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.”

Early Summer Camping

They started on a journey just two days ago.
Hitched up the Egg Camper and away they did go.*
It was the first camping trip of the year.
They ventured forth without fear
that the weather would disappoint.
North the compass did point.
They were a little old to backpack,
but they quickly got their trailer legs back.
They arrived and the sun shone bright.
They set up camp, relaxed and ducked in for the night.
On the morrow, they experienced great sorrow.
The forecast read storms today and tomorrow.
Not wanting to sit all day under a canopy,
they decided for home they would flee.
So they packed up and high stepped it for home
only to let out a harmonic moan.
It seems the forecast did change.
It went from 80% rain
down to the 20% range.
“Ah, well” they conceded.
It’s Southwest Michigan,
so waiting around ten minutes is all that’s needed.
The intrepid travelers will ride it out and
be more diligent next time,
even if they have to wait out a storm snug under
the canopy sipping a glass of wine.

*paraphrase of first two lines from an old folk song To Morrow

Unrealized Potential

Forty million on a special
election with Democrats spending
the majority to send the president
a message. Message sent —
lost, inept — like every other
special election in red states.
Lost — 0 for 4. Bloated presi-
dent gloats. Millions upon
millions of dollars to send a
message — wrong message —
lost. Then the blame game
begins, finger-pointing. What
else is new? Dems on dems.
It was close; it was close; it
was close. Horseshoes. Horse-
puckey. It’s her fault. Whose?
Who cares? The party that can’t
shoot straight. Like herding
cats. The kids with great
potential never realized.
Drop outs. Republicans —
morally bankrupt. Democrats —
ineptitude incarnate but very
nice people. Save the money.
Send it to anti-poverty groups.
Get constructive. Give it away.
Don’t let your left hand know
what your right hand is doing;
you don’t anyway. You don’t
know what either hand is doing,
so do something constructive;
do something for someone else,
like the poor. Now that’s
a novel idea. Compassion,
which would be a great thing,
aside think enlightened
self-interest, which isn’t
particularly altruistic, but
is enlightened, something,
Dems don’t normally see. You
might get a few votes. You
aren’t getting all that many
doing what you are famous for
doing –all the wrong things,
but you still have great
potential.

It’s Not Too Late

The state
would like
to eliminate
THE disabled.
The state
would like
to eliminate
THE poor.
The state
would like
to eliminate
THE elderly.
The state
would like
to eliminate
THE gays.
The state
would like
to eliminate
THE blacks.
The state
would like
To eliminate
THE Hispanics.
The state
would like
to eliminate
THE Asians.
The state
would like
to eliminate
THE Native Americans.
The state
would like
to eliminate
THE Muslims.
The state
would like
to eliminate
THE other,
and if the state
can’t eliminate
with all its white fear and hate,
it can try to humiliate
but turn the other cheek —
force the state with its hate
to give you the slap of the hand
that acknowledges
you are
a woman, a man.
We are the Beloved Entity.
We are people;
we are due respect
for our human dignity.
Fear hides behind
the state.
But it’s not too late.
Join hand to hand;
protest peacefully
across the land
and sing the Peoples’ Anthem:
“This land is your land;
This land is my land;
This land was made for you and me.”*

*folk song written by Woody Guthrie
in protest of “God Bless America.”
The following protest verses were never
officially published with the song:

There was a big high wall there that tried to stop me.
The sign was painted, said ‘Private Property.’
But on the backside, it didn’t say nothing.
This land was made for you and me.

One bright sunny morning in the shadow of the steeple,
by the relief office I saw my people.
As they stood hungry,
I stood there wondering if God blessed America for me.

Spelling — Aarrgghh!

Never having been the best of spellers, he left a copy of the article he wrote on the desk for fellow members of the editorial staff of the student publication to proofread before the material was whisked off to press. he didn’t know that they didn’t show, so, it was off to the printer spelling errors in tow.

The printed issue was distributed with his spelling errors and he was stopped cold in the hall by one of the professors and a former, much admired pastor of his. The professor read the riot act to him about the misspellings, and one word in particular – the word “unequivocally.” The professor berated him in front of passing students, faculty and God Almighty, “Where is the vocal in unequivocally?” he demanded.

In his hurry, perhaps he had utilized a phony version of phonetics. He had sounded out the word and spelled it as it sounded to his ear: unequivically — vic not voc. One little letter, an “i” instead of an “o” and “Oh, my” there was hell to pay in those hallowed halls. He knew the meaning of the word but not the etymology and therefore not the spelling.

