We are a group of friends engaging in thoughtful discussions of poetry, music, philosophy, and spirituality. Come, read, contribute!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Another Year

Hey guys, I know it's been a while, but here are some lyrics I just finished. It's about a family member who recently went through a really rough divorce. I'm not sure if I'm happy with the ending, so any feedback or suggestions would be welcome.

Coming home to lights left on and empty rooms.
All along you knew
This was at the end of it all
But it's still too soon
To be alone again
Will you sleep alone?

Masks let down
We see the actors on the stage
The show is done
The curtain falls
Lights cut down and then they fade
But you're still clinging to the part
Shadows on the stage
Playing to the crowd
You fall away
And leave me to myself
I could never be all you wanted

Let me go
And fade away
Let me go
And fade away

All we can be
Is memories in a frame
All we can see
The lies that we once claimed
And who we are
Will never be the same
Two became one
Now only one remains

Monday, August 17, 2009

With all muses silent
and all musing ceased
I release my soul.

Take me down where songs are found.

Getting Older

Songs don't have ends any more.
They meld and grow,
and wrap around the radio.
The eq is flat;
the announcer's spat
is don't change the dial.

The hair on my arm is still.
Lays straight and fine,
Void of the tell and the sign.
I miss the days,
the power and praise
of writer and his chord.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Balcony

The first thought that occurred to him was that it wasn't he who set the building on fire. Regardless of responsibility, the building was on fire and he was stuck on the 9th floor. He had rented a hotel suite on the 9th floor with a cute balcony overlooking the city, and he was on that balcony now being irrational.
But he hadn't set the building on fire. So why was he facing the consequences? He began to imagine what the person who started the fire looked like. Was it a man or woman? It must be a man, he thought, because he had never heard of a female arsonist. There is that irrationality again. He was becoming aware of it. He turned his mind to the matter at hand. He had been forced on the balcony for some fresh air. He had tried to escape the building, but when he opened the door to his room, the hall was aflame and impassable. He had shut the door to the hall and wanted some fresh air.
Now, he wished he hadn't shut the door. He couldn't see what was happening. Was the fire still there? Had it been put out? From his perch above the city, he had heard sirens, but could not identify between police, ambulance or firetruck and did not even know whether the loud vehicle had stopped at the hotel. He didn't see any firetrucks from the balcony.
The fresh air outside was huge relief after a lung-full of the black acrid smoke. Did he smoke, he thought. Could that have been how the fire started? Someone smoking in bed? Were there any rooms in the hotel that could be smoked in? All of them now, and he grimaced at the thought. I didn't start the fire.
And he truly hadn't. So why was he in the midst of this calamity, stuck on a balcony 9 stories up enjoying the fresh air and imagining what the man smoking in bed looked like. Did he die? Was he burned up? Is he so unrecognizable that it didn't matter what he looked like before? Did he get what he deserved, and he was immediately ashamed at the thought. Smoking in bed is not a sin, it's not even a crime. It's just, well, unwise.
Alarmed by a sudden blast of heat, he looked into the room. The fire had burned through the sheet rock into his room. He reached for the glass door that opened to the balcony, and the metal burned as he shut it. He looked at his hands and didn't see any burns. Just hot. Just heat. But not so just. It wasn't just for the smoker to burn in bed, screaming in pain or deep in sleep. And it isn't just for him to burn now. And he started sobbing.
Was he going to die?
He had committed sins and crimes before. He had even gotten a speeding ticket during the journey to the city. But wasn't the ticket punishment paid in full? He had told lies before, and various other things he wasn't proud of. Was this punishment? Looking back inside his room, the fire had caught the blanket that was draped off his bed and half laid on the floor against the burning wall. Was he just unwise?
No, not making the bed was not unwise. The fire is not punishment. So what is the fire? Death, no the fire is not death. But there were not firetrucks and no ladders, and no helicopters and no one standing on the ground 9 stories below. The whole bed, no, the whole room was on fire now, the tongues licking at the glass.
Like a dog, he thought. A dog wanting to come outside. No, the fire is not an animal. What is the fire, but he knew all along. The fire is a catalyst. A catalyst to a choice. And so was the ticket for speeding and punishment in general, it all just forces you to make choices. The heat now on the balcony was unbearable. He had no choices here.

