Archive for the ‘poetry’ Category

A Paean for Ganesh

November 5, 2019 Leave a comment

I have a handful of poems I’ve written over the past several years I need to get up here. I think this one might be the latest. I’m still reacquainting myself with WordPress and exploring its functionality on my phone and tablet. I hope to get back to blogging regular and having more photos, audio, links to media and the like. Just archiving my existent material will be a project. And of course it competes with all my other projects and responsibilities and my general commitment to keeping some slack in my life.

Anyway, I like this piece. I feel like I wrote it in the spring of 2016 which was an interesting time. I was struggling with Council and career and added a relationship which was a lot to balance and a bit more than I could manage as gracefully as I would have liked. There was a bit of madness to the whole thing and my filter went down completely. I tried to just be wiser and kinder instead of bringing it back. Although I didn’t quite pull it off out of that time a lot of good arose including, I hope, this piece.

A Paean to Ganesh in Gratitude for Blessings Already Received

An Elephant Never Forgets

An Elephant never forgets

When he is all alone

And often left at home

An elephant never forgets…

That elephants were made to live in love

Oh elephants were made to live in love

In a tribe I can’t describe

On a plane I can’t explain

Oh elephants were made to live in love…

Because elephants have strong moms

Oh elephants have strong moms

A matriarch to lead, caress, defend and feed

The little ones who came,

The sick, the old, the lame

Because elephants have strong moms!

So that elephants are made to live in love

Oh elephants were made to live in love

In a tribe I can’t describe

On a plane I can’t explain

Oh elephants were made to live in love….



Categories: community, insanity, poetry

Well I Won

April 4, 2012 3 comments

Boy, they’ll let anyone be on city council here in Columbia. Its 2:12 on a weeknight and I ought to be sleeping. I took Fido for a walk after I got home. I went to Steak and Shake as I had been making the rounds and didn’t get to eat dinner. I drank a beer but tried not to hold it all the time. Might look at my press. I’m pretty tired. “Hollowed out with a bit of an echo” I said in an email. Feels good to have the wind blowing through you though. Wrote a snatch of verse:

I don’t go to church

I am a church

Worshiping with anyone who believes in anything

And everyone who believes in everything

Right now the dog and the grass

Categories: dogs, poetry, politics

its all downhill from here

February 3, 2012 Leave a comment

Good morning faithful reader. At least for now that’s all that gets to see these words as we travel down the campaign road largely in privateblogstealthmode. I had the Chamber of Commerce Candidate Forum yesterday afternoon. I wasn’t as prepared I would have liked. I got my intro and closing written but didn’t put together any notes to refer to in the general questions section. All in all it wasn’t terrible. If I picked a winner I would have said Bill Pauls. He seemed pretty comfortable, hit on his experience and came off as an affable insider with majority views. In the newspaper coverage I got tagged for supporting the hotel tax increase to expand the airport. A candidate in the other race got the line about bringing in partners which I was advised to take.

I still feel like spending my time talking to voters, getting organized and mounting a serious door to door to effort is better then the meeting with city officials and working on your sound bites approach of the other candidates which seem to be some of the other candidates approach. I suspect I won more votes in my 1/2 hour of furious door knocking then anyone did in the Chamber Forum or the newspaper coverage after. We shall see in April.

I am getting better at this being furiously busy. Was up a little early so made dinner in the crock pot before work. I took a pork loin and rolled in whole wheat flour and browned in a little olive oil. Rubbed it down in the spice mix my sister Betty made for Christmas presents and threw in with some black eyed peas I’d soaked, a couple carrots, garlic, a green and a yellow bell pepper, and some onion powder (my last onion was rotten). Put in a pint of water (less would have been better, I thought the beans would absorb more) and some “better then bullion”. It was good in my post door knocking rest break.

After that I went to a Legislative Forum by the League of Women Voters. Met a few folks and renewed relationships with some Democrats I had chatted up at the Chili Supper. Took grief for my muted tie from the same guy who gave me grief for my loud tie at the Chili Supper. I told him at least I bought this one new. How long before people notice I really only have one nice dress shirt? I’ve got a number of short sleeves but my Anarchist “A” on my forearm might give some of the electorate pause.

The forum was pretty fun. We have a funny and smart state house legislative delegation. I even like the Republican Kurt Schafer and Chris Kelly our house guy is really hilarious. They cross the aisle and get shit done which I appreciate why Stills and Weber make the lonely good fight in near supermajority Republican state which I also appreciate.

