This Has Been Going On For Far Too Long

We grew up in different worlds in the city.
When I think about my bucolic privilege,
I now view it’s exclusivity with pity,

because I walked, ran and rode my bike
to the park to play
without a single cop in sight.

Some would say, “How fortunate for that,
for a first-generation immigrant kid,”
but that’s just a myth in fact.

Yes, it kept me from a hard knock life
and I’m grateful for that
but that privilege would lead to godless strife.

It was called white flight.
With fear in our hearts, we left
sometime during the night.

Blacks bought our homes
thinking it was step up — an escape route
but then cops roamed and roamed,

and kids couldn’t venture to the park
to run, bike, hike and play —
their unprivileged future looking dark.

So, now here we are
all these years later.
We haven’t gotten that far

in matters of justice, peace and a better way.
But Black Lives Matter
and we all have Divine DNA

and we now work toward that God blessed day
of equality, peace and inclusivity.
Yes, for this we pray.

Clear Plastic Couch Covers

I don’t think it is a really good 
thing to grow up in a house with
clear plastic covers on the living 

room soft fabric furniture. It just    
might be psychologically unsettling
with questions about parental love. 

It’s hard, cold and uncomfortable.
I did and recall looking longingly 
through the plastic to the beautiful, 

soft, fabric beneath, that which I 
could never, ever touch. If I wanted 
to take a nap on the couch, I would 

put my socked feet (because we always 
had to take our shoes off at the door) 
on the plastic, only to hear my mother 

tell me to get my feet off the couch. 
I would say, “Mom, my soft socks are 
on the hard, cold, noisy plastic.” 

“Don’t get smart, young man. We aren’t 
rich and I want the couch to last a 
long time.” Yes, it has all lasted a 

long time — at least the memory. I 
still get chilled just thinking about 
lying on that couch even in the middle 

of summer. Oh, I’m sorry; that’s when 
I slid around and got stuck to the 
clear, cold, hard, noisy plastic. 




As Long As You Are Going to Fear, Be in Awe of the One Who Would Never Hurt You But Certainly Could

“Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell” Matthew 10:28.
 
“Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him” Job 13:15.
 
They are closing in; they are walking, 
     running, marching with sticks and 
          stones to break my bones. Maybe. At 
least all the images from January 6 
     tell me so, and the images are shown 
          over and over and over to impress upon 
me how tentative is my very existence. 
     And so what am I left to do? Barricade 
          inside? I’m almost there already thanks 
to the virus. Weaponize? Yeah, I know; 
     there are more accidental shootings from 
          guns on family than on feared invaders. 
Preciado cautions, ”Our disappearance, 
     though certain, is only relatively im-
          minent.” So, take it easy, breathe deeply 
and enjoy what time you have left and 
     even though being called names really 
          does hurt and sticks and stones may break 
bones, yet, will I trust my creator even 
     as I plead my case before that eternal 
          lover, the only one who could utterly 
obliterate me, but who I trust never would,
     so, if they come, open the door, take them 
          a plate of cookies, but be sure to wear a mask. 
No sense testing fate. 

BE kindness

The following was forwarded to me by a friend:

As the world fights to figure everything out: Biden, Trump, COVID, BLM, Life…I’ll be holding doors for strangers, letting people cut in front of me in traffic, keeping babies entertained in grocery lines, stopping to talk to someone who is lonely, tipping generously, sharing food, giving children a thumbs-up, being patient with sales clerks, smiling at passersby.

WHY? Because I will not stand to live in a world where love is invisible. Join me in showing kindness, understanding, and judging less. Be kind to a stranger, give grace to people who may be having a bad day, foster or adopt a pet!!!  And be forgiving with yourself.

If you can’t find kindness, BE kindness.

Lead with LOVE is my motto

Lost But Not Found*

John Winthrop, preacher of the “City on a Hill”
sermon, “claimed the Puritans had a special pact

with God to create a new, holy community. He also
claimed that the rich had a holy duty to look after

the poor.” While “looking after the poor” reeks
of white, Anglo-European paternalism and con-

descension, the Puritans seemingly completely lost
sight of Rev. Winthrop’s “holy duty” admonition.

Condescension ain’t great but the “holy duty” is better
than nothing and we are still looking for that lost “duty,”

but there still is the “Sorry, Charlie,” sign in sign
language at the bottom of the hill for the Indians.

*quote from The Writer’s Almanac, Jan. 12, 2021

The Insurrectionists



Did they not have stories read or sung to 
     them when they were little, like lullabies 
          when they were in the crib and colorful, 
story books in their little beds? Did they 
     not hear the fairy tales and later did they 
          not read Raul and C.S. and J.R.R.? And 
the poems, the sing-song poems filled 
     with fun and wonder? Were they not able 
          to blend those stories with their emerging 
stories? Did their parents not walk them 
     in nature so they could talk to the trees 
          and scamper with the rabbits and hear the 
melodies of the birds as the beautiful
     birds sang their stories? Did they not get 
          their feet wet in the creek and watch the 
fish swim by and hear their parents tell 
     them that one day they would swim with the 
          fish? And as they got older, did they not 
hear the wonderful stories of faith, the 
     blending of the eternal verities of myths 
          with history? Was there no context except
being rocked in the cradle of resentments, 
     blame, fear, finger-pointing, scapegoating 
          inherited from those who themselves had never 
really heard the sacred stories of life? How 
     can they ever know the beautiful, glorious 
          children of love they are without the stories?
 
*idea from a meditation by Richard Rohr, 01/10/2020

					

this is not about the virus

the disease unto death,
the profound illness,
circulates and permeates.
breathe in all the hurt and harm,
all the alarm,
all the fear, the great fear.
let it draw near.
be not afraid
it has been said.
when it is there,
right there,
take it in, deeply.
with arms outstretched.
let the devil’s deception
meet open palms reception.
fill your whole soul.
hold it, hold it, hold it
and then let the sin of
the world go
for the sake of the creation,
for the sake of your
brothers and sisters,
for the sake of jesus,
buddha, lao tzu
and, yes, of course, you, too.

Expectations

His expectations
of others
are fraughtfully
and rightfully filled

with hesitations,
for without that hesitate,
expectation

is a very lonely place
in which to sit and wait.

With no expectations,
he won’t need hesitations;
he won’t just sit and wait;

he’ll get on with good things
to do, without regrets,

before it is too late.

The Horns Caught My Attention

I saw the crazy guy inside the 
Capitol Rotunda with his tattoos, 
Daniel Boone cap and Viking horns

and it were the horns that really 
caught my attention.  The guy?
He’s a looney-toon, 32-year-old 

actor from Phoenix. The horns? 
I guess symbols of white, male 
aggression, violence, supremacy. 

I am about 50% Scandinavian and 
while I have never known very much 
about my roots, I have mythologized 

what they are and therefore who I 
am, but, actually I’m thinking about 
the Scandinavia I hear about today — 

world’s happiest people, environment-
ally aware, peace loving. Back to 
the horns. Symbols of savagery. I 

am the son of Gust. I guess that 
would make me a Gustafson even 
though I was told my name was 

Hanson before some ancestor changed 
it to what it is today for reasons
never explained. While I love my 

long-deceased father, I actually 
like my baptism name better — 
child of God, brother and friend 

of Jesus; you know — Jesus, the 
Middle-Eastern, dark-skinned guy 
who is the wonderful window into 

the universal, inclusive, grace-
filled Spirit of peace and love. 
Actually, I think my hornless 

father would have liked that.
Probably my long-gone wooden-
shoe wearing Dutch mother, too.