Benny Sip
The Creative Life Is The Only Life

Poetry

On Comparison

Let's play a game

You and me

One I like to call

Comparison

But before we begin

Let me ask you

How far back you'd like to start 

And how far forward you'd like to end

You know

It's good to establish rules when playing a game

In order to know if one is breaking them or playing fairly

So let me ask you again

Where will we begin

And where will we end

Okay

Let's play a game

~ On Comparison ~ 

Ben Sippola
Conversations Between Caterpillar And Butterfly

C: Butterfly?

B: Yes, dear.

C: You are so beautiful.

B: And so are you Caterpillar.

C: But not like you Butterfly. 

B: We are all beautiful Caterpillar.

C: Do you really believe that Butterfly?

B: I do. There is also no need to compare.

C: That's nice of you to say Butterfly but look at your beautiful wings!

B: Caterpillar, I too was once just like you.

C: That is sure hard to believe Butterfly!

B: But it is true and I can remember crawling just like you. And you know what?

C: What Butterfly?

B: I miss being able to see my many feet.

C: Oh, come on butterfly you must be kidding!

B: My dear Caterpillar, it is true indeed.

C: But Butterfly, when you are flying aren't you able to see the incredible world beneath you?

B: Yes caterpillar. The world is an extraordinary place.

C: I cannot wait to fly like you Butterfly!

B: My dear Caterpillar, when I look down and see you crawling, playing in the leaves, I smile, knowing that you are right where you are meant to be.

C: Really?

B: Yes, my dear Caterpillar, really. 

Ben Sippola
Riding On A Feather

There is a place I go

Where no one else knows

Riding on a feather

Rod in hand

A wake in my path

No trail left behind

A rainbow’s end

~ Riding On A Feather ~

Ben Sippola
Riding On A Poem

There is a place I go

Where no one else knows

Riding on a poem

A trail of ink in my path

~ Riding On A Poem ~

Ben Sippola
A Plea For The New Zealand Teenager

From the New Zealand teenager,

Despite what one may perceive

Rippling blue and rolling green

As far as the eye can see

New Zealand is not the paradise it seems to be

Adolescent teens commit regularly

At rates alarming

Acts one can hardly conceive

Dire help needed

From The New Zealand teen

p.s. Struggling…

~ A Plea For The New Zealand Teenager ~

Ben Sippola
On Learning

Most of us are only concerned about looking good but learning is not about looking good.

In fact, it's often the exact opposite, ugly as… As they say in New Zealand, ugly as…

How does one progress?

By relearning what learning looks and feels like again real fast, as fast as one can.

~ On Learning ~

Ben Sippola
An Apology

Dear Child

Please accept an apology on my behalf

For having said to you

Something hurtful

In the past

I did not know that words

Could make such a stamp

On a young person's heart

~ An Apology ~

Ben Sippola
Ask More Better Questions Or Just Shut Up

So many young people haven't a clue what they would like to or want to do.

You will often hear them saying things like, "I don't know what I want to do" or "I'd like to, but..." Oh, how I hate that word, but. How I abhor such a word full of excuse and thwarted potential. How often I have heard from the mouth of some young person "Thats sounds nice, but..." or "I would, but..." But's drive me nuts. They are full of fear, but's they are... Anyhow...

If we are really being honest with ourselves, the question we are often asking these youngsters is not "what is it that you want to do?" or "what is it that you would you like to do?" Rather it is the following question in disguise. “How is it that you intend to make enough money to pay the bills for the next 50 years and retire around the age of seventy?"

When sitting down to have such a discussion, few of us, most of us, have any real interest in what a young person actually wants to do or let alone say. More often than not, we ask only so that, we can tell them what we want for them, or even sillier, what we want or would have wanted for our younger selves. So, we resort to asking silly questions, that no young person, or human for that matter, could possibly ever answer. Then, we allow ourselves to go ahead, filling the gap for them, with stupid answers. Stupid answers to silly questions. Maybe you haven't done this. I have.  

We love, we love, we love, to profess what others “should” or “should not do.” As if looking back and being able to tell our menial little selves, what we would have or could have been or done. If only… If only’s haunt us all. "This is what I did.” Says the middle aged professor, self described mentor or mother / father. “This is what i did. Look you can be just like me.”

So what am I really trying to say? I'm not so sure actually. Perhaps, it is, ask more better questions, or, just shut up.

Yes. I like that.

Consider the fact that you likely hadn’t and still haven't a clue yourself as to what you wanted or want to do. And that as much as you intend to help with your silly questions, and stupid answers, you might be better off yet, having left everything you have ever said, or are about to say, unsaid. 

Consider instead, how almost everything you have ever said, every word that has come from your mouth, has fallen on deaf ears, and that silence itself can be thundering. Silence itself can be deafening. Silence itself can allow someone else, perhaps a young person searching for a hint, to speak into it in order to find something, who knows what, there. You know, in the silence.

And you, for once, yes you, your loud and boisterous self, with all of life’s answers, to listen.

