Georgia once wrote me that her 5th grade principal at Emerson Elementary said that in 36 years of teaching, she was the worst kid she’d ever known. With such an interesting childhood it is perhaps no wonder that people keep sending her self-improvement opportunities. But not so fast! The poet responds, "Having my very own Masters in Counseling from UNM, and a lifetime behind me, I have a rather visceral response to amateurs who promise a cure to all life's ills with a day in the country and a vegan peanut butter sandwich."
For the Friend Who Sends Me Names and Numbers For Workshops She Thinks Will Improve Me
(Written while sweeping-up the fallen apples.)
Who is this dame charging Sixty Bucks to escort me to Chaco Canyon, and
Why would I want her company? I can go there by myself and talk to
The spirits who already live there. Listen to the wind blowing up the canyon
The rustling of cottonwood leaves. Everything I need to hear, I will hear there
Or even here, for free.
Trotting out her spirituality like it was the biggest penis, God in competition,
More “spiritual” than me--or anyone else for that matter. Every human being
Is every human being, and also each an individual, unique. God hands out his lessons
Graciously, like rain. We all are touched, caressed and battered, hung out
To learn the cosmic way--Jesus, even Jesus got hung up on a tree.
Who am I or anyone to skip my lessons, go straight on to Nirvana harmlessly,
If I pay her Sixty Bucks, will she save me? Will I not have to suffer? I can learn
The secret short-cuts to peace and kindness. “How not to want to murder 101”,
For the less evolved among us, moving upward toward “Transcendence”,
With sack lunches, 103.
You smirk and say so wisely “You’re a seven!” As if that means anything to me
Some test to define a human along quantifiable measures, like a virus.
I am laughing. From Skinner to Freud, through horoscopes and seances,
We waste our time trying to figure out who’s smartest, closest to crazy, or God,
Thinking we can fix each other if somebody can just find the key.
I already have a library with a Bible, The Tao Te Ching, and Mahatma Ghandi,
A Koran, The Big Book, a half a dozen ODATs, The Book of Mormon and Kabbalah,
And have read them all repeatedly. Could I possibly be any smarter than those authors?
Do I have a right to claim an end of suffering for having done my reading?
Am I any smarter than some Rabbi being marched into an oven in 1943?
Humans have a need to throw down definitions of each other:
Alcoholic, Co-dependant, Psychotic, Sociopathic, Addict, Sexual Deviant,
It is all part and parcel of the human condition, what we do to ourselves
And each other, the need to feel “one-up”, as if that matters, in geologic time
Or God’s supposed plans to save us all spectacularly.
For all the reading, study, thought I’ve given it, all the walks down long arroyos,
Mountains scaled, floors washed, children birthed and raised and sometimes tolerated,
Husbands and lovers gained and lost, deaths and divorces, parents who
Plainly didn’t like me, and said so often, Grandparents who did, though dying,
I wouldn’t take back anything, especially all the love I’ve given others.
Especially the love they’ve given me.
Poetry submissions are welcome. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.