He Didn’t Know It Was All Inside

He didn’t know it was all inside,
	inside the leaf and that the green
is just an overlay -- the chlorophyll
put there to suck in CO2 and breathe
out sugar
          which somewhere along the line
                   becomes O2.
			Nice idea. Let’s keep
except in the fall when the green
goes away till another day
revealing the yellow and orange and red --
gorgeous colors that were always there
and then 
                    as a 
onto the lawns to be raked into piles
and put in the streets
so kids could burn them
with a potato wrapped in tinfoil


Twice there was something good
inside -- 
under the green and
in the wonderfully aromatic
smell of burning leaves,

                                      a hot potato.

Lost and Found in Roseland

He hears music on various
PBS programs and doesn’t
know if it is because he
has heard that music so
many times before or if
it just, somehow, reminds
him of experiences from
the past — music to his
ears of childhood in winter
and summer in Roseland,
in the wild of the Illinois
prairie, meaning a vacant
lot upon which to build a
fort from dead branches
or Christmas trees. He
doesn’t know but it sounds
good to his ears and his
heart and his memory.

I Came Across the Word

I came across the word flocculent
and it seemed so heavy, full,

bloated, gaseous, but that perhaps
is a different word, one which

sounds like flocculent but falls flat
as in flatulent. I heard a seminarian

make a joke while trying to clear
his dorm room of friends by shout-

ing, “Get the flock out,” and then
proceeded to indulge the flatulence

he was experiencing from the beer
he consumed earlier. That line was

pretty funny for a seminarian, but
would fall more than flocculently

flat upon a real flock; sorry, speak-
ing metaphorically of a congregation,

which actually, by and large, is made
up of a bunch of sheepish creatures,

so maybe that’s a realistic way to
refer to a bunch of people making up

the membership of a congregation.
Anyway, it means “resembling wool

especially in loose fluffy organ-
ization; containing, consisting of,

or occurring in the form of loosely
aggregated particles or soft flakes.”

My point being, saying “Get the flock
out,” from the pulpit would elicit

a flocculent flurry flying around
the fold and might get the non-

plussed pastor run out on a rail
and then down a slippery slope

without much hope.

In Sleep

In sleep, mostly in sleep,
ever in sleep, the ache
pulls and my heart will
burst as I gaze upon the
faces of those who have
gone before and in whose
presence there is still
so much work to do; the
dreams go on, the ache
goes on, the work is
never done. Awake, grate-
fully awake from the
intensity of the dream,
I sit staring out the
window holding my heart
hoping the ache soon
will depart.

Wouldn’t It Be Nice?

The couple gathered at a local
brewpub for their traditional
Saturday afternoon celebration
of life. Over the last year or two
they have gotten to know the
crowd sitting around the bar as
“hail fellows and gals well met”
with whom they can joke and
tease and share anecdotal stories
of events of the past week.
They would be leaving in a few
days for the winter traveling to
Chicago, Colorado, Utah and
then on down to Arizona. People
wished them well, shook their
hands and slapped them on the
back as the couple headed out
the door. As they walked to the
car, the man said to his wife,
“Wouldn’t it be nice if people
were this friendly at church?”

Something Needs To Be Done, An Internal Monologue

You’ve got this conviction
that something needs to be
done, but something always
needs to be done and where
do you start or stop for that
matter? Guilt hangs on the
shoulders like Santa’s big
bag but not filled with
Christmas presents, just
heavy chunks of coal
which you can’t even
burn anymore because
of all the pollution it
would cause, so it just
hangs there and you hope
that some righteous deed
will lighten the load
but instead, you take out
a chunk and put it on a
conveyor belt to heaven
and just wait for it to
plop back down on the
ground next to you like
you’re sure it will and
then it does. Then what?
Put it back on the belt,
hope for the best, forget
the damn chunk and actually
just do something for some-
body else for a change.