But, he did. There is always a choice. He could jump 9 stories down to no one.

Why would I jump, he thought. I will die when I hit the ground, and I will die getting burned up.
I should jump, he thought. But why! Because I don't know. Don't know what! The fire is a certain death. I will die burning. I should jump. But I'll die hitting the ground too! I don't know that.
Why should I jump? Because I might fly. And he climbed on top of the railing.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Babies are Good

I think sexual education in this country has backfired, and I think our culture is out of balance.

People like sex, and I don't think any amount of education is going to change that. Most of the sex ed classes talk about having one partner, and if not, practicing very safe sex habits. Here in the South, they will also throw in that it's a really good idea to pick one lady, marry her, and then get after it. However, in every sexual education, tv program or whatever I've heard, there was one subtle reason why you shouldn't have sex. Babies.

Babies will ruin your life. Your life is over after you have babies. You will not go to college. You won't get a good job. I even heard one show tell you that after you have babies you no longer have any friends.

As I look around, especially living in a college town, I am beginning to think that babies are bad is the only thing that people take away from sex ed in school. Rarely is the advice of abstinence heeded, and maybe someone listened carefully about safe sex practices, but it's not done in a relationship, it's to avoid getting all the women one is after pregnant. It is interesting to see the reactions my wife and I get as we move around the campus, or anywhere else there is a large group of "college kids." My wife and I can empty the apartment complex's pool in 10 minutes by showing up with our son to swim. It starts all of a sudden when we walk in, everyone hushes. Then, we get in the pool, and they'll start talking quietly. Then one by one, they'll give some excuse of somewhere they have to be or something they have to do, and exit as fast as possible. I guess baby disease is something that can be spread by the community water of a pool.

My life certainly didn't end with Eli's birth. I will be completing my degree in December, no worse the wear for having a child. Believe it or not, we still have friends! Friends around our age, too, even if they are like us and are young couples who have children. Corey and I still get to go on dates. I think the biggest thing is, that instead of Eli feeling like a burden when he's around, it feels like something is missing when he is not.

I hope to have all the children we are going to have by the time i'm thirty. People I guess wait until everything is perfect to have a baby, if they want a baby at all. Babies come when they come, and I think having one makes you ready. You rise to the challenge. Babies are good.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Great Buffalo

The Great Buffalo

The prairie shakes, relaxed greens
and driftwood browns part as they pass
or falter under hoof. Herd traces
pond's path, fragrant flame from many
strides upwind pulls their noses aft-
No fear- no hunt in the west wind.

Invocations rise up, carry me,
kin to man, like a king
on his Royal Stallion. Their
hearts pulse for me,
chants embrace me
dum da-dum-dum dum dum
The hunt is on.

But I remain silent.

We flee and we fight
fear pushing, pulling, but only in
body as Spirit is soothed through
devotional dance and earned respect
for our sinew and meat
our bladder and hide
our bones and our liver
our hair and our dung.

Seduced not but soothed, our spirit
still smiles though bison-bone spear
points pierce buffalo hide.

The prairie shakes, the bison die.

dum da-dum-dum dum dum
Their hearts embrace me
Chants pulse for me.

- Mike Banys, 2006

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Thought for the Day
The Movie "The Hangover" is for people who like "Dude, Where's My Car", but are now adults.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Sometimes We Just Need to be Reminded

Here's a poem I wrote back in 2006. Feel free to critique it, just enjoy it, hate it, whatever seems to fit your mood today.