~ Ask More Better Questions Or Shut Up ~

Ben Sippola
Tomorrow

How is it that Sunday

Can feel

Oh so different to Monday

My oh my

How I have been conditioned

Take me back to a time

When today never ends

And there is no such thing as

Tomorrow

~ Tomorrow ~

Ben Sippola
One and Only

The one and only

Walks a lonely road

One

That no one has yet

To show

The way

The way I wander

~ One and Only ~

Ben Sippola
Doors

You opened a door

That before meeting you

I never knew

Even existed

Thank you

~ Doors ~

Ben Sippola
What's Wealth If You Ain't Got Your Health?

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Ben Sippola
On Writing

Forever

Language

Will fail

To articulate

Convey

Explain

Portray

Even close to adequately

The human condition and experience

Essentially writing is a worthless exercise

But we must try

We must try

~ On Writing ~

Ben Sippola
On Mistakes

Making mistakes centres around the premise

That one believes in mistakes in the first place

There are no mistakes

And there are no "good mistakes"

Despite what some teachers may say

Stupid teachers say things like that

Perhaps with good intentions

Experimentation is all there is

Good, bad, whatever...

Just give it a go

Then assess

See where you are at

Try, try, try again

~ On Mistakes ~ 

Ben Sippola
A Great River You Are

Reevaluate everything you've ever known, been taught or told.

Learn everything all over again from the start but this time faster, having experienced everything the world has already thrown at you. Learning is your most valuable asset. Your biggest investment. Your greatest talent. One you have full access to at any place or time.

In all likelihood, you have lost touch with learning. But the beauty of something lost is that it only waits to be found again. Sitting dormant within all human beings is an insane capacity for learning. And for most of you, this invaluable skill, a reservoir of untapped learning potential sits still waiting to be released. Let the water run. 

The answer to accessing this untapped power? I have no answers. But perhaps a clue... yes, perhaps a clue will do.

Get curious again. Get really curious. About something. Anything will do. Preferably something you enjoy, inherently, just for the pure sake of it. Something that all of your life has been calling out to you, continually coming back to you, bothering you, an itch, that has followed you to every corner of the world. No matter where you go, it’s irritatingly waiting. Scratch it.

Perhaps it is a craft, like writing, painting, knitting, who knows what it is, anything. Allow yourself to fall in love with it, again if necessary. It's very likely you already know exactly what it is. You've known since a kid. If not, take a quick look at your hobbies. These favourite things you've disguised as past times, that if you could, you would do all the fucking time. Aim at mastery.

Then relearn what learning looks and feels like real fast. You will become addicted to it. Learning.

And then, only then, a tiny speck of light will show the way for you. Illuminating a path wide enough for you, just you, and your two feet only, moving one stride at a time. At first slowly, as a trickle. Then before you know it, flowing, as if a dam high up river has broken. You will know it when this happens because the world will open itself up for you. A massive gorge in the earth you won’t be able to ignore. And you, yes beautiful you, running through it. A great river, wild, brimming full of power, strength, grace, with great wisdom and wonder in its' waters. 

~ A Great River You Are ~

Ben Sippola
Depend Upon No One

What do I see?

I see,

So many young men and women dependent on others in order to get things done.

A generation of kids in need of permission slips in order to get after it.

A prescription script, do this, do that, do not do that, existence.

So… Show me,

Show me, the one who goes without being told, where.

Who does just because.

Who runs all out just for fun.

Who does not give a fuck.

Who is not afraid to look dumb.

The one who depends upon no one.

~ Depend Upon No One ~

Ben Sippola
The Rushing River

There is no reason for rushing ever

Just as the river never does

Because despite what is said

The river just flows

Sometimes slow and languid

Through long smooth stretches

And at others quick or fast

As a riffle or rapid

But the river does not rush

And the water is never in a hurry to get somewhere

It is not already

~ The Rushing River ~

Ben Sippola
Abandoning The Search

How often I have heard from some young person, full of zest and wonder, yearning for the world, an unmistakable enthusiasm in their eyes, the innocent and timeless words "I'm searching for my self." And I seeing something, perhaps a reflection of my former self cannot help but smile and sigh.

Of course, having known exactly how it felt to have once upon a time been young and full of zest and wonder, yearning for the world with that unmistakable light shining in my eyes. But I, I have learned that a person can run around the world 10 times over in search of something that all along rested in the palms of his or her hands.

You see, we have been told, taught to believe, that somewhere out there a higher self, the best version of ourselves, waits to be found and that we will encounter it, most likely in some discrete place, often in nature, a far away mountain top, a secret waterfall or perhaps within the walls of some old cemetery or derelict building graffitied in words of peace and harmony. So hastily, enthusiastically, we go searching for it. 

But it is not. There is not such a self, or place, or some natural sanctuary where it awaits our arrival. And as pretty or nice as it sounds, there simply is not. And despite how much I do love mountain tops and secret waterfalls and derelict tattooed abandoned buildings, these places are much more conducive for losing one's self than pursuing this thing that one already knows intimately and holds in the palms of his or her hands.

So I, I have abandoned the search having learned there is another space. A space where one loses sense of time and place, where one forgets everything all together. Because yes, yes, I have been there and perhaps you have too.

So I have decided to go there as often as able, that empty space somewhere between the white blank page and the end of my pen. Where imagination and creation have a chance to blend. And I, I lost, forget myself and everything I am or have ever pretended to be. Knowing now that I do not need to run anywhere but here.

~ Abandoning The Search ~

Ben Sippola