Sometimes I wonder if Big Brother is real,
that television is there not to entertain
but to dumb us down and convince us
of what’s right and what’s wrong
even though we sense inside us
that what they say is right and wrong
is not right or wrong at all
but programming that makes our lives
empty of right and wrong.
When the news guy comes on
and tells me something I know is a lie,
I wonder who has told him to tell me this lie
and what other lies he’s told that I took for truths
because I never caught him in a lie before.
“It’s my process,” he said to me.
“I’ve done it this way for years.”
“And years and years,” I said.
“Yep,” he said and nodded.
The process worked for him.
He had fine tuned it,
eliminating all unnecessary steps
until it was a single fluid motion
from beginning to end.
He applied this process
to everything in his life
always striving to remain in the flow.
And when he died and was reincarnated
he saw an opportunity
to apply this to all of his lives
so that each time he incarnated
whether as a male or a female
or a cat or a mouse
his life was a fluid motion
from birth to death to rebirth.
“To a Man with a Hammer
Everything Looks Like a Nail”
was the title of a tv show
I watched the other day.
That title stuck with me,
carrying it around in my head
like the proverbial hammer.
To a man with an artist brush,
does everything look like a painting?
Or a dog walker with a leash,
does everyone look like a pooch?
Or a preacher with a bible,
is everything a sermon?
I have a dog that drops his ball
at my feet and wags his tail
for me to throw it.
When he can’t find his ball
he’ll bring me a pine cone
and if he can’t find a pine cone
he’ll bring me a stick.
So to him everything looks like a game of fetch.
He doesn’t need a hammer to see nails.
My neighbor walks by my house,
his eyes on the ground,
on his daily walk.
I can see him thinking
and if he looked up
and gazed in my direction
he would see me thinking too.
The chickadee raids the bird feeder
like a thief in the night
stealing a single sunflower seed at a time
and flies off to the gutter of the house
to eat it in peace.
The brown dog at the picture window
watches the cat under a nearby rhododendron.
The cat, motionless, watches the birds,
waiting for one to land on the ground
to eat the fallen seeds.
In time, the cat’s stillness is rewarded.
A sparrow lands in the dirt.
The cat pounces, but the dog,
triggered by the movement, barks.
And the sparrow flies away.
I once had a magic number
that guided me through life.
If I was considering going on a trip
and saw my number at the same time
it meant I should take that trip.
But if a saw the number
that preceded my magic number
it meant it was too soon to go
or I’d missed my chance
if it was the number after mine.
It got to where I wouldn’t do anything
without my number’s confirmation.
God spoke to me through digital clocks.
Ahh, there’s my magic number,
what was I just thinking about?
Yes, it is time to order a pizza.
I’d pick up my phone and place my order,
telling them God wanted the sensory satisfaction
of double cheese and extra onion.
He lived through my taste buds, telling me what to eat.
Then a wind storm brought down a tree in my neighborhood
and with it the power.
My house was dark, the digital numbers gone.
When the power came back on
I no longer trusted my magic number
for how could God be silenced so easily.
Then I felt shame for letting a false god direct my life
like a prima donna Hollywood director.
I wish I had a tree in my yard
I could climb high into the sky
where I would look all around me
and see the edges of the Earth
where the oceanic waterfalls were said to be.
A tree so tall I could butter my toast
with the creamy essence of clouds.
A tree that would sway with the wind
like I was riding on the thigh of a giant.
I would climb to the top
where gravity faded to weightlessness.
I’d let go of my branch and drift off into space,
a speck of human pollen.
Not everything goes my way
or comes out smoothly.
Sometimes I stutter through life
on a continuous do-over.
When we parked in the lot
and got out of the car,
my friend squatted next to the bumper
of the car next to us.
Using the fat magic marker
he carried with him everywhere,
he drew on the Bernie 2020 sticker.
Nervous, looking around to see
if we were being seen, I asked,
“What are you doing?”
He chuckled. “I love socialism.
What’s mine is theirs
and what’s theirs is mine.
And I like to draw boners
on all my Bernie stickers.”
I want to be really good at something.
I know I could do it,
be the best at it.
I just don’t know what it is.