AFTER SEPTEMBER
my book of poetry about September 11th, 2001...and after Available NOW at Amazon.com -click here
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Friday, May 29, 2020

It's Official!

My friends who understand, it is a goal of mine, however naive, to craft posts and responses which are thoughtful as well as thought provoking, without insulting. These are my choices and the only way forward... forward for me is to appeal directly to the humanity inherent in all. Fully aware we can't please everyone, the deep divides in our country are not healing but getting worse. Calls for unity fall on deaf ears...

it's official, we have gone from difficult times to turbulent times where violence threatens life and property. 

You cannot wrap yourself in MY flag and do evil. You cannot advocate for violence and call yourself  "Leaders of the Free  World." 

This "Tough Guy" nonsense has to stop. You are not free, nor are you brave if you feel the need to strong arm the people, to silence them, to mock them, to bully them into submission. You are prisoners to your own delusions of moral superiority. 

It is no longer a matter of good or bad in people. It is about those of us willing ready and able to obey the law and those who are not. It is increasingly difficult in exponential ways to police those unwilling or unable to comply with the rule of law. This includes any President.

Violence will neither subdue the oppressed, nor will it soften the oppressor. Where we need wisdom...we get threats...where we need calm reassurance...we get derision. This is not leadership, but a bunker mentality fanning the flames of anarchy.



You enlightened ones are my beacon of hope. Please rise in a unified voice of reason. 

 Thank you for listening

Friday, May 22, 2020

19 TRIES (A Rant)

19 times
19 tries
That’s a lot of tries
That’s a lot of lies
April is the cruelest month
Shanti, shanti, shanti

The mummified remains of
All my boyhood American hero’s
were found in a cave
West of Wuhan
Where the air finally cleared
As the virus neared 
 
BUT

Not here —air would not clear
where Neo-Nero
Fiddled with conspiracy theories as fire burns down his revolving
White House door

Government no more
Print that money, print that money, print those dollar bills
Bankrupt morality
Prove government only works
For Politicians
Destroy the foundations
Under the Statue of Liberty
Topple that torch in favor
Of letting her fail
See if she can pull herself up by her bootstraps
Even though you know
she has no boots

(I never heard of a Master Plan
that didn’t involve slaves. )


And here we roll back
The PPE
The Perpetual Protection
of the Environment
Not so fast, not so fast
Not so fast to last

(MAGA =Wrap that shit in the American Flag so we all have to choke on it)

We've seen the lights go down
On Broadway
Dimmed to darkness
Where only ghost lights
Glow

We see our theater-going Public 
protesting in Times Square with 
placards demanding their
Right to breathe contaminated
Air -

No - wait that was the South
Rising again
In Michigan
Where armed confederates
Storm the capitol
And Clean Water Acts
Roll back in repeal

How can you repeal a clean water act when Flint Michigan is still Flint Michigan?

No. We gonna fight
For our right
To party

The god given freedom
To our stool at the bar
Where we can malign every thing, 
and every one
Except John Wayne

He’s OK. He’s dead.

December is the cruelest Moth
Where in Wuhan news broke
Of a new hoax

No,January is the cruelest month when borders finally closed, but not much else got done

No, February is the cruelest month
Where nothing happens
Except at sea on Carnival Cruises
stranded without a port to call upon 
and an unarmed black African American man
is shot in cold blood fighting for his life, liberty
and the right for white intelligent senators 
to unload their stocks on insider information

No, March is the cruelest month
When we were both sick in a Brooklyn hotel room with cough and fever before they closed the bar and we could no longer go lobby, lobby, lobby at intermissions between acts of plays and musicals, before when
stock market plunges in an economic vote of
“no confidence”
Trimming the only peg a comb-over had to hang upon

Now the economic recovery engineered by
A “previous administration” is
Gone

Along with those who may have
Read the pandemic playbook, and the pandemic response team
Who made use of the a fore mentioned newly minted revolving door before it
Exploded in fire from spinning so fast

It’s OK. The environment is not made to last. The gift from our parents, loan from our children, is ours to exploit for fun and
Profit (the Saudi's don't believe in climate change, it messes with their fossil fuel)

Ah, longing for the days when
April was the cruelest month
Breeding contempt for left wing activists out of the dead ground

But April was cruelest for the 70,000 souls 
departed in a hoax
of mass burial

The one million sick due to fake
news

April is perpetually cruel to lilacs
Waiting—still waiting to bloom
Spring is late this year, even in the South where she arrives early and is quickly replaced erased, fired by Summer heat and hum did-ity.

