BY JAN HAAG
THE 2012 POEMS
RUMI TAUGHT ME MUCH
#457 TO #500
RUMI TAUGHT ME MUCH I
Only about one ninety-ninth percent of what passes through my brain
in an hour gets written down here -- as poetry. And I have to
invent a new word for what it is. For it certainly is not poetry in
a conventional sense. Indeed, I write in this form specifi-
cally to avoid anything resembling that olde timee
glumph, glumph, as well as any of the modern
noise and triviality that passes for poetry
today, with its sprung rhythms and
its about to spring meanings
made from the flotsam
just not the dull,
parading of sex sex sex
that has replaced love, the
recitation of which was already
driving us mad, the hurt, the wailing,
juvenile screaming and drum pounding
of their so-called love -- done so much better
by coyote and the guttural whales. The lion was
born knowing how to roar. We spend the best of our
youth locked in clutter-walled, badly aired classrooms,
learning to parse words and sentences, learning the interstices,
and hidden from what would make all that vocabulary worthwhile.
RUMI TAUGHT ME MUCH II
Its raining today. The first time in,
perhaps, forty days and forty
glorious nights, and itll be
the first time Roxy,
the rain coming
down all over everything.
Will she try, as she now does,
with a gushing and shower-headed
hose, to jump and catch each falling
drop? Leaping, growling, jumping for joy.
RUMI TAUGHT ME MUCH III
I wonder how genuine an old love can be
when ones an antique and the other is
prime or possibly even underage?
From the antiques pov Im wondering
if one isnt so jaded, so hurt, so overcome
with the mendacity of the human species
that almost nothing can be genuine anymore,
including, because the taste buds wane, the
taste of food. It used to be a pleasure; now it
is one more thing to remember. Love, too,
may be problematic by now. But, of course,
by now, problematic is no barrier. With age
comes the realization all problems can
be solved, else one wouldnt be typing at
the computer right now, musing about love.
RUMI TAUGHT ME MUCH IV
Perhaps I am rediscovering silence.
The election coverage on radio and
via computer drives one like a nail
into madness --
one might almost say: murderous madness --
pounding on and on with trivial shit,
lies, accusations, misanthropic mis-
nothing to do with wise governance, all
to do with a power struggle, to rule
the rules of this imperfect govern-
a high school popularity test, the only substantive
words coming from women fighting for
their rights and their lives -- this might be
the first time
in history -- which began long after matriarchy
had kept earth safe for who knows
how many tens of thousands of years,
dominance began, and they, all the theys, forgot
where life, actual life, comes from, i.e.
in their opinion: from the belly of
In any case it is now in history, herstory, and millions,
all over the globe, are stepping forward --
including Eve Ensler, VM,* Julia Gillard,
PM,** acting catalysts
paving the way out of the vicious control of
womens bodies that has reigned
hatred and havoc into the world,
over the fountain
of humankind for at least fifteen thousand years.***
*Vagina Monologues, arranging for the Amnesty International dancing
of women throughout the world on February 14, 2013.
** Prime Minister of Australia, parliament speech of October 8 or 9, 2012,
castigating her misogynistic antagonists.
***Around the time the Greek Myths
were invented and solidified, and carved into the stone of the male brain.
RUMI TAUGHT ME MUCH V
One cannot deny that while they rained (power all over the earth)
the male mind and brawn also did a passel of good:
many exciting and adventurous things,
causing many women to want to be men and, in actuality, to act like
men -- instead of being their own powerful, indestructible,
feminine selves. For if men really
were to succeed along their wildly destructible paths, they would have
long since destroyed their only window on the future:
their children: no children/no mankind.
Its that simple.
Also the reverse:
Too many children/no mankind -- eventually. For they would continue to
do what men have done for at least the last sixteen
centuries: march themselves, fucking
around the earth, leaving woman's fertile womb writhing and whimpering.
RUMI TAUGHT ME MUCH VI
State the big with the little. The dichotomy of the grand
and the mundane -- as enshrined in male thought --
had almost driven me mad, or worse,
longing to get off this earth
or do nothing --
as it all
RUMI TAUGHT ME MUCH VII
Today I begin to pass on to Suzanne
my most precious possession:
the first thing, maybe the only thing
I bought, having started my own life --
I have loved it for all these years, from
1968? or 7,
but now use it seldom -- everything is online.
