Un-Do-Late

© WayneSL 2016
Some things you can’t undo.
Sometimes it’s just too late.
The legs undulate.
They move with steady, rolling motion
To no effect.
Perhaps the effect is just to ascertain
That they can move
Will move when commanded
But by what?
What is it that commands these legs to wave in the air
Calmly
Repeatedly
Then stop a while
Then wave again?
The body’s black and yellow stripes
The wings awry
Curl into a memory of force
Against the hard white-coated metal
Of the newspaper dispenser
The news inside already old
Before it had been printed
Hard, harsh glossy white
Enclosing printed paper that
Only a relic from last century would consult for “news.”

And the legs move again, coordinated, marshalled by some instigator
Some motivator feigning life
Crystals grow.
Muscles twitch.
Clouds fly.
Suns shines.
Life… is it memory?
A mud puddle retains the mark of a foot.
Is it thought?
A Traffic light presides over the comings and goings beneath it.
How much does this shell that flew
And ate
And mated
And daubed mud
Differ from the dervish
That spins and roars and skips a trailer
To flatten a house
And howling suck the roots from the root cellar?

I think therefore I am
But when I cease to think
Another mind may give me substance still
And stillness
Is it death or pause?
Death is just a longer pause, perhaps.
The fall does not kill
Yet being dead is not what hurts,
But landing and
Anticipation of the landing
Death is calm, complete, content.
Undulating legs
An experiment on
What is and is not
life.

 

Happy HollowDaze

Magazine cover by Norman Rockwell: Public Domain (pre-1929)

Magazine cover by Norman Rockwell: Public Domain (pre-1929)

BUZZKILL ALERT – THIS IS NOT A HAPPY STORY.

Not warm fuzzies, but something we may wish to remember
in this season of high expectations and harsh realities:


OPEN THE STARK STORY

Dark Money

visual depiction of dark money

Dark$ ©2015 WayneSL

WayneSL 2012-10-06 (song lyric)

Variations on a theme
waves on the ocean
and the currents underneath
the back field’s in motion
as we try to live our lives
we’re bound in chains of lies
We see each other’s eyes
we hear each other’s cries & sighs

Then from the cover the shade
here comes that dark money, again.
Dark Money – eating up our minds
Dark Money – binds us to the grind
Dark Money – hides the hand that holds the key
Dark Money – it’s choking you and me.

In between our legs it trickles
and it tickles, and it prickles
and soon it’s in our public hair
and on our tongues, and in our lungs
until a single sign remains
a fist thrust in the air
and it shakes in rage and pain
through rocket’s red glare

Then from the cover the shade
here comes that dark money, again.
Dark Money – eating up our minds
Dark Money – binds us to the grind
Dark Money – hides the hand that holds the key
Dark Money – it’s choking you and me.

 

LISTEN TO THE SONG
FIGHT DARK MONEY

BEFORE WE DRAW THE LINE

seriousChris

Christopher Slater-Lunsford, who will never draw the line.

Wayne Slater-Lunsford Spring, 1991

The World is both within us
and without us
Before we draw the line.
When we have not yet slowed
our rising forward fall
up into life.
We still trail clouds of glory.
We still own all that we perceive.
We permeate our universe
and grow diffusing
through the ether of experience.

Clear jello with little colored spots
spreading out toward each other
each color cloud another life.
You’re East to me, I’m West to you
our colors mix in the middle
and there’s a new shade in the rainbow.
We as children many selves perceive
other than the ones that elders see
those elders call us make-believe-
the persons that we know ourselves to be.

Existential Moment

Black Hole

Black Hole

2014 WayneSL

That existential moment
when finite and infinite
eternity and now
can, will, might
and probably not
swirl and swell
and do not come to rest
yet we persist…

Mineral

Colossal bust of Ramesses II

Ozymandias Busted. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Waynesl, 2014

What will be made of my ashes?
More than thrown bones
or leaves that lie
in a cup?
I poured the ashes of my father from the plastic box
and tried to see a man there
a life.
Not even pain remained.
We who were left climbed a rock
in the desert where his last glory had burned
and died
long, long, before his body did.
The backward Santa Ana wind
spread those minerals over sand and stone
indifferent, undifferent in their import.
Methodical Joshuas now incorporate that dust
into thorny, twisted limbs.
Neptune may accept me
And make something of my bones
Some coral or a nematode
Or shark.
The hearts I touched may heal
The minds remember
And if these words find shelter with another
Eternity will make of them my seal.

Premature Preemptive Destruction

Used by permission of http://www.forwallpaper.com/

Used by permission of http://www.forwallpaper.com/

My friend Martin Giles posted this:

A burglar breaks into a family home at 2AM and helps himself to a couple of mobile phones, an iPad and a wallet. Unfortunately, the seven year-old daughter is in the kitchen getting a glass of water at the time, and the burglar surprises her. She screams, waking the parents.
The burglar has a knife and pulls the girl in front of him, putting the knife to her throat as he makes for the door. Mum is already on the phone to the police (and luckily there’s a station two doors down), so armed officers are on their way within a few seconds, while the dad, with loaded pistol in his hand (it’s America) blocks the burglar’s exit.
The burglar is a desperate man however, and though he now has several armed men pointing guns at him, he’s got his trump card – the child. A human shield. The police officers arrive, and father and police don’t hesitate. They shoot the burglar, the bullets ripping through the child’s body first.
Everyone is sad that the girl is dead, but all agree that they are innocent of any wrong-doing. The burglar was using the child as a human shield, so it’s entirely his fault that the girl is now dead. No question. Little bastard.
But wait. Isn’t the point of a human shield that no person in their right mind would shoot through it? Perhaps it’s only in the movies where the snipers wait for a clear shot.
 

