The Algebra of Yes and No


The left-hander’s eye
locates the blade of the chainsaw
so close to his leg

Jim Bodeen               
5 November 2013


The body itself
Eat the food, not the idea
Small trees in winter

Jim Bodeen
5 November 2013


Stunning certainty
Before experience
Being here for you

Jim Bodeen
3 November 2013

The Holy Yes and the Holy No

Say no to stay in town.
Say yes to get out of town.
Brought up to say yes.
Yes everyday for years.

Say yes and go to work.
Say yes and go to war.
Making the mistakes of yes.
All the mistakes saying yes can make.

The people who know:
That guy has trouble saying no.
Yes takes you so many places.
Coming back from war

knowing I had to learn about no,
first saying yes to Karen.
The great yes.
Then went on saying yes.

Yes to Christ (head-truth).
First said no.
Only premonitions.
No to the heart.

Yes and no.
Yes in the face of no.
No in the face of yes.
Only in the head.

Yes until Yes was exhausted.
Had nothing left. No yes. No no.
Said yes when my body said no.
Yes until it falls.

No came down and saved me.
The great no. The no of refusal.
The no that says enough.
Poet of yes and no.

Into a room every day,
five times a day,  yes to others.
The practice yes.

The practice of yes.
The lifetime of yes.
Yes to Her.
Yes I had to say saying no to myself.

When the no came She let me go.
She did. Now, She said,
I want you to say no.
Say no until it’s yours.

Say no to others.
Say no.
Say no to everything else.
Say no to others so you can say yes to the poem.

You will never work for anything else again.
Ever. As long as you say no.
Say no to everything that is not the poem.
The poem will be there if you say no.

This is the great refusal.
This is the great no.
Another form of apprenticeship.
The next step.

Jim Bodeen
29 October 2013-1 November 2013

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