the past was not a rehearsal

my friend, go live and know 
that none of what you've known 
needs be. 
it's neither fate 
nor necessity: 
it's just the way things were. 

my friend, you've far to go. 
the markers along
your destiny 
will show you the hidden ways 
you've missed: 
the glances soft, and 
the moments kissed. 
it all may seem a blur -- 

the past was not a rehearsal 
for what the future will bring: 
take only what you choose with you. 
perhaps some little thing 

that ties you to the strength inside. 
you are not cursed, or hexed: 
just leave the past where it belongs 
and head towards

what's next

6 – neither simpler, nor more evil

PEOPLE LOVE to tell us what to think. 

They may say the past was a simpler, better time: 
 But it only seemed simpler because we were children, 
 And others did the worrying for us.

Or they may say the past was more evil, 
 Since the hardships of our ancestors are better known to us 
 Than those today we might ourselves perpetuate. 

The world has ever been a place of 
 Violence and indifference, 
 Joy and friendship, 
 Vitriol and consolation. 
 It it not, nor has ever been easy,
 It is, and ever has been, full of evil, and good. 

When people tell us what to think, 
 They are usually really telling us how to act, 
 And those actions usually involve enriching the people 
 Doing the telling.

5 – those

THOSE WHO KILL to escape the boredom, 
 Those who hide to escape the kill, 
 Those who are willing, but hardly able, 
 Those who assert they won't with a will, 

Those who travel in packs for safety, 
 Those who betray out of selfishness -- 
 These are the groups reaching out for members: 
 These are the people recruiting us

4 – sawdust

I LOOK down at my hands, and then around the room. 
 The paper in these books, the shelves -- 
 How many different sets of hands were part of this? 
 How many people working, struggling, grieving, 
 Laughing, aching, who I'll never know about? 
 From o'er the seas and across the country, 
 From years gone by, those with years to years to come -- 
 The trail of sawdust, back to soil, 
 Back to our shared humanity, 
 Back to the life within it all. 
 
We simplify, where no such thing is needed. 
 All of us split into genus and species, 
 Each of us put in a box, or a byte, 
 So that we can understand what we do not know, 
 And know what we've never bothered to understand. 
 Connectedness is more fundamental than "society", 
 Which, more often than not, is a word we give 
 To local customs. 

I look around this room, my part of the ant-hill, 
 It has the shape of me, the scent of me, 
 But it's made by all of you: 
 The you's I know, and the you's I can never know.

3 – unvisited playgrounds

THERE'S LITTLE sadder than outgrowing 
 Things we seldom thought to use. 
 Days are our one real currency, 
 These coins we either spend, or lose,  

Which, looking back, won't seem enough. 
 So take heed, when they're plenty, 
 And don't waste days you're gifted with, 
 You only get 

 So many

2 – in the reticence

YOU MEANT to share that great idea, 
 The one where you would say 
 The words that made you, finally, heard -- 
 Your revelation day. 

You did intend to blow their minds, 
 But then, somehow, instead 
 The words you murmured died in flight, 
 And you went home to bed. 

Imagined worlds, where we are seen,  
 These are a common thing -- 
 Self-hate, where is thy victory? 
 O, doubt, where is thy sting?

They are still here, though. Never left.
 It's all futility; 
 Here, in the reticence, you'll stay 
 Just possibility

1 – where the way out

IN the cold, cold days, when the sun stands still, 
 When we've noised and drank and ate our fill, 
 Then the flat time comes, and the small sounds grow 
 Into more than we could have expected, or know. 

In the silence lost, in the drifts misplaced, 
 Where the way in is shut, where the way out is laced 
 With the poisons set out in the long ago 
 For whomever might trespass -- but, even so -- 

There's a time when we'll eat, be whatever the crumbs; 
 There's a a place every feeling's just one more that numbs -- 
 Though we cannot see where, and we do not know how, 
 There is more to this life than just what 

 We see now

Rutting

It's hard to believe when you can't know, 
And hard to know what can't be seen, 
And hard to see what isn't there, 
When you aren't sure you're anywhere. 

It's easy to fall into a rut, 
And easy to dig a rut when you 
Get paid to shovel, endlessly: 
Until you strain to know, or see.