He has never forgotten that humiliating experience or the man who had been his beloved pastor when he was a teenager and then the man who stood before him with feet of clay that day. But, oh, boy, did he learn his lesson.

And for that, he remains in the professor’s debt. He put the “fear of God” in him, so to speak. He doesn’t believe in that kind of “god,” the kind the long since deceased professor and former pastor reflected in that moment but the confrontation served its purpose.

He shutters to think of writing anything with a misspelling in it and so a long-delayed “Thank you, pastor/professor, wherever you are and thank you, Spell Check,” and even then some pesky words sneak threw.

“Maybe,” he said, “I should use Spell Check Plus.”

Pondering the Liturgical Seasons

Pondering the liturgical seasons of the year because of a program he was watching, he
concluded that he had always been drawn to Christmas from the time he was a child right up to today, except now given life’s circumstances, he would rather be on the road traveling from Nazareth to Bethlehem, Egypt and then back instead of in church listening to the carols. Too many memories.

As he thinks about it, he has never been particularly taken with Easter. His mother made him wear an uncomfortable new suit just about every year when he was just a boy and there was much talk and singing of resurrection and ascension combined, Jesus coming out of the tomb and then later ascending to heaven. As a child he took it on face value even as sort of a science fiction story but it became problematic as time went on.

Christmas was never a problem. It was about a birth, a baby, things he knew, witnessed, understood, things he could get his head around.

As an adult on Easter, he would hear people say responsively, “He is risen.” “He is risen indeed,” the indeed spoken a little too strongly like the emphasis was a guarantee of that which no one is really confident of, as in a Shakespearean paraphrase, “The lady does affirm too much, methinks.”

He can go to Easter services because they are a bit hypothetical, maybe theologically abstract, and don’t touch as close to heart, hearth and home as the story of a sweet but nevertheless bloody birth.

It has always been easier for him to understand God coming down than God going up, up and away and then back down again in the Holy Spirit — God coming down to be with us, God caring enough to be with us in utter joy, sympathy, empathy, compassion, agony, grief. When he was at his lowest, he saw Jesus on the cross and he knew that God was with him in every way.

Maybe that’s why he has always been a better Good Friday and Holy Saturday Christian — death, doubt and dilemma. He gets birth and death; he has seen a sufficient amount of each and perhaps, just perhaps, that’s why Christmas on the road and Good Friday on the road are ways to cope with the whole existentially blessed and bloody business.

And he thinks about resurrection and while he still cringes at “He is risen INDEED,” he’s okay with an affirmation of mystery; it’s a bit removed from the joy of birth and the sorrow of death and all of Jesus’ blood and our blood between the two but it is hopeful to contemplate life and love
as victorious over death.

And that is why, while on the road, he has his eyes open for ways in which God comes down to be with us, bringing that eternal light into the darkness and lifting our spirits from death to life right in the midst of the whole bloody mess, and he guesses that that, in some way, is an Easter affirmation.

Simply Say

This Father’s Day, instead of a tribute to his dad,
about whom he has written much,
self-pondering he would explore instead
without making much of a fuss.

He hardly knows all about himself
and he is sure the kids know him better
so he will put himself on a shelf
and examine his life down to the letter.

But that is not fair to his life written
because he would be drawn to faults
and things his children have forgiven,
and so they will speak adults to adults.

They won’t want to travel old terrain.
The present is just fine to explore.
From asking forgiveness once more he must refrain.
And simply let them say, “I love you, dad,” once more.

Dear Potential Violator

Dear potential violator of laws per copywriting,
While I appreciate the highlighting
of my writing even without crediting,
I would suggest some editing.

Give credit where credit is due, they say.
I’m not trying to make money or hay.
I just want a vote for what I wrote
whether or not you think one should take note.

Perhaps, I should take it as flatter
and I don’t know that it would even matter,
and, I understand it is the internet
and people follow what’s in one’s own interest best.

If it happened, I would have no control
over being an intellectual property victim
concerning what someone stole,
so it’s really all about an honor system.

On the right hand column
there is an imprimatur
and I might think that from copying,
readers would surely demur.

But, dear reader, there are those who
ignore the copyright,
lift an idea without attribution,
which, even purloined innocently,
is not very polite.

It’s such an easy thing to do —
this copying with proper citation.
Please, just write, “Old so and so – who knew –
could make such a brilliant presentation?”