A Winter Jogging Safety Plan

My Rocky Mountain running son,
in light of my purchase of traction
cleats for jogging in the snow,
that if I want to have fun,
to go slow
and pick up my foot
so as not to stumble over
any rock or root.
Wordsworth wrote that
the child is father to the man
and I’m just glad my
kid (now my metaphorical father)
came up with a winter jogging
safety plan.

This Was Supposed to be a Research Paper, Sir

“This was supposed to be a research paper, sir, not a short story.”
How many times did the man hear that over the years of college
and graduate school?  (Thank the Lord for the recommendations
from fiction loving faculty: The kid’s got talent. Good luck

getting him to stop submitting poetry for statistical research.)
But the man had loved his English profs along the academic way,
one who came to class one day beaten up by his partner but still
got through act one of Julius Caesar but not quite to “Et tu, Brute?”;

the theatrical but stuttering English prof. who looked like
Falstaff, ate and drank too much and died of a heart attack at
fifty-two at his study desk at the University of London on a
faculty exchange; and the guy who looked like Ernest Hemingway,

also smoked too much and urged his students on a nice, warm spring
day to ditch class and go sit on a log in the woods. That prof. got
a condescending rap from his hyper-evangelical, snooty academic
relatives for not getting a Ph.D. and only settling for an MFA. He

was a rebel with a cause but he died young, too. The man doesn’t know
what happened to the not very closeted prof but the man hopes he and
his lover made up or that he eventually dropped the dude and found
true love. None of the three published much, but they loved their

subject and loved sharing that love. The man has never been physically
beaten; doesn’t smoke,  isn’t obese and hopes to live to a ripe old
age, but in his own conventional way tries to strike a pose as a rebel,
too, by taking pride in the fact that he dropped that statistics class.

The Worms

The spineless politicians,
who hedge their bets
and squirm around to please lobbyists
who represent rich worms
who love to make others squirm,
squirm their way through each day
And then they will pass away
and only will be known as the worms
who crawled and squirmed
and crawled about
and played pinochle
on the snouts
of other
political worms
who also have died out.

The Great National Emergency

Is there a national emergency at the
southern border? Does mass sexual child
abuse/pedophilia qualify? Does tearing
children from parents and then sexually
attacking them qualify? There are thousands
of God’s sweet babies abused, used and
tossed away as so much refuse by sick humans
acting sub-humanly while wearing uniforms
representing the good ol’ U S of A. Do
you hear the shrieks, the sobs, the muffled
cries for mothers and dads? Do you see the
babies grabbing at their, what once were,
privates and screaming in pain? Do you see
the sadistic sneers? Do you hear the horrific,
“Hush, little baby, don’t you cry”? Do you
see the subhumans creeping away to return
the next day?

(Professional, objective, expert evaluation:
Children grow up either healthy or un-
healthy emotionally based on their infant
and early childhood experiences.)

The babies’ bewilderment, their fear, their
horror become that which will be feared
north of the border, which isn’t there now
but will be, will be, will be — blowback,
blowback, blowback — for the sins of the
elders visited upon the children over and
over and over. They’ll be back — be back.

Get ready, you who wish to sweep the
horror under the now shredded rug of
cultural, pseudo-religion and pathetic
patriotism. Get ready, you who fold your
white hands in prayer, with the blood of
God’s gentle babies all over them, to
your white, tribal god. Get ready, you
white, evangelical Christians who lift
your Russian AK-47 arms unto the tribal
god who dashes children’s heads against
the rocks. Get ready you whites who wish
not to see reality, who turn your faces,
set them like flint against the horror,
close your ears to the screams, while
listening to your beautiful, Sunday
morning music in your wonderful, white-
washed sepulchres, called the beautiful
churches of rich, white people, for…

the Lord says, “Vengeance is mine.”

