Larry Brody’s Poetry: ‘A Will Of Its Own’

by Larry Brody

NOTE FROM LB

The following poem, which I just reread for the first time in almost as many years as I’d lived when I wrote it, surprises me. I don’t want to do spoilers (God forbid!), but when these words first came poring out of me I read them as meaning something completely different from what they mean to me now. Wondering – Who was I then? Who am I now?


A Will Of Its Own

Having read Don Quixote, and the works of Nietzsche,

And Sartre, having seen Long Day’s Journey Into Night,

And the paintings of Picasso and Miro,

I became convinced at eighteen that my

Purpose was the search. It wasn’t the

Discovery of life’s meaning that meant a

Damn thing, but rather the hunt. This was my

Credo, my beacon, my purpose, and for

Thirty years I kept it before my dimming eyes.

Sometimes I lost my way, and several times

My self, but the search continued

Regardless, as though with a will of

Its own.

A will of its own.

A will of its own.

Now Don Quixote has lost its power over me,

And Nietzsche and Sartre appear far away.

Eugene O’Neil’s dramatic voice seems both

Stilted and shrill, and I can’t separate the

Imitators from Picasso and Miro. Yet the search

Goes on, even without strong conviction, my

Will having become my

Must.

Few lessons are as painful as those that

Teach that freedom has been not true.

For years I roamed under the illusion

Of wanting, but with the desire gone still I have

The need.

Credo, beacon, and purpose have left me,

But the act continues, and my legs grow

As weak as my belief. The search

For something I no longer believe in

Continues, with

A will of its own.

A will of its own.

It continues with a will of its own.


Larry Brody is the head dood at TVWriter™. He is posting at least one poem a week here at TVWriter™ because, as the Navajo Dog herself once pointed out, “Art has to be free. If you create it for money, you lose your vision, and yourself.” She said it shorter, though, with just a snort.

Larry Brody’s Poetry: ‘Two by LB’

 

by Larry Brody

NOTE FROM LB

If not proof at least evidence that sometimes people really do change. Short poems (the first probably could have been a tweet but we don’t have them back in the 1990s), yet oh-so insightful. Maybe. I hope.

Anyway:


Relative Values
(by Kid Hollywood)

To Indian People an eagle feather means manhood.

My bar mitzvah symbolized the same thing,

And I netted three grand.


It’s The Bells That Have All The Magic
(by No Longer Kid Hollywood)

It’s the bells that have all the magic.

They announce the coming of the gods.

Indian dancers wear them around their

Ankles, and every jingle brings the gift of past

Glory closer to the dust of today.
When I watch the fancy dancers in their

Feathers and beads, I long to join them,

And be taken over by some greater force.

To give yourself up to the bells’ jingling

Is to feel a power beyond any on earth.
It’s the bells that have all the magic.

My soul vibrates with their call.


Larry Brody is the head dood at TVWriter™. He is posting at least one poem a week here at TVWriter™ because, as the Navajo Dog herself once pointed out, “Art has to be free. If you create it for money, you lose your vision, and yourself.” She said it shorter, though, with just a snort.

Larry Brody’s Poetry: ‘A Recurring Dream’

Found on the interwebs

by Larry Brody

NOTE FROM LB

The Navajo Dog is sitting this one out, and my subconscious has replaced magic this time around. Or has it? (Warning: This sucker looks longer than it really is.


A Recurring Dream

A Recurring Dream

I have a recurring dream. I’m a scout

For a tribe of primitives seeking a

New home. Sometimes we’re Celts, sometimes

Native Americans, sometimes even aliens on

Another planet. Always, I’m ahead of the group,

Walking across flat land. Sometimes I reach the

Sea, where a huge rock rears up just offshore.

Sometimes I reach a rocky mesa, or

A grassy plateau. Always, I know that

This tall formation with almost vertical sides

And a smooth, flat top is the place my people

Need. Always, I know that at the top (where

I can’t see) is a stretch of land perfect for our

Crops and our homes.

