Saturday, July 4, 2015

What the nothing


photo by Jonathan Petit


Write your love in sidewalk chalk,
            as we did when we were kids,
            only with the maturity that knows
            running fingers

            over our scratches fills in the cracks
            and all the places we forgot,
            blends, like make up,

            to become our skin tone
            & hides points of contact

            beneath.
            when it rains,
            the rivers

            leave in so many swirling colors,
            cleansing the world.

Do you ever wonder where all the bodies went
             after Noah?

The next time, use spray paint - for permanence,
             aesthetic, & when it runs
             only adds to - the chaos that is love,
             everyone is a tagger
                                 w/ street names
              not to get caught,
              but known
                                by those who know,

              until covered by the next unknown
              name - or the city
                                         pressure
                                                    washers
              in an act, not unlike
                                    free speech

Nothing is permanent

              in the material world --- we call it progress,
              upgrade,
                            send a text,
              i'll check it
                            when I get a chance,

              the government's already read it
              & they like it
                                             
              Like that.
              Like that.

No, seriously - Like that,
              with the button below,
              because that is the extent of our commitment

              to convention,
              we retcon our foundational principles,
              rewrite our symbols -

History is just another ever changing story

              Re-use
              Re-duce
              Re-cycle

              to fit whatever is politically or publicly correct
              in this moment,
              truth is a metaphor for something else ---
              & last night,

              I could have, but came home
              to you.

This--
         is the ultimate act
         of our Independence.



38 comments:

  1. Oh, does anyone care anymore. Or are we all living in our self-created prisons.

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  2. I thought that was lovely, really nice piece.

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  3. Hey X--I thought I had commented earlier--I wanted to say that the willingness to be unified, more than that--loyal--committed is the best independence--and unlike the material world--does not just fade. Thanks. Take care, k.

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  4. This is huge ~~ happy 4th!

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  5. This one goes from lyric to analytical and back again and never seems rushed for breath--the image of the scratching in chalk, the graffiti as identity, the lack of permanence in anything, the ability to retroactively affect continuity with a 'rewrite,' each image perfectly, incisively used to hone things down to the final lines and their bare bone truth. Thanks for the real poetry.

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  6. You know, I thought about this poem....and really like the ending. Making the decision to come home to someone - that is indeed the kind of independence that means something. We all have decisions to make about what we do in our life; and to make that kind of choice......when all is said and done, that is what means something!

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  7. Excellent poetry and great imagery .... so many layers here and lots of meaning. Thank you for your lovely comments on my blog. Sorry for the delay in returning the comments ... I've been very busy, aa you know. Nice to meet you!

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  8. " everyone is a tagger
    w/ street names
    not to get caught,
    but known
    by those who know,"
    Exactly, but known by those who know and to others forgotten forever may be...
    It pains when in a world truth becomes a metaphor for something else and one has to carry on living there....thank god even among such chaos there is a place to return to...I can't say how many times I read this poem...so much thought provoking...thanks for the post X :)

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  9. 'known by those who know' - like a slip through the political and social cracks...an invisible to those blinded by a kind of artificial sentiment. A poem that flags some kind of direction for those seeking other symbols in life. Love it.
    I think I felt the July 4 celebrations today. I have recently penned a poetic review of Dickens' ''The Mystery of Edwin Drood" on my blog 'Songlines on the Winds' - (I have many many blogs). Somehow it seems in synch with this day of homecoming.
    Thank you for your comment on Greyscale. But my secrets are mainly on 'Veiled Songlines' and 'Songlines on the Winds'.

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  10. yes, nothing is permanent ,as is mentioned in Bhagwad Gita, the only permanent thing is soul and if we attain moksha ,we will be free from the cycle of life and death

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  11. Do you ever wonder where all the bodies went
    after Noah? think that is the line that hit me most - things that were and wiped out traceless like the chalk lines on a sidewalk... i wish that things were more reliable and permanent but then - we can make things last with our own decisions and commitment which makes the difference in the end... true independence...yep

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  12. I must admit that the eloquence of the first stanza gave me a lump in my throat. i thought it is very well written.

    Permanence can be argued. But the reflective tone of the poem is very controlled.

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  13. I love 'Re-use Re-duce Re-cycle' - a curb on being whole..long may we all paint and write to stop that seizing our souls..we are we are we are..

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  14. I wondered when I began to read your piece, where were you going? Then you seemed to make a little loop, and tied it in a knot...I enjoyed reading it.

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  15. I read this twice and each time something else grabbed me. Go ahead push the button it is easier than using your mind to think about the words or express how you really feel. Hit the button and you lose your voice..like a poet who no longer has words to say...freedom of expression...could it be what you say or is it in what you don't say?

    like it
    like it
    like it

    the facebook world...one community I can say I never joined. I guess you could call me a divergent???

    Write our love in sidewalk chalk...wow- remember drawing in chalk with soft pinks and blues, I wonder what colors I would choose from the box today...perhaps yellow like the sun/moon or green for the trees/earth or gray
    the way I feel on cloudy days..

    over our scratches fill in the cracks...perhaps, the cracks are what makes us real in a material world. The cracks our flaws in the journey of life.

    last night I could have..but I came home to you....(a lot said there)

    independence ...is there really such a thing or are we all dependent on something after-all we are creatures of habit.

