POETRY 

Because Screen-Time is a Necessary Evil

 

Yes, even when you are holding a baby in your arms

for months at a time, 

certain things in this world

 

like war and being irradiated by that Baby Shark video

and like eventually seeing your baby

being lead away with the other children by "Elmo" or "Blue"

as if by some iridescent pied piper

 

                                            can’t be avoided!

Kids are going to find their pied pipers

and keep seeking their music.

Yet,

before you panic,

just think of the freakish strains you've agreed to 

as a soundtrack for your life.

Think of all the things you value

that don't make any sense.

Ask the nearest thing to God you can contact--

the Quiet of your heart--

your Sincerity, perhaps.

                                         My perfect unfolding

 

two-year-old of a boy

helps me find Center.

He puts on a cd, just like "Daddy" does.  I see myself

seeing him scratching the cds like a twelve-year boy

scraping up his daddy's silver Thunderbird,

pulling it proudly in and out of the garage.

 

It is no matter.

I am in love with him

the way I am in love with the Center. 

 

The cd skips, whirs, and still spits out some Sesame Street songs.  They play

after some classics we have deemed necessary

for his soul and mine:

 

                                    “Up On Cripple Creek"

                                     then

                                    "Whatever Gets You Through the Night"

                                     then

                                    "In Harmony"

                                     then,

                                    “Oscar’s Junk Band.”

 

“Occa’s Junt Ban!  Again!” he manages

and we spend an eternity in a loop

nayin a Spiral

circling deeper and deeper.

 

This loving-it-more-and-more-each-time is not an evil,

nor could it ever be.

I am digesting my boy and myself and even Sesame Street too.

The Center witness me

as I hold the Center, knowing It is there.

There is meaning in this!

There is a message to the Universe in this event,

I am meant to hear it!
I have strained to do so, and I do hear,

and you are meant to hear it

as I am meant to speak to you.

This message from the Center--

will you hear it now?

Yes?  

 

Then listen!

Here it is:

“Pay garbage men more money.”

 

Ah!  It is Just!  It is just!

Anyone who’s ever had a boy in a small town anywhere

can figure out that it’s just.

 

Who fascinates more than Grandpa or bakery ladies or Spongebob Squarepants?

Who winks and smiles a more scintillating smile

when you and Baby Boy wave?

 

That’s right!  My stomach folds itself

and I know that it's Just.

Imagine our anguish

if the garbage men couldn’t afford to work anymore?

Nowadays as it is, they can’t afford a mortgage

 

in most towns where they serve.

Don’t give me that line, they didn’t go to University.

University is one of those places

 

where people go who figure out how to get you to buy more devices

that’ll irradiate you,

your kids and your gonads too.  

 

But getting the trash out?  This is a job

that is a few shades more real.

Imagine if the garbage men of the body

 

couldn't afford a happy life?

No one can argue here,

even if you only eat a hermit's diet,

when the garbage men go on strike

you get sick...

greenish, and grumpy.

 

You become "a grouch" and somehow me and Buddy Boy know this eternally.

The music keeps playing.

 

We take in "Goodies" at our ease, which are more than often mixed with a bit of junk. 

We use good-old, nonradioactive equipment when we can,

and we eat up stuff that touches our hearts and minds

 

along with grape and pear and watermelon.  We like to get real, real good and clear

so that the shit

doesn’t stick to us.