What “It Is What It Is” Could Be

He stopped to help someone
in need. In this case, the
person in need had been

accosted, beaten, robbed
and left for dead. It would
be “hands on” kind of help.

This happened a long time ago,
before there would be lots of
litigious rabbit holes down

which a “helper” could plummet.
Others had passed by the poor
victim. This person, one seen

as an outsider, stopped to help.
The helper didn’t know anything
about the victim. The victim

might have been a scoundrel.
If the two had met at another
time, they might have detested

each other. It didn’t matter.
The victim needed help and
the helper was there to help.

That, according to a particular-
ly wise teller of the story,
is what being a neighbor

is all about — all about.
That isn’t rocket science.
“It is what it is” to quote

someone who wouldn’t know
a neighbor if the neighbor
fell out of the sky and

landed on him. In this case,
“It is what it is” is love —
unvarnished, unsentimental

love as an action verb. I
like that “It is what it is”
a whole lot more than the

“It is what it is” response
to the deaths of thousands
upon thousands of our neighbors.

Did I Mention?

It’s time for me to get out of the
wild, white West and look to the East,
not that it’s a panacea, to let go
of the rational, intellectual faux
superiority of white philosophy and
white religion handed down from one
white generation to the next — ex-
pectations from kindergarten through
graduate school assuming that the highly
educated and highly intelligent measured
by white, Western measurements to get
from one stage to the next will guide
us into the perfect white, Western future
but which when you really think about it
have brought us to this moment in time
when all of that has led to the false
image of masculinity and femininity
where fear and anger and rage now rule
the day and we only have to look to Europe
in the ’30s to see the failure of such
unconscientious hubris in comparison to
the simplicity of this natural Eastern
progression and explanation: 1.suffering
2. greed 3. relinquishing 4. right action.
Deep breath. Oh, and I came across this
description of Mike Pence: Mike Pence,
the ultimate beta male sycophant.
* Can
you hear him at the faux updates on the
virus? Thank you, Mr. President (my Lord
and Savior under his breath), Thank you
for your great leadership.  How could angry,
weak ego, white guy Donald have chosen
anyone else? Maybe Ivanka? By the way,
did I mention…? Kyrie…

*quote by Tom Digby, philosopher and author in his book, Love and War: How Militarism Shapes Sexuality and Romance

I Am

I’m a dystopian utopian.
I have a little of a lot of hope in
all the things that might have been,
but I have a little of a lot of faith when
things are going to be a little of a lot like heaven.
Is that too much for which to hope
a little of a lot in?

Leave Me Alone

I want him to leave me alone.
He tweets constantly when
he is not swinging a golf
club. The media report his

tweetstorms. Before he was
the temporary occupant he
would appear on shows like
the View which I never watch.

He didn’t invade my life. For
the past four years he has.
He tweets and says ridicu-
lous, ignorant, dangerous

things. All of his corruption,
and it is his constant com-
panion, aside, his lunacy is
driving me nuts and there

are at least sixty-three mill-
ion Americans who think the
sun rises and sets on his
enormous behind. He’s like

a bad case of Shingles and
speaking of a virus, we are
told to think that everyone
we meet has COVID-19 as a

way of staying away from
people and safe and the same
goes for thinking that every-
one we meet has the Trumpster

disease so we will be quiet
keep our distance and leave
them alone because otherwise
we might get a bullet between

the eyes and I don’t even
live on Fifth Ave.

How Nice for the Grandkids

He was raised with the notion
that in order to have a book
published, one had to climb
the literary equivalent of Mt.

