30 December 2005

Darryl Started me off With This First Line

The right use of will
is always most important when darkness
falls across a shadowed land,
trees swaying in the winds
of change, the winds deranged
blowing madly to the dawn,
the madness a yawn come early,
surly and sad - a sigh
let out before all time passes
into the history of the dead,
the history for the well-read
to read at night before
they tuck themselves into bed
finally believing that they are now safe.


23 December 2005

My Beautiful and Charming Child

Aside from the fact that I have two beautiful and charming little girls, we'll focus on my three and a half year old for the moment. Since our daycare was closed today for the coming Christmas holiday, my wife was taking our oldest to work with her while I get to be adventure boy with my two year old. As she's settling in to her seat in the backseat of the car, she looks down at one of those plastic kiddie bowls that litter our car and announces to my wife, "Mommy, that bowl is fucking dirty." End of story...out of the mouths of babes. Of course, when my wife stopped back by so that I could get the little ones baby seat out of the car, the was a very demure and shy girl sitting back there while the story was relayed. My response...we'll make a sailor of her yet. And that is the beginning of my Friday before Christmas. Hope the holidays are good for all. MD

06 December 2005

A Post Apocalyptic Nightmare Called Home

It is in the stillness that we bend,
horrid creatures crouching sad,
the glad facade a cavalcade of joy
that is torpid and warm-
a spattering of blood slowly drip, drip, dripping.

It is in the marketplace of the world
that we explode a curious bunch
of ardent full-believers in a dream
that to some may seem a distant
and complacent place of heresy.

It is in reformation that we grow
like giants to the sky, hands raised
in holy genuflection to the self-
the mortal and immortal
that is both larger and smaller than itself.

It is in ego that we fall horribly
hard to the pits of despair we call unfair,
angels no longer loved or in love-
drenched in pools of fire, liquid blue
and vulgar like a leper's crutch tapping on stone.

It is in charity that we mend
the broken fences of the world
that we've hurled tempest-tossed into the air
of what happens next when the wind
is blowing hard - leaves ripping from the trees.

It is in solutions that we find absolution
when we tell all the dirty little secrets
of ourselves and others, especially others,
to find forgiveness, the credence of forgiveness
that is a godless and abundant artform.

It is in resistance that we make the call
for mounting a diverse strategy
of imposing thoughts, a forward-continuum
that is the science of advertising that opposes the spirituality
of naked souls crying out in silent screams.

It is in sexual indulgence that freedom is found,
lustful stimulation that is in and out again,
illuminations in the dark, retardations of the spark
that was once animalistic and divine,
retardations that are toxic and perverse.

It is in the middle millhouses of the earth
where we find the hungry and the poor,
where the whores lie rotten, rotting in stench-
rimmed corridors and behind closed doors
while water leaks from rusting pipes - drip, drip, dripping.

It is in the sky that we find salvation,
damnation, seeking a sacrament that tastes
of wine and blood, of shit and lies,
all the things that I despise
wrapped up conveniently in one bundle called my home.

MJD '05

29 September 2005

The Sea Unchanged

Another day down and done,
another day yet begun.
Golden hues of death, rebirth,
rise with the Herons like a spear
over a crystallized horizon-
furied flight raging westward.

A tortured oaken coastline emerges,
home country and safe harbor;
cold arms of the sea let go
to warm embraces of the one I call beloved.
Jagged jetties reach out, their lingering stone fingers
stroking the feet of the blithe lovers near shore;
blackened shapes against the burnt amber sky.

At night, the sea twinkles red
and green and the shore rises from the deep
in honey-colored lights of life,
static-electric and bright, the streets swimming
with jovial masses hand-clinging and swinging.

Theirs are carefree days and careless whispers
unknowing of the men toiling under savage tasks
their mistress bids them do, shirts sweat-soaked
and clinging unnecessarily to their skin-
savage hearts in a ravaged land
where lace graces clinging chimes on a dusty porch
and a young girl smiles under a dirt-smudged face.

