Wednesday, May 31, 2017


Bastards took us by surprise 
Pouring across the thirty-eighth 
Like roaring banshees on steroids 
Bashing down the gates of hell.

Why they want this damnable place 
Only Satan can be sure. 
But if they take Korea, where will it end? 
It seems impossible to tell.

The “red threat” has to perish here 
Before it spreads across the sea, 
Else we may lose all we hold 
Of freedom, life and liberty.

Lines are drawn. A stalemate dawns 
And still the clash ensues. 
Sad emissaries play their games and 
As both sides bicker, 
Both sides lose.

Five million precious souls are lost 
In this gruesome “conflict” metaphor. 
What kind of lie let’s so many die 
And they won’t even call it a war.

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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Fragments of Hope

Even in the worst of times 
When faith dwells near abandonment, 
And trust appears a unicorn 
Impossible to hold, 
These tiny fragments still remain 
And lift their voices in refrain 
To sing that we are foreordained 
To softly tread on streets of gold.

We know not our destiny, 
Dare not rely on prophecy 
To foretell outcome in our “wannabee”. 
But if these fragments are employed 
Their roots can flower into joy 
And lift us from the dregs of drudgery.

Let all rejoice to realize 
That optimism never dies, 
But gently waits in patient afterglow. 
Its colorful kaleidoscope 
Exists in fragments filled with hope 
And that is all we really need to know.

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The Pledge

It may not be the popular trend 
To quote the pledge, hand over heart; 
Some backlash from the “me” generation 
Hesitant to be a part of 
Something larger than themselves. 
They dodge all symbols of commitment, 
Shunning lyrics of allegiance 
With a scowl of vague resentment.

I was taught to show respect 
And carry hubris in my stance
When symbols of my cherished land 
Remind of my inheritance.

The brave, the fearless patriots 
Who gladly gave their all. 
Who held her battle colors high 
And never let them fall.

Red for those who shed their blood 
So others might live free. 
White, for virtues unreproached 
And cherished purity. 
Blue proclaims our loyalty, 
No thought of sacrilege.

Yes, I will stand and raise my hand 
With pride to quote the pledge. 

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Monday, May 29, 2017


Courage is a baby duckling 
Blindly following its mother 
Without question, without knowing 
Where the final outcome leads.

Courage is a strangling oak 
Pushing up through stony grounds, 
Needing only sun and rain 
To win its struggle to survive.

Courage is the patriot 
Who hides his feelings deep inside 
But stands with pride with hat in hand 
Each time the colors pass him by.

No threat too trivial to challenge, 
Even death cannot deter 
This loyal servant from his duty, 
Valliant to the bitter end.

When the world grows dark we seek 
These bold, intrepid sentinels 
To bear the cause of liberty, 
For freedom grows where courage dwells.

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The Future is Now

“Oh, I’ll get around to it someday,” 
The procrastinator chimes. 
“Right now, this, tomorrow, that. 
It’s only a matter of time.”

But time doesn’t stay, 
It keeps running away, 
And tomorrow may never arrive
We cannot foresee and there’s no guarantee 
We’ll be lucky enough to survive.

The young man may look to the future, 
And the young woman sketches her schemes. 
But chance and delay comes to get in the way 
Causing chaos to shatter their dreams.

Rosanna retires with a whimpering whine 
After decades of struggle and sweat, 
But the greatest desires 
Of her youth have expired 
And now she looks back with regret.

Tomorrow’s dark phantom 
Looks back with a scowl 
To humbly remind us… 
The future is now.

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Sunday, May 28, 2017

Watch the Horizon

Life, they say, is much smarter 
When we live in the present and 
Learn from the past.
But this ship moves incessantly forward 
With no clue to how long 
The voyage may last.

So, we watch the horizon 
For sails and for shore, 
Watch the sky for the birds on the wing, 
Bless the bounty below and 
Thank God up above 
For the hope opportunity brings.

But perilous waters on tossed stormy seas 
Give pause and are cause for alarm, 
So, the vigil we keep 
As we traverse the deep 
Is the passport to keep us from harm.

Hence, we live in the moment 
Enjoying the warm, 
But we watch the horizon 
To weather the storm.

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Saturday, May 27, 2017


I’m not a grand fan of tattoos. 
My tastes are a bit more subdued, 
But if you like pain 
And have little to gain 
I suppose there is nothing to lose.

