Refusing to Speak Refuse

“I refuse to become the wormwood for
his parlance,” is the eloquent integrity

of the commentator and one can just
see the worm worming its way through

the soon to be mush of language with
consequences for what the language

represents like a free press and
beyond that the First Amendment of

the Constitution of the United States
of America. The commentator refuses

to use words such as “fake news” which
would unintentionally give credence

to the false soundbites which, accord-
ing to Nazi propaganda, is the way to

worm away to mush the strong, structural
wood of democracy.


Something There Is That Doesn’t Love a Wall But You Might As Well Make the Most of It*

In the interview he said that
on the Mexican side of the wall
there are “mariachi bands, graffiti,
ice cream vendors, paintings,
dancing, laughter.” On the U.S.
side of the wall — “steel, trucks,
dogs, helicopters, guns.” The
U.S. side is what East Berlin
was when Michael Jackson did
a concert on the west side
of that wall. And then the
poet asked, “Who is free
and who is in prison?”

*paraphrase of conversation
between Luis Alberto Urrea
and Krista Tippet,  On Being

Sounded Pretty Convincing

The parishioners rebuked the priest
for gospel talk and politics in his
homily. He said, “It is all about

politics. Not partisan but ‘polis’
— people. Life is all about the
people, you and me and that

means political systems in which
we live. Those systems go haywire
because of sin, our sin, yours and

mine, people’s sin, greed, avarice
and that’s where the gospel comes
in, right? We people live in systems

and those systems should be just
for all people, right? And that is
where the gospel comes in — in

the first place. If we start with
mysticism, contemplation, centering
in God, going with Jesus, if we

journey inward with the Spirit and
then outward to the systems in
justice, mercy, peace , we will be

living the Realm of God, individually,
corporately, communally, systematically,
wholly, completely, inclusively,

heavenly, right?” Still, they voted
unanimously to cut his salary and
called the diocese to complain.

We Speak Immigration

“English! It’s made up of all these untidy words, man. Have you noticed?
Native American (skunk), German (waltz), Danish (twerp), Latin (adolescent),
Scottish (feckless)…It’s a glorious wreck (a good old Viking word, that).
Glorious, I say, in all its shambling, mutable beauty. People daily speak
a quilt work of words, and continents and nations and tribes and even
enemies dance all over your mouth when you speak.”
—— Luis Alberto Urrea

Think about that: we speak immigration
every time we open our mouths and yet,

from these mouths we curse each other —
whites curse browns and blacks and we

whites are dangerous because we have
a deadly combination — fear and

power: economic, political, societal,
police -— our curse carries with it

the threat of death. With our white,
evangelical mouths we praise our tribal

god and curse our black, brown, red
and yellow brothers and sisters. With

our white mouths we curse in Native
American, German, Scandinavian, Latin,

Scottish, Spanish, Yiddish, Russian
and we shout, “Talk American, you skunk,

twerp, boy, girl, feckless wreck!” We
shout, “Dance for us,” while an inter-

national quilt of words brought by the
immigrants waltz off our tongues.

And our karma goes forth and soon
karma* will return.

*karma (n.)
1827, in Buddhism, the sum of a person’s actions in one life, which determines his form in the next; from Sanskrit karma “action, work, deed; fate,” related to Sanskrit krnoti, Avestan kerenaoiti “makes,” Old Persian kunautiy “he makes;” from PIE root *kwer- “to make, form” (see terato-). “Latterly adopted by Western popular ‘meditative’ groups” [OED, 1989]. It is related to the second element in Sanskrit.

Rasputin’s Poison Seeds

Disputate, exacerbate,
the Wannabe Tzar never
passes an opportunity to agitate.
He leaves chaos in his wake.
Take note; it is never a mistake.
It is all planned
by Rasputin’s hand.
Rasputin is the Tzar’s right-hand man —
the brain behind every devious plan
the fragile fabric to fray
and toss democracy away.
Standing behind the Wannabe Tzar,
whispering in his ear,
this is a danger — present and clear.
Who is this Rasputin hovering in the shadow?
Look for the one with poison seeds to sew.

In the Eye of the Beholder

The neighbor wonders how our weeds
are doing, referring to the dune grass.
Meanwhile, I watch very large, industrial
size lawnmowers gobble up grass like
roaring, ravenous, devouring prehistoric
beetles while belching out noxious fumes
from their back ends. Then the shiny, purple
backed bugs are loaded up and driven
off and in their wake all is quiet and
manicured beautifully like a cadaverous
body attired in a gorgeous, doily laden
Victorian gown reeking of death and
environmental destruction.

A Day of Celebration

A day of celebration: I just printed all my posts from September 2011 through June 2018, approximately 2,850 posts, almost all poetry — lots of paper, lots of ink. I have no idea what I will do with them, but it is nice to know that they, now, are not vulnerable to the whims of the internet, as in, puff they’re gone into cyberspace never to be retrieved. I plan to keep up with the printing month by month. All should be well unless, God forbid, the house burns down, in which case, we will have bigger issues than my poetry.

like a bad suit

he was told that         she       didn’t really know him
that well even after
thirty-one years of
a casual friendship.
                             she was right
                             for the wrong reason.
for some reason she
wanted to hurt him,
to set up a situation
where she could
criticize him for a
few things. then
                               she was all over him
                               like a bad suit.

he just looked down
at his plate of prime
rib wondering why
                     he was wasting the money 
even though
                       it was the best deal in town on
prime rib, better
even than the
prime rib dinner
another friend of
his had at a fancy
chicago steak
house according
                       to that friend’s   testimony.

Visitors Wear Brown

In Germany, they sat for dinner
with crystal, silver, cloth. The
music on the radio was Wagner.

The trains roared by and when
they passed, the silence blessed
the men who chatted over brandy.

When the trains stopped and the
door opened, silent riders stepped
off and went quietly to their deaths.

In America, we sit in front of the
TV watching (name a sport) while
munching on sweet and salty snacks.

At the border, desperate mothers
and fathers long for their babies’
cries but there is only silence.

There is a loud knock on the doors
of the homes of people watching
TVs now muted. Visitors wear brown.

For the moment, there is just silence.

A Singing Soul

I read a poem by a man who
when he was twelve had a
bicycle accident, which left

him a quadriplegic. Twenty
years ago at fifty-three I
had a mountain biking accident

in which I broke thirteen
bones. If I had not moved
my head at the last nano-

second, I would be a quad-
riplegic like the poet or
I would be a dead poet. I

shuddered when I read about
his accident. Sympathy pains?
Did I feel a twinge of guilt

that I survived with just a
shattered clavicle never to
be one piece again and lots

of bumps on twelve ribs and
aches and pains? Do I feel
guilty that I forget to give

thanks every morning when I
crawl out of bed that I can
crawl out of bed? In the poem’s

last line, the poet says his
soul sings. I am grateful for
many things including that

poet’s singing soul.