Gleaming eyes of children teaming the water's edge
when the whistle of lady steel sails into harbor
outweigh the hulks rusting at the pier;
their orange corpses a dotted horizon
of cranes, mastheads, and wheelhouses,
their bilges filling with water and mold:
the smell of mildew penetrating the decks as
mold and ivy grow up the clapboards
that once teamed with life and now decadent rot
ever simmering, swirling in the acrid summer afternoon.

Behind cracked, rotting picket fences
mothers cling babies to their breasts.
The sea claims what it wants like a lustful heart
ever hungry for more, an appetite
insatiable and perillously wreckless,
heaving boats and their crew to the deep
on a sad wind-swept night where the sounds
of the buoy bell drown out screams from sunken hopes.

Gossamer moonlight slithers
over the trails of ghosts
sliding along the tidewaters
and currents, mournful and slow,
a sinking eddy that denies advance
and transfer, a sinking eddy that denies
a home of a father or brother or son...

All the while, church bells clang
from the bellfry; they ring out their song
ceaseless as the tides and unchanging.
Clanging, they herald deaths of those away;
unchanged, they clang faithful to worship,
unchanged, they announce new birth:
God, the sea, and the bells, unchanged.

Art McLean & Michael Dingler
29 September 05

03 August 2005

worth every effort

But they said it was all
worth every effort even if no one else
understands. But what is understanding when
the world is waiting for anyone strong enough
to face the unknown wasteland that is gossamer
and blithe? Living sounds good on paper,
but so did a communism that is free and lustful
where true opportunities are passed by daily.
Are you willing to follow the herd,
you sheep, that sleeps well and warm in their coats?
It's nice when it starts raining shit
that flows downriver and out to sea,
where you go to find out how little you know
in your heart of hearts
that is right in the middle of getting what you want,
because want is subjective, and need and want
are two faces of a coin that will
never, never say never again, but the
motion of my mind is making me dizzy,
tired, and in the end, we all

Jordan P Fitzpatrick & Michael J Dingler (August '05 - Pilottown)

13 May 2005

Evolution or De-Volution

In a recent conversation with someone, I realized that some of those polls put out by newspapers and the like have some substance. In 2001, there was a Gallup poll that had showed that only a third of Americans believed in the Theory of Evolution as set forth by Charles Darwin. Also, 57% believed in Creationism, inasmuch that man was created by God approximately 10,000 years ago and has remained in that same state since. A whopping ten percent said they weren't sure. They must've been confused over all of the mounting evidence to the contrary of Creationism.

I don't mean to sound like one of those people who think they know all the details about the scientific facts concerning evolution, because I certainly don't. And I'm not one of those intelligentsia elites proposing ivy league theories that my liberal mass media compadres will then force down America's throats (on FOX, perhaps). I'm just a guy who thinks it makes sense.

A basic anthropology class will show that there is a chain of ancestors for the current human species (Homo Sapiens Sapiens, by the way). The earth, is four point something billion years old, too. Thus, under what circumstances was man miraculously created ten thousand years ago? Oh, God did it. Well, 'God' is many things, but I have the lingering suspicion that 'He' hasn't done anything spontaneous since the Big Bang. Even then, perhaps, under the best theological philosophy, 'God' guided the development of people. To me, evolution seems like educated common sense.

Getting back to the conversation I had mentioned, there was a young man who has recently gotten out of high school and who, by most accounts, I would expect to at least know of evolution. Alas, he needed the theory of evolution explained to him. I was not expecting to be challenged by the fact that we (people) had developed from ape-like creatures for I had assumed that would have been taught to him. For all intensive purposes, evolution is more of a science (anthrolopogical as it may be). Disallusioned is, possibly, a good word to describe my realization that it is not something worth learning. And I wonder why the United States is marginally comparative on educational structures to our European counterparts.

