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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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)

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.

Poetry (or is it?)

Is This the Real Thing?

It’s everything what’s bad
You want me to believe
that man is god? Seriously?
Reality is human nature. Dark.
The only safe way to be is against,
against everybody and everything.

‘tis neither fit nor rot.

Is this the reality of real life?
Or is it all just a dream of
A dream within a fantasy?
Open your eyes.
Look to the skies.
Look around and see reality.

Truth is for all to see.

Every form of refuge has its price
Reality is our god. The only god,
The god of universe, birth, death
no tribute or prayer brings change.
We all have dues to pay, the rich,
the poor, the good, the bad.

We deem it reality.

Save the worthless praise. Just be.
Find the truth in this reality
without offer or any sacrifice.
See the light but thank the darkness.
Be the proof of true existence.
Seek out verity in what is.

Truth is Reality!

Bill Reynolds © 7/2/2018

Look both ways to see the light. Mind the darkness of the gaps.

The Key FOB Story

 

Mary’s — Colorado City, TX

 

After leaving Mary’s Country Café in Colorado City, I was feeling bloated and wondering how and why I packed away so much of their chicken-fried steak. I was driving down a depressingly hot and joyless west-Texas country road, 20 miles east of nowhere special.

 

Chicken Fried Steak, gravy & extra, fries, Texas toast, green stuff

 

The desperation of the settlers who first moved there is unimaginable for me. They didn’t even have a/c in movie houses, movies at all, or a/c for that matter. The middle of nowhere may be overused and trite, but this place is there.

My excuse for being here is that I married a native. Her family and what is now our tribe live around there. I reckon they don’t know any better, but I’m here cuz they are.

After a while, I spied one of them plug-in jobs on the roadside. Casually leaning against the car was a hot (in both senses of the word) little number lookin’ plumb distressed in her flipflops, cutoff jeans, and a sweaty, thin tanktop. She was on the highway side with her arms folded looking at her cell phone like she might get service. Not out there.

 

See the blue dot on curve, right side?

 

I forget which rule it is that says no honorable man shall pass such a sight without rendering aid, so I just pulled on over after slowly driving past. It was a hot dry day, too miserable to be stuck in a fix of any kind. But that sweet little pumpkin-head was dressed fer it.

“Howdy ma’am. I’m Billy Don Russel from o’r West Bumbfuch. Y’all doin’ a’right?

That little girl acted plumb excited to see me. “Oh-Em-Gee. Thank God!”

Did I mention she had long black hair pulled tight into a quarterhorse tail that was sitckin’ out the back of a ball cap, like they do? The cap said Daisy Riding Service.

I managed to keep my eyes on hers and my eyebrows down. Men in them parts follow a strict role or can’t be trusted. And women like that are usually packin’ small caliber. Texas, ya know. We got critters, some are human.

With a neighborly smile I asked her, “What seems to be the problem, young lady?”

She held up her key FOB and screeched through her bright white teeth for the world to hear, “My clicker thingy won’t unlock my effing door and I can’t get into my gee-dee car.”

“Would you like me to try, Ma’am?”

She handed me her keys. I quickly glanced around expecting to see if a candid cell phone was recording all this. First, I tried to open the door with the handle. Sure ‘nuff, locked. Pressing the unlock button changed nothing.

I looked closer at the metal portion of the key and then back at the distressed damsel. She gave me a “told ya’” expression and shrugged her hot, sweaty, bare shoulders.

I gently slid the metal portion of the key into the little hole near the door handle and twisted slightly to an audible click. Handing her the key, I suggested she drive off first to be sure everything else is ok. She got in her car and rolled down the window.

“Thanks, Grandpa. I’m so embarrassed.”

“You drive careful, young lady. It’s dangerous country out there.”

“Please don’t tell Mom or Dad. They already think I’m a brainless twit. Tell Gramma I said hi.”

I managed to get back into my pickup with a straight face. My wife asked, “What was that all about?”

I looked at her and smiled, “Jessica said to tell you howdy. I’ll tell ya the rest over dinner, but she was having some technological issues.”

“She didn’t know how to use it?”

“More like didn’t know how not to use it.”

 

Look both ways on them deserted roads.
Tumble weed and roadrunners will get cha if ya don’t mind the gaps.

God’s Plan

 

Just one of many books similarly titled

Recently, I saw a book for sale in the local library. The title was God’s Plan for Church Leadership. I don’t recall the author’s name, nor did I think any more about it until the title came back to me while driving home. I haven’t read the book, but apparently the author was sharing this information about God’s Plan in a book.

All I needed to do was buy the book and read it. Then, I too would have the wisdom and insight of this plan, whatever benefit that would have. I suppose part of the plan was for the book’s author to get the messages telepathically, or however that works, so that the book could be written, published, and sold. It must follow that I would see the book, not buy it, and write about it. It’s all part of the big plan.

It strikes me as special when people say things like “God’s Plan” because it stakes the claim that they have factual inside-information from a deity. In this case, it’s specifically Christian, but that concept is by no means unique to the 75% of Americans who claim membership in that group.

The other two groups of the Abrahamic tradition (Jewish and Muslim) have similar claimants. But this author was Christian. I have always been baffled by folks who can tell me precisely what the plan is, other than what may be specifically spelled-out in scripture. I don’t agree with much scripture, but at least I know it to be the source.