I love it still,
and am delighted
Suzanne asked for it,
and delighted too, to give it up,
getting closer and closer to needing nothing,
not even my favorite possession.
Cest la vie.
RUMI TAUGHT ME MUCH VIII
One last disastrous dinner with my sister
and the wind is blowing and the rain is howling down.
I usually love the wind, and the rain seldom
But tonight my heart is in my throat, beating fast, angered
by her drunken, pretended naiveté.
How difficult is it to put one piece of chicken in one pan naked
-- nothing more --
and let it cook in the same oven at the same temperature
as all the other food --
If you dont want me to come to your family
As you know, I rarely want to come.
RUMI TAUGHT ME MUCH IX
About to listen to the Presidential Debate --
a highly orchestrated affair that doesnt usually
amount to much. Though the last one, a few
weeks ago, rather trimmed the Presidents
sails. Just not at his tippy top. Whereas Mitt,
the chameleon, was in full attack mode and, for
the first time, since he was designated candidate,
he hit his stride in combative, and one might
say, effective conflict -- hopping around as usual
between his many and contradictory opinions,
which really did suffice for that evening.
Well see what happens tonight.
RUMI TAUGHT ME MUCH X
So often in the morning I now wake
Partly, its cause is nothing to do and no
where to go.
Partly its red legs and the overwhelming,
from time to time,
itch. And, I was about to say, its the slipping
away of me/my memory.
But Im not sure that is true. I dont really
mind the lapses, the pauses, gaps
in the memory walls, especially now when
we all have our auxiliary memory: Google.
Look up anything, anytime, anywhere, re the
state of the world and its molecules -- but
my own memory? Not yet fully recorded --
except in the cosmos, the ether,
RUMI TAUGHT ME MUCH XI
I saw the mountain earlier this morning,
snow white, in an ice-white sky, blue
clouds, blue buttermilk clouds, tufts.
The mountain all but indistinguishable
within the atmosphere, wishing
it weren't there -- not completely.
Later -- the sky all white now --
the mountain has withdrawn.
Sun brightens the clouds.
RUMI TAUGHT ME MUCH XII
The itch rises -- home from a cup of coffee
at Starbucks -- everything itches. Once thought
commercial coffee made me itch less than home-
brewed, but see I am wrong.
What to do? What to do? Watching the body
fall apart piece by piece, one piece after another
not working properly -- what should I do from
here on in? Scratch, scream, itch?
The extension-of-life doctors/researchers have
managed to insure that we live into older
and older ages, enabling us to experience a
broader spectrum of ills, aches and itches.
I think biologically, we were meant to drop dead
at a certain age, not grasp for more and more time
-- like the insatiable bankers snorting riches.
May peace be with you. And with you.
RUMI TAUGHT ME MUCH XIII
Its like throwing a pin into the cosmos, saying:
Wherever it lands, Ill start there.
All the time reality, one kind of reality, spins
around my head. Inside. Outside. Like the endlessly
proliferating flowers of oleander:
poisonous, I believe -- to animals.
to say where the pin lands? Or when?
More than likely, itll never be found. Who needs
it anyway? -- One single straight pin -- not much of a
toss-up. Nonetheless, it begins there.
RUMI TAUGHT ME MUCH XIV
Doris Lessing talks about the deterioration of her father
in MY FATHER. How grand and fabulous her words
make it sound -- a deterioration not unlike my own. But
at least, beside a dying decaying body, he had dreams,
past and present, convictions to stay alive -- a 3,000
acre farm in Africa to attend to. I have only 3 or 4 or 6
thousand poems that will slosh about, unnoticed,
in my absence.
The turning of life into words is a magical alchemy, a delightful
process Lessing was blessed to do. What else would I do in this
winding down darkness of the soul?
RUMI TAUGHT ME MUCH XV
Terrified and alone --
but not really.
Theres no place Id rather be,
no one Id rather be,
no company Id rather choose than my own.
