Robert Ronnow
                                                                                                          Long As You're Living



                                          That Was Random


Faith and death, they go together like a horse and buggy.
Walking and talking is prayer, unless it's too buggy out there.

                      *                      *                      *

Deer flies, deer ticks, dear people visiting from New York City and their dear dogs.
Nexus, nadir, annihilation, insanity, anonymity, nothing at all, invention, negotiation, negation.
A smile puts a smile on the face of God. That god, invisible, obtuse, reclusive, useless.

                      *                      *                      *

What is tea? Roots and wood.
What is prayer? Something understood.
What is road and bridge crew? Material life. The good.
What are red maple flowers? Staminate, pistillate, imperfect, red!

                      *                      *                      *

There are actual people
half woman half man
running past me mornings and
dream people in movies
half language half light.
Tomorrow is John’s funeral.

                      *                      *                      *

This is my minute
my moment
Oops, gone!

Anything can happen
if you don’t resist
Resist!

                      *                      *                      *

But who am I? You think bullets won’t
kill? I’m the guy they put before a
wall and shoot then eat lunch.

                      *                      *                      *

We all need to sit quietly and think deeply.
We ALL need to do as you state:
Cut out the hate and endeavor to relate . . . . APPRECIATE.

                      *                      *                      *

Thus, even in war, the snow comes magically down
And the fox flows silently across the field.

                      *                      *                      *

If it was fun, they wouldn't call it work,
but it is fun. It's what we do, a bird
sings, dogs bark. We work. Sing bark work.
Honey, put on your shorts, it's gonna be 90 today.

                      *                      *                      *

How right is the rabbi!
"What a good and bright world this is if we do not lose our hearts to it,
But what a dark world if we do!"

                      *                      *                      *

Am I right to hedge my bets on being famous, ply my arts all day alone,
silence, no tv? Mark said, the difference is people are actually listening
to Mick Jagger, but I thought that’s not so big a difference.
When Dad died it only reinforced the futility of our daily efforts
notwithstanding my hopeful eulogy about our responsibilities to each other.
People listened then, and closely, searching for an echo
from the abyss. What is this abyss and how do I know
it’s there?

                      *                      *                      *

We saw a barred owl
camouflaged in winter branches.
Bird of death (in myth), hunts down the dark,
floats to a farther tree, turns his back and naps.

                      *                      *                      *

Let's make a baby this month. Try
but not try. Do it as in a dream.
Classify most everything as what I
can do nothing about. Except change.

                      *                      *                      *

My message to you all is:
pull the trigger or shut the fuck up.
Keep your hands off me or go home bloody.
I don’t care if you like me or not.

                      *                      *                      *

Apparently Smith jumped from this bridge
television antenna and a parcel post parachute
he completely forgot to inform his wife in the letter

                      *                      *                      *

Elmo is sad
his belly is big
he fills it again
with cooked figs

two roads diverge in the east
a trumpet and violin play
a goat dance, a rain cloud
Elmo not bad man

                      *                      *                      *

Bird feeder empty,
chickadees checking.
God up for grabs.

                      *                      *                      *

They have a right to hide their eyes from images beamed from satellites.
Ridiculously unclad women.
Beardless men in short pants running for a rubber ball.

                      *                      *                      *

Build no road
to the sanctuary.
Leave the cougar
to the Buddha.
Ten centuries
is a day.

                      *                      *                      *

Aaron has a bag of bread and one of balloons.
Zach a handful of flowers and a few feathers.
Zach won’t stay downstairs, climbs the gate,
opens the refrigerator, peels bananas and breaks eggs.

                      *                      *                      *

Down to negative calories, in deep snow
we find soft wintering rose hips, gobble them down.
First time for me a wild edible made a difference,
not just a delicacy. Then we snowshoe out.

                      *                      *                      *

No problem with the duck’s quack, crow’s caw or squirrels screwing.
The majority can be terribly wrong. Kill all others can be their song.
In addition to chickadees in the birches, I hear bulldozers loading dumpsters.

                      *                      *                      *

Spring morning, flycatchers, jays, thrushes
a woodpecker’s loony song. A toilet flushes.

                      *                      *                      *

I am only passing time until my time is spent.
Joyful but cognizant, so cognizant,
of Dawn’s body from her knees to her whirlwind hair, smooth tan skin,
even her feet which are like a man’s.

