Poetry: Soul Satisfied

Prompted by: ‘Smoldering coals of fury with which oppression always fires the soul.’ (1862)

Anger burned like acid surging through his body,
deadly rage ran unfiltered with each breath
as in shame he hid and buried his anger
as it called out for vengeance – for satisfaction.
He felt the scalding physical pain of revenge withheld.

He felt how the inhumanity man can deal to his
fellow man is without comparison.
Only man hates his own. As only man can
kill without reason and crush his kind
without purpose or cause, leaving no real hope.

He felt helpless as despair hardened him.
His broken mind and heart pleaded for him to let loose
the righteous fury growing inside as hours, days,
and years passed in the agony of painful misery,
hatred pounded his chest to be loosed
as his purposeless worthless life festered.

He spoke to his anger about the promise
of a better life, but not for him.
His was to live into his dream
of revenge and retribution with the fury
of the spurned prisoner held within him,
but for not much longer.

Soon he would defeat their world.
Soon he could kill them all,
and his hate would feast on their flesh.
All the pain and suffering would be avenged.
Then he could die in peace,
with honor avenged, pride returned,
his life’s purpose satisfied.

©Bill Reynolds

 

Look both ways, be careful what you wish for, and speak up for the oppressed.
Mind the gaps. Learn where they are.

Un-shunned, But Out

Several people suggested that my experience with religion may have moved me to embrace atheism. I don’t deny the experience. But, religion was not responsible for my conclusion that no gods exist.

I was born not knowing. Somebody told me there was a god and I trusted they knew what they were talking about. As a child, I ‘believed’ in god because I believed who told me. For shorter periods of time I also believed in Santa Clause and the tooth fairy. I was also convinced monsters existed even though no one told me they did. I never saw a god, Santa, or the tooth fairy. I was sure I saw the monsters, and some lived under my bed.

I was initially told that all these entities existed except for the monsters, but they were the only ones I reacted to and lost sleep over.

I was emphatically told by my parents that there were no monsters and no ghosts. I was agnostic about the ghosts, having seen Casper cartoons. But no monsters? Bull shit! I knew what I saw was real! I began to have doubts about parental honesty.

Eventually, I unwillingly figured out the deal with Santa and the tooth fairy. I also gave up on the monsters, or perhaps they tired of me. Maybe the tooth fairy turned them into dust bunnies.

I figured out the god thingy last, around age fourteen. I was never dumb enough to tell anyone, even friends, that I no longer was buying the eternal life package. My father was the type of Irish-Catholic coal miner who would have attempted to pound belief into me. Besides, the religion thing worked to my social advantage. I often wonder how many of us practice religion for some social advantage or for financial gain, but don’t buy it either.

When my Catholic parish learned that I was an active participant in the protestant Episcopal church down the street, it pissed them off. That pleased me. If I could in some way return the ‘love,’ my parish seemed to have toward me, I was all for that.

Not so much with my parents, who were more upset. Those poor folks had a real shit-head difficult lad to raise, so church was the least of their concerns. Yet, I heard my mother say, “It may not be Catholic, but at least he has a religion.” I did not. But, if she was accepting, I wasn’t going to change it.

The church down the street was a playground of youthful debauchery. I was one of several Catholic teens (boys and girls) who participated in their youth group. My motivation for participation was likely untoward and had nothing to do with religion or god. That was then.

Now, my overall philosophy is a moving target that even I find difficult to corral and define. So, I stole this idea of a three-legged stool from somewhere. One of the legs of the stool is god, which is why the damn thing keeps falling over. Any god or gods get to share one leg and no more. The leg is there, but it’s symbolic. You could call it atheism, but not exactly.

Religion, which I define as the rules regarding humans dealing with gods, is the second leg of the stool. Religion and god relate but are not the same. The religion leg casts an unfavorable shadow upon the god leg. As splintered and twisted as it is, religion exists.

While the non-existence of god is almost a neutral, unemotional, changeable conclusion that came to me from thoughts; my vehement enmity toward all religion, especially the known ‘organized’ faiths, is unwavering and continues to grow as I age and reflect upon what I see and know. If god were to appear before me right now and provide enough proof to roll any skeptic, I would morph to belief in a New York minute, but I would continue to detest religion.

