The birds look at us as though we had two heads. They cannot, they say, comprehend how we can stand to live in boxes, to travel in metal containers, to be stuck forever to the ground. They say that food should be picked then eaten instantly, not packaged and half thrown away. They say they cannot see how we are supposedly more evolved than they, for they have the sort of freedom about which we only talk endlessly. But most of all, and saddest of all, we know they pity us as we pity ourselves.
Getting a headache, are we? You feel like Schrodinger’s cat. It’s really like asking yourself if the Big Bang was the beginning of everything, what was there in that split second before the Big Bang? If God created everything, what created God? If time begins with the Big Bang, what time was it before there was time? And who are you really, if you know your are merely an illusion created by you? And please tell me, what time is it? Find the black hole, for there is freedom.
There was a time that now seems so very long ago, when I would freely admit, sometimes claim to be American, if not acknowledging my time in the Air Force as well.
Those days are gone, as is the place I knew, now morphed into somewhere much the same, and entirely unrecognizable, and I am American by proximity, knowing my welcome has been worn out for me elsewhere.
It need not, ought not, have been this way, political seas have long ebbed and flowed, but I, we, knew we could remain afloat on our constitutional raft, built to ride out whatever storms might blow our way.
We know, or have an abiding hope that this, that he and his band of marauders, will pass into history, a dark cloud finally pushed aside, but despite the shortness of his tenure, I can only nervously wonder what will remain.
It would help, she said, if you would stop imagining your life as a barge moving slowly down the Mississippi River, one in an endless procession, following like so many lemmings looking without hope of finding a cliff. Yes, she adds, from time to time one may break free, it happens but you have to admit that is usually a disaster requiring a significant clean up, not to mention countless hours of hand-wringing and questions as to just how something so untoward could have happened. And, she concluded, it just so happens that I am sick and tired of dragging you along on my path to the Gulf.
Mockingbirds greet the morning
Great Blue Herons stare
imagining their voices
night sweetly welcome the dawn
The great temple bell
awaits the morning, the monk,
its daily purpose
cast deep within the metal
always verging on release
Smoke of incense too
prostrates itself to Buddha
soon a morning breeze
or the freedom of the sky
Some, mostly of us, said we were the chosen people, as if wandering the desert for 40 years was the grand prize, okay of Sodom got the runners-up gift. I didn’t buy it then, don’t now, even after I sold my membership as the price of final freedom. No, we were, still are, the people of the candle and oil lamp, the latter far too sooty these days, playing hell with our smoke detectors. Two every Friday, and Hanukkah is good for forty-four, and on the anniversary of a death, just one, but that to burn a full 24 hours. So while our butchers fatten their thumbs for the scales, and our bakers tell their wives they won’t be home for dinner on Thursday nights, busy braiding dough, it is our candle makers who have chosen us as their kind of people.
The question, of course, is which is Frankenstein, which his monster a chicken and egg problem that invites debate, denies solution. They say, of course, it is you – We sent you Lafayette, never assuming quelle catastrophe would grow from our gift. Freedom doesn’t make you a God but somehow you never learned that too busy writing rules for the rest of us to ignore. Quite to the contrary, we say, we sacrifice mightily to redeem you, buried our own dreams to build a foundation for yours, twice, and you repay us not with the gratitude we so deeply deserve from you, but with derision, and that, only if you are feeling beneficent. You are the epitome of arrogance we each say and we know that it is the glue that binds us.