i brush my finger-tips

i brush my fingers-tips

over the white-whiskers


my sedated, pain-free

chocolate lab’s snout.


look at his ten-inch

healthy, pink incision


cancer surgery. i

pass my fingers over


close, not touching, rather

like reiki massage


my finger tips warm,

tingle, a tear of my


drops on his ear

and he shakes his




Someone Was Asked

Someone was asked who are the

most important people in America.

Someone else didn’t hesitate.

The garbage collectors, the

janitors, the police, fire-

fighters, nurses, the nurses’

aides – the pooper-scoop-

ers and pee-keepers of

the hospital,  the gatherers

of bedpans galore.


Not the CEOs, CFO’s and COOing

doves of corporations.  Think about

those guys and a few gals, during a

strike, in their posh offices sitting

in their great, new, totally

ergonomic chairs with gar-

bage and fecal matter up to

their knees on their I-

phones and computers

begging for help.


No, of course not, please.


Pay those workers what they are worth so

they can purchase stuff from the corp-

orations run by those who sit in it up

to their touches while the pee and po-

op sluices and slushes around the floor

soaking their Johnston and Murphy’s

and Allen Edmonds so all that really

bad-smelling stuff can get flushed

down the drain and those execs.

can make it to


the executive toilets to grab the Char-

min and just sit there and squeeze

and squeeze and squeeze and cry

and cry and cry until someone,

probably a janitor or a garbage

collector or cop or fire-fighter

can shower them down, flush

out those shoes, blow dry

their hair and send them

to the hospital


where they will be cared for by

nurses, nurses’ aides and order-

lies who clean the pans, help

the helpless to the john till

they can put on their under-

ware, pants, bras, etc., go

home to their gated commun-

ities and get ready for the next

day’s capitalistic


A Guy Living By Himself

A guy living by himself needed serious surgery

on his eye.  His wife was working out-of-state

in a bad economy.


His son was a senior in college and could help

on weekends.  His daughter practiced the law

somewhere else.


He had a dog, a new dog, a really big puppy —

dogs as companions not being insignificant for

the healing process.  The


dog is a Newfoundland. The  guy with the bad eye

walked up the street and asked an acquaintance for

a ride to the physician to get the lowdown.


He did and it would mean two months on

his face at night and his head kept down

during the day – no reading,


and this guy, a teacher, loved to read, but

he could walk the dog everyday which

was a big plus.

On one of those days, the neighbor who took

and still takes the patient to physician’s appoint-

ments, stopped by and happened


to notice the decal of a kayaker on the rear window

of the guy’s truck.  The neighbor had a “Life is

Good” ball cap with the image


of a kayaker on it and this same guy, the acquaintance/

neighbor on his way to friendship had a rawhide

bone given as a gift for his


own dog but his dog didn’t want it, so he

washed the cap in the recommended way

on the top shelf of the


dish washer, quick dried it in the clothes

dryer, grabbed the rawhide, walked down

the street with his used, but


clean gifts, knocked on the door and said

here’s a bone for your big, boned puppy.

I saw the sticker in your


truck’s window and I thought maybe you

would like a cap with the image of a happy

kayaker on it.


I washed the ball cap in the new and improved

method.  They hugged.  The friend walked

down the driveway and


the patient, who had been a minister before

being a high school physics and chemistry

teacher, raised the cap in his hand


and said thanks for keeping me in your

prayers.  The Newfoundland shook his

head with the bone in his mouth.


The acquaintance/neighbor/friend looked

back, said, you bet, thanks and walked

a few doors back home.

I’m Looking at Her

I’m looking at her in the intensive care unit.

She had been assaulted nineteen years earlier

by a guy in a Ford F-150  driving on the one

way street on a Friday, presumably after his

shift and on his way to the bar and he rear

ended her and her brain felt pain and years later

exploded, blood flowing like the Black River

in spring, March actually, and rains seven to nine

inches in one day soaking and super saturating in

the spring ground and the river rages and I

do, too, about a totally unnecessary death if

only the guy on his way to the bar on a Friday

afternoon after work hadn’t, in that unbelievably

quick minute, looked down at his pager and not

at my wife’s car directly in front of  him.  And

the truth shall never be known, except what

difference would it make except perhaps in

some small measure to me and her children

for loving relational purposes to bring a

smidgen of closure to the insanity and perhaps

to a lot of lawyers, insurance companies and

physicians, monetarily speaking? And the only

grace in all this is that her lungs were donated

to a victim of  cystic fibrosis who was an

emergency room doctor who lived on to

heal, not to mention all the other organs and

to whom they went and what lives they saved

by my late wife’s grace. Amen and amen.

What Do the Simple Folk Do?

