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Perhaps the truest axiom in baseball is that the toughest thing to do is repeat.

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Perhaps the Familiarity Warrants the Disrespect

I've already done the pauper bit.
And discovered quick,
An array of sentiments in my direction sent.

I've done the all for one and one for all crusades.
To be kicked to the curb several times.
And then to be given 'attitude' and 'shade'.

I've attempted to give and received a lot that was rotten.
But I have never forgotten where I've come from.
I am there physically to be seen.
And perhaps the familiarity warrants the disrespect.

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Perhaps The Cat!

he rose from the coffin,
shook himself, and walked,
out the door, out of sight.
the body he left behind,
nothing but an empty shell!
the mourners wept for the body.
who sings the song of
the spirit set free?
who sees with his eyes?
who knows his heart?
perhaps the blind man
at the piano...
perhaps the cat that followed
his steps, in search of food!
perhaps the wind that
closed the door behind...
perhaps the ones who really loved,
or the child waving at the window!

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I Am Not The Poet's Poet But Perhaps The Would- Be- Poet's Would-Be Poet

I AM NOT THE POET’S POET BUT PERHAPS THE WOULD- BE- POETS WOULD – BE –POET

I am not the poet’s poet-
The one poets of name and fame admire-
But perhaps the would- be- poets would be – poet-
Who tries to be a poet
And tries to understand what it means
To love poetry and live by writing it
Even when the world does not recognize me..
.

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Perhaps the World Was Held on a Thin String

Perhaps the world is held on a thin string.
Twirling and spinning as days pass on by.
Obliviousness is sin.

Perhaps you'll learn how light wanes.
The tragedy of night,
mirrors nothingness in the day.

Perhaps in a moment, you will say
'tis only an hour,
but an hour here today.'

And if love portrays itself as spring in the sun,
it's beauty can be missed,
for in the night it will be done.

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The Only Thing That Matters

When I thought I had it
all figured out,
You came along and looked at me
and along came the doubt.
No more easy feeling was with me anymore,
No more quiet sleeping like I did before
I questioned my sanity
and even my vanity.
But no, there was much more to it than that.
There was something so real
that you made me feel
and all that came before you,
I left behind.

No ifs or whys
are important to me now.
The only thing that matters
is you somehow.
No laughs or cries
can change what's here.
The only thing that matters
is having you near.

The biggest thing I left behind
were my days without you.
They're long forgotten.
For me there's only you.

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The Only Thing That Looks Good On Me Is You

I don't look good in no Armani Suits
No Gucci shoes - or designer boots
I've tried the latest lines from A to Z
But there's just one thing that looks good on me

Chorus

The only thing I want
The only thing I need
The only thing I choose
The only thing that looks good on me...is you

I'm not satisfied with Versace style
Put those patent leather pants - in the circular file
Sometimes I think - I might be lookin' good
But there's only one thing that fits me like it should

Chorus

The only thing I want
The only thing I need
The only thing I choose
The only thing that looks good on me...is you

Ya it's you - it could only be you
Nobody else will ever do
Ya baby it's you - that I stick to
Ya we stick like glue

Chorus

The only thing I want
The only thing I need
The only thing I choose
The only thing that looks good on me...is you


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Am I The Only Thing That Youve Done Wrong

(billy joe faster/lee ann womack/jason sellers)
Youre the life of the party
You stand out in a crowd
When I think of all the things youve done
It always makes me proud
But tonight Im feeling empty
It seems Im always here alone
Am I the only thing youve done wrong
Am I the only one that youve forgotten on the way
To gain the world and lose our love
Is to high a price to pay
In your long line of successes
Tell me where do I belong
Am I the only thing youve done wrong
You got another big promotion
Youre the best man on the crew
When you set your mind on something
Theres nothing you cant do
This house you built is perfect
Were the envy of the town
But lord its lonley here when youre not around


Am I the only one that youve forgotten on the way
To gain the world and lose our love
Is to high a price to pay
In your long line of successes
Tell me where do I belong
Am I the only thing youve done wrong
Oh am I the only thing youve done wrong

