Long ago songs for others have all said it before Where what 'was' crosses what 'is,' it becomes 'either' and 'or'-- They say if you don't do it, it'll never get done I have to care about two from the actions of one . When it's love--so often you want more than words The poet finds the extra in the love songs of birds. Like a song out of tune, a feeling misplaced For nothing of value a true thing's disgraced. Sometimes don't you find that your own feelings are better? The words of the poet do not loose the fetters. You look for an answer where you know the answer is found But the words and the feelings together don't make the right sound. If it's love, you feel right things too often to let them go by But for nothing of value you're only left with a sigh. Sighs are the last excuse left to fall back on your pride If you've lost nothing of value to your answer they guide. Sometimes I wonder why I bother with things I can't see: It's a start...with just feelings And if I lose, I've still got me. For something unique it's as if it'll never get done-- When long ago songs end--I continue as one. Seasons come and seasons go... One's the same as the last in an endless flow. We couldn't see eye to eye so a table kept us apart Like the reasons for tears that tear at the hearts. Making love in a desert with nothing of value to hide Where the only reasons for living must come from inside. They put guns in the turnstiles and snipers in the gallery. They say money won't buy me happiness-- So they deduct it from my salary. They cut the trees in the forest and made them into boards The boards became those tables--a new kind of swords. You lift a rock and a snake you'll find If it ain't been here before, it's all in your mind . If it's been here before the worth's always clear Like a pressed rose in a Bible, the inside's more dear . If a long ago song was ever for two Not for him or for her but from me to you Was there some reason, some feeling unsaid? Some moments of loving that my actions left unfed? A caress, a tear: where hearts have not been A lone, lonely kiss on a desert unseen. Your eyes, your lips, your nose, your limbs Like right words or wrong words to each their beauty are whims. When it's nothing of value there can be no loss The right word, the wrong word--it's a coin that's been tossed. Your eyes, your lips, your nose, your limbs All right words and wrong words like tossed coins are whims. If a coin must be tossed--the motive's not clear Like everything hoped for there's something most dear. If you toss the coin high and away far from sight Beyond speculation, comparison and candle-lit nights... If the coin stays aloft in the air over all Forgetting all laws and the reasoner's call Where simple decision of right over wrong Is not who wins what but it's in the air for how long... It's the question of value that never replies The answer's within you beyond all your sighs. It's the answer to the question that'll never get done Until you care about nothing instead of just one. There's no sense to it all There's no point in choosing, If you pick some over others You make sure it's you losing. It's nothing nothing nothing no scenes no distinctions. The end byproduct of exclusions is systematic extinctions. They'll find you riddles where no riddles are found. They'll make you question each look and each sound. They'll tell you you're wrong when you know that you're right. They'll cover the sunshine and neon your nights. They'll tell you it's better to be better than some Till everyone you meet leaves your voice blind and dumb. They'll show you a flower after the flower's long dead And show you fine ways to give it life in your head. But under the footsteps you'll take as they led Will be the less living instead of the dead. They'll give you answers where no questions were asked What was simple and good they'll make now your task. Is this what you need--nothing of value-- If you could Could I ask Well then, "Shall you?" They gave you a name to set you apart To give you individuality in mentality and heart. (in whispered tones) "They" are made out of brick and "they" are made out of boards. Inanimate objects are our new feudal lords. It's a question of value and what is to be Sometimes there's more to reality than just what you see. Objects have no faces that betray with a frown They don't lose their tempers and jump up and down. If they make mistakes they need not reply They give you the satisfaction in turn of a well-thought-out sigh. Words flow like waters on beercan-strewn streams (I hate to break up real scenes with romantic dreams But to point like a beercan in the waters of the river-- It's no deal with a taker A fakir Or just giver). Spinning words like pressed roses--they always amass Into memories that span oceans--the distance is vast. Between the near points of focus where nothing is clear-- Those stupid, dumb moments where hope conquers fear Is nothing of value, they're small strokes on your clock And for strokes and pressed roses, the outsides are hocked. If you look at the river you see nothing you can hold The waters change The reflections change And we We get old. Poets pick images like a river you see Because it's constant but changing Like water Like you and me. Leaders come and Leaders go Over the moss the waters flow. Winter brings springtime and summer gives fall The trees change their colours And then cover us all. When the tossed coin has fallen, no answers remain Bright, shiny pebbles for a state dinner After the rain. It's riddled you this and it's riddled you that There's no clear cut answer except where you sat. If I could choose words to put those points all across You see it's the right words And the wrong words-- It's a coin that's been tossed. Pressed roses of summer where the seasons have been In the winter are roses where the trees still seem green. But like nothing of value there's no sense to what you see It's times that were wasted beyond where we'll be. A pressed rose marks progress or some moment surrendered Like enduring, flowing waters that the paintbrush has rendered. A chance that was taken and then kept in a jar Says less who you be and more what you are. When the seasons change and your children grow Do you see where you end and where your futures go? They neoned your nights and made your worth while It's more nothing of value More of the same... or denial. A caress, a tear Where hearts have not been There "they" are It makes sense But it's you and me caught in between. It's a line of division where groupings diminish Where when you are left you it's who remains at the finish. Don't take offence set aside your tables-- Put people in their own shoes and horses in stables. When the systems prevail and all memories deny-- You give them their due By your lives... and where you were proud you sighed. I won't argue the sense or the need for our words Farmers, cats and heavens (in their ways)-- All need birds. If you take a shiny pebble where the river has run And take for your answer Nothing of value-- Instead of the actions of one... If I have to lose, then let my feelings be told, My feelings are mine, they're not bought or sold. If I picked the wrong word, if I pick the right Except for your vanity You are beyond your own sight. So what I say is all to me that you'll be I can't see too clearly because you're all that I see. I wish I could be Who I never can see And rely on no more than All I can be. And forget pressed roses And coins And pebbles and Things that don't matter. For the loss of obscurity I'll be none the sadder. To learn from the sighs that between two it's clear That no wrong words remain when the right ones are dear. Empty words are like hopes unfulfilled Like second best choices and acting as thrilled... I've made mistakes that I'll have to live with for good It's just that it wasn't that I wouldn't It's always been that I would. Hopes are what you never had Losing things will make you sad. If you don't believe me now After all those tears that we cried, You've turned the inside out And put the out inside. So last of everything you'll see Is everything left of what was to be. Or first of all, waters wash us clean And us clear But need bridges for the humans Who have hopes and have fears.
'Nothing of Value'
--by GORDON C. WONG,
from "What Lies Beyond This Door",*
copyright 1981 by GORDON C. WONG