Global Warming and the Backyard Birds

So I asked the backyard birds —
the nuthatches, the robins, the
blue jays, the black-capped
chickadees, the yellow finches,
the wrens, mourning doves,
cardinals, catbirds and all the
others — where all their friends
have been and they said they have
disappeared over the years and
while they miss them they don’t
miss the competition for the
food at the bird feeders. I told
them that I thought that was a
little bit cold and they just
whistled me away.

She’s Still His Girlfriend

The Boomer sat on his back porch
in what is now a real-life metaphor
watching a You-Tube video of Linda
Ronstadt back in the day and
his mind drifted off to a weekend
in St. Thomas. He wandered the
back streets with sewer smells
coming up through the grates. He
stopped at a bar, sat down and
watched Linda, on the big screen
right in front of him, belting out
Buddy Holly’s “That’ll Be the Day,”
the spaghetti strap on her dress
having slipped down off her shoulder.
Now Linda can’t sing and he can’t
dance but she is still his girlfriend.

Evil Is Never Very Creative/A Simple, Tried and True Formula

We’ve rounded up the recruits
for the cause; we have success-
fully portrayed the other as evil
and ourselves as good. We have
dehumanized those that we deem
and label the enemy and use all
kinds of scurrilous nicknames for
them to reinforce this view in the
minds of the recruits who soon will
be faithful followers and then cult
zombies for the cause which will
enable them to go on rampage after
ramage, kill, mutilate and slaughter
without a twinge of conscience and
will enable us to win a horrific,
politically motivated war and take
over control and enrich ourselves
even though we disguise this en-
deavor as a moral battle for the
soul of the nation, the world and
to secure the future of our faith.

Ah, the French Impressionists, Ah, Music

Ravel, Debussy —
what more to say?
Such a beautiful,
deceptively simple melody —
romantic, refreshing,
inspiring, comforting
in a subtle way.
Soft hues and bright tones,
(not unlike their visualistic
brothers and Mary Cassatt,
their visualistic sister)
sooth the soul.
I give thanks for them —
in this otherwise
disquieting civic malaise —
for uplifting my spirit today.


The Cheshire’s Grin

With a Cheshire’s grin,
the orange-toned cat
“We love our browns.
We love our blacks.
We love our reds and yellows.
We love everybody
until I get attacked.
Then watch out.
See, I’ve got serious clout.”
With that,
the very white animal farm
the cat hissed and sneered
and those watching on TV
trembled with fear.

The Present — A Dystopian View

The exiled whistle-blower said,
they are watching through our phones;
he might just as well have said,
“Big Brother is watching all our hues and tones
and we are as good as dead.”
And the state sees it as the capstone —
complete control, complete power —
the devil flew through the hands of the misguided few,
and so, a kingdom going nowhere;
is the fragile, democratic experiment through?

Coming Back

The spiritually inclined neuroscientist
wrestled and wrestled with resurrection —

had to face the stark reality — when
the brain is dead, that is it. There is

no coming back. So, if true, what then
is “coming back”? The disciples ex-

perienced the “coming back” of Jesus
— in a room, on the road, by the sea —

the same but different, recognizable
but ubiquitous. Is this resurrection —

coming back? Love embodied for the
sake of those on this side of life? Love

comes back and love goes forward and
so even though the brain dies and doesn’t

come back, love always does — some-
how embodied, recognizable but different —

ubiquitous — everywhere, in everyone —

I’m A-Given’ Ya One Second

The representative said, in light
of the ludicrous and dangerous
“locked and loaded” tweet, “We
don’t need Yosemite Sam,” and
she pointed her index fingers
in the air and moved her arms
up and down in a shoot ‘em up
gesture. I always liked the cartoon
character and now I feel sorry for
him having been compared to the
occupant of the oval office. Did
he just tweet back to the occupant?
“I’m a-givin’ ya one second to draw
a gun.” Did I just see a carrot top
duck under the desk? Well, I’d be
upset about an insulting comparison
like that, too.

The Shadow Knows the “Fermi Paradox” Even If We Don’t: “Hello, Earth to….Is anyone out there?”

“The only reason we don’t have a nuclear bomb
in every backyard is because you can’t build it easily.
It’s hard to get the material. ” the scientist

Well, I don’t know about every backyard, but
I’m sure there would be one or two in the
backyards of sixty-three million Americans.

Would we then have the deterrent of mutually
assured destruction or would we just have destruction?

Of the latter, we can be mutually assured.

Actually, it might just take just one clown
with the code….

Is that what has happened throughout the
universe of seemingly non-existent intelligent

They got smart enough in their perversity
to perish and obliterate their existence?

The shadow knows….

For the Love of It*

Emily Dickinson wrote for the love of it.
Before she died, she didn’t publish much of it
as countless, now famous, others didn’t publish much of it.
Walt Whitman wrote for the love of it
and thought so much of it
that he self-published it.
Ezra Pound wrote for the love of it
and thought so much of it
that he, too, self-published it.
So many poets self-publish it,
because they think so much of it.
Publishers don’t like publishing it,
because they can’t make a profit off of it.
People don’t read much of it
and buy even less of it.
So poets become publishers to publish it.
It sounds like others publish it
but poets self-publish a lot of it
and help other poets with publishing it.
You do what you gotta do
to get the message through
for nothing other than the love of it.
Do it for the love of it,
and let others decide on the fate of it.

*People ask me if I am self-published, often in a sort of snooty,
sort of condescending way. I realize that to get a book of poetry
published by a publishing house would take years and years and,
honestly, at my age, I don’t have all that much time. I would have
to get poems published in journals galore before any publishing firm
would even take a fleeting glance at me. I published about twenty-five
articles the traditional way of going through editors of magazines
and journals but now I tell people that I have a boutique, poetry book
publisher in Phoenix, Arizona. It just so happens that the name of
the company is Dahl Design Studio, which is owned by my daughter,
my colleague and collaborator on our first two books and on the
third which is scheduled for publication around the end of the year.
By the way, 75% of all books published today are self-published
(including all the poetry books no publishing house wants to publish).
I keep thinking of the old Greek proverb which I don’t know in Greek,
even though I studied it in seminary, which goes something like,
“Do it for the love of it and let others decide on the fate of it.”
Yeah, I just made that up.