I Keep Thinking

I keep thinking there is something to be learned here that
will serve us all well in the future (Maybe that’s just my
late mother’s practicality showing through.) — something
like, we should figure out what started going wrong in the
70’s which culminated in the election of 2016.

That probably would be a good thing for professors of
economic, social and political science to do, but in
the mean time, more and more, I just sit like I did
in sixth grade watching my classmate Frank play pocket
pool while explaining for the umpteenth time how the
dog ate his homework and then hearing the teacher shout,
“Frank, get your hands out of your pants and keep them
out,” when contemplating whatever news comes out of this
White House.

The White House is a lot like Frank who lived the
classic definition of insanity. Frank, apologizing,
took his hands out of his pockets pledging never to
put them back just to return them to his pockets
over and over and over.

To Frank’s credit, it probably was just a fear reaction
giving him momentary comfort, a reaction which, hopefully,
went away in time.

Unfortunately, for the White House, and therefore for us,
there is no pledge to change. The craziness just goes on
and on and on. And maybe that’s the new definition of
insanity — never having to pledge doing something
different and never having to say you are sorry while
doing the same thing over and over and over even though
most of us know what is happening over and over and
over is insane and driving us insane.

And so, in that, perhaps we are not so unlike Inspector
Clouseau’s captain.

A Stumbling, Bumbling, Uncomfortable, Awkward, Hypothetical Conversation by a White Guy

We are suffering apart but at least
you have community in that suffering.
Community suffering is something that
we really don’t know and therefore we

don’t even know how to acknowledge
suffering and so we suffer silently
without really knowing what it is
because we are all in denial — unlike

you standing on the street corner under
the light of Michigan and 111th, sharing
a bottle in a plain paper bag, while we
sit at home watching sports and then you

get it on Saturday night at the jive joint
as they call it on NPR radio on Saturday
night or you visit one-of-a-kind mom and
pop restaurants with roast beef or meat-

loaf specials and we visit upscale bistros
nodding causally at casual acquaintances
as they pass, while you, together, cautiously
enter the mean streets looking out for Mr.

Charley in a blue suit and we just get up
and go home to have an early evening in
preparation for our orderly community
gathering on a Sunday morning but, in real-

ity, is simply, in fact, a place of ethnic
justification, while we near unconsciously,
ceremoniously and perfunctorily pass a
plate of wafers and tiny cups of grape

juice while listening to nice music and
then go home and have the minister for
lunch because he started stepping on our
toes and we don’t pay him for that and

maybe you do that, too, so that’s, at least,
something we have in common and, of course,
I’m generalizing and stereotyping and probably
glamorizing your black suffering like we

whites do with Indians, but, seriously, given
things as they are, I don’t know what else to
do, and so I hope I, at least, got a little
something right and maybe I should just shut

up and listen. Sorry about the white privilege.

A Stone Rolled Along

A Stone rolled along
and bumped
into the Trump stump
speech saying, “You
need to pick
a campaign shtick
to wave around
at your rallies,
like a whip
whipping the
base
into shape
so you can
get elected
uncontested.”
That campaign
shtick
is now making
the nation sick
with pseudo-psycho-
dis-ease
and temperatures
rising over
whether or not
to build that
border wall,
which is just
a shtick
making our nation
sick
with pseudo-psycho-dis-ease,
some calling, “Sanity, please!”
while the pseudo-president shouts,
“This is a national emergency!”
and president Laura
says, “I love the drama
leading to trauma,
because it makes
more money for Rush,
Fox, and me,
the pseudo-news
three.”

The Earth’s Abuser

Who would have thought that
we would have come to this place
and in such haste?
We loved the mountains, the valleys,
the rivers, the seas.
Everything was meant to please.
We thought it will be this way always
and now we are told
everything is going sideways.
Never thinking the earth,
by our hands, was ill-fated
we fell in love and procreated.
Now we fear for our children’s future
because we humans are the earth’s abuser.

The Perfect Card for a Lab Lover

He went in search of the perfect
Valentine’s card
and found a photo of six Labs.
He didn’t even look very hard.
They were pups all lying on a rug,
sleeping so soundly,
cuddled in a six Lab group hug.
Unfortunately, it was a birthday card
and not for Valentine’s Day.
Undeterred, he bought the card
even though it wasn’t especially romantic
knowing she would laugh so hard
at the six Lab puppies sleeping so still
and not the usual puppy Lab manic.
It will be a two human and one Lab group hug
and not six Labs in their dog lover house,
but still it will be so lovingly snug.