Of all the things Ive owned in this world
of all the things Ive seen, heard, nothing
matches the obsession I have
to one day have the insight, the understanding of
all this movement and if this stillness has a meaning.
(And, so what if it does?)
Can I find it out if I muse, think, ponder,
long and hard enough?
And, if I do, what then?
A crackpot obsession? What if humans had been
born with three legs? Would things be different?
Why do the cells do what they do?
And only that?
Until they do something different?
My right eye and cheek seem bruised and drooping.
RUMI TAUGHT ME MUCH XVI
Todays the day George McGoverns dying.
I do, but barely, remember voting for him.
Listening to Amy Goodmans tribute this morning
I see he was a great influence in my life, on my thought.
I was too naive to see it then -- or now.
RUMI TAUGHT ME MUCH XVII
I do not want to start with something new
or fresh or unopened. It seems a bit of an insult
to the universe to want, always, the new.
Everything has been here for 4.2 billion years,
why should I want an unsullied, unwormy apple?
I want to dress -- in clothes I have worn
every day for a year -- even though the washing
has become 100 times easier now with the
new, uncharging washing machine.
Is it because I feel so worn out, worn in? But no.
I dont really feel that way. In the mirror, Im
always glad I look a bit spiffy -- with dramatic
scarf and cut off khakis. And I love the formality
of Ann always, despite the pain, dressed in elegant
black, nothing fancy, just well chosen 10? 20? 30?
years ago. And yet I have chosen a writing form
that begins anew every morning, and is so short
it needs to be good. But thats not the aim. Thats
the by-product. If one can catch the evanescence
of the moment in 21 not too long lines, that will
be the achievement of this morning.
RUMI TAUGHT ME MUCH XVIII
I live in the middle of a vast (once was vast) orchard --
apples mostly -- that the nuns or their surrogates
planted, un-cared for now, but unsprayed.
This year, the city did, however, begin to prune to bring
the fruit down low, which will make it healthier, which
will make it pickable -- and there -- when the time comes
and the bombs start falling.
RUMI TAUGHT ME MUCH BUT MAYBE NOT ENOUGH XIX
A whole morning of absolute terror and despair:
face swollen, cheeks and temples bright red
with rash, skin drooping down from my right
eye, listening to all the despair on the radio,
I try, against my better judgment, to fix my
computer, which seems to have crashed my
main program for watching TV or video, and
give up before the last step or two. Decide
to go back from Chrome to Firefox -- it
does still work. Theres nothing but the bad
happening in the humans universe: hideous
things done to children, immigrants, women,
all tormented by the once good, noble USA.
Whats the point of going on? Ive promised
myself, Ill stick it out to the end of 2012,
just to fulfill my self-promise of one poem
a day for the year, even though today I
am 110 poems beyond the 365. And then?
Then, maybe, Ill have the guts to chew
oleander or one of the other deadly
plants freely available in gardens, under the beautiful
sunshine now pouring through the window. Why
do I insist on despairing? I keep peering as deeply
as I can into my soul and find no answers. None.
My milky eyes can barely see.
RUMI TAUGHT ME MUCH XX
What is the grand design of the universe?
And what does it matter?
Why do I try to turn my experience into words?
And whos to know or care if I succeed?
The black kitten, thin as a shadow, explores across
the paper strewn table.
She knows where the food is and its not on the table.
RUMI TAUGHT ME MUCH XXI
At the bottom of my heart is this anxiety, this agony
still going on over the tiff with my sister.
Care about it? or ignore it?
What on earth was human consciousness developed for?
in such unusable and excessive amounts?
Im sure, proportionally, 99% more people worry about,
tease apart and reassemble tiffs-with-ones-sister
than puzzle over Swift Gamma-Ray Bursts
occasionally lighting up the midnight sky,
who becomes the next U.S. President in 16 days.
Is the lesson simply: there is enough time and space
*President Obama to Mitt Romney, 2nd Presidential Debate, Oct. 16, 2012
RUMI TAUGHT ME MUCH XXII
I bring a subject to mind and the mind scampers off.
It doesnt want to deal with anything I think up.