Came home and slept the sleep of the just. Continuing to read some Meditations by Marcus Aurelius, my political hero. Was considering using a piece of his for my final Ed Group this morning. Its been hitting me hard and challenging me to be less of a slave to passion. I am working on new piece based on his ideas, let me see if I remember the opening stanza I wrote yesterday morning. Living alone gives the great pleasure of being able to walk around house singing nonsense to yourself. If you haven’t tried it, please do.

“Anything done without intention

Can do damage to the soul

From the harsh word said when you are angry

To eating a doughnut when you’re full”

Tough words to live by, but the promise is freedom and serenity. Well worth having bouncing around my head. Might keep me from swinging through the Taco Bell drive through when I feel entitled.

we don’t make flags here anymore

December 24, 2011 1 comment

Merry Christmas faithful reader and I am glad I got a chance to post before the big holiday celebration. It feels good to be up in Michigan. I have been ill all week but am feeling much better, mostly recuperated except for a bit of a cough. Fido held up OK on the trip. We enjoyed stopping in St Louis Thursday night and seeing Mark and Sarah and having some Thai food at King & I. Yummy.

Fido enjoyed eating all the chicken bones he found on our walks in St Louis. He’s not used to walks in the big city where the streets are paved in chicken bones. He also enjoyed when we stopped for a hike at a metro-park in suburban Dayton. We hiked a 1.2 mile loop which was about all I could handle yesterday. Today we walked up town and did the river walk, Monroe is a cute town and there a few nice views of downtown we found. The economic downturn is at least a boon for preservation as things are less changed then in past visits.

Have a family gathering tonight, breakfast tomorrow and another dinner tomorrow as well. Doing this Christmas thing up right. We went to the farmers market today and I was impressed with the winter offerings. Got apples, red onions, shallots, black strap molasses, honey, yukon golds [do you capitalize when a place is the name of a thing, like Yukon golds? doesn’t look right, I think not.], plus some christmas cookies to buff out the ones I got from Sarah, so I can serve them at tomorrow’s dinner. I got this German kind I’ve never had before. I also got these green eggs. I’ve never seen such a thing, but its an heirloom chicken variety. Quite impressive and a distinct taste the farmer said. I also got a kohlrabi as big as your head, I’ve never seen one so big.

The big reason I wanted to post though is I have a poem I wrote on the way up passing through a small town in Ohio:

Welcome to Findlay

Home of Flag City

But we don’t make flags here anymore

They’re all made in Red China

Which shouldn’t surprise ya

It’s like everything else in the whole damn store.

So there ain’t no good jobs

Cuz some soulless corporation

Didn’t think their workers had a right to a living wage

So they took all our good jobs

And sent them to the Third World

Just to make a few more dollars, its a brazen age.

So welcome to Findlay

Home of Flag City

But we don’t make flags here anymore

They’re all made in Red China

Which shouldn’t surprise ya

It’s like everything else in the big box store.

If you’re lucky enough to have a job

It’s probably part time

Its a tough old world in the service line

And I will serve you and you will serve me

But ain’t none us making no money

Cuz we ain’t making nothing, nothing but time.

So welcome to Findlay

Home of Flag City

But we don’t make flags here anymore…

Categories: dogs, family, poetry, politics, travel

Good News for Chimps

December 15, 2011 Leave a comment

I just saw a story that the NIH is getting rid of almost all animal testing on our closest cousins chimpanzees. I’ve got a soft spot for chimps and grant them a certain level of personhood. Its not complete but its pretty close. Now we need to protect their habitat and keep extant their natural culture and genetic diversity and start building from that. I was all fire for chimps back in the day and wrote this song that kind of speaks for itself

Chimp Poem

Out in the jungle were some chimpanzees

Eating some fruit, swinging through the trees

Minding their own business, not hurting anyone

Raising their babies, and having fun

Until that fateful day when they were nabbed

And shipped to the States for a research lab

They were poked and prodded, separated from their mates

Ninety five percent of chimps shared the same fate

But our superior intellect the scientists say

Gives us the right to do what we may

Torture the dumb chimps in our quest for knowledge

Because that’s what the ethicist taught us in college.

