Time to Kill

We’ve gone “lock, stock and barrel” nuts,
like we’ve been hit upside the head with rifle butts.
We’ll arm the teachers and soon even preachers
as we rush headlong into being extinct creatures
killed off by all the assault rifles and guns
just when we were getting started with the fun
playing Roy Rogers and the Lone Ranger
but they’re dead and we’re a species endangered,
so if there’s not much time left on the clock,
just hand me that thirty-round clip and a nine-millimeter Glock.
I’ve got some time to kill
before I, too, wind up six-feet under on Boot Hill.


climate change

congress fiddles
while the earth burns.
follow the money
as the world turns.
it’s power for which
a politician yearns —
all vanity, vanity
as the earth burns.
uplifted noses
sniff only sauternes.
with blind eyes
they will not learn
all is soon lost,
because the earth burns.

A Vision Quest

With a contemplative view of the world
available to him as he sits at the desk,
he wonders about a universe unfurled
and all the aspects of a vision quest.

He leaves the confines of the desk,
wanders through the pages of a book
only to discover the arabesque
world available with just a look.

The desk, a look, a book, a chair,
journey inward of the mind
journey outward without care,
an arabesque universe to find.

And so, without leaving home,
the man, sans boots and hiking crook,
discovers a universe to roam
at a desk and in a good book.

Even Rod Serling Would Have Writer’s Block

During the campaign, in a black
neighborhood, in a church pastored
by a black, female pastor, the
candidate flinched and bowed in
blatant obsequience and snivelling
when the pastor’s booming voice
met his ears.

Today, the (p)-resident claimed
he bravely would have rushed into
the school, even unarmed, to prevent
the mass shooting.

The guy with the bone spurs to
get out of rushing into Viet Nam
to save his brothers in arms now
talks, talks, talks, brags, brags,
brags, blabs, blabs, blabs in
delusions of grandeur even though
he can’t stand the sight of blood
and turned away from a man in need
because he started to bleed and
was gushing blood, blood, blood
all over the beforehand beautiful
marble floor,

and for whatever crazy, incompre-
hensible reason, one-third of the
voting population, approximately
forty-million citizens of the USA,
continues to cheer him on and
yell the anachronistic even
if at the time nonsense
“Lock her up.”

Rod Serling couldn’t have thought
this up for The Twilight Zone.

The Dilemma of Literary Segregation

I read a poem today and identified with the poet’s experience.
Then I read that the poet was a black man. I’m not.

I suppose that is good because it promotes commonality and
appreciation of shared experiences which cross ethnicities —
an experience of the old, “We all bleed red.”

At the same time, writers write in idiosyncratic ways which
are reflective of their ethnic origins and, of course,
this is to be celebrated for its authenticity.

Still…there is something about the selectivity we use to
go about identifying writers that is disturbing in its
ethnic segregation.

Then I read that the black poet was the first black man to
hold a position in English at a particular, major university.
He wasn’t simply described as being on the faculty.

Then I read that he was the first black poet laureate before
the position was called poet laureate not that he was
a poet laureate.

And yes, I know these are distinguishing accomplishments.

As I said, when I read the poem I didn’t know that the poet
was black. I didn’t even think about that. I just thought
it was a really good poem not a really good poem by a
black man — simply a poem with which I could identify.

I wonder if that now dead black poet ever just wanted to
be thought of and referred to simply as a poet instead of
being put in a particular category — like I thought
of him before I knew he was black.

White poets aren’t described as white poets, as some
kind of qualifier, although writers like Hemingway and
Fitzgerald and others have been described as “now dead
white writers.” That was after they died. I don’t think
anyone ever referred to them as white writers when they
were alive.

There’s a part of me that thinks ethnic identity in
literature is just fine, that it is what it is, and
should be celebrated, in which case, it should be
practiced universally. All ethnicities always
should be named for everyone.

But there is a part of me, when I think about how it
is now, that just gets a bad case of the hiccups.

Maybe some day when whites are not the majority, whites
will be identified by their “whiteness” like, “Here’s a
white guy and he’s a really good poet” — but then, maybe,
God forbid, it will be accompanied by the unspoken, racist
thought — “surprise, surprise!” — intended or not.

Dreaming of a White Christmas, Mister Charlie?

The old, white bearded, white guy
sits on the throne of heaven and

decrees this and decrees that and
good, old, Mister Charlie, white

as white can be, says, “Pardon
me. These decrees are for me but

not for thee (to use the old,
white bearded, white guy’s King

James which was good enough for
St. Paul, another old, white guy,

sort of, sort of like Sallman’s
Christ).” But, sorry, Mister

Charlie. You must be thinking of
lily white Megyn’s white Santa

Claus, just as sweet as sweet
can be except when he gives a

lump of black coal to thee, which
surely will come to be, Mister Charlie.

Some Things Keep Us In Reality

The virtual world is all the rage,
But at some point reality intrudes;
While virtual is not just a phase,
The stomach growls, the bladder protrudes.

With virtual glasses tossed;
With bodily functions on hold;
Quick strides are made
To the nearest commode.

With urgent things relieved,
Again to a world so false.
Virtual glasses are retrieved
Until to the real world’s commode
We, once more, must waltz.

Sentimental Evening

Sentimental evening,
I’m thinking
about Buddy Holly
before the music died
and “True Love Ways” —
Sometimes we’ll sigh
Sometimes we’ll cry
And we’ll know why
Just you and I
Know true love ways

Horned rimmed glasses
and an electric guitar
and my memories
take me ever so far
back to those days
of wine and roses and
“True Love Ways.”

Billy Graham’s Legacy

Eventually, Billy Graham,
a long-lived, decent but misguided man,
did broaden his
evangelistic message to topics
(and they were topics,
not the core)
of racism and poverty (on occasion)
but not much more.
His core message always remained
the same:
to proclaim
“individual salvation in Jesus Christ”
and this became
his ticket to fame.
Such a simplistic message, not biblical at all,
wed to American
exceptionalism and patriotism
became the evangelist’s clarion call —
“getting to heaven and avoiding hell”
is declared right (blessed with American might)
and seen in light
of the color white.
for so many,
Billy Graham’s message
Christianity’s essence
but somehow what’s missing
is Jesus’ prophetic and priestly presence
in the Beatitudes
and the rest of the Sermon on the Mount —
nothing there akin to platitudes
just what the gospel is about
— blessings galore for those who
are poor, who mourn, who endure with hope,
who seek justice, who are merciful,
who strive to be peacemakers,
whose hearts rest in God’s love which
gives unconditionally to all of creation
more and more and more…
for that is the essence of God’s
and creation’s grace-filled core
— the whole of God and the
whole of creation included —
to love and be loved forever more.