A young man from Kalamazoo 
Demanded a tiger tattoo. 
The feline attacked, 
Made the young man his snack 
Then the tiger went back to the zoo.

A father thought tatts were taboo, 
A garishly bold bugaboo. 
The daughter cried, “Bull!” 
Then inked on a skull. 
It was a fine how-do-you-do.

A drunken tattoo scribed in haste 
Was considered a dreadful mistake. 
Says the artist in question, 
“May I make a suggestion. It’s 
A matter of personal taste.”

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What to do and when to do it,
Help me, Lord, find my way through it. 
Just keeps getting tougher all the time. 
As many needy palms beseech 
As pebbles strewn upon the beach, 
As muddled as a syncopated mime.

Need an organized triage 
To treat this maddening barrage 
Insuring most important tasks get done. 
Caffeine may help clear the brain 
To deal with lessers that remain 
And maybe leave a little time for fun.

If we can swift prioritize 
Events that come into our lives 
With all the logic each must quantify, 
Then as we opt which way to go 
We seek the wisdom of Thoreau 
And log his sage advice… simplify.

Tangled, tossed priorities
Buzzing like the busy bees, 
An easy one word summary… 

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Sing it Again

Sing me a song of a bright peerless dawn 
Under crystalline cloudless skies, 
Where the air breathes clean 
Over mountain and stream 
And the golden eagle flies.

Sing me a song of the land that I love 
In a gentle lullaby, 
Where I can live free 
In sublime liberty 
As the years roll quietly by.

Sing me a song of a patriot’s dream 
And his fearless battle cry, 
With his ungrudging guile, 
His will and his wile 
And the fire in his eye. 

Sing me a song about freedom’s hope 
With the soothing strains of violin. 
Sing softly and sweet 
And when it’s complete, 
If you don’t mind, please, 
Sing it again. 

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Friday, May 26, 2017

War Changes Everything

Don’t know why we all can’t simply get along 
As a people, as a nation, as a realm. 
Clearly, there are differences 
Between what’s right and wrong. 
No need to let discussion overwhelm. 
But war changes everything.

We are children on a playground 
Running, laughing, wild and free 
Until some pretentious bully comes along 
Demanding tribute’s lame intimidation, 
Stirring trouble, insisting that we pirouette 
To his self-serving song. 
Yes, war changes everything.

Patience stretches just so far 
Til common sense prevails. 
Only one thing to be done 
To pass these dire travails. 
Must stand tall, must forestall this 
Brutish cold incursion. 
Force to force is all the tyrant
Understands in his perversion.

But even when we win, we fail 
In losses beyond measure.
Young men die and loved ones weep 
Protecting the ideas they treasure…
Because war changes everything.

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Walking the Perimeter

It might just be the loneliest job 
Necessity ever created, 
A mindless abandonment of willful thought 
Meant only to keep the wolf subjugated.

Walking in lockstep with himself, 
Weapon at ready to challenge on sight, 
Waiting, watching, now watching some more 
For shape-shifting phantoms stalking the night.

Desperately striving to stave off the beast of sleep. 
Eyes open, must stay alert. 
Gazing out into the wide swathe of nothing 
Til memory forestalls and senses pervert.

How much longer? How many more steps 
Til this ceaseless night comes to conclusion? 
Up again, down again, making the rounds again 
Til the night is a mask of illusion.

It’s a thankless task, 
But someone must do it. 
Millions have managed before 
To get through it. 
He walks the perimeter, keeping his keep 
While armies of millions are sound asleep. 

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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Learn from Yesterday

“Those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it.”
                                                                      George Santayana

We clearly keep making the same mistakes. 
You’d think we’d learn our lesson. 
Could it be we’re not paying attention, or 
Is it some kind of mem’ry regression.

It could simply be habit, or
Maybe we’re lazy. 
Perhaps we should blame the occult. 
We just do the same thing again and again 
Expecting a different result.

You might think with all of our rational thinking 
We’d learn to look back on the past 
And learn from the errors of yesterday
And the caution their warnings forecast.

Painted on a larger canvas, 
Juxtaposed and brought to scale, 
The errors of the past deliver 
Advice for these perplexing travails.

Nations turn and history records 
The gruesome résumé, and 
Hopes become fantasy if we fail to 
Learn from yesterday.

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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Believe in Tomorrow

The gilded game of life is finite; 
All too soon it comes to end, 
And the promise on tomorrow 
Holds no faithful guarantee. 
But this affords no reason for 
Forsaking fondest dreams. There are 
Far too many wondrous episodes 
The mind cannot foresee.