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The Very Thing That Makes You Rich

My father told me, lying on his bed of death,
"boy," he says, "woman she's gonna make it, don't fool your self
'cause she's got something to make a man lay that money, uh, right in her hand
And the very thing that makes her rich will make you poor
The very thing that makes her rich will make you poor"
That's right!
Well, i put you behind the wheel of a deuce and a quarter, yes i did
Had you living like a rich man's daughter, yes i did, i sure did
While you were living high on the hog
You had me down here scuffling like a dog
Well, the very thing that makes you rich makes me poor
The very thing that makes you rich makes me poor
Don't you never ever make such a bad mistake
You know i'd rather climb into bed with a rattlesnake
Then to work hard every day bringing that woman all my pay
The very thing that makes you rich makes me poor,
Makes me so damn poor
The thing that makes her rich makes me poor
The very thing that makes you rich make me poor
Very thing that makes you rich makes me poor
Makes me so damned poor
Money won't change it, no no...

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The Only Thing That Concerns Me

Don't you think it a bit unusual,
To be a grown man...
Divorced and living alone?
Paying your own way unsubsidized?
And living entirely on a fixed income.
And 'pretending' to be happy.
Without masquerade or disguise?
And...
Getting things done by yourself?
Just you and no one else.
I don't mean to pry...
But don't you think this is kinda weird?
How you manage to live your life!

'Well...
Honestly? Yes, I do Mrs. Smith.
Especially since the majority of my neighbors,
Are single women raising children.
From different fathers who have become distanced.

And these same women gossip about the flaws,
And blemishes of weak men.
I didn't want to mention this...
But there are at least four working women,
Living nearby in one household.
Raising two young unruly boys...
Like you and your grown daughters do.

So yes...
Mrs. smith I do find my situation most unusual.
I do.
Very strange in this environment!
But...
The only thing that concerns me,
Is the normalcy your grandsons believe...
The lifestyle you feed them is!
And they think of me as the 'freak'!
And I know that is with your encouragement! '

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The Only Thing That I Have Left

(clay blaker)
(track 3 - time 3:23)
Some people say Im one of those guys with blessings in life overlooked
Sometimes I feel like the tatter torn pages of some old paperback book
All the places Ive played and the money Ive made still Ive got nothing to show
And the only thing that I have left in the whole wide world is you
You put your whole life into somethin you love and you never get that one big break
Thatll take you out of the back street bars and put you on center stage
But a million tears and a million beers have just about washed me up
And the only thing that I have left in the whole wide world is you
I gave it all I had every night for all these years
Pourin out my soul til it was gone
I spread myself so thin and Im just barely hangin on
But tonight Im with you and you can carry me through
Just love me
cuz the only thing that I have left in the whole wide world is you
I gave it all I had every night for all these years
Pourin out my soul til it was gone
I spread myself so thin and Im just barely hangin on
But tonight Im with you and you can carry me through
Just love me
cuz the only thing that I have left in the whole wide world is you
Oh, is you

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Chabi of the Okavango

Chabi Maenga bought me a chicken. It took two, three hours to cook in the big black pot and was still tough as our leather boots. A goodbye gift to me, upon my leaving the district, leaving the passenger seat by his side.

Chabi had met me in Gaborone with a newly-issued 1978 model Toyota, a boxy thing that bounced crazily on the dirt tracks but was considered state of the art at the time. We drove north until the paved road ran out, then north east across the remote reaches of the Northern Kalahari to my new duty station in Maun. We slept half-way at Serowe, at the 'we are working together' cooperative hotel, under thatch. On the second day we skirted two of the four long walls enclosing the richest diamond mine in the world and tracked the elongated fence that separated buffalo, endemic with foot-and-mouth disease, from cattle. We swung north once more as we reached the side of the 'vanishing lake', Ngami, that in some years confirmed its presence on the standard maps, and in others was simply no-where to be found. All depended on the rains in distant Angola.

