Puzzled

room by room
a mind’s archive
is searched

in vain it seems
that niggling bit
has hidden well

in the end
the search ends
we look around

what a treasure
has accumulated
without an accounting

rooms float by
entering us
not us them

we note motes
of dusty memory
and smile

when from nowhere
to our wandering eye
appears our bit

bigger than life
yearning for us
as we for it

together again
we dance
a puzzle together

Generally Speaking

Of course, the course of human events is uneven. Simply consider the course of any life, yours, for example, or mine. Review any picture from your babyhood, youth, or adolescence. What was their top joy? Their greatest fear? What were they learning that they never were able to articulate?

The distance between then and now is significant. In most ways, there is no bridging it. Then is still then – as implacably as now is still now. It is not that linkages are missing, but the fullness of the context and the limit of apprehending it.

What it meant, once upon a time, to establish a “common defense” alongside a “general welfare” has unraveled. Who were we when “man” meant all people? In an inflated context, with a restricted ability to engage it, we thought our rebalanced revolution would survive its time—that language would not change; that denotation would forever carry the same order of connotation we found so obvious.

Today we can no more even see the printed tension holding defense and welfare in an ongoing marriage dance than we can intuit a day in the life of our 6-year-old ancestor.

In terms of the words, our blindness comes not at the level of “defense” and “welfare.” We know them both in their individuality but not in their relationship to one another. Today they stand in opposition to one another. This distancing is not something inherent in them but because their descriptors have been left behind.

“Common” defense has become a defense of capital and those who have the most of it. “General” no longer speaks of interdependence between all the different gifts people hold, but the independence of what is best for me. What is best for others is received as an intolerable restrain on what is available for me. I must put up a defense against their welfare.

The current revolution needs to establish a defense against capitalism and a concern for the welfare of those it leaves behind.

Speaking-for

Speaking for the trees is a Lorax’s joy.

The speaking, itself, is not a joy. Here there are some magical moments of inspired phrases filled with internal rhyme. When they fall out of our mouth and into our ear, we are encouraged. What might be our best conversional line is, first and foremost, energy to continue speaking. It is food for the movement when sustaining responses are few and far between. Without this gratification, our eyes cloud over and our ears are drawn to entertainment—we lose vision and understanding and fade away.

Speaking-for is difficult because it calls us to listen even more deeply, lest we begin to speak “as” rather than “for.” That small shift in orientation is critical, for we are a mistake-ready-to-be-made when we slide into the hypocritical space of mistaking ourself to be other than we are.

Speaking-for not only brings a reliance on only speaking what we know, devoid of the temptation to speculate just a wee bit. Sticking to fact and truth is work, for we so want to gossip and present ourselves as a hero (inclusively, he-ro and her-o). A proof is still a proof, and all work needs to be shown. Diligence is not usually included in the first-line virtues.

Speaking-for puts us in conflictual settings. There is no way to reliably confront those who speak so assuredly about their supposition of the reality of another’s life. Yet, speaking-for is a vocation ready to be in danger-territory by overstimulating those with kneed-jerk answers to questions life doesn’t ask. Speaking-for increases our vulnerability. Trolls abound, and executioners may weep, but they execute, nonetheless.

Speaking-for trees is Lorax work. At question is who and what I am speaking-for, you are speaking-for. To be effective, it is helpful for most folks to not speak-for more than two specifics. Blessings on discerning which voice to follow by putting it in your mouth.

Trickster

Who has authority to speak? For themself? For earth? For Who’s? For g*d?

Who has authority to speak while honoring the presence of another?

Speech often gets mixed up with dominion — an ability to have the last word.

Tricksters have the best opportunity to get away with speaking truth to power and avoid a standoff with authority. [Note: A current administration is tricky in getting its way but is not a trickster revealing a larger view.] Tricksters, like Coyote, are able to continue their work by periodically appearing with a teaching for folks open to it. Human tricksters such as Socrates and Jesus [Note: It is never warranted to name a contemporary.] seem to ply their trade for a while before unambiguously revealing their alternative truth to the old dictum that might-makes-right. Their usual modes of questions and riddles are but cover for a release from power claimed by a few, abetted by those fancying to take their place at the top of a pecking order based on imposing their will on others.

Tricksters poke at authority for a long while by using rhetorical ju-jitsu on rigidified custom. They walk a line that plays between outright challenge and irony as a tool of revolution.

Eventually, this pretense is put aside for all the skilled speech in the world does not substitute for the clarity of direct action.

It is only an authentic demonstration of in-born authority that reveals the choice set before the contemporary community. Free of a need to evade or dominate, a simple affirmation will do for the culture of the moment to settle the matter through a sentence of death upon the trickster.

Little is such a moment recognized in its time as the culmination of a long line of tests, a parade of set-ups, to pull a last reversal and birth of a new way. May you continue your work as a trickster until you can’t. Irony plays its part for a while and then steps aside for a simple declaration that now has space to echo.

Compost

We do like a good story
where the end is known
even amid new questions
last battles excite
as though they are last
every war intends
to be a last war
a war to end war
a war of victory
we do so want
to hear a first resolution
resolutely resolving
without a doubt
right order
nor do we desire
a reminder
of a last battle
in light of a first
won in a 40-day
silent resetting
of Living over Dead
no matter how debilitated
reclamation rests
awaiting an acknowledgment
of how bad it has gotten
it’s never too late
to start a compost heap
of lost chances
that we might look
upon them warned

Goal

In reading about the role of plot in a Gospel of Mark, I felt my hackles rise when I read about the use of conflict to identify the energy of the story: “The driving goal in Mark’s narrative is for God to establish rulership over the world.”

