We Don’t Have the Right

“We don’t have the right to ask if

it will succeed.  We only have the

right to commit to doing it and then

starting,” he said

and then he qualified that with,

“I believe in leadership from the bottom

up and it’s starting to take hold,” 

hopeful prophet that he is.

It may have sounded like

something Jesus may have

said in one of the Gnostic

gospels but it was another

contrarian, a poet/prophet/farmer

from the banks of the Kentucky

River who is mad

at the rape of the earth and now

“sits in” with other believers

in offices of power and calls them to


All his life he has seen

rocky tops ripped off

and smashed

to smithereens and sulfuric acid sizzle

and gurgle metallic orange/green

through the water shed. Native

Black Willows can’t live by

the river anymore, the place that had been

their home and the

poet who lives where

the Black Willows once did

wonders how

long he and other humans can

live by those precious

banks. So then the question arises, “If

corporations are humans,

can they live

by the banks, drink deeply, breathe deeply

survive and thrive?” 

But corporations don’t

drink, breathe and eat; they just

consume money

and human

lives and spend on

lobbyists who spend on duly elected


who vote for the corporations. If corporations

are human do they then smile broadly in

the boardrooms?

The poet/prophet, a man of faith, seeks

to follow the gospel, so the

question arises,

“Can corporations be Christian and

follow the gospel?”

Perhaps only if the CEO and stock holders

choose to be leaders from the bottom up,

don’t ask about success and

offer themselves

to be crucified.

Black Friday By the Edge of the Sea II

Do not excuse primetime T.V., the violent shows

that challenge anything in the polluted

sea of the cinema. Can’t wait for Mob Boss and its

redeeming message of how the mafia

is bad by blasting away at everyone in the way.

They are just an illusory water park

in the desert wasteland. Oh, for the lush watered land-

scape of Hercule and Miss Marple and all

the other detective shows in the verdant view of PBS

where the murders take place off

stage and the solution is in the solving center stage;

how clever is that!

Black Friday from the Edge of the Sea

We are awash in a sea

of horrendous violence

on the mean streets

of America and often

in the elementary, high

schools, colleges and

universities, but


hip, politically progressive

Hollywood churns out

mayhem as entertain-

ment with celebrities

brandishing assault

rifles, hand guns and


in the hands of those

who speak out and

march for gun


when the imaginary shoot-

ing on set ends. We’re



hypocritical Hollywood

flaps its water wings

in the shallow end

of the


The Native Michigan Chocolate Lab

The native Michigan Chocolate

Lab had Thanksgiving dinner

And went for an Arizona

Hike to walk off

His chicken and vegetables

Not turkey and stuffing

Like his snow-bird parents.

His nose worked overtime

On the trail and while

He had never seen

A coyote, he smelled them

All over the hills while

They remained hidden.

One day he would look up,

See the pack with the

Female beckoning

and brace for the chase.

Then his parents will be

Grateful for the

Six foot leash and a

Firm grip.


We Are All So Concerned

We are all so concerned about an invasion

of our privacy through

the miracle of the internet and cell phones

and, now, we hear we

can be spied on through our T.V. screens

by corporations and

the National Security Agency and

God knows what pervert

while we sit in front of the tube in our skivvies,

but, in this age of recycling,

(which is a good thing…right?) the one who really

knows who we are and what

we do and how we entertain ourselves is the garbage

collector.  Environmentalism

is a good thing but better watch how many wine

bottles get tossed in the

recycling bin each week, not to mention the other

stuff about which you

don’t want anyone…to know.

Turning South Off Northern

Turning south off Northern onto Sixteenth

and glancing at the hills on the left,

every time, the man thought of

Matthew’s Mountain and the big, beautiful

house that was to be built there

after Matthew, the Handyman,

got his feet back on the ground and reestablished

in the construction business after

the recession receded. 

A rancher’s kid, Matthew rode bulls in the rodeo,

broke thirty some bones, reached for

the heroin and shook hands

with the devil who stayed on Matt’s back for years.

Finally sober with a heart for others

and their monkeys, Matthew

just couldn’t resist a ride on the wild side, so he

bought a bike and hung a left just

when the truck hung a right

right into the Electra  Glide in Blue. The mountain,

really just a big desert hill, still has the

Palo Verde and a few snakes on

top. Each time the man passes, he remembers

his English lit. professor saying,

“The best-laid schemes o’ mice an ‘men

Gang aft agley,

An’lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,

For promis’d joy!”