This is where my atheism gets confused with my religious experience. My bitter feelings about religion stem from experience and knowledge. While I am accepting of religious folks and I extend kindness to most believers (and they to me), what they believe I tolerate but don’t respect.

Religious mumbo-jumbo has nothing to do with whether any gods exist. Yet, I remain open to the tiniest of possibilities that something may change my mind. However, throughout history, nothing has ever happened to any human that would convince me otherwise.

What most people seem to believe about god and how to relate or interact with that god is manmade. However, religion has a lot to do with how people act toward each other. Call it morality. Theoretically, that should be good. Historically and practically, it has been otherwise.

The third leg is my spiritual philosophy, which is influenced by the other two legs (no-gods exist, and bad religion). The three legs support the seat, which is my overall philosophy (of life, my world view, reason for…whatever). The analogy isn’t perfect but it works for now.

In a debate Rev Al Sharpton and Christopher Hitchens once struggled to find disagreement because Sharpton kept trying to debate the existence of god (which he admitted he couldn’t prove) while Hitch pointed to problems with scripture, evil, and religion (Hitch admitted he couldn’t prove the non-existence of god). Two separate topics that influence the third philosophical leg of my metaphorical stool.

Atheism is not a religion, a belief system, a philosophy, or anything other than an acceptance of one’s opinion that god might not exist, or probably doesn’t. Atheists have divergent views as do most human groups. Some atheists are nihilist. Most are not. A few atheists go to church. Most do not. Some atheists make room for unscientific things in their opinions and how they live. Others claim that such opinions are not those of true atheists.

It can be confusing. But can’t the same be said of believers? Since I was a child, I was told that TV preachers were nonsense. I still think so. Many believers agree with me. Many believers reject the idea of a virgin birth, others call that heresy. I could go on about divergent religious beliefs, even within a specific religion such as Roman Catholic, Shiite Muslim, or Mahayana Buddhist. Dare I add Southern Baptist or Mormon? But that’s not my point.

While many atheists say that reading scripture will lead to disbelief, I contend that not believing in god is a rational decision not based on religion, dogma, or scripture, even though any of that will support atheism once the no-gods conclusion is reached.

While I claim to be rationally atheist for logical reasons, I think I’m also intrinsically incapable of believing in god without very concrete proof. No religion or religious person; priest, pedophile, or persecutor drove me away from believing in god. I tried to believe. I just couldn’t. Now, I openly don’t. I’m as pleased with that as believers are who foresee their blissful eternity simply because they believe and nothing more. I’m okay with that.

Look both ways in life. Learn from the past. Plan for the future.
Mind the gaps for denial and confusion.

Poetry: Your Time

Both afraid and unafraid,
full of fury and stunned by fear,
he stood insecure
and timid
with no comfort, spending his day
in worry, fretting and wondering,
‘what will people say?’

From his platform in the sky, he looked down
on the maybes and what ifs,
and he heard the voice ask: ‘why?’
He closed his eyes and softly spoke,
‘I’m afraid!’

The voice was soft and calm,
‘do as you wish,
not as others say,
this is your time,
your day is today.’

He moved closer to the edge.
His body was shaking,
his eyes crying,
his knees buckled as the voice kept saying,

‘to live you must die and die again
as you suffer pain of mind and body,
today is your time, now will never be again.’

As he stepped out from his comfort platform
into the abyss of reality he fell.
His body emptied itself, so sure it was
that he was bound for hell.
Down he went, just falling.
Falling away from and toward. But there was
more the voice had to say.

‘Again and again, for the rest of your life
you must step to the edge and jump
into your strife. Fear is your friend,
but let not worry be your master.
Jump, jump, and jump again.’

© Bill Reynolds 9/13/2018

 

Look both ways, all around, up and down.
Then jump.
Mind the gaps, but deal with them when you live into your question.

Poetry: Let Love Kill Me

Some say I’m angry.
I’m not. Not much.
I have regrets, that’s honest.
Or is it?

I wish I’d never made one single mistake.
Not one ‘oh shit.’ But, I have. I did.
Is there a pride hidden behind my scars?