Driving through the suburbs in their SUV

Was an upper middle class American family

They were driving to Junior’s first soccer game

On that fateful day when the aliens came

Sucked up to a saucer by a tractor beam

They were sent to another world by a teleport machine

They were poked and prodded, separated from their mates

Ninety five percent of humans shared the same fate

But our superior intellect the aliens say

Gives us the right to do what we may

Torture the dumb humans in our quest for knowledge

Because that’s what our ethicist taught us in college.

Believe it or not half of this tale is true

And you know you wouldn’t want it to happen to you

So keep in mind the Golden Rule

And don’t use chimps as your research tool

The wild chimps should be left alone

They need habitat to call their own

The research chimps should all be set free

To be the wild things God wants them to be

To be the wild things God wants them to be.


Categories: nature, poetry, politics, primates

up late before the eclipse

December 10, 2011 Leave a comment

Watching some Lord of the Rings and writing some poetry. Another exciting Friday night here at Leslie Lane. Not sure why I’m a little melancholy after a really great day. I had a four day week and had rather an enjoyable day off. Put some decorations on the tree, cleaned a little house, made some bacon and eggs. I listened to a CD of Brenda doing her recovery story and it was really touching, I am so proud of her. I called her and we were both getting ready for the noon meeting. I took a formerly homeless gent i know who will only go if i take him and he likes to collect the coins. funny thing to do on a day off but it didn’t feel like work. saw some other folks i know, heartfelt but anonymous.

In the afternoon I went shopping which I am not much wont to do, but make exceptions from time to time especially this time of year. I bought some crampons for walking on the ice. not going to let a missouri winter keep me from my appointed rounds and I can’t keep going down hard each winter and expect not to get hurt some day.

We had our first dusting of snow but now its warming up a bit, cold tonight though. I have clothes on the line. After shopping went to a happy hour at a chain restaurant with a group celebrating a soon to be ex-coworker’s new job. It was fun and we shared going crazy stories and there were a surprising few for those who cared to share.

Besides the crampons I got some more winterizing stuff, door thresholds for the storm doors. Dad would be proud, tackling a project on my own. Probably on Sunday. I also got a programmable thermostat. Sorry Fido, you don’t need it warm in here while I’m at work and we could make it nippier when we’re under the down comforter. Another record year for green house gas emissions. That’s gotta change and that won’t happen if we don’t. As they say in recovery, if you keep doing what your doing, you keep getting what your getting.

I also got extension cords and now the tree has a cheery glow with a string of 100 white led lights. I’ll put a string of little lights on the ficus tomorrow, and maybe I’ll put a bulb on the kaffir lime tree, might look a little Charlie Brown. Speaking of which my co-worker Jane is going to play Charlie Brown Christmas for her Christmas-Eve ed group which I did last year to good effect. There’s some admirable characters and it allowed a nice approach to the difficult topic of Christmas. Some people don’t care, its just another day in treatment, while others are broken up over the ones they’re not with or the ones who are gone. I brought gifts which helped, people like presents, most of them would have got nothing.

It was fun working last year, coming home to spend the afternoon with Dad. Knew I had it lucky too. I guess that’s why I’m melancholy. Fido likes the tree, he pulls on the lower branches and drinks out of the basin. But its not the same.

Here’s the poem, only you faithful reader who will read 545 words of my banal Friday get to see the new stuff:

A Song of Earnest Regret

If I could have remembered Eowyn

where would i be now?  where would we be?

i am where I need to be

i guess, it at least feels right

but so much else is gone

all of the mighthavebeens

i don’t even know  if I miss them

except for now, when I do

oh Eowyn would I know your face?

did I know?

the damp of the spring rain

no not the first

held no comfort no solace even

but a bone chilling weariness

that like malaria

when its run its course

and your better again

to where being crippled up with sick

is a faint memory

only to come again

with no sure knowledge it will pass

but yes Sam there’s light up there

beauty that no shadow can touch

still the journey for some involves struggle

and sometimes it’s just a little too hard

too open your eyes to beauty


Free Mumia

December 8, 2011 1 comment

It seems like there has been an inordinate amount of good news in the paper today. Driving is down 6 months in a row, as Baby Boomers stopped driving their kids around is the biggest factor. Desegregation is rolling along as more black folks move to the suburbs. Asians and Latinos open the door moving in creating space for black folks in white neighborhoods. (Whites don’t move into black neighborhoods except in isolated cases of gentrification. Boo whites.)

