As If to Say, “I’ve Got Your Backs.”

Because the dog is gentle,
He nudges the hands away
From his mistress. Hands
Had clapped together in faux
Anger near her back imitating
A soft slap. Then the dog sits
Next to the man who sits at
The computer. The dog’s
Mistress enters and gently
Scratches her husband’s back.
The dog gets up and nudges
Her hand away. Whether
Stopping pretend harm
Or a display of affection,
The dog monitors their
Behavior as if to say,
“She’s mine; he’s mine;
You’re both mine. Do you
Mind? “

Regardless of Space and Time Making Amends in Meter and Rhyme

Some say Einstein wrote that light
curves back on everything in sight.
I’m not sure about all that,
but that sure may be right.
Some say he wrote that time
curves back on everything in time.
If that means I’m just getting started,
well, that would be just fine.
I’d really like the chance to do a few
heart-felt do-overs.
I won’t have to make amends
to all my former friends
and I’m sure there would be several others.
But as T.S. Eliot wrote, when we arrive
back where we got started,
we will be seeing it for the very first time,
but then I won’t have a clue to any sins
committed that were all mine.
And so, regardless of Einstein’s space and time
and T.S. Eliot’s meters and rhymes,
I’ll bite the bullet, smother my druthers,
make amends to all my former friends
and all the many, many others.

Realizing One’s Place

The chocolate lab and I
Returned from a short hike
Up to the corner, no more.

His three bad legs out of
Four barely got us out
And back in the door.

I heard my wife in her
Studio on the first floor
Yell, “Hi,” and ascend

The stairs with a new
Mixed media sculpture
By her side. The lab saw

His mistress and wagged
His arthritis free tail
And my wife nodded to

Me, put the sculpture on
The counter and knelt
Before the dog and

Petted him helter-
Skelter, saying, “Good
Boy, good boy, good

Boy, I love you, you
Knows,” and planting a
Big kiss smack dab on

His big brown, wet nose.
Then she rose and
Gave me a passing peck

On the cheek and said
To the dog, “Hey, good
Boy, want something to

Eat?” The dog started to
Bark and huff and puff.
I decided to depart for

The chair knowing my new
Love waited there. When I
Opened the cover, I would

Discover my love focusing
Her charms solely on me.
I looked back and said,

“Nice sculpture, Dear,”
Something from the dog
She would never hear.

She then asked, “Have you
Seen the dog’s scoop?
Come on, Buddy, let’s go

Tinkle And poop.”

A Zephyr at Play

I wondered if you could see a zephyr
and then I became one, huffing and

puffing and blowing leaves on branches
of birch trees making them flutter and

tickle each other. I heard them laugh.
I blew on the surface of the pond and

saw the ripples bump into the ripples
flowing from the waterfall. I skittered

through the dune grass and it tried to
cut me into a thousand pieces with a

thousand blades, but I was too fast. I
shot up into the sky and over the dune

and wanted to reach the shore but a
bigger, much bigger wind blew off the

lake and chilled me to the bones I
don’t have. I ducked and settled on the

warm sand and decided to settle in for
awhile and take a nap. The sun shone

brightly on me as planned, but I felt
bad that no one could see my tan.

“Oh, my,” I said. “It’s getting so very hot.
Does anyone have a fan?”

Fear of the Margins*

How to get out of ourselves,
we have forgotten.
We cling to our own skin and kin,
the rooms we are comfortable in.
Do we need to venture out,
out of these rooms
to walk among what we fear are tombs
at night,
those places we would go, maybe,
only during the day, but at night
we see that there is light
in the eyes of the many
who live in the rooms on
the margins of white life?
We are afraid to be among
the brown, black, yellow and red —
those, let’s be honest, we would
just as soon see dead
and not intrude upon our rooms.
Who will lead? Where is the spirit,
the will, to guide
us on the journey out of
the white washed but ever dark tombs
of our white lives
into the lives of the other —
the rooms on the margin where
Confucius, Lao Tzu, Buddha, Jesus,
Muhammad, Dorothy Day,
Francis of Assisi, Martin Luther
King, Jr.
and a whole array and panoply
are friends, sisters and brothers?

*idea from a meditation by Richard Rohr

The Good Robots Could Do

Human-like robots are making
such scientific advances.
Let’s hope they think critically
and increase our chances
of making intellectual expanses.
And if that is the case,
we would like to replace,
with those robots,
the 40% of the U.S. population
that stays with the president as his unthinking base.

The Killer Turtle*

While fishing at a sportsman’s lake
to which we belonged in Kentucky
thirty-five years ago, my son and I
discovered a huge snapping turtle,
a prehistoric beast, lurking in the
swampy creek that fed the lake.
We named it the “Killer Turtle.”
Little did we know at the time that
the Killer Turtle was Mitch McConnell
in town on a fund raising campaign trip.

*A nickname for the Majority Leader of the U.S. Senate who is
spearheading the Republican driven senate health care bill, which,
if passed, it is estimated would be responsible for the unnecessary
death of tens of thousands of US citizens per year according to
various sources.

Don’t Depend on the Glory Days

I have to believe I have left compassionate marks
in parishioners’ hearts,
but I feel a need
to make another mark and plant a seed.

I was told by a popular, recently retired CEO,
you have fifteen minutes of fame after you go,
so find something meaningful to do
and don’t depend on Bruce Springsteen’s Glory Days to see you through.

After three years in campus ministry
where there is no campus ministry anymore,
therefore, there is no record of my ministry there forevermore.

I checked my previous pastorates
on-line and saw that I am not mentioned
anywhere anymore nor anytime.

My first congregation is looking for a pastor
but my early ministry is not mentioned there anymore.

My yoked church with the other congregation
also is looking for a pastor but I’m not mentioned there anymore.

I served another church as senior minister for ten years
but I’m not mentioned there anymore.

I moved north and served a church
for eight years but am not mentioned there anymore.

I served many years as an interim minister,
but I am not sure I am mentioned
in any of those places anymore.

It’s a good thing I have a sense of self today,
because if I left it up to previous pastorates
I wouldn’t even exist anymore in anyway.

So, the moral is undeniable,
don’t entrust your mark to memories unreliable.

I give myself a pinch
and when I feel a wince,
I give thanks I’m alive,
have published articles numbering twenty-five
and a couple of books
and am blogging poetry for anyone who looks.

and even though my grandkids
will have little memory of me, my or myself,
they just have to look at the books on a dusty, old shelf.

Corrections Not Noted In First Draft

Thank heavens blog posts are correctable.
He rereads them and sees the needs lamentable.
With the mixture of third person and first in verse,
he feels his haste has left him accursed.
He goes back and makes changes required
but fears the time for readers has expired.
They will never see that he has made amends
by painstakingly making necessary corrections.
And so he says, “Whatever,
readers will never know how much I am clever
when they think first and third person should be mixed never, ever.”