                      *                      *                      *

I have always been attracted to the, perhaps Buddhist, concept
of inaction. To do less
and eat less than might otherwise be called for.
To not necessarily sacrifice
each and every day for another day.
To survive only as many more years as there are petals
on a randomly picked (ox-eyed) daisy.

                      *                      *                      *

Zach
awoke from a scary dream
I kissed him back to bed

he asked
are all the doors locked?
I said yes knowing they would not hold

                      *                      *                      *

The republic may expire
but birds go on
traveling, singing
in their best attire.

                      *                      *                      *

The excellent musicians were, to me, depressing. All except perhaps
the trombone who seemed without pretension or ambition beyond
a perfect sound. He also listened with eyes closed and hands folded to others’ solos.

                      *                      *                      *

Desafinado means slightly out of tune which is not a problem.
It’s a fortunate condition. Zach just called from school sounding clear
and happy to say there’s floor hockey this afternoon. For me, another cold,
slow Spring. How lucky!

                      *                      *                      *

At basketball I was reminded
the better players in their private moments
think on the ultimate reward. Perfect rest.

                      *                      *                      *

You come in our backyard, we go in yours. That about sums it up. Assuming there are
definable, accepted backyards. Suppose it’s all one backyard and time is all one sheet of ice?

                      *                      *                      *

My son Zach said as a toddler he liked the old house
and he’s having a good time now at the new house.
We were lying together in the window seat passing the early morning time
late September and happy as I was I thought what’s running out is time.

                      *                      *                      *

The young women’s bodies were awesome. I appreciated
the couple of Muslim women who kept their bodies
covered. That was easier on an old man’s eyes.
Not that I wanted to change the American girls’ ways.
They seemed comfortable wearing underwear
and unaware, more or less, of the longing it provoked.

                      *                      *                      *

To invade a clean house
searching for weapons or insurgents, I agree
with the enemy, that is a sacrilege.
Not that I accept their god, and there could be,
hiding, a mouse.

                      *                      *                      *

Even though they drive slow in the fast lane often
There is no pain we won’t endure
For the peaceful father, mother.

                      *                      *                      *

I tell my sons
If some man tries to pull you into his car, fight
kick bite yell run punch curse scratch knife
make him kill you right there in the street
use your feet your fear your hate.

                      *                      *                      *

My reading last night included a very scary picture of a dead bird,
an albatross chick, stomach filled with plastics from the Pacific.
Clock radio explodes with news. Senate vote on pollinating or polluting
Afghanistan. Shit, stretch, shower. Drive to work on a cloud of CO2.

                      *                      *                      *

The scientific method’s a religion full of fissures, faults and hidden vaults.
What have I observed. What have I recorded. All I do not know.
Walt Whitman.
Li Po.

                      *                      *                      *

If everything seems under control, you’re not going fast enough.
--Mario Andretti

                      *                      *                      *

“The very desire for guarantees that our values are eternal and secure in some objective heaven
is perhaps only a craving for the certainties of childhood or the absolute values of our primitive
past. To realize the relative validity of one’s convictions and yet stand for them unflinchingly is
what distinguishes a civilized man from a barbarian. To demand more than this is perhaps a
deep and incurable metaphysical need; but to allow it to determine one’s practice is a symptom
of an equally deep, and more dangerous, moral and political immaturity. [But] I am not a
relativist. I do not say, ‘I like my coffee with milk and you like it without; I am in favor of
kindness and you prefer concentration camps.’” -- Isaiah Berlin

                      *                      *                      *

count your sheep
learn the calculus
go down to the ships
make war on Iraqis

                      *                      *                      *

Deer, moose, elk.
Cello, violin, viola.
A complete list of everything I saw and did and said today.
I learned all the scientific names and that night I was happy.

                      *                      *                      *

True, the communal impulse can go too far, far beyond the dismal mediocre into the dire gulag.
Public school, in which I teach (just tutor, but saying I’m a teacher makes me feel like a tiger --
teacher, teacher) energy incubator awesome biomass collector innovation inhibitor introduction
to classical mathematics memory organizer promotion celebration teen lovefest testosterone
uncontrolled substance. Simply said. Jail’s the alternative, alternate noosphere, foreseeable
force, intemperate penance, meditational penitentiary, prayer cellblock, library laundry, aborted
love life, deflating genes, arboreal madness, judges’ chambers, movie night. Violent crime may
be defined as embezzling time, forgetting children, counterfeit coins, ingesting drugs, throwing
die, drinking sludge, daytime napping, eating with the wrong fork, sipping loudly, picking your
nose while driving, smelling like wet running shoes, anything at all.