I applaud the attempt to move away from “kingdom” language but the emphasis on dominion or rule leaves us in the same divided and dissected condition as brought us to each state-of-affairs that follows its predecessor. 

Clothes were a first limit past which we were not able to return but only start a new line of fate. We are now expecting and put up with cycle-after-cycle of busted-born-busted~again. Somehow we can’t bridge the gap symbolized by unnecessary covering and return to some original partnership. Once an arbitrary test-line has been crossed, no amount of forgiveness or mercy seems to avail to re-establish a primary relationship. G*D goes back to being chief of the gods and humans return to creaturehood. Both have lost their ability to impact the other, to be partners.

A goal of returning to the impetus to relationship beyond the aloneness of ruling over all one can see and, through colonial surrogates, even that under another sun—seems much too small a goal.

The conflicts in Mark are not so much for overcoming as for resolving.

Here is another try that takes the open-ended conclusion of Mark into better account—the potential renewed relationships in the midst of ordinary life back home in Galilee. “The driving goal in Mark’s narrative is for human, non-humans, and meta-humans to re-establish a working relationship in the context of the whole of creation and any larger context it may have.”

The suzerainty of G*D is a very scratched lens through which to find the music of the spheres as expressed through “Coir an oir an oir an eer o” (https://youtu.be/0BOEE7-UhQM).

How does the world go on again, if not rolling toward morning? Try this song:
https://youtu.be/T0kmGoFH-X8.

Finally, Do No Harm

“First, do no harm.”

When that commandment proves false, does harm —in a world of consequences and interconnections, there is no unitive through a negative injunction, only failure through failing step number one — even its aspiration evaporates. Yet, maleficence reduction has value.

What about a less G*D-like order and more human-reachable goal of going for, “First, do the least harm?

Here, too, we run up against our nature. No, not original sin or baked-in evil, our ability to take sufficient data into account. What seems so common-sensical today is, in tomorrow’s frame, quite nonsensical. Even an agreement on a modicum of justice leaves far too many outside its protection. It leaves a store of virus a place of incubation from which to arise again (not unlike the Confederate “Lost Cause” Defense).

Is there any tool left if moderate progressive good work requires a field empty or depleted of harm before it can propagate?

There is much to be said for a professional ethic such as a Hippocratic Oath that recognizes its limits. Applying such to a community unable to agree upon limits is a setup for failure. For example, we don’t even understand parental responses to a firstborn, a middle child, a last-born, or any additional gradations between.

It may well be that attempts to corral harm must necessarily come no higher than second place, and may well lay much lower. If “harm” is what sets the stage, it implies something like original sin is the correct model that must be guarded. In which case, failure to contain harm is not only the expected result but will impinge upon any other goal.

I suspect that turning such a paradigm on its head, “First, do good,” will be as unachievable, and a moderate desire to bring “all the good one can” will be measured and found wanting. Since we prefer not to live with or without such doctrinal approaches to life, we are all the more reliant upon a living, flowing mercy beyond definition and codification. Blessings on sharing such.

Yes, Sir!

six tons or sixteen
the result is the same
older poorer
gussied up in their finery
another day deeper in

their very persistence
argues nothing changes
city hall
must not be challenged
kept its impudence inviolable

the company store
brooks no competitor
monopoly
pervasive in granularity
restrictive of options

so generous it tab
putting all in its debt
yazzir
three bags full
for one in return

live to fight another day
with diminished returns
hungrier weaker
only now seeing beyond
order’s mirage

Prophecy

Prophecy is a critical function in a transition from a current stuck spot to a next best constellation of relationships—human-to-(non)human and human-to-human. A business consultant may speak of vision and mission statements or a life coach of expectations and manifestation. Beyond a societal or individual economy, there is that which moves back toward Indigenous stories of creation and proper respect or honor. Beyond, in another direction, is an interaction with Dreamtime and resolution.

Prophecy is a comprehensive action echoing past fulfillments of prior or implicit prophecy and a recognition of what is yet unfulfilled. It needs a gathering of courage to begin living as though it has been present for generations.

Prophecy is a bubbling, a fomenting and fermenting work of what is most life-giving, life-receiving, to trust. Some might traditionally think of this as faith. Unfortunately, faith is too static a word that also too fragile. Rather than use other synonyms that orient faith backward: Belief. Trust. It is a helpful exercise to begin using the process of prophecy to replace our reflexive use of “faith.”

Prophecy is more difficult in times of ease. Only the strongest and clearest prophet can speak during a “good” time. They are the only ones able to see the danger of being stuck in the most abundant and bountiful Eden. In difficult days, it is required to check what prophecy is given attention, for there are both harmful and healthful prophecies, and there will be plenty of same dressed in one conspiracy theory or another. A difference is whether they ask resignation through a return to a good-old day or engagement in moving from today’s difficulty toward a significantly varied future built on the investment of a life-unto-death in a tomorrow released from a reactive response to today.

For now, practice using “prophecy” instead of “faith,” “belief,” or “trust,” and prophesy what you need to hear and share.