Tuesday, July 28, 2009

This contains no sex or violence

Just watering the flowers in the yard,
Pulling weeds left and right, nursing
A bee sting on my right knuckle,
What I get for flooding their nest.

My cat grooms herself for the 57th
Time today, as I rest my tired
Calves and knees, recently worn
From my latest gardening bout.

Nearby, kids shriek meaningless
Noises, a dog barks, a train clanks.
Hum of air conditioners. Silence.
Indoors, everyone is having supper,
Or preparing to, or finishing up.

Typical weekday evening.
Their bedroom dramas remain
Hidden, so any sex or violence
Will be left to speculation. For
Me, this night and write are tame.
(hope your night is more exciting than this)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Dirty minded?

Perhaps while at work,
Or socializing among relatives;
Maybe at my favored house of worship,
Probably while doing my grocery shopping.
Most times it is apropos to keep my thoughts
Clean and pristine, definitely out of the gutter.

Once or twice a year I have to clean them out!
The gutters, that is. And try as I might, I just
Cannot keep my mind out of the gutter then.
It is the one time in life it seems allowable
(While my hands scoop out sticks and detrius)
Well, maybe besides learning to bowl.


Thursday, July 09, 2009

Support our troops - one hypothetical story

“My name is Sgt Smith. I have seen more excitement in my twenty-five years than many will probably see in a lifetime. I’ve just returned from a tour in Afganistan, after also serving two tours in Iraq. I joined the Army Reserves thinking it would be a good way to pay for college. But after all of this grief, I think I would have rather borrowed the money instead.

Don’t get me wrong. It was an honor to serve my country, to help my fellow soldiers, to train inexperienced youth and make them soldiers, even as I made myself a better soldier; to save their lives on occasion. It is a good feeling to make a country civilized and democratic, even if our values are so different than theirs. I’m sure if there is some kind of cosmic scale, it has to be tilted in favor of the good we have achieved in Iraq and Afganistan.

But I have been cursed, spit on, shot at or even bombed by many of these same citizens in both countries. I have been led to question the wisdom of these extended duty tours internally. Are they really better off adopting a system that many of them neither want nor, apparently, need? Were they not happier before we showed up to muddy the waters? It is too late for such questions. We are here, and we must get them walking on their own again before we withdraw.

But I am one man, and, until recently, property of the US government. I had to follow orders and execute policies handed down by my superiors. I have done so, to the best of my abilities. And now, here I am, home again . Back on American streets. Some are grateful, many indifferent. I am still wound up, nervous, full of nightmarish images from a thousand firefights. I need support, a job, patience, medical assistance, counseling. A strong helping hand from my fellow service members would also be a substantial help. I need your support. Won’t you lend me your hand and your heart? Thanks. Formidable as I may seem, I am still human, and value a caring soul as much as anyone.”


The above is an imagined internal dialogue. I am not a soldier, have never served. But it occurred to me today that these men and women are facing a group of angry, skilled killers that are set on killing as many Americans as they can. The only thing standing between the group that would make a group of cons in the penitentiary look tame by comparison, and you and I, are our military forces. Soldiers that are barely 21 in many cases. They must face angry foreigners who want to kill them, and us. And go out and face them day after day. This is a sobering thought. We owe these young men and women gratitude and support. They certainly have mine.

Sequined glove waves goodbye

No thirty-stop world tour this fall,
No more hectic public appearances;
Multitudes of fans still in thrall
Obtained their wristband clearances.

They will throng the Staples Center,
Paying mournful last respects
To their musical emotional mentor.
(In finality death collects all debts.)

One bright happenstance of all this grief?
Media spotlight shifted from odd behaviors
Of the artist to his legacy, to fans relief.
Bequest of songs his reputations’ savior
In the end his creations will move through time,
Long after critics reputations and lives unwind.

Good-bye Michael Jackson.