>Memorial Day—-

>A hero is someone who does decent things in a way that everyone notices but it is heroic to do decent things when no one takes notice.  Hero’s tend to get applause from everyone.  Someone who is heroic usually has the love of only those who know them best.  Personally, I think it’s far better to be heroic than to be  a hero…...

Balance—-

Balance

People are creatures
Born of spirit
Born of earth
Like all the other creatures
Who inhabit our little blue planet
We all have an inclination
To look for danger first
This is why our news
Show our problems, show our grief

It’s common to believe
You should error
On the side of safety
But this is just a way to say
“Listen to your fears
Listen to grief”
Far better
To ignore your anxieties
Balance yourself with care
And error on the side of optimism

If you gotta make a mistake
Do it on the side of compassion
Rise to the hopes of your spirit
Balance yourself
With the piece of you
That looks for the best in life
And in people

In all that you do
In all who you meet
Give living half a chance
And the benefit of a doubt
You’ll be surprised
How many times
Life rises to the occasion

Dewey Dirks 2011

Book Review…..

Review of “Dave Riggler’s Stories”

Today I’m going to take a look at “Dave Riggler’s Stories” written by Brian Hartman.  “Dave Riggler’s Stories” is series of six short stories in one binding about a man who was born with spina bifida, a spinal problem that prevents him from walking.  The book is small, at about forty-five pages.  It is presented as a series of scenes from Dave Riggler’s life starting with a story from his early youth before his was in kindergarten.  It follows Dave through his life ending with a story about dating from his thirties.  Mr. Hartman is the sort of writer who says a lot in just a little space.  The book is absent of drawn out or flamboyant descriptions, and the work carries itself quite successfully on storyline, conversation and poignant choice of narrative alone.
As I read the book, I quickly began to like Dave for his kindness and his determination.   A few pages in, and I couldn’t put it down.  Dave is a fellow who approaches his handicap and life in general from a very pragmatic viewpoint.  It’s very interesting to read his views on daily life and his opinion of the medical community such as the physical therapists who try to get him to walk with a walker when he was a teenager.  Time and time again, Dave shows considerable empathy for the lives of those whom he happens across, such as a suicidal woman he meets one night in a bar, and a homeless man for whom he buys a meal.  In one of the most dramatic passages of the book, Dave recounts his experiences on 9-11 as he watches the disaster unfold while working in a multistory building himself.  He watches the news in shock as he thinks about all the people in the Twin Towers and about those among them who are in wheelchairs and likely would not be able to escape a building in which the elevators no longer work.
Two themes run throughout the book.  Daves experiences with the medical community and his experiences with trying to find a partner.  He mentions in one passage that by a certain time in his life he’d undergone surgery thirteen times.  One has to read a book like this to begin to develop an appreciation how significant a part doctors, psychologists, and surgeons play in the life of some handicapped people.
I finished the book wanting it to be longer so that I could come to know Dave Riggler even better.  He’s is the kind of person you’d like to spend a few afternoons at coffee with.  If the book has any shortcoming at all it’s that it could be of greater length.  At the same time, in forty-five pages, Mr. Hartman very successfully gives you a heartfelt, well rounded, very well written look at the daily life and emotional wanderings of a man who goes through this world on wheels rather than on legs.  The fact that Mr. Hartman is able to accomplish this in a work of this length only confirms the fact that he approaches the art of the pen with a very great deal of skill.  I recommend Dave Riggler’s Stories as a must read for anyone interested in learning about the heart and mind someone who is handicapped.  I would like to thank Mr. Hartman for the opportunity to review his fine book.  It has been a real pleasure to read.   ——Dewey Dirks

All the rest be damned!—–

Today I’m going to use a poem and a video that have previously been featured on the Questioning Way blog to make a point—-

Shit. Damn. Fuck. Hell.  I’ve used all of these words from time to time in my writing and speaking.  They are an integral part of the lexicon of vernacular English as it is commonly spoken and written in the United States in the early 21st century.  They are very important to our language and are widely used because sometimes it is just impossible to employ any other word besides one of these as we each try to express the emotions we feel every day.  A little further down the page, I’ll illustrate this point a bit more poignantly.  With the exception of one MMO computer game that I’m a massive toad for called ‘Spore,’ I rarely stay for long any place on the world wide web that tries to censor me if I happen to use one of these words to express myself.  Now, it might not seem like such a big deal if this or that website has a problem should I use the word shit or hell when I feel so inclined, but I know that the desire to censor speech and thought is a dangerously contagious disease and an astoundingly slippery slope that must be guarded against constantly.  With truly frightening speed it leads to vagrant attempts to control free thought such as experienced by the woman in following video, which tells the story high school teacher who was recently harassed by a TV station for having the audacity to be a teacher and a erotic romance writer at the same time.  The principle of free speech is of the utmost concern to all of us if we are to remain a country that in the farthest reaches of the imagination, could be called ‘free.’

