"Gaffes Will Be The Glory", "And You Are Free"

First Published in Roi Fientantor


Gaffes Will Be The Glory



To err is human, to something is divine.

I could Google it.

But I have a problem with the whole setup.


Pit human against divine, it’s obvious:

humans lose every time.

But where it goes from there—I’ve had enough.


The planet would be better without us.

Machines can do everything better than humans.

Humans are only special in how much we suck.


What happened? Why do so many of us hate us

enough to believe the world would be better human free?

Is being human not enough to console us in our relentless flaws?


To err is human? More like to self-loathe is human.

Can I plead for healing without accusations of

centering humanness, species ranking and whatever else?


It’s no wonder we are marching dead on into division,

destruction, dystopia. Do we really see no flaws

in our plot to mechanize all the things?


It’s a plan humans came up with, after all.

But mistakes are not gnats to be blotted out.

They keep it real. They mean we’re not machines.


They give us so many chances to forgive ourselves.

To try again. For a species not so contorted with distress,

that would be balm.



And You Are Free



You are not on the runway to the alien

faux-oasis architected by dispassionate forces

that see the humanity of humanity as the final obstacle.


But show your smile to the stranger,

offer your hand to a human dying alone,

round your arms around one you love, squeeze


and you are free.

You are not reducible to anything monetizable,

you are not shedding data like dandruff.

Get close to your fellow humans and you are free.

Breathe with no barriers and you are free.

It is not (yet) as they say: you are free.



When We Have To Calculate Age



Age is to object like river is to rock.

Age is to time like face is to clock.


Age is to goal like rubber is to road.

Age is to knowledge like bow is to bowed.


Age is to child like penny is to wish.

Age is to adult like water is to fish.


Age is to habit like lightning is to sand.

Age is to perception like marching is to band.


Age is to number like raindrop is to ocean.

Age is to wisdom like gravity is to motion.


Age is to pain like hurt is to rage.

Age is to history like age is to age.

Age is to dreams like burglar is to theft.

Age is to dreams like weaver is to weft.


Age is impossible to the very new

like age is impossible to all it’s happening to.



The Great Glass Party



We all want to be surrounded by ravishing.


But we are alive in the magic of this world,

which is whenever the castle,

however the hill.


It is time to celebrate that everything is connected.


Everything that is still here, everything that is not,

whatever the marring, whichever the color,

matter matters matter.


Life used to be the kind of uncertain that made the alive curious.


Paint is real, trees are real, lies are real, singing is real,

assault is real, love is real, cats are real, the truth is real,

rain is real, bombs are real, hope is, too.


Everything was always glass.



Time Never Tells



The flame from the lavender candle I light for my evening

prayers reflects on my window pane in the exact spot

where the bare tree is and I get dizzy with awe? horror?

panic? at this Moses moment (I get a Moses moment?),


which reminds me of the time, a week after I fled

thirteen hundred miles from my home state,

when a fat-ass fog rolled in and I could see three inches

in front of me and I thought it was the rapture and I had been left behind.


We don’t have fog where I’m from. Also, I’ve been left out my whole life.

Back to my burning-bush moment: I had been praying,

praying, praying, praying, praying, praying, praying for a spouse,

for good friends, for life purpose, for answers,--a life I could remain present for


and then everything stopped--paused, they said--and I was told

I had to do what my anxiety but not my soul wanted to do

(stay the fuck home and away from everyone) and, for the last

half hour, I’ve stared out my window at the tree


that never bears leaves and is not actually semi on fire

searching for the mute button--Zoom is different every login, right?--

so the construction at the elementary school where

all the neighbor kids would be in the Time Before would stop


triggering the tinnitus I got from coming up to fast from a wreck dive

with my dad in Mexico yesterday, or, no, it was last year or, Jesus,

it wasn’t even last decade but the decade before that,

when things were definitely not perfect


but I was still as-only-the-young-can-be certain that, one day, they would be.



Clay