Always, though, I have to make sure. I start

Climbing, looking for handholds, struggling and

Scraping, tearing my clothing (if I wear any)

And my skin. Always, the top is farther than

It appeared, and I have to climb, and climb,

Growing more and more tired. My cuts throb,

And my muscles ache, but never do I stop,

Or even slow, because I know, by the time

I’m halfway up, that the one I love waits—

Somehow—

Up above. I can’t see her, or hear her,

But I’m certain she’s there, and I know

She’s waiting,

Waiting for me.

I grow weaker, and lose my grip, almost

Falling, then catch myself just in time.

I call out to the one I love,

But she doesn’t reply.

Sometimes at this point in the dream

I turn and look back where I came

From, and when I do, invariably—

Always!—

I fall! I roll head over heels, and

Plummet downward, my stomach

Knotting with fear, and the knowledge of

Certain death. Whenever I fall—

Always!—

I hit the sea, or the ground, with

Enough force to feel my spine snap,

My head crack, and I die.

Above me waits the salvation of my people,

Above me waits my love…but I die.

Sometimes, though, at this point in the dream,

I keep my eyes forward, going onward,

Only onward,

And I stay on the side of the rock.

But even then, no matter how long I keep

Climbing, eventually I wake before

Reaching the top.

Above me waits the salvation of my people,

Above me waits my love… but I wake.

That’s it. That’s my dream. I’ve

Had it for years. Dream books and therapists

Probably can tell me its meaning. All

I need do, I’m sure, is ask.

But to me interpretation is only sometimes,

While—always!—I must climb.


Larry Brody is the head dood at TVWriter™. He is posting at least one poem a week here at TVWriter™ because, as the Navajo Dog herself once pointed out, “Art has to be free. If you create it for money, you lose your vision, and yourself.” She said it shorter, though, with just a snort.

Larry Brody’s Poetry: ‘The Navajo Dog Takes Care Of Her Own’

by Larry Brody

NOTE FROM LB

Another true life adventure with the Navajo Dog, better known during her time on this planet in this particular form as D’neh. How much did D’neh mean to me? Let me put it this way. Without her, I would never have been able to become myself:


The Navajo Dog Takes Care Of Her Own

The Navajo dog takes care of her own.

She hates other dogs, thinks they’re stupid and obnoxious,

Won’t let one within ten feet of her. She snarls,

And growls, and snaps, and even the dumbest

And most obnoxious canine backs off. One day,

Though, we were walking with Boomer, the Golden

Retriever who had come to live with us,

And he went bounding forward in search, I suppose,

Of hunting dog adventure. The Navajo dog shook

Her head with disgust. “Dogs!” she muttered,

As if that explained all.

But then we heard a bark from the stand of

Trees Boomer had run to, and a series of

Sharp, doggy cries. The Navajo dog didn’t

Hesitate. She ran forward, and vanished into the woods.

I ran after her, and when I reached the trees

I saw Boomer being attacked by

A Doberman and a St. Bernard.

He didn’t know what to do.

The Navajo dog’s ears went back,

Her tail swung from side to side

And with a howl that only could have

Come from years of Indian suffering,

Of agony and rage,

She launched herself into the air.

I swear that little dog made a forty foot leap,

Flying right to the head of the Doberman.

She was still howling as her jaws clamped onto him,

The sound rising like that of a jet engine as his ear ripped

From her foe’s head. The Navajo dog hit the ground,

Still holding her prize, and the Doberman gave

Her a startled look, then squealed, and fled

As though chased by an entire Navajo Nation of

Small red and white dogs. The St. Bernard followed,

And only the Navajo dog, Boomer, and I were left.

The Navajo dog ran back to me, covered with blood,

And spat the ear at my feet, while Boomer came to

Nuzzle her in dog thanks. The Navajo dog snarled, and

Growled, and snapped, and, Boomer, neither dumb

No obnoxious, slunk away. I knelt down to get a better

Look at the Doberman’s lost and ruined part.

