corporate ladder

“don’t worry about your place
on the corporate ladder,
there’s always some fucker
down there, two rungs below
…rubbing two sticks together
– trying to start the fire
to burn you down”

or so says Gus, the new bartender
at the Los Lobos Bar,
but what does he know (I tell myself)
damned bartenders
and their sage words,
all of ‘em
trying to sound like they
know things the rest of us don’t
trying to act like they
have done it all about two
weeks before the rest of us

…they think they’re a sounding board
for the desperate
and they think that we have no place
left to go

Gus asks if I want one more
before he gets busy
with the lunch crowd
but I wave him off
saying I have to get
back to
the office.

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The anniversary of Shakespeare’s death

“Fear no more the heat o’ the sun,
Nor the furious winter’s rages;
Thou thy worldly task hast done,
Home art gone, and ta’en thy wages:
Golden lads and girls all must,
As chimney-sweepers, come to dust.”

–excerpted from “Fear no more the heat o’ the sun”; Wm. Shakespeare

Today, April 23rd, we mark the 399th anniversary of the death of (quite possibly), the greatest poet of all time, William Shakespeare. What kind of writing blog would I be running if I let a date like that go by without a mention?

Me – I am not a Shakespearean scholar. Far from it. But the snippet above, from the song “Fear no more the heat o’ the sun” from the “The Tragedy of Cymbeline” is a favorite of mine. This play was first performed in (or around) 1611, or about five years before Shakespeare’s death at age 52.

It’s mind boggling really, when one thinks of the vast expanse of time across which Shakespeare’s words have traversed. Which contemporary author, poet, or playwright has penned words of such lasting significance? What does the future hold?

Will the world have become bored with the written word 399 years from today – by April 23, 2414? I assume we will have discarded paper books entirely by then (long before then the way things look). And presumably the electronic readers that are now replacing books will have long since been replaced by some yet to be discovered form of media. Perhaps by then we will be able to simply download the great works of literature directly to the brain through some sort of telepathic transfer, thus ‘short-circuiting’ the entire educational process. Or maybe not.

Maybe we will have destroyed our civilization by that time. Maybe the few survivors will find themselves huddling around a fire outside of a cave reading from a scorched volume of the collected works of the Great Bard. “As chimney-sweepers, come to dust”, they may read those words aloud, words that will be by that time nearly 800 years old, and nod knowingly to each other.

William Shakespeare…nearly immortal.

In any case, the complete poem may be read in its entirety here.

The passing of Misao Okawa; moving on to National Poetry Month

Enthusiasm is at the bottom of all progress. With it there is accomplishment. Without it there are only alibis – Henry Ford.

I thought I should mention that Misao Okawa, once the world’s oldest person has passed. Ms. Okawa died peacefully in a nursing facility in Higashisumiyoshi, Japan on April 1st the age of 117, just one day after I mentioned her in in my blog-post of March 31st. That particular post was geared to reminding us all (myself in particular) that no matter how many years we are allotted, that time does run out, and if there is anything in particular that one wants to accomplish, then there is no better day than the one you are in, to begin.
As I noted in that earlier post, Ms. Okawa mentioned in one of her final interviews, that life to her had “…seemed rather short”, leaving me to wonder what hope there is for the rest of us mortals if the world’s oldest resident felt that life had been short.
Upon the death of Ms. Okawa, 116 year old Gertrude Weaver of Arkansas, the daughter of a sharecropper, assumed the title of the world’s oldest person. Ms. Weaver, who would have turned 117 on the fourth of July of this year, had scant few days to enjoy the honor, as she passed on April 6, passing the super-centarian torch to 115 year old, Jeralean Talley of Michigan.

…moving on…

April is National Poetry Month. And since EEOTPB is sort of a quasi-poetry blog (although I didn’t really intend it to be so when I started out a couple of years ago), I think it is only fitting that I mention National Poetry Month in this space, and to further mention what I’m going to do to observe it (especially since April is more than half gone already…go figure that).

In honor of National Poetry Month, I have ordered a few more copies of my poetry book, titled “Outrunning the Storm”. I will be giving these copies away until they run out, so if you’d like one, drop me an email at wepatt@hotmail.com. Send me your snail-mail address and I will ship one out to you. Free of charge.

Don’t worry, you don’t have to write a review or anything. Hell, you don’t even have to read the book if you don’t want to, but honest, heartfelt, reviews are always welcome.

And don’t worry about it if you read this next month, in May – after National Poetry Month runs out (expires). I’m no stickler for details. If I still have a book, then you have a copy.
Mahalo
–ed

change,

“Life is about change…”
…says the new VP of sales
to the sweaty
gaggle of lackluster
regional managers

…says the cheating husband
to his sobbing
soon-to-be, ex-wife
as they sit opposite each other
in the back booth of
the Tollbooth Diner at
around 4AM

…says society queen
after announcing
her elopement
with the gardener
shouting it out
to all present
at Thursday afternoon
book club

…says the stammering pastor
to the confused flock
as a last, but lasting
ad lib
to conclude
an otherwise fine
sermon on the sins of the flesh.

…says the physician
to the amputee

…the educator to
the dropout

…the defense attorney
to the recently imprisoned

…the orderly
to the restrained

…the old to
the young

…but it’s all a ruse

I think
a gigantic bogus ruse…

no one really wants change
we all want to circle the

drain

circle the

town square in the
64 VW Beetle forever

poem tiff

remember last July in Miami
you – in your Lily Pulitzer dress
me in my Korn t-shirt
cargo shorts and
indigo flip-flops
sitting at a bayside table
…you smoking
like you’d never heard
the news about that
habit
me drinking gin martinis
and both of us
talking about that
poetry reading
in Broward
a couple of weeks before
where the guy with the
glass eye killed it
with that poem

the poem you can’t remember the name of

and you said that it
was the finest poem
that you’d heard in
the past decade
and I said that if
that guy didn’t have a glass eye
that you wouldn’t
have regarded that poem
so highly

so we had a tiff over
the poem
…damn poem tiffs
three quarters of an hour later
the waiter comes back with
our check

saying to me that
my Visa card had been
declined
some days there
is no easy way out.

wine glass in winter

there’s a wine glass
on the table
on the back porch

by the swing
beside the flour bin
beside the feed sacks
that the cats sleep on

Sadie left it

one afternoon
last fall
when she stopped by
to drink
port wine
with me
and to tell me that she was
quitting drinking
in 72 hours
and to let me know that
she’d decided to forget
“the regimen”
and she was going to tell
the doctors in Philly
that she was going to
move on with her
new life
…in Scottsdale

and
when she left
that day
..she didn’t
rub the tummy
of the Buddha
that sits on the shelf
by
the back steps
and she didn’t
pick up
Lancelot and kiss him
behind the ears
or toss her hair
over her left
shoulder
or remind me to pay
my phone bill…
…I knew she was
gone, so I
left the wine glass

…on the table

where it collects
winter light
at half past three
in the afternoon.

next month
I’ll bring it in
and wash it
and put it away
but for now it is too
cold for me
to leave
the kitchen
and the
cats

So, today
I’ll think of
Sadie in her
sundress
drinking
saying that
if she had another year
she’d
go out to Michigan
and look up her old man
and her daughter
but at the present time

she didn’t think she had it
in her