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by Alan Harris
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Needlework (Pokes and Turns of Thought)
Frequently Asked Questions About Christmas
A good friendship, like a good river, comes back together after hitting a rock.
Even when things are all in place, they're very close to being out of place.
Most of us know someone whose purity of soul smells a bit like bleach.
Richest blessings move slowly because so much moves.
As for best-laid plans, mice do much better.
What could be sweeter than success, or briefer?
A teardrop is a liqueur to the future.
Quantitative psychology sticks its pins through living butterflies.
Retail marketing is the last frontier of nonsense.
Picture your worst fear. Now don't. Feel better?
Friends have love without vows, faithfulness without reason.
Who deserves to beg? At some time, everybody.
Ride in your car; ride in a mystery.
Insurance companies and doctors agree on one thing: nothing.
The kindness of a kind teacher is the kindest kindness of all.
Scientists have discovered few forms of life that behave more predictably
than a manager on the way up.
When the chariot swings low for my soul, slip the horses some extra oats, okay?
Our commencement speaker revealed at length his firm grasp of the obvious.
Every new human being is an impossibility become inevitable.
Diet-conscious cannibals may eat only vegetarians.
Few besides Realtors love a snob.
In an emotional universe, kisses are the gravity.
Rumors are disagreeable to many; but then, so is the truth.
Anything you can get away with, you can't.
Christmas and a minimum universe both require a star and some generosity.
Friendships with others bring us heaven before heaven.
Brilliance needs words; character, pauses.
Fame is a sea that washes up new names like foam onto beaches.
Now I wake me up from bed;
I thank the Lord I'm still not dead.
The Lord declined my soul to take
for reasons which remain opaque.
Consensus usually belongs to the first one who dares to ahem and summarize.
"Employees Must Wash Hands" posted in the restroom translates to
"Dine Elsewhere" even if no cockroaches are currently visible.
Need we be terribly surprised at the shortcomings of a world
that is substantially run by the personalities who dominate meetings?
Today remains our only hope for tomorrow's yesterday.
Nothing deepens character like a firmly balanced dilemma.
The corn husk will never understand the corn.
Hint to Bottom-Line CEO's
Reducing employees to digits
may cause a cessation of widgets.
To find order in chaos, stop looking there.
Everybody is said to be unique, but most people are unique in about the same way.
Even as a bud, given water, becomes a flower,
the office sycophant, given power, will become an autocrat.
For chest cold recovery, we must learn to always expectorate the unexpectorated.
Leave the past behind you, but if part of it gets back in front of you, ask it why.
In truest love, giving and taking become moot.
The teeth of adversity grow directly behind the smile of fortune.
A local church begins as a fire in people's hearts,
and sometimes ends as a structure whose windows no one wants to wash.
For TV addicts, death may cause minor personality changes.
He deceived her in ways which made her feel so loved.
A newborn's first thought: "Now what?"
Adolph Hitler was reputedly the Dictatorian of his high school graduating class.
It is better to have tried and failed than never to have failed at all.
After a motivational seminar I feel like new frosting on an old cake.
During college his deepest thought never got down as far as his knees.
He smiled his way to power,
enjoyed his sunny hour,
then made some big boys frown
and smiled his way back down.
A politician walked up to the Pearly Gates, shook St. Peter's hand vigorously,
and announced, "God has my full support."
If you would hear the song of the infinite, listen quietly through the ends of your toes.
He carefully hid his feeling of superiority behind a smug expression.
All of life is a near-death experience.
Tears are from the soul wetting its pants.
Every day is more evidence of forever.
Motherhood is hereditary. If you never had a mother,
chances are your children won't have one either.
After all I've been through, hell should be a breeze.
Dogs offer you humility, while cats invite it.
A shelf in need is a floor indeed.
Exits from the freeway of truth begin at a small angle.
The hell you feel is the one that's real.
Why can't we not worry by not wanting to worry?
Reality is what's left to us after all of our failures to find it.
Hell provides a room
for people who assume,
which gets some ventilation,
but my, what a population!
Kind acts never die,
and what is kind in yourself
was waiting for you.
His dark blue suit had yes written all over it.
It's easy to be critical, but it's even easier to be bureaucratic,
which is why bureaucracy is always ahead of its critics.
The caskets of beggars and vice presidents close with the same snap.
Hell is an archive of souls too interesting for heaven.
Technology offers a profusion of easier ways to live a life we don't understand.
