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.

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.

Tuesday’s Poem

 

 

To see me as I feel I am.

The Miracle of the Mirror Mirage

The miracle of the mirror
how it turned meaning to mirage
boys into men, meaning to mystery
many mirrored manifestations
of memories long ago.

Mirrored movements made me
wonder who it was walking,
wandering in the waves of glass.
Was it I, who’s past was in the glass?

Memories are secrets of mirrors,
the many faces are its mystery,
the truth is its hidden miracle.
Or is what we see the mirage?

The loved and hated mirror
pointing to youth and to the truth,
Made more of us cry as the mirror
only looked back and wondered why.

© Bill Reynolds 7/24/2018

I cherish my past, the good and the bad; I ponder my future, yet to be had.
I look at it both ways as I mind the gaps.

Monday’s Poem

 

Contrasts in life

Listen to the sounds of the calming sea
Hear the cries of the sea birds
Marking the time of sunset, the end
Of another day, a time of contrasts.

See the beauty and feel the call
of tranquility and peace, calm and
the inevitable cycle of life.
Be the fish, the birds, be all creatures.

Let nature bless you with life,
Soon enough she will take you back,
Back to the beginning, to the circle.
Soon enough, life becomes death.

And death returns to new birth,
Let the contrast calm you.
Allow this sunset to mark you now as
did the sunrise mark you then.

Let the awe and beauty of nature
give you peace in the wonder,
in the contrast of day and night,
and in the inevitable cycle of life.

As we play our role, all
connected to the cycle
each doing our part for
birth, life, death, and rebirth.

© Bill Reynolds 7/23/2018

Look both ways, to the past, to the future, and to the future’s future.
Mind the gaps here and now.

A Poet’s Week of Poetry

Taken on my walk this morning. Prickly pears are ripe. Edible, but buy in store and use leather gloves to prepare.

A week of poetry

I listened to the Frank Sinatra Radio station on Pandora during my walk this morning. Good music that makes me appreciate why so many cringed as the rock and roll era dawned. Enjoyed it, but I’ll be back to Thumbprint tomorrow morning.

So, Friday is my birthday. Question: when you become older than older-‘n-dirt, how old are you? I have arteriosclerosis (crummy circulation), heart disease and an effed-up aortic valve, and now I’m looking at “radical” surgery on my left forearm to ensure all the cancer is gone. Oh, and I drink too much wine (beer, coffee). Every day I’m gladder to be alive than I was the day before. Yer only dead once. That can wait. Right?

In ‘honor’ of the year I will spend transitioning into the mid-seventies (proud baby boomer), I plan to post at least one poem each day this week and two on Friday (B-day). These are quick little ditties done in less than 15 minutes each and tweaked very little. Some are exactly as first written. Here’s why…

I’ve read (in On Writing and others) that all first drafts are shit. I agree when it’s prose. I have written good enough poems then tweaked them to death trying to make them better (perfection?) and ended up letting them ride the hard drive for eternity.

Last year I posted a poem about my frustration with my poetry (click here to read it). I never know about my poems, so I often overwork them (not the first time in my life I worked harder than I needed to). I’m currently working on some that I’ve knocked around for over a year. Sometimes it’s cuz my muse got another call and failed to get back to me. Sometimes, I end up with something I like. Sometimes I’m skeptical, but you like it. Go figure?

So, if you read my poems this week, know that they are sunny-side-up or only tweaked to over-easy. They’re a little raw, but thankfully brief. Happy Sunday. The first poem:

Tanka Poem – A Feather

How life passes by
We see, as we feel the breeze
so like the feather
life moves us from here to there
how we love and how we care.

Bill Reynolds – 7/21/2018

Look both ways, wander often, wonder always. Mind the gaps and respect the abyss.

 

Perfect Perfection

 

“Perfect!”

