Absurdity is energetic and creative. To bitch-slap it with the normal is to chloroform it to boredom.

Don't doubt yourself. Many valuable innovations spring from absurd ideas.

Some absurd behavior has the power to make you happy, and to heal you.

I am grateful that my childhood introduced me to examples of nonconformity and its consequences, pretensions and facts, plain logic and absurdity that went out in all directions. Familiar then with certain elements of the extraordinary, I was conditioned to recognize, combat, or comply with the norm.

As absurd as it may sound, I admire most the men who are intelligent and strong in moral courage, and who have the ability to, when necessary, think like a woman.

I have acquired the habit of doing so many absurd little things in life that my family no longer even notices.

At some point, we must stop pointing back at parents and face the misconceptions we have applied to our own personal logic.

I remember when my mother made me creamy-style-peanut butter-and-grape-jelly sandwiches, cut diagonally. I now make crunchy-style peanut-butter-and-strawberry-jelly sandwiches, cut straight across. That may be the only example of independent thinking of which I am certain.

My mother seemed cold because she buried her emotions. My father was loud, articulately furious, with a way of keeping any vacation from being fun. He could be heard grinding his teeth from across the room. He was many examples of a man not to marry. And yet, I sometimes mimic my mother, sometimes look for my father in male companions, often skirt realizations to keep loving those who deserved to be loved.

Sometimes we carefully edit our childhood memories, weed out what we think can still harm us. Or we push the pain up front so we can have the continuing excuse of it in our lives.

If you believe life is a prison cell, a case of the clap, rickets, or some other disappointment, if you think it is nothing but suffering and sadness, a dive from private parts into a big hole in the earth -- boredom, emptiness, self-hate, then maybe you should take an aspirin for whatever hidden pain is influencing thought by traveling with you like a sharp stone in your shoe, because the sun never shines (even if there is some truth in it all) on depressive realism.

I guess it's a woman's way to carry a storm of emotion like a big ship going out to sea, leaving others to guess her destination. She might seem at peace, empty of grief or anger, but it just might be she ran out of one particular emotion and another was a bit too slow to rise and take its place. But it's a good game, fellas, for keeping up your circulation, and she's gonna make you a fine meatloaf.

Freedom of expression should not be reserved only for those with whom you agree.

We sometimes exaggerate, underplay, dramatize, then feel offended when we are not understood.

Music finishes what speech begins.

Open your mind beyond the point where it is comfortable.

Art is often a confession of sorts that is obliquely offered.

Believe in your creative spirit. Do not be afraid to put your work out in the world.

The most beautiful eyes I ever saw were full of words.

If you are to be believed, never declare love or make an apology with your face empty of all expression.

Poetry is no more than putting words in an order where they hold hands.

Shakespearean emotion is often lost in salesman-like dialogue.

The world may not be ready for your ideas, but that does not mean you should be silent.

Sometimes art forms begin as a polite way of screaming.

I don't think a picture is worth a thousand words. I think it's closer to 809.

I'm thinking people do not change that much from decade to decade, but rather our perception and expression about them changes.

Here I am all dressed up, but looking like something that might have occurred to Picasso in his most abstract moment. I think I'll stay home.

If you fill your requests with ambiguity, are complex and elusive, if you don't connect all the dots and do leave a bunch of squiggles, then go ahead and waste your time further by complaining about being misunderstood.

Give me silence and a piece of paper, and who knows what absolute, well... silliness I might come up with.

Contrary to popular belief, I don't think women love more deeply than men do. I think women are just better at expressing it.

It's a pity that people are rarely considered heroes in their own hometown.

If you free your imagination and steel your execution, whatever else your endeavor is, it is art.

I appreciate most the artist who is not afraid to show and say it all-- who can draw birds so vividly I can hear them singing, can draw flowers so clearly I can smell them blooming, or who can deliver imagery-- write, paint, sculpt, with the total honesty found in a few dirty words.

A pity that too many cries of dying fill the world... that too many life forms are eaten... that too many people (like stones) go nowhere. It's a pity that too few fathers teach children how to be lost in the woods, that man feels safer in places where there is no more room for shadows or unnecessary friends, that too many retreat into cell phones and no longer see actual faces or know what it is like to hike (to exhaustion) the lovely countryside. We have gained from our tangle and technology, but we have also lost.

