The Poet’s Week in Retrospect, A Poem for These Eventful Times

The Poet’s Week in Retrospect


Sometimes the wake-up call is a tsunami,

roaring over loose thoughts like a towering wave,

or the truth tugging at a pony tail, the briefest nibble

soon tresses caught in a killer whale bite shooting

through the Sea World Pool of Audience Screams.


Don’t give up until you see the whites of the Republicans’ eyes

glazing over the latest greatest version of the Health Care Plan,

which extends “Life,” while curbing “Liberty” and changing

the “Pursuit of Happiness” to an exhausting search for a doctor who will

accept a chicken in barter for an office visit, or some other

nominal fee for all those years of medical school, Hippocratic

Oath turned on its ear for a pittance now, shudda went to

law school instead, the Lawyer’s Oath is “First do no harm

to the lawyer’s pocket,” a philosophy financially aligned

with the Politician’s Creed, to “make hay while the sun shines,

or until the other party rules.” 


Now Budgetary Reconciliation looms, a term worthy of the most

austere Puritanical charm, as Democrats pull a legislative fast one

designed to vote in a Donkey- endorsed Health Care Plan,

without Republican accord, much like Prohibition got voted in,

years later, luckily repealed, liquor soon to become the cheapest

and most effective medicine for whatever ails ya, while you wait

and wait and wait for a doctor’s appointment under the new Health

Care Plan, or die beforehand, drugged and oblivious to the end,

like all good American citizens beloved by Democratic denizens

who only want what’s best for the US economy.


Of course all these pinnacles of public heroes–

the doctor, lawyer, and government man,

fall way short, compared to the average Omaha policeman,

who earns double his pay after retiring,

thanks to a union making strange bedfellows of prosperous

ex-cops and the over-taxed citizens, while the bedsprings of

the city’s rusty  infrastructure groan, near collapse.


Potholes on the streets widen like the economy’s maw,

tires chewed and spines beaten, all nature’s machinations

portending an early spring, or shot springs, one before the other,

the city’s street crews labor with shovels of hot-brewed asphalt,

depositing temporary pothole fills until the real work begins,

sun shining, grass greening, every driver’s best great weather dream

marred by traffic cones, one-lanes, and multiple construction zones

lengthening every roadway journey two-three-or fivefold the time

required to safely navigate to any recreational nirvana,

oasis of fun, crowded and noisy, still a destination worthy

of the journey, at least until gas prices rise to the 4-dollar zone,

about the time children get bored, June fifth or so, and parents

frantically plan family vacations on an inflation-deflated dime . 


This was the poet’s week that was.


If you’ve ever wondered what poets think about, sometimes it’s everything.Image 

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What Is To Be Done?

Here is a voice championing nature, speaking for all of us threatened by the almighty dollar.

Backyard and Beyond

Here at the Thoreau Meeting, Sunday’s as good as any other day for a sermon.

We have no one to blame but ourselves when it comes to the corruption of our public institutions, as well as our private ones and everything in between. Our consent and complicity have been given entirely too freely.

I’ve been writing about the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s revising of its noble heritage of science and education in the community interest into a leisure garden funded by the rich, with a veneer of bread and circus flowers for the rest of us. Typically, such despoilers latch onto an ugly neologism like “revision,” management Newspeak, for such awfulness because they can’t even admit the truth to themselves. This is only one small example of the societal transformations we have been living through, but it is one close to my heart, and one that illustrates the larger problem.


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Monkey Babel, A Poem For Modern Times

Monkey Babel


Monkeys are hilarious,

tree-mountaineers extraordinare

and banana-peelers with greatest flare.


EEE–OOOHHH! EEE-OOOHHH! EE! EE! EEEE!  That cry from high up in the canopy brings to mind leopard-thonged Tarzan swinging through the trees and looking for a mate with Maureen O’Sullivan eyes. 


There are few animals so like us!

That furry, happy almost-person face

smiles and grins just like me. 

Does it notice any resemblance?


Why do I feel like a missing link and how come the monkeys are always more photogenic, while I have to hide behind a chest-high child to look good?


Monkeys see and monkeys do seem

like people in fuzzy coats

while we walk around unpelted,

with dissimulated tails.


It must be a geneticly ingrained junglely thing that makes me want a banana right now and a prehensile appendage to hold it gently while I peel.  Once that creamy sweet treat slid down, I’d sing a happy song:



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Solving the US Postal Service Problem in a Consumer-Friendly Way

This isn’t a poem, but a letter I wrote to the editors of local newspapers, who ignored it.  That makes this letter prime grist for this blog.  It’s all in fun,or is it?


