October 1, 2016

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These so-called poems are gambits, which I’m always making, whatever I’m doing, then cultivating, shepherding, & managing, or failing to manage to deploy.

I don’t seek to join cliques of poets, artists, analysts, or those who have agreed on this or that set of doctrines, tho I’m happy to participate when what they are doing & what I’m doing coincide, & tho I often find insights I need in others’ doctrines, & gratefully use what I learn from them.

I don’t even claim to be this or that sort of professional, & struggle to avoid becoming a specialist—except sometimes briefly, when the alternative is starvation.

I try to face both the physical & social worlds raw.

For want of a better way of satisfying others’ need to categorize my activities, I let them consider me a writer, tho I’m only rarely writing.

Mostly, I’m occupied changing the world forever for better.

Oh, I don’t mean that I’m terribly effective at it, only that that’s what I’m up to.

Since I’m scarcely able to make a dent in humanity’s injustice, suffering, & confusion, mostly I’m occupied changing myself, becoming more capable of changing the world forever for better.

Occasionally, I try to apply what I’ve learned to do since the last time, then scramble to deal with the consequences, at the same time that I deal with problems that have accumulated, & the build-up of the never-ending pressure to obey this or that set of rules & expectations, & attempt to provide for myself a while longer.


Understanding & skills are equipment. Items of equipment wear out sometimes, or are no longer appropriate to situations newly evolved—which is inconvenient. But it’s better to outlive your equipment, than to have your equipment outlive you.


Poetry is not my cause. I don’t even like most poetry, tho the poetry I do like, I value very highly. Likewise, writing, art, even communication, even attempts to improve situations.


I manage to snatch the so-called poems, occasionally, like rare chemical reactions or electronic sequences suddenly triggered, out of & at the end of long periods of mainly scrambling to survive, or concentrating on acquiring new understanding or skills, or doing a task as conscientiously as I am able—periods which go way beyond the limits of my patience til that point.

I’m always struggling for a way beyond every one doing the best he or she can for him or her self, & others’ suffering none of their concern.

Not just to live selfishly or defensively. Not just to live as I was programmed. Not just to operate in the way that gains me immediate encouragement or reward.

Like everyone else, I must provide for myself, & am surrounded by rivals for resources, attention, & authority. Like yours, my costs keep going up.


Many of these so-called poems have been posted or published, in the USA or elsewhere, 50, 40, 30, 20, 10 years ago, or more & more recently. The viewpoints of the publications & websites have varied remarkably, from very pious to the most provocative, from many angles.


Common sense is a set of understandings & algorithms shared by a group in common. It works fine when the group is all-inclusively just & changing in the same way at the same rate. Otherwise, it is a cudgel to punish those too weak or too strong, too foolish or too wise, to pledge allegiance to it—& a dream subject to rude awakening, by those with different understandings & algorithms, or by trends & physical forces insufficiently comprehended & taken into account.


Occasionally, I change this or that one of the so-called poems (& this Preface) in accordance with new understanding or insight, or write a new so-called poem so good, it seems to me, that I replace the one that I can most bear to part with. More often than not, this happens over a period of a few days or weeks, then stops for a longer, relatively peaceful or tumultuous, period.


I’m not very good at my work.

I struggle even to survive, let alone to get my words, which are only in one language anyway, to a significantly large audience of receptive people willing & able, also, to struggle continuously to improve themselves, their contributions, & the results.

Meanwhile, heirs of (more often than not) ill-gotten wealth, efficient purveyors of trinkets & nostrums, skillful rentiers & their eager acolytes, mere technicians (however brilliant), confidence men & women dancing around & spouting trivial, unhelpful, often enslaving rhetoric contrary to what is actually so, the most cunning & so-far luckiest bureaucrats, those who abandon themselves to rage or dependence, & formal & informal generals & admirals set suffering humanity’s insane & unjust agendas, allocate resources, & assign tasks.

I’m working hard to rectify the situation, from the middle of the bottom, managing (pruning, developing, maintaining, organizing better & better, & steering) my radically imperfect, dynamic self, & a portfolio of scarce, mainly intangible, forces, assets & liabilities, projects, structures, algorithms, mechanisms, karma & dharma, beliefs (which I scrutinize again & again, as a so-called investment banker or fund manager does balance sheets, profit & loss claims, estimated projected sales, costs per sale, & cash flow), facts I’m always gathering like pollen or groceries (reconnaissance), spirit, & time.

Are we doing something that’s really similar, & can we help one another?


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