Maybe you have heard this: Sets low standards. Achieves same. Or this: Good enough for government work. I find both phrases tediously trite and possibly insulting. But, I’ve cheerfully used both. How about, practice makes perfect? I later heard it as, perfect practice makes perfect.

As that quality assurance guy for government contracts, I was very busy, never bored, and often unloved by contractors. They did not have to be perfect, but they did have agreed to, measurable standards to meet. Nobody likes it when “shit don’t work like it’s supposed to.”

As I write this, I’m sitting in the Tap Room of my local microbrewery sipping an excellent porter. I shall have another. It’s good and reasonably priced, but it’s not perfect. Perfect beer cannot be improved upon.

Perfection, by definition, cannot be made better.

Rarely do I say the word or identify something as perfect. When I do, I’m lying. Perfect works best when it’s said sarcastically and implying the exact opposite: FUBAR (definition below).

My strained relationship with the word perfect started with software – Word Perfect. It was not. Later, the word and the connotation it held annoyed me. Years ago, I decided that perfection was not a realistic or achievable standard. I developed a skeptical dislike for the word. When I heard someone say progress, not perfection, I liked that. Who does not want things to improve?

As part of my prep to write about this, I watched a couple of TED talks that only served to piss me off. With apologies to all her fans, Elizabeth Gilbert has a talent for making me want to bang my head on the nearest wall. Her following is vastly larger than mine, but I still think she’s out there. I like and admire her, but I strongly disagree on many levels with her views on creativity and writing. She makes me feel guilty, and I’m not sure why.

The other TED talk was by a man named Jon Bowers. Jon was (I assume he is) the lead on UPS training. Indeed, he does good work and as a professional trainer myself, I can relate to the challenges his company faces. The title of his talk was, We should aim for perfection – and stop fearing failure.

I interpret that title as, Attempt the impossible and guarantee failure. While Bowers gave many truthful and accurate statistical examples where high standards are critical, he ruined it when he implied that for us to not accept his position equated to accepting lower standards. He is wrong. I agree that excessive fear of failure prevents much good from happening. But, it is also motivation to succeed.

I think we need to set high, achievable standards commensurate with risk. My training background was in aviation. Our stated standard was in the 80 to 85 percentage area. Yet, our trainees (pilots) normally performed in the high 90s, many at the 100% level. Aviation is one of many human, high-risk endeavors labeled inherently dangerous. Fly safe and thank training.

For years the response to many statements (esp. by Brits) was “brilliant.” Another word where sarcasm works better than reality while good or excellent would suffice. But, when I answer a question and the response is “perfect,” I want to ask, “how so?”; or to simply say, “No. It is not perfect. It simply is.” And, thank you, but it’s also not brilliant.

I was on the phone with an otherwise charming and competent millennial when she asked for my address and phone number as part of a business transaction. After I told her my address, she responded with “perfect.” Her reaction to my phone number was again, “perfect.” If my address was One Penny Lane, Liverpool, it would be cool or, in a stretch, excellent. Yet, still not perfect. Same for a phone number of three sixes followed by the digits one through seven. Yet, the young lady declared my responses to every one of her questions perfect.

A friend asked if I was available to meetup next Thursday. When I responded “for lunch at noon” she could have said okay, or see you then, or great. But she said, “perfect.” I assume all times before noon would have been satisfactory and later would have been acceptable. But noon was fucking perfection without peer.

My friend, Jack, once described wine to me as drinkable. If you have ever tasted undrinkable wine, you know exactly what he meant. Jack served mighty fine wine — not perfect, but perfectly drinkable.

When people ask me about something and I answer with good, fine, or (god forbid) okay, it’s common for them to follow by asking me what was wrong or what I didn’t like. Perfect.

Look both ways crossing streets.
The perfectly trained UPS driver may not be having a perfect day.
Mind the gap lest you fall and ruin an otherwise perfect trip.

Note: FUBAR is an acronym for fucked up beyond all reason.

 

Judge Judy – about to explain law