Simplicity Lane*

“I have just three things to teach: simplicity, patience, compassion.” —Lao Tzu

The white couple stood in front of
their mansion with rifle and gun
in hand, clearly panic-stricken.

Black, brown and white protesters
walked along the private road to
let the mayor, in a mansion down

the road, know she should resign.
Yes, the protesters were breaking
the law, but what, just what if the

white couple had invited the pro-
testors in for afternoon tea? And
what if the couple then sold the

mansion, gave the proceeds to a
worthy cause, moved into a tiny
house on a small lot in front of a

beautiful pond teeming with fish
and named the dirt road to the
house Simplicity Lane and then

invited the protesters over for
a fish fry for some and a vegan
picnic in honor of Francis and

Clare for the others and then
gave the tiny house to the pro-
testers and moved into a home-

less shelter? That last part about
giving away the tiny house may
be a bridge over a pond too far

especially if the white couple
love to fish.

*idea from the news and a meditation by Richard Rohr

Poem After Poem

He reads poem after poem
all having to do with the dire
circumstances of the day. Per-
haps, misery loves company
or perhaps, in saying it often
enough, “it” will lose its power
and then there comes along a
poem that has nothing to do
with the dire circumstances of
the day and it lifts him like a
Fourth of July balloon that
escapes and floats up, up and
away and then he wonders if the
selector of the poem addressed
the dire circumstances of the

God’s Abundant Heaven On Earth

In the US the richest 1 percent of the country own substantially more wealth than the bottom 90%; 6 in 10 Americans do not have the resources to come up with $1000 for an emergency such as a medical bill or car repair. World over, 26 billionaires hold personal financial assets greater than 50% of humanity. As for carbon emissions, 10% of the richest people on earth account for 50% of the carbon emissions. Our species is currently consuming 1.7 times what Earth’s regenerative systems can sustain.
— Matthew Fox citing David Korten

The beast devours the gift;
greed consumes all;
avarice causes a rift
between have nots and the cabal.

but what can heal the rift;
what can level the field
so masses won’t be adrift
but all will be healed?

An economy of sharing
where community transcends self
based on mutual caring
where laws are meant to help;

where children are wanted
and the elderly are valued
and earth’s destroyers are confronted
and God’s gifts and resources are haloed.

We will break the chains of economic oppression
so that inequality is never mentioned
and we will rejoice in a rainbow coalition
and see before us here, now — God’s abundant heaven.

would someone open a window?

i think i remember that white
woman from grade school. did
she ever graduate and head to
high school? honestly, i never
saw her again until i saw the
white person on tv. i thought
this can’t be my classmate, may-
be her granddaughter: “i don’t
wear a mask for the same reason
i don’t wear underwear. things
have got to breathe.” i think
that has to be her because i
remember that she didn’t wear
underwear in grade school.
she had told me she wanted to
play doctor. did i hear correctly
what the woman said? did
she just say that things have
to breathe? it gives a whole
new meaning to tmi not to
mention being tone-deaf to
knees on necks. would some-
one open a window, please?

A Hypothetical

A hypothetical ethical question
comes to the man as he sits look-
ing out the window after reading
about Hellen Keller. Keller lived
an unbelievably productive life
for any human being let alone
a deaf and blind person. He has
a bad eye, only forty percent
sight. What if he lost all his sight?
He closes his eyes and sees noth-
ing except what he remembers
to be out the window. He wonders
if at his age it would be right to
find purpose in his blindness, or,
given his certain dependence on
loved ones, would the ethical thing
be to just leave or would that be
the coward’s way out? With eyes
closed, he contemplates the differ-
ence between euthanasia and suicide
and wonders if it’s just an exercise
in semantics. He opens his eyes and

Something We Learned?

Something we learned from the Human Genome Project is that the entire 7.5 billion-member human species goes back 7,000 generations to an original population of about 60,000 people. Our species has only a modest amount of genetic variation — the DNA of any two humans is 99.9 percent identical. —- Writer’s Almanac, Friday, June 26, 2020

No, unfortunately, it isn’t something we have learned.
See, it’s still, “Sorry, Charlie.
Equality is something you haven’t earned.”
But Charlie, Marlie and Maisie
are 99.9% silly, sameness crazy.

Yes, out of Africa numbering 60,000
going back generations seven-thousand
we are 99.9% silly, sameness crazy,
dear Charlie, Marlie and Maisie.

Charlie is black and Marlie is white
and they fight each other day and night with all their might.
Crazy Maisie is red, white and sometimes black and blue
and she is we through and through.

So, Charlie, Marlie and Maisie,
our relations have gone upsy-daisy
when we should dance and spin and spin,
because we are actually rainbow-colored identical twins.

Profanity Defined and Illustrated

The word profane comes from the Latin words pro, meaning “in front of,” and fanum, meaning “temple.” — Richard Rohr

The Inspector of the bunker
violently dispersed peaceful
demonstrators in the park.
Yes, he did it; he called the shots
(no pun intended) through kids
(with a lot of color) wearing
National Guard outfits and a
lot of armor in the park across
from the White House so he could
walk across the park with his lily-
white entourage to a church where
he could have a photo opportunity
with him holding up a bible in front
of the church. Did he not know that
God was in the park, in the protest-
ors, in the colorful kids wearing war
outfits? Was he only thinking of the
upside-down god of the upside-down
bible in front of a building where the
upside-down god was boarded up in-
side? Or was he only thinking about
how nice he would look as his lily-
white daughter told him he would?
He grinned his Cheshire grin and
walked back to the bunker, his
lily-white entourage in tow. Where
did that prop come from and where
did it go?

The Only Things in Common Between Community and Democracy are Nine Letters, Four Syllables and the Sound “E.”

He came up behind me as I grabbed the door
with the sleeve of my sweater. He had no
mask. He was six inches away from my face.
The notice read “Mask Required for Entry.”
He said, “I don’t give a f*** about that.” I
felt his hot breath and started to tremble,
“Is this my death sentence?”

Simple ignorance
lacks satisfying sufficience
in explaining present existence
when stupid, audacious belligerence
is less of a hindrance
to understanding Americans’ contentiousness
at being conscientious
in following virus safety recommendations.


The days of my life
in our shut down,
never say lockdown,
life starts with dog
duty and kitchen duty
and then some
personal duty
and reaching for
the computer as if
reaching desperately
for a salvific glass
of water to quench
a parched throat
and thirst — the
meditations by
the holy ones who
hold the pitcher
and pour and then
the poems galore.
And then, and only
then, the news of
the day and come
what may—hem…
from him
who holds not
the salvific pitcher
of holy water
but merely a
and then I take
deep breaths
and watch the
dune grass
wave at me.

Are These Things Still Important? Seriously? After All These Oppressive Years!*

Just a few years ago, the man heard a college
professor/administrator say that the only
purpose of college admission tests is simply

an arbitrary excuse for administrators to
decide inclusions and exclusions after every-
thing else. The man recalls taking the ACT

in the first semester of his high school senior
year. The test flew right out of his hands into
the highest heavens of test accomplishments.

He was prematurely proud. The man recalls
the SAT in the second semester of his senior year.
The test wiggled its way out of his hands and

buried itself under the creaky floorboards of
the test room. What he didn’t think of at the
time and what didn’t matter once the test score

pencil # 2 was placed on the desk never to be
picked up again is that the man’s dad had just
died before he took the second test. Fortunately,

the man was the beneficiary of administrators
who considered everything else before deciding
on matters of exclusion and inclusion for test

results that didn’t matter much either in the
heavens above or the floorboards beneath
anyway in the great scheme of things.

*today in 1926, the SAT was first administered.