All the Way Home

The Indians will, once again, have
to leave the comfort of their homes,
pack their teepees and travel in the
bitter cold to stop the desecration
of the reservation.

The Hispanics will, once again,
hunker down and try to become
invisible in their barrios avoiding
eye contact and venturing out mostly
in fright at night.

The women will, once again, put on
their running shoes and take to the
streets to take back the hard-earned
and won fight to be women — equal
in their own right.

The blacks will, once again, look up
and down, back and forth for any squad
cars driving through the neighborhood
and they will check their car’s lights
and be sure to use their turn signals
when switching lanes to avoid police
inflicted pain.

The working-class, white men will, once
again, feel betrayed by the system and
this time in particular by The Hollow Man
who promised them the moon only to
deliver a crashing meteor — a kick
to their posterior.

The elderly, once again, will wonder
about the safety of their social
security checks and if their Medicare and
Medicaid will fade.

A single mother, breast cancer survivor,
who works as a home health aide for the
disabled and has to get her own insurance
will lie down, first cry and then die.

And the rich will go, we, we, we, we
all the way home as the Dow climbs
higher than ever previously known
for the ten percent that eighty-
five percent of the that market do own.

Three Days and I’m Going Nuts

Three days into this administration
and I am on Hollow Man overload,
more than usual.
His ego needs are boundless,
his every assertion groundless,
and his thought processes delusional.
My physician won’t prescribe an opioid
and I’m down to two martini’s a week.
I have to figure out how I can avoid
The Hollow Man’s every tweet,
so, I’m off to a monk’s indefinite
hermitage of a day or two or maybe
even a whole week.
Stop the world, I want out of
the Hollow Man’s alternate universe
before I’m carried away in a great,
big, black hearse.

…there can be no real joy for anybody until there is joy finally for us all

There are some TV commercials that I really like.
For instance, the cable company commercial where
two dorky boys suck on helium and then talk to each
other in silly voices about watching movies and the
car company commercials where dogs are the drivers
and riders.

But there are some commercials that I really dislike.
For instance, the car company commercials where
a man and a woman (in separate versions of the
same commercial) stand in their driveway talking
to their neighbors and one-up them by showing off
their supposedly great, new, bargain purchase, a
giant SUV in the driveway in comparison to the paltry
purchase their neighbors are removing from their
car. It appeals to the worst instincts of selfishness,
covetousness, envy. It strikes me as a commercial
Donald Trump would like.

Today, I read a meditation that appeals to our
higher, nobler nature. Rather than attempt a
a poor paraphrase, I offer it in the words of
the great writer himself:

Frederick Buechner Quote of the Day:

Something Better and Truer

There was the day I signed the contract for that first novel that I had started in college, for instance. It was a major event for me, needless to say — the fulfillment of my wildest dreams of literary glory. But of the actual signing itself in the offices of Alfred Knopf — who was there and what was said and how I felt — I remember nothing. What I remember instead is leaving the publisher’s office afterwards and running into somebody in the building whom I had known slightly at college. He was working as a messenger boy, he told me. I was, as I thought, on the brink of fame and fortune. But instead of feeling any pride or sense of superior accomplishment by the comparison, I remember a great and unheralded rush of something like sadness, almost like shame. I had been very lucky, and he had not been very lucky, and the pleasure that I might have taken in what had happened to me was all but lost in the realization that nothing comparable, as far as I could see, had happened to him. I wanted to say something or do something to make it up to him, but I had no idea how or what and ended up saying nothing of any consequence at all, least of all anything about the contract that I had just signed. We simply said goodbye in the lobby, he going his way and I mine, and that was that. All I can say now is that something small but unforgettable happened inside me as the result of that chance meeting — some small flickering out of the truth that, in the long run, there can be no real joy for anybody until there is joy finally for us all and I can take no credit for it. It was nothing I piously thought my way to. It was no conscious attempt to work out my own salvation. What I felt was something better and truer than I was, or than I am, and it happened, as perhaps all such things do, as a gift.

~ originally published in The Sacred Journey and Listening to Your Life

The Hollow Man’s Alternate Universe

Kellyanne, spinmeister par excellence,
defends the White House Press Secretary’s
lies as presenting alternative facts,
so now we are living in the
alternate universe of
The Hollow Man’s facts and acts.
Reality is as he sees it
and in the voices that he hears.
A delusional, serial liar,
a therapist might fear.
We now must be ever diligent
and through that universe see
remembering that we shall know the truth
and the truth will set us free.

Stars

My outwardly unromantic, unsentimental
father would, on occasion, break into
song — not the lyrics of a blockbuster
musical that my mother might hum as she
danced around the house, but simple
lyrics of a song sung quietly with
just me as the audience:
Stars are the windows of heaven
Where Angels peek through.
Up in the sky, they keep an eye,
On kids like me and you.
They cry each time we are naughty,
Their teardrops are the rain,
But when we’re good they are smiling,
And they shine again.
Stars are the windows of heaven,
where Angels peek through.

And later, on my own, I would sing
in a Jiminy Cricket voice,
When you wish upon a star,
makes no difference who you are….

And sometimes, even now, I wish
upon a star that my dad were
still singing before that audience
of just one — his son.

My Huge American Flag Was Not Flying Today — by James Berbiglia

My huge American flag was not flying today.
My flag stands for freedom, equality, justice.
My flag welcomes the poor, the downtrodden, the outcasts and refugees of tyranny.
My flag stands above a democratic Republic in which all citizens participate.
My flag stands for unity as citizens speak out and then compromise on the best possible choices.
My flag stand for hope for the young, trust for the adults, care and dignity for the elderly.
My flag is honored by its history as we struggle to form a more perfect union.
My flag symbolizes the best in our United States of America.
My flag flies in peacetime, wartime and in the confusions and costly mistakes of politicians.
My flag will continue to fly as we work to keep the ship of state on the true course.
So, my flag did not fly on the 45th Inauguration Day…but it will rise at defiantly at dawn tomorrow!

01/20/2017  CHAPLAIN [LTC] JAMES C. BERBIGLIA, USA, Ret.
PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH USA

On the Presidential Order to Begin Dismantling the Affordable Care Act Signed His First Day in Office

Alas, apparently the Hollow Man can keep a promise,
with one swift stroke of the pen —

They will have their health insurance dropped —
the millions of people who voted for him.

A sucker IS born every minute and the
new President knows it, oh, so well.

With petty vitriolic vengeance, in spite of what he says,
he means they all can go to hell.

He has played the angry, hapless, clueless white public
like a fiddle while they were whistling Dixie.

Soon, they will be crying in their stone soup
while the wealthy dine on steak, fine wine and single barrel whiskey.

America was hitting its stride with hope, now instead,
there are dark, dark days ahead.

Kyrie Eleison