Cathexis Northwest Press
Seven Pillows of Wisdom
By: Robert Eugene Rubino
with apologies to T.E. Lawrence
Poets must seek out and cultivate their contradictions
I. Be brutally honest with yourself about yourself about your arrogance ignorance pettiness pretentiousness about your everlasting lusting lazy sniveling selfishness. Be especially honest about your history of dishonesty.
II. Protect yourself. Forgive yourself. You are a precious fragile gemstone gorgeously fabulously flawed. You are gloriously flesh and bloody human. Shower yourself generously with the bloodless diamonds of nurturing kindness. Cover yourself with the ever so soothing aloe of self-esteem demanding deserving to be treated like a celebrity. Treat yourself. Celebrate yourself.
III. Find out who you are what you are what you’re doing where you come from where you’re going stand straight stand tall take no shit make no sorry-ass apologies ...
IV. except when you’ve done wrong when you’ve caused harm when you slip up fuck up. Then ... slouch humbly eyes tearful voice shaky head bowed
say it again
this time mean it.
V. Set boundaries.
Be your own border patrol
Guard your boundaries
with vigilant valor.
Enforce your personal law:
— violators will be subject to arrest and prosecution
and may be fined or imprisoned or both.
VI. Be fully receptive accepting
open loving to others
especially the difficult unlovable others
— no excepting.
Provide aid and comfort
or at least regularly
once in a while.
You are here to give to others.
To serve others.
VII. Treat others
not only not merely
as you wish to be treated
the way they wish to be treated.
Figure it out.
Robert Eugene Rubino is a Pushcart Prize nominee who has published prose and poetry in various print and online literary journals since first being published four years ago at the age of 70. He's smart enough to solve The New York Times crossword puzzle on Mondays (other days not so much). His favorite activity is napping in mid-afternoon.
Behind the Scenes:
The older I get (I'm 74), the more I seem to see contradictions everywhere, whether in the daily routines of my personal life or in the most challenging issues of the wider world. The poem had been percolating in my mind for a long time, but it wasn't until I came across the quote from Orson Welles that I was able to get it down on paper (or a computer screen) after what seemed like a million rewrites, of course. The intention is to confront life's contradictions, both big and small, with self-awareness and sardonic humor.