If there is a plan for us, it is coded in our blood, bones, and brain – our DNA – what capabilities and limitations we have are pretty much set from day one. We are all the same in many aspects, yet very different in many observable ways. I’m not saying there is any plan, but the blueprint for my life was of my own making, given certain realities, realizations, limitations, and abilities. There are also coincidences.

I’ve seen no other evidence of planning. We are quite on our own. We can make the best of it. Conversely, we may under-perform to phenomenally low, yet undiscovered, levels. Failure in life is an option, even when disguised as success.

I find it frighteningly bizarre that since Armageddon is apparently a religious end times prophesy (I’m not looking it up, but I think it’s in Revelation) of God’s plan, many Christian people work hard to rush that event to fruition, thus ending human life on earth. And in their mind, sending people like me straight to Hell to their everlasting joy. An eternity of “I told you so.” For Muslims, it’s Al-Malhama Al-Kubra – but it’s all the same to me.

You can buy these and give them to your heathen friends.

Now, for the person who claims personal and privileged information regarding the specifics of a deific plan for church leadership. I would cheerfully bet a six-pack of any brewery’s finest amber ale that the same preacher/follower-man or woman (it was guy, but I’m feeling inclusive) would call down fire and brimstone into the after-death fortunes of anyone who would aspire to fortune-telling – as either practitioner or consumer. Yet, that is exactly what this self-proclaimed, religiously acceptable prophet is claiming to do.

It seems that in this case, and in so many others, God apparently needs this human’s help to pull-off the Big Plan. God is omnipotent but likes to entice His or Her enslaved underlings to do this bidding, just because.

I can say from experience that God’s plan is very clear to some of us, until others of us start asking questions. The brand of answer for the prior ilk is too often a version of God works in mysterious ways. The honest answer might sound like I don’t know.

I am not picking on all believers (at least not here). I know many religiously devout people who do not claim to know the plan (thus, so many books for them to buy), and do not believe this mumbo-jumbo any more than I do. They may even proffer that making such a claim would be heresy.

Waiving my bullshit flag has brought trouble into my life. It would be fair to wonder why I don’t stop. I can assure you that I will continue objecting to such ludicrous nonsense until the day the king puts on his clothes.

My plan and wish for us both is to have a wonderful day. Allahu akbar (not to me).

Always look both ways.
You don’t know what Allah’s plan is, or if she will protect you.
So, mind the gaps like you mean it.

Postscript: I returned to the library but could not find the book again anywhere, nor could I locate anything like it in the catalogue system (likewise in cyberspace). During my search, I did notice several similar titles. There are many people who seem to know God’s plan. As I searched graphics for this post, I noticed more literature about God’s Plan.

Essay: My FWB Neighbors (4 of 4)

This is the last of my four-part neighbor-knocking recall from our time on the Redneck Riviera (Florida Panhandle).

 

Part 4 of 4: Meet Dangerous Dixie

Directly across the street lived an inspirational hero named Dixie. I met her when she was 97 or 98 years of age. I went to the 99th Birthday bash at Dixie’s home, the same house she and her late hubby moved into 50 years prior, in 1964, when the houses and the neighborhood were all new.

A wee bit bent over, Dixie walked unassisted and talked bitingly sharper than many folk decades younger. If I had a favorite people list, Dixie would be in the top five. I don’t know what it was about the little bull dog that we found so compelling, but Dixie was a treat to behold. A pill, but one you must love.

Meeting and making new friends when they are in their late 90s (Dixie was 30 years my senior) is like no other relationship. There were many things special or unique about her (not all of them sweetness and love), but at that point in life, attitude is more important than ever. One of Dixie’s last great adventures had been an excursion to the Galapagos Islands ten years earlier. She told me all about the trip, remembering many specific details and saying that she got around much better back then, at age 88.

Dixie was convinced that a local lawn guy had dumped a pile of yard-waste at her curb. He hadn’t, but that was not the point. She refused to permit me to dispose of the waste. My wife talked to the guy and offered to pay him to clean it up. He said, “I know she thinks I did that, but I did not. However, I will clean it up without charge.” He did. In Dixie’s mind, he was guilty, and she had won because she had waited him out. We let her go with that.

I have attended exactly one 99th Birthday Party in my life: Dixie’s. She wore two-inch heels and personally greeted each of the many guests. As she would introduce them around the room, naming each guest, she accurately told a little story about each person or couple.

That went on for more than an hour before Dixie finally sat down and took her shoes off. Dixie looked at my wife and asked if she still drove. Dixie’s Mercedes was parked in her driveway, but she had only recently stopped driving. When Yolonda said that she did drive, Dixie said, “Good. Because we need to get out and do some running around and have some fun.”

I don’t know what doctor thought a cardiac pacemaker would be good for Dixie at 99, but a few months following the party she had that surgery. Some weeks later, Dixie was found dead in her split-level home, ostensibly from some form of cardiac failure. Dixie’s 100th Birthday Party was combined with a memorial of her passing as well as celebrating her life. I knew Dixie for less than two years of her long life, but I will not forget her.

In many ways, I would like to be like Dixie. However, I could never measure up to her spark, enthusiasm for life, or love of nature.

Look both ways in life, even when there is a lot more was than will be. Mind your gaps.