Tom Simard

Poetry, Music, and Prose

Archive for the category “Writing”

Sunday’s Choice

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The Heralds

The Heralds
Seagulls cawing
as if in
competition
at the onset of
the impending
storm.

Deliverance

“Your old road is rapidly agin'”

What comes with age is not necessarily wisdom but lack of relevance. The younger see things differently and seem incapable of listening. I have half-joked that by the time I do die, I’ll be more than happy to do so.

 

The April Snows

The April Snows
During the April snows,
a bearded man appeared,
however disheveled,
resembling those who sought comfort
all those years ago,
reminding me of
the ride in which
a death was announced.

Tuesday’s Choice

Merry Christmas!

Next Year in Jersualem

The Upside-Down World in Which We Live

 

"Cassandra was cursed to utter prophecies that were true but that no one believed"

Micah 4:4

“And they shall dwell each man under his vine and under his fig tree, and no one shall make them move, for the mouth of the Lord of Hosts has spoken.”

Molly Malone

Family (Repost)

I remember visiting my cousin in the hospital (first person is him, last verse) but didn’t realize until looking at the date of the post that it was 5 years ago. Unfortunately, he died last week, the warning(s) not heeded.

Family
A family
may have
its own unique warning
to save one
from what nature or nurture
combined to produce.

Ours was simple:
If you drink,
you die.

My uncle
was justifiably
marked as Cain,
but all that he shattered
was tidily
swept away.

My aunt found herself
in a position
impossible to
escape,
and
her gentle spirit
was no match
for the bottles
strategically placed.

My brother was wild
as the wind
with a temper
that knew no end
or solace.

Who would
have imagined
as she rose to the top
that the punches
thrown at my cousin
would have finally
knocked her out?

I lie now
my body
like a beached
whale,
my face jaundiced,
but my red eyes
still show their
cunning.

Wednesday’s Choice

No News Is Good News

I don’t know how many days into his presidency it is. I’ve lost count, but it has to be like 1,324,000, right? At any rate, the pattern is clear and not to my liking: Trump blathers nonsense and our time is truly wasted treating his utterances as if he were the Oracle of Delphi.

Only One Clean Public Lavatory

“The Great Hall, as is generally the case in all public buildings, theatres, concert halls and banks, is draped with red banners. Many of them hang the entire length of the hall, and on them is written: ‘We shall Conquer and Surpass the Capitalist Countries!’ I thought, if instead of these talks, this waste of banner cloth, instead of the countless busts and pictures of Lenin, if instead of these huge and superficial expenditures of money, if instead of all this, only one clean public lavatory were built, then much more would have been achieved for the good and convenience of the people as well as for the ‘conquering and surpassing’ of the capitalist countries.”

From The House of Wittgenstein: A Family at War by Alexander Waugh
The quote refers to Paul Wittgenstein’s visit to the Soviet Union in 1930.

Even though my connection with the Wittgensteins is limited to reading Ludwig’s work during an Epistemology and Metaphysics class at university, where I think I got a B-, and reading Thomas Bernhard’s magnificent Wittgenstein’s Nephew, I thought I”d give The House of Wittgenstein: A Family at War a go as I’m interested in the end days of the Austrio-Hungarian empire. Perhaps, Stephan Zweig’s The World of Yesterday, which I don’t think I’ve read, is next.

The book is a quick read and besides the Wittgenstein clan, there are a whole cast of characters many of whom I knew nothing about that i”m beginning to learn more about.

Immigration

Unless you have any skin in the game, you probably haven’t heard of the July 13 memo from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Here’s a portion:

“This Policy Memorandum (PM) provides guidance to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) adjudicators regarding the discretion to deny an application, petition, or request without first issuing a Request for Evidence (RFE) or Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID) if initial evidence is not submitted or if the evidence in the record does not establish eligibility.”

In other words, you submit your application, which is complicated believe you me, but happen to forget to include something. They will no longer request additional information but rather will deny your application and you won’t know why. What are you supposed to do then when you haven’t a clue what you might have gotten wrong? Include another check for $535?

