King Solomon—a Fool, or the Wisest Man to Have Ever Lived?

Getting wealthy on wisdom

is a fool’s profession

because

it takes far too long to get recognized

by ordinary folk

and by then,

poets, prophets, and philosophers

are usually dead—

either by starvation, angry kings, or religious fanatics who don’t like to think too much.

There are exceptions, though:

like Thoreau

or

King Solomon, who was the wisest man to have ever lived

even though,

he had 700 wives and 300 concubines.

He wrote the book of Proverbs

and warned about the adulterous woman.

He couldn’t have been that wise, though

to have so many wives,

and why would he ever think of committing adultery?

He had three women

for every day of the week.

God made him wealthy, because he asked for wisdom.

Now, does that make sense?

I do my own thing

they’re all good eggs, mostly

some of them are rotten, but it’s rare

they have thin shells

that crack

at the slightest kind of pressure

so they stay in their classrooms

and teach kids.

then, they go to lunch

they bring sacks

and eat their sandwiches.

the guys talk about sports

and the girls talk about kids

I don’t sit with them

because

if I did

I would think about suicide

most of the time.

they exclude me from their after-school parties

and I am full of joy

they talk about their babies

and ask me if I have one

“No. I’m not even married.”

“Oh—that’s too bad. What do you have?”

“Peace and quiet.”

“What’s that?”

“Basically, I can do whatever I want.”

I know, they envy me.

It’s strange, because I have nothing.

I am like an empty jar,

waiting to be filled.

Their houses are full of crap.

I don’t even have a house.

My apartment is empty.

I don’t care about promotions

or the big game.

I do my own thing.

I am free.

The Principal and the Poet

There are lives I don’t want to live

and there are people I don’t want to be.

He had a black beard with a bald head

and his belly

was distended.

Now, a principal

he used to write poetry.

“Oh—I have plenty of ways to be creative,” he said.

He talked about his little victories,

about getting published

in small literary magazines

20 years ago

in Southern California.

“I knew Allen Ginsberg, once. I didn’t approve of his latest love affair. That boy was too young.”

There was something empty in his eyes

as he sat

on his desk

in front of his class,

teaching gibberish, while bribing us with donuts.

He knew I didn’t like him very much

and consequently,

he didn’t like me.

I judge harshly,

and the world does the same to me.

My vision of a man

is a philosopher

who walks the golf course like he owns it

and doesn’t give interviews

or tell people how to write.

One day, a kid shows up

and asks him what he knows

and it’s like being in the presence of God.

I can see the President of the United States looking weak

on National TV.

My observation of him

confirms my opinion

that the very strong

don’t rise up.

They remain

near the foundation,

going farther down, still

into nothing

because that’s where

we’re all going.

The great man wants to return to that.

The weak man believes he is a strong tower,

and consequently,

he gets knocked down.

King of the Mountain or King of Yourself

I remember playing King of the Mountain

on the jungle gym

in elementary school.

Kids got thrown off

and broke their arms

until their parents complained

and

filed lawsuits, like angry corporate executives

dressed

in suits

and hanging in a closet.

It’s true

what scientists say,

“Alpha Chimps have heart attacks

and go gray.”

It takes a lot

of energy

to defend a position,

but the perks

are perky breasts

while second tier chimps

collect the crumbs

and stay there forever

because there’s no stress.

Betas are told what to do by the females

and the females don’t want anything to do with them.

They masturbate themselves and live in a dream world

while their hair falls out

and they die young.

Why am I telling you this?

The only way

to transcend this silly game

is to know what it is.

It is not important to be King of the Mountain,

but it is important to be King of Yourself.

I have seen overweight divorced women

who have financial problems

family problems

and mental health problems,

who can’t get along with their co-workers, and boss them around.

They are on anti-depressants

and teaching kids how to feel good.

A man in charge of a city

is less

than a man in charge of himself.

Women

don’t ask

why they want to be in charge

They don’t consider the cost

All they want

is to be significant

because they can’t find that

in themselves.

Society has told them

what to do

and they do it.

“Put your career first. Don’t let a man tell you what to do.”

Now, the females are dying young

and the alpha chimps are going insane

and the Betas

are the same

and a few, second tier males

have figured-out the game.

They don’t want fame

They only want

to be in charge of themselves.

What a Poem is…

there is not a good way

to sneak up on a poem

some

try to write it out by hand

while others

type for hours

until the perfect thought comes to them

me

I am free

to do

whatever I want

and that

is what a poem should be.

We lose sight

of what a poem is

and then

we can’t write

it.

Zen Tea Master Vs. Zen Archer

As writers,

my roommate and I encouraged each other

and hated each other, when one of us succeeded.

