Or Maybe It’s What I Would Want

A Saudi poet wrote a poem directly to Mohammed

recently and landed in prison.  I hope I don’t land

in prison, Jesus, but here’s one to you.

 

I don’t think you would want me to fall on my face

before you and grasp for the tassels adorning the fringe

of your robe or rub your feet with precious oil from a

broken alabaster jar after brushing the dust from

your well-worn sandals.

 

I don’t think you would want me to attend your

every need as you recline around the dinner table

or hang on your every word spoken around

the camp fire. All that’s been done.

 

I think you would want (or maybe it’s what I would

want) me to stand, look straight into your ever so

dark brown Semitic eyes with my blue Scandinavian

eyes, hold out my hand and then embrace you

strongly and tightly and then softly and warmly.

 

I think I would tell you what I think you would

want to tell me, that I love you.

 

Then I think about my friend, a connoisseur of

fine food, a sommelier, a basso baritone — Wagner’s

Dutchman and Wotan/Der Wanderer, a human

encyclopedia, a generous soul offering gifts of

 

dark chocolate and real French french roast coffee

and a brandy only a few had ever heard of and a wit

and sometimes a nitwit, a description we all share,

who just killed himself, Jesus, so I can’t hug him anymore.

 

So, I guess you will have to look into his blue Germanic

eyes with your ever so dark brown Semitic eyes, hold out

your hand to him, embrace him strongly and tightly and

softly and warmly and tell him, “I love you,” for me.

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The Boston Bombing Was Bad

The Boston bombing was bad,

really bad, but anymore bad

than the hundreds who died

in West, Texas from a fertilizer

 

explosion, not a terrorist’s bomb

(if only it had been a terrorist attack,

what a story that would have made,

even better and bigger than Boston)

 

– a story that played second fiddle

to Boston, any worse (to be more

grammatically correct) than all

the deaths on American highways

 

during the same period of time

devoted to media coverage of

Boston with all the talking heads

talking their heads off, any worse

 

than all the deaths from gun fire

on American streets during the

same period of time devoted to

Boston or any worse than all the

 

innumerable (undocumented, un-

known) lives lost world-wide

during the same period of time

devoted to Boston by all our

 

covert wars, not to mention

Afghanistan, one more

tired, tired-out time – the bombs,

drone strikes, assault rifle fire,

 

killing, death, destruction, mayhem,

who knows and who cares as long

as the market approaches fifteen

thousand and rising? And that doesn’t

 

even touch the unnecessary deaths

which occurred during that time devoted

to Boston in those institutions

dedicated to health and happiness –

 

your friendly, local hospital. But

Boston was all about patriotism

(It isn’t by accident a team is the

Boston Patriots).  Are you kidding?

 

The scenario couldn’t have been

any better, to strike a cynical note.

Boston, terrorist attack, bravado,

Boston tough, Boston media bull.

 

“When will they ever learn?

When will they ever learn?”

 

 

 

On Being Invited to a Follow-up Social After A Bad Reunion Experience

Dear Classmate (name omitted to protect the identity of the poor soul who actually put together the regrettable high school 50th class reunion),

Thanks for the invitation to the high school class of 1962 summer picnic (You are actually going to go for a sadomasochistic of the non sexual variety follow-up to the original horror show?), but I was so traumatized by former classmates’ shock at what was perceived as my hideous physical appearance after fifty years that I could never cope with going through that ever again.

I thought I was in relatively good shape for a sixty-eight year old guy who jogs four days a week and has logged 25,000 miles (the equivalent of around the world at the equator) in forty-three years and I didn’t think less hair made much of a difference, but I remain, following the 50th Class Reunion last October, an ever emotionally scared and scarred person. My therapist is helping me deal with my newly experienced agoraphobia. My wife still begs me to take the dog outside, but even if I could go outside, the dog doesn’t want to be seen with me. He was with us at the reunion. Maybe someone from the class got to him. He always seemed to be pleased with my appearance before that.

Yours truly, The ever unrecognized and unacknowledged class officer (“Well, I guess we don’t have any class officers with us this evening.”  the class of 1962 reunion corpulent beyond recognition host stated over the microphone while the hapless, hideous class officer sat at the dinner table with those who were unwilling to lift a finger to say, “Hey, he might be hapless and hideous, but he is here.”),

Bob

p.s. Feel free to suggest to any and all classmates (maybe not the cheerleaders with their cheerleader capes and facelifts or maybe for sure them) my blog site where I write mostly poetry.  I had a few choice pieces about the 50th class reunion written in the month of October 2012.

Cheers!