It sadly brings to mind what I was reading about the poll tax in Simon Schama’s The Story of the Jews: Finding the Words 1000 BC – 1492 AD:

“Collectors were supposed to keep their payers waiting, then shout at them, seize them by the scruff of the neck and even slap their faces. On no account was the payer’s hand to be raised above the hand of the receiver, a requirement demanding a physically contorted form of dextrous subservience. Payment was of course also a punishing hardship for the countless numbers of the less well-off.”

No Thought

“Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”

Matthew 6:34

Truth

“Once the truth is stripped out of history, all that is left of it is but a useless narrative”

Polybios, Histories, I.14.6

10/10


10/10
The time
we still must wait.

Not the young
Belgian reporter
whose dog’s name seems
wholly appropriate.

Not traveling down rat’s alley
but endless roads
with racoons lying in repose.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Difference

Difference
The city’s
looming buildings
as a student
had always stood

but now
no longer
rattled by the traffic

surrounded
by difference

and music
that spoke to all

you saw
on the movie screen
a garbage bin
producing uproarious laughter
which was impossible
to comprehend.

 

Gotta Serve Somebody

The Dotard Meets Rocket Man

A Trophy Ban

I’m confused.

 

Moving in a Dream

Moving in a Dream
As I moved along
the thawing fields,
silos rose up,
and red lights
flashed from on high,
as if in a dream
impossible to change.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Being Poor

“It is not the man who has too little,  but the man who craves more, that is poor.”

Seneca

 

 

Lackeys

 

 

 

 

Voices

“There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them is without signification.”

I Corinthians 14:10

Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

As you know, the President of the United States is a man of his word (nah, don’t ask what his word is) so he is bound to honor all his promises.

Because I am sympathetic to their plight I really must take exception to the idea that returning to the mines is in anyone’s best interest.  In the U.S. fatalities are way down from what I guess was the peak of 3,242 in 1907. It seems it’s now down to about 20 a year.  Black lung disease is still a problem though.

China (another promise)

is still remarkably accident prone.  In 2013, 1049 people died.  Nothing like the march to progress.

Immortality Sweeps over our Land

 

Despite the pistol he’s carrying, Roy Moore is no straight shooter unlike Girolamo Savonarola.

Since Moore doesn’t seem to believe in much besides self-aggrandizement (just like the president), one can only imagine what he would do if he were put in a position similar to that of Savonarola.

 

 

 

Clearly

“We wish to make it abundantly clear that this is not a military takeover.”

Maj. Gen. Sibusiso Moyo

Pterodactyl (5)

Pterodactyl (5)
I rubbed my knee
before lighting up a cigarette.

Taking a long drag,
I let it out,
rat a tat tat
in accompaniment with
the rain
that was coming down
like shrapnel on the roof.

Pterodactyl (4)

Pterodactyl (4)
Clarence
was waiting,
Private Clarence Winters,
drafted like me.

Although we had grown up
in different worlds,
he on the Baltimore streets,
me on a small farm,
neither of us
knew of anyone
with money to speak of,
and we shared a love of
jazz.

But I cannot
go to him,
I have to flee.

Pterodactyl (3c)

Pterodactyl (3c)
He did not listen
as much as speak
and because my mind
has been twirling more
than a bit
I doubt I
picked up much of what he said
but that I face up
and get myself ready.

Pterodactyl (3b)

Pterodactyl (3b)
He had come
to console
because he thought
my time had come.

But I had not
yet given up hope
because Max
knew.

 

 

Pterodactyl (3a)

Pterodactyl (3a)
He didn’t know
the man
who entered his cell
from Adam.

But his clerical collar
identified
why he had come.

Pterodactyl (2c)

Pterodactyl (2c)
It rose and glided off
its enormous wings stretching out,
its beating rhythm
sounding
Max’s fleeing steps.

