Bare Foot Education

(Miss the good news? Be sure to check out my previous post for details on an upcoming poetry reading, award, and radio interview – it’s a busy couple months ahead!)

Exploited feet

diminished spirit

ashen world detritus

clogging pores and pouring

 

out live within

sanctuary of knowledge

fortress by education, maze-like

without the cheese, just history and

ink dripping from the binding—

 

not a prayer

nor a thought,

it’s the brick and mortar keeps me

it’s the paper worlds that defend me

it’s the flesh and bone that births me

 

beyond, the living

not made, clandestine

nights of exhaustion for figments

and apparitions—yet

no imagination save “away”.

 

Familiar is the chirp

of the restoration aria

gentle minds contemplate

as they dream bare foot dreams.

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Stricken

Lately I am stricken

as the plots to dear and mortal earth do thicken—

kneel, kneel lest it all too readily quicken—

for like the desert winds of old Sahara,

it burns to know the subtle motions Terra

should pass me by to other eras.

 

Rage, rage the old man writes

yet dead is light at the sour sight

of youth so bitter cast, paralyzed by fright;

where is devotion to seek out age

where privilege become but flesh and cage,

and still the younger cry: engage, engage.

Time for a Change

“He who rejects change is the architect of decay.  The only human institution which rejects progress is the cemetery.” 
~Harold Wilson

Change is pretty much the word of the week for this little writer. Shiny new apartment change begins on Saturday. Expenses are soon to be changing. Plus, new reviews on the book are supposed to be coming in–a nice bit of the warm fuzzy (hopefully) to balance out the expenses part of the change equation. The sum? The continued shift into reality continues…though I must say I’d prefer to continue living in my fantasy world.

Because more bills are never fun.

And in a fantasy world, you can probably ride a gryphon. You know, if it doesn’t eat your face off.

A Heraldic griffin Passant.

Yeah. I want one. (Heraldic Griffin. Image credit: Wikipedia)

Food for thought.

“All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another.”
~Anatole France

Passing Through

Not even laughter marked the passing

where the final hop was made,

where I found time

waiting with a smokeless cigarette,

and shadows played burlesque tragedy

upon bones once called foundation.

There were memories in the scraps of smiles.

Cracked and bloody in the marsh,

a framed lie will sink into the sight unseen.

One life at a time

these homes just

stepping stones between—

thank God there’s soul to find cause

you can’t go home again.

Reconciling the Fantastic and the Literary

Centuries ago, as it is said, man looked at the world around him, and wondered. The why of existence captivated him, and so did its purpose. The result? He made up stories to explain it. Gave new reasons to old sights.

Then came science, reason, cultural and sociological evolution. Logic worked its way into mankind, and the world became less mysterious—its wonders suddenly had explanations, purposes that didn’t end in men hurling lightning bolts from the clouds (though I think that old way’s better. Cooler, at the least). Mankind grew up. What’s more, in growing up, it struggled to capture pieces of the world around it, and put less and less stock in notion of fancy. That realm, they left to children.

An iconic image for us all, to be sure...

No one can deny it fits nicely into the child’s realm. Such fantasy, such imagination—it cultivates and reorganizes the child’s dreams, the way they interact with the reality around them. Sounds good, right? Nice and simple? Yet the funny part is, as much as the world has tried to turn its back on all things fantastic, the fact is, children aren’t the only ones mired in imagination. Though man has grown up, fantasy still has a key place in the psyche—it is engrained in the cultural fault lines of our society, though the form may change in time.

Fantasy captures and captivates that part of us that longs for an escape from the reasonable, from the knowledgeable details of everyday life. If allows us to ask the great “what-ifs,” and break the boundaries the universe itself has deigned to slap on our weary bones. We enjoy the limitless complexity. Reality remains, in truth, a place contrary to our desires of self-importance. It has this habit of beating us down for thinking as such. Yet in fantasy, we meet characters who truly are important—who are key to the salvation of people, worlds, even universes, and we lose ourselves in them. It gives us a glimpse of grounding, and focus, that many of us will never know.

Yes, that’s right, I said fantasy grounds. It may let us fly to the boundless ends of the universe, but by god, it grounds us in questions.

Fellow fantasy author R. Scott Bakker once wrote that epic fantasy “possesses tremendous social and cultural significance, recording, at almost every turn, the antagonism between modernity and the human soul.” I don’t doubt it. In fact, I embrace that view. Many of us long for something different, an escape from the crushing reality of the modern world. We know our history, and to an extent, we know our future. Yet we can dream. We like to posit new possibilities, however unlikely. We love to dream up all the ways things could be different, even if we know they can’t, because it helps us cope.

But wait! Surely I’ve just provided ample reasoning and evidence for critics’ often uttered denunciation of this genre as mere escapism. Not so, dear fellows. This isn’t myth. These aren’t the old legends our ancestors told themselves to help the world make sense. We know fantasy fiction is just that—fiction. Hell, it’s more fictional than fiction. Fiction takes place in our own cities, our own homes. Fantasy takes place in realms and lands that never could have been.

One of Bakker's gems.

What’s more, it helps us to understand our world, and our relation to it. Yes, I’ll say it again—fantasy helps us to understand reality. By seeing what could not be, we are given insight into our own world. We look at it and begin to decipher just why it would not work, fascinating as it may be. We think of the logic behind magic, for example, how it works in the framework of the presented world, and inevitably find ourselves reclining on the thought of why it doesn’t work in our own.

Too often, I’ve heard people claim that fantasy offers nothing to the world. It’s simply not true. It helps us think. It broadens the mind beyond boundaries modernity ingrains into us. In a way, it sets us free.

…though I must admit, the world would be so much more exciting if we did have a touch of magic to brighten up the day. Make that noisy neighbor a newt for an hour or two? Yes, please.

Why, that’s probably why the genre sells so well. Crafty devils, we.