Sometimes We Just Need to be Reminded

Sometimes we just need to be reminded.
Sometimes we just need to stop the train,
get off, and look
at the sunflowers alongside the tracks.
Sometimes we just need to breathe. Deeply. In.
Out. Abdomen soft.
Sometimes we just need to feel the chair under
our backside.
Sometimes we just need to look at our partner,
really see him or her again.
Sometimes we just need to be reminded.

-- Mike Banys, 2006

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Places We Can't Go

Okay, so it's not a regular post, but it's all I've got to offer right now. Here are the lyrics for a song I'm working on, feel free to absolutely demolish them.

The seasons change
And Spring finds its way
To San Francisco
The light laid down
Now clings to Bay and building
A most beautiful back drop
But it could never be enough for me

I whisper to the winds
“Darling, I am lost”
Lost in thoughts
Of what could have been
What might have been
What never was
If it ever was
Memories of words we claimed

“Let’s step out
Let’s take a chance.”
But there’s no chance
Just patterns that remain
Patterns we can’t change
We can’t change

So we find our own roads
Turn our backs on places we can’t go
Follow what we’ve come to know;
There’s nothing more
To hold us back
No more thoughts to what we lack
I’ll never be the one to say
Love goes easily
I’ll never be the one

Seasons change
Summer’s just around the bend
And I’m running
On my own again
And I am running
to Chicago

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Chronicles of Ryan's Roommate Part I

Ryan looked in the fridge. His heart sank with the temperature as it hit his face. It had happened again. This would require some brooding. He flopped down on the couch and tried to put things in perspective. He tried to see the truth of the matter. He tried not to be angry.

But He Was Betrayed.

Betrayed by the closest person to him. Their bedrooms were a scarce 10 feet apart. How could he do this! Why couldn't he be considerate! It was a matter important to life or death.

But he forgave his friend. Their friendship could transcend this. He also knew what his friend was dealing with at the time. He knew of the crazy spells, and the rough influence of the female.

After all, it was only another frozen burrito.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Did you enjoy my last post? I thought it was clever!
And despite the fact that Ryan tells me that it is blog-terrorism to threaten so, I will begin to fill this blog with similar dribble until some more discussion is kindled!


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Death of a Violist

"A string quartet is made up of four people; a good violinist, a bad violinist, an ex-violinist, and someone who hates violinists."

And thus, a viola player dies. He spent his life in an unknown clef, playing unheard parts on an unrecognized instrument. From the outside world, he received complete anonymity. From the music world, he received ridicule.

And yet, somehow, he made it to heaven! All those years of practice, frustration, perseverance had paid off. As he went to join the orchestra in the sky, God looked at him and said "Viola, huh? That's like a large violin, right?"

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

I don't know what I think anymore.

It's a blessing to live in a nation that supports religious freedom; in a nation that has a seperation of Church and State. Does it mean, however, that one area is blind to the other?

My head is logical. In my head, I love all people, no matter what. People need, deserve, love and acceptance. But my heart feels what it feels. To modify those feelings, by reason, with my head, is only lying to myself.

My head says that homosexuals are people. My head says I should love all people. It says I should accept them, associate and become friends, and support them. And these things I do.

My heart says that marriage is between a man and woman. I have very deep feelings about this with little to no logical reasoning to defend my position.

Do I think that homosexual couples should have the same legal rights as heterosexual couples? Yes. Tax breaks? Yes. Include each other on their health insurance? Yes. Would I consider a couple who commits to this union commited to each other? Yes. Do I want it called a marriage? No.

It comes down to a definition. What is marriage. Do I think that homosexual couples have as strong a bond as a heterosexual couple? I'm not sure. I have a gay friend I used to work with who has been with his significant other for over twenty years. That's a hell of a commitment. Is it the same as my commitment to my wife for the last five? Or the same as my parents for the last thirty? My head says yes. My heart says no.