Everest and, with oxygen
in hand, hike through the icy
and treacherous terrain of
established editors and pub-

lishers, the giants of literature
and then he discovered some-
thing of which was not, for
a long-time, spoken or written

— that there have been and are
ways to express oneself without
having to brave the publishing
cabal. Whitman scrounged up

enough to have his Leaves unfurl
before the world. Ezra did the
same instead of pounding away
at the locked doors and soon,

the publishers were knocking on
his door. And then there were
poets who saw the dead-end street
blocking their way to the publish-

ing highway and started little
bitty presses of publication for
them and their friends and now
everyone is catching on and self-

publishing to the tune of seventy-
five percent of all books. So,
my friend, significant writer,
someone who has something to

say and say it beautifully, as in
the words of the Nike commercial —
Just Do It and then let the pro-
verbial chips of literary criticism

fall all the while your work does
rise. And even as a friend says,
“Gee, how nice for the grandkids,”
your baby appears on the shelf of

the local bookstore eager to grow
up and have children of her own.

Having a Gummy During a Pandemic

In the evening I chew a medicinal gummy;
after an hour it makes me giggle.
It isn’t particularly yummy
but a giggle is far better than an evening’s niggle.

I laugh at the TV;
I laugh at Trump;
I laugh when he swings off the tee;
his golf shorts filled with his great big rump.

My wife says I’m more agreeable
after I chew a gummy
than when drinking folks under the table.
My gummy makes me a lot more chummy.

So let’s have a medicinal gummy;
at the offer do not snivel.
It may not taste so yummy,
but who cares as you sit and giggle?

Writing is Lonely*

Novelist and memoirist Robert Stone said, “Writing is lonely. […] But most of the time you are in a room by yourself, you know. Writers spend more time in rooms, staying awake in quiet rooms, than they do hunting lions in Africa. So, it’s a bad life for a person because it’s so lonely and because it consists of such highs and lows, and there’s not always anywhere to take these emotional states. […] It’s a life that’s tough to sustain without falling prey to some kind of beguiling diversion that’s not good for you.”

That, in part, is why I write poetry. I don’t spend all day in rooms writing nor, on the other hand, have I ever hunted lions in Africa (as does Donald Trump, Jr.). I have a relatively short attention span. I’m an extravert leaning toward introversion. Jogging, anyone? For 50 years, it has been meditatively, physically, spiritually, emotionally good for me. And the lion sleeps tonight. 😇

And poet Ellen Hinsey wrote, “Contrary to a generally held view, poetry is a very powerful tool because poetry is the conscience of a society. […] No individual poem can stop a war — that’s what diplomacy is supposed to do. But poetry is an independent ambassador for conscience: It answers to no one, it crosses borders without a passport, and it speaks the truth. That’s why … it is one of the most powerful of the arts.”

Well, I’ll clap for that…. 👏

*quotes from The Writer’s Almanac, August 21, 2020

Ayin*

Twenty-seven years ago today
her brain drowned in the blood
of the lamb. Her organs went

to save lives. She is in Ayin —
no-thing-ness, in O, O, O. She
is perceived in a flash of light.

The eye has seen her beauty.
The mouth praises her name.
She is named in the flow of

breath — Om — lover, com-
panion, wife, mother, sister,
daughter, friend, artist, Beloved

Child of God. And she is known
by the name that El gave her,
known only between her and El

and she knows as she has been
known from eternity to
eternity.

*some images from a meditation by Matthew Fox

Fists Like a Pugilist*

He held the mammon tightly
in his clenched fists. It was
all his. He had earned it.
He possessed it. It gave
him power and influence
over others. He held up his
fists like a pugilist saying
to himself, Who wants to
fight me for what’s in my
fists. Who would dare?
And then a voice asked,
“May I see what’s in your
fists? You will have to open
your fists with palms up-
turned so what is in them
won’t fall out.” The man
hesitated. He trusted his
fists. “Please, may I see
what is in your hands?”
The man thought to him-
self, It’s only a still, small
voice. It can’t steal my
mammon. And so the man
gradually opened his fists
revealing two fists full of
dust. And the voice turned
to wind and blew the dust
away. The man stood with
hands open, palms upturned
and he began to cry, not from
the loss, but for what he found.

*idea from a meditation by Henri Nouwen