Numbing the Holidays

It’s Christmas time, a time to feel just fine
and wallow in this hallowed, wonderful Jesus’

time, a time when advertisements dominate time
and all to testify to a heart warming time of

goodwill and compassion to shine, but at this
time in time the pharmaceutical company is do-

ing it’s time to flood the market with drugs
that will addict a billion children in time,

a very short time, and will bring huge profits
to the company at this most holy time. Merry

Christmas, Happy Hanukah and Happy Holidays —
holy days good for Vulture Capitalism in this

blessed demonic time of USA’s capitalism’s
robber time and evangelical, white Christian’s

holy time of going to heaven when they die
in time and to hell with everyone else

in this and every other most holy time
and have a Merry Christmas this holy time.

The Backyard Symphony

The black-capped chickadee
swayed on the branch of the red pine tree
while the red-headed woodpecker
played percussion on the trunk of the red pine tree.
The chimes chimed in
from the balcony
and singing came from the wind
while a gray-haired squirrel stopped to
listen before climbing home on a white pine tree.
The man shivered on the deck
looking down on the tracks in the snow
where deer and rabbits recently did go.
He wondered if they do come back, if they
will stop and stand
and listen for free
to the symphony
in the backyard, winter wonderland.

The Smooth Feel of the Scar

The man rubbed the scar on his chin
and thought back sixty-eight years
to flying over the handlebar of his

trike, landing chin down in the cinder
strewn alley. Then memory took him
to Dr. Was’ office where the family

physician numbed the then six-year-
old’s chin, pulled out the cinders
with tweezers, rinsed the wound and

clamped the torn skin together while
noticing that the boy’s father was
turning white and telling the father

to sit before he fainted. The man
remembered his father sitting and
then fainting and later hearing his

father say, “I couldn’t stand to see
you injured like that. I think it
hurt me more than it hurt you. You

were very brave, son. ” With that
fond memory, the man continued to
rub the smooth scar and the two-

day-old stubble around it.

Would Someone….

Would someone please pick up the ball and run with it?
Would someone please pick a poem and send it?
Garrison Keillor sinned and now we readers
are punished for it.
Each day, I looked forward to reading three
poems in my inbox, my favorite predictably
being the one from The Writer’s Almanac.
“One is the loneliest number that you’ll
ever do;
two can be as bad as one; it’s the loneliest
number since the number one.”
Three Dog Night had it right.
It takes three dogs to keep you
warm on a cold night.
It takes three poems in the morning
to keep me from mourning.
Three, that’s three poems everyday,
it’s the perfect number
Three Dog Night might even say.
Would someone please pick up the ball and run with it?
Would someone please pick a poem and send it?
Garrison Keillor sinned and now we readers
are punished for it.

The Real Three Stooges

The retro (p)resident likes to
play the alpha male
shouting out that an assertive
woman should go to jail.
The retro-retro kicked off the bench twice
alleged pedophile judge on a horse brandishing a gun
thought that he should have won
the senate race
in the deep red state,
but he was a dollar short
and a day late
and full of hate.
So, the wannabe tough guys —
the (p)resident and the disgraced judge
and the disheveled fascist behind them both
are proving to be the real three stooges
and a really, really, really bad joke.

From Belief to Action

The following is an excerpt from a meditation by Richard Rohr. He quotes Dr. Sally McFague.

The fourfold process from belief to action contains the following steps.

Experiences of “voluntary poverty” to shock middle-class people out of the conventional model of self-fulfillment through possessions and prestige, and into a model of self-emptying, as a pathway for personal and planetary well-being. It can become a form of “wild space” [what I would call liminal space], a space where one is available for deep change from the conventional model of living to another one.

The focus of one’s attention to the needs of others, especially their most physical, basic needs, such as food. This attention changes one’s vision from seeing all others as objects for supporting one’s own ego to seeing them as subjects in their own right who deserve the basic necessities for flourishing. We see everything in the world as interdependent.

The gradual development of a “universal self,” as the line constituting one’s concern (compassion or empathy) moves from its narrow focus on the ego (and one’s nearest and dearest) to reach out further and further until there is no line left: even a caterpillar counts. This journey, rather than diminishing the self, increases its delight, but at the cost of one’s old, egoistic model.

The new model of the universal self operates at both the personal and public levels, for instance in the planetary house rules: (1) take only your share; (2) clean up after yourself; (3) keep the house in good repair for those who will use it after you.

Sallie McFague, Blessed Are the Consumers: Climate Change and the Practice of Restraint (Fortress Press: 2013), xii-xiv.

Knowing When It is Time to Go Home

He has a home filled with wonderful,
original visual art and he listens
to beautiful classical and great jazz
music when at home but lately he has
been spending quite a bit of time on
the road and it is taking it’s toll
on his artistic appreciation. He is
beginning to love the photos in plastic
frames on the walls of the motel rooms
and he keeps riding up and down in the
the elevators just to keep listening
blissfully to musak.

Are You Old Enough?

Are you old enough to remember
diagramming sentences? He has

forgotten what to call all those
parts of speech but he knows what

they are and where they go and
writes like he’s riding a bicycle.

Once you learn, you never forget.
He’s concerned that the basics

will be lost in this age of social
media and mostly he’s concerned

about what grammar school and high
school teachers will face and maybe

already are facing with kids who
don’t know how to ride the bike of

sentence diagramming and as he
peddles down the literary street,

he wonders once again about the diff-
erence between a gerund and a gerbil.


Oh, my goodness, your mother,
who prided herself in not letting

me know what her needs and
wants were and expected me to

know all those things, if I really
loved her (which, of course, I did)

and then your mother died and
now a quarter of a century later

you are playing the same game. I
don’t know what to do any more

than I knew what to do way back
then; I’m inclined to say, “I love

you and I don’t know what you
need because you are not telling

me and you are expecting me to
play the game which you don’t

see as a game and let me tell you
that I am not willing to play that

game but I am willing to hear you
and respond to you in love and do

what I can do, as a flawed human
being, to help you not only make

due but do the best you can do as
your incredibly precious you.”