Saturday, June 4, 2016

R.I.P.: Muhammad Ali ~ 1942-2015

Muhammad Ali  ~  (1942-2016)

He was the Elvis  
of thump;
the Allen Ginsberg
of professional fisticuffs.

There has been
no swallowtail so pretty,
no bee with such sting,
no dancer more agile.

On the roster of champs
there was nobody bigger.

And, trust me, no Viet Cong
ever called Ali “nigger.”

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Rodak's Writings: ...from Whom all Blessings Flow

…from Whom all Blessings Flow

I’ve been too easy
on myself
and on you
and on your world.

I’ve wished you a river
and I’ve let you skate.

And that river flows
and it burns --
its primordial wetness
mocked by tongues
of dancing blue flame,
as if a bad dream
set free to consume
all that yearns
for a simple peace.

See? you say –
It’s a fucking miracle!

Praise Him!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Reflections: At Nadir

I find this election season to be totally demoralizing. The followings of the two candidates who will oppose each other in the general election are absolutely cultic in their devotions. This devotion has almost nothing to do with these candidates' histories or political policy positions; it's all grounded in a hero worship that totally ignores their glaringly dangerous flaws. Both of them are equally lethal to American democracy and any hope for world peace. I grieve for my country. We are at nadir.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Rodak's Writings: Cruel and Inhuman - a poem

Cruel and Inhuman

The present is tortured
by confinement
in the cold dank cell
of solitary recollection.

An isolated memory grows fangs --
it gnaws at its own wrist.

Upon the whetstone
of lonely despair
it hones a blade
fashioned from the scattered
scree of the fractured past --
for it longs to free
its dispirited blood
from the circling tunnels
of incessant remembrance.

It yearns for reunion
with a partnered past,
so to share once again
what was once shared as new --
to dwell in the present
with no fear of the coming hour,
no fear of tomorrow --
every memory reborn a blessing.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Rodak's Writings: Why Servetus Had to Die ~ an oldie

Why Servetus Had to Die

Goddamned reprobate!” Pappy Cal hollers, huffing,
pumping like a preacher, chasing the speckled hen back
towards a damp afternoon in the sweltering tarpaper coop.
Thus is inaugurated the Twelfth Kansas Revival.

Up the hill, in the big house, stacks of saucers
rest dust-free in the gleaming oak breakfront,
their cups, hanging up above on brass hooks,
shiver like silent ranks of martyred heretics.

The saucers wait impatiently for the science fiction fad
that will make headlines of their humble designation,
while Bartholomew -- the one we dubbed “Weasel” -- regards
his broken cap gun and his dead hamster with nostalgic
empathy, and stoically returns to composing his memoir.

But no, that’s too easy. Those saucers wait to be dropped
or thrown -- broken -- for the release of their voices;
for their kiln-hardened bitterness at long last to be spoken;
edgy and cutting; musical, strident, impassioned, verboten.

This was all material for a novel never written
by a woman named Robinson, though its composition
was predestined according to sometimes reliable
communicants of Welch’s and Wonder Bread,
at least one of whom was the humble possessor
of an alliteratively tolling Doctor of Divinity degree.

But that was in Idaho, not this flat Kansan Oz
peopled by Munchkins in faded bib overhauls;
not this Ozian Kansas plagued by farmers that fly. 
And returning we see Cal has choked that poor chicken,
unable to shove it back in where the eggs all lay nested.
That persnickety hen, although wings were provided,
refused finally to flap them, to soar towards safety.
Thus did she die: a victim of scruples; sacrificed to her pride.

Pappy Cal we now see flinging saucers at Bartholomew,
for the Weasel prefers to make cryptic hen scratches
in his little red notebook -- his stiff pet there for company --
than to scratch in the dust, so to sweat out a livelihood.

The Weasel might well have had Robinson’s sympathy --
but son, this ain’t Idaho. So, Bartholomew tucked and he
squealed as he rolled away, while a flying saucer chorus
in their pieces and shards took up counterpoint harmonies.

After sundown the porcelain was swept up and discarded.
We had a fine supper of roast chicken with gravy.  
We then sat in silence and listened most solemnly
while Bartholomew read from his Renaissance diary.

Duty done, Pappy Cal snored like Noah in his library.

Rodak's Writings: Mad John ~ an oldie

mad john  

from insanity yes
but by virtuosity
or faith
we earn no grace
it comes of chaos
is born of catastrophe
like a grassfire at midnight
creating a simple desert
grace descends
as a fumbled penny
and rolls ten feet
to rest on edge—a miracle
no less
and no cameraman present
paradise lost
as one hour later
with the feat attempted
one hundred times
and failed ninety-nine
a crowd gathers to hoot
the madman
pocketing his penny: vide
mad john
the wings of locusts
making a rainbow fan
of his honey-soaked beard
clawing in fury at
jehovah’s mask
uncut hair lashing
at his naked waist
disclosing with a single note
the desert’s secret: fire!
he screams: fire!
and at the river’s bank
receiving a simple prophet’s privilege:
after my bath john
you may see to my shoes…
and it’s duck! boys, hit it!
who saw it dive?
a kamikaze pigeon!
it is miracle enough
enough of a sign: here is a man
who has known the madness
of a simple grace
who spits out upon leaving
a leg bent for leaping
with a four-letter oath:
fire! and turns to the desert

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Rodak's Writings: Pragmatics - a poem


Give your hideous honesty a rest:
lie to me.

What have I ever done to you,
or to anyone on this earth,
that I deserve to be
goosed by the truth?

Truth is for convicted felons
and sunbaked ascetics.

What I need is soft lies,
reciprocal eyes,
and the oceanic tang
of chowder upon the lilt
of my contented tongue.

Please lose the problematic verity:

take care instead to do what works.