A Modest Postal Proposal

As you know, our US Postal System is under the gun to cut costs and save money.  One way is to kill 100 Post Offices in rural areas of Nebraska, which only bring in an average 30,000 a year versus 100K expenses (stats courtesy Congressman Fortenberry).  Why not eliminate all 2,500 US Post Offices in the state and subcontract our mail to a local Walmart?

Think about it:  there’s a Walmart within easy driving distance of every shopper in Nebraska.  It’d be a snap to put in mail centers right inside the doors, using that wall of failed goods Walmart can’t even give away, cookies from 1997, Elmo action figures, and wilted flowers.

Heck, those nice greeters would make great Walmart mailmen! They’ve already proved their loyalty, letting neither sleet nor rain, nor three-wheeled grocery carts keep them from smiling.  Add stuffing customer mailboxes to their duties.       

Walmart would benefit from daily visits from customers eager to get their Chase Bank credit card offers, charitable organization pleas, and bills.  The bright lights and wide aisles of endless colorful items for sale beckon mightily after fetching the mail.

Don’t hesitate—contact your Congressman today and let’s get this ball rolling.

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Mother’s Day Poem, On Her Day

This is a poem I wrote a few weeks ago, which honors mothers.  No one else could do what they do.


The Heart Remembering


Mother’s Day is drawing near,

The saddest day of every year.

I lost my mom two decades ago

And the loss still pains me so.


Time heals all wounds, they often say—

The words ring false, I remember the day

I last told my mom “I love you.”

Now memories will have to do—

No smiles like I matter most,

Hugs hello, sugar butter on toast,

No wear a sweater, it’s cold out there!

Do you live in a barn, I almost swear!

Here’s a quarter, call me if you need a ride home.

Did you sleep on your head? Here’s a comb.

Don’t let the bed bugs bite.

Walk away from any fight.

We’re going to learn our prayers.

Mind your own affairs.

Sing loud enough for Grandpa to hear.

This is going to be your year.

I love you.


I love you, too.

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Mother-Related Poems in Honor of Their Big Day Coming Up

Here is an irreverent poem, inspired by an old Friends episode about an ugly baby.  Here’s mine.  


The Ugly Baby

 The ugly baby has a face

Frankenstein might like,

certainly not a mother,

unless it’s a mother mole with

dim eyes loving mewing things

that suckle by touch only

or feed in complete darkness.

Only a blind mother could

stomach an ugly baby.


The stork refuses to haul such an ugly baby.

It comes in an ugly brown truck instead,

swaddled in a dirty rag and sleeping on

nickle circulars almost soft and

conveniently absorbent.


When an ugly baby is delivered,

a cry goes up in the neighborhood

and everyone looks away.


When an ugly baby comes, everyone

says it has your best features

and makes comments about

pretty clown feet and bulbous nose,

did you see the eye-poppers on that mug?

Secretly, admirers murmur together about

drinking while pregnant and smoking weed

and watching too many Ugly Baby episodes.


It’s easy to ignore an ugly baby,

everyone has at least just one–

or maybe two–

somewhere around the house,

crying for attention or some

kind of bottle and a clean one.

Mother instincts are in short supply

and this one wails awful loud.


Tonight when it’s asleep,

wrap this one up in a fresh rag

and sneak it over to the neighbor’s

front door, for a sweet surprise

in the morning when the ugly baby

wakes up hungry and needing a change.

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A Poem on the Occasion of Rhonda’s Birthday

It is my friend’s birthday today.  Rhonda is a delight to know and a person to treasure for all her extraordinary talents and skills.  Humor rocks her works, tempered with kindness, pathos, and keen observations of life.

In honor of her birthday, I wrote this poem in about 15 minutes.  I call it “Rhonda.”



R is for your right hook

   H is for howitzer in your purse

      O is for the odds your aim could fail–

         N is for No way, Jose!

            D is for the depth you bury enemies

                  A is for all the thugs you put away.

Put them all together, they spell Rhonda,

the last word on too many lips to say.

Rhonda? A prayer you might answer yeah or nay

We know how many times that is

by counting the number of new flower beds

in your mother’s backyard.

Rhonda don’t take no sheets,

it’s too hard to get the blood out,

Rhonda is the hero of the weak,

who walks softly

and carries an iron heart on her sleeve

and a howitzer in her purse.

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