It wants to rest quietly in its cranium, gently rocked,
semi asleep, in a deadly (they might have said in early years)
torpor -- making from temple to temple seem dark, dense,
uninvaded-by-words-or-thoughts: a vacancy, like the night sky.
The little black kitten, thin as a shadow, explores the paper-ridden
table top, sniffs at the food she didnt eat before, is quite willing,
with a quick body twist, to be picked up, sent home with Julia.
The morning proceeds: traffic sounds from the freeway,
airplane (maybe seaplane) engines from the sky, the fan
announcing the furnace has finally come on for the winter.
Preying on the mind has become quite different with age:
more intermittent, more docile, more
RUMI TAUGHT ME MUCH XXIIA
Its hard to believe that I reached age 78
never having written down, spelled out,
preying on the mind.
So my first thought was:
Praying on the mind -- ?
Doesnt seem quite right.
Its more like a bird
to snatch ones mind away.
A bird of prey.
And sure enough Google agrees.
Tucked into each tiny moment of time
are infinitely small, molecular constructs
waiting to be studied, teased apart, analyzed
having been expressed.
RUMI TAUGHT ME MUCH XXIII
I used to have a stranglehold on how I spent my time,
time had a stranglehold on my throat, not allowing
me to breathe
unless I could prove I had used that hour well, those
ten minutes with grace.
And what did it prove? Thousands and thousands of
sheets of paper covered with
the hieroglyphs my mind sends forth to try to fulfill the
wildest dreams of my ambition, my
desire to fructify the moment with promised immortality
-- if it would agree to appear on my stage
And today? I want to do nothing at all, nothing but tick tick
tick on the computer keys -- see what comes out,
rest in-between ticks, ponder what is scraped off the membranes,
or what comes through the tuberculum of the brain.
Lumps and gaps, it doesnt mention tubes.
RUMI TAUGHT ME MUCH XXIV
I do not know why Im so reluctant to let
my anger at my sister boil over onto this
page -- or any other page.
I look at our role playing and see so clearly
that she wants to play lady bountiful, and
wont play until ones really destitute,
But Im not destitute and not bereft, even though
I play the starring role of I worked so hard for
humanity all those years and was/am
Until the Republicans brought the American economy
to a standstill -- so I can just stay in one place, treading
water, not winning, not losing, but when around my sister,
certainly not being
myself. Myself is unacceptable to her -- that her children
or her family might like me, might, without restrictions
want to help me along at 78. But she doesnt want to
aid in that at
all until I have to throw myself on her mercy. And, old
alcoholic that she is, Id rather die. If I am fortunate, this
intermittent dizziness may turn into something from which
Ill proceed to early" death.
RUMI TAUGHT ME MUCH XXV
A single gull shrieks overhead; I think of Karen Blixen, her
coffee farm in Kenya. Seattle has neither the warmth, nor the
romance. The traffic roars, churns across the distance. One can
imagine the black water beneath the decorative bridges, the copper-
blue turrets on the small control rooms, the air: grey, moist, deep, at
most breathable in a breathless way. The sound never disappears, the
splash of cars driving by on wet streets, a child whines. There are other
people on this earth, right around me, some on our eleven acres -- but thats
later. Now it is only 8:30 AM. No child, I think, is here yet, and yet, as I think
that, I hear laughter, a mothers voice, a childs giggle, a protest, and then back to
the even roar of the freeway -- today is here. Coffee is. Eyes half-blind. Sounds dim
down as the air cools. The heater is on, making the metal rods of the ladder hot to
the touch. Again, I think of Karen Blixen, thousands of miles alone in the brush,
yet not like me alone. She had her acquaintances, friends, intellectual buddies,
but like Rousseau, claimed to be alone. Achieving this only by ignoring the
real people who lived in the interstices of their lives. Never alone.
I suppose I am the same, all alone in my eyrie, and yet there is
Charles, Jere, Julia, and, further afield, Margaret, and on
the phone Nick and Martin -- my life is full of people.
