Poetry – Am I This Beast?

 

Am I This Beast?

Am I not my own beast? May I set him free?
This beast lives and he lives within me.
In some manner or way, I am he, and it is I
who fears the beast. And I know why.

This is no charming fucking poet.
He is no eloquent reader of verse;
he’s no lover of beauty for all to see.
‘tis me, this beast, but is he also not me?

Summon your magic, bring on a shaman,
twist my beast with the best that you can.
Bring on the robots. Cast the day’s best witchery
into the face of this monster, who really is me.

Cut him and burn him and poison the beast.
More lives than a cat, he’ll find his way back.
From annihilation, he’ll rise-up, again to be me.
A beast: one with me. Here to kill me, you’ll see.

Look deep. Dig deeper still. Search for his mark.
In this battle for life, made from my nature,
his shadow will be there for as long as I lurk.
This beast that we seek – has control of my future.

© Bill Reynolds 8/8/18

 

Recently, I read about a British poet named Peter Reading. He and I were born on the same day. His poetry is said to be ugly and morbid in its honesty. Yet, I do hope to read more of Peter’s work soon. While Peter was not the inspiration for this specific poem, his attitude was.

I am also trying to write my words as they come, regardless of what others may think. That is not easy, but it’s not like I’m trying to make a living writing poetry. Sometimes, it is just bleak.

This outburst is just another poem. While it shouldn’t be taken lightly, I reject any perceived notion that I need counseling or psychiatric care. I’m fine, but this is how it came to me.

Peter Reading, ‘Collected Poems’ cover

 

Look both ways, inward and out.
Mind the gaps as well as the beast within.

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Poetry – Doors

So Many Doors

She hunts ‘em down and shows us
her discovered captured doors.
Posterns aplenty – doors are everywhere.
The doors may be opened or closed,
some’s locked, some ‘er not.

Glass doors, revolving doors,
important doors, cabin doors
and swinging saloon doors,
bathroom doors, stall doors, the hall door,
floor doors are trap doors.

Behind the green door, the red
doors and popular now are black doors.
Front doors lead to back doors,
ugly doors are artful doors.

Metal doors, fire doors, hollow core
doors, broken doors, missing doors
are no more doors, where there
once were doors before.

Doors with windows and windows
that are also doors. French doors.
Decorations for doors, door jewels
with glass knobs, fixtures, matching hardware.
Lions there guarding the doors.

Dead as a doornail on the floor,
cellar doors, creaky and squeaky doors.
Barn doors with no barn,
Pocket doors with no pants,
sliding doors to hide away or rollup doors.

Prison doors, some have bars,
not the kind I like. Old doors
are deco and may be
flat as a bar. Secret hidden doors
or awesome old church doors.

Some DOORS Lit My Fire
till I burned out. Snuffed out doors.
Slamming screen doors,
cupboard or closet doors.

There are doorways and doorjambs,
automatic doors and
handicap doors with buttons.
We got building doors,
bleeding doors and rusty doors.

Doors keep us safe or stand
in our way.
One may be the door to enlightenment
or a blocked door can be
an impediment to progress.
Some doors go nowhere.
Death has a door, they say.

There are doors on gates and
gates that are doors. Car
doors keep us safe but can cause
too much pain.

Doors are portals, trunks, hoods, canopies,
or vaults. Doors what let us in
and doors that keep us out,
Entry and exit doors ignored.

Never thought I’d be pub sitting
sipping a pint o’ porter watching
Cards beat Cubs and writing this
poem.
It’s all about doors.

But here I am.
Sitting near the door.
Writing and watching,
for the next cat to come
thru that door.

© Bill Reynolds 8/6/2018

Look both ways passing through life’s doors.
Mind the gaps in the floors near the doors.

In Defense of Atheists (Part II)

What believers need to know about Atheists

While many people rightfully argue about (or discuss) belief and religion, I’m sure many don’t know what atheists think or believe. However, I encourage people to learn the truth about atheism to understand atheists better. It’s very simple but it may require more unlearning of past prejudices than assimilating new information. That is partly why I decided to become open about my atheism and to write about it.

My take on life’s meaning

I ended Part I with mention of an article that accuses atheists of being nihilists. Indeed, nihilists do not usually follow a god belief. There are multiple forms of nihilism because it is a basic philosophical position that applies to different things differently. So there are many types of nihilists, but that discussion is well beyond my intent here. As with most posts of that nature, it was full of assumptions about atheists that are either wrong or stereotyping. That should be enough, but the article was also replete with reasoning fallacies; a common problem with theistic arguments of virtually any type.