The biggest piece of good news was that Mumia Abu Jamal was taken off of death row. I knew it yesterday, because even though I’m pretty attached to paper newspapers (anything worth doing is worth doing like in the 19th century) I appreciate what my brother said when his buddy asked “what’s that?” when he tossed me the paper in its tight plastic sack. “That’s a newspaper. Its what people read before there was an internet. It tells  you what happened yesterday.”

So yesterday Mumia Abu Jamal was taken off death row. I have heard some of his stuff and read one of his books. I worked a short quotation of his into a wedding I did in Canada on “the primordial forest”. I went to Philadelphia and protested many years ago. This has been going on so long. There is good evidence his trial was fraudulent and the circumstances are murky. Even if he shot the cop he’s been in the joint a long time and has done much good. It was a racially charged time and there was a lot of weirdness around the whole thing. I was moved largely by my gut which has always told me he’s a good man.

I also wrote  poem about his situation. Its pretty dated but I am putting everything up and archiving it and its probably worth sharing. I take a light, almost tongue in cheek approach as I was poking fun at my strident to the point of humorless activist friends who have as little room for dissenting thought as the mainstream they rail against. I love them nonetheless and largely root ’em on. The biggest thing about the piece is its dated. This might be my last chance to share it with any kind of relevance. I always thought it was a tight little piece and I like the ending a lot. Almost feel like I squandered it on a piece so set in a particular time.

He’s as innocent as OJ

And Clinton, well of course

So why’s he on death row

And not on the golf course,

Looking for the real killers

And the guys who killed Vince Foster?

Why aren’t there black tie dinners

With key note speaker Kevin Costner?

He’s as cool as the dolphins

As exotic as Tibet,

And they say there might be riots

But they haven’t started yet,

And so they will try to kill him

In the name of God

Because if you spare the child

Then you spoil the rod.

2 haiku about Old Style

December 5, 2011 Leave a comment

Its definitely turned cold today, the biggest change is people are complaining about it. I try to embrace the weather and prefer to think of it as brisk. Its easier to do when the sun is shining but the skies were gray and overcast, and its breezy as well. Glad I have got things pretty winterized. I put in mostly new windows except I kept my big picture window with regular windows on each side. They were the only trim not painted over and everything on them still worked. I don’t want to live in a house tight as a drum. I want a little air flow otherwise I’d have to test for radon or leave a window cracked to let that stuff seep out. Seemed easier to keep my pretty window. This year I put in these guards that are like foam tubes that fit into a 2 pocket sock one on each side. They were supposed to slide with the door but did not work as expected.

Last year I added weather tight storm doors but they have a little gap at the bottom which somewhat defeats the point. I was supposed to put the kind of weather stripping that connects to the ground but I forgot that part when I asked John to do it when he was crashing here and doing projects. He got weather stripping but the doors aren’t really built for the stripping to be attached to. I’ve added the floor kind to the list but even without it, the house is pretty tight now. I grew up in a drafty house in Michigan and later when Dad had built a more modern house we did a couple of winters without LP gas for a time and lived with just a fireplace so I know enough to be thankful for a snug little house and adequate heat.

I keep it chill 65 degrees which is fine if you have a sweater or your doing something. I have a down comforter (a dollar at Salvation Army, but of course I had to shell out $45 for the cover on clearance at a big box store) and am snug and warm at night. I also have on my list a programmable thermostat. I’ve forgotten it once but I think I can save some heat when I’m gone and maybe even drop the night temp and justify splurging on a 72 for the hour when I first get out of bed. That would be a luxury.

All of this seasonal talk is just prelude to a couple of my early haiku, back before I felt obligated to make them seasonal. Can’t say I find the art form at all compelling any more, but I used to like them before I could write poetry. The rigidity of the form allowed me to express my creativity in a way that formlessness did not. I tend to tell stories and write about ideas which are not really great with haiku either. They feel to me now like they should evoke mood, place, and image.

I wrote these hanging out with Sarah and Eric maybe others hanging out on the Washu campus. We were drinking Old Style, a local favorite at the time and I don’t remember exactly how it came to writing haiku about beer but these are the two I remember:

Trapp’d in a tin can

Fermented hops and barley

I will free the Old Style


Old Style is a cage

Set to ensnare the drunkard

I think I’ll drink more



Categories: environment, friends, poetry

picking fights on facebook

November 30, 2011 3 comments

Its kind of funny looking at things from multiple perspectives. I get to joust with Christians and their critics. There’s obviously some stuff that needs challenging but there is equally or more things that inspire greatness. Jesus really comes through as a character and has some profoundly good things to say that are foundational to what motivates me to do good. I keep trying to listen and look for common ground but be provocative and thought provoking.

