6/17/20: Why I Never Went For It #poetry

11/12/20: This is what I would have written this morning if I hadn’t already written it. A good companion to yesterday’s piece, https://richardsteventhomas.wordpress.com/2020/11/11/11-11-20-not-a-thanksgiving-person-poetry/. Acceptance of one’s freedom, integrity and autonomy is not only a matter of decision. It is also a matter of repetitive practice. I have to maintain a boundary with the world in order to remain in relation to it. Co-dependence yearns for independence. Independence wants interdependence. Interdependence leads eventually to atonement — God, Man, World become One.
Co-dependence is petty adulthood, work on unimportant concerns. Independence is a process of re-tiling a well. Most people get stuck in one or the other of these phases. Interdependence is real friendship, marriage and work in community — real work, not the narcissistic competition. Atonement is spiritual attainment beyond our individual experience — our specific personhood ends — the final lesson learned, we die. We can’t navigate the phases of life and death. We can chart our understanding of them. We change as we change. We reflect, and eventually we understand. And sometimes we go over it again. So I re-publish this piece this morning.

The Rick Blog

6/17/20: Why I Never Went For It #poetry

No offense, but I don’t owe you an explanation

I don’t write, or teach for that matter, to explain anything to anybody

I write to understand

I overhear myself and I invite you to overhear too

Your presence here makes me feel useful

But I hate the idea of owing other people explanations

I hate how the black families who lost loved ones to police violence

feel pressured to perform their grief in front of television cameras

I used to think that I wrote in order to justify myself

that notion bothered me

but I never did

I wrote and write to understand myself.

I never went for it

I never wanted to part of it

Then I would think that there was something wrong with me

Because peers who went for it

told me I was weak for not going for…

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11/11/20: Not a Thanksgiving Person #poetry

11/11/20: Not a Thanksgiving Person #poetry

The doctor says that he is

“Not a Thanksgiving person”

The doctor is brilliant

and he tells the truth

He is disgusted by an incompetent, corrupt and disastrous public health response

He does all he can to cure the sick, comfort the suffering and revere the dead

but he’s not a Thanksgiving person

On Thanksgiving, he likes to go to a bar

and sit alone

and watch people

He sits and wonders

and reflects on what he can do for them

He can’t go to the bar this year

But there is plenty to contemplate

Huge pluralities of the people

are infected

A huge plurality of the people

voted for Trump

What good could come to a man of his gifts and values

to mingle with the people

to engage in forced conviviality

He is separate from the people …

There is an elite …

There are people who are better than the rest of us

Their superiority is not determined by their wealth

though they could be rich

or determined by their education

though they may be well educated

What distinguishes the elite

the people too good for Thanksgiving

who sit on bar stools and contemplate us all

is their purpose

and values

and commitment

and inteligence

and detachment

and love

These special people are too far ahead of the rest of us to be leaders

instead they are prophets

and artists

These elite people

should be protected by the rest of us

We should let them be

Allow them to form contained bubbles

where they can develop

They should not be criticized or envied

or mocked for their distant strangeness

The not Thanksgiving people

live on the outer edges of humanity

they live in the future

The not Thanksgiving people

are not the crucified Christ

they are the resurrected Christ.