As a Teenager

As a teenager, he fell in love

with Anne Baxter’s breasts

when she wore see through

chiffon as Pharoah’s wife

and was prettier than

all the rest

including pretty Nina Foch’s

perky, hard nippled chest

showing through her sheer vest

in Cecil B. DeMille’s blockbuster

Ten Commandments,

then Hollywood’s very biggest and best.

The breasts were round, fully

packed and firm

and as a teen he did burn

and felt guilty with all the rest

of the Youth for Christ boys

being put to the Bible-themed,

big screen test.

Incredulity and Mystery

Every time he opens his online daily meditation he sees a detail

of The Incredulity of Saint Thomas, c. 1601-1602, by Caravaggio.

Thomas, using the index finger of his right hand, lifts back

the flap on the wound in the side of Jesus. Thomas needs to

see and touch before he will believe that the one before him is

the crucified Jesus. Jesus grants the request but qualifies it by

saying that those who believe without seeing are blessed. The

man thinks that sounds a lot like it was written a lot later and

put into Jesus’ mouth by someone who couldn’t see or touch

but who was a member of one of the many, many communities

of those who believe the mystery. The man likes Thomas, under-

stands Thomas, is Thomas. He likes the scientific method of

testing and observing over and over and over and tentatively

affirming until it is disproved. He sees himself using the index

finger of his left hand to lift the flap on the wound of whatever

it is he is examining. He peers deeply into the wound, he smells

the dried blood, he sees the internal organs and then he feels

the mystery of the spirit flow from the wound and engulf his

head seeping into his nostrils, causing his eyes to water, creat-

ing a ringing in his ears. Yes, he relies on and trusts the tools

of investigation but, still and even better, like the Johnny

Come Lately of the community of mystery, he loves the myster-

ious spirit of life which he inhales deeply.

The Religious Rich

The religious rich, coldly, savagely,

with the wicked wonder of sub-

stitutionary atonement as their

rationale, look upon all those below

them economically, morally,

religiously as, inherently, unworthy.

It’s a moral issue, naturally, they say.

Freedom requires hard work and that

is missing, of course, and we have

given more than enough time, they say.

The rich may not have gotten to where

they are in the God forsaken hierarchy

through any effort of their own as second

or third generationalists, rather perhaps

through the avaricious grasping of their

parents, grandparents and on and on,

but however they got it, it is a provid-

ential gift that gives them the right to

call all those below, and that means a

heck of a lot, to shape up, measure up

or give it up and get lost and better than

that, just plain vanish, please, they ask,

demand and pour a pittance of their

riches into keeping those who are not

like them, if only on surface appear-

ances as brown or black or gay, because

they pollute life, down and out.  And so,

democracy is gone, brought to the curb

and tossed under the bus by avaricious

capitalism crouched in escatalogical

terms of hyper-evangelical Christianity

fighting for Jerusalem and hurrying

the second return, a pause to meet

Jesus in the sky and then the blessed,

justifying, satisfying, blood slaking 

Armageddon when God finally will

obliterate the unworthy (of course,

we all are unworthy they would

demure but then we are the elect

they would declare) and the one

percent of one percent will meet

and greet the greatest defender of

conservative moralist causes, the

righteously and justly avaricious

capitalist of all eternity – Jesus,

the Capitalistic Christ, who

will establish the Dow Jones and

the S and P on the Dome of the

Rock for ever and ever, amen and


A Tale of Two Cities

The family got up on the children’s schedule, as usual, ate bananas, organic cereal and yogurt, while middle child had her hair braided for the Sunday morning gymnastics meet in the town that defines spirituality as fast bike rides into the mountains, long runs, rock climbing and various versions of yoga while flat land church goers sat and heard the roar drown out the preacher’s sermon and glimpsed through the stained glass the roofs of their homes fly by and 180 mile an hour twisters lift SUVs and drop them a block or so away.  Those that stayed home from church looked up and saw the blue sky from their basements and in a few minutes, it was all over.  Ironically, all the church buildings sat intact even the steeples and church goers walked out to see their flat land even flatter while the young lady did a nice job at the gymnastics meet in the mountain town that only a month or so before almost had been washed into oblivion.