If God had forbidden the snake too, would Adam and Eve have eaten it for dessert?
In his climb up the corporate ladder he was able to overcome all vestiges of past humility.
Senile? Not me. I can't remember the last time I forgot something.
A lottery consists of a few million poor fools chipping in to create a rich one.
God hells those who hell themselves.
Infinity is the quickest shortcut to the unknown.
People you have to interrupt so they can see your side, won't.
Nice days are more made than had.
I have my life well under control except for:
how much I eat,
how much I sleep,
what I say
what I do.
You know you're getting old when you notice that
your first name is being given to babies again.
Pessimist: looks both ways before crossing a one-way street.
Is this a user-friendly universe?
Computers won't ever become minds until they can cry--and mean it.
Creativity leads to crisis, which leads to creativity.
American work ethic: busy is good, frantic is excellent, and burnt-out is sublime.
PDF for printing
8 x 20
It is bad luck if:
Q: If Santa doesn't have to age, then why has he become old?|
A: He only appears to be old. He's an undercover kid.
Q: How can a sleigh possibly fly through the air?
Q: Why do we wish people a "Merry Christmas" instead of a "Happy Christmas"?
Q: Why is a Christmas tree that has been chopped down called a "live Christmas tree"?
Q: Why do we wrap our Christmas gifts with paper?
Q: How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?
Q: How many gifts can Santa Claus's bag hold?
Q: How could a star that is high in the sky lead the Wise Men to a tiny manger on the ground?
Q: Is there really a Mrs. Santa Claus?
Q: Why do we hear so many bells at Christmas time?
Q: Why do so many people ring bells at Christmas time?
Q: What can't words say?
Above FAQ is included in the
Christmas Reflections PDF book|
Holiday poems to print for gifts or for keeps
Free PDF Download - 2.0 MB, 18 pages
Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader (also free)
Awfully many poems these days|
seem chains of syntactical screams
with metaphors careening on two wheels
and coy diction that raises its hand
and says "I said that!"
Some poems are easily read like
the smile of a friend you are visiting
who sits you down on a clean couch
with a peanut butter cookie and
makes you feel warm inside
with talk and apple cider.
your belt with
or grab greasily
at your possibilities.
Kinds and kinds of poems
spring to being
like sparks from a grindstone
that sharpens inner tools.
Poets tell lies that are
deeper than truth,
and refuse to quit writing
all over the world's wall.
How is a poem written?
Find one inside
Nothing but a precise|
second hand is moving within
the solitary stillness of this house.
I convalesce and convalesce while
reading the daily wallpaper.
Knickknacks cling tightly
to their positions, dumbly
flaunting their faded novelty
close to books of past power
that slump on their shelves
like half-fallen dominoes.
Fatigued by the familiar and
glued down by gravity,
I lie back, later sit up,
then move about,
then sit again,
a restless captive of
fever and furnishings.
Every other person
in the world just now is
elsewhere and occupied.
Have I secretly died?
"Snap," replies the
I lie back down close to my
accurate quartz-driven clock
whose second hand counts out
sixty clockwise clicks and
on and on until
the wallpaper blurs
and nothing occurs.
We are murmurs we know nothing|
Bunga Rucka Bunga Rucka
We live down above exactness
Nothing say we nothing say we
Here between betweens we listen
Bunga Rucka Bunga Rucka
Nothing here no nothing here
Below the Bunga Rucka line
No speaking here no words not one
No thinking down in under here
More underneath than want or wish
Where where is never when is nowhere
Happy laughter high and deep goes
Snortle chortle yukka yukka
Sweet it sounds above our silent
Seepings in and in and in where
Bunga Rucka know no knowledge
Bunga Rucka love all loving
Bunga Rucka shine all darkness
Bunga Rucka shout all silence
Bunga Rucka Bunga Rucka
Feel us in you Bunga Rucka
Feel you in us Bunga Rucka
Bunga Rucka Bunga Rucka
each married within a love
they cannot explain--
amply tested by fear and the unexpected--
totaling more than 500 years
on this sweet, dangerous earth--
homes scattered across the map
like peppers across a pizza--
congregated for a week in the same house
like ten peas in a pod--
who know the grieving and groaning of loss--
who know the ecstasy of tearful laughing--
discovering their unknown way
as they walk together
in grace and joy and love.