It’s an iron rule that writers don’t admire living writers

the green-eyed monster of envy sprouts horns

when the better-looking brother

gets published.

We were coming-up with secret philosophies of success

and testing them on the publishers of the world. I was into Tony Robbins and Wayne Dyer

and my roommate got into Zen Buddhism. He considered flower arranging for awhile

but the daisies stunk up the place.

Fermented flower water is worse that the hiking trail outhouse

I thought our toilet was backing up, but it was just rotting flowers.

“You got to stop with the flower arranging,” I said.

“I can’t. It’s part of my writing ritual. I arrange the flowers just so, and if I don’t, I get writer’s block.”

“You’ve got to pick-up some other Zen practice,” I said.

“How would you like it if I interrupted your meditation?” He asked.

“Why would you do that? I’m quiet.”

“Don’t you know, that the only way to mysticism is through personal suffering. I need to cause you pain (for your own good).”

“If that’s true, all I need to do is live with you.”

Well… like a good roommate, he adapted to my needs. I’m not complaining 100% about the flowers.

When I went-out on dates, I always had a fresh bouquet (well… almost fresh—they were secondhand spiritual flowers)

On a Sunny Saturday, I walked into the field behind our apartment complex, and there was my roommate with a bow and arrow. A Buddhist monk in orange robes was watching him, with an expressionless face.

My roommate pulled back on his bow, with incredible muscular force, and let it go. It missed the bull’s eye and lodged in a wall, nearly killing a cat.

“If you make progress at the start, you’ll have more difficulties later,” the monk said.

“I guess that means I’ll be a master in no time. Why isn’t the Zen working?”

“You expect failure,” the monk said. “Don’t concern yourself with hitting the mark. You’re trying too hard.”

I watched him, transferring his spirit into my roommate.

“How much time is it going to take for me to master this?” My roommate asked.

“How many days have you been trying to write?”

“Five years.”

“Don’t worry about how long it takes. Achieving the goal will happen all by itself. You don’t do it—it does it.”

“What is ‘it’?”

“That is a question you must answer for yourself,” the monk said.

I watched my roommate becoming fearless, like cherry blossom falling serenely to earth.

Soon, our land-line was ringing off the hook. Whatever my roommate wrote, the publishers ate-up, like big fish.

I tried to copy him, but it didn’t work. Maybe, I was trying too hard.

Then, I started making tea, and I enjoyed it, but the ceremony didn’t help my writing one bit.

Our apartment manager and some of the residents complained about the arrows raining down on them.

“None of us want to end-up like William Tell’s son,” our apartment manager said.

“He lived,” my roommate complained.

“Yes, but he shit his pants and he never ate apples again.”

Needless to say, my roommate got writer’s block, and I became a Zen tea master, full of English sophistication and success.

The End

On My Love of Learning from Great Men

I find that I can only fully appreciate the day when I lie in bed and read. I know the time is well-spent when I haven’t been traveling or participating in useless conversations or sorry debates on topics that I don’t care about. I wonder about the usefulness of knowledge. Much of the life lessons from history repeat themselves.

Nietzsche

As Nietzsche put it: A professional man becomes ill and bed-ridden, and during that time, he realizes that he has become sick of his career. It was a sickness he wasn’t aware of, until he became sick. Being perpetually busy is a sickness that infects most professional people.

Thoreau

Thoreau said: that a man puts his head down and goes about his work, and in his later years, he only realizes that he wasted his life. He should write poetry, if he wants to be a poet. There are many men who want to be poets or artists, but they save-up those desires for a later day that never arrives.

Ray Bradbury

There is a Twilight Zone episode about a man who loves to read, but never has enough time, and he gets locked in a library during an apocalyptic event, and steps on his glasses. We are all stepping on our metaphorical glasses when we don’t read. As Ray Bradbury put it: there are books out there, but do people read them? We have a command of the English language, but we don’t use it. What good are home libraries, if we don’t pull those books off the shelves and read them?

Hannibal

Great men, like Hannibal, exercised strategy, coupled with planning, and decisive quick action. He took his 37 war elephants, and roughly 60,000 infantry/cavalry through Gal (which is modern-day France) and fought his way to the Alps. They were covered in snow and avalanches during the month of September and he crossed anyway.

When he arrived in Rome, more than half of his forces had perished, and he went on to kill the Romans.

When Hannibal was a 9-year-old boy, his father was going-off to fight, and he wanted to come along. His father told him that he was too young, but Hannibal insisted. So, his father grabbed him and took him to the temple of Baal, and picked him up, as if to throw him into the flames as a human sacrifice.

“Do you really want to kill Romans?” He asked his son.

“Yes father, I do.”

“Then promise me that you will fight the Romans for the rest of your life.”

Hannibal promised, and his decision became his destiny.