He Recoiled

He has known for years that his mother
had glaucoma (he even recoils at how
the word sounds, almost onomatopoeic,
the glopping of sight) in both eyes. And
then in an eye exam he found out that
he, too, has it in one eye. He takes drops
religiously in the hope that they will
thwart the advance of the disease. As
time went on, his mother developed
tunnel vision. She had no peripheral
vision. Her vision narrowed and nar-
rowed to nothing but the narrowest
vision. He cupped his hands in front
of one eye making the opening smaller
and smaller and smaller. And then he
thought of the occupant of the Oval
Office and a dollar sign and the only
thing the occupant is able to see. And
then he thought of the TV ad which
uses the obnoxious lyrics, “I want it
all and I want it now,” and he recoiled

Bye, Guys

I’ve been feeling vulnerable lately, for all kinds of reasons, some family, some personal, some societal (racism, looming fascism, economic inequality) some global (disastrous climate change, nukes aimed at us by Russia, and ever and always, Trump).

Vulnerable, an interesting word, part and parcel of the human condition:
vulnerable to love, vulnerable to hurt, vulnerable bodies, vulnerable
hearts (literal and symbolic), vulnerable spirits. From the Latin vulnus “wound.”

I’m finally waking up and learning to embrace my wounds (hopefully without
martyrdom and resentment as sidekicks) and learn the life lessons that
woundedness has to teach, such as courage, compassion, fortitude, and see
it as the gift given to assure that I know the truth that I am a wounded
human eternally loved by God who has shown God’s own loving vulnerability
in the wounded face of Jesus, the metaphorical incarnation of universal agape, self-sacrificial love.

I’ve preached it; I’m learning to own (hopefully without self-pity, another sidekick) it.

Yes, I have known it and to some measure owned it, but then there is fourth
sidekick that comes calling — denial.

We humans do so much to deny our vulnerability (our woundedness) hiding that
scared child behind the posturing face of invulnerability.

And to those sidekicks, who have been false friends for so long, I must say, “Bye, guys.”

Work Habits

Some writers take forever to get the job
done. He heard of one poet who spent ten
years getting a short, couplet, free verse
poem just right. He read that Anthony Burgess
wrote the novel A Clockwork Orange in three
weeks. He looks out the window and sees a
snowflake falling and writes a haiku about the
snowflake falling before it hits the ground,

{but that one}

but that one snowflake
was pretty high in the sky
when he saw it fall.

When he wrote that, the referenced
flake had already fallen and

{he could no longer}

he could no longer
distinguish it from the mass
of flakes all conjoined.

And so…

{life, like a snowflake}

life, like a snowflake,
is beautiful to behold;
then passes quickly.

Is It Really Always All About the Love of Money?

The occupant of the White House
has set all our teeth on edge.
We grind at the utter incongruity
of the person who is supposed

to represent the people and
inspire the citizenry and lift
the spirits of humanity and
present the best of what we

could be, but, who, sits in
utter opposition to our better
angels and who beckons the
darker spirits to emerge from

ignominy and rule with impunity.
He divides to conquer, but
conquer what? He is called
Putin’s Puppet, and that he

may be, but is he the Devil’s
emissary to shatter all
life’s glory, from sea to
shining sea, from mountain

to desert, from river and
forest to shining cities?
And for what? Money? Is

is that simple? Is it that
banal? Money? Is it that he
has sold his soul to mammon
and all the world be damned?

Does he not see that, in the
end, he will perish, too?
There is no eternity in such
a quest, only Ozymandias’

desert rest and the last
one standing is — Lucifer,
the fallen angel, the dark
one, the once favored one,

until the light once more
shines through and all the
rubble is exposed and all
the blood and flesh have

dried and returned to dust
and a new civilization
dawns and rises like
a Phoenix, like —

a new heaven and earth.


In the morning gray I see your light
shining through the clouds at break of day.
Winter wind blows strong against the gray
moving to liberate the day from night.
My heart is like this day filled with fright
because I do not know if victory will stay
or if the wind of my will vanishes the gray.
I sit in the limbo of such a plight.
Struggling with the light and with the dark
of my own soul’s much conflicted self,
I somehow know my struggle is defeat
because my will is but a misguided lark.
What I know is my will is but hell
and so I must wait for your light to greet.