Some of the not Thanksgiving people are born in safe places

recognized for their specialness

protected from day one

They grow up oddly

and undisturbed

and mature from prodigy to sage and hero

Some are raised by Ma and Pa Kent

and start saving the world right out of high school

Other not for Thanksgiving people

aren’t as lucky

They are told by their parents that they are not geniuses

They are punished repeatedly for not being like everyone else

They mistakenly think their inner life is a common experience

They are still human after all,

and need experience

To discern and learn

Simpler people know themselves and wrestle with the world

The complex not for Thanksgiving people

understand themselves clearly in all aspects except their difference

The complex not for Thanksgiving people

struggle with the nature of the world

They believe the lesser people are as smart and beautiful and good as they are

This miscalculation leads to a series of rude, unjust and painful punishments

The resurrected Christ is treated like Frankenstein

The ignorant villagers taunt them and want to kill them

These not for Thanksgiving people

are deeply wounded

Traumatized by the cruelty

man’s inhumanity to man

is amplified by the not for Thanksgiving people’s

sensitivity

But if they survive the ordeal

The beaten broken not for Thanksgiving people

are elevated to be the elite within the elite

the best of all the not for Thanksgiving people

Suffering brings wisdom

Their innocent interaction with the lesser masses

taught them much

Innocence

Hurt

Anger

Torment

Forgiveness

Containment

Detachment …

47% voted for Trump

Millions infected

What good would relation with any of these people

do for the not for Thanksgiving people

or the world?

The not for Thanksgiving people

should be treated as honored guests

and sequestered from the diseased and the ignorant

who could frustrate their purpose

for ignorant and inane reasons.

I am the Rick

and I am better than you …

don’t trouble me

with your holidays and cubicles and careers

Welcome and honor me

or leave me alone.

Thank you.

Copyright 2020 Richard Thomas

6/25/20: Mike Nichols #poetry #America #movies #theater #improvisation

Happy belated birthday, Mike Nichols.

The Rick Blog

Video from Mike Nichols’ Heartburn — 30 year old me working for Mike Nichols in the brown shirt and brown hair

6/25/20: Mike Nichols #poetry #America #movies #theater #improvisation

Some of my beats are America, movies, theater and improvisation. All of those beats are in trouble right now, and also on the brink of great opportunity. Today’s segment is a song of praise that surprised me about a man who surfed time from Hitler to Obama, adapting and thriving as a human being, artist and businessman — in that order — maintaining his core and transforming his approaches to stay timely, relevant and healing until the end.

Mike Nichols was a nice man

a good man

a man from another time

I worked for him briefly

He made me feel like I was a genius and the next big thing

He did that for most everybody

He loved actors

and…

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11/8/20: Negotiating the World Checklist #poetry

I wrote this piece on a Sunday afternoon. I like the poem very much. I thought it was one of my more personal pieces, and it is, but it is also oddly political. When I picked a song to accompany the writing, I chose “On Eagle’s Wings” a song that I’ve liked for a long time. It used to be a guilty pleasure — the song isn’t what I used to consider very hip. A benefit of aging is that you just like what you like, and don’t care what anyone else thinks about it. What’s next? Lawrence Welk? At any rate, I’m in good company. President-Elect Biden mentioned this song in his remarks after it was clear that he had won the election beyond the shadow of a doubt. The song is a Catholic hymn. I had no idea. I just knew that Michael Crawford used it to close a concert. Listen to the song and read my poem. I think they are kind of beautiful, which is a quality that I like in my work when it appears, and that always surprises me when it does. I love it when the writing reveals to me that the requirements of being a citizen, and the requirements of being a human being are identical.

Copyright 2020 Richard Thomas

The Rick Blog

11/8/20: Negotiating the World Checklist #poetry

Sincerity is the only proper basis for forming relationships.

Sincerity attracts good fortune to itself from without.

Never perform, pretend or persuade.

Persevere in following your deepest spiritual impulses.

Never betray your conscience and inner beacon.

Never seek association with others as if you were an obsequious office hunter.

Don’t throw yourself away. Always maintain your dignity.

Only maintain sociability with people who do not belong in your sphere. Never engage in intimacy with such people. If you do maintain such intimacy, you will not be free to enter into relationship with people of your own kind later on.

Surround yourself with people who respect you and treat you well. If such people are not immediately available be faithful in your solitude. The solitary person will be rewarded with fruitful relationships if he or she only has the patience and faithfulness to wait.

Know…

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11/8/20: Negotiating the World Checklist #poetry

11/8/20: Negotiating the World Checklist #poetry

Sincerity is the only proper basis for forming relationships.

Sincerity attracts good fortune to itself from without.

Never perform, pretend or persuade.

Persevere in following your deepest spiritual impulses.

