules. They force a violent solution. They assume the cloak of authority, whether it is mutually agreed they should have it or not. Vladimir Putin assumes for himself all authority. The Republican Party in the United States are in the process of assuming themselves to be the managers, the leaders of the rest of the country. They are going to do this by obfuscation, misinformation, deliberate breaking of the rules and violence. In many parts of the world, the idea of democracy and compromise for the good of all is disappearing. I think that is sad.

It is possible that a new era of compromise is on the horizon, that a true statesman or woman will step out and step up. It is possible for a reasonable and fair person to re-establish order. It is possible that peaceful resistance can force a change. It is possible, but I don’t see it happening any time soon, do you?

Where is Mahatma Gandhi as the garbage piles up next door and the illegal rooming house residents invade our little neighbourhood. Where is government as the owners of the house flout the law? I am mad as hell. Sigh.