I Can Trust in My Addiction

Addictions pull on me

like a clumsy child

trying to tie his shoes

he knots them up, and they just hang there

sloppily.

Catastrophes ensue, like a late electric bill

or overdue

lost library books

and I have to pay the fines.

Or

there is unlimited time

and nothing to do.

What I should do

I don’t want to do, so I just lay there

listlessly

and the list of things

I need to do

mounts

like a hesitant lover

that doesn’t want to consummate

a boring sin.

Any dry spell

of motivation

or black magic

that blackens my soul

or storm that sinks my cork

bobs up again.

And the writing gets done. I lose hope. I give up,

but like a lingering addiction

the needle needs the arm

and the arm needs the needle

and the smoker needs an iron lung

and the drunk needs the bottle

and the writer needs a computer

I hold still, like a boy with Tourette’s

who refuses to swear

and then I go to the bathroom

and let it all out.

It feels good to give into my addiction.

A Famous Writer Climbs the Stairway to Heaven and Falls Through the Floor

Now, the famous writer was distracted

by women, coke (not Coca-Cola), and parties.

Before he was famous

he was distracted

by insane bosses, bills, and his wife (who nagged him until he wanted to commit suicide)

but luckily, he went down into his basement

and typed instead

kind of like the protagonist in Dante’s Inferno

who went down

into hell

to reach the mountain peak.

There was a furnace down there

that refused to die

and after his wife divorced him

he had a clear conscience.

He kept on writing,

observing the aristocrats and ladies

who got there

but forgot

how they got there.

It was a mystical island in the sky

that could vanish like a cloud

at any moment

if they forgot

how they got there.

High society people

constantly fell through the foggy air

because they forgot

and they were forgotten

forever,

but the writer had no illusions about the high life,

and he stayed up there, year after year

on the best seller lists.

When he was unsuccessful

his friends admired his writing and told him that he looked great

but when he glanced into the mirror, he was 20 pounds overweight

and his writing was ugly. No number of lies could convince him otherwise.

“You’re too hard on yourself,” they said

but that is the sound of the crowd, making themselves feel better

while criticizing the half-naked rock star, who displays

his six-pack abs

because he knows

he has them

and he doesn’t play to four white walls in a solitary sound-proof room

He plays to the crowd

and that,

is that city in the sky

where God pretends to live (but not really)

and the would-be famous think they can get there

but it’s all an illusion

and they quickly fall into hell

where

a plain woman makes them pancakes

and tells them

“You’re great!”

but mirrors

don’t lie, and to maintain this lie in the sky

he lives a lie.

Chapter 9 What was in Chapter 3

“This must be some kind of a joke,” Priscilla screamed.

“I assure you that it’s no joke,” Gregson said. “One of you is a murderer.”

“But why?” Melinda asked.

“I think, that if we read the rest of Dan’s novel, we’ll know the motive and who’s going to get killed next,” Gregson said.

“Heck with that!” Suzanne shouted. “I’m calling the police!”

A bolt of lightning cut through the black curtain of night, like a pair of jagged sewing scissors, wielded by an unruly preschooler, and the cherry tree outside the latticed window split in-two and caught fire.

“My father planted that tree,” Suzanne said, “right after he was caught having an affair with his secretary. She was a virgin.”

Dan was trying to say something, but couldn’t—the women were in choreographed conversation, like a hive mind.

“Quiet!” He shouted, and they got silent.

“The murderer…”

BOOM!

Thunder filled the room.

“Like I was saying…” Suzanne said.

“Quiet!” Dan demanded. “In Chapter 3, the would-be killer drinks orange juice laced with cyanide. One of you, read ahead.”

“That’s it! I’m calling the police!” Suzanne marched to the rotary phone and dialed. “Wait a second… there’s no dial tone. The phone lines are out.”

“It’s the 21st Century,” Sharon said. She pulled her pink phone from her dress pocket with the rape button on speed-dial.

She pressed it.

Nothing happened.

“There’s no signal and no cell phone tower that works between these hills,” Suzanne said. “You have to call-out of here on a land-line.”

“You planned this, didn’t you?” Billie accused.

“Now, wait a second,” Gregson said. “We can all leave.”

“That’s a brilliant idea,” Marilyn laughed, and she opened the door.

Rain was coming down like cats and dogs howling in pain, and rivers were snaking their way down the gravel driveway.

Ferraris, Bentleys and Aston Martins were sliding into each other, as they flowed down the mountain. Trees were uprooted and blocking the road.

“Well, at least my car is okay,” Dan said.

The dirty looks he got were worse than the kindergarten expression, “Butt Face”.

“So much for that plan,” Gregson said. “We’ll have to wait-out the storm and read the rest of Dan’s Novel. It’s the only way to stay alive.”