Never betray your conscience and inner beacon.

Never seek association with others as if you were an obsequious office hunter.

Don’t throw yourself away. Always maintain your dignity.

Only maintain sociability with people who do not belong in your sphere. Never engage in intimacy with such people. If you do maintain such intimacy, you will not be free to enter into relationship with people of your own kind later on.

Surround yourself with people who respect you and treat you well. If such people are not immediately available be faithful in your solitude. The solitary person will be rewarded with fruitful relationships if he or she only has the patience and faithfulness to wait.

Know your own heart and soul and be open to its twins in the external world.

When you are in union with a soulful connection openly show your attachment, commit to your connection, and honor it with diligence and loyalty.

Accept those who come to you, and allow those that don’t come to go their own way. Relate to all people in the terms and proportions that they engage you. Good connections can vary in levels of understanding and intensity.

Don’t hesitate to make a soulful connection. Accept and reciprocate love enthusiastically.

Don’t be distracted by inevitable betrayals, ignorant and malicious criticisms and false accusations. Once you overcome your own doubt of the existence of your soul, you can sidestep attacks and defend yourself if necessary.

Never take a job or participate in a social situation that requires you to change in ways that violate your fundamental sense of peace and happiness.

Be the authority of your own life. Never let anyone dictate to you how you should be, or what is important to you.

Suffer material deprivation rather than betray your deep principles. If the possibility to exert your influence is closed off from you, remain faithful to your values and withdraw into seclusion.

Everyone changes every day. Be open to past adversaries’ evolution into present and future friends.

Don’t form cliques based upon egoistic interests. Be open to potential union with anyone.

Sometimes people who love one another endure long struggles before they find one another. Endure and have faith. Love waits for you with the certainty of natural law.

Don’t confuse social relationships that are mere entertainments as real friendships. Friends are people who sit with one another and encourage the development of their individual souls, placing no demands or requirements upon the destinies that are directed by the divine, and are exposed to us all.

Always favor and promote good and oppose evil.

Revere the worthy.

God helps the devoted; men help the true.

When you have no doubts and are totally sincere, your confidence will win the enthusiastic cooperation of other people. This circumstance is often called leadership.

In order to find people, situations and actions that serve you, God and other people, you must put away childish things.

Stay focused on your mission. In so doing you will see through flatterers who only wish to exploit you and your achievements for their personal advantage.

Make goodness your lodestar.

Challenge egotism to reawaken the best spiritual impulses of people.

Perform every task for its own sake without an eye to its result. Then each action succeeds, often in unexpected ways.

Look for helpers in your project with the greed of a hungry tiger.

If you become a sage or a hero, always be aware of your great responsibility.

Chastise the ringleaders of evil and spare the followers.

Tolerate imperfection in yourself and others.

If your mind is agitated and fixated on one object, you can only influence the focus of your conscious thoughts, and close yourself off from all other possibilities.

The more one concentrates on one’s actual achievements, the less harm the envious can inflict upon him or her.

Say what you mean, soft and clear.

Always be willing to dissolve your bonds with a person or group, and leave all private friendships out of account, in order to act upon the will of God. Most men and women don’t consider such decisions. These choices are necessary to all personal and human progress.

If a limitation is galling, don’t persist in it.

Life is a constant process, a transition from chaos to order. Surf the eternal wave.

Copyright 2020 Richard Thomas

10/7/20: Being and Doing Now that the World Has Changed #poetry #PresidentBiden

10/7/20: Being and Doing Now that the World Has Changed #poetry#PresidentBiden

I am at a loss for words. Biden wins — everyone knows it. Trump complains — nobody cares.

A wonderful victory — and serious challenges to be met. We can do it.

The Rick Blog is the story of an ordinary person with little material power experiencing the world.

The Rick Blog is an attempt to live a humble, simple life with extraordinary grace. The new President is our vessel. Our souls are our future.

I don’t have a new segment on this momentous day.

I post all of my writing on this momentous day.

