an irresponsible, destructive part of it all

we are all part of the vast
ecosystem and biosphere
while we are letting things
get pretty ugly by causing

the destruction of so much
of that ecosystem and
biosphere — thousands
upon thousands of species

of animal life not to mention
vegetable and mineral life —
gone. there was a time, fifty-
sixty years ago, when we

played a tv game where we
asked if the answer was
animal, vegetable or mineral.
we would now have to ask,

“given the destruction we
humans have brought upon
the earth, is it the now
very limited animal, vege-

table or mineral?” and the
answer would be some now,
really, scarce barely
recognizable thing maybe

animal, vegetable or mineral
or some horribly distorted,
grotesquely, genetically
reproduced monstrosity.

a dying culture*

in religious hollowness
they secretly relish
other’s suffering
but demonstrate
(downward directed) pity
and hide what’s hellish
(oh, you poor thing)
while inside giddy.
in their self-righteousness
compassion they feign
but can only strain
to muster
false pity
and superficial piety
while inside giddy.

*idea from a meditation by Henri Nouwen

the couple’s big picture*

their love e-x-p-a-n-d-s

(doesnotcontract)

embraces contact

with others — 
     animal 
          vegetable 
               mineral
look 
     see 
          deep
               harmony

(from sea to sea)

emanating 

(from the core) 
     
     of all
        for all 
             with all 
infused with 
     e-t-e-r-n-i-t-y

*idea from writing by John Welwood
in meditation by Richard Rohr, June 21,
2019, Summer Solstice

A Depressed Swedish Guy

He’s told that Swedes need more sun
to get out of depression and have some fun.
What’s wrong with him coming to West Michigan for the sun and the Dutch?
He guesses he’s just a depressed Swedish guy who doesn’t know very much.
When he first came to these shores he thought he was 50% Dutch
but his DNA tells him not so very much.
He even had a guy who is more Spanish than Dutch
tell him that because he wasn’t very Dutch he wasn’t very much.
He could have gone anywhere, maybe Italy or Greece
And hopefully found both plenty of sun and much-needed peace.
But here he is with the contentious Dutch
In a place where the sun just doesn’t shine very much.
However, there is a redeeming feature — a glorious banquet
of those delicious, exclusively Dutch made Pigs-in-a-Blanket.
And so he’ll struggle through what life offers here
as long as there is a “pig” and a micro-brewed IPA beer.
Cheers!

Oh, You Can Go Ahead

I’m letting them get to me —
the rude, presumptuous,
discourteous, egotistical,
“me first ever and always

at all costs” crowd. I make
a resolution to be courteous
come what may and what
may comes and…then a guy

runs up my butt on the road
almost ramming my car’s
bumper, a cyclist flies by me
while I’m cycling without say-

ing “On your left,” and when I
lose my patience and call him
out he just flashes the bird
behind his back and rides on,

a woman jams into me at
the grocery store and pushes
my groceries up the belt so they
jam into the groceries of the

person ahead of me and I
have to apologize to that
person then the crème de la
crème, I stand with one item

in my hand waiting for some-
one to let me  in line but the big
rumped shoppers with their
overflowing shopping carts

lift up their noses and rush
their butts ahead of me to
the aisle which has just
opened at the store with

great prices but no “fifteen
items or less” lane and I
am comforted deviously
and with religious self-

righteousness by the eternal
promise that the first shall
be last and the last shall be
first, but I’m getting a bit

long-in-the-tooth waiting,
and not very patiently any-
more. “Oh, excuse me, you
go right ahead. I’m just

standing here ruminating
on the injustices of life;
besides, I’m retired with
lots of time on my hands.”

Violent

“They are hateful, vengeful, frightened,
angry, spiteful, violent.”
“Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t realize you
were specifying Republicans
until you mentioned ‘violent.’”
“Violent?”
“The deaths of innocent children
in the concentration camps at the
border, the deaths of minorities
at the hands of law enforcement,
the death and dismemberment of a
journalist, the deaths of women who
will be forced into unauthorized,
illegal, back-alley abortions, the
death to life, liberty and the pursuit
of happiness in our country, the death
of democracy as we have known it and
cherished it at the malevolent hands
of hateful, vengeful, frightened, angry,
spiteful and, yes, violent Republicans.”
“Really?”
“Omission/commission Republicans.”
“Oh.”

The High Société Lab

The Chocolate Lab lay
on the hardwood floor;
she scrambled to her feet
barking, “I’m so bored.”

She looked around
as if a hound of high société
asking, “Isn’t there another hound
with whom I might play?”

Alas, no other hounds to be found,
she jumped on the stuffed chair
looked all around
and sighed in a snobbish air,

as if to say, “I’ll not die
on that hardwood floor.
On this throne-like chair I’ll lie.”
The girl soon let out an unladylike snore.

Soon from that throne-like chair,
a few more rude sounds
drifted toward the air,
sounds not in polite society to be found.

It’s good the girl slept
while emitting such flatulence.
for if she knew from her such sounds crept
her embarrassment would be immense.

The Swedish Chef

Wishing to be an advocate for the people of my ancestry and believing that Norse poets have been unacknowledged and underappreciated, I set out to discover all the great Scandinavian poets back to the great myths, stories and poems about Odin, Thor, Frigg, Freyja, Freyr and Loki and so I listened to recordings of their brooding, deep, dark, depressing words and tried to pronounce their names but all I could think of was the Swedish Chef.

Actually, I didn’t listen to any recordings of Scandinavian poets (I did try to pronounce their names.), but I did watch a few of the old sketches of the Swedish Chef and I couldn’t stop laughing. Enjoy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TYWZO4-a-bE.

Competition

Weekly, my new spellcheck company tells
me all kinds of wonderful things about
my writing in comparison to all the other

writing covered by that particular spell-
check company, but there is one category
in which I fail miserably — grammar. I

feel like I’m back in high school English.
I want to tell the spellcheck company
that I write poetry and that I have lots

of break lines and that commas and
semicolons and periods aren’t used in
the traditional ways and that I shouldn’t

be graded down for that but, in fact,
graded up for creativity; I want to
tell them that if I wrote essays they

would see what a great grammarian
I can be, getting every last jot and
tittle just right, but there is now-

here for me to lodge a protest and
defend my honor as a college English
major. The spellcheck company just

tells me that my issues are “advanced”
and that if I want to improve my writ-
ing skills, I will have to purchase the

“advanced” program so I will move
to the head of the class in competition
with all the other writers whose writing

is covered by the spellcheck company.
In fact, this piece has nine advanced
issues my spellcheck company informs me.

The Dog

He, with guilt and remorse, told me to go over
to the hillside and speak to the one who knows,

so I looked at the different people there and he
said no, that it was the dog to whom I should

speak and so I just listened to the dog’s story,
which was the man’s story of guilt and remorse.

The dog spoke to me of a stormy day when he and
the man’s dog played among the waves and the

waves became too high. The dogs had planned
to journey away but the waves continued to grow

and the storm became great and the man’s dog
drowned and wasn’t found. I felt so bad for the

man because I know how much he loved the dog.
The dog would have come back, I’m sure, but I

don’t think the man knows that and so he just
lives with the guilt and remorse not just be-

cause he couldn’t save the dog but that, in his
mind, he did something to cause the dog to want

to go away, and, in a certain, final sense, the
dog did.