Think of the criss-cross corridors inside the great
pyramids of Giza or any place else, filled with painted,
silent people, hieroglyphs on the coffins, wisdom in code
waiting to be read -- in the silence left by the gull, in the void
created by the traffics roar. What would Karen do? Change her
name to Isak? Shoot? Think up amusements for the void, for the
black path, criss and cross through the impenetrable bulk of
the pyramids slanting walls, cliffs. Leave me alone,
each thing says. Loneliness pulses through my
heart but, believe me, I would have it no
other way, not now, not ever. Another
car drives through the splash
on the streets. It must have rained.
RUMI TAUGHT ME MUCH XXVI
A story I very much want to tell, but cant seem to find the right
moment to commit it to cyber bytes -- or paper
When I was in Korea at Su Dok Sah, sitting Zen in a 10th century
complex -- buildings made of stone, pillars, glass doors,
wood doors, kitchen fires, gigantic pots, ice on
stone, frozen laundry cracking -- they were building
a new temple, huge, high in the old way.
Down, down, the steep sheer
hill, a space was cleared.
When I first noticed
it -- actually stopped and looked at it -- there
were maybe two, maybe three towering
tree trunks, still rough-hewn, twiggy,
gigantic, already erected,
from nowhere near Su Dok Sah -- where
the trees were small -- the forests having been
eliminated by the Japanese
Huge trees, little men, many stories
down, hacking and chipping.
Trunks became columns -- as other
trunks arrived. When they were all
up and slicked down smooth,
there were aisles of giant
each side of the floor.
And the ringing ringing ringing of hammers
against concrete and stone, as they carved,
half moon by half moon, rings enough to face
the tree trunks from dirt floor to sawn off
tops supporting the open sky.
All I can think of now, almost asleep,
is the great piles of stripped saplings
that were gathered to form the roof, bent
from outside the circle of their sawn trunks
to the inside tips that, tied together, formed the
ridge. And then the casements, built into the rising
stone walls, one by one. One piece by another fitted
atop empty walls, closed in to become a vacant space
for a window -- if not on the world, at least sentinels
over the vast grounds of
Su Dok Sah.
RUMI TAUGHT ME MUCH XXVII
Terror has caught me by the short hairs, upset
and jollity, too. Older, growing older is an
experience and a half, worth the 78 years
its taken to get here -- at times.
My dreadful diseases may be lessening, certainly
Im less intimidated by them. A third of the
world suffers from eczema. Do we see the
AMA et al. dashing to indulge in cutting-edge
tech support/research to rid us of it? Of
course not. Therere riches in transplanting
hearts for the rich, cosmetizing the famous.
But, I dont care. Its amazing how much
I dont care, how little necessity I now
feel to nurture the human race -- a
doomed and kooky species.
On the one hand, so noble, so capable
of humanitarianism; on the other,
how delighted humans are to gouge
out each others eyes. Were we
designed to be unable to act
except in cases of high drama,
For, though there are systems
of degradation, there are also
systems of excessive comfort.
Let Shiva tell you: deprived
of his hereditary right to
run, to hunt, live wild
and eat after effort,
he now gets his only
from his pillows
to his food dish.
Look what we have done!
Look what we have done!
-- using our brains or lack
thereof. No wonder --
and rightly so -- I live
in terror of what
I have done,
what I (we)
now may do.
RUMI TAUGHT ME MUCH XXVIII
Spoonful by spoonful, blueberry by blueberry,
the little jar of jam is gone today.
Autumn lights the sky,
but only intermittently.
The sprite from down the road apiece has never
reappeared: no Count got her in Lake Como.
Did duties disappear her in California?
She hasnt appeared with her dog
in my park. Her schedule sounded frenetic,
but still as if her menagerie would
triumph. Wed walk and talk
and play on the wet grass.
But now the cold rains fall. Seattles grey
light promises winter, but little
beyond. The election of
the United States
President fills the nooks and crannies
of the American Dream, vacates
what used to be life, now
anxiety sans hope.
Who knew that half the population of the USA
was as kook-filled as the high bush
blueberries in the overabun-
dance of Bear Meadows
in that state where the Constitution was signed.
But even with a judiciously small spoon
the sweet savoriness fades
unto a blank tongue.
