Shot Fifteen Times

Shot fifteen times, clutching

his chest, he fell over the

the railing and tumbled into

the flower garden now brown

in the winter’s coldness. He

lay lifeless but still breathing

rapidly. After a few seconds

miraculously he arose from

the dead and without even

brushing off the wood chips,

somersaulted and swerved his

way around the next wave

of bullets. He jumped behind

the lone Maple in the front

yard, drew his gun and

unleashed a barrage of

bullets that no enemy

could ignore or survive. Smiling

and full of himself and his

virtue, he knew the good guy

had won again. The storm

door opened, his mother

called to him not to

get his “Going to Church

Clothes” dirty.  In her

hand she held a Sunday

School pin with the inscription

“Jesus Paid it All,” and said,

“Don’t forget your perfect

attendance pin.” Fifty-five

years later, a scrawny kid

broke a window, climbed

through, hauling his arsenal,

entered the classroom and

blasted the enemy – twenty

some first graders — to

smithereens.  His mother

wasn’t there to tell him to

get ready for church. She had

five bullets in her head. The

man who had had fifteen shots

to the chest years and years ago

and who had survived so many

battles between the Cavalry and

the Indians also taking place

in his parents’ front yard sat

in the coffee shop watching

a man on TV say that the

way to stop a bad man

with a gun is a good man

with a gun and


He Entered the Sacred Ground

He entered the sacred ground

Through the weather-beaten arch

And wandered among the graves

With native trinkets of plastic and

Tobacco at the feet of the chipped

Paint crosses.


He walked back through the arch

To the back of the pick up truck

With the tailgate transformed into

A communion table. He got into

Line and soon consumed the broken

Body and spilled blood of Jesus


In a Graham cracker and orange juice.

He walked over to the edge and stood

In the shadow of death in the valley of

Wounded Knee.  He stood perfectly

Still and completely quiet and heard

The heart piercing cries


And screams like arrows shot out of

The mouths of old men, women and

Children.  The summer sun beat down

On his head, but he felt the winter wind

Whip the snow around his feet.  He saw the

Rifle placed in the dead


Old man’s frozen hand and he wept.





Non-Poetic/Pretty Prosaic Thoughts for the New Year

Things For Which I Give Thanks In the New Year:

1.  God’s love revealed in Jesus Christ as best I understand that.

2.  My wife of seventeen years and a fellow member of the club to which no one wants to belong but which fifty percent of all married people will – the Widowed Person’s Club.

3.  Our children and their families.

4.  Boomerang, the twelve-year-old Chocolate Lab

5.  My true friends who, as they say, I actually can count on one hand.

6. Water, air and the environment as beleaguered as it is.

7.  Soap, toilets and the sewer system.

8.  PBS and NPR.

9.  Symphony, Theater, Ballet, Opera, Art Museums.

10.  Fiction and Poetry.

11.  Jogging, cycling, hiking, kayaking and camping.

12.  The re-election of Barack Obama, who, by his own admission, would have been considered a moderate Republican by 1980’s standards.

13.  All the other things I can’t think of at this senior moment.

New Year’s Resolutions:

1.  To get back to writing.

2.  To lose fifteen pounds by April 15.

3.  To suffer the bad drivers of Phoenix gladly.

4.  To stay out of the drama at the church to which I belong.