Back in 1969

Back in 1969, a new professor of English

at a small Midwestern college

said his specialty was poetry, a dying art

he added as he left the mailroom.

In 2013, a comic radio personality interviewed

a former state and national poet laureate

and in a gag for the audience said that

poetry was just music without the music and

“talked” instead of sung. The laureate

objected politely but somewhat

unpoetically by saying that lyrics

by themselves without music weren’t

poetry. Simply, he needed only use a simile

by mentioning Steve Allen’s Tonight

Show shtick of “talking”

song lyrics without the music:

“Do wah diddy, diddy, dum diddy do…,” for

instance, and the laureate was old enough

to remember. Still the blogger of poetry had

to admit that his blog wasn’t setting the

internet on fire.  Back in the day, but not

back as far as Steve Allen’s shtick,

the professor must have been on to something

even though academics

and the intelligentsia tell us that the poets

are the revealers of truth. 

Easy for the intelligentsia;

tough for the poets. Seriously, who wants

the truth?

The Veterans

The veterans of

making money

on Veterans’ Day

show their patriotism

in their commercials

featuring celebrities

and pro athletes who

never went to

boot camp, never

donned the uniform

and never, ever

put themselves

in harm’s way.

But they got paid

big bucks to

show their appreciation

while the veterans of

knowing how to make

money scored a teary

eyed victory as

they made their

way to the bank,

and the real veterans


their way back to

the hospital or

to write letters to

their representatives

to get all their

unpaid benefits or

simply to go back to

the street.

She Is Worth So Much More Than a Number

She is worth so much more than a number,

but that is the oppressive educational power

structure – one number determines all and

isn’t that so typically an academically smug

generational assertion – one # answers all? 

Stanford-Binet was the answer when it

was developed about hundred years or so

ago in light of the history of humanity now

going back to a million and counting and

push forward a hundred years or so and

wouldn’t it be nice if the pros figured out

a way to account for and measure little old

intuition, that frisky little, but ever so important,

ingredient in intelligence, and it’s not even 

restricted to women as in women’s intuition,

not to mention its first cousin music which is

gender neutral, too?

In the Way

The congressman from Georgia

who had his brains beaten while

crossing a bridge on a civil rights

walk when he was little more than

a mere child in a white shirt and

half Windsor and trench coat,

survived and thrived to tell the story.

He said that you could put your body

in the way, where your heart was,

where your faith was – you could

interfere with business as usual –

you could put your body there for

the cause. The method was still

effective, he said.  Listening, the

man thought about incarnation

and Jesus’ body in the way of

business as usual.

A Wannabe Folk Singer

He heard a sweet version of “Somewhere Beyond the Sea”

on BBC, PBS Sunday Night T.V.,

looked up the chording on-line only to be bewildered

at the hieroglyphics he did see,

then strummed it out by ear in the simple key of D

and found a home at little old G,

D7, C, G, D7 and back to G.

How humbling that exercise could be

for a sixty-nine-year-old soon to be

who’s been trying in fits to be

in a folk singing group, one of three

like Peter, Paul and Mary

or perhaps just a simple minstrel

was something he could see,

but no, it was not to be.


And so his audience became his children when they

were young, but they would flee to the upstairs T.V.

crying, “Mom, could you get dad to be quiet, please!”

So now, all these years later, he hummed and strummed what he heard on T.V.

for his long-suffering wife which made her think of the BBC show on PBS Sunday Night T.V.

She actually smiled and hummed a few bars with her voice

so sweet,

but the dog lowered his ears and made for the bedroom

after rising to his feet.


The previous three Labs used to lower their ears

but this fourth one summarily beat a retreat

which makes the folk guitarist squirm in his seat

and wonder if Labs and little kids are true music lovers

or just snobs hooked on some obscure chording such as

A #, Gm, Cm, and E

with a sharp to the 7th, you see.

He supposed there were more things in canine and

little kid heaven and earth than he could ever possibly see,

and unto the Bard a sincere apology. 


Three More Days of the Condor

For three days, the condor

swooped down on the appointed

officials and flew through the

proper channels only to slam

into the sealed vault door.


He then perched by the open

door of the newsroom and

waited for the momentous

moment to leave the perch

and land on the editor’s desk.


Years and years later, the senator

stated that there should be no

clemency and that he had his

chance to use the proper govern-

mental channels instead of going


rogue and landing in cyberspace.

Perched high above, the condor

watched and whistled, “Fool me

once shame on you. Fool me

twice, shame on me.”

Appearances and Vicissitudes

He wondered what the cute girl with the cute butt would look like after fifty years, but she died before he could

see.  He guessed it wouldn’t have been good if she were able to make it to the reunion.  She had a disease

of the pituitary gland that left her divorced from her Ivy League professor husband, living with her younger son

in Tucson, Arizona, doing needle-point and looking like a female version of the Hunchback of Notre Dame with a

hairy moon face. One day, she got out of bed, fell over and died. He had had his own sorrows but hearing that

just left him with his head shaking even after a few old classmates at the reunion didn’t recognize him after he

gained a few pounds and lost hair. He looks in the mirror and sometimes sees a hairy moon face before shaving. 

Once in a while, he still dreams about the cute girl and her cute butt.

Where Are They?

Where are they – the little ones

who have suffered more deeply

than any child should suffer at

their young and tender age –

the death of their mother, who

carried them in the warmth of

the womb and held them following

the trauma of birth, which some

think to be Adam and Eve’s fall?


Where are they after holding

her soft hand trick or treating

and wearing the costume she

made for them not to mention

being held in her arms in the

holiness of the baptism before

which they were told of and

seeing the pride in her eye at



They, the children of their mother,

have survived, endured and per-

severed to hold their own babies

in the comfort of their arms, to

walk them in the neighborhood

on Halloween but sometimes,

in the silence of the night, when

their spouses are sound asleep,

they hug a pillow and weep.


On A Cool, Crisp Saturday

On a cool, crisp Saturday,

salted in-the-shell peanuts

came to mind.  He thought

about cracking them, eating

the salty nut and tossing the

shell into the dune grass as

he sat on a chair on the front

porch while taking in the

golden foliage of a mid-fall

day in his cottage near the

Big Lake. Unfortunately,

the peanuts were stale so

the remainder of the bag

was tossed into the front

yard to mingle with the

maple leaves for the chip-

munks and until spring

when they will be ground-

up and carried away once

a year with the cut dune grass.

He went back to watching the

University of Michigan/ Michigan

State game on T.V. and dug

into the remainder of the bag

of relatively fresh pistachios.

Filling a bowl with shells and

a few nuts he couldn’t crack,

he opened the front door and

tossed the bowl-full into the

dune grass for the mice

while a neighbor blew recently

fallen leaves off his recently

mown grass with a really noisy

gas driven leaf blower. Not

wanting to suck in the pollution

or listen to the roar, he closed

the door and went back to

the game. Michigan State

had the lead.