Fortunately, thousands of people came to this woman’s aid with a show of support (The Questioning Way blog included) as her  story made it’s way around the web.  To the TV stations credit, they later aired a piece correcting their mistake, but only after so many people came to her defense, it became painfully obvious to them they really screwed the lurch.
I’ve also felt the sting of serious attempts to control what I say and write.  Some years ago, I was invited to publish some poetry to a federally funded website ran by the National Endowment for the Arts.  At the time it was a pretty nice break for me because the site enjoyed thousands of viewers.  Among the work I published there was the poem “Don’t Call me Collect—God”  It was subsequently banned from the site for using the word ‘damned’ because I had God saying “All the rest be damned!” in one of the lines of the poem.  If you don’t think that swear words serve a vital function in our language, just substitute the phrase  “All the rest be darned!”in place of original phrase and see how the poem reads.

Don’t call me collect  –God

Perhaps on some golden throne
alive in the sky, you watch over each of us
–rain warm love, bathing one by one
man and sparrow with most tender care

Or, like a child at play
did you make the clock your grand experiment?
then, called to dinner, you plan to be back at eight
wondering if we’ll still be tocking

Are you a big ashen bearded daddy?
with all the answers up there
will you spank us forever if we don’t believe?

Maybe you’re a cosmic hippie
you say “Hey don’t you remember?
ten thousand years ago
we all stood at Salisbury in ecstasy”
Then, with hand to forehead you say
“Or maybe it was nineteen seventy-one
you know, all that acid still gets to me”

Are you a wrinkled old man?
stuttering, the very edge of senility
you wait at the gate, white picket complacency
We come home for a hug and obligatory visit
the younger playing Grandfather for a free dime

Perhaps you are a crone, ancient and wise
living in rock, road, brook, and tree
You made a hard, wondrous, magical land
where stumbling, we acolytes slowly learn of beauty

With fire on your finger tips
maybe you throw lightning bolts
make floods, cause the sky to darken
Perhaps you’ll let five thousand faithful in
“All the rest be damned!” you say as the earth quakes

Perhaps one time, some time, ever time
we’ll be sitting in the park, you and I
Muhammad, Gautama and Einstein play dice across the way
cool green grass, white daisies, blue sky, shade trees
I say, “You know, I wondered always if you were a figment”
You say, “Don’t we all, my friend, begin and end in fantasy?”

Dewey Dirks Copyright 2010

Buzzard Breath—-

….This poem goes to prove you can never take life too not seriously…or is it too not unseroiusly not….;)


Buzzard Breath


Lord it’s hot up here today

an’ all this smog

from yonder city

is flat out chokin’ me

Lookit that car down there!

man is he goin’ fast!

maybe he’ll run a rabbit down

an’ I’ll have sumthin’ to eat

Oh no! here comes Hank!

he’s that asshole from Death Valley

an’ I’d bet a dead rattlesnake

he thinks he’s gonna bum some food from me

Hell, if birds had teeth

that sucker’d steal yer tail

while he was smilin’ at yer beak

Well hullo there Hank!

howzitgoin ya ole scavenger!

long time no see! Oh I’m jist fine

What’s that? Nope nuthin’s bin kilt off yet

not even a horny toad

What? Yer leavin’ already?

nice seein’ ya Hank, fly by more offin’!

taker’ easy an’ have a good thermal!