Tense dark and gloomy feelings
may bleed from within me,
but they’re not what I am.
Have I found that which I love?
And will I allow it to kill me?
To take me away? Why not love?

Who and what am I?
Am I a line in some poem?
A thought?
A feeling?
The sum of all my yesterdays?
Am I what I seem? (are you?)
Or a dream?

There’s much that I am
and some that I’m not – here and now,
yesterday I was, but he’s now gone.
Perhaps to be in some tomorrows,
yet to be as I am, or what I’m not.

I am not gone. I am here. Hear me,
touch me, feel me, kiss me.
Love me.

Read my thoughts into your mind.
I’m not lost, not gone. I am here,
just here.

No mistakes. No regrets. What’s left?
To live – into life’s many questions;
into the mystery of poetry
with softly spoken breaths.

© Bill Reynolds 9/10/18

Look. The gaps? Oh, yes! There are gaps.

 

Poetry: If

If moments when my eyes saw you looking my way,
when no words are said, if expressions were
simple knowing, then we were of one mind, one heart.
We don’t care what this is, we want it to be among
the destined moments when two people in the universe
(only two) become one and know that deep down
secrets abound as we silently plot our escape,
away from this life and pretense and toward those
forbidden passions that boil up and desire calls us
to the edge of where we want to be within our reality,
but we fear to go. The deepest of truth takes us far
and we feel instantly what we both know as truth. Eyes.
Not words. No promises. No damage. No fright.
Just connection on a level and in a separate place
we never admit to anyone but us, the driving power of it.
Do we dare to say it? Do we admit truth? Do we
acknowledge such universal profundity of two specs of dust?
The hidden and forever forbidden moments of love
that will only be if, and if, and if knowing is truth.

If we look both ways, we will see.
If we mind the gaps, we will feel.
If we know love, we know truth.

 

Bill Reynolds 9/2/2018

Poetry – The Painting

 

Spark of passion, are you within me?
Do you take physical space in our universe?
Was it only my heart you touched on that day?
Do you belong to me, to the art, or the universe?

I stood looking while she pulled me into her life.
I could not see her face, yet I wanted her story
The bubble of pity and sadness quickly grew
within my physical and emotional being.

I felt love for the young girl in the painting
and for the artist by whom I now felt touched.
No one will ever know. I must hide my feelings.
I look – am I being watched? Am I a foolish old man?

Emotionally attached in a short minute to a girl
with no face, with no name. With what test
in life was she faced that day? Children do not
belong in such places, alone, with no advocate.

In the passionate grasp of this Duende, my soul
rose to my mind and flooded emotion into my heart
for the girl who I never knew, that child, will be
with me for the rest of my life. A painting.

Bill Reynolds

Click image to link to wiki of Duende

Look both ways, but you’ll not see the Duende enter you.
Enjoy the experience, but mind the gaps.

Autumn Countdown

Autumn Countdown

hobby lobby has christmas decorations out.
lots of them. hello?
i agree with moving christmas
to august.
december will be fine without it.
but it is fucking august. it’s the dog-days month.

august is boring.
lots of peeps have b-days,
but august is what?
end of summer, school…
what fool advocate of child abuse
starts school before labor day?
that’s not god’s plan, fool.

they have halloween stuff up too,
but twice as much christmas,
maybe some turkey day
shit mixed in.
but it’s hot. hot, hot: august.
and they took out the posters
i was looking for.

i don’t hate august,
but it is shamefully boring.
give it a break
move christmas there.
we have hanukkah,
yule,
kwanzaa,
new year’s eve
in December
and it would stop

many from saying ‘happy holidays’
thus getting so many
folk’s panties in a wad
over some fucking imagined war-on,
and august would be so grateful.
instead of waiting for next year,
kids could ask
what’d ya get for christmas?
in september.

pre-season football? who cares?
even the bugs
have had enough
of this crap,
bring on the fall,
september,
halloween,
and days we can sink
our teeth into.

© Bill Reynolds 8/20/2018

Look both ways, between May and September. 

Mind the gaps and the croaked cicadas.

Dead Cicada