Eager Anticipation

I just clicked on a poem
and scrolled down the poem
and realized that I could
probably read two or three
short stories by Thomas
McGuane before I finished
reading the poem, so I’m going
to bed to read one short story
by McGuane and drift off
to sleep. Maybe in the morn-
ing I will attempt the incredibly
long poem. Seriously, are
poems supposed to be
really long any more? I know
Greek epic poems are but who
the heck reads any of them
except when they are required
for a literature class and then,
I bet, most of the students
read cliffs notes. I’m going to
bed now in eager anticipation
of the McGuane short story.

Ironically, Leviathan Starves Itself

While the 99 percent is flensed
like a whale shorn of blubber,
he watches and stands
as lobbyists for
the one percent of one percent
stroke the hired hands
who flense
the 99 percent
on behalf of that
one percent of one percent.

It all seems so futile
how economics greedily
follows greed
and politics is reduced
to pompous screed
containing lies
uttered unctuously —
so at least 40 percent
of the 99 percent
listen gleefully
and think they are on
the verge of being freed
of encroaching minorities
and a corrupt bureaucracy —

all for the purpose of
slaking the unquenchable thirst
and unsatisfiable hunger
of the once blubbery leviathan
who, ironically, flenses itself
while consuming tons and tons
of plastic debris
floating in the soon-to-be
unswimmable sea
of a once healthy

he touched his hot brow

he touched his hot brow
and thought it to be febrile
he wondered if now
he was going feeble

or burning to the core,
was he stoked with passion
yearning for something more
but the mirror just said, “ashen.”

as his wife tucked him into bed;
he wondered if she’d join him.
she kissed his forehead instead
his chances went from slim to quite dim.

as she turned out the light,
she said, “sweet dreams and good night.”

ever-ever land with apologies to peter pan

i wish my ever-ever land
were peter’s never-never land.
in never-never land
we were all a happy, childlike clan.
we played pirates all day in the sun, sea and sand.
we thought life was ever so grand.
but here in ever-ever land
the weather is always wet with very cold sand.
let’s all pray that in this cold, wet, damp land,
the sun would shine and warm sea and sand.
after all it is just about june
in this ever wet, ever cold, ever damp, ever-ever land.

News from Just Over the Memorial Day Weekend

I ache for all the suffering and death
for it is my suffering and death.
It is as if my being is being chipped
away. How long before the last
clod of my body goes down to the earth
from which it came?
I am diminished.
I ache.
A man is attacked by a shark and dies
just as he retires from work.
I hear his wife scream. I shudder.
I ache.
Men and women die on a chaotic,
crowded Mt. Everest in pursuit of
a personal challenge and others walk
over their bodies to get to safety.
I shake my head.
I ache.
Men, women and children are maimed
and die at the hands of child soldiers
wielding machetes while vicious adults
tell them what to do.
I shed a tear.
I ache.
Men, women and children die in third
world countries from bombs from
first world countries.
I repent.
I ache.
U.S. soldiers (boys and girls) die in
U.S. protracted, unnecessary, foolish
wars endorsed by old, mostly white,
men and women in Washington
who never served in the military.
I am ashamed.
I ache.
Children die in custody at the southern
border of the United States.
I am angry.
I ache.
Men, women and children die in
small “Mayberry” towns from
opioid overdoses.
I ache.
People die in urban areas from
gun violence.
I ache.
People of color lost their lives
at the hands and guns of frightened
I ask for forgiveness.
I ache.
I think of the people whose lives
homes and property have been
destroyed by relentless flooding.
I ache.
I think of a friend, a college buddy
who died leaving a family to go
on and on without him.
I ache.
People died in traffic accidents
over the long, celebratory weekend.
I’m horrified at the senseless carnage.
I ache.
A young woman is rescued after two
weeks wandering, lost in the
dense forests of Maui. She will live.
I rejoice and give thanks.
I am rejuvenated.
And that was just over a long weekend.
There is more, so much more, endless more,
but I am glad just to be able
to put one small clod back in place.

Out of Bounds Again

The Commander in Chief of the military
is playing golf and joking with a sumo
wrestler in Japan this Memorial Day
weekend instead of standing at attention
and saluting as the military guard places
a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown
Soldier, walking reverently among the
graves at Arlington Cemetery and saying
a few appropriate words as Commander,
about what an honor it is and a humbling
experience to memorialize the veterans
who put their lives on the line to defend
this country. Perhaps WWll veterans should
be asked about the visual and the timing
which appear to be on a par with seeing
the Donald in his golf shorts bending over
to pick up his golf ball from out-of-bounds,
a place he claims he has never been even
though we all know differently. Wasn’t the
Commander in Cheeks missing in action
last Veteran’s Day, too?

Robert Dale Maxwell — The Face of Memorial Day

Robert Dale Maxwell, raised a Quaker, refused Conscientious Objector classification when drafted for service in WWII. He eventually was classified as a non-combatant. He threw himself on an enemy grenade to save the members of his platoon. He survived and received the Congressional Medal of Honor two months before I was born. After the war, he went home to Oregon, graduated from high school and started a technical auto repair program at the community college level. Robert Maxwell died this month at the age of 98. He was known for his humility. He is the face of Memorial Day today for me. The link is to the Maxwell Veteran Center at Lane Community College where Mr. Maxwell taught for many years: https://www.lanecc.edu/va. When at the site, scroll down for a short bio of Mr. Maxwell.

Watching TCM Though White Eyes

As a white, male watching
Sabrina Fair on TCM and
loving the loving competition
between the characters —
handsome Humphrey Bogart,
William Holden and beautiful
Audrey Hepburn as they pranced
their way through upper class
financial, white privileged lives,
I never would have thought of
the white privilege part before
and then I wondered what people
of color thought of this film of
white privilege as they watched
these white, privileged people
prance their way through white
privileged society to a white
privileged conclusion and then
I watched the original Pink Panther
with music that sounded just like
a Henry Mancini soundtrack and
is and wondered about that, too.