The Tyranny of the Trivial

He fumes:
“What possesses people to idolize the ordinary,
to minimize the vastness of skies we all carry,
within? No doubt, every place is the center of some universe,
but isn’t there a difference, some better and worse
among the things we could be, between roads taken?
Or have I just been forsaken on a planet not of my choosing,
where two-penny thoughts are king,
and kings, like Bird, can’t win for losing?
Why can’t people strive for better, not just observe
the letter of the laws of the Universe, not just get along,
pat each other on the back for any old song, or worse?
No doubt there’s envy here, rearing its ugly head,
but isn’t high school ever done, where the dumbest goon
takes the loveliest flower to bed? And when’s the turn
for those of us with real ideas in our head to have our say?
Or should we simply—and please, nice and quietly—
slink away, pretending that it’s fine, it’s OK
to sink down into the common denominator, just say ‘later’
to hopes and dreams, to getting closer
to what things really mean, underneath?
Do we really need to ‘keep it brief, son,’
because it’s time to party, have some fun,
play Trivial Pursuits in a convivial manner,
turn on Country Hoots and blather on
about whatever, doesn’t matter?”

The Chinese herbalist, Madame Wu-Wei, listens to him rant,
shakes her head, then says in her ancient, raspy, broken English:
“You no longer young-time boy no more, sonny.
When you going stop attaching to how things turn out, eh?
Life random, like dropping marbles in top of sorting machine.
Which slot it lands, no matter. All same. What you need. All beautiful.
All ’cause of laws you no see. You keep eyes open, heart open,
someday see much more why things happen.
Try be peaceful too, behind other emotions.
Just see clear as you can each ball dropping in slot.
Be thanking something bigger than you all time you can.
Go now, smile sometimes, love as much you can this world,
All else come to you at right time, sonny. No problem, you’ll see.”

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