A Bell Tolls at Midnight


I am currently charged with the task of reading a great deal of John Donne’s poetry, and I will after I complete this post.

When I have something to do and I have not yet begun, I feel a shock of dread for the unknown, regardless of my measure of research or mental preparation. Before and after the shock I have a calm phase to buffer the existential dreariness of whatever I may find daunting, be it brushing my teeth or digesting four hundred year-old poetry. Responsibilities are responsibilities, no matter how small, and the only way to gauge the magnitude of each one is to run it through my head for a second or two. Sometimes the hardest things are simple tasks like writing a check, and the easier things are surprisingly difficult in comparison, like learning a Bach menuette. This subjectivity comes from my thoughts and relation to how I feel about the time I spend. There are only a few things I can do to trick myself into thinking that I’ve spent my time well, and they all have one thing in common: completion. Until something is completed, regardless of the degree of completion, I abhor the thought that it will take time to finish. This time could be spent contemplating nothing in particular, my favorite pastime.

When I contemplate nothing in particular, I often compare that activity with what most other people must be doing at the time, which is always anything other than contemplating nothing in particular. I then ask myself why it is that I revel in the idea of having no pertinent ideas to pursue, and I usually arrive at the idea of freedom. This, of course, is a paradox when I think of it, because I am not free from thinking about the things other people must be doing, which is definitely something in particular.

I suppose an amount of stress washes over me when I think of this, fearing that my time is not being well spent, because everybody else must be spending their time in a more productive manner. This is often what brews the shock into my psyche. I then assure myself that what I do in the realm of inaction is actually a productive activity in itself.

It is usually at that point that I begin to strive for images to write or concepts to unfold, and I take my consciousness to the forum of the senses. Sight and sound are favorites of mine, but smell, touch and taste are worthy stimuli as well.

I’ll see a tree in the night’s darkness lit by a lamppost, its bunches of rustling leaves ready to fall whenever the proper time comes. I’ll hear the scuffle of earthbound leaves on a hard surface and compare them to creatures with claws skittering along, their destination known only by the wind.

Oh, to sit and think about nothing leads to the contemplation of the reasons of things. Why do things happen the way they do? Why do people insist on doing things in their own frenetic tempi? Is there a reward other than the immediate gratification of completion? They say that altruism does not exist in its purest form, and to complete something means to seek approval of something or somebody.

When I write a poem, I often reach a point where I understand I’ve finished. Perhaps some point down the road I will begin to edit it and pick better words and less clunky punctuation and syntax, but in the moment of synthesis, I understand the completion of the concept of the piece, and that makes me feel accomplished, because I have successfully encapsulated a thought–or perhaps several thoughts, depending on my ambition at the time.

It is at that point that I begin to consider the reader of the piece. I do not have a large audience as some authors do, and I often reel in envy because of that. The idea of being a published author has so many benefits, though I think only of the validation that a piece of writing receives when a complete stranger can read it and pass their own judgment. The money from a publication is a wonderful addition, and I will admit that I relish the idea of paying off loans and perhaps securing a bit of my future with a roof over my head and good food to eat, especially because these things will allow me to pursue my craft with more vigor and confidence in my ability to communicate through the English language.

Early, Early Morning


Staying up late has a certain intrigue associated with it, and I often can’t resist the idea of being active in the wee small hours of the morning. At the time of the decision, I rationalize my choice to be of sound judgment because I feel like a million bucks and would prefer not to lie down and attempt relaxation of the mind and body. There are times where I would honestly prefer to engage my mind for a lot longer than my body had anticipated for that day, and this becomes obvious in the morning.
The most rewarding part of late waking is the affordable creativity associated with free time. I can write whatever I want because I know the effort will be genuinely creative and conceived completely unencumbered by time’s sequential nonsense. Speaking of the nonsense afforded by excessive sleep evasion, I shall spin a yarn, which is forthcoming quite soon. Now, in fact.

Twelve Morrow Gates begin sacrificial rites towards an indifferent god of emaciation, who pities the well-fed prisoners-turned-lambs’ existence, their experience among their superstitious captors showing a severe gap between the rich and poor, tycoons and paupers, megalomaniacs and penny pinchers. Exactly the purpose of these sacrifices has yet to be seen by respectable anthropologists, though the second tier of experts find the ceremonies to be completely superficial, often times equalling the thrill of a sporting match (which also often ends in sacrifice). This society of death toll for fun depicts the danger which each civilization inevitably faces, though most shun as barbaric. The few who adopt the vulgar practices tend to have diets lacking in protein, and the sacrifice illustrates their extreme bloodthirst (if not for other people, then for a big ol’ steak). Sacrifice appears to be a custom of the more ancient civilizations, but if the cycle of time tells us anything, there is likely to be another group of tyrannical overlords who deem ritually contained bloodshed a viable option for regaining credibility in the public eye.

Make It


Synthesis breeds more synthesis,
but requires an initial push.
Rolling creativity into production–
a steam engine warming up
until the wheels glide due
to previous spins and more energy
would be spent to stop it
than keep it going–production.

Centenarian


A hundred year-old tree trunk
stands fast like cement,
rigidly prepared
for encounters which may happen
once in a hundred years,
its existence dedicated
to braving probability
and boring its roots
through porous earth
wide as its fragile canopy
and deep as its constitution allows.

The odds of lifting
this tree by the roots
are now lower than ever
thanks to its raison d’ĂȘtre–
feeding the loam
with its shedded brown fingers,
giving Mother Nature
another winter’s worth of arguments
with Father Time regarding the necessity
of arbitrary destruction
for the greater good.

Cosmic Debris


Poetry comes
from the notion of explaining
why things happen,
whether or not they base themselves
in reality.

Often times,
these things happen due to human intervention,
but some,
less deterministic and headstrong,
detangle the web of cosmic perception
and show what happens
as it happens
and for the purpose of its happenstance,
regardless of human input.