When he finally arrived
at the old ranch house,
he entered
the screen door
slamming shut.

His grandmother
looking up from the kitchen table
with its plate of sugar cookies
and the drink that she was drinking
with weary eyes
listened.

Pterodactyl (2b)

Pterodactyl (2b)
One day
in his ninth year
as the clouds swirled
above
at a leisurely pace,
he saw something
he could not believe.

 

Pterodactyl (2a)

Pterodactyl (2a)
Walking home along the river
after Bible class
where he’d heard the story
of a righteous God
who had passed judgment
with the Great Waters,
Max would often see
what at first resembled teetering overturned carts
but were in fact
slot machines thrown in by the mob.

Pterodactyl (1g)

Pterodactyl (1g)
I’ve thought it
over and over again:
Max is my only hope.

The clouds are rolling in
like a pair of thrown dice.

Pterodactyl (1f)

Pterodactyl (1f)
I know
there’s no way
to change what happened.

The man had told us
he had crates of whiskey for sale;
alcohol was hard to get
and we were dying for a taste.

 

 

Pterodactyl (1e)

Pterodactyl (1e)
A tall
pasty-white guard
approaches
his syllables stretch out
as if they were sentences.

“A visitor is coming later,
Winters.”

“Is it Max?

“No name,” he said
looking slightly befuddled
before shuffling off
a heavy rifle resting on
his bony shoulder.

Pterodactyl (1d)

Pterodactyl (1d)
I’m monitored hourly,
but my imprisonment
is not particularly harsh.

Despite the fencing,
it would not have been difficult to escape
but I would never dare
the jungle surrounding all.

Pterodactyl (1c)

Pterodactyl (1c)
My leg
is being eaten away;
my wounds remind me
of this island’s wild terrain

Pterodactyl (1b)

Pterodactyl (1b)
Lying on the ground,
made up of the dead and dying,
I look to the mist
in the high tree tops
as my withering lungs strain.

Pterodactyl (1a)

Pterodactyl (1a)*
Lush green
draping mountain
streams
untamed
flowing rapidly
in deep ravines
where unseen creatures
move
discordantly.

*I am in the process (albeit slow, and to be honest, just begun) of writing a lengthy poem entitled, Pterodactyl. Numbers will indicate parts, letters  stanzas.

Days

Days
The pipe-smoking man
on the back cover
spoke of the book
that you read,
whose dusty pages
you poured over,
engrossed as never before
in days
that found their own purpose.

Embodiments

Embodiments
To see the future
clear and not
a blur
of known
uncertainties,
grasping
colossal embodiments.

September 21, 2017

September 21, 2017
Breathe in
the divine scent
of lilies
on which
raindrops
flutter
like the wings of a sparrow
and consider.

Sinking

Sinking
A sinking feeling
you can’t quite place
that rises to take control
of a single thought
you can’t shake loose
that holds you captive in its powers.

Of Weathermen and Parking Meters

I saw one of those online quizzes recently that are supposedly able to tell one whether you’re a leader or a follower.  Although I didn’t take it, I suppose it’s an Either/Or.  Maybe that’s what I hate so much about application forms or fast food restaurants (don’t even get me started about standing in line as a boy because I wanted a quarter pounder and cheese only with the hamburger and cheese), lack of nuance.

On the subject, the following always comes to mind:

“Suppose it were the life-view of a religiously existing subject that one must not have a disciple, that this is treason to both God and men; suppose he were also a little foolish (for if it takes a little more than mere honesty to make one’s way in the world, then stupidity is always necessary for real success and to have many properly understand you) and said this directly, with unction and pathos, what then? Well, yes, he would indeed be understood. Soon ten would apply, asking to be engaged just for a free shave once a week to preach this doctrine; i.e., and as further confirmation of the doctrine’s truth, he would have had the extraordinary good luck to acquire disciples who accepted and spread this teaching about having no disciples.”
Soren Kierkegaard – Concluding Unscientific Postscript

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