I share The Rick Blog Annotated — it is, among other things America from my perspective. You and the world interact and create you and the world anew. https://richardsteventhomas.wordpress.com/2020/10/03/the-rick-blog-annotated-parts-one-two-three-and-four-3-3-15-to-the-present-and-beyond-writing-therickblog-poetry-essay-poeticessay-creativeprocess-2/

And then continue to read The Rick Blog segments beginning on 9/21/20 at www.richardsteventhomas.wordpress.com

Here’s what I try for as a writer, citizen and human being:

Intelligence

Honesty

Passion

Art (and science, although it is not my field)

The Rule of Law

Democracy

Decency

Ethics — a duty of care

Poetry

Practicality

Spirituality

Critical Thinking

and Depth.

All of those things won the election.

Now we have to do and continue to do all of those things, and to be and continue to be all of those things.

The President Trump boogeyman is over.

Our doing and being meets a new construct.

God bless our new President, and God Bless Us Everyone.

Copyright 2020 Richard Thomas

11/6/20: Mother’s Day #poetry #election

11/6/20: Mother’s Day #poetry #election

I’m not better than anybody and nobody is better than me …

What Joe Biden’s mother taught him.

Above — a picture of my wonderful mother.

Leave comments or anecdotes about people who taught you to affirm your own value and recognize your own achievements, and how to transcend bullies.

The Federal Government is very capable of escorting trespassers from the White House …

What the Biden campaign said this morning.

We say what our country is; we decide what is important in our personal lives. We can’t always control our fortunes, but we can always control our fates. No one can tell us what to believe in our hearts and minds. No one can dictate our perception of existence. We not only have the right to pursue happiness — we can choose happiness.

Enough with this scum now. We can ignore them and defend ourselves from all of their assaults.

The victory is not in the realm of prosaic action. It resides in the poetic heart — which makes our advances more than concrete and temporary. Our freedom, and the gift of our lives and the privilege of getting to reside in the world are always there for the taking — but we must choose them.

The final determination of the election will not be counted in a precinct. We must close our eyes, die to the world and reflect upon our souls.

We were born unbeatable, if we only see it.

Listen to people who have suffered greatly — like Biden. Our suffering is the path to our glory. God’s beauty reveals itself immediately after its greatest challenge.

Onward — in our public and personal lives!

Copyright 2020 Richard Thomas

11/4/20: Election Strategy #poetry

11/4/20: Election Strategy #poetry

Hillary was criticized for emphasizing Trump’s autocratic and immoral character. She is told she should have talked more about the economy.

Biden is criticized for emphasizing public health and care for the sick, suffering and dying. He is told that he should have spoken more about the economy.

Maybe, the people who voted for Trump who need to hear so much about the economy — as defined by how much money they can get their hands on — should be criticized for not caring about freedom, democracy, decency and morality, public health and care for the sick, suffering and dying.

I hope these millions of bastards who voted for Trump enjoy their money while the world disintegrates around us.

The rest of us will keep trying to clean up their fucking mess, and keep suffering from their negligence and malfeasance.

Copyright 2020 Richard Thomas

11/4/20: It’s not … #poetry #election

11/4/20: It’s not … #poetry #election

Win lose or draw …

It’s not Fox News

It’s the people …

They like to watch that shit …

It’s not the Russians …

It’s the people …

they don’t give a shit about America or values …

They care about petty power …

They’d march with Hitler if they thought they would win …

It’s not fears about “socialism”

It’s the people …

It’s their willful ignorance to justify doing anything and everything to steal their money …

It’s not Trump …

It’s the people …

they are Trump

Crude, ignorant, mean, egomaniacal, racist, murderous …

un-empathetic

they commit mass murder

so they can open their shitty little businesses and watch their football games …

They are unmoved by the death and suffering of hundreds of thousands

Unmoved by starving children

Unmoved by atrocity after atrocity and abuse

It’s not the Republicans

It’s the people

Republican popularity is democracy in action

It’s the people

They want the cruelty and nihilism and ignorance

It’s the people

They chose this

It is even some people who voted for Biden

I’m done with mean and stupid

I can’t deal with it

I avoid it

and when it is imposed upon me I don’t tolerate it

After the pandemic

and baby separation

and the empowerment of white nationalism

and the failure to give relief to people who need it

and 1000 other crimes, sins and indignities

You vote for this shit?

