Friday, February 5, 2010

February 5, 2010


"if you do not know others and do not
know yourself, you will be imperiled
in every single battle."

Sun Tzu
The Art of War

"It is often easier to become outraged by injustice half a world away than by oppression and discrimination half a block from home."  Carl T. Rowan

serpent, why 
do you sleep with your
mouth open?
you're chasing
my dreams away

robert d. wilson 

Christ Jesus said we must love ourselves before we can love others. That's a tall order for those coming home from a war, or living in a war every day whether gang members in urban cities or those in designated war zones.  That's a tall order for those who are born with deformities, who aren't pretty: the obese, the acne-scarred, homosexuals, visually ugly, dwarves, midgets, and those who suffer from diseases like HIV/Aids, cancer, and mental disorders.

I remember a popular homecoming princess at my high school in the late sixties watching some athletes and bullies throwing pennies at her chubby, feminine looking freshman brother in the main hallway, making him dance with threats of beating him up.  Her sister sadly stood in the crowd and watched . . . doing nothing.

I remember a tenant at an apartment building who was semi-mentally functional, the ones young people and ignorant adults called "tards." He told me once, "I know I'm retarded but I hate it when people make fun of me."  One day while substitute teaching at a high school I saw some teenage boys making a Downs Syndrome female student dance. I put a stop to that and took the guys to the principal.  Know what the principal said. "Oh well. boys will be boys," and they were sent back to class.

"Prejudices are the chains forged by ignorance to keep men apart."  The Countess of Blessington

I remember all too well watching a terribly obese girl at the middle (junior high) school I attended and watching her sadness and hurt as boys openly taunted her. Things like this happen too much: the ugly girl at school, the hair-lip student, the smallest boy, the flattest girl, the kids wearing Walmart specials that look alike; an ugly world out there.  The cause of this meanness is usually learned from primary male and female adult role models at home, the need to impress a group, and a poor self image.  Why does a person need to knock another person if she is secure in herself?  Why do people use others as mirrors?  Why do girls and guys compare the competition? Why the need for a popular, set the dress trends grouping in our schools?  Who the hell are they anyway? Gods?  Neo-gods, demigods, faux gods, stone idols, most who end up nowhere when they get older and their good looks begin to wrinkle and their bellies sag? 

Franklin Thomas  said it well when he wrote: 

"One day our descendants will think it incredible that we paid so much attention to things like the amount of melanin in our skin or the shape of our eyes or our gender instead of the unique identities of each of us as complex human beings."

she's on her
own, weined from the
milk i fed
her at noon when egrets
eat their shadows

kapi at dawn . . . 
waking up the lazy 
man in me

the guard at
starbucks eats rice in
the back room . . . 
a musician 
without a gig

where will the
wind take me next week?
strong kapi

i sleep in,
unaware of time . . . 
the saws,
women washing laundry 
in bath water

the dreams you
paint on summer nights . . . 

stars to the
guard at starbucks?
the moon to
workers living
in tin shanties?

only in the
admissions office . . . 
spring air

spring night . . . 
writing poetry
at starbucks
in the company of
men without pockets

a four hour
admissions exam . . . 
late spring

where's her
husband, the mother
crossing the
highway with a cart
full of syllables?

under the
billboard, weathered girls
washing spring

she's on her
own, weened from the
milk i feed
her at noon when egrets
eat their shadows

high noon . . . 
a teaspoon of ulam
over rice

waiting for
the dentist without
glasses . . . 
a passerby
threading clouds

autumn sun . . . 
he watches school mates
eat lunch

voices fall like leafs,
the wind'll rake
later, when madness has
no walls to spray paint

riding his
motorbike, a family
swathing spring

waking up . . . 
an illusion
painted to
destroy the truth

unbathed girls
chasing motorbikes . . . 
at dusk

forever, like
the wind, 
dependent upon
what is and isn't

two winds . . . 
one on the outside,
one inside

traveling . . . 
a spring morning
belching smoke
into the hearts
of young children

sunrise . . . 
did your shadow just
walk through me?

what to eat
when spring is old
and children
call out for a world
they'll never see?

tired, but
thoughts of winter?
sleepless fish

i long for
the softness of
firm breasts . . . 
the thought of you
nurturing spring

that old man
sitting in the store . . . 
is it me?

going back
inside the dragon's
mouth . . . 
the heat of a
thousand dreams

tea leafs . . . 
they didn't warn you
of your death

she loves snakes,
squeezing, firm,
slowly, into the
valley of no time

your limbs
won't let me go . . . 
shooting stars!

an old woman
with her granddaughter,
bags of garbage with
out tomorrows

why are you
up downloading games
before dawn?

sitting on
plastic chairs, they
emelda marcos
toying with the stars

come summer!
nipa huts and

did you think
of poems to compose
in the womb . . . 
waiting for time
without sensations?

humid night . . . 
will the book she reads,
grow rice?

will my dream
finally end,
and coral
see the sun like
it did be before?

three more days
til wonderland . . . 
and diapers

without your breath,
the dragon
will sing to me
dark lullabies

children wrap
leafs around rice . . . 
cricket song

in bed
playing games on her
ipod . . . 
a world without 
salted eggs and jeepneys

bedspacers . . . 
hawking quail eggs
in late spring

as always,
your smile cracking
bamboo . . . 
a paper turtle
void of light

will i hear
yellow roses sing . . . 
at night?

is it hope
sending your daughter
to school
carving paper
dragons from blossoms?

attending dreams you
dreamt as a child

a thousand
trikes tracing dusk
in the time
it takes to flatten
a young girl's hope

will autumn
for her, be the stillness
of a dream?

i don't doubt
your love, the silence
of fish scales
praying for jewelers
with steady hands

that soil,
it it worth their words?
Come summer!

robert d. wilson