“Why?” I said to the Navajo dog.

The Navajo dog rubbed her wet muzzle with a paw,

Trying to wipe off the blood.

She looked over at where Boomer

Had hunkered down to lick his wounds.

“He isn’t much,” she said, “but he’s mine.”


Larry Brody is the head dood at TVWriter™. He is posting at least one poem a week here at TVWriter™ because, as the Navajo Dog herself once pointed out, “Art has to be free. If you create it for money, you lose your vision, and yourself.” She said it shorter, though, with just a snort.

Larry Brody’s Poetry: ‘Dogs Protect You From Death’

Walk into the light

by Larry Brody

NOTE FROM LB

Life with the Navajo Dog was always special.  She wasn’t exactly the friendliest bitch in the pack. In fact, most of the time it was clear that there was only one other living being for whom she had positive feelings, and his initials were LB. But still, she shared the middle years of her life with another canine, and defended and taught him as well as me. They even worked together from time to time, and it was on one such occasion that I learned the following lesson:


Dogs Protect You From Death

Dogs protect you from Death.

I know it. I saw.

I was pumping water from the well when I heard

Barking over by the gate. A sleek black presence

Stood outside it, on four massive paws. All shadows

It was, even at midday, and the eyes–

Ah, It was the eyes gave it away, They

Were like holes, pools of blackness,

The darkest and grimmest of the

Creature’s dark and grim parts.

The presence stalked from one side of the

Gate to the other, the ground shaking with

Each step, and its massive head lowered,

And pushed at the chain. But try as it might,

Death couldn’t enter that day.

Both my dogs were there waiting,

And they knew exactly what they faced.

Hair bristling, teeth snapping, the dogs sounded their

Defiance in voices deeper

Than even Death dared to go.

The shadow hesitated, as though in great surprise,

And flickered like a candle at its end.

Still the dogs barked, until at last

The monster tucked in its tail, and turned,

Ran. I hurried to the dogs,

To thank and reassure them,

But they were celebrating already,

By lying down to bask in the sun.

Someday dark Death will return, I am certain,

But not until after D’neh and Boomer are gone.


Larry Brody is the head dood at TVWriter™. He is posting at least one poem a week here at TVWriter™ because, as the Navajo Dog herself once pointed out, “Art has to be free. If you create it for money, you lose your vision, and yourself.” She said it shorter, though, with just a snort.

Larry Brody’s Poetry: ‘The Kickboxer’s Story’

by Larry Brody

NOTE FROM LB

Another true story, from a time in my life before the Navajo Dog. There were blanks in this one that I had to fill in as best I could, so, yeah, let’s just call it fiction about how things never turn out the way we intend, hope, or expect…and yet some of us at least survive.


The Kickboxer’s Story

We were the best once, the three of us. Packy was the champ’s Champ,

Three different weight classes at once.

Rosie was the best woman fighter on the planet,

Did a spinning back kick that slammed your ribs right up against

Your spine. I was the Middleweight Professional Karate

Champion of the World. We traveled everywhere together,

Fighting and teaching and fighting some more. It sure

Beat staying in Pacoima, watching our brothers

Die for turf. Rosie was Packy’s little sister,

But I loved her almost as much as I loved him.

Couldn’t wait to get married, although I had a lot of

Convincing to do. At last she agreed, but we had to settle

Down. No more jetting everywhere. Pick a good, healthy

Place and have kids. I liked the idea of it. Besides, I was

Getting tired of being kicked in the head. Things that’d

Been easy for me to do, and to think about, were starting to

Get real tough. People would come up and slap me on the

Shoulder and say hi like old buddies,

And I wouldn’t remember them at all. So we found this

Place in the north Valley, and I rented Rosie a house,

While Packy and me opened a school.

