Life Insists

On a beautiful day in the neighborhood
trees are budding out
folks are chatting in the sunshine
while dogs rest at their feet

There are no indicators present
of man’s inhumanity to man
tragedies recent or ongoing
in other places and there are no
threats to our convictions

But in the back of the mind a nagging question
who would have to go down in a hail of bullets
 to change a mind?
If their child’s finger were on the trigger,
would they blame the gun? Themselves?
The kids at school who were mean to them?

We can pray for a day when the questions
don’t have to be asked. Or we can work
for the day. In the meantime,
trees are budding out
and life insists on persisting.

 
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Fun and Games

Often times the cure
seems worse than the disease
if you lie down with the dogs
you might get up with fleas
They say it won’t get better
until we feel the squeeze
and virtually everything
is a matter of degrees
It’s all fun and games
until one you love goes down
the statistic has a name
the expiration has a sound
you feel you should do something
you just don’t know what
anything to help untie
the knots there in your gut
The Golden rule gets lip service
from those in a position
to actually do something
to alter these conditions
and they will gladly help you
if you can pay the price
otherwise you’ll only get
gratuitous advice
Doing no harm is just about
the best that I can do
If I can’t help myself
how am I going to help you
But maybe if enough folks
get together in some way
we could help each other
make it to a better day
It’s all fun and games
until one you love goes down
the statistic has a name
the expiration has a sound

Any Love

The flag hangs limp at the courthouse
no breeze to make it wave
the weeds have taken over
obscuring the hero’s grave
sometimes you can’t see things
but you know they’re there
when it seems impossible
it’s most important to care

There is a battle being fought
but you won’t hear cannon fire
there are hymns in the air
but you won’t hear a choir

Some love her for her body
some love her for her mind
some love her for her spirit
which won’t be left behind
they scorn each others motives
but none are really wrong
any love is true that makes
you feel you that you belong

There is marching behind locked doors
there are plots in incubators
everyone is looking for
like minded conspirators
everybody trying to
advance specific goals
they don’t see that there is room
for all within her soul

There is a battle being fought
but you won’t hear cannon fire
there are hymns in the air
but you won’t hear a choir

Detected

Beware of the whisper in your ear
telling you everything you want to hear
while the hand in your pocket
takes everything it wants
and if you notice something missing
they act so surprised

they’ll act offended
by your accusations
they are not to blame
for your frustrations
and it’s not their fault
that you’re in this situation
but maybe they can help you
if you’ll only compromise

everybody loves to hate
the narcissist
but they are not so
easily detected
that’s why there is
such a long list
of ones we’ve
accidentally respected

If their version of events
doesn’t match your memory
they will suggest that you’ve
forgotten your own history
so just maybe you’re stupid
or maybe you are crazy
of course it couldn’t be
because they lie

everybody loves to hate
the narcissist
but they are not so
easily detected
that’s why there is
such a long list
of the ones that we have
loved or elected

Yossarian’s Blues

I limped across the finish line
to be told I was mistaken
it ain’t over until they say so
Nothing you can do
it’s catch 22

darkness disguised as light
grinning ear to ear
with an arm across my
shoulder whispered
“Be our friend, you’ll
find life much easier”

Ready to give in
when from the bushes
with a knife Nately’s whore
changed the course
and the news about Orr
my new talisman new mantra
always keep trying
you might just win

Cheap Date

Pick a face in the crowd.
Observe its reactions to the
goings on and create
a matching personality.
Imagine a backstory
leading to an inevitable
intersection of timelines.
Imagine a depth of
intimacy unheard of
in the history of intimacy
which will occur at
some unspecified perfect
future moment.
Say nothing. Keep your
distance. Pick another face.

Exploration

I don’t get out much
but with some waiting to do
I wound up at a mall

Santa Claus had a fine beard
but seemed a bit frail
perhaps an excessive diet
the little girl in line
was skeptical as well

They’ve invented the
Family Restroom! Almost
wished I had a kid in tow
to go in and check it out.

A small boy on his father’s
shoulders was enjoying
a different perspective.
Boots are in fashion, as is
ignoring the vaguely seedy

old man resting in the food court
unless you are security,
and obliged to circle around
once or twice.

In the last bookstore,
the absence of authors
once considered essential
leads me to reconsider
the point of all this

I don’t get out much
there might be a reason