And I remain, rapt, licking my fingers, no
longer waiting for the sprite
to re-engage her
RUMI TAUGHT ME MUCH XXIX
Dizzy again, as on 10-17-12, began out
walking with Margaret in the rain.
Vision affected, especially with my glasses on,
I wonder if Im on my way to death. Makes little
difference to me. At least I wont have to wake up.
Nor ever think again about eczema getting better or
Something seems to be affecting my NET connection
tonight -- more than usual, so tired of dealing with that!
Thinking about it, too much!
Acquired new little oriental rug from the free table, with
beautiful center of red, and round stain for placing a potted
plant on. Acquired it for Shiva, who immediately lies upon it,
scratches it, no doubt, loves it.
Later, on the way across the chapel, met John Marshall
of Open Books, the book store nearby, where Ive meant to visit
for these 10 or 11 years. Its giving a reading here tonight, shant, of
course, go. But nice to meet him, nice man. Must go and talk with him,
if I survive the night and, whenever it happens, the next episode of dizzy.
My sight so much worse with my glasses on. Hmmmm. So tired of all
the corrections and remedies for the aging body. Cant even begin to
scrunch this into a poem tonight. I do wonder if I shall live to the
end of one poem a day for 2012.
But if not,
cest la vie.
Let it be known, if I die before morning, my last action before ending
this poem was to spend a bit of time straightening out my drawer full
of little new and used plastic baggies, twists, rubber bands, etc.
No action is more important than any other action.
Life, I think I have discovered, is simply action, movement,
and thinking, writing, painting, etc. etc. is merely the background
music for perpetual action. Enough already, let the bacteria
and the fungi, the molecules and the Higgs boson particles
go on -- live in my name! Its not much to be one of quadrillions
and quadrillions. Some of it was fun. May I go peacefully in the night.
No doubt, I should sleep downstairs tonight, and not up via the
ladder into my loft, but I shall go up, none-the-less.
I came here ready to serve but, I wasnt much needed.
The wind has apparently driven our NET connection mad. 9:18 PM
RUMI TAUGHT ME MUCH XXX
Ive gotten rid of all my clever ideas and clever quips,
nothing to cloud my mind but fresh air,
even used the dryer for the first
time (in ten years),
time gallivanting by,
reading, today, THE END OF MEN.
Cool, grey, sunless, silence.
Talked at length with Diana last night to relieve
the pressure of my depression. Effective. By slightly
different routes weve come to the same place. The eczema
may be a bit less. Dare I hope?
RUMI TAUGHT ME MORE XXXI
So many things I dont know what to do with...
having fallen into complete despair.
My enthusiasm for everything has fallen away.
The cat meows for brushing.
Today, the big storm strikes in the East --
and even outside my windows
the wind howls. Is the earth angry?
I certainly am.
Last night I looked out and it was black,
all black, no lights at all.
And it began to dawn on me, that was
supposed to be Seattle, but there were no
The brain tried to compute it. Losing
power in New York, maybe we were turning
out lights in a sympathy strike.
Then I went about my business.
A little later, I looked again: still black.
Then later: a row of lights along the shore
of Lake Union. Hello! Hello?
And a while later:
Hello! again -- one storys worth of lights,
maybe two, above that blackness.
The tall buildings never reappeared
before I went to bed, 2:00 AMish.
I must look now,
and see if theyre there.
Theyre there, taller and grayer in silhouette
than the grey sky.
Blueberries and whey protein!
and a new attitude bouncing up
my skull -- the inner shell of the skull
resonating with the wind.
RUMI TAUGHT ME MORE XXXII
Watching Hurricane Sandy sweep around the East Coast,
via the computer, with visuals and sound effects
from the trees outside, twisting and bending.
The sun is shining, the waves are
leaping, my heart is
What a Monday morning!
The West Coast in sympathy with the East?
The clouds racing across the blue sky to the south,
the leaves clinging to our poplars, whipping around,
Lately my eyes jump around.
my vision sees things of this world
jump around: spots, discs, small animals,
black shooting flakes, shooting fuzzy, no-color
bull eyes, all dashing about -- mainly away from me,
but, once in a while, toward me. Real? Not real?
Does it bother me? It certainly enlivens the
vision having become dim, sloppy, outmoded.
