It’s Sixty Miles to Racine*

When they moved in, twenty years ago,
an acquaintance who lived at the top
of the dune in a big house, drove by

in his late-model luxury car, stopped,
rolled down the passenger side win-
dow and called to the new resident

in his driveway, “So you are the new
riffraff in the valley,” and drove off
laughing at his cleverness. Ha, ha,

ha, ha, the new person in the neigh-
borhood thought to himself. There’s
always some message disguised in

humor — something one can get away
with — in this case, a word about
status. Vance Packard would certainly

agree. The man and his wife then walked
up the dune to the stairway down to
the beach. They stood at the top and

looked out. The man said, “It’s sixty
miles straight across to Racine. I knew
a guy who once said to his wife, ‘Honey,

I’m going out for breakfast,’ and he
took his fifteen-foot fishing boat to
Racine and had breakfast.” They walked

back down the dune to their new home
and he said, “I like living below the
dune in a cottage. I like seeing the

Big Lake and not being able to see
Racine. I like the proportions. I think
this will help keep things in perspective.

* It’s the birthday of poet Heather McHugh, born in San Diego, California (1948). She said: “I have always lived on waterfronts. If you live on the edge of an enormous mountain or an enormous body of water, it’s harder to think of yourself as being so important. That seems useful to me, spiritually.”  — from the Writer’s Almanac, 8/20/2019

A Poetic Response — There Is Beauty, a Tanka

A wonderful priest friend made a poetic response
of gratitude to my haiku A Tiny Sunflower
and the photo of the sunflower, August 16.

I counted the words and realized it would work
as a tanka, a five-line, 31 syllable, ancient Japanese
poem with a 5,7,5,7,7 scheme.

Here is one definition: In its purest form,
tanka poems are most commonly written as expressions
of gratitude.

And so, with great gratitude and affection,
I say, “Thank you, Father Thomas,” and, with
his permission, here is There Is Beauty.

There Is Beauty

There is beauty and
there are surprises…..and how
great is it when they
come as a great package deal —
like unexpected flowers?!


He Woke From A Nap

He woke from a nap to My Fair Lady,
And started to show off by singing, “I
Have often walked down this street
Before,” when his voice began to quiver
And he was overwhelmed with emotion.
Swallowing hard, speaking as he could,
He said to his wife, “The three females
I cared most about until you were all
From around that time in my life —
Three girlfriends — one of whom
Become my wife of twenty-six years.
He could barely get their names out
Followed by the words, “They have all
Died. Please stay alive twenty years
After I die. Please.” Then came Sabrina,
Next in line of films featuring Audrey
Hepburn. He listened to “Isn’t It Romantic?”
And looked lovingly at his wife.

From the Lips of an Insider

The following is an excerpt from an interview in Atlantic magazine with Ben Howe, a white evangelical and author of The Immoral Majority. Howe is angry at white evangelicalism for, among other things, a wholesale embrace of the meanest parts of Donald Trump:

In the minds of a lot of conservatives, the left exists to impugn their motives, and the Republican Party regularly lied to them and said they would defend them and then didn’t. And that was the establishment. Trump became their hero, because he hated the establishment, and he beat up on the media, and he was fighting back against all these forces. The more he fights, the more they feel justified, like, He’s our hero because we needed someone to do this for us.

Trump’s appeal is not judges. It’s not policies. It’s that he’s a shit-talker and a fighter and tells it like it is. That’s what they like. They love the meanest parts of him.

And there you have it, from the lips of an insider. Doesn’t have anything to do with Jesus.

The One Who Beckons

From the not quite Kelly green of the
Hemlocks, the yellow-green of the Arbor-
Vitae, the dark, forest green of the Norway
Spruce and the startling bright green
Of the Red Pine, he is most taken with
The muted, subtle, seductive almost
Frosty green of the White Pine. It is as
If, among all the evergreens in the forest,
She is the one who is most at home in the
Sandy soil lapping the water of the Big Lake
— the one who beckons.

Democratic Legislators Can’t Get No Satisfaction*

We can’t get no satisfaction
We can’t get good legislative action
From Moscow/Massacre Mitch
‘Cause We try and We try and We try and We try
We can’t get no, We can’t get no…

When we’re drivin’ in our cars
And a man comes on the radio
He’s tellin’ us more and more
About some hate-filled information
Supposed to fire our imagination

We can’t get no satisfaction, no, no, no…

When we’re watchin’ TV
A man comes on and tells me and thee
How good white is to be
And tells us that evangelicals we should be

We can’t get no satisfaction, no, no, no…

When we’re travelin’ round the world
And we’re hearing how leaders’ heads swirl
Tryin’ to make sense
Of what the Occupant may tweet
Today, tomorrow and next week
We’re afraid we’re on a losing streak.

We can’t get no satisfaction
We can’t get good legislative action
From Moscow/Massacre Mitch
‘Cause We try and We try and We try and We try
We can’t get no, We can’t get no…

*With sincere apologies to the Rolling Stones

It’s All Hypothetical

The Beater of Guns into Tools said
that guns have one purpose: to kill,
thus creating a dilemma in the mind

of the man. He doesn’t own a gun.
The only gun he ever owned was
a BB gun which a playmate grabbed

and chased him around the basement
shooting at him and almost putting
his eye out. He once killed a mouse

in a garbage can with the BB gun.
He doesn’t know whatever happened
to the BB gun, however, even though

the man doesn’t own a gun and sees
a need for strict gun control and an
assault rifle ban via legislation

and doesn’t think that the Second
Amendment is about gun ownership
but rather is about the establishment

of state militias, which is what the
National Guard is, if he were to go
backpacking in the Rocky Mountains

he would prefer to have a gun with
him rather than bear spray, but even
then, he may not know how effective

bear spray is when used properly, and
if it is highly effective and his life and
the life of the bear can be saved, well,

that’s certainly something to consider.
It’s all hypothetical  though, because
he’s too old to go backpacking anyway.

We Shall See. Shall We?

It’s the mainstream media,
which is being beaten over
the head by the Occupant
yet, the mainstream media
equivocates and equivocates
when it comes to the mal-
evolent, narcissistic crazy
man who is the Occupant while
more and more we are being
occupied by those who would
destroy our representative
democracy for a fascist regime,
architected by those worse
than the Occupant, or, at least,
smarter, but who have his ear
and the mainstream media just
say, “Well, we shall see.”
Shall we?

Masochistic, Cult Follower

The speaker saw who he thought was
a protester and in front of his rally
called out the man insulting him, fat

shaming him about his size, trying to
humiliate the man, but it turns out the
man is a dedicated supporter of the

speaker and didn’t feel humiliated at all.
In spite of the speaker’s behavior, regard-
less of whether the target was accurate,

the man, apparently unable to see and
understand the cruel buffoonery of the
speaker and what said behavior says

about the decency of the speaker, said
that the speaker is the best thing that has
ever happened to the country. And that just

might be the definition of a masochistic, and
not very discerning, cult follower who also
probably does need to lose some weight,

but isn’t that really beside the point and
his business and not ours and certainly
not the speaker’s?