FIVE THINGS TO DO
WHEN THERE’S NOTHING
LEFT TO BE DONE
by V.B. Price
We have heard the children say –
Gentle children, whom we love –
Long ago, on Christmas Day,
Came a message from above.
Still, as Christmas-tide comes round,
They remember it again –
Echo still the joyful sound
“Peace on earth, good-will to men.”
Yet the hearts must childlike be
Where such heavenly guests abide;
Unto children, in their glee,
All the year is Christmas-tide.
[From a Fairy to a Child]
Edi and Vinnie
I. FIND SOMETHING IMPOSSIBLE TO DO
Romans painted oculi that opened
on to blossoms flying in the sky.
It’s not far fetched to say
that in a different mind land,
in dreamy weather, you will remember
how you dug yourself out of the rubble,
how you held on when there was no reasoning
only loving left. Hurricanes, earthquakes,
bruised minds — you cannot solve them.
Just don’t get trapped inside them.
It’s usually you who are the source
of the unsolvable. Don’t be dashed
and splattered by your own debris. We all
live in a labyrinth of musts, and in our own
labyrinth minds like darkrooms with blinking
red “no exit” signs. It’s the wisdom of lovers
to change the sheets, leverage her legs into bed,
help her softly with her underwear, make home
anywhere. Aphrodite knows all there is to know.
So don’t mind, talk yourself free, innocent
as a fool trying gladly against the impossible.
There’s only loving enough to survive
by learning how to be who you are at heart
more than you ever knew before you absolutely had to.
II. SEEK IMPOSSIBLE PLEASURES
Sorrows scudding, cloudy passions
curling wave after wave, lullabies of tides,
a world of beaches, gulls strutting,
gliding off on the wind. Everything’s gone.
Don’t be afraid to be a kid. That’s where
the mind-land can present a kinder place,
if you’ve trained it, a pretend world
of iced raspberries and gin, days in the big chair
reading the pain away, a world
that’s only different because you know
it is pretend. When all that’s left is accepting
that silence has a rapture of its own,
you know the wisdom of explorers
traveling always on edge of information.
No territory is devoid of its astonishments,
euphorias, some perfect rock that says it all.
Focusing on what hasn’t gone all wrong quite yet,
you in dreamy awe absorbed, not minding
makes counting your breaths a rhapsody
in a home coming of pretend, the evenings
radiant with cedar warmth, hot bread, butter,
slow cooked conversation in the winter freeze, insight
warm as goose down, like you saying thanks
even for the end because you cannot help but mean it.
III. KEEP THE HEAVY DOOR FROM SLAMMING SHUT
When you’ve left the key inside,
and you always might, leave the big door ajar,
don’t write anything off, you never know,
The wisdom of dogs and cats tells us so.
Cats: Make them want you, give them only
the exactly real, you can’t help it. You know
they always love it. Dogs: Do unto them what they
want you to do unto them. They want to be adored,
yearned for, thrilled at being seen. so why not
give it? Wisdom says false hope’s a farce. .
When patterns are aligned, though, and history decrees
what usually happens next you hear
the big door click shut. Ah, but you remembered
to take the key! And so you have grown small again,
a dream child moving through the land
as worlds fall apart so they can create
the out-of-the-blue forever. Grief, itself, gives
freedom from the fear of grief. And even now,
with cataracts like foggy mornings on the beach,
even now you can see that fun,
the darling goddess, is to stress
what sunlight is to ice.
Oh be a sun bather whatever the weather.
But do keep an eye on the door.
IV.BE IMPOSSIBLY GROWN UP
The infallible pleasure of juggling fire,
how can we stop, even though we are
admonished to take care of ourselves,
to put the oxygen mask on first.
But no one tells us how
to thwart our instincts, We trust the truth
is almost never straight ahead
or around the next corner even. Who knew
that relief of pressure would be such
an impossible pleasure? Want peace
in a state of madness? Don’t force it.
That’s the wisdom of those who make
new things out of themselves. They wait
to see what shows up, appears through the pen,
out the pencil. They go along, indulge the possible.
Don’t give madness anything to push against
and rejoice that the known can do no worse.
Chaos solves itself, like a poem appears on the page,
like water finds a downward slope,
or sand finds a fissure to fill. Play like that
in dreamy joy. Think, get on with living, find out
how to get home. Take the painful risk. Patience,
patience is the other universal solvent.
V. MAKE OFFERINGS TO HILARITAS
For TH, Buffgies, Michelle and Henry
The joke’s on us. We knew it all along. Do funny,
get ahead of the game, only with the best of friends
indulge in verbal quackery and that kind of thing,
and things of that nature, and so forth and so on
and stuff like that. There are no words for life
and such like. So when you put too fine a point on it,
you miss the point altogether. It’s like a diagnosis,
definition’s always in doc speak, insurance jargon,
and whatnot. Happiness depends on what you do
with what you know. Wisdom is often
all that’s left. The funny thing with words
is that some of them actually do
say what you mean, but miss what your meaning
refers to. Dreamy fun will do. The funny bone plays its tune
on a skeleton xylophone out of tune. But anything is funny,
even stuff like this if your sense of humor isn’t locked
in your private sense of doom. Now there’s a word
— doom. It’s always all up to you.
Fun is to innocence what love is to grief.
Lost memory is overwhelmed by love unforgotten.
Fall off your fear with a galloping thud. You’re always
giving the speech with your shirt caught in your zipper.
Homesick? Even unto death? It ends so soon and so forth.
Don’t mind. No one remembers the punch line anyway.
NOTHING LEFT PRESS
Bound To Go On
Mr. Face Long Gone
EverLove. New Mexico
(Photo by Larry Lamsa)