Chabi and I shared that front cabin, on and off, for nearly three years. 'Call me Chabi.. like Chubby Checker' was how he introduced himself. He was early 50s, salt and pepper in his tight thin curls, and I was 24... supposedly the boss, the one who signed the requisition slips and the log book for each and every trip. But Chabi was very much in charge.

The first thing he taught me was the Tswana language. After three months by his side I was almost fluent - a status I had not remotely reached in my two years to that point in the capital city. I spoke with his northern dialect: 'f's pronounced as 'h's, 'tl's with a silent 'l'. This marked me as a man of the Okavango, the Ngami, for the rest of my days among the Tswana people. Later my wife of the southern Tswana, and her family, would tease me constantly about this northern country-bumpkin accent. But what did I care? It sounded good to me and I was proud enough simply to be rattling away in SeTwana, however rustic it might sound, and to know more or less what others were rattling. In reciprocation, I helped Chabi with his English, when he was in the mood for it.

The second thing he taught was how to shoot guinea-fowl. He did this mainly by intimidation. Since he was putting in all the hours of driving - not only did I have no licence, but he was the designated official (although I did break the central transport rules more than once when his arthritis was playing up) - and it was me who had better take care of the supper. He would slow the truck to a crawl and I would open the window as we came across a gaggle of birds on the left hand side, gesture for me to pick up his shotgun and cue me... 'ema.... ema.... jaaanu! '. And if I aimed for the centre of the crowd, and kept the gun fairly straight, we would be sure to get a couple of birds for the pot. These we would take to the local primary school and have any available hungry teachers take care of the cooking and share in the meal. This required some concentration to avoid biting down on buckshot.

But the best times we had were on the road to Shakawe. He was delighted, first of all, when I nicknamed the village at the end of the Delta, at the remote northern border, as 'Shake-a-way'. He found this unnecessarily hilarious and I backed it up with a cassette recording of the South African multi-racial band Juluka's song, 'Shake My Way'. In fact we played very little but the first few Juluka albums on my portable cassette player during those trips.

We loaded up the back of the truck with the necessary items: my metal trunk, bought from the Mazezuru (the impoverished itinerant white-clothed Jehova's Witnesses expelled from Rhodesia-Zimbabwe - as it was at the time of my purchase, temporarily - who lived by tinsmithery, also beating out conical tin tops for rondavels) , and filled with a few changes of clothes, a couple of books and plenty of 'tinned stuff', cheap imported meals such as chicken biriyani. On top of the trunk went Chabi's battered suitcase. And then the two most essential items, side by side: a barrel of drinking water, a barrel of fuel. And a prayer that the last of these should not leak or spill over anything else, along those bumpy roads.

If it was winter, it was plain sailing. The dirt roads were dry and firm and we could make it to Shakawe in a day. We would circumnavigate most of the villages along the way:

.... Sehitwa, within sight of the vanishing lake if it had not vanished, Sehitwa where an Irishman started a little fishing industry singlehanded, selling frozen bream fillets all the way down to Johannesburg, supplying my monthly 'Fishko' party... until the Lake dried up...

... Nokaneng, meaning 'by the river', but it was a river that had long disappeared with the gradual drying of the swamps that fed it;

... Tsau, a camp for road building, which had created about 20 kilometres of Norwegian-funded tarmacadam in about five years, supposedly an experiment in desert blacktop that in fact linked nothing to nothing;

.... Gomare, the district's secondary centre, with its massive 'community' school, of which I was a board member, where the board had spent years painstakingly rounding up a few cattle and bags of sorghum to finance the first classroom. These efforts had been completely bypassed by the arrival of the World Bank with nearly a million dollars, more of which appeared to be spent on highly artistic walkways than on the new classrooms;

... Etsha, a new village settled by several thousand long-term refugees from the Angolan civil war who turned out to be impressive growers of grain, unique basket designers and weavers and secret brewers of palm beer (to search for which, Chabi would occasionally take us by alternative backroads) , by a handful of Danish medical students, and by one Welshman with scores of cats who marketed the baskets to tourists and the national museum;

... Sepopa... oh, what to say about Sepopa, a village like any small and remote African village;

... and then finally, Shakawe, a busy trading post hard up by the Angolan border, with a local culture, chiefdom and opposition political party all its own.