A Sad Memory

I gave her books for Valentine’s Day
and birthday’s so she could read for days on end
and the joy of the book would never end.

I gave her living plants for Valentine’s Day
and birthday’s so she could water the
plants, see them flower
and the joy of the blooming plant would
bring happiness hour after hour.

Years went by and one day she said, “You’re
not a romantic, you don’t really care.
I wanted romantic cards and cut flowers galore
showering me with your love forevermore.”

“How was I supposed to know?” I asked.
“If you loved me you wouldn’t have to ask.”

So, I bought romantic cards and bouquets galore
but the innocent joy of the gift was there no more.

ASAP

If Christian love is an active verb
and not a schmaltzy sentiment,
if it means that I don’t even have
to like someone very much if
at all, but rather want the best
for that someone and if, as a
Christian, I am to see Jesus
in that someone and treat
that someone as I would wish
to treat Jesus, that is, acting
in that person’s best interest,
then, yes, I love Donald Trump
and I want the best for him and
so I will pray that he seek out
a mental health specialist ASAP
for him better to reflect the image
of Jesus and not the Anti-Christ,
and because I care deeply for my
country and the principles upon
which it was founded and the con-
stitution under which we all live
and thrive, I will continue to pray
that Donald Trump leave or, failing
that, be removed from the office of
the presidency, also ASAP, for his
sake, our country’s sake, the world’s
sake and finally, first and foremost,
Alpha and Omega, for Christ’s sake
(add intonation on that last phrase
as you wish).

Clean, Knock-Out Punches to Death

In the murder mystery, the protagonist cop describes
a tough boxing match he had with a psychopath he
later would pursue in a murder investigation. It was
a brutal fight with low blows and dirty punches and
bites to the cop’s face. The reader had been in a few
fist fights in his younger years but he took two blows
in life that he thought might finish him off. The first
was the death of his dad who walked out of the house
one day and never came back. The then teen got up from
that one simply because he didn’t know what else to do.
The second blow to his gut came when his wife died in
a day. He still doesn’t know how he got up off the mat
on that one because he didn’t want to get up, but he did.
His own psychopath tried to do him in twice, but he’s
back on his feet dancing around the boxing ring of life.
Like the cop, he managed clean, knock-out punches to
the solar plexus of the psychopath called Cruel “Out of
the Blue” Death.

slurping from the saucer

they sat at the bar for the
sunday version of happy hour
and watched snow blow across
the lake like flour flying from

his grandmother’s hand crank
sifter. It was cold outside but
he was warmed by the thought
of her homemade bread fresh

from the oven, slathered in
butter and served with a cup
of cream and sugar with a
little bit of coffee in it. his

grandfather instructed him to
pour a bit of the scorching
hot, liquid (which, of course,
wasn’t hot at all) into the

saucer to let it cool before
slurping it from the saucer.
he noticed the big bumps on
his grandfather’s hands and

then he stared at the bumps
on his hands as he swirled the
bourbon. his wife asked him
what he was thinking about

and he told her that he was
swirling the bourbon just to
let it cool before slurping it
down. His wife stared at him

and said that there was ice in
the glass and that he only slurp-
ed when he had sipped too much.
he looked out the window, saw

that the heavy snow had stopped
and he could see the ice sailors
fly by on their circuitous racing
route.

Entertaining Angels

Was it by sheer un-luck or blessed luck
that he came to the homes of the grieving?
Maybe providence in the form of a former
colleague who knew the depth of his sorrow
or was she just playing with him and his
suffering when she asked if he would apply
for the chaplaincy at hospice? Another,
years later, after he had sat with the
suffering and held their hands and joined
their tears with his, asked having just
been exposed to the unutterable pain of
experiencing the death of a loved one,
“How did you do it?”
 He said nothing
but spoke to himself, How could I not?
knowing the healing joy all those families
had brought him as a gift of sheer grace.
Ironically and with God’s great practical
joking, he had entertained angels unaware
when, of all things, he was the giver of care.