Today, because I can be, I am nothing, merely size and mass on automatic pilot. I hear the birds. I see the squirrels, but I am happily hollow, enjoying moments of reprieve from ordinary worry. The sun shines through me and I am warm inside. Tomorrow, I will have a simple title, responsibilities and a salary, but today I am free, happy to be adrift on lazy waves of life and content with being nothing.

Lost Loved Ones : Each day, as the sun sets on its western podium and I watch about a half an hour of colored sky, loud at first in hue, then resolving into mute, I think about what was, the days that had you in them, clear-eyed, smiling, with soft breeze through your hair... My memory of you is deathless, though you were not, and though it hurts to remember you, remembering keeps you near....and, now and always, I choose painful remembrance over the total loss of you.

Live.... Struggle against supreme organization, the designation of each thing to cataloged row and column, with each facet sealed off from change and new experience... Whoop and dance and sing without regard for censure. Celebrate life, deeply breathe the sweet soil until you are the soil.

I have seen purity in determined men, strong women, in bad children. Purity is, in part, the ability to perform a generous act, and I have observed it bold-faced, random, and in wide scale, sometimes where least expected.

Being wise is not being adamantly right, but being receptive.

Like all others, I reach for the sun when I need warmth and dig holes to hide in when I need darkness. Like all others, I have known sorrow, and the later realization that the deeper the sorrow cut the more room was made available for later happiness. But I doubt this is anything new to you. I doubt I have ever written a word that you have not already in some semblance thought, and that shows just how close each one of us is to all the others.

Salute to the adventurous who start no day like the day lapsed, for whom the sun rises far from where their last one set, who answer to few, move at will.....and surely have big-time body aches and wear out lots of boots. 

I once bought things for extravagance. I once bought things for boast. Then I bought things for comfort, and then bought only what I need. And that was the day I became my own master.

Help is friendship made tangible.

Love, and you bind yourself to yourself. Love, and you bind yourself to others. Hate, and you stand in misery, alone.

Let me look around a bit while I add cookies, candy, cupcakes to my shopping cart....to expand cognitive awareness of the world. Let me see beyond my sweet tooth to the cuts, scars and bruises, and hear the sighs of disappointment and the sniffles, and realize that other people are in pain.

What a strange sky last night, as if the stars sulked in one corner, the moon in another, and the day broke full of personal discontent and lost illusion, all teary-eyed and moping as it pushed past the adolescent sun that didn't have a chance of maturity. Now and again, a person (like me) must acknowledge the immaturity of idealistic notions, and allow the gap between reality and the comfort of expectations. Some days must be started with a difficult smile and the desire to build a personal sun.

How easy it is to slip into self-pity. The most sane and sensible among us can completely lose sense of balance and proportion and spend years dealing with avoidable madness.

Appreciate your partner. Take time to study the waves at the back of his or her neck. Move beyond anger and failure, express love from your mouth, in your bones, over coffee before dashing off to jobs in opposite directions.

Life's Journey: The day came when you finally knew what you had to do despite the voices all around you and inside you that kept shouting their bad advice, despite the fact that your feet were getting that tingling that was telling you to run. But you didn't run. You stood your ground like stone. Little by little you left all the voices behind that were filling you with doubt, and you recognized your own voice, a pure and simple thing, and you walked deeper and deeper into the world determined to do everything you could to solve each problem and to save first the closest life to you, your own.

Almost Mr. Right: (Doesn't every woman have one?)  All those years ago on a blanket under the wind, in adolescence little spent, we met in a dream upon a hill. You spoke to me in my aloneness, amused me, and gave me a snippet of your dreams. Years later we met again and sang a deeper song, but the music stopped on the words, 'Only a little while for us again, in preparation for some other-- a moment's rest on a hilltop under a balmy, summer wind."

The starlings come murmuring in today, willing to feed on anything, things fresh or on things time has altered. They come, check things out, and go with measured hesitations. I don’t comprehend their language, but I know they speak their minds. I throw a little this and that their way, and they impolitely accept and I look at their disgusting droppings and groan, but the ritual continues because we each understand the needs of the other, at least, within certain approximations.

 

We can't waste time. Time is out of our control. It goes on no matter what we do. We waste ourselves!

It's a lovely day when none of your friends (or you ) are emotional hunchbacks, truth is told kindly, everybody loves their mother, father too, and the rest, all animals are humanely treated, and the wind isn't cold and bent out of shape and coming at you from all directions.

