Shapeshifting Calf

Image result for newborn calf

Oh shapeshifting calf!
You are furious wolf,
And laughing goat.
You are wounded bear,
And cheeky monkey.
You are devious fox,
And lovable puppy.

Lest anyone sense your shaky legs,
Lest anyone see your lonely eyes,
Lest anyone feel your fearful quivers,
Lest anyone hear your longing lo.

I wonder if you look beyond your mind’s pen
Would you find there are others
Who can smell your bullshit,
Yet not recoil.

Can you trust them to lead you out?
Can you trust them to clear the byre?
Can you trust the pastures they steer you to?
Can you trust?

Painting Pictures of Mankind

There are three types of people in the world: Jasper Johns, Monets, and Vermeers.

From a distance the Jasper Johns are all fucked up. Get near them, and they are still fucked up. And get really up close, get into their space, and you’ll see, yes, still fucked up.

Monets, from a distance, have it all together. But get near them, become their casual friend, and you’ll see clearly how messed up they are. And really up close, it’s madness.

And Vermeers? Well, from a distance they have it all together. Get close, and they are still all together. But get up really close, become their lover, and you’ll see the crazy. The harrying of the brush-strokes. The mad war where greens meet yellows. The peaks and valleys of the oils clumping on the fabric of their canvas. Perhaps controlled insanity? But insanity none the less.

In intimate closeness, they are all maniae. Yet this is not all they share.

No.

Each is viewed but through a frame, that if we lift and look beyond we see the paint fade off. Vermeer’s kitchen fading to the nothing house. Monet’s Japanese bridge to nowhere. John’s paint splotch that just stops, ends. And in this nothing, we find everything: The painter is there; The brushes are there; The wheat and the chaff; The flowers and the roads; Even the abstract, the numbers and concepts. They all live beyond the wooden box of our constraints. The frames are just a view we impose upon them.

There are three types of people in the world: Jasper Johns, Monets, and Vermeers. They are all beautiful.

The Plan v. The Goal

Do not mourn discarded plans
To ride your camel a thousand miles to Mecca,
Once you know you must climb Everest instead.

The plan is not the goal.
The plan was never the goal.
The goal was the goal.

If the goal changes,
No matter how good the plan,
Change the plan.

So rejoice, grab your mule and climb your mountain.
It matters not whether you wade through camel shit
Or mule shit to get there.

Was It God?

Ant on blade of grass.

Each night Ant leaves the colony, treks through the field, finds a blade of grass, and climbs, climbs, climbs. 

Ant’s work for the day has passed, his burden lowered, the others sleep, and Ant is done, done, done.

In spiritual ecstasy, atop the spike, mandibles clamped tight, Ant waves his legs to pray, pray, pray.

Deep inside Ant knows he is part of something larger.
Deep inside Ant knows he serves a higher purpose.
Deep inside Ant knows he has been touched by God.
Deep, deep, deep.

Yet a small part of Ant niggles.
A small part of Ant nags.
A small part of Ant needles.
Burrowing doubt. Pernicious doubt. Malevolent doubt.

Was that moment when Ant felt one with everything truly God; or was it just a fluke?

Three Kings

Three kings entered the armory.

The first surveyed the room and alighted upon the Sword of Beauty. Picking up the jeweled hilt, and admiring the calligraphy on the blade, he proclaimed, “here is a sword worthy of my reign! The people will see it and rejoice.” And with that, he entered the arena.

The second surveyed the room and found the Sword of Humility. Grasping the wooden hilt, with its simple cross for a guard, he knelt and prayed, “Lord, may this sword represent that I am but a servant of my people.” And with that, he entered the arena.

The last surveyed the room, and went from sword to sword. Grasping each, he tossed it in his hand, swung once, swung twice, and put it down before moving to the next. Then silently selecting the one that killed best, he entered the arena and became king of them all.

A Laughing Matter

“You dare laugh at me,” snarled Lion at Hyena. “Your death is assured!”

“Of course, of course,” laughed Hyena. “Kill the critic, while meanwhile the gazelle romp free and mock you.”

So Lion hunted all the gazelle, and bringing Hyena to the killing fields, he proclaimed, “Look now Hyena. I am Lion, king of all I see. As surely as I can do this, your death is assured!”

“Of course, of course,” laughed Hyena. “Kill the critic, while the elephant titter behind your back.”

So Lion slaughtered the elephants, the bison and the rhinos. He eviscerated the zebras, the wildebeests, and the giraffes. He massacred the cheetahs, the vultures, and even the other lions. All fell before his roar. 

And crushing Hyena beneath his giant paw, he said, “see now, none stand before me. Your death is assured. How can you still laugh?”

“Of course, of course,” giggled Hyena. “You are strong, and you are powerful, and I will most assuredly die. But  tomorrow you will find no food, and the day after my brothers will find you. And laugh.”

True Story

One Thanksgiving, my grandmother-in-law was appalled that we were going to throw away the bones of our turkey. So she wrapped the carcass in a plastic bag and took it with her on her airplane journey home, where she assured us she would make soup.

She carried-on the carrion.

The Statistician’s Lament

To a reasonable degree of uncertainty, I am the pinnacle of perfection.

From an evolutionary perspective, from the bacteria to the trees to the fishes to the dinosaurs to the monkeys, when sampled from the whole universe and history of potential candidates, I am (within acceptable error bars) probabilistically the ultimate specimen of life . When viewed over the billions (or is it quadrillions (or is it quadrateintillions?)?) of cell-divisions, I am the best life can offer. Darwin’s champion.

And when I run the odds, amongst the possible matches in the world today, I know the chances that you are the most perfect for me asymptotically approaches zero. The mathematics show me that any person picked at random from any place in the world has a statistically similar or better prospect of being right for me.

All of this I know to be true – the numbers do not lie.

Yet, as I watch you walk away, the pain the perfect-me feels at the loss of the imperfect-you … it does not compute.

True Strength

tajSome crumple beneath a bundle of feathers, blind to anything but the load.

Others strap the mountain effortlessly upon their shoulders and march, strengthened by the view of the palace they build on the plains below.

And a small few carry the others, ignoring all strain, for in their minds the palace is already built. They must merely dance their steps to make the towers shine in an eternity of future sunrises.

Branding Matters

Given his fearsome rooster-like war cry that matched his costume’s red mohawk, and his super magical strength as a Germanic demon, the fact that his archenemy Spiderman always tittered when he attacked confused and confounded the Cockgoblin.