    I more than liked this...it is once again powerful writing from a pen that thinks and feel beyond the surface of the cracks.

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  16. Like Claudia, I was struck by the rhetorical question about where the bodies went during the flood. Interesting that we focus so much on our little selves when in fact so little of us will remain once we die. Starting with making a positive impact on those nearest to us through love is certainly a good place to start. Hopefully there will be more though.

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  17. This is so moving! Excellent write.

    Lots of love,
    Sanaa

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  18. Do you ever wonder where all the bodies went
    after Noah?

    Such a profound piece of work X!

    mindlovemisery

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  19. Oh I do like this one! The world is changing and we change to fit in with it. So true. Like the Noah line; like a full stop. Loved your lines about 'like' and the button! But in the end our 'independence' is that we are free to do what makes us happy and true to ourselves - not influenced by the rest of the world.

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  20. these are very deep thoughts and timely for the progress of any society X; thanks for your profound poetic rhetoric; i'm happy you dropped by my Sunday Lime

    much love...

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  21. unique and very imaginitive - love the break in the tempo of thought yet never losing the connections

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  22. and all the places we forgot,blends, like make up... what a gem of a line.

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  23. The exploration of freedom of choice....last night I could have, but did not.....of independence and commitment and loyalty and love......so incredibly profound in so few words...such a powerful write!!

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  24. I like the way you matched up the title and the caps ... you know, "what the nothing" and "WTN." What is nothing, anyway? It's kind of a touchy feely notion, like liquid. Shapeless. So of course, it's indefinability would have to be permanent.

    This is my favorite:
    "only with the maturity that knows
    running fingers"

    I also like reading it in different ways based on the varying indentations. Like, how these lines go together because they are left aligned:
    "Write your love in sidewalk chalk"
    "Do you ever wonder where all the bodies went"
    It takes on new meaning. Body chalk. Crime scenes. Love(s) having died. But where did the energy (or body) of love go after it died? Into the "nothing" void, I suppose.

    I think this is the crux of the poem because it is indented differently:
    "is the ultimate act
    of our Independence"

    And if you'll notice, the beginning of these lines align with the end of the word "History" above. And of course, Christians like to turn "history" into "His story." So I think you're saying "His story is the ultimate act of our Independence." And in capitalizing "Independence," I don't think you're talking about America. I think you're drawing our eye to the word so that we will notice that what you really mean is "in[ner] dependence."

    I also see "pressure was her, not in an act" ... drawn out by your spacing and alignment decisions. Maybe even "not [yo]u in an act," depending on the precise alignment of the stacked "unlike" and "free." Oh, and then your space in "make up" was pretty sneaky too. All the surrounding text suggests that you're using a woman's makeup application as a metaphor, but really, that little space turns it into one of those ever-cycling break-up/make-up relationships.

    "Do you ever wonder where all the bodies went
    after Noah?"

    This is actually code for "Do you ever wonder where all the bodies went after Know-Her?" You're talking about a girl who has been loved by a lot of men. But maybe you and God are trying to convince her to commit to something permanent, with "spray paint." This reminds me of the woman at the well. Yup. That's what this is really about. Ba-bam. Sheesh, I'm good. ;)

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  25. Wow, there's so much in this poem I like. It covers many areas of our human condition, our history, love and ultimately - truth. This is a spectacular write which somehow translates to me as "love is the answer" to all human ills. Sounds simple, but ...

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  26. Wow. This is a poem with great import. I especially love the decision to go home to someone at its closing, the ultimate act of independence. The recognition that everything is a choice, our freedom exercised in what it is that we choose. Stellar message! So well written.

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  27. This is just an incredible extended metaphor, X. That line about where did all the bodies go really grabbed me for some reason. I tend to focus on the transitory, perhaps because of my life's experiences. this poem expresses it in many ways...and then there is the going home again, the choice to love. Great climax.

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  28. i like the way it flows and how it ends. really interesting.

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  29. This really is excellent...there is so much here I read it several times and came away each time a little different for what I read....

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  30. A lot of layers to this piece. I try to hang in there: between youthful idealism and old souls, as I pick my way across the shifting sands. When that fails, beautiful music helps to drown out the what-the-nothings.

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  31. What I like about pavement art is that it is not permanent much like we are. We are both seen fleetingly and are then washed down the drain. Very thoughtful post.

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  32. We are made of water mostly, we go back to our true self, whole, no layers to filter through we are, we swin, we drown, we're back to water, and we fly in the waves what has been, what is, what will be here, a lie, leaving on the wave of Truth

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  33. X,

    Having individual independence is priceless. Leaving our mark for next generations, merits the effort; even in a chalky sketch...An outline of having been.
    Eileen

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  34. Love can be messy or temporary that is why I like the chalk metaphor.

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  35. One of the most interesting pieces on independence I've read all week. Thank you for sharing your thoughts in such well-wrought stanzas.

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  36. I've never seen anything useful about make-up before but the idea of blending and obscuring the cracks and impermanence resonates with me. Turn to timely graffiti and attempt to paint when there is no place to hide or go home to unless we have love in our lives. I am rrefreshed and made bold by your poem. Thank you.

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  37. Sometimes I wonder if we are still capable of independence, we are so addicted to our technology, our comforts, our make-up that makes things pretty...
    I love the way you wove so many layers into this, so many meanings, each one as poignant and important as the last.

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