The Poor You Have With You Always

They help to feed
people on the street
who meet,
eat
and go back to the street.
It’s a gesture,
but a question does pester:
“By now shouldn’t we
have the means
to help people get
off the street,
make a decent living,
feed themselves
and get a good night’s
sleep?”

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Of All The Nerve

300 some million auto-
reflective, auto-reflexive,
individualistic responses
sent into cyber space
at a rapid pace tell us
that community in any
meaningful way is going
away. She pulled into the
spot fast, fast tracked
into the post office,
barged her way past the
lengthy line without an
“excuse me,” went up to
the counter, said some-
thing while still on
the phone, turned, left
in a hurried pace, opened
the door of her big SUV
which just shouted “Look
out! I’m here,” and the
door bounced off the car
next to it. She didn’t
know there was an occupant.
The person in that car
blew the horn and told
her to be more careful.
She said, without apology,
there wasn’t much room
between the vehicles.
She was careless as Nick
told Gatsby that Tom and
Daisy were careless. In
their lack of community,
in their privilege, in their
elitism, they couldn’t care
less about the consequences
of their actions on others.
She pulled out of the space
almost hitting a car and
drove away while texting
something to some Miley
Cyrus look-alike about
some bitter, old bag/hag who
had the nerve to bother her.

The Faux Hardscrabble

Because he could scramble
up to the top of desert peaks,
he thought he was working his
way through a hardscrabble
life, which in reality, was
a life with its share of
tragic events but not
a chronic ache of trying
to stay out-of-the-way of
poverty. He ran five miles
a day but not in bare feet.
He could afford the finest
shoes on the market but
knowing which size he need-
ed in which brand would
find them discounted forty
or fifty percent and would
feel really good about
beating the capitalistic
system when, in reality,
the corporation would
always and ever still get
its share of the money
according to the man’s
wife, a retired corporate
executive, so he was just
being cheap and hurting
some small, family owned
running store operation,
which actually understood
a hardscrabble in just
trying to stay alive in
the jungle of the
avaricious, vicious and
venomous animal known in
America and elsewhere
as the multi-national
corporation.

a prayer while watching history unfold

servitude to ineptitude,
dude,
leads to oligarchy,
plutocracy
and finally fascism
in the system.
stay tuned or tune out.
i hear
it’s nice in the desert
this time of year.
speaking of ineptitude,
dude,
avoid the phoenix highways
on your vision quest,
if you hope to return to the nest.
the animals there are wild.
every beemer, audi, mercedes
is ready to escort you to hades.
better to come down by way of moab
maybe on a mountain bike
before you take that vision quest hike
in the grand canyon
with jesus
as your companion.
amen.

Delusions in a Southern Drawl

The political strategist
said in a Southern drawl,
“He’ll change his demeanor
once he is in the Oval
Office. He will work for
the people because he has
more than enough money,”
which, of course, begs the
question once posed to one of
the heirs to the Ford
fortune, “When is enough
enough?” — to which the
privileged kid on his way
to the chauffeured limo
reputedly said, “It’s
never enough.” It is never
enough to fill the Hollow Man,
so he won’t ever change his
demeanor. Simply, he will
continue to demean. What’s
the cliche about a zebra and
its stripes? If the Hollow
Man is anything, he is a
cliche.

Walking Among the Vendors

Walking among the vendors
at the farmer’s market in

midtown Phoenix on a Satur-
day in November just around

closing, the couple with
their chocolate lab picked

up the few things they needed
— Fourth of July tomatoes

as they call them in July
in Michigan, beets, honey —

organic and unfiltered, which
the young seller told the wife

was very good for digestion
and a small spoonful would

stop acid reflux in its tracks.
The husband thought, Well, I

know lemons, ironically, do that
but I had no idea honey would

do that, too. It sure looks
delicious. While driving out

of the parking lot of the huge
Baptist church where the farmer’s

market is held each Wednes-
day and Saturday, he slowed

and stopped at a car where
two women were putting their

groceries in the trunk and
said, “If you want to meet the

friendliest people in town,
just come to the farmer’s market.

Of course, it helps to have a
chocolate lab along because

everyone wants to stop and pet
the lab. It’s a great conversation

starter.” Both of the women
eyeing the dog in the back

seat, chuckled and said, “You
sure got that right, mister.”

The couple then drove out into
the hostility of the streets.

I Come From the Tribe

I come from the tribe of Dahl,
which was the tribe of Hanson
before my great-grandfather
changed it in Sweden for un-

explained reasons. From there
we went through many migrat-
ions losing a lot of melanin
along the way back to about

150,000 years ago somewhere
in one or more of the stans, as
in Kazakhstan, etc. This is the
period of time, which eventually

produced the myth of Adam and
Eve. My father once said,
with a certain sadness, that
when you marry someone you

marry all that person’s relatives
back to Adam and Eve. Actually,
spouses’ relatives go back farther
than that in actual history.

Before that we were a tribe out
of Africa escaping a really bad
drought. Before that, I don’t
know, but my tribe goes back

to the origin of Homo sapiens,
which translates to “wise people,”
which is kind of funny considering
that they were considered that all

those years ago when it seems like
it would be pretty hard to find
many wise people today, except
in the Dahl, nee Hanson tribe.

Standing At the Counter

I was standing at the drug-
store counter the day before
Thanksgiving when the clerk
noticing several people exiting
called after them, as per in-
structions from the manager,
“Have a nice day and a Happy
Thanksgiving,” to deaf ears
covered with I-phones, and then
he said mockingly only within
earshot of me, “Have a nice day
all you appreciative deaf, halt
and blind people.” “Yes,” I said,
“we are the distracted generation
never thinking about please or
thank you. Try not to take it
personally. It’s like I try to
tell myself when confronted
by a rude driver on the road.
Notice I said try.” As I left
the store, the clerk said,
“Have a nice day and Happy
Thanksgiving.” Cupping my ear
with an empty hand, I replied,
“Huh? What? Don’t bother me.
I’m on the phone.” He laughed
and I finished by saying “and
Happy Thanksgiving right back
at ya.” He smiled as he turned
to the next customer.