We’ve had the six-year-old Chocolate Lab
long enough that we have bonded.
She is no longer a girl so sad.
Her tail didn’t wag when she was adopted.
When we offer her a cookie, a treat
her brown eyes plead and her tail wags.
Her tail wags on walks down the street.
No, she is no longer a girl so sad.

And, of course, that makes us exceedingly glad.


Some Things Just Don’t Change

As I passed through the living room
I glanced at the TV. The image was
of a rescue vehicle in a city hit
by the latest hurricane. The pass-
enger was gorgeous — a young-
ish, white woman dressed to the
hilt. She reminded me a bit of
Melania Trump or a wealthy,
Southern aristocrat. Not.
She was an old, black woman
in a plain-jane house dress
and a sad, anxious, distressed
look on her deeply lined face.
Some things just don’t change.

Destination Hades

When I drive along a street and there
is a speed monitor on the side of the
road, I take pride that I am a couple

of miles below the speed limit even
as my speedometer records the limit.
It’s off a little to my benefit.

Cars slow around me only to speed
back up again when past the monitor.
They go faster and faster as they

speed on down the road to God knows
where: late for work? late for a date?
late to pick up the kids from school?

(I know that one.) That must be where
the driver of the soccer mom van is
headed. Vans can go really fast in

spite of how they look. Maybe they
are late for an interview in Gehenna.
Someone told me that drivers in Chicago

are angry drivers, mean even. I’ve seen
that around here in this upper mid-west
town. More and more, angrier and angrier,

middle fingers flashing, faces grimacing,
mouths uttering silent slurs and epithets .
Are the roads Rorschach tests of our

society’s level of anxiety? Up ahead is
another speed monitor. I smile when I see
two miles under the speed limit. A white-

haired senior citizen flips me the bird
as she speeds past.


Do You Hear The Orphans Scream? Do You Feel the Blow-back?

Everyday it gets worse just when you wonder,
“How?” “Oh, by the way (in a voice of incredul-
ity as if nobody could possibly have known),

there are about twelve-hundred more Hispanic
children in custody (captivity) in the US than
was known. And the government is in the process

of building accommodations to house approximately
three thousand.” Really, accommodations? Like in
a Hilton? Perhaps as in Hanoi Hilton. Where are

the parents? Frightened, in hiding? Do you hear
the screaming? And isn’t this akin, ironically,
to what we have been doing in the Middle-East,

where we bomb, making orphans of children. Do
you hear the screaming? The children then grow
up with extreme resentments, the screams subside,

they no longer cry and plan and carry out terrorist
activity. That is called “blow-back.” Every 9/11
there are memorial services in the capital and

politicians cry “Terror, terror, everywhere.” And
the president has the chance to get in hateful,
simple-minded rhetoric about Muslims and his base

goes crazy with false patriotism. So let’s all wait
around for ten maybe fifteen years when the adults
who were forcibly orphaned as children at the border

stop crying and strike out in hate-filled blow-back
giving us the opportunity to have another manufactur-
ed “day that will live in infamy” during which polit-

icians and a president can whip up the base with mis-
guided patriotism and horrible hate. Do you hear the
screams? Do you feel the blow-back?

Somewhere, Somehow

Somewhere, somehow,
along the way,
we lost our way
to get out to the way
of things in nature
that would kill us.
For centuries,
erupting volcanoes,
floods, hurricanes,
not to mention tornadoes,
would sweep across
the land
before we had as much
as a rudimentary plan
to escape the wrath.
We were in the direct path.
Perhaps, at one time, we
like wild animals knew better.
They and maybe we
ran or flew by feather
to higher, safer ground.
Now we can’t hear, taste
or smell what’s coming around.
Try to imagine the chaos
that would come upon us.
No wonder we conjured a future hell
As God’s punishment
we would tell.
Today, science has been an aid
in detecting and warning
us to get out-of-the-way.
Sometimes, even the government
has resources well spent
to help evacuate
before it is too late
and repair our sad, post horror state.
And now our notions are taming
and no longer is it God
we are blaming.
We have our selves
and our polluting to blame
for deadly weather that aims
to cause chaos
and destroy us.
Now, even the animals
are swept along
when everything
in nature goes wrong.
No longer do we need
for a next life —
visions of Dante’s Inferno.
It’s right here, right now
for all to behold.


When she died
I didn’t want to live.
I wanted to die.
she wasn’t a distant it
to be dispensed with.
That she will never be.
She was her Thou
to my I.
But I lived
and I love again.
And by grace,
she is her Thou
to my I.

Blank Sheets of Paper

How can so many show fealty
toward one who shows only cruelty —
callous indifference to or pleasure in
causing pain and suffering?
He cares about nothing
but himself
and who is he —
a vapor,
a blank sheet of paper,
tabula rasa,
an embarrassment to America.
Are the followers getting a thrill vicarious
at the pain of all the rest of us?
“Father, forgive them
for they know not what they do,”
those, like their paper savior,
blank sheets of paper
burning through and through…
to nothing more than ash.

All That We Can Ask

The actor police captain said,
“Thank you for the friendship.”
The other actor,
an older lieutenant,
possibly considering retirement,
said to his superior officer,
“If it lasts.”
Yes, isn’t that all
that we can ask
for it to last…?
But there is always,
always that whiff
of the ever present “if.”

Owing a Still Unacknowledged Debt

He watched four, talented white men sing
rock and roll songs from the 50s on —
most songs written and sung originally by

blacks and white rockers who got their best
ideas from blacks and the white boys did a
more than credible job at seemingly making

a career and living out of it, a much better
living than those original black writers and
singers. It was thoroughly enjoyable and he

kept beat with his feet. He remembers dancing
to those very same songs in all of his naive,
white adolescence. He looked at the equally

naive, primarily older white audience “get
in the groove,” fifty-five years later than
when he danced at the high school sock hop.

The group sang, “Dancin’ In the Streets,”
and the audience danced in the aisles
completely unaware that the song written

by, for and about blacks came to be a pro-
test song to rally blacks in the 60s to rise
up and dance in the streets for civil rights.

He doesn’t dance anymore but, unfortunately,
it appears that history repeats itself with
unaware whites paying big bucks to dance in

the aisles to old, black rock and roll songs
sung by whites. He wondered if there were
many blacks watching and, if so, what they

might be thinking. There was another shot
of that white audience and he winced as he
saw himself “dancin’ in the aisles.”

His feet stopped keeping beat.