Old clothing kept is a tribute to past experience, perhaps a romance, or only a single event. Too restrictive here, hanging there, maybe ridiculous in style, excessive in flair, the look and feel is not a good fit anymore, making you wonder what you liked about it in the first place. But still, you can't throw it away because, though you do not intend to wear it again, don 't even want to, merely seeing it brings electric response-- deep warmth, comfort, and a grateful smile, perhaps on some, empty-feeling rainy day.

When I'm alone, I do a lot of thinking. When I am no longer at peace with my thoughts, I speak. When I speak, I call up varying viewpoints, sometimes debate them, often murder half my notions. I might put a bit of it down on paper. Some would call this routine insanity. I call it the norm, but then I am often alone and must fall to self-amusement. My dog used to glance around to see who I was talking to, but now he just grunts condescendingly, something that sounds like, "Oh, gracious, there she goes again," and he rolls his eyes, heavily drops his head, and goes back to sleep, leaving me to talk about it.

Sometimes I look around and see that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence, and the first thing I think (or, after brief envy, maybe the second) is that I'm glad I don 't have to pay their water bill.

We all sin in our everyday living. Maybe I sin differently than you. What say we not judge each other!

Two things I learned in a pretty long life: Don't make an important decision when you're ticked off, and don't promise something when you are really happy. The cost and repercussion can be considerable.

Jealousy creates anger, and anger injures judgment. These are only a couple of the links in a chain reaction that damages your peace, kindness, truth, and ultimately (if you believe in it as I do) your destiny.

Don't give up! Push! Push ! Push! A good push will get you most places.....Well, maybe not through a door marked "Pull," but most other places.

Did you ever notice that the people who have the strongest, the most generous, and the kindest hearts are often the same ones who carry the heaviest burdens?

I often wonder how I went from that six year old little girl who was almost always happy and smiling and laughing to this.... an old lady who is almost always happy and smiling and laughing. Just lucky, I guess!

 

(From the Cocklebur Chronicles (on Smashwords.com)
 
THE OLD PIANO TEACHER SURVIVED AUSCHWITZ

After peaceful nights with flannel between her legs,

the old piano teacher gets up early, buns gray hair,

and puts on what could be a Salvation Army uniform.

She pledges allegiance to the flag propped

near a sprouting sweet potato.

She smells like wet cardboard, damp crackers, greasy scalp.

She eats dry toast,

Stares through the blanched eyes of a goat

at a world of bird feeders and dangling suet logs,

watching what sings in praise of basic blubber.

People old enough to remember, or to assume about it, say:

At Auschwitz, many were gassed in showers, the bodies burned.

The sky was galvanized with ash.

Who could expect a piano-playing youngster kept there as a Tinker Toy,

and handled roughly, to ever come out right?

Reluctantly, I sit for my first piano lesson.

The teacher crosses the floor in duck-faced bedroom shoes.

She wears pearl earrings for the occasion.

Light eyes glimmer from a face like an old potato pot.

Red lips scribble ear to ear toward plastered silver.

She could be the ticket-taker at a Halloween showing of Dracula.

She introduces gray students from a long line of photographs

with backs against the wall as

The Gestapo-clock goose-steps into my hour. Not fast enough.

The piano teacher smiles.

“Some things change life indescribably,” she says.

She reaches out to touch me. I flinch, buckle.

“Music is one of them.” She throws her head back. Laughs.

She is a squealing puppy playing in a wrinkled sack.

She waggles semi-solid arms and dribbles fingers down

To play Chopsticks.

Done. Done. Done. Done. Done. Done.

Done. Done. Done. Done...

She is not a monster.

The duck-faced bedroom shoes should have been a giveaway.

Are you kidding me?

 

CABANATUAN PRISON CAMP (1942- 1945)  - (For Preston)

I squat, shitting blood
within sight of the Death Shack
where a razor cuts
and transfusion is through bamboo.
Someone with a familiar face asks,
too late,
about birdseed for a confiscated dickeybird.
A PFC gnaws the foot of his pet dog
and imagines another friend,
"Doggone, the dog is gone."
A buddy pricked by a bamboo thorn,
ulcered to the shinbone, sits scooping pus with a tin can lid,
and talking about the cafes
in San Francisco.
But the leg died and they took it,
and two days later buried the man in a separate grave.
I can't read over him, nor over those kicking dead from the flames of a cholera heap,
Because a man with a tobacco habit
smoked dried banana leaves rolled in the 23rd Psalms,
And I killed him for it.
I squat, shitting blood.