Through an oversight the following poems escaped compilation in previous books, and were discovered in the back of a lower file drawer. Making a late debut below are A Wiggy Sopsty, written in 1988, and seven other poems written in 1991-92.|
smile in dim light
over the active
Spots on the wallpaper
glow with laughings
over sudden quips.
have now slipped out
through the windows
to germinate or vanish
in the sod outdoors.
Are the smiles,
that haunt our home
still stirring within
A spring inside
the older couch
I slid downhill|
into my Sunday nap,
and there I was again,
swimming in an aromatic
alphabet soup where all words
ran together into a flavor.
If only poets could
in immediate flavors,
spelling out unsavored,
then what a banquet
people might enjoy.
But no, the poets
have to keep on writing
precious words about
their bloodstained sunsets,
their gold leaf autumns,
their salty pepper,
and I have no idea
what other absurdities,
just to jolt
the taste buds
on our jaded tongues
away from neutral.
So anyway, my nap--
I'm now awake,
but have no splendid poems
to bring back from my bliss.
The soup there,
by the way,
Make your own.
I wake to morning's|
and hear a
daring to fill
the early air with a
An idea flashes brainward
out of recent sleep as,
having risen from my bed,
I stand within
a splash of sunlight
on the carpet--
an idea taking on words:
"How you feel
is from what you do.
To feel differently,
I stand still in the light.
"What changes shall I make?" I ask
outdoors or innerly.
The same cardinal,
gives simple counsel
three times again:
but on the farm
when I was young
I used to shoot
with my BB gun.
Long after I have laughed my last,|
corn husks will still flap and cackle yearly
in the frosty wind.
Hopeful farmers will plant and reap
and worry through every weather.
Statuesque cows will still moo and moan
their mantras low like tubas in metal sheds
incensed with daily hay.
In select suburbs far from farms,
ladies with airs will continue tinting
and teasing their failing hair
or flashing acquired fashionabilities
into their lighted full-length mirrors--
ladies who will still ache at night
for a gleaming knight
of their well-off wimp.
By then I will have poked
this life's reapings and hopings
up through my cranial chimney
and passed beyond breath.
With no nose to interfere,
coffee may smell richer.
Free of fumbling fingers,
I may play Bach heaven-like
on an unmolecular piano.
Then, by and by and by,
in my next soulbeat,
I could emerge again
from a provided womb,
suck into baby lungs
a deep inspiration,
and cry within my new hell
for a heaven of love and milk.
I'm wondering now if,
rather than burden my brain
with all of this forward thought,
I need to read a good mystery.
I falt a wiggy sopsty|
and clev a vagger gand;
no swegler fad a seggy
nor vindo sendy mand.
When jigmer salgo vardy
was tiggy varomund,
then cladry falgarondo
with pleggy fabripund.
High twigs in the trees--|
do they croon nocturnal chords
to you out of a winter-spring wind?
Chords not merely for ears, perhaps,
but chords filling human with being?
Seasonally smitten with tingly new sap,
each leeward-leaning trunk
resigns helpless branches to the air,
eerie groans waxing and waning
as from a deep unknown
just behind where you live.
How do you feel?
Try setting aside your daily newspaper
and turning into nothing but ears
to follow these pining strains.
How far inside of you go those moans?
Have they turned you inside out yet?
Then listen all night, all night, all night.
Listen all night,
Back of our house|
a lovable stray pooch,
young and off-white
with random black
darts about and sniffs grassy clumps
until, eyeing a soggy tennis ball
wedged under the neighbor's fence,
she plucks it up in her teeth
and prances puppylike for attention
as if mankind needs to please play ball
(has she romped with children
before being dumped out of
their father's midnight-slinking car?),
seeming ignorant or heedless
that ball is not played
where she is going to go--
by way of famishing jaunts
through shrubby neighborhoods,
altercations with kept cats
and with collared mutts,
a trusting ride
in the dogcatcher's van,
and a meager feast or two
before the period
at the end
Stepping through the front door|
into vernal flowerings,
I sense a breeze of early manhood
through my body-window.
There was family then,
so much family
that we almost didn't
want that much--
now just you and I
and an occasional kiss.
There were trembling bushes
and thrilling winds.
tumbled over each other,
vying for supremacy
with surging colors.
What landscape now?
Same one as then,
only someone drained
the colors out of it.
Now, living is sensible,
Then, it was exploding
with overfelt feelings.
Young men march
to any drummer they hear,
while old men smile
and tap on the table.
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The Wheel of Yes (1995)
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