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Bright ideas, a poem

Bright ideas, a poem

CAP TIMES TALKS

Madison poet laureate Oscar Mireles said the city has done a good job commemorating history in certain ways.

Being asked to write a poem about bright ideas

For a poet could be taken in one of three ways

Why wasn’t I asked to give you a bright idea

Bright ideas are like a flashlight in your face at night

and you are often blinded by the force of the light

and not quite sure what you just saw

Or that bright ideas is what poetry is really all about.

First there would have to be rules about writing bright ideas

The first rule would be…

Does the bright idea do as little harm as possible?

There was an internet firm that sought to “do no harm”

I think they set their goal so high

It was inevitable that they would fail

By forgetting to account for human frailty

The second rule would be…

Does the bright idea bring us together, does it build community?

Like the energy you feel in the middle of a rock concert

All feeling the same vibe at the same time, with nothing to worry about

Being able to glimpse the possibility of a better world

In the midst of sweating humanity.

The third rule would be…

What are the unintended consequences of the bright idea?

With technology, the shiny object always gets our attention

Often, before we know it, we are set off in another direction

Going somewhere we had originally not planned nor thought about

There is an unsettling feeling that we have been “set up’ somehow

Not quite positive about that, but positive enough to worry

Which I think is often worse…

My final thoughts are not a rule but a word of caution…

As you read these words on bright ideas

I believe in the power of words

The power of community

The power of limiting the harm we do

and the power of unintended consequences

I believe the real power of bright ideas

Is how we look for the vision behind the bright ideas

Absorb it in our DNA through our mind and body

And take the next steps to make the bright idea into reality

That is the true power of bright ideas….

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