Dear Classmate (sorry about the misspelling of your to be kept anonymous name in the original reply),

One last thought — I noticed several on the missing list are actually dead, so just add my name to the missing and presumed dead list.

Cheers Again!

The Less Said, the Better

What do you say at the

dedication of a presidential

library for a failed presidency

when you are one of the living

former presidents sitting on the

podium or even the present

president and you have to say

something?  You find the best

that can be said about the man:

“To know him is to like him,” and

“He’s comfortable in his own skin,”

and whom else’s skin would he be in,

comfortable or not? Now that’s

praise for the ages. You tell a few jokes

and you avoid, at all cost, the impolite

mention of the elephant on the stage

— Iraq, the hundreds of thousands

dead, the million plus wounded,

the trillion spent and the near

collapse of the nation’s and perhaps

the world’s economy.  And what if

you are the former president

who happens to be the  father

of the honoree? You say thanks

to the crowd for being there and

wave the presidential wave from

your wheel chair. And if you are the

honoree? Well, the less said, the better.

Did he really keep saying “awesome”

over and over and over?

In An Interview

In an interview, La Carre stated, “If

there are times when I have been

ruthless in my life, and most of us

have been ruthless,” it is as if he

is attributing it to “that chunk of

my life that passed me by, which

is a mother’s love.”  The reader,

a sometime follower of La Carre,

felt that John, even as he knew

John to be a nom de plume, which

he used as he felt that they

were now on a first name basis,

had put a finger right in the reader’s

heart hole, not to further the pain

of a dull ache by making it into a

searing pang as a finger nail tearing

along the inside of the left ventricle,

but, by osmosis perhaps, to help the

healing by pointing out that misery

does indeed love company and what

distinguished company.  The reader

didn’t feel so alone or so ashamed

of his own episodes of ruthlessness.

He patted his bathrobe in the area

of the chest right by the heart and

felt a certain vindication (no!), or being

understood or, oh, what is the right

word ?,  perhaps just forgiven-ness

from one continent to another or

just in the den with his hand gently

on his heart.

If We Had Done

If we had done in Afghanistan, way back when, to get and bring to justice Osama bin-Laden in what would have been seen as a deft police operation much like what just happened in Boston after the marathon, and especially after the last twenty-four hours of hunting down the two suspected bombers, one older, more radical brother now dead and the other, a poor, nineteen-year-old popular school kid found, like a scared, wounded, dirty dog, half alive in a boat in a backyard of a home in a Boston subdivision and now in custody and perhaps also dead, we would have saved approximately a million lives and a trillion or so dollars and lots of things would, today, be a lot better for countless Iraqis, Americans, Christians, Jews, Muslims, atheists, and a bunch of Unitarian/Universalists who could have stopped shaking their heads and wringing their hands in disbelief at the shock and awe in 2003 until today. One or two for a million and a trillion? While I would like to be a pacifist, right now I can live with non-violence as much as possible and triage. And so it goes….

The SUV Danced and Pranced

The enormous SUV danced and pranced

through the shallow stream splashing

cold, clear, mountain water and moved

quickly into the shadow of a gorgeous

landscape emerging in the bright western

sky and jumping to a wheel spinning, dust

raising stop.  Between luscious takes of a

glorious, plastic steering wheel and faux-wood

dash, the plush seats made of the semi-precious

hide of a poor, old, dilapidated cow sent to

the slaughter somewhere in the flat, dusty,

smelly land of West Texas gave an award

winning performance by just sitting there

looking pretty. Who would have believed that

the old cow would be so gussied up and

have a starring role in a commercial

while the SUV belched lung-choking fumes

in what otherwise had been a pristine

place?

Why Did You Leave Me?

Reading the N.Y.T.’s Sunday Book Review

about a book by a man whose dad died

shrouded in mystery when the author was

six and was in search of a reason like an

archeologist sifting through mounds and

mounds of dust for a clue to an ancient

lost civilization that existed yesterday and,

in fact, is alive and well today, the reader sat

and started sifting through the dust of his

own history wondering once again as he has

for fifty-one years why his father stepped

in front of the train.  The coroner took

pity on the pitiful wife, daughter and son

and benevolently ruled accidental, but

everyone knew everything except the

reason, that tiny, elusive chard in the

desert of his past. And so he kept hunting

for an answer to the unanswerable, “Why

did you leave me?” He was okay by now

with his own search and he was even okay

with that same search after the premature

death of his late wife after therapy and time

and the love of a woman who still searches

in her dreams for an answer to the same

question about her deceased husband, but

then he began to cry the parent’s cry when

he saw in his mind’s eye the sifters going

back and forth, back and forth in the minds

of his son and daughter as they seek an

answer to their mother’s abrupt departure

from this life while on the first vacation taken

without them. The medical reason was known

– an explosion and a flood in the  beautiful brain

of that beautiful mother, but, they never got to

say goodbye. Still, even after twenty years, the

persistent, unanswerable question kicks up

dust as it rises out of the desert of the

experience of desertion, however unintended,

and abandonment, always abandonment,

ever abandonment, “Why did you leave me?”

