The Cleansing Shower

The news media just doesn’t do the horror
justice. There are children on the border
who are living in sub-human conditions
(no toilets, no showers, no hygiene, no
clean penises, vaginas, anuses); did I say
that this is happening in the good old US
of A? But all the money has to go to the
defense department to protect our wonderful
world and way of life, like all the white
actors in From Here to Eternity except now
it is from here to hell. How many beautiful,
lovely, little children have to die before
the powers that be stop the horror in its
tracks, open the concentration camps,
embrace the children, hand them over
to their mothers and fathers and then
stand in the shower provided for the
immigrants, to wash away the shame
and guilt, clean their souls and begin
the hard but wonderful work of fulfill-
ing the poem on the base of the Statue
of Liberty?

It Has Been Said

It has been said
that the man traveled
no more than fifty

miles from his place
of birth during his
thirty-some years,

yet countless millions
upon millions hang
on his every word

spoken on the
mountain and down
in the valley of both

blessings and curses.
Much, much older
and having traveled

much farther in
relation to the thirty-
some-year-old, but

not much in relation
to many others, he
believes a slow jog

along the trails near-
by would now suffice
along with a TV trip

somewhere hosted
by one of several
travel writers on

PBS, especially dur-
ing fundraising
season which now

seems to extend to
all four seasons.
He will continue

meditating along
with countless
millions of others,

on the words of the
one who, it is said,
never traveled more

than fifty miles from
the backwater town
where he was born.

We Sit On the Balcony

We sit on the balcony
with the smell of all the
new wood beneath our
feet and along the top
of the railing down and
around the walkway to
the front of the house.
Thirty-five years the old
wood lasted and now
it feels so good to have
such a firm foundation
which will last another
thirty-five or forty years,
long after we have left
the balcony and have
placed our feet on even
firmer foundations.

an irresponsible, destructive part of it all

we are all part of the vast
ecosystem and biosphere
while we are letting things
get pretty ugly by causing

the destruction of so much
of that ecosystem and
biosphere — thousands
upon thousands of species

of animal life not to mention
vegetable and mineral life —
gone. there was a time, fifty-
sixty years ago, when we

played a tv game where we
asked if the answer was
animal, vegetable or mineral.
we would now have to ask,

“given the destruction we
humans have brought upon
the earth, is it the now
very limited animal, vege-

table or mineral?” and the
answer would be some now,
really, scarce barely
recognizable thing maybe

animal, vegetable or mineral
or some horribly distorted,
grotesquely, genetically
reproduced monstrosity.

a dying culture*

in religious hollowness
they secretly relish
other’s suffering
but demonstrate
(downward directed) pity
and hide what’s hellish
(oh, you poor thing)
while inside giddy.
in their self-righteousness
compassion they feign
but can only strain
to muster
false pity
and superficial piety
while inside giddy.

*idea from a meditation by Henri Nouwen

the couple’s big picture*

their love e-x-p-a-n-d-s


embraces contact

with others — 

(from sea to sea)


(from the core) 
     of all
        for all 
             with all 
infused with 

*idea from writing by John Welwood
in meditation by Richard Rohr, June 21,
2019, Summer Solstice

A Depressed Swedish Guy

He’s told that Swedes need more sun
to get out of depression and have some fun.
What’s wrong with him coming to West Michigan for the sun and the Dutch?
He guesses he’s just a depressed Swedish guy who doesn’t know very much.
When he first came to these shores he thought he was 50% Dutch
but his DNA tells him not so very much.
He even had a guy who is more Spanish than Dutch
tell him that because he wasn’t very Dutch he wasn’t very much.
He could have gone anywhere, maybe Italy or Greece
And hopefully found both plenty of sun and much-needed peace.
But here he is with the contentious Dutch
In a place where the sun just doesn’t shine very much.
However, there is a redeeming feature — a glorious banquet
of those delicious, exclusively Dutch made Pigs-in-a-Blanket.
And so he’ll struggle through what life offers here
as long as there is a “pig” and a micro-brewed IPA beer.

Oh, You Can Go Ahead

I’m letting them get to me —
the rude, presumptuous,
discourteous, egotistical,
“me first ever and always

at all costs” crowd. I make
a resolution to be courteous
come what may and what
may comes and…then a guy

runs up my butt on the road
almost ramming my car’s
bumper, a cyclist flies by me
while I’m cycling without say-

ing “On your left,” and when I
lose my patience and call him
out he just flashes the bird
behind his back and rides on,

a woman jams into me at
the grocery store and pushes
my groceries up the belt so they
jam into the groceries of the

person ahead of me and I
have to apologize to that
person then the crème de la
crème, I stand with one item

in my hand waiting for some-
one to let me  in line but the big
rumped shoppers with their
overflowing shopping carts

lift up their noses and rush
their butts ahead of me to
the aisle which has just
opened at the store with

great prices but no “fifteen
items or less” lane and I
am comforted deviously
and with religious self-

righteousness by the eternal
promise that the first shall
be last and the last shall be
first, but I’m getting a bit

long-in-the-tooth waiting,
and not very patiently any-
more. “Oh, excuse me, you
go right ahead. I’m just

standing here ruminating
on the injustices of life;
besides, I’m retired with
lots of time on my hands.”


“They are hateful, vengeful, frightened,
angry, spiteful, violent.”
“Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t realize you
were specifying Republicans
until you mentioned ‘violent.’”
“The deaths of innocent children
in the concentration camps at the
border, the deaths of minorities
at the hands of law enforcement,
the death and dismemberment of a
journalist, the deaths of women who
will be forced into unauthorized,
illegal, back-alley abortions, the
death to life, liberty and the pursuit
of happiness in our country, the death
of democracy as we have known it and
cherished it at the malevolent hands
of hateful, vengeful, frightened, angry,
spiteful and, yes, violent Republicans.”
“Omission/commission Republicans.”