Clergy #1 sat there waffling,
giving reasons to not take action;
Clergy #2 thought it was so suffocating,
and then Clergy #1 asked, “Why stick a
finger in their eyes
just so you can look ever so wise?”
Clergy #2 wanted to stick his
finger in Clergy #1’s eyes,
both left and right,
asked, “Can’t you simply
stand up for what you think
is right without asking for
a fight?”
Clergy #1 tried to make it
sound so pastoral and caring
when he just worried
about the cost of daring.
Clergy #2 said, “We have
to take a stand
and give fate a toss.
What will it cost besides being
hung up on a cross?”
“Exactly my point,” uttered
Clergy #1, “Getting strung up
isn’t for everyone and what about
my hard earned pension?”
“Where’s our faith?” asked Clergy #2,
“In Jesus isn’t the victory won?”
“Oh, that’s nice,” stated Clergy #1,
“You would mention Jesus and
spoil everyone’s fun.”

With All This Talk

A note sent to those who have been e-mailing concerning the definition of neo-liberalism:

I shudder to think of the audacity
it takes to send this little ditty
to all those without a hint of mendacity
but with honesty, acumen, experience,
knowledge and downright sagacity.

Please excuse the lousy poetry;
It’s just my attempt at a little levity.
The conversation is so depressingly dour;
I thought to inject some comedic humour.

I will send no other, on my honor,
so you won’t have to read another yawner.


With all this talk of oligarchs and plutocrats
and corporations acting like really big, fat cats,
the environment going up in a blaze
and life becoming a thick, ugly haze,
I’ll just sit and catatonically stare
and take an aspirin made by Bayer.
Oh no! Not that transnational, evil empire!
Without outrageously expensive meds
my life is prematurely scheduled to expire.
Bayer, DuPont, Dow, Monsanto, and Syngenta,
shame on all your third world grasping assets
while drowning those nations in financial deficits.
I keep hearing analysis and details about the problems,
but almost nothing about how to solve ‘em,
so in the meantime, this old Kentuckian
sits with anxieties a churnin’
while reachin’ for a glass of small batch, single barrel Bourbon.                                                  
Oh, no! Please, no! Say it ain’t so; 
my Bourbon is made from corn that’s been GMO’d.

Thanks For The Article

Thanks for the article on Neo-liberalism.
I spend most of my writing time in poetry

(metaphors, similes, meter, rhyme, free
verse, hikus, tankas, etc., etc., etc.)

not necessarily in logical/reasoned dis-
course, so please keep that in mind.

Appreciated the analysis of Neo-liberalism;
would have loved a hint at an economic

solution. As someone who appreciates Francis-
can spirituality — contemplation and praxis,

I don’t think the call to “get shed of it,”
as they phrase it in the Great Commonwealth

(ironical word in today’s economy) of “My
Old Kentucky Home,” will garner mass popular-

ity. Perhaps a friendly suggestion of a bit
of community spring cleaning would be accept-

ed as a healthy, periodic downsizing kind
of thing to do, but not so much as to cause

deflation in the economy. As cited in the
article: “Keynesianism works by stimulat-

ing consumer demand to promote economic
growth. Consumer demand and economic

growth are the motors of environmental
destruction.” Perhaps Keynesianism

(effective in crisis situations) could
be directed toward the great crisis of

climate change by promoting “environmental
construction” — seduce greed to go green!

Why do we have such a hard time striking
a balance (Aristotle’s Golden Mean) between

capitalism and socialism — encouraging
economic initiative while applying checks

and balances against the greed that
runs through the marrow of our bones?

Ah, yes, of course, the answer within
the question — the greed that runs through

the marrow of our bones elevated to
the obscenity of “Citizens United.”

We’ve got a thesis; we’ve got an anti-
thesis; so, where the heck is the synthesis?

Pick Yourself Up, Dust Yourself Off — And Hope Nobody Was Watching

When I think back, certain
experiences come to mind
repeatedly. I’m three doors
down, in Jeannie Hedstrom’s
backyard swinging on her
swings — higher, higher,
kicking my legs under me
on the swing back and then
up and out on the swing
forward — arms pushing
on the swing backward,
pulling on the swing for-
ward. This time I’m ready
to jump off the swing, up
and out, sailing farther
than ever before — except,
I fall backward instead
landing on my back, neck
and head, knocking the
wind out of my lungs.
I hop up — hop all around
trying to catch my breath
then I look around to see
if anyone saw my fall.
I don’t think so. I run
home. The next day I
have a stiff neck. I
hate stiff necks.