I date myself by this titular reference to 1984’s “Amadeus.” But then, when something is perfectly expressed it lives forever.
It may have come to your attention that I am not shy in my use of words. One might say I generally slather too many upon the page, gilding the lily, repeating the metaphor, over-explaining the implied point. Leaving nothing to the reader. Which leaves the reader asking, “Why show up?”
That reminds me of my favorite Knock-Knock joke of all time:
Control freak… Now you say “Control freak who!”
(Thank you, Bill, for planting that reference permanently in my memory.)
I stand accused.
That’s why I’m happy when, after too many words fail me, attempts at lyrics or poems carry bigger thoughts (without explication) to a place where I’m satisfied, and the need to elaborate dissipates. The long, didactic attempts have left me frustrated, and so the brief, ambiguous, equivocal text of poetry (bad, good, formal, proper indifferent, I care not) has saved me.
To wit, my first published poem, “Intentional Violation,” has been released at The Gambler, in their April 1, 2019 “Feeling Lucky” edition.
I shall say no more.
Who am I kidding. I liken that piece to an 18 yr old McCallan Scotch Whiskey. You may or may not like Scotch, and you may be more inclined to a Speyside than a Highland. Either way, I’m not going to try to convince you my dram is your cup of tea, but it is certainly mine! Go. Read it. See if its 12 lines inebriate, or leave you flat. I’ll only hope that, someday, someone sips and finds the same chest-firing, soul-suffusing warmth I felt upon completion, and revels in it. I will dream of the day I read a scholarly analysis and someone connects to my mind and heart in understanding… or better yet, expands the meaning in ways I did not see nor could not imagine.
Until that day, allow me to share another example.
Desiring the life of a decider, not a decedent, he
Concealed-carries a Trump canard
Wrung from the Second Amendment.
“Why not talk a spell,
Execute some kind of agreement?”
The smiling judge chambers a round,
“’n’ if it comes out your way, I’ll appeal
To the jury between my ears,
‘If only he hadn’t made me fear for my life.’”
I stumbled across this in my archives, as I wrote “Intentional Violation.” I had whipped out this verse in the wake of Donald Trump’s election, amid increasing gun violence, as I tried to express the feeling of watching our “Nation of Laws” slowly turn into “Legislatures of One.” That is, as the Republican Right has been less and less able to get its laws passed through normal, legislative channels, they have resorted to devolving government into the hand of the individual, to act on conscience as judge, jury and executioner, implementing their beliefs directly where Congress and Courts have ruled they ought instead back up and practice their faiths privately.
Fyodor Dostoevsky writes in “Crime and Punishment,
…but what is really original in all this, and is exclusively your own, to my horror, is that you sanction bloodshed in the name of conscience, and, excuse my saying so, with such fanaticism… But that sanction of bloodshed by conscience is to my mind… more terrible than the official, legal sanction of bloodshed…
Indeed, whether it is denial of prescription contraceptives by a motivated “moral” pharmacist, prevention of gay marriage by a sanctimonious Kentucky County Clerk, or Murder by “stand your ground” supporters, the choice is placed in the hand of the individual, leaving the courts with nothing to adjudicate other than sincerity of belief, or legitimacy or likelihood of fear.
Is “Deciders” better for the explanation? I think not. The royal ear can only handle so many notes. Yes. Well, there it is.