Do I go any place? from here? Im so willing to
check out. But its difficult. I have become a great
practicer of easy, easier, easiest. Sit, stare, do nothing,
something will change. If nothing more, the shadow in
the sky. Walk away or -- sit still? Believe me, it makes
to the uni-
Ding dong. The time is right.
I wonder if the East coast is still there.
Sandy? What a non-name for an event
predicted to affect 60 million people.
Nature is always over-profligate.
RUMI TAUGHT ME MORE XXXIII
I always have this feeling of not as good as
because I didnt have a proper upbringing.
All I have of that, that elegance and know-how,
I taught myself,
but it still is only, always, an overlay of what is
really there, rather crude and naive Jan, very impressed
with the impressive people whose paths
I have managed to cross in this life.
RUMI TAUGHT ME MORE XXXIV
My web connection is not working -- since last night.
So, off to school early to deal with e-mail.
Sandy the Hurricane visited us between now
-- when the computer stopped
connecting -- and this morning.
The kittens toys are still in the Hall, but not the kittens.
Odd how much I enjoy seeing them, inviting them in,
but how unattached I feel. Dont need to own them.
Almost reaching the point: I dont need to own anything.
Asked M, yesterday, in our long chat in the sunshine, if
shed help me straighten my mess,
my papers, my life, and she, of course, immediately
volunteered. A little scary.
But whether it is scarier to let all papers, etc. rest
or to begin to deal with them, its hard to tell. If
I had the guts, or clarity of mind, I might toss
the lot, or -- never that! -- Id know on what
basis to separate the wheat from the chaff
But, as always, I know nothing at this moment,
except that I seem to feel considerably better
on the blueberries and whey.
RUMI TAUGHT ME MORE XXXV
Vs 551 class is the most thought provoking
class Ive ever attended
and yet, now, in my old age, I begin to question
perhaps, the need for so much thought.
Re Memorials, architectural memorials:
An event causing a memorial
happens in time,
then the memorial
continues in time.
One might say that of Mai Lins (first work)
Vietnam War Memorial, which was the first
work to simply list the names of those who
died in the war. Simple, plain surfaces
with names carved in it
-- and the whole world has come to visit
to be horrified at so many.
And others come to visit, to find the name
of their father or brother or son.
It occurs to me this was the first work of
art based in social networking:
put someones name in public and the public
will come to visit.
Like Hamlets ghost, it cries: Remember Me.
No longer tombs of unknown soldiers --
now they give the highest place to the known
RUMI TAUGHT ME MORE XXXVI
I find it very relaxing to stand perfectly still
and not know, for minutes at a time,
what I am going to do next.
as if in a living trance.
In the comfort of a neck scarfs
warmth, loose and elegantly draped.
when I move, the meaning will manifest,
the adventure, the next step,
the glorious raveling out of what has gone in
before. The long necked flowers make no plans.
But they know their destinies. No adventuring is needed,
nor plans, nor insight into human endeavor. They will stand
until they are a stalk and not walk away irritated they didnt get
the nervousness, nor the necessities, nor the non plus ultima that
babies and mothers and fathers did, in this expanding universe.
Do, command, insist. O fragrant, flourishing flowers, stand
with me while I count to 4 -- 6 --- 8 ---- evaporate, and
then well sit awhile in the late, very late afternoon
RUMI TAUGHT ME MORE XXXVII
Ethiopian Children, given iPads? or some
easy to use computer -- who neither spoke nor could read English --
began within a very short time to use the computers,
and taught each other.
Little children, I think they were, like 3 or so
-- heard on KUOW between 7 and 8 oclock this morning.
See if I can find it.
RUMI TAUGHT ME MORE XXXVIII
A novel is an organized flow of words. If you want to write
novels in this new developing world, have a lot of
children -- who can be your tech support.
They come out much cleverer than youll ever be with apps
and texts, and tweets and twitters. Society is falling
apart. Its almost gone, based on lies, as it
was. It will soon not be anymore. People have lost more
than their religion, their belief systems. So many lies
come from the mouth of Mitt the Twitt, he
has exhausted Humans belief in anything.