I responded:

Can’t like this Martin Giles, but you point out one of the deepest, most serious problems I see in human culture today: imbalance. The burglar was wrong. There was a need for action to curb his behavior in the moment, and also to discourage him and others from similar acts. However his use of the child limited the options available to the others.

The only quick way they could counter his bad behavior was to threaten or perpetrate violence which risked an innocent life. Instead of keeping a focus on the innocence at risk, they focused on the evil in progress, and escalated to destruction of an entirely higher scale. They fell into what I see as a common, (and perhaps increasingly so) error which costs many of us our very lives. I call it Premature Preemptive Destruction. It is like jumping off a cliff to avoid falling.  Almost all of us have experienced that alarming feeling at the edge, looking down and sensing that we may have an urge to jump, to “just get it over with,” and though we almost universally resist it successfully, it can often set our pulses racing, our hands shaking, and occasionally… precipitate disaster.

It is in those adrenaline-soaked moments that we must draw on a reserve of prior consideration, of preparation, to withstand the unwise, ineffective, course of expedience. It is at those times our race can end or continue, individually or quite possibly one day in an unnecessary world-wide disaster. I believe that our evolution to that capability, and our either overcoming it or falling to it, constitute a turning point in the story of life on this planet. Even if we do mature and survive as a race, I weep for those individuals whose lives are ended too soon, or severely diminished, by the haste of Premature Preemptive Destruction.

Rose-Colored Reason

ISMSGraphic by WayneSL

WayneSl 2008 (revised in 2014 for the Day of Reason)

Reason – logical conclusion based on what I find to be substantial and reliable premises -is how I make every decision when possible.  When I do not have sufficient premises, or my reason is unable to discern a logical conclusion, I prefer to defer any judgment, simply saying, “I don’t know.”  There are a great many things about which I am comfortable saying that I just don’t know.  There are also situations wherein I must make a decision or a judgment without that surety, and then (and only then) I use a further criterion. When whatever reliable facts I do have are subject to differing, equally plausible conclusions, I choose the one which offers the hope of a preferred result.  That seems to me to be the one way in which faith can be useful to a reasoning person.  When reason reaches its limit, and IF a decision is still required, faith recommends the path that offers hope.

One of Merriam-Webster’s definitions of faith is: “firm belief in something for which there is no proof,” and Christians define faith as “. . . being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1, New International Version, © 1973, 1978, 1984  International Bible Society) making it clear that if any proposition were provable, it would not be a matter of faith.  One is sometimes confronted with two mutually exclusive possibilities.  If neither possibility can be discounted empirically and deductively, there remains a decision as to which is VIABLE.

The relevance of hope can be seen in an incident that occurred at Naval Air Station Cubi Point in the Philippines.  The runway there is bounded by water on three sides.  A patrol aircraft took off and began to climb out over the bay.  It had not yet reached pattern altitude when all four engines exploded into flames, and were immediately shut down.  In the cockpit, both pilots and the Flight Engineer struggled to turn the dying aircraft back toward the runway, but it was obvious they would not make it.  The calculations had already been done.  They were going to land in the water, and a P3 does NOT float.  Nine of the ten sailors back in the “tube” instinctively cinched up their harnesses and helmet straps and remained facing aft in their assigned seats.  The Navigator tore off his helmet, laid his head down on his map desk, and wept.  He did not share the faith his fellow crewmen had in the procedures the Navy had developed for such emergencies.  The rest of the crew had no absolute knowledge that they would or would not survive the event, but they chose the alternative which at least had HOPE.  The water off the end of that runway was only about six feet deep, and the aircraft settled quickly to the bottom, level and intact.  The crew all swam to shore before the rescue team arrived.  That is, all except the Navigator who knew he was going to die.  The radar operator dragged his body ashore, and later told me this story.

Faith uses hope to break the tie between two otherwise equally-balanced possibilities. As such, it CAN be a logical solution.  When two alternatives are equally likely, by every intellectual test, the clear thinker acknowledges them both as possible, but may proceed to one further test, provisionally choosing the assumption which offers more or better options.  Of course, such faith can turn to fallacy if one totally discards the less-attractive alternative.  The discovery of new information or a new line of reasoning may vindicate a distasteful reality.  The reluctance of some people of faith to consider new evidence and to entertain new possibilities has earned well-deserved contempt, which has often been incorrectly generalized to ALL of the faithful.

I propose that while being closed to logical discourse is superstition, faith is often the reasonable, logical choice.

Synergy

Lone joshua near Wilsona

The wind, the tiny parasites that bend the limbs, the sun’s heat and the moon that guides the moth to pollinate it…all create the miracle of the Joshua Tree.

Synergy

— WayneSl, 1988

Kite straining upward.

Cut the string to set it free.

It rushes to earth.