“Too much news,” the preacher said.
“We’re all distracted by distractions,”
he went on, “We need to breathe
deeply. Let’s do that for a moment.”
The writer remembered and thought
to himself that the preacher simply
had had a rough drive in from the
big city. The writer sat at his desk
and read a poem that had been featured
on Bill Moyers’ PBS program. Seeing
that, the writer must have known what
was coming; being Moyers’ program, he
should have known he would be distracted,
but he had seen the face of the poet
and he was simply distracted by a
pretty face…so he read the poem on
a Sunday morning while the emotion-
ally sensitive preacher might once
again be nervously preaching about dis-
tractions. The writer sat at his desk
becoming distracted, now in a different
way. He forgot about the pretty face.
After finishing the poem which was about
George W. Bush and the Iraq War, a poem
which brought back all the horror of
“Shock and Awe” –ful in the sense of
being terrible, horrible not filled with
awe at all, the writer looked up the
etymology of “to distract” already having
a guess at “dis” and “tract”: distract:
mid-14c., “to draw asunder or apart, to
turn aside” (literal and figurative),
from Latin distractus, past participle
of distrahere “draw in different
directions,” from dis- “away”
+ trahere “to draw.” Sense of “to
throw into a state of mind in which
one knows not how to act” is from
Yeah, that was how he
felt sitting at his desk looking out
on the newly cut dune grass sending
green shoots skyward, cardinals
cavorting in the bush outside
the window, sun rising beautifully
casting long shadows on the dune
and two weekend warriors riding
past on their very light racing cycles
while he was thinking about bones
broken and limbs blown off and almost
smelling stinking burning flesh
rolling off boys’ and girls’ little
Iraqi bodies. Yes, he was really dis-
tracted and he just knew that darn
Bill Moyers, journalistic conscience
of a country, would approve.


One thought on “Distracted

  1. Thanks,Bob. I take it you re back in Holland? Loved you letter to Hope about their president. I read a book once that stated all cats are Republicans – they hate change. To me, that’s what conservatism & most of organized religion is about. Maintaining traditional structure, avoiding any disruption in power & tradition. Just my take on it all. Miss you, we should get together sometime.

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