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Sometimes

Sometimes, when fire attracts
you, your scalded hands burn
Prudent rulers expect the
malign acts of their enemies

Not equality though it pretends—
a sometime democracy, though not
always—like Augustus who pretended,
that, in form, his  dictatorship was the

continuation of the Roman republic
Sometimes enough is enough and
despite the easily manipulated, ignorant,
poor racist bores, his followers, we’ll

rid ourselves of this scourge, maybe
Sometimes ours is a reactionary
aristocracy, whose police incarcerate
whom they please and shoot to kill

Gentle pleasures and peace of mind,
emotionally honest, pure
He loved them both but never
expected the two to meet

Sometimes, simple in a deep way,
he wouldn’t give up on you
He would sometimes provide the
way a wolf provides for its pack

The tough egoist of a partner assigned
to me, then a young lawyer, an interpretation
of an obscure, tedious, 1980s oil statute
soon (though we didn’t know that) to be

repealed—“Are you sure?” he intimidates
“I’m sure” I say, but he asks the same
question again, and this time I say
“I’ll stake your reputation on it”

Romans despised the Greeks
for their cunning and trickery
and because of their devastating,
complete dynastic collapse  

But they sometimes admired,
even emulated, the Greek culture,
their learning, their inventiveness
and style—Everything great about

Roman sculpture, architecture and
poetry stemmed, took from and imitated
the Greeks—Truth doesn’t contradict
truth and that weak former camp

follower wrote a very bad book,
as a bad person will, filled with tales
of ornery machinations, disgrace and
corrupt, bad faith-based revelations

Sometimes for some, thinking is
as necessary as breathing, but they’re
rather rare—most of us do so little of it
and engage in life deadening imperceptions

of feeling—She spoke so desperately
that day with the intensity, the pitiful
pleadings of an addict but later claimed she
wasn’t addicted to drugs, but sick in spirit

and mind and so she lied and lied and lied
and sometimes, with some perfect embroidery,
told a sort of truth because, sometimes,
even the most pathetic strivings are true

So much has been erased, so
much has been retained—She
may have won this game only because
I didn’t then think we were playing

My mother wouldn’t accept the concept
of imaginary numbers (the square root
of -1) because she didn’t think numbers
are ideas—Numbers are ideas

We’ve no right to believe anything
worthy is derived from ignorance—
Faith is ignorance
We can hope that when the

demagogue, like the mediocre bore
that he is, gives his speech for the 100th
time the faithful will sigh and cover
their faces in bored exasperation 

If death’s the end then most of what
matters to us is already known to us
But while we can’t know that death’s the end
it’s certainly past the limits of our sight

If love could heal her, she would have fully
healed— a person may sometimes heal a bit—
and her savage wild trickery may for a time, like
a gift, reflect a strange sort of inner-happiness

-June 27, 2020-