Really?

You think this is “strong” and powerful

I know you get a delicious feeling when you win something

And sexually excited when you see someone else suffer

Fuck you

There is an America that believes in democracy and true religion and humanist values

and there is a part of America that believes in the “American Dream”

America the slot machine

Perverse excitement

flashing lights

all sensation

I stand with the Constitution, the God that liberal Jesuits told me about when I was a kid, the arts, the rule of law and education …

If you don’t I don’t even want to know you

And if I meet you I won’t take your shit

So far beyond resistance or compromise

No!

I’m living in a democracy

and as a decent, free, equal caring human being …

more concerned about people than money and power and “winning”

I don’t give a fuck what you like or don’t like

or what you have to say about it

And don’t fuck with me either

You pieces of shit …

You picked evil and you knew what you were doing …

It’s you …

your 2020 vote is a rorschach test

You’ll burn in hell …

It’s not politics …

Go Biden!

Copyright 2020 Richard Thomas

10/30/20: The Man (or Woman) Who Wasn’t There #poetry

10/30/20: The Man (or Woman) Who Wasn’t There #poetry

You’re nobody

and neither am I

You never did the things that you say that you did

You never were in the places that you said you were

You never won the game

Starred in the show

Passed the test

or had the job

that you are so proud of

You’ve been cropped out of all the team photos

You aren’t mentioned at any of the reunions

Your exploits are less than forgotten

They never occurred …

In order to have a shared past

all participants have to recognize themselves

Most people feel that they are failures

They can’t recognize in others what they can’t recognize in themselves

They will shame all of your claims

“You didn’t do that!

You don’t have those qualities!”

When we are children we get praise for our achievements

But adults are reticent

We think praise is unseemly

and self-praise is taboo …

We aren’t there …

we choose a few to offer their images as a representation of human achievement

Historical figures and movie stars

We can’t give ourselves that pleasure

and therefore we can’t give it to each other …

Well I am a radical …

I will make my claim …

I was there and I am here …

I did difficult things

and displayed great integrity, talent, intelligence and ability ….

I’m proud of myself

and I never grew up

thank God

I get excited by goodness and excellence in others too

Walter Payton and FDR

I celebrate it

The person doesn’t have to be rich or famous

although they might be

Like a little kid

I cheer for heroes

and love the praise

the affirmation

the recognition

of people who see what is great about me …

I think we are all great in some way …

all men are created equal …

I see tremendous things about very obscure people

A poet recognizes it all …

But what to do about the people

who are incapable of recognizing me

and who can’t recognize themselves

These unhappy mean people

Frustrated

who erase me from existence

I am nothing around them

When I am with them

even in my thoughts

I disappear

Knowing them becomes an act of self-betrayal

I leave them

that’s what I do

I carry my self-recognition away

and stand on my own

and wait

for people who recognize me

and I recognize them

I told myself that I didn’t need recogntiion

That I could go it alone

But I do

Not because I need approval

but because I still want to do things

and you can’t do anything

unless you are recognized

and you recognize the other person or people

All men are created equal

and we are meant to live and work together in equality

Everything that I ever did

involved being recognized

and recognizing others

The people who live in shame

and denial

simply aren’t there

and when I am with them

even if only in my thoughts

neither am I

I admire you dear reader

and you are very present in this space

unless you are dismissive of me

and therefore yourself

then unfortunately

you have chosen to not be here

I hope that you find your way back to life

but I can’t do anything for you

and I like it here

Who are the wonderful people

who will share my glorious past

present

and future?

Peekaboo …

I see you …

Copyright 2020 Richard Thomas