                      *                      *                      *

I jumped into a cold lake. Not cold by most people’s standards
but I’m a big cat. I couldn’t breathe!
Aaron, watching, became concerned. Will Dad even reach 60?

                      *                      *                      *

If I had a nickel for every time I thought I’d made a difference
I’d be an Arabian princess. Is is our universe. Stars, planets, birds, bugs.
At today’s meeting Sandra P. wore no allergenic makeup or perfume.
She said the weather’s gonna get worse, much worse. I said Zoom, zoom.

                      *                      *                      *

A wet October 1st.
Can’t make sense of the crow’s clack,
its black back.

                      *                      *                      *

The person coming from the laundry or supermarket
with heavy bags in both arms (or on his shoulders)
his name is Brother Death (brother of death).

Oh brother, Death! Fifty years later (more or less)
he met his end with grace.
Death is (no) (a) way to spice up your life.

                      *                      *                      *

Friend from the future,
at ease with your storms,
flying errorless planes,
growing varicolored corn.

                      *                      *                      *

More commonly seen
bumper stickers:

Shit Happens, Then You Die
Life Is Good
COEXIST
Get Over Yourself

My favorite:
Confidence is the feeling you have before you understand the situation.

                      *                      *                      *

Can America be fixed? Nevermind that. Can yr butt cancer be fixed.
Who reads poetry anyway? Not Dr. Cherry. He's busy with yr colonoscopy.
Just so we're clear. No tv, no beer. Home sick, be sick. Otherwise, homework.

                      *                      *                      *

Dante and Virgil being chased by 7 or 8 dangerous devils
Grumpy, Happy, Sneezy, Sleepy, Dopey . . .

                      *                      *                      *

Listen
to the three threes
approaching
on horses

and appreciate
terror, pure
and grief
simple

Hear
the four fours
pounding
like tanks

and know
pain, sheer
and power
certain

                      *                      *                      *

Then there's Aaron whose Latin teacher said in front of the whole class
he got a poor participation grade because he acts like a moron.
His classmates stood up for him and he delayed responding because he was too angry.

                      *                      *                      *

Meanwhile, many great things are happening in Plato’s cave,
prosthetic legs controlled by voice command or mere thought
no cure for Ebola but drugs for fear of flying and dying
Achilles played by Burt Lancaster.

                      *                      *                      *

Emptiness
Notwithstanding
2 jobs, 2 kids,
2 houses, 2 hobbies

Last leaves.
New movies.
Amazon.
Ramadan.

Passover.
Thanksgiving leftovers.
Dante's Inferno.
Milano cookies. Cervantes.

Failure.
Manure.
Public health.
Sovereign wealth.

                      *                      *                      *

High point of the day--a talk with my son
and a walk in the pre-Spring February sun.
Sun and son and then you're done,
exploding blood vessel in the brain or armageddon.

                      *                      *                      *

Three kites, more powerful than pigeons,
rest in maples after crossing the Oswegatchie.
Weather clouding over, rain from Lake Ontario.
Knowing time from geological era to split second is senescence.
Instead, walk bouncing basketball randomly
see what God puts forward to see
ignore maps.
                    The kites make their sound, harsh,
and wings are sharp.
The maples they are in have not budded out,
winter comes again and again until it exhausts us.
Let's sleep
and not prepare for tomorrow.

                      *                      *                      *

I came home from work tonight and wiggled my good wife’s toes,
tickled her feet.
No feet and toes like hers.

                      *                      *                      *

Four ravens land
one by one
on the stone man
in the nose
of the great rock
overlooking
the wide valley
in southern Utah
which was four times
an ocean
and other times
a sand desert
a flood plain
and a forest.
It means
great good fortune
unexplained
for one who travels.

                      *                      *                      *

Phil is on a movie diet. Bad movies in which the logic switch is turned off. Jumps from scene
      to scene like a cat.
Most pornography is hilariously obscene. Genitals like little animals. Snow ploughs hit
      potholes sending up sparks.

                      *                      *                      *

Make way for a future that's irresistible!
Dust. Rest. Mist. Rust.

One day follows another until the last day.
And on that day, there will be weather.


Copyright 2017 by Robert Ronnow.