The Maker’s Arbitrage
I keep a $200 edge on my $4 knife.
Which gives me at least $196 worth of value
every time I take $20 worth of ingredients
and make a better dinner for two
than I can buy in a restaurant for $200
Add to that the million dollar feeling
I have when I have the leftovers for lunch the next day
and my profit from making dinner is
Terra Cotta Buddha #3
I lifted the Terra Cotta Buddha to my ear
and listened to his bisque-fired interior
as if he was a sea shell
and enlightenment roared within
“Haste is a form of violence.”
Wow, I thought
that’s good. That’s deep.
Then I put Buddha down as fast as I could
(rough handling, no drop)
and rushed to tweet my newfound wisdom
before I found time to think about it.
Appeal to a Lesser-Known Diety #1
“Hear me, o bismirched goddess of drains and sewers,
known of ancient days as Cloaca Maxima, Venus of the Crapper.
I call upon you to cease the backing of my toilet.”
“Make this rented plumber the instrument of your divine will,”
I say as Carl, the Quikie-Rooter guy, shoots me a nervous look.
I reassure him with a half-wink and a nod
and continue my invocation.
“Do this and from this day to the end of my days
I will consecrate my family’s waste unto you
at this your Sacred ThroneShrine.”
“I don’t have to take this shit,” Carl mutters behind me.
“Yes, but she does,” I say, arms outstretched,
holding my palms towards the filth-covered floor
in pious appeal, “and that’s why I’m asking nicely.
Driving Myself to Distraction
So many words
So much noise.
Yet still, I keep clicking
I could be reading deeply
or some great work,
left abandoned on my shelf
I could be walking in the woods
talking with a friend
taking the measure of a fellow soul
at play amid the suffering of the world
I could be whittling a stick or watching a stream go by
Listening to children laugh,
or trying to decipher the language of birds
But here I sit
and here I click.
The God Shortage
If you’ve only got one God
(I’m lookin’ at you here Abraham)
then there’s not enough of him to go around.
So people fight over God.
A Christian, a Muslim and a Jew
all pray to God to save them.
Since they are all praying to the same God.
How do they imagine God will choose?
By flipping a three-sided coin?
In a way, holy war makes sense.
If somebody doesn’t agree with you
and they are busy jamming the intercessory help-line
with their prayers,
It makes sense to silence them,
and clear the line for your supplications.
But what if there were enough gods to go around?
A god for everything and everyone.
Our Lady of Blessed Acceleration.
The slow-moving God of technical support calls.
The funny-smelling god of tennis balls.
The god of Letter Carriers and dial-up modems.
(in fact, the god of annoyed dogs)
A god of plumbing.
The pasty god of bookbinding.
The left-handed, unlucky god
of weed dealers who get high on their own supply.
The cruel god of college admissions
The crueler gods of compound interest.
The minor demons of paper cuts.
Open the door and there’s no end to them.
There’s one for every one and every occasion
Pray to the one you need, when you need.
I don’t expect this idea will go over well in Jerusalem.
But, for the rest of us
it’s gotta be worth a shot.
(This is an introduction to a series on minor and largely irrelevant imaginary deities)
A Time for Pruning
Last summer was hard on the trees
it was very hot and dry
the rhododendrons didn’t make it.
but this spring, the leaves are back
as if it never happened.
But I can see that dead branches
And I remember the heat.
If this were an action movie,
the trees would be back for revenge.
But this is life.
This is spring.
A time for pruning old branches and moving on.
The Pollen Latitudes
In the spring, the pollen gets so thick around here
you’d swear it’d kill horses
and cows and chickens
and anything else without a filtration system built into it’s shell.
The air gets so heavy with the stuff it weighs down the birds.
They fall from the sky
pelting the strong men who wear yellow foam on their lips.
as if they had been savaged by some rabid, yellow dog of Spring.
While, miles away,
in their hermetically sealed labs
the makers of allergy medicine breathe in recycled air
and breathe out laughter.
My son has shown a real aptitude for poking things with sticks
Although this is not a highly marketable skill
He goes at it with gusto and takes pride in his work
He is happy and carefree at the end of the day
He’s able to put the job down
and sleep just like a baby
If I could speak one-year old
I’d ask him how he got this gig
and if they were looking for some part-time help.
Buddha, Terra Cotta from Target $29.95
As I write, the garden statue of the Buddha says to me
“Work out your own salvation. Do not depend on others.”
That’s a fine religious principle you got yourself right there.
But how the hell are you supposed to sell books
whip the masses up into a lather
with an attitude like that?
Where’s the merchandizing? The recurring revenue stream?
The catchy hook for the talk-show circuit?
Terra Cotta Buddha just smiles.
He’s just like that.
The Last Minute
There’s something to be said for the majesty of deadlines.
For the drama and energy that pressure lends
to the most mundane of tasks.
Say, delivering a pizza.
If there’s no deadline, the transaction is dull and gluttonous.
But 30 minutes or less?
The Driver’s screws tight to the steering wheel,
the Buyer watches the clock down to the second
and to his gluttony he gets to add a side of greed
like a free order of breadsticks
to his extra-large, extra cheese, pepperoni and anchovies on half.
Sure, it’s the same thing
Pizza A gets to Stomach B
But it’s not at all the same.