Decluttering Blues

In the midst of packing I’m also making an effort to throw out the piles upon piles of junk I’ve collected. I was/am something of a packrat, but I’ve decided that it might not be a bad idea to finally throw out broken knickknacks and receipts from 1994.  Hard to believe some of the ridiculous shit I’ve kept for years and years. That I saved Spanish homework from a decade ago is even dumber when you realize that in that timespan I’ve lived in 2 countries, 2 states, 4 cities, and 12+ different houses.

Among my discoveries:

– $21.30 in cash & $38.82 in gift cards

– two cards/notes from the late Lisa Herman

– a billion overwrought cards/notes from (and sometimes to) dozens of once-loved women

– my temporary AND real Filipino driver’s license + a half-dozen Faith Academy ID cards

– my rejection letter from the National Honor Society where I am praised for my leadership, cooperation, and upright moral character… but chided for my inability to accept criticism and impersonable demeanor. I seem to have had particular problems with “maintaining a loyal school attitude… rendering any requested service to the school… and complying with school regulations…” It might reflect poorly on my high school that one of its all-time most straight-laced nits still found it difficult to tow the party line.

– poems & proverbs written as a child, including this gem that probably dates to the first Gulf War:

My daddy went to war today,
he left us all alone.
Today he went to fight for us,
in places I don’t know.
Today he went to kill our foes,
and why I do not know.
Where right seems wrong,
and wrong seems right,
Why can’t we stop this war?
and now I’m in this crazy daze,
just because,
My daddy went to war today.

Heart-wrenching stuff, huh? I should’ve been America’s first 8-year-old poet laureate. Please note: my father has never be in the military, let alone fought a war. Odd, too, that it took me another 15 years to re-discover the pacifism I apparently knew as a child.

Our Walking Habits

Our Walking Habits
With Apologies to Stephin Merritt

When I’m out walking my gargoyle
during overcast Autumn afternoons,
we amuse ourselves by lisping
gothic nursery rhymes.

When I’m out walking my gargoyle,
we’ll often stop to loiter
at Hazel Motes’ rickety porch
just to lure him into debate
over self-immolation and papal malfeasance.

When I’m out walking my gargoyle,
we’ll often pass by the yellow taxi cab
in which Tom Waits was born.
He’ll undoubtedly raise hell, bullhorn in hand
if he catches us pissing on his taxi
again.

The Genius of the Crowd

there is enough treachery, hatred violence absurdity in the average
human being to supply any given army on any given day

and the best at murder are those who preach against it
and the best at hate are those who preach love
and the best at war finally are those who preach peace

those who preach god, need god
those who preach peace do not have peace
those who preach peace do not have love

beware the preachers
beware the knowers
beware those who are always reading books
beware those who either detest poverty
or are proud of it
beware those quick to praise
for they need praise in return
beware those who are quick to censor
they are afraid of what they do not know
beware those who seek constant crowds for
they are nothing alone
beware the average man the average woman
beware their love, their love is average
seeks average

but there is genius in their hatred
there is enough genius in their hatred to kill you
to kill anybody
not wanting solitude
not understanding solitude
they will attempt to destroy anything
that differs from their own
not being able to create art
they will not understand art
they will consider their failure as creators
only as a failure of the world
not being able to love fully
they will believe your love incomplete
and then they will hate you
and their hatred will be perfect

like a shining diamond
like a knife
like a mountain
like a tiger
like hemlock

their finest art

“The Genius of the Crowd” by Charles Bukowski