Some People Are Beaten Down So Hard

Some people are beaten down so hard

by life and then there are those who

are beaten down for their sake. He thinks

of when he was a young boy in his grand-

mother’s kitchen watching her pound the

big mound of dough into submission with

her wood pastry roller and then sprinkling

the carcass with white embalming dust and

rolling out the body with the rolling-pin — back

and forth, back and forth — until it was as flat as

she wanted it to be, except the dough didn’t

bleed, never bled like those always do who stand

up to oppression and suffer the batons of bigotry.

They bleed and some die as the injustice rolls

over them like his grandmother’s roller, but as

with his grandmother’s dough, when she put it in

the oven, it wasn’t to burn it to ashes but to watch

it warm and rise and form a beautiful crust to

protect that which was so light and tender inside.

The protesters don’t rise like a Phoenix from the

ashes, rather they rise in resurrection and their

blood forms a beautiful, brown crust to be broken

at the dinner table while Jesus’ followers consume

the delicious, divine,  life-giving bread.

He Sat at the Table

He sat at a four-legged table,

which had one leg about two

inches shorter than the other


three. Of course, it leaned,

but not so much so that things

wouldn’t stay on it. His coffee


cup and dinner plate leaned

in the direction of the shorter

leg. They didn’t look complete-


ly comfortable leaning like that;

they had a precarious stillness.

The coffee in the cup angled


toward the lip and the food on

the plate slid slightly but held

as did the flat wear probably


because it rested on a cloth

napkin and didn’t slide easily.

His chair sat straight, so he


sat straight wondering if he

should lean in the direction

of his coffee cup and dinner


plate, but that would be awk-

ward sitting in a level chair.

He thought about getting a


saw and cutting one leg of

the chair two inches shorter

than the other three legs so


he could align with his meal,

but he wondered if then he

would fall over. Another


possibility would be to craft

a two-inch high piece of

wood to fit under the short


leg. Another would be to

skip the meal, get up from

the table and just walk away


hungry. And isn’t that always

the dilemma posed by this,

that or the other?




Kneeling, He Retrieved It

Kneeling, he retrieved

the tchotchke and when

he did, he felt the zeitgeber

course through his veins

and arteries reviving

his energy so he could

continue his work as

a mahout but as he

mistook the gravity

of his error, the

elementary school

spelling bee students

had already exhausted

the voluminous number

of approved words and

the bee had to be ad-

journed till the next week

so the judges could find

a new cache of words

so the contestants could

then reach for the prize

of the trinket, which

will help restore their

biological clocks to

tend their elephantine

knowledge of how

words are spelled

until one luxates.

However, given the

circumstances, most

in attendance would

say both deserved

the prize and the 

man realized his error

and went back to 

pick up the


(Hint: obscure words in first part of poem are repeated as everyday synonyms in the second part, except one easy word in the first part is obscure in the second.)



He Sits and Squints

He sits and squints through little slits

in his eyelids while watching ice skaters

at the Olympics, especially, as the skaters


fly across the ice preparing for some triple

or even a quadruple this, that or the other.

He’s old enough to know that gravity


will pull the skaters back down to earth

ever so fast, but hopefully, he thinks,

they will go into Olympic slow-motion


post performance play in actual per-

formance time and land on a dime.

Sometimes he even has to look between


his index and third fingers like a Zorro

mask and sometimes closing them

shut before he knows if the skater has


made the jump and landed on all two or

not. Sometimes, he forgets about trying to

watch through the closed fingers, closes


his eyes and listens for a collective

cheer or groan for that matter from the

crowd who actually paid to be at the


event – people like moms and pops

and promoters and coaches and

others like that before he opens his



eyes. Afterward, as he lowers his

Lone Ranger mask hand to pick up the

glass of Sauvignon Blanc given to him


and his wife as a gift when their friends

came to visit. He sips and breathes a sigh of

relief. Either way, thank God, he thinks, it is

over for the moment.



Back in Michigan

Back in Michigan, the lake effect

snow climbs to the top of the


like a mountain goat

climbs higher and higher

with every seismic jolt

to avoid calamities.

Here in Arizona, the dammed

up creeks, now dry river beds,

form half full/half empty lakes

with water receding like soapy

water sliding down with

the gurgle it always makes.

The desert plants die

and great lakes freeze,

so why, oh, why

can’t I

revel in the glories

of nature, like Words-

worth, Mary Oliver and

the Shelleys?

But wasn’t it that other

Mary, the prophetic Shelley,

who warned us of


the worship of that we

can do without thought

of what it might do

causing great unease

and then disease

and ultimately death, oh

no, no, please?

Jogging Along the Trail

Jogging along the trail,

lagging behind Buddy,

the chocolate lab, who

sets the pace, he

kicks up desert dust,

dodges the rocks,

squints at the rising sun,

takes a deep breath —

Yah, in

weh, out

Yah, in

weh, out.

He silently celebrates

the glorious

day, out

on the Arizona


Buddy, he and



For Forty-Three Years

For forty-three years

he preached out his heart.

For all that time

he gave his all to the noble art.

For forty-three years

he preached out his heart.

For all that time….

And then he let his foot

off the gas

and he, in utter honesty,

said, “That time has passed.

It is now time irreverently

to rev up a new journey

which means the blogging

of rhymed, metered and

free verse poetry.”

And two and a half years

later, he’s hitting on

all eight

because after five-hundred-

thirty-five posts,

the engine revs just great

and the scenery along

the way is something

over which to elate.

So he is really happy

that he stopped when

he did

and not keep preaching,

as so many

Revs. did,

till it would have been

too late.  

There are Lethal Weapons

“There are lethal weapons out there

in the thousands upon thousands

just looking to injure, maim or kill,”

the old guy said to the gas pump

jockey as the kid stood perfectly still

then rang up the guy’s Hawaiian

Hazelnut coffee and the latest

from the tabloid news mill. 

“Oh, we’ve had gun rights out

here for ever,” the Arizona kid

politely replied.

“No, I mean the cars,” the man

said, “Oh, yeah and oh, so true,”

said the kid, letting out a

awkward laugh of surprise.

The man gave him some

friendly advice, “I hope you

are careful out there when

you drive.”

“Oh, I don’t drive,” mumbled

the Arizona kid. “I ride my

Harley from sunrise

to sunset.”

“Lord, have mercy,” the

man mumbled back, “On

your longevity, I won’t

make a bet

that you, Arizona Kid,

will make it to see many sunsets.”

With that the man thanked the

kid for the service and gas

and as the old guy left, the

Arizona kid decided just to

let the old guy’s words pass.

He looked out the window

at his Electra Glide in Blue

and said to his steed, “Buddy,

I will always love you,

if necessary till death

do us part.

Till then, you will have

my young, if foolish,

Arizona heart.”


Humans are the New Asteroid

In the dystopia now…

“Humans are the new


she said in an interview.

The last big


killed off the dinosaurs;

now the human


is killing off the

animals in the wild

by driving really

big vehicles

really fast

on highways

thousands of miles

from the wild

animals. The


takes off

and flies over,

dive bombing

into the ocean

and into the

wild blowing

lungs out

of the




children go to the

zoo to see

the pigmy

animals who once

were pretty

big.  Their grand-

parents take

the children

to the zoo in

really big vehicles

that fly down

the highway

as the children

ask, “Are we there,

yet?” and

Nana says, “Put

your masks on,

my little