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Dean's Daily Poems
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12/31/08
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Art by Dean Blehert
Dean's Daily

Each madman's epically mad:
His oddity is the ill he had.

[Note: For the pun-impaired (or those whose pun awareness is limited by their good taste), the two best known epics in Western literature
are Homer's Odyssy and Iliad -- or "oddity" and "ill he had." As for the message: I suspect that the behavioral oddities we call madness
have to do with the person being out of present time and stuck in past unpleasantness. He thinks everyone is out to destroy him? Then he's
immersed in an actual incident when this was the case. (And maybe it's not so far from present time after all!)]
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What the Beggar Gives Us


We are here to give. Even the beggar,
busy being a self-fueling belly,
can only give. He gives his street
an ugliness, a shadowed intricacy
that must be looked at or away from --

in either case requiring a decision
until habit digs a hole in my universe
and slips him into it before I can see him,
as I, too, become free of decision
and rich with shadowed intricacy.

[Note: The point of this poem is, of course, whatever you make of it, but for me it's not a criticism of the beggar for being an unpleasant
presence. It's about the way those things we are unwilling to confront -- and unwilling to admire -- take root in our own universes, that is, in
our lives, like weeds, and proliferate. Probably the beggar himself is the result of all the things the beggar could not/would not confront.

Similarly, as we blank out parts of the world (like homeless people with hands out), they become part of us, our world becoming
increasingly vague and shadowy. This is not a plea to give alms to the poor. It's a suggestion that we not shut down our awareness of the
world as a defense against it. I sometimes give the beggar something. Other times I don't. But I don't look away. After all, the guy is doing a
terrific job of being a beggar. I can admire that. Also, just letting them be there, granting them the fact that they are there, that SOMEONE is
there, has a positive effect. It reminds them that they are people too.]

Dean Blehert
Blogs:
http://deanotations.blogspot.com (short poems)
http://dearreader08.blogspot.com (essays and longer poems)
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