A comic book company started writing about

His adventures. The Leader of the Pack! and even included me

at his side. We were retired, but we were famous!

At least, Packy was famous. I was Smilin’ Sammy,

His shadow, the dude you had to get through to try him.

The school did good, and Rosie and I

Did better, and we had a son. Bobby was a great baby,

And he grew up big and wide so he didn’t look like no Barrio

Boy like me. Then the gangs discovered the school,

And me and Packy were fighting again for real.

Action in the parking lot! I tell you. More

Kicks, both given and got. Eventually the gangbangers caught

On that we were more trouble than them, and they started

Coming to learn. We opened a second place, and you know what

That’s like. Lost our asses. Couldn’t make any of the rent.

Packy hit the road again, fighting for dough,

Sending it back to Rosie and me. With her teaching now,

Working beside me, we got out of the jam.

Football turned out to be Bobby’s thing. At fifteen,

He was the starting fullback at Canyon Country High.

All right! Yaay, Bobby! He had good moves, and a

Future that would’ve turned Packy right into the past.

Then one day Rosie and me got a call.

Police wanted us to come and look at something.

Turned out it was Bobby, and he was dead.

He was out driving with some friends who were

Teaching him how to work a stick shift, when a

Carload of gangbangers came up and

Shot him twice in the chest. Cops had the guys that

Did it, and Rosie and me, well, we knew them from the

School, thought we’d really turned ‘em around.

I cried my eyes out, but Rosie stayed strong.

Not a sign of what she felt. We talked, though.

How we talked! All those years, all that work,

And “Where’s Bobby?” “Oh, he’s planted real nice

In the ground.” But Packy was still famous,

And I was still Smilin’ Sammy, the dude you had to get through

To try him. I went to the Church, but nobody there

Had an answer. Went back to the graveyard, and asked

Bobby instead. He hovered over the gravestone, Like a

Shadow on the wrong side of the sun,

Looking more like his old man than her ever did in life,

And he told me he’d been thinking, and talking to some of the

Folks up where he was. Said God had been worried about

The company he was keeping, and decided

To take him before he could go bad. Said it was okay there,

Not to worry, everybody knew us, and wished us real well.

I kissed Bobby good-bye, went home, and told Rosie,

And now she let out her tears. Hit me harder than

She’d ever kicked any opponent, said she hated

Me, and hated her brother still more. She packed her things,

And she lit out the door.

I love my wife, and I love Benny, and once I even loved

Being Former Middleweight Champ, but now I keep trying

To think. Not even Bobby was able to answer my question,

So I’ve got to put it to his new friends.

Can one of you angels please tell me,

Why even when you win,

You get kicked in the head?


Larry Brody is the head dood at TVWriter™. He is posting at least one poem a week here at TVWriter™ because, as the Navajo Dog herself once pointed out, “Art has to be free. If you create it for money, you lose your vision, and yourself.” She said it shorter, though, with just a snort.

Larry Brody’s Poetry: ‘The Word Hopi Means Peace’

by Larry Brody

NOTE FROM LB

The Navajo Dog and I had many years’ worth of adventure together. We went places where we experienced things so powerful that they punched through the armor I had developed to defend my Asperger’s soul. Yet somehow my friend and I survived to tell true tales like the one that follows, a memory of something I wish had never had to happen…yet will hold onto even when my body is dust.


The Word Hopi Means Peace

The word Hopi means “peace,” but

A war rages there. I found out about it

During a visit with the Navajo dog. The Hopi

Elder was about to go to a meeting with—

Get this—a member of the U.N. The Hopi

Wanted the U.N. to investigate Indian

Life, and force changes. While we were

Getting ready for the trek up Big Mountain,

Where the meeting was to be held, the elder

Got a phone call. His son had just been

Arrested by rangers from the Bureau of

Indian Affairs. The charge was driving while

Drunk. Since the youth had left us only

Moments earlier, completely sober, this

Didn’t make sense, and the Hopi

Elder, the Navajo dog, and I piled into my

Truck to see what was going on.

