If we called upon people’s better angels
do you think the people would
change their minds
or do you think they would
just stiffen their spines
as they usually do?
I’m not bettin’ the mine,
‘cause I’m thinkin’ the devils
will show up in time,
on the dime,
every time,
(as they always do)
but let’s keep cheering
for the angels,
for the angels, our betters,
who cry, “Black Lives Matter,”
all the time;
this is our history —
yours and mine.
Let’s make it count —
this time,
on the dime,
every time,                                                                     
all the time.

The Base


The political strategist
said that 30% of Americans
have always been crazy.

So, that’s good news?
Yes, he would say,
and that’s not a maybe.

America has survived the
30% in previous times,
so the voters need to be ready.

Be prepared for high-jinks;
get out the vote
to outnumber the 30%.
Just stay steady.

And Neither Will I

He thought about the nine-minute
tape, he thought about the smug,

complacent, uncaring, in-your-face
look on the white guy whose knee

was on the neck of the black guy
and he was filled with anger and

directed it to the white guy, “You
no good, rotten, worst of us guy,

why, why, why?” And the guy
smugly did reply, “Because I be

da guy; I be da man and that’s

why I can,” (smugly, sarcastically
mimicking black phraseology)

“Well, you aren’t anymore. You
aren’t anymore. You will put a

knee on a neck never ever, ever
again. And neither, will I.”

It Means “Beautiful” To Me

The righteously, rightly, angry, black,
female poet with a name that is strong
harkening back to ancestors, but tough

to pronounce, wrote derisively in the
middle of one of her poems, “What the
f… (She was tough enough to spell it

out.) does your name mean Linda?” I’ve
known a lot of Lindas — schoolmates,
cousins, neighbors — but until I took

a taped course in Spanish never knew
what the word meant — “beautiful” and
its various forms in context such as

pretty, nice, cute…. I have a relative
Rachel which means Little Lamb of God.
I’m Robert, of great fame, not so much,

but it’s nice to know. Sometimes, I think
of myself as a member of King Arthur’s
court. The poet has a name, tough to

pronounce, out there, not something to
mess with, as I am sure the same goes
for the poet. I don’t know what her name

means, but it means “beautiful” to me.

Under the Parking Lot

Archeologists keep excavating;
they are a curious lot.
What do they find
under the parking lot?

They find bones upon bones
buried in ancient cemeteries
or just tossed in holes
by militant mercenaries.

Whites paved paradise
as the song goes
and put up a parking lot
to hide the bones of the ethnic foes.


White Leaders Facing Racism

A victim of the Peter Principle —
a few grades above his pay
he stands not knowing what to say
he has no strings to pull.

She acts like she’s in charge
but in the marrow of her bones,
she just wants to stay home
in anxiety writ ever so large.

Let’s face it, folks.
Being white equals being racist.
In guilt, they slap themselves on the wrist.
Blacks think whites are a joke.

So, when will 400 years of racism go away
and Americans together move forward?
When whites stop looking backward,
when whites repent, systems change
and justice is here to stay.

As If Seeing For the First Time

I sat and watched before me transformed,
my wife of twenty-five years.
It was as if she were newly born
and in my eyes formed tears.

It was as if I saw her for the first time,
my wife of twenty-five years.
Her sweetness and vulnerability shine
and in my eyes formed tears.

I’m so sorry, dear, for paying scant attention,
my wife of twenty-five years,
to your beautiful essence —
things now mentioned
and in my eyes formed tears.

The scales fell (and so, too, my fears)
as if seeing you for the first time,
but, I promise to see you clearly
through the remaining years.
Yes, till death do us part, my dear,
I’m yours and you’re mine.

Unstacking the Proverbial Deck

Hundreds of unqualified,
     unendorsed, unsuitable
          people were appointed
and approved for federal
     judgeships — it’s called
          stacking the deck, but
then even the un-un-un
     people watched the run-
          run-run people and heard
the gunfire and saw the
     knees-knees-knees on the
          necks-necks-necks of an
entire ethnicity of people
     because of cameras inside
          of smartphones and even
that deck of cards threw
     out the jokers and the one-
          eyed jacks and sat silently
watching and en mas had
     a conversion experience
          much to the chagrin of
the stacker of decks or
     at least it is hoped that
          hard judicial 
               hearts can still be changed.


The Blank Computer Sheet

The blank computer sheet
comes up in Helvetica Neue
at point eleven, too —
every sheet a repeat.

He used to use Times New Roman
but got tired of font search
so he decided just to perch
at Helvetica and quit roamin’,

but the point was just too small
so he jacked it up to twenty-one
large enough for poems spun —
not as indecipherable scrawl.

He jumped seven times three.
Is he a gambling man — starting at eleven
up to three times seven
while saying it makes no sense to me.

It’s now all just a habit
Helvetica Neue
is no longer new
21 is just 21 —
not out of the hat a white rabbit.

Monetary Salvation

The one percent of one percent
are grabbing ninety-nine percent,

making billions upon billions
during the pandemic, and the

market goes up and the market
goes down and the market goes

round and round but the money
goes to the one percent of one

percent singing, “Jesus has
blessed me; in him monetary

salvation I have found.”