Fortune pales without tomorrow’s pledge of 
Life, in all its finery, 
That promenades the passageways 
Of fondly fashioned destiny.

And brave imagination grows its promise 
Of a hope-filled fate 
Where splendid fruitful gardens of desire 
Patiently await.

Disquiet for the future 
Is adept at stealing joy away, 
But believing in tomorrow is no reason 
To forsake today.

So, here’s a plan: to make a plan, 
To plead, pilfer or borrow, 
To face the trials of today 
Believing in tomorrow.

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Monday, May 22, 2017

The Color of My Skin  

Please, I ask, don’t hate me for the color of my skin.
This superficial coating isn’t really all I am. 
I promise I will judge you not; 
Might even call you friend 
In an all-inclusive parallelogram.

It’s not my fault that I was born to 
Parents who are white; 
A matter over which I’ve no control. 
And though I cannot understand 
Your struggle or your plight, 
Perhaps we’ll find some commonality inside our souls.

Traditions demand loyalty to generations past 
To perpetuate the evil as well as the sublime, 
Making changing attitudes a glacierous affair, 
Another Everest implausible to climb.

We wait, we pray the world will grant us favor 
That transgressions of the past may be absolved. 
We reach a hopeful hand across the table 
And the interaction softens our resolve. 

I won’t apologize or ask forgiveness 
For the prior generations of my kin.
I only want to meet you looking forward, 
So, I ask you, please, 
Don’t hate me for the color of my skin.

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Sunday, May 21, 2017

The Dissident

It makes you wonder sometimes
Who these lame complainers are. 
Why don’t they simply get on board and 
March lockstep with the crowd?

Who do they really think they’re fooling 
With their roars and rallies and cries? 
Why do they seem so angry and 
Why are they so damned loud?

They are the voice of conscience. 
They are our soul’s sounding board. 
They’re nearby to give us balance 
When we’re falling on our sword.

A young and struggling nation 
Was quick to recognize 
That the scorching voice of dissidence 
Was the footpath to their prize.

The voices of Adams and Franklin and Paine 
Like a bell in sweet liberty’s day, 
Speaking of sovereignty, aching for freedom, 
Seeking, demanding! and willing to pay.

If not for these dissidents making their waves 
Our nation would never be free. 
And so, it’s essential to protect our right 
To speak volumes when we disagree.

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Don’t Blame the Soldier

Yes, it’s true. We lost this one. 
It did not turn out well. 
In spite of our might and the fact we were right 
The whole thing went straight to hell. 
But don’t blame the soldier.

The soldiers and sailors and brash leathernecks, 
The airmen and others untold, 
The boldest and bravest our nation could muster 
Could not change what was to unfold. 
So, don’t blame the soldier.

Unrest on the campuses, rioting streets 
Every night on the six o’clock news. 
Deceit and dissent a convenient excuse for 
Ill-twisted political views. 
No. don’t blame the soldier.

Let this be the lesson, and never forget 
If we dare task this nation to fight. 
If the goal is to win, we must go all in 
And our purpose be noble and right. 
And the soldier will follow, 
The soldier will serve without question. 
On that we depend. 
He’ll fight for his country
And the one who’s beside him 
Right through to the cold bitter end. 
So, please. Don’t blame the soldier.

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I Died (A Little) Today: The Letter Home

Dear Mom,
Sorry that I haven’t written to you for a spell. 
Things have been a little nuts around this crazy place. 
Sarge has had us pulling extra duty for a while 
What with Charlie lurking all around the base.

Rough day today. We were out there on patrol 
When our unit quickly came under attack. 
The fighting was so violent for a while 
I wasn’t even sure we’d make it back.

Truth is… not all of us returned. 
You remember my best friend, Billy Ray? 
I mentioned him to you in previous letters. 
Well… they’re shipping his remains back home today.

It all seemed to happen in an instant, 
We were talking what we’d do when we get home. 
Billy Ray had just told me some old dumb joke 
When the shots rang out. I turned and he was gone.

Don’t know if I can go back out tomorrow. 
I just want this stupid war to go away. 
The truth is, I think I’ll get past the sorrow, 
But a little piece inside me died today.