One claim the author made regards life having meaning. Life being meaningless would be a nihilist philosophical premise, but it is not atheist even if some atheists may see life like that. Few atheists are nihilist of any kind, but this is about me. So, this guy claims my life is void of meaning and must be so because it includes no gods. Specifically his. Many people may need a god to give meaning or purpose to their life. Fine – that’s them. I don’t! (And, frankly, neither do they.)

I contend that since this life is all I have (reincarnation notwithstanding), every day of it is filled with purpose and reason. What I will never accept is that life is some sort of test given by a god to determine if I, or my eternal soul, must spend eternity either incredibly bored (or however you see that state) or suffering (aka eternal damnation). I say this life is all we get, and I hope it is wonderful for everyone. If someone thinks it is a blessing from god, I’m ok with that. That’s them. If they follow a religion, I am sure there is more to it.

I think the purpose of each life is simply to live it. My reason for existence is the reason I give it, just as each person gives reason and purpose to their life, with or without the assistance of a deity or the promise of an afterlife. That’s my opinion, and it’s not nihilist. I find people telling me that such thoughts are not what I truly think to be incredibly annoying.

I don’t believe that I was created by a god. It is not the purpose of my life to serve anything or anybody outside of nature – I respect reality and nature. I believe in living my life as implied in parts of much wisdom literature to the fullest (eat, drink, and be merry), to find happiness and pleasure (e.g., The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam), to limit my suffering and that of other people and creatures. Certainly, to love.

I am here to be part of nature. And then, as is the highest law all life must follow, to return my borrowed physical essence back to the natural universe, allowing my mind to pass on to whatever respite awaits in death, if anything of the kind follows, which I doubt. That is the natural cycle of life. We cannot change it. I can think of no reason to change it. It seems to be working, provided we don’t fuck things up too badly.

I couldn’t have said it better myself

A Catholic priest once said (I’m paraphrasing), if there is no god, we have all been involved in a horrible deception and charade. I heard those words at a critical time: true, serious, tragic. I consider most people I know to be good, be they atheist or Christian or other religion. I assume that believers who post anti-atheist things are also good people being controlled by religious fear and the dark side of human nature. People can be stubborn. I prefer to say that I’m persistent.

But these folks who write such tripe are just plain wrong about me and other atheists, wrong about the conclusion that is atheism, and are often offensive. I hope that’s because they don’t know that atheists are as good as any believer. But, as Neil Carter implied, the on-line us is often not the best side of the person.

Neil Carter

This youtube video is among the best explanations I’ve seen. It is respectfully well-done by Neil Carter, who blogs as Godless in Dixie. It is an abbreviated version of a longer talk given by Neil. So, while it is about 15 minutes, it’s only part of the talk. The point here is the 11 items and his explanations. This was made in a Christian Church for Christians, so it is worth viewing be you theist, atheist, or anywhere in between.

Look both ways because “a hair divides what is false and true.
And mind the gaps because “
We shall perish along the path of love.”
(quotes by Omar Khayyam)

In Defense of Atheists (Part I)

 

Most Christians are wrong about Atheists

About me

I’m atheist. I do not identify as humanist or nihilist. I’m expert in neither, but I agree with some views of both philosophies even though they often conflict. That sometimes makes me of two minds, or maybe three. Click this link for my story if you need to know it, but, ya probably don’t.

Why I am writing this

I decided to post this in two parts to keep them of reasonable length. In this part, I talk about things that believers (I say Christians, because that’s what most Americans are) are wrong about regarding atheists. It’s been said a lot, but not enough. Part II will address some things I think people should know (particularly Christians, but anyone) about atheists. Some atheists read my blog and I hope they will correct my errors or clarify my confusion.

I’ve often read long, esoteric, philosophical explanations about why atheists are bad people. I’m a sensitive man, and they hurt what feelings I still have. Since being atheist is simple (we believe in no gods; done.), those rants are virtually always wrong. They are not attempts to convince me to repent or to believe in god. They simply judge atheists, or atheism, as bad.

Believe to be good

Belief in god makes no one better, and vice versa. But, most believers seem to think it does make them better. Otherwise, why bother with religion? That is to be expected. Conversely, they further seem to think that not believing makes me worse. A lot worse, apparently. Since these folks have no specific atheist behavior to point to, they go off on long, broad-brush, baseless philosophical tirades that can only be explained as being essential to their own personal and spiritual well-being. We all know people who put others down to make themselves feel good.

