The Mean Streets Meet Main Street

The mean streets meet
Main Street.
Don’t tell the skinhead
he drove
his super, big, black truck
jacked up
on monster tires
the wrong way
into the corner Tasty Treat.
He may beat
the crap out of you or if you
are lucky, at the very least,
flip you off right
there
on the street.
Sure we’ve been
killing each other since Abel
and Cain
but it does seem
our society
is getting ever more mean.
Hostility and fear reign
since Cain
asked “Am I my brother’s
keeper?”
Today, Cain wouldn’t
care about a brother
or sister, father or mother.
He would simply pull
a gun and shoot — it’s
quicker just to play the
Grim Reaper
and keep everyone
quiet, fearful, angry
and resentful with
five guns tucked in
the mattress under
the light and nervous
sleeper. Boo!

An Old World Rental Cemetery

The Travel Show host shows the
bas reliefs
with chopped noses
and chipped chins
of Salzburg cemeteries within.
You can only
hope the families
keep up the rent pay-
ments or the noses
take nose dives and
chins take it on the chin
and loved ones
are relegated to the dust bin
of history
making way for more noses
and protruding chins
of the newly dead
who now reside within
the Salzburg cemeteries
monthly rent payments
to soon begin.

Ordained and Then Forgotten

Ordained by the Classis of Chicago
as a Reverend Mr.
and then forgotten;
passed the Presbytery of Western
Kentucky ordination exam
and then forgotten;
transferred to the Louisville Presbytery
whereupon he obtained a doctorate
and became The Rev. Dr.
and then forgotten;
accepted into the Zeeland Classis,
Reformed Church in America,
after re-examination
and then forgotten;
transferred to the Holland Classis,
RCA and then forgotten;
became a United Church of Christ
minister with credentials in the
Grand West Association of the
Michigan Conference
and then forgotten;
retired from ministry after forty-
three years
and then completely forgotten;
now —
just self-ordained as Bob,
the Blogger,
the same coming and going
not needing anyone’s or any
group’s approval.
Thank you, Jesus.

Their Heady Heart of Hearts

It’s what history relegates
to the insignificant times
and places and experiences
that live on and matter —
those temporary times,
fleeting and soon forgotten
except for those who sat in
class and who for them it
might just as well have been
Harvard, Chicago, Yale or
Princeton, only to be remind-
ed they were in a junior coll-
ege, what they now call com-
munity colleges, in a south
suburb of the city of Chicago.
They were so excited about
Shakespeare and Beowulf;
they were certain they were
Ivy league; after all they wore
khaki slacks and loafers with-
out socks and Pendleton plaids,
so they were Ivy League and
once in a while, when they
were feeling a little insecure
about that, they would hang
out around 57th and Hyde
Park coffee houses, and now,
in their heady heart of hearts,
they know they were so
much more.

The Kid’s Name Was Bobby

The kid’s name was Bobby.
My name used to be Bobby,
especially to my mother.
I sat next to Bobby at
the first meeting of Boy
Scout Troop 101 sponsored
by the Methodist Church
in the next neighborhood
over from mine. I had
heard about Bobby in his
Levis with the large
turned-up cuffs and his
short-sleeved shirt with
the rolled up sleeves,
one holding a pack of
cigarettes. I just sat
there and stared at him.
He looked at me and snarl-
ed, “What are you (He drag-
ged out the ‘you.’) lookin’
at?” “Nothing,” I said,
quickly looking away in
fear. He was smaller than
I was but he was wiry and
sported a Duck’s Tail flat-
top to my crew cut. I
worried that he would be
waiting for me after the
meeting perhaps with a
couple of his buddies
from his neighborhood
to “pants” me, that time-
honored tradition of
having one’s pants pulled
off and thrown up in a tree.
As I stepped out the door
of the educational wing, I
heard my mother call,
“Bobby!” I had been a highly
decorated Webelos, having
earned the Arrow of Light
badge in Cub Scout Pack 203
sponsored by church in my
neighborhood, but I never
went back to a meeting of
Troop 101 in the Methodist
Church in Bobby’s neighbor-
hood and I never became
a Boy Scout.

Having Been a News Junkie

Having been a news
junkie,
I thought it would be
real funkie,
watching
everything I could but
didn’t
count on all the blood
and gore,
which I determined,
given our
social network,
would be forevermore,
so I switched to
the food networks
and now I’m a
social network
“Have you seen my
latest, greatest recipe?”
bore,
which considering
all social media
is better than
lauding a U.S.
Iraqi sniper,
and while paying the
media piper
and
seeing
that war is inevitable,
I think small cut onions
and minced garlic are
preferable.

Proudly from the Heart

Some say to be a poet, pen and paper are the best;
I think they may be Luddites.
I think of Stephen Hawking, poet of the celest-
ial and how he writes.
However the words get to where they need to be
becomes the best way for all of us to see
and read and speak loudly
or if, for whatever reason we be mute,
then to shout it from our hearts most proudly
and absolute.

Don’t Take Me Too Seriously, But I Am a Fine Preacher, Aren’t I and Did You See How Many Souls Were Saved Today?

Once, years ago, I attended a Southern Baptist preaching festival at a First Baptist Church in a midsized, mid-state Kentucky town. I was invited by a Southern Baptist preacher friend.

Listening to the sermons, I realized the preachers tried to outdo each other with outrageous, personal experiences and name dropping (When Billy Graham and I prayed down the cannibals in the rainforest and they dropped their spears and we all had tears….), thus attempting to lift themselves to preeminence within the group, I later learned but with a divine purpose in mind.

I noticed that the attendees loved it and roared their approval. The bigger the whopper, the bigger the cheer.

Having been raised in the somber, sober environs of the Dutch Reformed Church, I was outraged by the bald-faced lies, especially being shouted out from the hallowed elevation of “The Pulpit.”

Undies scrunching by the second, I told my friend that the preachers were lying through their teeth. He turned to me and said, in his best southern drawl, “Embellishin’. It’s a fine art and time-honored tradition, which must be cultivated and honed over the years.

“You simply have to attend one of our annual denominational schools of evangelism to learn how to do it right. There you are blessed with the best.

“We all know what’s goin’ on. It’s just for fun. It’s our way of sayin’ don’t take me too seriously; just make sure you take Jesus seriously.

“And we do get serious when the lights go down and preacher calls all to bow their heads and close their eyes, lift their hands while no one is watching, (although you know there are always a few who sneak a peek) if they want to accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior and be assured of going to heaven this day instead of hell if they happened to leave this place and were struck down by a car at the intersection of Main Street and First Avenue, right out the front door of the church right after the service on their way home to a wonderful fried chicken dinner.

“It surely could happen the preacher would say. Then the preacher would ask those who had come under conviction to walk that sawdust trail to the kneeling bench as the soloist sings, Just As I Am verse by verse for however long it takes for those souls to be saved.

“If it took just one of those Embellishments to get that kid saved, that little lie is a twinkle in Jesus’ eye and that’s one more Lamb of God that the Devil missed.”

Honestly, I had no idea what to say, but it was kinda’ impressive, I thought in my best, newly acquired southern drawl.

Two Heavenly Roommates

When your mother dies,
wouldn’t it be blissfully wise
for St. Peter to make her fate
to have my mother as a roommate?
Thus proving two covenant kids
could have their cake
and eat it, too,
by having hell in heaven
to live eternity through?
Some might then say,
it is God’s way
of solving the theodicy
questions of evil and good,
justice and
grace
by putting those two
in the same place.