Well, there he goes…

I hope he flies into a 747

Dewey Dirks copyright 2011

Closing Schools, Cutting Education—-

I rarely make political posts on the Questioning Way Blog, and I rarely have guest writers. Today I’m doing both.  My young friend, Ambrosia, is a 20 year old college student who is livid about the fact that many in this country have lately become intent on targeting education for budget cuts.  Ambrosia and I are both astounded that Federal and local governments in the U.S. appear prepared to further impair an educational system that is already a flaming piece of shit. (as we all are quite aware)  Starve the young a decent chance at education to save a few bucks?  What kind of reasoning is that? Anyone who wouldn’t be wiling to pay a few more taxes in order to give the young a decent education ought to wake up and fly right.  We all should be ashamed.  I’m sure you all will find Ambrosia’s essay to be written from the heart.  –DD

 I just found out today, that my favorite elementary school is being closed down, due to budget cuts. This made me furious, and sad. We keep cutting the education budget, like there’s still a chance that ruining it will save us. The education budget can’t be cut any longer, what we need to do is cut the budget for other things. One thing that would help everyone, is cutting the funding on military purposes. Cut down the spending on the pentagon. If we just protested harder we could get the government under our control. We the citizens are supposed to be the government, not just a select few. To my dismay it’s been quite obliviously been pointed out to me, that people don’t want or care to do anything against this injustice. They think any sort of fight is useless, because the government is going to do anything they please. No, it’s because we the citizens don’t fight enough, that our government is taking control. We are letting this big bad government intimidate us, thus they continue to bully. Some people don’t want to fight, because they think the government’s half assed protection is worth losing liberty. “A society that will give up a little liberty for a little security, deserves neither and will lose both,” Benjamin Franklin. This is what is happening, and this is what’s true. No one fighting for our rights, is putting us in a headlock. We are making ourselves suffer, and making future generations suffer. We need to not be so afraid of having our voices heard.  Go protest. Protest the cutting of the educational budget, and start demanding a cutting in the pentagon expenses. Make a change, we need a revolution, and we need it now. —Ambrosia Cunningham

Bravery—

I see several people have been looking for a poem I posted up here some time back.  So, here is a repost of  “Bravery” for those of you who’ve been looking for it.  This is a poem from the latter half of The Questioning Way

Bravery


When I walked into the bar

Two kids were calling him out

One had a broken bottle, the other had a short club

Steiger was not a big man, and he was unarmed

But good lord, he had a look about him!

A chill went through the room and he stood to face them


Steiger squared up and said

“Before you start

With whatever problem it is you have with me

I’ll tell you this— I don’t care

What kind storm you think you are,

I guarantee that you have never seen the like

Of a few of the storms I have been through.

Now, you do what you think you want to do

I just thought you ought to know.”


Steiger waited

The kids stared back at him

I don’t think they knew exactly what to do

Finally, one of them pulled his friends shirt

He said, “Shit Jeff! Come on let’s go!”

Ole Jeff dropped his bottle and walked out of there

I guess he realized

He’d bit off a little more than he could chew


Steiger sat back down

And I shimmied up beside him

I said “I’m pleased to meet you

I think that’s the bravest thing I can recall seeing

Steiger took a drink and smiled

‘Said “Hell son, that wasn’t brave

That was just solid sense.

Now brave? I’ve seen brave a time or two”


Brave is jumping back over the wall

To save a good man down

As the bullets come flying back at you

Brave is being alone on your bike

And trying that corner at seventy

When there’s gravel, the sign says twenty-five tops

And you know what’s gonna happen

If the ground takes a swipe at you

Now, that’s the kind of bravery that faces death

But braver still, I think

Is the kind that faces life, son


Brave is being a single mother alone in the big city

You come home every day to two little ones who are hungry

And you know the only thing

Between them and some serious hurt

Is you and your shitty job

Down at the 7-11


There is a kind of bravery

That hopes beyond all hope

And still tries to get things done

When just about everything in life has fallen apart

All the chips are down

And all you’ve got is a pair of three’s on the table


There is a kind of bravery that has a dream

And still keeps crawling on

When you’re only half-way done

As all the bills keep coming due

And for all the world it still appears

That you don’t have a ghost’s chance in hell

Of ever seeing it all the way through


Then there’s the kind

That loves deeply and loses

But dares to try and love again

And the kind that loves easy

And dares try to find room in their heart

For everyone


If you face death and lose

Well, you’ll be dead and gone

And nothing much will matter to you

But if you face life and lose

Then you have to live

With what has happened to you


Dewey Dirks copyright 2008

>Melody Version Two—-

>


Here is a new version of the video “Melody”  We had such a problem with the licensing on the last one we decided to put it to new music….

Update—Man, going live with one of these things can be a mess.  We had a couple details wrong and had to do a new edit of the video real quick and post it back up–the version you see here is actually the third version I’ve post up today gggrrrrrrr 😉