The Fire sermons have been silenced. 
But sermoners have taken to the web ways to spew anti-government hate
In the name of Jesus
And the constitution.

What the thunder says: Who cares about nursing homes or prisons or hospitals or schools or churches? Let them gather and lather each other in the corona covid Wuhan influenza epidemic of 1918

Cruel spring, unfeeling unknowing uncaring

Unbelievable.

I have lived long enough to see Haley’s Comet which I missed like a second plane 
hitting the World Trade Center (because I was north of the building)
Hurricanes and twisters
Earthquakes and presidential indiscretions and hate, always hate at the center of each of the...
 
how many wars since I have been born?

And nothing done
The pendulum swings to the right
And nothing done
The pendulum swings to the left and nothing done

Finally Space Force has been assembled
to begin an escape from a planet doomed
to collapse in upon itself because nobody listens
Anymore


Shanti, shanti, shanti



Shanti

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Engage Your Core!

We have been doing Yoga With Adriene on YouTube since January. One of her catch phrases is "Engage your core!" As I go out into the yard and move my body, I find myself engaging my core.

She also has a phrase which reminds: "How you move your body matters." These two mantras follow me around all day and keep me from getting into trouble physically. This morning during my mediation, I thought of how I can also bring my mind and spirit into line with these two sayings.

Engage my core. My core beliefs of faith, hope, and kindness. Out in the world, how I move my body matters in how I can wear my mask, and keep social distance, while not judging others who don't do the same thing.

It simply has occurred to me that "Freedom" means different things to different people. Folks are free to scoff, to mock, to debase and to basically hate whatever they want. The difference between truth and lies is meaningless. And though it hurts to witness this, it is their right to do so. I don't have to agree, or maybe it matters not what I do.

This time of pandemic is an introvert's nightmare. But the weather has been amazing here. Warm days and cool nights, things growing, bugs still sleeping. All this seems to be an affirmation: Engage Your Core. Remember your values and let not the seeming willful ignorance of others enrage or inflame an already fraught situation. Don't let the political divisions of this once great nation tarnish your own love for family and country.

I say it is a "once great nation" because in my 62 years I have never seen such bitterness between parties. It's like watching your parents fight and head for divorce while you're powerless to stop them. And only you can see what they cannot. James Dean said it best in the film "Rebel Without a Cause."

"You're tearing me apart!"

For me, I would rather be "too sensitive," then the alternative. My cause for rebellion is at my core. Do not conform to hate. Though I may die tomorrow, I keep my focus on that center of my spiritual and intellectual being.

Namaste everyone.

Thursday, April 30, 2020

A Poem - I Got Big Bones

My last post was a tad self-indulgent...that's me. I kick start myself in strange ways. Last night we watched a live program sponsored by the Public Theatre. The Apple Family Plays, What Do We Need to Talk About by Richard Nelson.

I wrote a poem inspired by what I saw as we enjoyed a dessert made for us by our neighbors Steve and Cathy.



I got big bones
Feel them now
My elbow joint
Through old skin as young muscle recedes.

The Wound Dresser has not gotten to me yet

I lay quiet on my gurney at night 
Tourniquet tight about my voice

So that things might not be said
The ought not be said

‘specially

during a crisis.

World always in crisis.

Some type of crisis or another

I won’t go into that here. You know. 
You know what I mean.

Quarantine. Is sublime. I have lived

Everyday of April. Noticed
The time. Relished morning.

Noticed new growth

Outside.

Inside.

Regular sleep.

Coffee. Yoga. My wife
Not rushing away from me
Only to return stressed from her day

We spend sunrise together
And night

And lunch.

Dinner and after
Relaxed Mind goes good with Makers Mark
And dessert a gift from our neighbors

And then sleep
Mostly regular sleep

Except when cats create
Mischief and Mayhem

Then I feel that bearded man
Standing over me
Assessing my condition
My situation. I scan his face

For a clue
 
 

Monday, April 27, 2020

LUCKY 7 ?

As Jen and I enter our seventh week of what began as self imposed quarantine, we wonder if it will be a continuation of declining numbers with optimism for the future on the rise. This is a time to look forward. Looking back is a trap. Things are always problematic when it comes to memory. We can become "stuck" in the past. As Jim Morrison of the Doors put it: "The future's uncertain and the end is always near."

