Good of Service: A Poem

So, here I am. Again:
back in my chair
with my pen in my hand,
determined to drag it out,
kicking and screaming,
by the hair if I have to:
the TRUTH.

Here I am, in pain again,
consorting with anger.
The muscles in my jaw contract;
the tips of my incisors ache
to rip and tear apart
the curtain between me
and TRUTH.

But is there a need to bleed?
I hope not.
I should rest, cool my engines, then


Ok; I’m chilled out now.
Where to begin?

I cannot begin at the beginning;
I lost that long ago.
So, I begin at the end:
I am full of rage.

Rage I need, I believe, to save me
from depression’s dark paralysis.
Before the rage, there was depression,
I recall.
I remember how
the pain bound me in a straight-jacket
while the world yet waited
for me to tie my shoes and begin
another day. No

They wanted me to leave my home and,
in some strange land, take a stand,
weapon in hand and
kill or be killed.

It was very clear: no thought was required.
I was not to think it through first. No, I
was just expected to
do it. I

They then rejected me,
for the good of their service, and I
was supposed to believe:
there was something wrong with me;
not with them.

For a long time now, still I know
not what to believe. But, then as now,
one thing was, and is, certain: I
will not allow myself to kill
another being, be it human or not,
unless I know, beyond a doubt,
that it is right
to do so.

Of that I was and am still sure.
But they were not prepared
to let me think it through. No, I
was just expected to
do it.
No. Way.
I refused.


Before that, there was school;
a place where I was trained
and strained past the breaking points
clicking like prayer beads, one
against the other,
along the thread of time.

School, a place
before time, out of time, where I
was expected
to dance to their tunes,
sing their songs,
crack their books,
and flee from shame as bugs might from the light
finding the over-turned playground rock,
only to be crushed
under the feet of young bullies.

School, a place
where discipline is by disgrace
and you are to learn your place.
A place where there is no place
to hide when they laugh in your face.

School is for my own good,
they said.
Looking back now, I think: not.
I think:
school is only for the good
of their service.

Published in: on December 15, 2008 at 7:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Marxism and Reincarnation

Now in late adulthood, I am finally discovering Marxism.

Until now, I tended to think: avoid extremes. The best socioeconomic solution is a regulated capitalism, I thought, and that our current troubles are due to deregulation and refusal to enforce existing regulations.

That begs the question: why can’t we keep the progress we make? Will we always be going in circles?

But now I find myself leaning toward the tenet of true socialism, that we need to do away with capitalism altogether. No compromises.


Can I prove we need this? No, I cannot. How do I know it then? I am no expert in economics or Marxism.

Will you laugh when I say: my instinct convinces me?

Perhaps what I call “instinct” are convictions that have grown from a lifetime of experiences. It is not scientific. It is not from deep and thorough philosophic debate. There is no mathematical or logical rigor.

So, what separates me from a cultist? Good question. I can say that my desire to find the truth is sincere. I am not seeking to fatten my wallet, as are the apologists who proclaim “greed is good”.

Instead of calculating “What’s in it for me?”, I listen as my instinct asserts the nobrainer: “We are all in the same boat.” If our destinies are indeed so bound together, why can’t we affirm this truth in our collective behavior? What do we really need competition and capitalism for?

If Marx is right, not only do we not need it, but capitalism is degrading our human nature as well as poisoning the planet. We desperately need to evolve beyond it.

It seems a bit odd, even to me, how I came to Marxism / socialism.

About a year or two ago, I noticed bittersweet twinges deep within, frequently when I was reading something about socialism, communism or the U.S.S.R. There seemed to be a chord striking, resonating from a period in time corresponding to about the first decade of my life: the 1950s. But, this did not make sense to me. Practically all of my life has been spent in Kentucky. I never lived or visited abroad. I only know how to speak English.

Then came to me a drive to construct a time line or history of that period and beyond, both personal and global. Until then, history had always bored me. Now it seems vital.

I have not been able to find a correlation between these early memories and the passages on socialism that stir them. There seems to be no logical or rational connection. The recollections are always deeply personal and emotional, as if they were inspired by an odor instead of a philosophical debate.

I found myself wondering about reincarnation, the universal subconscious, etc., but these musings are not completely formed at present.

Wouldn’t it be a hoot, however, if socialism eventually prevailed over capitalism because socialists are continuously reincarnated while capitalists are not?