With Appreciation for the Wisdom and Courage (Then and Now) of Senator John McCain

So teach us to count our days
that we may gain a wise heart (Psalm 90:12).

There was a time I just wanted him to go away;
now I want him to stay but he just might have to go away.
The prospect of immanent death has a way
of waking up the conscience to what one,
in wisdom and courage, must say.

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The Seasons Have Their Own Reasons

The leaves fluttered
and the colors of the leaves
teased
as they turned and swirled
in the breeze,
but then the jealous northern
winds whipped
and the temperature plunged
and stayed and stayed and stayed
in Michigan for days
and the air turned to a haze
and then the sleet flew
and snows grew
and fall fell in
futility
unlike the autumns of
Kentucky where
zephyr breezes
blew gently through
the trees
and the colors teased
for weeks and weeks
before the first freeze,
which, in its own way,
was not mean and
did not squeeze
the life out of the
trees.
Then winter arrived
and, in Kentucky, it
was wet and people
simply would abide
homebound
and all began
to shiver
with dampness from
the Ohio river.
But in Michigan,
the wind swirled
across the Big Lake
leaving snow upon snow
in its wake — a winter
wonderland it did make
for skiers, sleigh riders
and merry makers.
And so it is, the seasons
have their own reasons
and while one in one space
may offer natural grace,
the other will offer that
grace in another
time and place,
so travel from season
to season from place to place
but if not, make no haste;
be patient; the next season
offers its own grace.

 

Tragedies

The man’s Swedish immigrant
grandfather was a foreman in an
East Chicago, Indiana steel mill

in 1918 when the soldiers, infected
with the Spanish flu, started coming
back from Europe. The man’s grand-

father caught it and his blood boiled
like the liquid steel in the blast
furnaces of his plant. The man’s father

became an orphan at age thirteen
when the man’s Swedish immigrant
grandfather died from the pandemic.

That unfortunate family history
came to mind as the man’s own
blood boiled just thinking about

the political dysfunction boiling
over and spreading throughout
the country just like boiling

liquid steel pouring out of the
man’s Swedish immigrant grand-
father’s East Chicago, Indiana

steel mill blast furnaces. One,
a personal, family tragedy haunt-
ing the man through the years.

The other, a national tragedy
burning through the fragile fabric
of democracy.

Are Muslims the New Shibboleth?

What is scaring Americans 
     so badly right now -- today?
Are whites scared of blacks, 
     browns, yellows and reds?
Something is really exploiting 
     white fear? Could it be that white 
evangelicals believe scientific-
     ally unprovable things to be 
literal, gospel truth and therefore 
     believe anything that comes 
out of the mouth of the parallel 
     universe, fantasyland, “What me
worry” (p)resident is gospel 
     also?  And so it is. How a rational
human goes along with all 
     this is mind-boggling. Maybe 
the precipitating horror is the 
     influx of Middle-Eastern Muslims 
into Northern European society
     as today’s Invasion of the 
Body Snatchers,  --  more browns 
     about which to be afraid, 
afraid, afraid -- the zombie attack,
     seriously? Kill the Muslims to hurry 
along Jesus' parousia. Seriously? 
     Public education as Antichrist's playground. 
It used to be Italians, Irish, Swedes,
     Poles, the Dutch? (They weren’t 
considered much.) Jews, Jews, 
     yes, of course, always the Jews
apparently, sickeningly  so….so? 
     You want to make an issue out 
of it here right now, after which 
     the really scared twenty-something 
skin head, white supremacist 
     reached for something seen really, 
really right now today -- a gun 
     (I’m only kidding.) maybe not
or maybe….

Intentions

Your good intention was to call out
(p)resident Trump. However, doing so

via your own  mea culpa is not
necessary. That is like writing that

Trump can only be called out for his
documented sexual assaults by admit-

ting to one’s own sexual assaults. We
don’t need to do what the Donald did

to understand how wrong it is and call
him out for it regardless of what one

did or did not do (hopefully did not do).
One doesn’t need to slog through odor-

ous, noxious, sewerage treatment pods
to make the point that one’s life isn’t

pure in order to call out the one who
routinely swims through the sewer.

Keeping One’s Job While Boldly Telling the Truth

The brave, bold, fearless
media reporters tell it
like it is by reporting that
maybe, perhaps, kind of,
sort of, not quite sure or
even not that really bad,
or certainly not so bad, or
kind of okay, or possibly
horrible or really just a
passing phase or maybe
there may be some blood,
but not too much even if it
amounts to hundreds or
thousands or tens of thou-
sands or millions of lives
lost or really just a few
accidental deaths or no
deaths at all, perhaps,
maybe, kind of, sort of
probably or probably
not.

{the flanks are weakening}

there is weakening of the flanks;
there is no phalanx.
there is not a bone
of the finger or toe
to point out what is
happening, mostly
because everyone
is exhausted.
the malevolent
narcissist
turns out
to be the
eveready
bunny
battery,
except
he is
not
near-
ly
so
cute
even
with
his
rasp-
berry,
yucky,
yellow
toup.

In Our Time

Corroding, coarsening, corrupting —
the state of affairs in America
in our time.

We’ve been looking for more
smooth moves like we
experienced from 2009
to a little over a year ago
in our time.

Now we haven’t got anything
better than this corroding,
coarsening, corrupting of America
in our time.

Fresh, Young, White Faces

Fresh, young, white faces
contorted into vulgar masks
of horror in the light of
torches in the night.

Fresh, young, high school
white faces contorted
into vulgar masks of horror
shouting at and clubbing fresh,
young, black faces of fear.

Fresh, young, white faces
on the playground contorted
into vulgar masks of horror
shouting profanities at minorities.

Fresh, young, white faces
sitting at the dining room table
listening to old, white faces
contorted into vulgar masks
of horror spewing out hate
toward everyone and anyone
not like their white faces.