Christianity turned me on to the words of Jesus and did a lot of other good for me. I saw people who were profoundly touched by the spiritual, a willingness to sacrifice, and powerful shared spiritual experiences. At least a couple of the ten most profound things I’ve experienced. But there’s also a lot of blood on the hands of that religion as a whole. 25% of the population of Europe was killed in its Christianization and I suspect other continents fared even poorer.

I try to take ownership of the fact that I share membership in many privileged groups. Being an American, white, male, not unChristian (don’t consider myself a Christian though I am a follower of Christ), straight, and by current status middle class I kind of hit them all. But what do you do? Very little of it was my choice and I try to be mindful, correct the imbalance, and make my piece of the universe a little bit better. In that spirit I wrote this piece opening with a bible quote and also lifting three words from Bill Clinton’s 2nd inaugural poet I forget his name. I’ll underline them so you’ll know they’re not mine. Its such a great phrase I couldn’t resist using it. This piece feels unfinished so someday I’ll break through and write a bunch more on it. I’ve had some false starts but nothing i’ve liked as much as the opening:

As an edit I am adding another stanza. It feels more done. I plan on using it in a new chap book which is why I’m trolling around old posts. I don’t fight with people on the internet anymore. I gave that up for local politics. I might do a little of both in the future.

The sins of the fathers pass on to the sons

Unto seven generations

And not just privilege and freedom

Come from being born an oppressor’s son.

Now I don’t blame the man who gave me my name

He only did what he did to survive

But the Karmic web of the disenfranchised dead

Tells me to pay for his crimes

I rejoice in the struggle

In battles not yet won

I believe in the redemption of the father

Through the redemption of the son

I believe in the spirit of wholeness

That calls us all to one

Categories: childhood, poetry, religeon

holiday weekend

November 27, 2011 Leave a comment

Its been a nice four days off work, like three Saturdays in a row and you still get Sunday. I got some gardening done, about 100 square feet in the raised bed John built. After he tested the soil and it came out with nothing I added 6 inches of horse manure, let that moulder for a while and turned it in good and planted it.

A couple of garlics I must have missed when I harvested had a bunch of little ones and I separated them and planted them first, then the garlic I had from the market, then the garlic Sarah gave me (German Porcelain). Then I got garlic from Trevor who had gotten it from “the Amish looking dude”. Also, right after the little garlic plants I planted a couple of cloves I grew. I picked up 2 kinds from the Root Cellar, the first was an Afghan garlic and then half a head of their generic local garlic. I planted them close because I like to maximize my space.

I also started turning over the soil in cold frame. I have some lettuce and spinach seed. I looked at Lowes when I bought furnace filters but they didn’t have any seed. A whole aisle of poison but not a seed for the Fall garden. I did get tulip bulbs dirt cheap and its only December. I’ve gotten them to work planting them in January.

I worked six of them by the end of the strawberry patch and weeded some. I had friends over and went out. I cooked food and ate food, cleaned, and kept the momentum going. Glad I have to go to work tomorrow before I forget how and think I live just to do what I feel like. I’ve been blessed to have more time doing that then most. I wrote this poem back in the day when I was living like that sort of and remembering when I was doing that for real. Dan Chisolm had a guitar accompaniment that was pretty cool and I remember singing it at our cabins up in Canada for Mike and Phoebe’s wedding when I was wooing Amee. My only real bad boy song. I have another one that I never did anything with but they were both written along with a third piece with several bad boy stories strung together but it was too busy, so I split it up. Any way here it is:

She said her boyfriend was out of town

And would I like to fool around?

She said her boyfriend was out of town

So you can probably guess where I was found.

And oh her kisses they were sweet

And the ecstasy couldn’t be beat

Smoking kief and fresh orange juice

I was feeling high, I was feeling loose.

And I’ve been lucky all my life

And sometimes wrong turns out all right,

It gets so lonely after sunset

I’ll steal some love to get through the night.

And oh her kisses they were sweet

And the ecstasy couldn’t be beat

Smoking kief and fresh orange juice

I was feeling high, I was feeling loose.

Categories: gardening, poetry