at first dare

at first
knowledge a difficulty
if you jump from a height
you will break

i had no trouble
believing this
the children on my block
took turns jumping from a low roof
for fun
i passed ….

too much candy will make you ill
i had no trouble believing this
even on halloween night
when all the candy in the world
was at every doorstep

fire will burn you
but it was tricky
under a pilot light
metal button
“it will burn you!”
i touched it anyway
ok, that was established
listen to mom

wear shoes to protect your feet
that one i also tested
on many barefoot days
until a glass shard
embedded itself deeply
in not so tender flesh
then shoes were not quite such an enemy

don’t climb or you will break your neck
i ignored that also
how could i not?
when grandmother loved to tell the story
of stepping outside
to see her 4 year old daughter
40 feet high at the top of
a tree? the trick she said,
was to not panic
she simply waved and said come in for lunch when you
get a chance!
then went back inside
and nearly fainted
just waited a few minutes
and breathed once again
when she heard tiny footsteps
hit the front planks of the steps

we pass along knowledge
what to eat
how long to sleep
how far to walk or run
how to stay alive
and even how to perish fabulously

i never did understand
why cutting wrists must be done
in the bathtub
then you grow up to realize
those are probably murders
and the killer wants
an easy clean up

you have tried going without sleep
going without food
only to realize that your
own particular brand
of insanity involves less
prophecy and more theatrics

have looked at the world
not to judge reality
but to measure how closely
man falls into correct
bastions of never again
how often truth
becomes engineered for profit
and so not
so very true

study the ins and outs
only discovering you very much
need water
by being denied water
until almost dead
where the wheelchair ride
rush to get you away
is burned in the memory
so deeply that the portraits
on the wall still stare at you …

for some reason
founders of a hospital
must be immortalized

you go without friends
without food
without even a roof over your head
for a time
without a god, even

knowledge given
knowledge at a cost
knowledge of both the quick, and the slow
the dead remain elusive
stubbornly voiceless but buried
thickly in convocated memories

knowledge of time
that is far from equal
minute to larger and smaller seconds…
the minutiae of calibration
the relevant dream
that will always gravitate
in a whirlpool to the self …
so many ways to sink forever

children jumped off a roof
but i skipped that chapter
i flew a plane
and measured velocities
and altitude
i saw the inside of an engine
and knew how much particulate detail
went under the hood

i perceived myself
as always secondary
to greater endeavors

we collect our own information
and at that peak
the only way to be singularly
correct is to be
what is already known

the known that clamps down
and declares itself impervious

and so there is a general malaise
when being necessary
is being a specialist

when self-discovery ends
then so too does hope and
expectation … heart and conviction?

i never had a problem
with wise advice

it is just that wisdom
and ambiguity
often mirror the same mountain

there is a feeling that i
have in my bones
that i must try
knowledge when i can
test it and contemplate
what the opposite of knowledge
truly is
what the foundations of use become

to stand alone
or to stand together

it is the questions
that go unanswered
i suppose?

it is the culmination
of the dare

that brings credence to life
above and over
any duty or relevance
to collective mayhem

within the day that will always
become the night
only those with
eyes are inspired
to quantify the difference

there is the culmination
of the dare
that forgets to parse the incredulous
the dim memory that not
all creatures fall alike

that not all endings have beginnings
as freedom is a wish buried within consequence

you either remove a bandage
fast or slowly
but all methods are valid

absolutes are nothing but
a fascist burden
stifling self-awareness

duty to realize
is the love of all things
wit counts the bars of a cell
while smiling at conviction

how much worse is the force
to refuse a dare?
how greater do we stretch
how greater do we breathe?

life itself a journey for
both big and small

but only by being both
can the mind commit revelation
and industry to its brother, event
to its sister
the burdening of consequence

where all things might have purpose
or not
all things might redact in spirit
or not
and yet all things live between constructs
that eventually die
and then belong only
to remorse and its cousin
the wind
not the wind itself
for we wind clocks
but the feel of the wind on an upturned face
as the brush of angels dry
even the most hopeless tears

a dare is revival among rival
one and the same yet all souls
scream for their own distance
all matter
of earth flies
folds itself in beauty
to where the sun glints off
shallow wings
hopeless daze

no end to knowledge
and its tests
a place remains for suffering
a place to remember all loss all lessening
words that carve their indignities
and gravitate toward reenactment

and shall we speak of a time for dreams?
for knowing mans own tendency to forgive
a time for kicking reality in the nuts
all matter on this earth
creatures and stones
feathers and formulas
fond hopes and the holiest of remembrances

all belongs to matter and all suffers grace
in belonging
all flies
all kisses only air
and only once

trust is the bitter part of wisdom
do not tempt me!
i would never find glory
never validate worlds that treasure grades
while forgetting love has no steep reward
no greater repetition and variability

all flies
all falls
…with (equal but not greater than)
the same aplomb

i could have jumped from that roof with the other kids
but i chose not to fly
at age 7 concluded tempting fate was foolish
but oh how i envied them their foolishness!
if only for that one day

and the v of the geese is on water
as well as above



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