The trip was easy between dawn and dusk, in the cold dry season. In the summertime, however, a different question entirely. With the road camp at Tsau concentrating on its lonely piece of blacktop in the middle of nowhere, the rains and the traffic - such as they were, and they were always sufficient for this at least - churned up the rest of the district roads unmercifully. There were patches of known notoriety where we were almost sure to get stuck, and no way, due to thick bush linings along the track, to avoid them. Chabi, fortunately, was a past master at laying wooden planks under the wheels and using the 4-wheel drive to get us out...eventually. The journey took two days. The floors of classrooms in Gomare, Etsha or Sepopa became our beds.

The journey took us along the outer rim of the river channels that flanked the vast inland swamp called Okavango. And it was at Shakawe that the settled population enjoyed a true and vivid view of the river, there at the ingress, the inflow which fed the intricate waterways of the swamp, the high-banked and spectacular panhandle. Shakawe perched above those fast-flowing, pure, clear waters, which over the years had slowly diminished in flow for reasons no-one seemed to fully understand. It was often the place where we started our weeklong series of Kgotla meetings, village assemblies chaired by the Chief, and addressed by the young English district officer on the subject of the latest local government plans for the area, speaking a nervous mixture of Setswana and English (Chabi or a local agricultural officer providing translation) . This was normally followed by several hours of grandstand speeches by the assembled males, rising one by one from their wood-and-leather chairs to comment on what they thought I had proposed. The meeting - perfect for total-immersion SeTswana training for the young DO - were finished off, sometimes, by an invitation from the Chief to the women, sitting on the outer margins of the throng, often with babies, to speak their minds at last.

Through many such assemblies, the oddity of my presence was remarked upon only once, by a slightly intoxicated monnamogolo (respected old man) , who approached the table at which the Chief and I sat, and called out loudly, I never thought I would see the little lady (being Queen Elizabeth, or her representative) at this Kgotla once again!

Once at Shakawe, there were three options for continuing our journey. To work our way back down the side of the Okavango, holding meetings in two villages each day, taking about a week to return to the district office and our homes in Maun. Or to head off west to visit the few remote villages - Shai-Shai, Nau-Nau, Kangwa - founded by Herero cattleowners, their wives clad in massive layers of German-inspired skirts, and their San (Bushman) herders, near the Namibian border, across which lay a land still heavily occupied by the apartheid army. Or, the most magical and exciting option of all, to drive onto the little ferry ('pontoon') and cross to the remote eastern bank of the panhandle, and drive down to the three villages that lay there, on roads that barely deserved the name. Only one trading store with the most basic items could be found in that territory, and no supplies of fuel at all. Once a month, a Baptist dentist arrived in his light plane to preach to the people, distribute Bibles, and then, only then, extract teeth. If you were stranded, and spoke politely, he might stand you a lift back home.

Snakes became caught under our wheels sometimes. Ostriches would run alongside, trying to outpace us, then following the trail in front of us. And once an elephant suddenly stepped onto the trail from its hiding place behind a tree. Chabi brought us to a massive sudden halt, and we waited, waited silently.. until the creature went on its way.

In three years, he had only one accident, and that was on the tarmac on the way back from the trip to the capital. It was dark, approaching Francistown.. and a cow had gone to sleep on one side of the road. It was a minor collision, but the government censured him anyway, after much argumentation.

When we camped in the villages at night his radio took over from my cassette player. First the Botswana news. Then the solemn reading out of those who had passed away. Followed by church music. Just right to lull us both to sleep.

Perhaps the last thing Chabi tried to teach me concerned the wizards of the forest. When, during the long hours of travelling, he would start to talk as in an obsessive trance about the 'baloi', the spirits, he would gradually enter the world of 'deep Setswana', and his meanings became lost to me. The guttural sounds of the language would become a backdropp to the noise of the engine. My lack of ability to follow him into the tales of the wizards always seemed a disappointment to him, but he never gave up completely.