Don’t worry, Mom. I’m gonna be alright. 
Before you know it, my tour will be done. 
Gotta go for now. The Sarge is calling. 
We’ll be together soon. 
Your son

p.s. Tell Dad I love him.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

At the End of the Day

Morning awakens a jumbled agenda of 
Caffeine-fueled fluster and clamoring clashes, 
Maddening mashes and time-crunching dashes 
Sprinkled with flashes of 
Echoed backlashes. 

Onward and upward the dreaded commute, 
The bottlenecked bobblehead manic pursuit. 
Every halt or delay, every pothole in route
Sending blood pressure soaring in hosts of hot flashes.

The workaday fever a muster of frenzy 
Raving and ravaging every last nerve, 
Draining the tank til there’s no more reserve,
And giving much more than those bastards deserve.

At the end of the day 
It all goes away. 
All the worries and flurries 
Removed from the fray, 
And a soft prayer of thanks 
To the One up above 
For the privilege to live 
In the land that I love.

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Friday, May 19, 2017

For Those Who Wait… and Weep

It is not just the soldier who goes to war 
To boldly face the lost and lonely nights, 
Wondering what the next event might stir 
In a world where reality forestalls his precious light.

Father, mother, sister, brother, precious child 
Cherished lover all in one, all in tow 
He muddles through the fallow furrowed trenches 
Of his mind enrobed in murky hues of faded indigo.

And he and she and they who are forced to wait 
In silent proxy know his peerless pain, 
Cry his tears, feel the deepest fears that fills his night, 
That end is near and he will never see his home again.

A mother weeps, a father keeps a stoic front 
That fools no one – fools no one – no, not one. 
Tear-stained letters from a patient lover far away 
Whose tender heart’s emotions are undone.

They will be with him every step of his travail 
As duty compels and he silently walks his keep. 
And faith never falters, and hope knows no holiday 
For those who wait… 
Those who wait… and weep. 

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Thursday, May 18, 2017

Reach for the Moon (20 July, 1969)

Shall we reach for the moon? 
For the planets beyond? 
Do we dare break the bonds of 
This blue marble sphere? 
Or ought we intern 
In this staid domicile 
Til eternity catches us 
Trembling in fear?

The thirst for adventure, 
To search the unknown, 
To reach the unreachable 
Next milestone. 
Is the yardstick a test of our ability 
To stretch beyond reason irrationally?

We look to the heavens. 
We long for the stars. 
We wonder and dream about 
Life up on Mars.

What once an impossible 
Thought to commune 
Becomes commonplace 
As we reach for the moon.

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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Remember the Alamo

Be kind when you speak of the many brave souls 
Who gave their all at the Alamo
Against an overwhelming foe 
To win their freedom in Mexico.

With odds stacked as many as twenty to one 
The outcome foregone when the battle was done. 
And when the small fortress, at last overrun, with 
No prisoners taken, all is undone.

The beast, Santa Ana, no clemency lends 
As his horrible hoard on the mission descends. 
And Crockett and Bowie and Travers and friends 
Are doomed from the start to their ill-fated end.

Heroes and villains and legends are made 
As leaders emerge to conduct the crusade. 
And karma evokes a dear price to be paid 
When cannons erupt in intense fusillade.

And while San Jacinto’s fate softens the blow
In bringing an end to this imbroglio, 
When heroes are needed to make out pride glow 
We will always remember 
The Alamo.

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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Liberty’s Lighthouse

Standing on the precipice 
High above the pounding surf 
Where oceans feud with continents 
In clamorous retort, 
She lifts her lamp to launch a light of
Welcoming and warning,
A blaze of brilliant radiance to
Guide her wayward waifs to port.

Where do you live, sweet Liberty?
What stories will you tell?
Why such a heavy price to pay to
Ride your carousel?
Why must you be so hard to win and
Harder yet to keep?
So many brave souls fight and die,
So many mothers weep. 

Alas, we mortals need exist  
In all our frailty 
With but one passion, one desire to
Live perfectly free.
We guard the night
Prepared to fight forever and a day,
And Liberty’s steadfast lighthouse
Is there to light the way.

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Monday, May 15, 2017

If the World Could Be…

If the world could be 
What I want it to be, 
I would love to see 
All God’s creatures run free. 

All the fish in the seas 
Every bird in the trees 
All in sweet harmony 
Like a Brahms symphony. 

And the people agree 
With a joyous esprit 
To the posh potpourri,
Such a grand jamboree. 

Every you, every me, 
Every he, every she 
Finds a new fantasy 
For all eternity, 

No more dark drudgery, 
No more debauchery. 
Kindness is the decree 
To the highest degree. 