Of course, i'm dealing with a perfect world, because it is easy to condemn either side in relationships that fall apart, or with people who switch partners they share a "lifetime bond" with every week/month/year. But what if I had examples of an unfaltering commitment on both sides. Is it the same? Logic says it has to be. But my heart says "is it?" And I don't want it called a marriage. It's not the same.

What does it say about my heart if I am fully content with the idea if it has a different name. Yet I recall seperate, but equal, and how well that worked. I suppose a marriage has as much religious implications to me as it does legal. So maybe I feel like it is treading on those toes. For example, what if another religious group wanted to call themselves Christians, with the same altar, church, etc, but they believe something completely different. But religious groups don't do that. We have different names for our sects and are content to have our traditions, even though some things are similar.

I can understand how people want to fit in. To be accepted, and not be singled out for persecution, and they are just in their desires. Would a civil union, or any other term, cause just that?

I think this is something that is fundamental in me, something similar to "I don't like vegetables". I can reason and rationalize things all I want, but it doesn't really change it.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

It Is What We Make It.

There is one expression I always remember being uncomfortable with hearing:

it is what it is“.

So I decided to sit down and figure out why it flusters me so much.

It is what it is

Now, I suppose in the most literal sense, it’s a statement that just can’t be argued with. I mean, let’s say “it” is “blue”. If it is blue, it is blue. Obviously. So, in such a case, it is what it is is about as accurate as you can get. My problem with the expression is that it’s never used in that way. If something unfair, unjust, or just plain stupid is taking place in front of you, there’s always that boss or friend or someone assuring you that “it is what it is”- accompanied by a shrug of powerlessness.

I associate the expression with an attitude of giving up and settling for less. It appears to be an excuse for accepting the unacceptable; a cowardice to make a difference. Its choosing to be powerless. True, if something turns out a certain way, it turned out a certain way- it is what it is. There’s no point in crying over spilled milk. However, shouldn’t we look into why the milk was spilled, so that we don’t spill it again? If something isn’t right, we shouldn’t just accept that it isn’t right. Shouldn’t we acknowledge injustice was done, and figure out how to keep it from happening again? Shouldn’t we call out inefficiencies and seek to replace them with efficiency?

It is what it is, but is it what it should be? Is there something we can do to change that, even if only for the future? Whenever someone says “it is what is” I think in the back of my head, “but does it really have to be?” I wonder why nobody (including myself) is mentioning obvious flaws that need to be addressed; after all, if they were addressed, it would not be what it is.

I realize to challenge the expression could, under most circumstances, make things much more difficult than most people would like. I could lose a job or jeopardize someone else’s, I could gamble with another’s well being, I could make a passing situation much more complicated. Egos could be hurt, authority may feel defied, the comfort of routine could be threatened . Ironically, this seems to suggest that the fearless confidence usually backing the phrase is nothing more than a facade. So really, people tend to use the phrase because they are afraid of what could happen if we question things.

That leads me to say this: “it is what it is” is really just a cowardly way of saying “I’m a coward”.

Why can’t we make it a habit to say “this is what it is, but what can it be?” Accepting the current circumstances, yet seeking to improve. To say “it is what it is” is to deny that we can effect happenings in the world around us, or that anything matters enough to try. Sometimes we are restricted by circumstances, there are things that we just can’t control… there are “its” that can’t be changed. But there are often things that touch the things we can’t control, and if we can access them, eventually we will leave a mark. How about people like Rosa Parks or Martin Luther King Jr….they could have said “it is what it is” because challenging anything would stir up too much trouble with no guarantee of immediate results. That would have been just lovely.

I’m not saying we all need to be revolutionary rebels over every little thing we’re not satisfied with. But no matter what scale of issue is at hand, to me, “it is what it is” reflects a lack of determination, a dormancy of conviction.

But… it is what it is. People tend to settle for whats thrown at them, so we have to make the best of it. Or is there something that can be done to change that?

Whether we can directly influence the outcome of a situation, or if we are facing a circumstance that refuses to be manipulated…

...I believe:

It is whatever you allow it to be.