Cest la vie. May the Republicans die
a painful death.
RUMI TAUGHT ME ENOUGH XXXIX
Why am I so unhappy?
Because I am not somebody else.
That seems to be the crux of the matter.
I dont, I discovered recently,
want another relationship
unless I could be in it as myself.
And what, exactly, does that mean?
I havent minded terribly,
being in this not so
good not so
is enough Im
ready to move on.
Dont bother anybody else.
RUMI TAUGHT ME ENOUGH XL
I think of the enormous deep
well that is my consciousness
filling up for 78 years with
of it fascinating,
and all of it stitched together
in a unique way
-- which is me.
Whats to be done with it?
And why does it seem
And why isnt it?
Is natures message
Life is to be here and then
to be gone?
What else are we to conclude from
its great overabundance:
several billion (poisonous) oleander blossoms down
the median of Highway 5,
and 7 nearing 8 billion of
us, we humans, now cluttering
the earth, north and south, east, west:
America, Europe, Asia, Africa
Is the plan just to enjoy a couple dozen years
-- not quite a hundred --
and then Pouf!
And -- you were toxic while you lasted,
and only an era marker:
The time when the earth was cooling,
the time of the dinosaurs,
the time of the humans.
The time of the imploding star.
RUMI TAUGHT ME ENOUGH XLI
The whole shebang causes my heart to ache,
tears flood the eyes for Sandy Hurricanes
victims -- and what do I do? Think only
about shaking the shackles that bind me
to this doomed planet flying through the
When does it stop?
The more I stay alone, the more I become
this old, peculiar doyen. Step out, smell
the air, let it waft through my lungs
and hair, wonder at the flight of the
gulls -- inland again for the storm,
to stay indoors,
fill up the hu, water will be needed
when the hurricane passes. Sixty
million thirsty mouths upward
-- and the rain, yes it comes
in Seattle, too.
RUMI TAUGHT ME XLII
Again the blankness, nothing more.
The time has changed. The window is open.
Fresh air in my airless world.
I dont know what to do with my slipping brain.
Margaret helps me with my papers.
Maybe my papers all belong in
the dustbin. Why waste valuable
life on their collation? Maybe Ill
see the end of my fascination with writing
now that I have acknowledged its importance
by having Margaret get them in order.
Do they need to be ordered to
throw them away?
RUMI TAUGHT ME XLIII
I get up slowly this morning --
been awake for hours
intermittently listening to
the BBC -- the only place
in the radio sphere were you can
actually learn anything anymore.
And then, half blind -- my eyes
are failing -- I walk bent kneed
to my ladder, pause to think of the
momentous things of this world
before I descend, the millions
who wake again to no power, still
inundated by the flow of the waters
displaced by Sandy the Hurricane,
the problems they have to solve:
the no or water-logged house -- already
beginning to mold said Martin about his
friend who lives where the floods
came -- and luckily could move
to her cabin in Florida. I nod, too,
to the candidates, in the most important
Presidential election ever --
about to take place
I stand there for a moment
at the head of the stairs til Im sure
I have my balance, then step carefully
down, one rung at a time -- conscious
of my small problems: eczema, itch,
dim sight, aching (not too badly) legs
and back, and think of the cosmos
discoveries are made
of its extent and content.
All this focused here, in one vulnerable
human mind, where I spend my time,
wanting to shut it down, to bring
everything to a conclusion, lie
asleep in the dirt that supports
all these outrageous stigmata.
RUMI TAUGHT XLIV
Well, its here -- it might be called
Fate of the World Day,
Election Day in the USA
with all its corruption and imbecility.
How many hours?
How many days to wait to know our fate?
Tomorrow I hit 500 poems for
2012. Today I looked up Roman Numerals
to find that L comes into play
We, the United States of America,
are about to enter the greatest era
in our history. Tonight, President Obama
was re-elected to a second term,
and I think it will be found in history
books of all subsequent centuries, if
he fulfills his promise, that this will be
the greatest era ever known to America,
and, unlike the many Empire building
eras that have gone before, it will be
of the people, by the people,
and for the people as unknown on
the earth until now.
* * * * *
* * * * *
BY JAN HAAG