And then there is Kansas. Kansas - The state that is preparing their children for ignorance in higher institutions. Kansas - The state that declares an open symposium (I'm being extremely generous in using the word symposium) for scientists to discuss evolution, though the school board hosting the symposium has already banned it. Kansas - The state that has turned the clock back such that they teach Creationism instead of Evolution. Yes, the disenfranchised can always teach their children at home...but what if I don't want my child learning Creationism? What if, in all my limited wisdom, I've come to the conclusion that zealots of any color are just as bad no matter where they live, what they wear, what language they speak or which book they profess. Fundamentalism is the ignoring of nuances that define the nature of a religion and break-down the multitude of truths into core philosophies that ultimately end up contradicting the said religion. And if fundamentalism is the direction that Kansas wants to take, then I'm inclined to reverse my position on states like California being a little out there.

Thus, I am disappointed that America has maintained the same percentages on this topic for nearly the last twenty years. It makes me wonder what they teach in schools and universities. It makes me wonder about what else is lacking in the educational system. The young man I had the conversation with is a fairly bright kid, but it saddens me to also mention that he couldn't point out the Mississippi River on a map that included the Gulf of Mexico & the Caribbean. Instead, he pointed at Panama. When that didn't work, he pointed at the Orinoco River in Venezuela. I try not to get frustrated with him because I realize he doesn't know and then I feel a certain responsibility to teach him. It's hard to teach someone while trying not to seem like you're teaching someone, more like passing knowledge on in a conversation.

I have an endgame philosophy that says if I can change the way a person thinks about something and they can pass that on somehow, then maybe it's worthwhile to try. Maybe it's worthwhile to try and explain complicated things, such as evolution, the theory of relativity, or even how rainbows work. Creationism, I'll save that lecture for the man who only knows how to read one book.

04 March 2005

Tracing the Edges of Shadows

Fill a cardboard box with your life:
Come-agains and forget-me-nots,
silver souvenirs of sojourns long forgotten,
a scroll of memories rolled up and delivered
to the door of the past waiting to be rediscovered.

There is no moment, there is no now,
the Crepe Myrtle and Spanish Moss
comfort me while I sit in their shade,
sparse as it may be, and I recall a time
when the days were filled with squandered hours.

Whispered promises broken in time,
the promise of youth wagered in Faust's bargain,
sound empty when they are made-
hollow words never spoken
but assumed by every man.

Your wishes consume all that is around you,
making a mockery of the reckoning to come;
the crucible waits for all, nobility but for a few,
and when the skin withers, the beauty
of the poetry of death fades into sad regret.

Art McLean
Michael Dingler
February 2005

25 February 2005

She's a Scaling Walls


In the long series of days we call life, sometimes those little events can slip on by as funny anecdotes. One such thing that could go by if not jotted down somewhere is the great escape that my youngest daughter made last night. I've seen her belly crawl under the armoir. I've heard of her scaling the third highest peak in our house (the piano). Just last night, while laying in her crib, she decided she had had enough of the high walls of her bed.

Around nine o'clock last night, the perpetrator of the escape, one sixteen month old female known as 'The Cricket' , scaled the high walls of her baby bed. The wall being approximately shoulder high, she managed to shimmy up the side, balance herself on a ledge (a toy radio on the side of her bed), and the slide down the outer side until she had to let go, making a final fall of less than a foot.

A thud with a small whimper was heard leading the proper authorities (my lovely wife) to investigate. The elusive escapee was found with arms raised, surrendering upon discovery. Rumor has it she was heard saying "Hold me!"

In other News...


After thumbing through my notebook, I have found an old story that I had written down some time ago. My oldest daughter, while riding in the car, was looking up into the sky trying to find the moon.

She says to mommy, "Moon's hiding?"

Mommy responds, "The moon is hiding."

Then there is a pause. The pause of a little girl thinking.

