Fault Line

You and I are very similar
Our differences very slight
When I raise my left hand at you
You respond with your right

I wink at you with my right eye
You wink back with your left
Sometimes we are ambidextrous
Both sides equally as deft

When I see you it’s just like
I can see a better me
Looking at you I can sense that
You can teach me how to be

Is there someone right behind you
Are you more than I can see
If I strike you and you shatter
Will your pieces still be me

Can you hear me when I call you
Your lips move just like mine
The piece of glass that separates us
It’s a chasm - a fault line

The Gathering

Years from now, in a very special place
Many souls were gathered around a fire
I was there too, a fly on the wall…

The first to speak was a brave little man
His valor seemed to belie his stature
I should never have sent them to Russia, he said
My ambition put my fellow soldiers in harm’s way
I was wrong

Next up was a bespectacled gent
He looked like a Midwestern haberdasher
There were many ways to end the Great War, he said
I chose the very worst and thousands died in Japan
I was wrong

A mustachioed Russian was awaiting his turn
He looked remorseful, as if he had killed someone
I should never have incarcerated them in the Gulags, he said
These great minds would have made my country even greater
I was wrong

Everyone fell silent as the fearsome Austrian spoke
He looked like sanity had never befriended him
I should not have believed that Aryans were special, he said
I should not have wreaked havoc on those decent Jews
I was wrong

An old, toothless Indian in a loincloth spoke next
He looked like he had fasted for days
I should never have appeased that ambitious man, he said
I should never have allowed religion to divide my land
I was wrong

A man who looked like a Chinese farmer was next to speak
He bowed his head, as if ashamed
The cultural revolution should never have happened, he said
Millions of my countrymen would still be alive today
I was wrong
 
Then a tall, gruff Texan stood up and spoke
His craggy face suggested he really cared for his people
I should never have lied about that unwinnable war, he said
Our men should have come home alive, welcomed like heroes
I was wrong

A timorous, secretive Californian spoke in a whisper
He looked, well, pretty much like a crook
I was a crook, he said, I am a crook, I will forever be a crook
I should never have pretended to be anything else
I was wrong

A short, slight Cambodian now began to mutter
He looked like he was consumed by an existential fear
Genocide, by any name, is an unforgivable crime, he said
I buried my brothers and sisters in the Killing Fields
I was wrong

An old, bearded mullah got up to speak next
He adjusted his turban and spoke in his soft, sinister voice
The Religious Revolution went horribly wrong, he said
I should never have ignored the will of my people in Islam’s name 
I was wrong

Now it was the turn of yet another Texan
This one wasn’t very smart and he looked like he knew it
Even if he had the WMD, that was no excuse for the war, he said
Four hundred thousand Iraqis did not deserve to die
I was wrong

The last one up was a big orange man, very fat but strangely also fit
He wore, it seemed, a wig (badly made) of golden strands
It was a bad idea to build that wall, he said
It was a bad idea too to enlist the support of despots
I was wrong

Ah… a cold sigh escaped me
As the special place froze over

Friend

Long ago, little children
We were happy to loiter and roam
He’d take my hand, he’d understand
The troubles that haunted my home
My buddy at school, my mate at play
A pal on whom I could depend
I always felt like the luckiest child
Just because I had a friend

As time passed and I grew up
My mind was a confounding mess
He was there, my true confidant
Somehow he lessened my distress
Ashamed of my past, afraid of my future
When I felt life was a dead end
I always had something to look forward to
Just because I had a friend

Grown men now, we settled down
With families and homes of our own
All through the trials of our busy lives
He made sure I wasn’t alone
With his ready smile and his sage advice
And forever a hand to lend
I found my rock, my beacon, my guide
Just because I had a friend

Here we are, in our sunset years
Our friendship has survived it all
Ten thousand miles may separate us
But I know he’ll come when I call
With him, and only him, I am me
No veil, no mask, no need to pretend
My deepest, my darkest secrets are safe
Just because I have a friend

You can’t choose to whom you are born
Or when and where and why
But when you choose someone to be your friend
They are your friend till you die
Friends we were as we began our lives
Friends we’ll remain till the end
My life’s been a magical ride
Just because I have a friend

Don’t Be Like That*

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Don’t be like the sparrow
That chirps in the high rafters 
Then flies away after a minute

Don’t be like the mist
That shrouds the morning like a mystery
Then lifts its veil in a blink

Don’t be like the whirlwind
That brings a fallen golden leaf within reach
Then whisks it away in a rush

Don’t be like the firefly
That flits in the dark, lighting its jagged journey
Then escapes from the cupped hand

Don’t be like the rainbow
That paints the sky with its glorious palette
Then melts away into the light

Don’t be like the moon
That lights up a million faces with its pearly glow
Then conceals itself behind the clouds

This moment with you
Is all I have left to live for
Please, don’t go

Reality

 Take your ego
Out for a walk
Let the cold wintry blast of existence
Shrink it a little
 
Deprive your id 
Of its desires
Let the searing hunger of the huddled masses
Starve it a little
 
Stick a pin
Puncture your pride
Let the stabbing thrusts of human shame
Pierce it a little
 
Swing a hammer
Smash your heart
Let the pain of a thousand broken hearts
Hurt it a little
 
Strike a match
Light your soul
Let the cries of countless innocent victims
Singe it a little
 
Smash the prism
Of your perceptions
Let a million bright rainbows of reality
Shine a little

A Simple Man

All I want is a simple life
No conflicts,  no disputes, no strife
No ambition,  no goals, no aspirations
No defeats, no disappointments, no frustrations

No desire to compete, no drive to get ahead
Only the freedom to choose the path I tread
No hunger, no cravings, no avarice or greed
Only the ability to help those in need

All I need is my daily slice of bread
A roof over my head, and a comfortable bed
The love of my family, the respect of my friends
Forgiveness, tolerance, a chance to make amends

I just want to be comfortable in my own skin
I just want to reconcile with the circumstance I am in
There’s no great purpose to my life, no grand plan
My only hope is to be remembered as a simple man

Questions and Answers

Philosophy is all about asking questions
Yet we think we have all the answers
The bard said the world is our stage
Yet we hobble, like crippled dancers

There’s so much love all around
Yet oh so many hearts are broken
Everybody has so much to say
Yet the important remains unspoken

Our Earth is a thing of beauty
Yet we are fascinated by what’s ugly
Preserving her is our only salvation 
Yet we destroy her - and do it so smugly

We believe there’s extra-terrestrial life
That we've made it our mission to find
Yet we watch dumbly as lives are destroyed
Here on our planet, and we don’t seem to mind

Our own beliefs are what shapes us
Yet we question the beliefs of others
Aren’t we all brothers and sisters
And sons and daughters to our mothers?

If all our stories are just lies
Why are we so in their thrall?
If our life does have a meaning
Why does its meaning escape us all?