A Haunted House*

The African-American author used
the metaphor of an old house when

describing the United States. She
loves old houses and has always

lived in old houses but they need
constant attention and renovation.

Right now the United States isn’t
just an old house. It is an old,

haunted house with the ghosts of
our sins inhabiting every nook

and cranny. Another African-American
author described “…vast chasms created

by implicit biases and systemic in-
justices.” The ghosts of those implicit

biases and systemic injustices lurk
in the dark, cavernous rooms ever

ready to pounce and scare the
inhabitants to death. Where are

the Ghost Busters when you
most need them?

*idea from On Being e-newsletter,
1/12/2019

For the Love of Hair

The right-wing birds
had to be heard.
Squawking Rush and Ann
gave the Donald a plan.
Shut the government down
if money for the wall won’t be found.
And so the heartless guy
is punishing 800,000, and why?
Because that petulant child
has gone lunatic wild
to get that about which
he doesn’t even care.
Maybe his only love
is his bright orange hair.

It’s Not a Pretty Picture

Yes, what a mess and what for?
Not the dignity of seven years and four score.
Concerning all of his legal woes —
an attempt at a diversionary tactic once more?
Who knows?
We spend endless hours
and beaucoup dollars
captivated by
a petulant child who just hollers
to get his way.
What can we say?
He occupies our all and every day.
And what about when he is
gone as he surely will be
someday?
Will we elect another childish lunatic
just for more blithering screeds?
I wouldn’t put it past us.
It is how we live our lives
for looney-tune entertainment is now a must.
It has become our modern-day gyves,
shackles to keep us occupied
and money from our wallets plied.
And so we sit, laugh and watch
while corporations cozy up to the public trough
of tax breaks granted by legislators’ greed and sloth.

Choosing Font and Point and Wondering “What’s the Point?”

For some reason he has settled on
21 point in Helvetica Neue.
Maybe he had been stuck in a rut
and needed something new.
Helvetica Neue came with Page.
21 point moved up a few
from the same old starting point in a starting page.
He used to go to Times New
Roman but that was in Word Document
and moved from 11 to
24 point in the spur of the moment.
It all seems so capricious, too,
because when it goes to Word Press
it’s in a format very new
and gussied up in a Word Press dress
about which he had nothing to do.

together

he wanted to tell her something 
     about a dream from the night before. 
he said that the two of them traveled 
     to an island and there were gangs there 
and they had to protect each other. he 
     had no idea what the dream meant but 
he wanted her to know that it was just the 
     two of them, lovers on that harrowing 
journey — together.

They Passed Him Anyway.

There were questions about his ordination examination.
He kept inserting the word “perhaps” in his answers.

Perhaps is not a user-friendly word when it comes to
ordination exams invoking such queries as, “Does the
young man vacillate in his faith?”

Surety is expected, strong convictions about propositional
truths. After all, the flock needs to hear absolutes uttered
with conviction from the pulpit otherwise there might be
those straying into the dangerous lair of ravenous wolves
of secular prey.

The young seminary student didn’t even realize that he had
been using that language until a sympathetic examiner
approached him at lunch, to tell him the situation. As a
result, he used the word less often in the afternoon session.

If he had been older, wiser and not frightened about failure
or the need for the acceptance of his elders, he simply might
have said, “We are dealing with a great and wonderful mystery
and so, humility requires the plenteous sprinkling of the holy
word ‘perhaps’ on our oven baked (or perhaps half-baked)
commentary on revelation.”

In hind sight, the kid did just fine.

Sturdy Wooden Desks

I try to think of clever, poetic ways with meters and rhymes of dealing
with the perilous situation we are in as a country given the president
we have, but nothing comes to mind and such ways seem so inadequate
anyway to address such a dire predicament.

We are now dealing with a false, fabricated national crisis related to the
southern border of the United States growing out of the totally unnecessary
government shutdown about which the president could very well do a power
grab and call a national emergency, thus, if allowed and unchecked,
paving the way to totalitarian leadership.

And so, the only thing I can think to write is that we are in the midst
of a national predicament of extreme instability completely brought upon
us by the pathologically lying, unhinged, unpredictable, volatile and
therefore extremely dangerous person who is our president and the most
powerful person in the world and enabled by cowardly Republican
legislators only concerned with their re-elections and a spineless
Senate Majority Leader.

I would like to think that “this, too, shall pass,” but all that comes
to mind is, “Th-th-th-that’s all, folks!”

We have entered Looney Tune Land or, perhaps, Existentialism’s worst
nightmare such as Sartre’s No Exit or perhaps the scariest
dystopian novel imaginable.

Where, just when you need them most, are those good old, sturdy wooden
school desks we used to crawl under during the nuclear disaster drills
in grade school?

Rudeness

The question for cable news show hosts:
More often than not, do you really listen when people are speaking to you
instead of just waiting for your turn to speak?

No, I’m sorry. While that is a legitimate question, it is not THE question. This is the question:
Will you please stop butting in and cutting off your guests when
they are trying to answer the question you just asked?

Now the first question is the question.

Perspectives

It was such a sunny, beautiful
day for the first part of January
that the man decided to go for

a bike ride. He loves his classic
ten-speed, the one the bike shop
people ogle when he takes it in

for a minor repair. He feels young
and healthy when riding and he
recalls so many, many cycling ad-

ventures through the years. As he
mounts his bike, he calls out hello
to the next door neighbor. The

neighbor shouts back, “Be careful
out there.” The question enters the
mind of the cyclist, is the neighbor

cautioning him about possible icy
patches along the way or does the
neighbor see an old man getting on

his bike or both? The cyclist calls
back, “Will do,” as he picks up speed
on the first stage of the Tour de France.

The Administration at Play

Petulant children play
while nearly a million pay
by receiving no pay
for work done every day.
“Oh, they will get back pay
when petulant children stop play,”
some say;
“But some live pay-
check to pay-
check, do pray,”
others say.
Too bad, petulant children still prey.
“Am I my brother
and sister’s keeper?” they say.
“When one suffers, we all suffer,”
someone else does say.
“Well, tell that one to fly away
and don’t spoil our play,”
the petulant children petulantly say
day after day after day
and adding insult to injury,
they gave themselves a taxpayer paid
ten thousand dollar raise in pay.