We got to the gas station where the rangers

And the young Hopi were, and he was in

Handcuffs, struggling and cursing, while

A small crowd looked on.

He stank of whiskey also, if he’d been doused

Like in a bad movie. The rangers

Were both Indians, one Hopi, one Navajo.

They apologized to the Hopi elder for

Having to bring in his son. Unfortunately,

They added, they would also have to bring

In his truck.

Now this truck was the elder’s only transportation,

His only way to get to the meeting if I hadn’t been

There. The Navajo dog and I exchanged glances,

And she nodded. “I saw this picture,” she said.

“Hell,” I said, “I wrote it.”

“Hush,” said the elder. “Don’t worry. It’ll be fine.”

“All you know is peace,” said the Navajo dog.

“For four hundred years your people have

Thought all would be fine.

My people know different,” she said, and:

“Listen, I have some connections. Let me see

What I can do.

It all depends,” she added, “on if I can find a

Way to get through.”

And with that the Navajo dog began chanting.

She danced, and howled, and moaned. Her

Paws were like beaters, and she gave a

Steady heartbeat to the earth. The rangers

Stared at this crazy animal, and so did the

Others looking on. Some offered advice

About how to stop fits. One of the rangers

Actually reached for his gun.

Then the sky clouded over, thunder

Clapped, and lightning exploded!

And new voices joined in from the sky.

We stared upward, and saw the Kachinas,

Hopi ancestors, gods, helmeted,

Horned, and feathered, and they were all

Staring down. Huge, they were, like

Children who played with human-sized dolls.

The spirits looked at the rangers, and at the

Hopi elder’s son. They looked at the

Dancing Navajo dog.

Then they spoke together, in a chorus

That made the mesas shake. Buttes

Quivered, trees bent, people threw

Themselves to the ground. I didn’t speak

The language, but I felt its meaning

Drive through me, lightning flashing old

Images in my soul.

I saw birth. I saw growing things.

I saw endings.

A people gathered in prayer.

Sky cities merging all into one.

And I knew the Kachinas were speaking of

The Unity they saw as life under this sun.

More thunder resounded. More lightning

Crashed down. Then, just as they had appeared,

The spirits were gone. The Navajo dog

Sat calmly, looked around as though

Everyone else was crazier than she.

The rangers backed to their horses, spoke

Quietly, then came forward again.

One of them unlocked their prisoner’s cuffs.

The other handed the Hopi elder the keys

To his truck. “Take the boy home,

Sober him up, we’re sorry,” they said,

And the Navajo dog blew out a

Noseful of dust.

“Take him home, we’re sorry,”

They said again,

And the dog yipped in quiet approval this time.

The rangers climbed into their saddles,

Rode off, and the Hopi elder turned to the

Navajo dog. “Thank you,” he said.

“They didn’t do it for me,” said the Navajo

Dog. “Nor did they do it for you, or your

Son.”

The Hopi elder nodded. His eagle’s eyes

Glinted. He said I word I didn’t know, but

I knew what it meant: “For all.”

We went to the meeting in two vehicles,

His truck and mine. It was a rough ride,

And along the way we stopped at a hogun

And picked up a Navajo farmer, an old

Lady in turquoise, who immediately

Recognized the Navajo dog.

They talked about other wars they had

Been in together, and rejoiced at

Being able to fight again.

When we got to the meeting place,

It was like a festival, with food, drink, and

A rock ‘n’ roll band.

But the U.N. representative must have gotten

Lost somewhere,

Or sidetracked,

Or arrested for drunk driving,

For he never even showed his face.


Larry Brody is the head dood at TVWriter™. He is posting at least one poem a week here at TVWriter™ because, as the Navajo Dog herself once pointed out, “Art has to be free. If you create it for money, you lose your vision, and yourself.” She said it shorter, though, with just a snort.