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.



If the right thing
was easy to do
we’d all be saints
but clearly that’s not true

good is better than bad
truth is better than lies
but people see them differently
I don’t understand why

compromise and forgiveness
are not on the agendas
of the prophets of mistrust
and the Great Pretenders

It’s up to the rest of us
to overcome the despair
it’s a full time job but we must
continue to care

Life Imitates Mixed Media

what is as was was as is
the scaffold from which the façade was erected
the gallows where judgment created itself
the tightrope yielding the mesmerizing plunge
the soapbox of obscure promises
clock towers and book depositories where snipers lurked
the stages where outrages frequently occurred

cameramen capture the actual agony
soundmen shock us with wails of grief
all live as it actually happens
no privacy that can’t be invaded
nothing that is really sacred
no secret too shameful to be cheerfully
admitted to for just the right fee
and fifteen minutes of fame on TV
what a country, what a world
that was as is is as was


Written many years ago. Things have not improved.



Scars require no explanation
when broken people congregate
they know how life happens
and they know it’s never too late
for the healing power of laughter
for the healing power of touch
when that’s all they have to offer
each other and the rest is just too much

Winthrop Street

On Winthrop Street the loose cannons roll
the guardians collect the tolls
nothing glitters, there is no gold
keep a firm grip on your soul

The ladies there don’t really care
for idle promises or desperate prayers
they ain’t seen it all, but they’ve seen enough
on Winthrop Street they’ll call your bluff

The mayor avoids the neighborhood
he can’t do them any good
if he shows up they’ll get on his case
Winthrop Street laughs in his face

The lovers hide under the bridge
and it feels like a different world
the moon gleams on the dirty water
with its oily swirls
everything seems possible
in that magic hour
if you would escape Winthrop Street
love gives you the power

They have a strange idea of fun
you might feel safer carrying a gun
wipe of the fingerprints when you’re done
on Winthrop Street there’s no where to run

The sun don’t shine too bright down there
just too much smoke in the air
Hardly anybody has a minute to spare
on Winthrop Street it’s hard to care

The lovers hide beneath the bridge
and it feels like a different world
the moon gleams on the dirty water
with its oily swirls


Once you’ve been domesticated
certain things seem over-rated
being crazy wild and free
are better to remember than to be

Then one day everything falls apart
you say, okay, where do I start
do I have to do all these things again
or is it just as effective to pretend

When you think you know the answers
Life will change the questions
you don’t want to take chances
you’re open to suggestions

how it all goes down
determines where you wind up
don’t let it turn you around
go on and fill your cup

For a free bird on the wing
will see a lot more things
than the tallest creature
standing on the ground

But if you take to the sky
some things are harder to touch
you must decide what is important
what you might miss too much

When you think you know the answers
Life will change the questions
you don’t want to take chances
but you’d welcome a suggestion


On a practical day you do some chores
clean things up, go to stores
the ghosts are happy and you’re unconcerned
with wins and losses and lessons learned
you’re grateful for the little things
without worrying what tomorrow will bring
in the evening when it’s time for reflection
it’s easy to indulge your affections
for loved ones past and loved ones present
without regret for where it all went
as everything comes and everything goes
that’s about all we really know
being there when they’re there
is the most we can do
at least from a practical
point of view