Saturday Morning of Labor Day Weekend

“Poetry is not a means to an end, but a continuing engagement with being alive.” — Poet Kim Addonizio

After taking out the dog,
after feeding the dog,
after taking his pills,
after cleaning his eyeglasses,
after flossing and brushing,
after cleaning the dishes,
after making the coffee,
he sat and glanced at the clock.
In five minutes he would
turn on the radio and listen
to Saturday morning jazz.
Then he sat in the silence,
breathed deeply
and gave thanks.
Soon, he would read a few
meditations and poems.
A car went by,
a runner went by,
the sun reflected off the dune grass.
Through the closed window
he heard a bird.
He thought about the
holiday weekend in his resort
area — today, Sunday, Monday.
He, his wife and the
Chocolate Lab would be
staying pretty close to
base camp and not attempt a summit
of the “southeast ridge of Annapurna III,
one of the great unclaimed prizes
left in the Himalayas.”
Tuesday, he and his wife might go
for a bike ride to a really nice,
up and coming micro-brewery,
“Lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise.”

On to Glory? Didn’t They Die?

He read an account of three young
fellows, expert mountain/rock climbers,
who died in an avalanche. The article

profiled all three and their substantial
accomplishments. Along the way, grue-
some stories of the deaths of climbing

friends of the three were told. And then
the author made a short, partial list of
those in the treacherous sport who had

died on this mountain or that — seemed
to go on and on and on, death, death,
death and more death. Almost in every

paragraph, it seemed that death was
mentioned, grief was visited. When the
article ended, the reader looked below the

writer’s name: Filed To: Climbing, Canada
Search and Rescue, Mountaineering,
Athletes, Survival. That’s right, the last

word is survival not death. They didn’t
survive; they died. The word death appears
nowhere in the “Filed to.” It is ubiquitous

in the article. Is such subject matter so
hard to face and name — I guess they just
passed away; were lost; simply went on to

glory to be with their Lord as they write
in the obituaries of the last of the old,
ethnic, evangelical Christians in the

once ethnically dominated town. Why
didn’t they just call it what it was? It
wasn’t survival; it was death —

sudden, tragic death.

The Occupant and His Pet Bird

The pretend head of the free world,
who loves caging innocent children
and separating them from their
parents, is now handing out death
sentences to innocent, legal,
juvenile residents of the United
States who are here for treat-
ment of dire medical conditions
without which they will die by
kicking them out of the country
posthaste — a diabolical plan
undoubtedly hatched by the occu-
pant’s devilish pet, a bird — the
Bald Miller, a rare, six-foot, flight-
less Aves with a zero-chambered
heart and a sadistic bird brain.
Why couldn’t the occupant have
a pet dog like the Clintons’ sweet
Chocolate Labrador Retriever
“Buddy” or the Obamas’ beautiful
Portuguese Water Dog “Bo”? Un-
fortunately, if this occupant had
a dog, it would be a rabid pit bull.
They say pet dogs reflect their
adopter’s personality.

The Gift of Loving Notes in a Time of Great Fear

After a frightening encounter with anger
slipping into hate, the man opened his
email to be greeted by love in the form

of meditations — the first written by
a friend acknowledging that right now
we are a nation in fear and stating that

“perfect love perfectly casts out fear” —
“perfect” being closer to “complete”
than the highest quality of achievement

as in a perfect grade or perfect score —
a reflection of our competitive society.
The second meditation spoke of God as

love — love as a verb, therefore, God as a
verb — love in action — complete love
loving completely and enabling humans

to love at all however imperfectly. The
third meditation concluded, “…fear keeps
us prisoners, even when the prison has no

walls! I see better every day how radical
Jesus’ message of love really is.” Then
there was the e-mail from a friend telling

of a diagnosis of cancer and asking for
prayer. The man, feeling the fear in the
note, sent a message back to those in

fear, “You are in our hearts,” for the
heart is the place of courage, where
Love resides and abides — all these

in the morning mail, sent graciously
as a gift by Love to the man who had
experienced deep, deep fear.

Comfortable With Change

He sat at his desk in the late afternoon
considering the yearly physical he had
earlier in the day. Everything was pretty
much okay. No need for additional meds;
just one more blood test. His primary is
new, his former primary having retired.
He misses his former primary; that physician
took time to chat — just took time. He knew
the former primary cared, cared about him
as a person. The new primary is all business,
brief, to the point. He likes that, too. He said
to the new primary, “I’d like to have ten more
years. That would be about average for my
family. Would you help me with that?” “I’ll do
my best.” As he left the office after the visit,
he thought to himself, The new guy will keep
his word. He will do his best. That’s really nice
and feels really good.

Piddling While the Forest Burns

Nero fiddled while Rome burned.
Two world leaders piddle on each other
while the Amazon rainforest burns.
It has been centuries from one to the other.

Hasn’t anything been learned?

Pompeii died in the eruption of the Vesuvius volcano
And now the earth is dying from our abuse.
Can we and our leaders get our act together or no?
Defending one’s wife’s honor is nice but not an excuse.

One did the right thing, but should now leave it alone.
The other one’s demand for an apology
(before taking money to help end the fire)
warrants being turned  into stone.

Hasn’t anything been learned?

Trimming Sails

He encountered the devil
and is taking a break
from tilting at windmills.

With violence on the rise
he must trim his sails, go
then sit on the side.

He will seek a time of solitude
and refrain from voicing an opinion
and be considered rude

providing motive and cause
to a stressed-out angry multitude.

Oh, he can join a peaceful rally
for a more than worthy cause,

but if it turns violent, he will not dally
and certainly will not pause,

but he will remember
to trim the sails
and sail off into September.

Two Guys Sat At A Bar

At a bar in Atlanta in the ’70s
two guys, friends, in town for a
conference, sat sipping martinis.
For some reason, the subject of
homosexuality came up. Maybe
just because it was coming out of
the closet. One of the guys, stuck
in the old prejudicial, “The parts
don’t fit” mentality, said, “Gays
just don’t seem very happy.” The
female bartender overhearing the
remark said, “They are happy, but
they are sad because of prejudice.”
The other guy who usually had a
smile for everyone and every-
thing didn’t say anything. Yes,
years later, the quiet guy at
the bar, died while still in the
proverbial closet and the other
guy who considered himself a
good friend kicked himself for
his own ignorance, insensitivity
and prejudice which made his
friend so very sad that night at
the bar in Atlanta.