Every heart filled with glee, 
Every life fancy-free, 
Love is our recipe. 
If only… 
If the world could be…

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Sunday, May 14, 2017

In Old Mexico

A vision of Manifest Destiny
Grows full to its measure of gravity 
To set a new nation ablaze down 
In old Mexico. 

And all of the bluster and fluster and flame
Erupts in a cluster of claim/counterclaim 
To rattle the sabers of battle 
In old Mexico.

Vast fever and fervor, in all of its glory, 
Lays claim the expanse of immense territory 
And nobody wants to let go down 
In old Mexico.

Heroes are born and armies demise 
With cannons erupting without compromise 
And no one is safe from undoing 
In old Mexico.

But old Santa Ana is no match for Scott. 
He has no defense from this bold juggernaut, 
So, compromise finally prevails down 
In old Mexico.

And when, in the end, the victory won, 
Manifest Destiny simply rolls on, 
But nothing is ever the same down 
In old Mexico.

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Saturday, May 13, 2017


Yes, sir. No, Ma’am. Excuse me. Thank you. Please.
Only words.
Only words?
All a sign of a disappearing breed.
Too seldom heard.
Seldom heard.
Take your hats off. That’s the colors passing by.
Silence, please.
Silence, please.
Millions fought and many died so she can proudly fly
In the breeze,
The gentle breeze.
Keep safe distances else we intrude a neighbor’s space.
“Off my case.”
“Out of my face.”
Find the proper interval for comfort’s interface.
Show some grace.
Own your place.
Worth is but a drifting ship and
Values vague and circumspect,
But we are lost without a sail
When we lose respect,
When we lose respect.
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Thursday, May 11, 2017


Take a moment…
          Take a beat…
Just breathe.
Be amazed by graces you might find
Sleeping in dark passages where
Dreams are known to dwell,
Seeded deep inside a tranquil mind.
Close your eyes…
          Rest your thoughts…
Just breathe.
Teased, the fickle dantian brings chi
To rise in silent eyes,
Brings tension to a swift demise
And sets a weary spirit free.
Count your blessings…
          Muse your boon…
Just breathe.
The mind can be truly a transporting chair,
A vehicle able to roam anywhere.
And all may book passage to go there if you will
Just breathe.
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Life Goes On

Heralds blast harsh bugle’s bray,
The harbinger of sad report,
And time is scattered in the breath
Of outcomes unacceptable.
Left alone to sink or swim in
Torrents of survivor’s guilt,
The numbness settles over
Until joy is imperceptible.
And fairness is a kudzu vine
That strangles everything in reach
Til madness becomes logic’s bane
And sadness transcends common sense.
But sadness is a masquerade
That trades reality for peace
And suffers guilt for pity’s sake
Without the joy of recompense.
And I and you and he and she
And we will all be better served
To overflow by letting go
And find the peace we so deserve.
What’s done is done.
What’s gone is gone.
For those remaining…
Life goes on.
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Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Pray for Peace

Young ones marching off to war
Into some hellish hinterland.
Pray for peace.
Raucous rumblings charge the night to
Spread across the no-man’s land.
Pray for peace.
Dauntless dangers stalk the strand
Threatening the Motherland
As we rise to take our stand and
Pray for peace.
Makes no difference if you don’t
Believe there is a promised land.
Pray for peace.
No one will think ill of you or
Bring you under reprimand.
Pray for peace.
Whether sage of firebrand,
Atheist or pious man,
Grace bestows the upper hand.
Pray, pray for peace.
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Monday, May 08, 2017


Oft’ times I stroll about meadows green
Or deep into the stately wood,
But more than not these measured treks
Traverse the local neighborhood.
I love a morning, crisp and clean,
Where mindfulness is understood,
But I avoid the burrs and ticks
If I simply stroll the neighborhood.
All these mirrored cookie-cutter houses
Built so long ago
Morphed by dwellers, claw and nail,
To suit their tastes and temperament.
At times, it can be better
Than a moving picture show,
And here am I to soak up
Every nuance, every element.
A chain-link-split-rail-picket fence
To hide-divide each precious patch.
Goblins, sprites and garden gnomes,
Sons and fathers playing catch.
This house, this lawn neat and tidy,
That one an ungodly mess.
Some with roses full in bloom,
Others fully flowerless.
Amazing all the sights you see,
A medley of the grim and good,
A blending of humanity exists
In every neighborhood.
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