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Sometimes it just means hey
And sometimes it means I owe you an email
And sometimes it means it was so great seeing you last night at the show, and then at the bar, and thank you for staying even though you were tired and have to work early

And sometimes it means I like the way you look in my feed but
Other times it means fuck off
And why haven’t you given to my Kickstarter yet?

And other times it means I’m so sorry for your loss
Or so happy for your happiness
Or we were young together once, remember?
Or yes, your kid is just as cute as you believe your kid to be

And there are times it means I love you but don’t say it enough
And there are times it means I love you and say it too much

And I like the way you tweak that meme
the way we hate the same things
love  the same songs
and rage rage rage like we’re changing the world and
I like that sometimes we do (change it)

And there are times it means I wonder about you
And there are times it means, wonder about me
And there are time it means hold on a sec, I have to like this quote from Martin Luther King/this cat on a Roomba/this grumpy cat/this cat dressed as a dog/this dog dressed as Hitler/who is dying in a bunker/and maybe if we all click like/the way kids clap for Tinkerbelle/no one will ever die at all/no one/not ever/and especially not the cats

And I like your birthday even though you’re dead and
Sometimes I’m so afraid of dying
Of bombers and guns and loneliness and bird flu and meteors crashing over Russia and income inequality and prison industrial complexes and rich people and the war on terror and the war on drugs and the war and the war and the war like like like like like like like that’s better

Sometimes it means I like your new haircut
And sometimes it means I don’t
Sometimes it means, let’s be petty together
And sometimes it means, let’s don’t

And it can mean kiss
And it can mean touch
And it can mean nothing
Or way too much

Like when it means: we are all the life there is and was and ever will be in the whole wide universe, right here and now on this infectious rock teetering around our temporary star, so please let me be good to you, and you be good to me, and those are the times it also means
Take this joy from me, would you, a little,  because I can’t hold on, it’s too much

And then it means help
Because I can not see where there is to get to
So share your pictures from your trip to New Hope/down the shore/upstate/Barcelona
Share and like, like and share, and if you comment, baby
Well then you best comment true

And sometimes I do mean it
I mean I like it
Just that just
I like it
So I do

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That Too Damn Early Blue

Shoes

That Too Damn Early Blue

Because the sky is that too damn early blue
I can’t help but see them differently,
Those shoes, floating among the crossing wires,
Electrified effigy to the things kids do.

Somewhere, some kid is walking on the too damn hard,
Shorn of rubber soles that stutter stepped and up-faked,
Walking on the jagged sticky smoldering street
Barefoot; on feet made for a barer world.

And maybe that’s where they’re going, maybe this
Is what you do; toss your kicks in the high strung air
And don’t look back until the ground is too damn green
For anything but bare bodies, and the things kids do.

Or maybe this is the night work of urban fairies,
Citified sylvan tricksters bringing babies to Bowies,
Leaving only shoes dangling so their parents know:
Now your children on the wild air go.

Or maybe I should I Google it, but it’s too damn easy
(These days) to know the facts: I’d like to toss them up
To roast on crossing wires until they burn into some bare
Unknowable thing; like the truth about what kids do.
***

I wrote this poem on the train this morning as I left for my (earlier, later) work. I’ve been writing poetry frequently, but sharing it rarely, because I don’t have a clear sense of its value. Poetry is something I love without much critical judgment, as opposed to the lean and hungry eye I cast on plays. But I’d like to share more of it on the reasonable gamble that if something gives me pleasure, it might do the same for someone else; so there you have it, a poem about shoes.

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ME
Sometimes I like to think
that I am a small pot of water
and all my passing days
are the heat beneath me
and I am beginning to simmer
I am turning into steam
and one day soon I will become
the air: still myself, only everywhere.
Only what I mean
by water is my body and
by steam, I mean words, and
by everywhere, I mean
you.

This poem came to me in almost this exact form while on the way for my late afternoon coffee.  It is in some ways a variation on the theme of the gorgeous ending of Song of Myself by the goodly Walt, and more directly inspired by Stanley Kunitz’s Passing Through: “gradually I’m changing to a word…” Still, I think there is something uniquely my own that I’ve been trying to say for some time that is now said exactly right in the poem above.

There was a reading of the thick middle of Encryption at the Reverie Writer’s Group, and I was surprised by how well it clipped along and held everyone’s attention. I think after DEINDE I’m extra-sensitive of my inclination to fully explore character and idea at the expense of plot, but at least after this reading, no one named a section that felt slow or unnecessary, even with my prompting.

Still, there was something that wasn’t feeling right about the play until seven pages this morning, when the emotional heat turned way up in a betrayal (or is it?) scene between Feehan and Lydie. I love writing the teacher-student relationship, and this one is increasingly rich. Now it’s all just dominoes until the end, and I may even finish it tonight, if I’m not too tired by the time I arrive home.

A new thing I’m going to try to live up to is chronicling some of the activism and political stuff I’m up to, which is mostly armchair at the moment. Some see no value in this kind of click-and-done advocacy, but for me, it serves two purposes:

  • While the value of signing petitions is nearly zero, it isn’t quite; and the cumulative effect of many almost meaningless gestures can be quite meaningful.
  • It helps create space in my busy brain for issues that I care deeply about but rarely give enough time to, and once they take root, even in this small way, they then are able to grow into more meaningful engagement.

So, here we go:

  • Egypt, in case you didn’t know, has been in a continuous ‘state of emergency’ since 1981. With Mubarak gone and the law expiring today, there’s a very real chance 188+ people imprisoned by the law may see some form of justice.
  • However you feel about Obama’s drone program (I love that keeps our soldiers out of harm’s way, I fear giving this much ease to executions), the Arab American Institute has a great essay on the slipperiness of their guilty-by-association casualty logic and how they choose targets. As robot warfare will only increase, I hope to explore these moral tensions in a future play.
  • Help the Human Rights Campaign pressure big employers like H&M into going on record about their LGBT-friendly policies. This campaign seems to be proof-positive that soft pressure can sometimes change corporate behavior to protect human rights.
  • Do you support the Carbon Pollution Standard? I would like you to, and so would your great-grandchildren.

All right, that’s good for now. Let’s finish this play!

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