Mainly, while on the road together, he and I talked like father and son, cooked and ate together, and often slept alongside each other. When back in town, however, we did not socialize. We became formal in our work environment, 'district officer' and 'driver'. Chabi never came to hear me entertain the office crowd from the District Council with my guitar on Friday nights at Le Bistro cafe on the banks of the Thamalakane river. He never invited me to meet his family or to see his home. Which is what make it all the more surprising when he turned up at my place, during my last days in Maun, with that hardy three-year-old chicken. The first thing he did was invite me to wring its neck. And not for the first time with him, I ducked this challenge.

Zimbabwe was already free and its freedom would continue for a while. The wars of Angola raged on, fueled from distant lands, while the occupation of Namibia intensified. My place at Chabi's side was taken by a young Motswana graduate, and doubtless later by another. And then, as if by a miracle, generated by the pressure of resistance in the heart of South Africa, the dark clouds began to lift across the region, and the peace that lay at the heart of Botswana began to spread to all its troubled neighbours.

Several years later, flying on the airline of newly-independent Namibia towards Zimbabwe, we landed for a few minutes in Maun to take on passengers. The village of 15,000 with its little strip of road had now turned into a lively tourist centre. I greeted the people working in the airport shed (which proudly housed an immigration and customs desk) and asked for news of Chabi Maenga. His name was well known. He had passed away a year or two before.... just as he neared his 60th birthday. How sad I felt. This man had kept me alive and safe, through many long journeys.

Juluka sing their songs of the search for the Spirit of the Great Heart. And there was Chabi of the Okavango.

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Star Trek is perhaps the best thing that ever happened to me, in a career sense.

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The Last Thing To Bring

nothing but love
still,
it is the last thing
that i carry
with me alone
to the other side of this river.

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The precious thing

Give yourself wings
And fly fly
Flow your heart with love
Feel free
'cause that the precious thing
That we have

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Bertrand Russell

To teach how to live without certainty and yet without being paralysed by hesitation is perhaps the chief thing that philosophy, in our age, can do for those who study it.

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You; |The|Only|Thing|That|Looks|Good|On|Me

Fishnet stockings
black corset
knee high converse
two lacey corset patterned arm socks
black stringy shawl
black and red dragon choker
a familiar pendulum
black and purple hair
black and purple makeup
eyebrow piercing
lip piercing
tongue piercing
prom outfit complete
the only thing missing
is you

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The Wonderful Thing About Critics

The wonderful thing about critics,
They know exactly that which is not.
And can not produce that which is!
Nothing that expresses talent.
But 'critique' with ability...
They seem to have a knack for it.
As if it is picked,
Straight from their insecurity chest!
There with the other judgements kept!

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Elizabeth Barrett Browning

The Best Thing in the World

What's the best thing in the world?
June-rose, by May-dew impearled;
Sweet south-wind, that means no rain;
Truth, not cruel to a friend;
Pleasure, not in haste to end;
Beauty, not self-decked and curled
Till its pride is over-plain;
Love, when, so, you're loved again.
What's the best thing in the world?
--Something out of it, I think.

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The Red Thing

You wandered away from me and left me lonely,
So do bear your own consequences over there with your iniquity;
And like the red thing that i saw in your room last night,
For my hope is still in the hands of the Creator.

The tip of the pit is now like the dub of the bud,
But your gum left behind in the mug will never entice me;
For the gel on your right leg was like the loop in the pool!

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THE ONLY THING(for Barbara & Ray)

Ah, little daughter
the only thing

I can tell you
was that you were made

with love
our love

and that before we
could get to know you

Death: unmade you
& you vanished from our sight.

Ah, little daughter
if only I could tell you

what you would
like to know:

'What was I like? '

And I cry: 'I don't know
...I don't know? '

The only thing
I can tell you

(little daughter...are you listening)

the only thing I can tell you

was that you were
made

with love

our love

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