Atheists are bad

I fully understand the morality issue for some folks. But atheists are as moral as anyone. Yet, these rants are not as simple as holier than thou. Each is judging other people they do not know as evil for having a harmless opinion. Conversely, those who do evil things and repent (or maybe not) are judged to be better than those who simply don’t think gods exist. How is that logical?

Bad to the bone

However, leading the pack of obnoxious nonsensical know-it-alls are the clueless people who seem to know exactly what atheism is, what atheists are up to, and why. They claim to know our thoughts. Yet, for all the animus it generates, atheism is simple. But these self-appointed detractors are not atheist and don’t seem to want to get it right. What they seem to want is to preserve something that disbelief threatens simply by being a conclusion in someone’s mind – a conclusion that can change (as in reverse) in a New York minute, but rarely does.

These holy souls swing at the low-hanging-fruit to bash people for what they believe. This is partly because of what they think (not know) about atheists and atheism. Such assaults are unnecessary, insulting, and vulgar. One Orthodox Christian priest has said that embracing atheism is worse than committing murderer. People believe this crap, especially when it’s said from the pulpit by a “man of god.” That annoys me.

I have my limited personal experience, but surveys I’ve read indicated that people trust atheists (I assume ones they don’t know) about the same as convicted rapists and murderers. In some states, it is illegal for an atheist to hold public office, even if democratically elected. While such laws are not enforceable, they remain on the books. Very few outspoken atheists hold elected office – none nationally. So, why the need to pile-on with the endless “they are bad, bad, bad?”

The essay

Recently, I read a post by someone who insisted that all atheists are nihilist. Following several of my objecting comments, he stood firm with his accusation. In the essay he further insinuated that any social justice work done by atheists is a ruse, insincere, and as doomed as a “utopia” (his word). Now, that shit hurts. I can’t imagine how he connected nihilism to utopia (dystopia perhaps?). This, they will say they’re not, but they are argument is worthless. Do all Christians play with snakes or drink poison to prove the strength of their faith? Of course not. Nor do all atheists agree with nihilist philosophies. It’s difficult enough without someone making stuff up.

Look both ways: either there is a god or there are not gods.
Consider all the gaps and mind them well.

Friday’s Birthday Poems

Party Time at 5

Poem about a birthday

I remember, I remember, oh how
I was turning five and still alive
entering the world of kindergarten.
Grown-up, is what I was now.

Friends came with gifts
names and trinkets long forgotten,
we romped and played and we
yelled and screamed and gamed.

We played on and on into
the reality of life, that secret
so well kept that it was a time
of passage into an elementary world.

© Bill Reynolds 7/27/2018

 

72

I’m now seventy-two –
So, what’s it to you?
‘at depends I suppose
On where my life goes.

Think I’m set in my ways?
that it’s how I stays?
Well, I got news for ya,
I’m still learning, too.

To them’s who’s gone before meh,
I’m glad ya got to know meh.
For if it’s me yer comin’ after,
Drink one to the old bastard master.

© Bill Reynolds 7/27/2018

Again, to the past, look both ways and you’ll last.
Still mind the gap, lest you get an unwanted trip.

Thursday’s Poem

The Pack and the Pride

To the pack and the pride, to my deadly tribe
To run with wolves just one more time,
To chase our prey for one more day,
To catch the scent, to run the night away.

To howl at the moon, to make love
and to swoon. To drink to our health,
and to things greater than self.
To hear all the cries, from above and below.

To charge and to hunt, to fight with the best.
To give all that I have, and to hold nothing back.
To be true to my nature, to no longer resist.
To the pack and the pride, to give you my life.

© Bill Reynolds 7/26/2018

Look both ways to the peers and the cheers.
Know where you stand, with the gaps in the band.

Wednesday’s Poem

Who do I think I am?

Poetic Dream

Dream and dream and dream,
Is this life my dream within a dream?
My fantasy and my horror?
Is my pleasure only what is seen?

Pity she who cannot dream and feel
sorry for he who cannot visit
the dark night of pleasured dreams.
True pleasure and true fear in the mist.

Dreams wrapped in dreams
nightmares filled with fear and panic,
Pleasure unrestricted by rules
and commitments of fact.

I stand before my mind
searching for the dream of life,
Wanting in and wanting out
to dream and to dream and to dream about.

 

© Bill Reynolds 7/25/2018

 

Dream and look both ways, into the night in the light of the day. Mind gaps of dusk and dawn.