And then she starts yelling: "Come out, moon! Come out, moon!"

20 February 2005

She's A Climbin'

I received an email today from my wife about an expedition that my youngest daughter went on this weekend. My wife had gone into our study with our older daughter, but, when realizing that Little A wasn't crawling along behind them, went in search of her. She was found, in all her glory as a fifteen month old baby, sitting atop our piano. Since she's getting more comfortable with standing and walking around tables while holding on, I guess she'd figure that learning how to climb would be more entertaining than learning to walk on her own. She'll get that soon too, I'm convinced, because of her method of getting up.

She went from the ground, to the piano bench, to the keys, and then to the very top of the piano. Up, up and away, my little angel climbs. Now, much like a cat, I have a feeling that once she got up there, coming down would have been disastrous. Like most things with little kids, things can be funny and cute when nobody ends up hurt. As a relatively new parent, who's yet to see one of his kids grow up so that the end results of parenthood can be determined, I still try to figure what all of these little accomplishments mean. For now, I'll just assume she'll scale the mountains of Mars one day.

28 January 2005

Electro-Static Night Sweats

Electro-Static Night Sweats

In the still quiet breeze of the night
walking along the riverside,
wet rustle splashing,
black and white sine waves come my way
in electrostatic frequencies that equal
inequality and sound holy, all holy.
fury and calm and I am
reflecting the surface, reflecting me:
a torrent of static, overheard conversations
in my head in a cafe on a Saturday
when the lights are dim and red.

Glowing globes of phosphors
swirling above and the dancing of commerce below
brings me to leap of faith I can't make
(protestations from a former protestant
who's given up the ghost to find the monkey
bones buried in the dirt, an African mother,
my African mother, the origin of our species):
Absolam, Absolam, what smoldering cities we make with greed!

And what will it make of me?
Silver pieces bought Jesus’ body-
What price then for the soul?
I am clanging and empty as a tin drum
rattling inside, a hollow tune:
How can you accuse me of your guilty pleasures?

Art McLean
Michael J. Dingler
January 2005

18 January 2005

A Strong Subtle Sound

A strong subtle sound,

Like that of a brush whipping

A canvas ‘long around midnight

On a quiet night,

When stillness is still growing

And the paint is flying

To and fro, back and forth,

In soft little explosions of color,

Is a night such as tonight,

Where solitude is painted in hues

Of green and gold; a happy sprite

Hiding in a corner and a fairy princess

Riding dragonfly wings singing

out a song of sweet vidalia purple.

-18 January 05

02 January 2005

A Quiet Night Goodbye

I lived a quiet night goodbye,

wrestled on the floor painting

grout lines with my finger tips

while you slept with the blue

light crawling through the window

your skin cool with color.

By morning you were gone

like the last silk fabrics slipping

through seamstress hands,

your motion like wind through the bedroom,

then the sad sound of the front door closing.

I imagined you moving

across the yard with an armful

of books, stepping with your tiptoes,

dew laying peaceful on moist morning grass.

-A collaboration with Katie Bowler (www.katiebowler.com)

While I Sit Idly By Painting

I've taken up oil painting to help me purge my idle time of too much thinking. There is something more to it than I anticipated. The main thing I didn't anticipate was the amount of time that I'd have to wait before progressing to the next step of a painting. I'll have to admit that there have been a couple of learning margins, but for the most part, I'm diggin' it so far.

I started out a helluva long time ago with acrylics, which is easier if you're wanting things to dry quickly. It's easier in a lot of ways compared to oil. The colors with oil, however, are richer. Plus, there's a smell to the paint drying on the canvas that makes it a lot more...well, a lot more something.

The best part of it all is learning something new. Sitting down and figuring out a method to the madness and then applying it. I need to learn more about the process of painting and layering and colors and all sorts of crap, but that'll come in time. In the meantime, however, I will enjoy my amateur status.

This is the end of today's pointless insight.