His mind turned to his stepson and his

daughter-in-law whose dad died in an instant

when she was nineteen, and then the man just

sighed, said a prayer and returned to the

Sunday’s Times.

Reflections on an Old Jewish Belief

In response to something I wrote, a friend wrote:

“An old Jewish belief is that the dead live as long as they are remembered…so remembering those we loved and who loved us recapitulates our history…and so telling the stories and remembering the faces is eternity for all of us. As I grow older, stories mean more and more to me, and I wonder if someone in the future will be telling my stories around the campfire.”

I’m thinking how much I love this lunk of a guy, and so, in the future of the next day getting all sentimental about our long distance friendship and getting a tear in my eye  and thinking I was writing something real buddy, buddy-like, I wrote, “I’ll tell stories about you and you can tell stories about me as we sit together around the campfire on the beach.”

He lives in San Antonio, Texas and I live along the shores of Lake Michigan.  It’s March.

So right away he wrote,  “Are you nuts?  It’s freezing cold up there.”

I, forgetting this was supposed to be a conversation about when we were dead just like my San Antonio buddy forgot, wrote,  “Well, with that kind of an attitude, it will be a cold day in hell before I sit around a campfire with you.”

I watched the weather report and it was going to be a really cold day and so I wrote, “I’m catching a flight down. Start gathering the wood.”

And we aren’t even dead yet but our memories are getting short and we’d better make hay while the sun shines at least in San Antonio, Texas in March which it almost never does in Michigan along the shores of the lake.

And so I wrote right away asking him to float me a loan for the ticket.

And all of a sudden he can’t even find the words to respond. I’m thinking he’s getting all sentimental and choking back the tears.

It’s now the middle of April and I still haven’t heard back from him.  That’s how choked up he is.

And that’s friendship, I guess. I love this guy.

 

 

The Blue Light in the Big Bay Window

Madison Avenue market psychologists,

like a mountain lion, a grizzly or a

Diamondback rattler knows its territory,

know what commercials to play on

just the right channels at just the right

time to generate revenues and maximize

profits for the companies that pay them,

like lobbyists in Washington DC, oh so

well. Cialis’ two old-timey claw-foot tubs

appropriate for two old-timey folks are

placed between fairways and next to greens

and often close to the holes on the Golf

channel Friday, Saturday and always on

Sunday with the biggest audience as Tiger

and Phil walk past and tip their caps to the

naked bodies in the tubs and as an aside,

why are the naked bodies in separate tubs

in an ad for erectile dysfunction assuming the

dysfunction got functional? Anyway, on

the Retro channel, lawyers offer the possibility

of a big payday for sufferers of bad hip

replacements, of unmeshed uterine meshes,

for those who ingested questionable pharma-

ceuticals which may have led to cervical and

bladder cancer and mental or other physical

disabilities or who may be way in arrears on

their income taxes and insurance companies

offer million dollar term life insurance policies

for a song and banks celebrate the glories of

reverse mortgages which if left to their logical

conclusions would leave the house in the hands

of the bank at which time some other company

would offer a way out of foreclosure all seen

over and over and over night and day on the

channel where the viewers just want to watch

reruns of “The Naked City,” “Route 66,” and

“Mayberry R.F.D.,” because they can escape

from the present and live again and again and

again in that simpler day and time all the time

in the Time Machine named Retro TV.

Is that what Madison Avenue knows in order to

help the hapless and helpless old timers looking

for a break from or maybe belated pay-dirt for all

the days’ woes or is it just another target group

whose money they seek to take? At which point

Madison Avenue, Mountain Lions, Grizzlies,

Diamondback rattlers, the pharmaceutical and

insurance companies, lawyers, banks, the Naked

City detectives, and Buz and Tod and later Linc

in their Corvette, Andy, Opie and Barney whistling

on their way to the fishing hole all looked at each

other quizzically and we stared blankly at them

while Rod Serling smiled into the camera, raised

his big, black eyebrows, then frowned and announced,

“Welcome to the twilight zone” as a pedestrian

walked past the house and saw the blue light

emanating from the big, bay window just as the

police car pulled up and told the curfew violator

to get in the car.