They may be the one percent, but,

in all reality, if they don’t wipe

their bums rigorously, wash their

bottoms thoroughly along with

armpits, and between their toes

daily and floss and brush their teeth,

gargle at least once daily, use

bacteria killing breath strips

regularly and have their clothes

washed when they get soiled or can’t

pass the sniff test, nobody will want to

be around them at their gated social

get-togethers, at least, not their

fellow one percent, the really good

friends who on Saturday evening

yuck it up together and on Monday

morning turn down, without a flinch,

the loan request from the host who

is hung up by his a very clean and well

washed family jewels. See why deodor-

ant, in spite of the dangerously high

aluminum content, is so important to

the upper class? One wants to be sure

to wear clean underwear before

getting in an accident or being screwed

by a yuck-it-up-buddy-one-percenter.


Which reminds me of the story of

the three engineers who discussed

the nature of God.  One said God

is a structural engineer because of

the wonderful skeleton and vascular

system.  Another said God is an

electrical engineer because of the

incredible neurological system. The

third said God is a civil engineer.

Why, they asked.  Simple, he replied.

Who else would be clever enough to

think of  putting a toxic waste removal

route through a recreation area?


But I digress.


On the other hand, the rest of us,

the Great Unwashed (and where

exactly does that start, $249,000

and down, down, down?), at least

in the minds of the one percent,

just love, as they imagine in their

animal brains, to conjure thoughts

of us lazy, government dependents

sniffing our days away, wallowing in

each other’s sweaty loins, swinging

from the chandelier, down and dirty

copulating day and night to the sweet,

salty, fishy taste and skanky smell of

lusty love of, for sure, the forty-seven

percenters and probably all ninety-

nine percenters. “One can only imagine

what they do down there.”


So, why kill the fun with the reality that

we live normal lives, get tired and go to

bed hoping to regain a smidgen of energy

for the tasks of the day ahead?  Let their

misplaced, mythic, horny envy of what

they fantasize to be our earthy, extra-

vagant “perpetual motion machine” sex

life be an answer to their out-of-touch

question, “What do the simple folk do?”

And in the meantime, may we, the Great

Unwashed, unbeknownst to the one per-

cent, keep practicing the require-

ments of basic hygiene noted above, eat

healthy and exercise regularly, and get

at least eight hours sleep, but please,

let’s keep it to ourselves. We wouldn’t

want to spoil the fun, the fun of these

dirty, little, envious, and above all, jealous



Such thoughts must keep them from utter

boredom and it might just prove to be the

only edge we have, that is if they are actually

thinking about us at all.

The Help Asked

The help asked for help for tuition for

her honor roll twins to go to college – a black

school up in some backwater, southern town.


So she built up the courage to ask massa and

missa just at the end of breakfast while they

were finishing up reading the morning


paper, him the sports, her the editorial. Massa

heard the word loan, jumped to his feet, kissed

his blond haired wife goodbye and left.


Missa condescendingly listened and told the

help that she needed to show her independence –

independence she actually said – by earning


the money, being self-sufficient and finding

dignity in self-determination.  She said all that

to the help who quietly slipped back into


the kitchen. Years but only a motion picture day

later, a candidate for president of the United States

of America, a child of privilege from a


northern state, said virtually the same thing,

as strategy to kick-start the economy, to those

who needed a low-interest loan with


determination to repay.  Learn self-reliance,

and the dignity of self-determination as he,

the self-made man, had.  The words were


uttered with the same scorn heard in the

inflection of missa back in the day, but

the words came out muffled and


hardly understandable to those who

heard because of the silver spoon

still in his mouth.

We Sit Before the Tube

We sit before the tube each day

For several hours,

And as we passively watch the display

For several hours,

We see the lies upfront and on display

For several hours,

So why be shocked at pols’ display

For several hours,

Of lies and lies thrown our way

For several hours,

To our great dismay each day

For several hours?

The Piece of Fragrant Wood

The piece of fragrant

wood burns down in

the fire pit along the

shores of Lake Huron

in Michigan’s thumb.

The embers glow red-

orange and the wood

looks like a dried out

corn cob with blazing

kernels or really bad

teeth in a really big

mouth – dirty, dried out

orange teeth that glow

so ghoulishly beautiful in

the October night and

then turn chalky white.

Looking up at the

full moon, he decides

it is time to go into

the camper and read

one more Sunbeam

in The Sun before

falling asleep. It’s

Kurt Vonnegut’s Sun-

beam: “If people think

that nature is their friend,

then they sure don’t

need an enemy.” He

locks the door for the

night, looks out the

window at the shrivel-

ed teeth in the dying

embers, the full-

moon and the darkness

in the forest beyond.