So the present is what matters most.

Right now I am grateful for every deep breath I take. Every moment of every day is precious. Every life. Precious.

I have been, for the past year, plus, contemplating what to include in my life. Long before this reset button got hit, (Corona Virus Lock-down,) I was trying, as ever, to figure out what’s next. I have finally completed my tours of duty and done my best to fulfill an oath to do some good in this world. Thanks to the help of so many amazing people, that I have done, and will cherish always. But what next?

Do I jump back into the mad scrum of people clamoring for attention? To “sell myself” and my cultural wares?

Do I put my work in order so that when I am gone those foragers for literary truffles, miners for pop-culture gold, cultivators of originality, can easily unearth my work and discover it anew worthy of attention?

Or shall I consign myself and all memory of my experience, existence, my truth and passion, to oblivion .          (I hear a tiny violin!)

It is a mighty power and heavy weight. A cross to bear. I hold my life in my hands. I love my family in the nostalgia which is our collective past. I cannot even explain how much they mean to me now.

My failures are complete in that I have not achieved any level of success in the arts which had been a blind, ill informed ambition for so long. What a waste, but even now, I indulge in that self centered sorrow which has habitually held me back.I must stop looking back, lest I be frozen, turned to salt, paralyzed...

Yet still I ask: what is this life? So many before me with much more extraordinary eloquence have asked as much and given more enlightened answers. And I still question: what difference do we make?

It is not despair I feel, though uselessness is more akin to my present state. What does it matter?

And yet...

My breath...promises another moment to delve, to discover, to ponder and search. My heart will not let me forget Love. My body still yearns to be touched and admired. My mind is ready to be engaged. Desperate for a new perspective.And I am working my spiritual self. Ceaselessly.

Hope is a verb. An active movement of spirit. Toward better and away from worse.
For me, there has never been a crisis of faith so deep that I refused to believe. And there-in I have found life-lines a plenty. Salvation seems too large a word with negative connotations. Yet, here I am. Saved from silence to wonder about the Mysteries. To contemplate my wounds and the fires which caused them. To know that no person is at fault for my supposed suffering. That I am responsible for all of it. In that knowledge there, I find solace. 
 
Most of all I feel a great need to share. Share what ever may be beneficial to my loved ones. If it be a song, a poem or a few bucks. In my self-absorption I may forget a birthday or an anniversary, but I will not let that stop me from trying to reach out. Love you all...


Sunday, April 12, 2020

Happy Easter

Photo: Meadowood taken by Sea Aviar 4. 12. 20

Though time be fraught with sadness for the passing of many, earth renews herself with spectacular gladness.

Hope is a verb. An active movement of spirit. Toward better and away from worse. 
 
Joy to all grateful for this day. May those suffering be comforted, may those strong use their strength to help the weak. May kindness reign over us all.

Love, 

Jen & Mark
                                                                                                                               

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Checking In...How you Doin'?

What a week.

The first seven days of April have seen the cases of COVID-19 rise along with the death toll. 38 confirmed in Pitt County, with one fatality. Lowe's is still open, but with new entrance and exit patterns to prevent people form concentrating in one spot for too long. Publix put tape on the floor to demarcate the six foot distance rule, and Walmart has closed its garden entrance along with the pharmacy entrance as well. I did not enter the lone open entrance. I had my groceries and was just looking to pick up some Black Kow for the garden. Lowe's was out of it. It was surreal to see the Greenville Mall parking lot virtually empty on a Monday morning. Our small town feels smaller though there is still quite a bit of truck traffic on the road. More and more people wearing masks in the supermarket.

We have two cats now. Jen was yearning and since we were to be home for a long stretch, it seemed a good time to bond with two young male felines. Didi and Gogo. They come from Dr. Kuhn of East Carolina Veterinary Group. They were rescued from a "bad situation" when just months old and have lived for the most part at the vets. Their original names are Fester and Gomez after Addams Family characters. The one's nickname was Gogo. So we changed the unappealing name of Fester to Didi after the characters in Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot.  

If these are not absurd times...

We here are all healthy and hunkered down for the moment. Jen is working from home and I am taking a slower, more methodical approach to the gardens around the house. Keeping myself busy, praying for all my friends and family around the globe dealing with damage caused by this horrific event.

Please be safe. I feel confident the good and true nature of humanity is working diligently for facts which will support the easing of this restrictive lock down.

Until then, if you can, make the most of this brief pause.