Friday, January 8, 2021

A look back as we move forward


There’s a froggy bog

At Bougival.

Sirens wheezing.

Canadian geese geesing

To an off-tune violin cringe:

A melody without a hinge.


Assumed the stress

Was left behind

Snoozing on the fence.

Thought we were past tense.


But no.

This is the now.

Holy cow.

Stencils and pencils,

Oily utensils.

“Oh by gosh,”

Pierre muttered

with panache

and then spent the last 

Of his per diem

At the art museum.


Gaining access

He could address

Where he’d digressed.


Later he confessed

That he’d been depressed

If not somewhat possessed.


But he took his time,

Sipped his wine,

Enthralled at the shrine:


Bosched and Bruegled;

Renoired and café tabled;

Scarlett lettered and Clark Gabled.


Rodin and fisacoed

Picassoed and lassoed;

Degas viewed, and thus El Passoed. 



Seems like yesterday,

Word came about

A virus in China.


Cruise ship docks

In Seattle.

Endless prattle.

Shimmy and slide

As people soon died.


White House

Assumes we’re 

Just a bunch of mokes:

Mindless, clueless

Eager for Saturday tokes.


That we’ll ignore

The world is on fire.

“Just give them their smokes.”


Maskhole MAGA Hatters,

Dumb and Dumber.

Pandemic soon ensues.
So many without a clue.


White House insists

That it’s a hoax;

If we test less,

Less folks choke.
Is that some kind

Of fucking joke?


Up to you

How you choose it.
Backbeat, something

To help you lose it.
Might even be therapeutic.
Turn it up loud and proud

And play your hoax music.




Sundays a long time ago
Were different.
Even for those who didn't go
to a gathering where they listened
To ideals, sang some chants;
Then scurried to buffets
Like eager ants.

Some might say
This is good book abuse;
That the Lord would not
Appreciate this point of view.
I disagree.
Who knows what the
Actual Lord might do?

Here's the thing about prayer.
It's one way to simply
Slow down and breathe.
One man's mantra
Might be another's 
Memorized verse.
No one's demanding or
Trying to coerce
That the notion of different
Wears its badge of diverse.

Yet, maybe you'll agree:
Lots of ways to get that
Cat out of the bag
Or loose from the tree.

Sunday early morning
on the porch in an easy chair:
Watching walkers slide past.
Some alone, some in pairs.
Birds chirping in a warm breeze;
Putting the laissez in laissez-faire.

Some insist there's a stairway
to the great beyond, even heaven.
Might be true, might just be
Some calm water you're treading.
Now, with so much rancor, we need
More Otis Redding, less Armageddon.

But where we can find Jesus
If not in a congregation?
If we don't meet on Sundays
We're inciting damnation.
How can we be forgiven?
Where is our salvation?

Take a look around.
Every day is an opportunity
To lovingly share this world:
It's just one big community.

You can pray to an icon
Or even a doctrine.
You can buy and sell
The soul at an auction.

You can also breathe
and meditate.
Find yourself.
Lose the hate.

That's really
All it takes.
Breathe, and
Lose the hate.


Better days are coming. 
But I am not sure how or when.
Just a feeling.

Maybe it’s a dream:
Faith and hope 
Meet as strangers on a train
With a couple of tickets to ride.

Were they just day trippers?

Or did they get all the way home?

Keeping all my cards close to the vest.
2020 was an Attitude Rorschach Test.


Feeling the need

To know what’s waiting

at the end of this tunnel?

One might Google 

Zoom classes 

In mysticism:

The first site that appears

Is based in Florida.
And that brought a laugh.

Perhaps that mystic

Is related to those

Fortune tellers who reside

In trailers on the herpes side of town.

Got to wonder

If they can actually

Sense what is ahead,

And proof would be,

At the very least,

Decent housing.

Madame LaRue

Can con a client

Just so often,

Or she’d move.

Had an annual eye exam.

And it’s interesting

How many lenses

Can be twisted and turned

Allowing one alternately

Better and worse views.

Sort of like reality.
Or at least how
One perceives what 

Might be true:
It’s all how it applies

Strictly to you.

One can argue art.
What it means.

How valuable it might be.

But one has to be clear

When it comes to science.

Science lacks political savvy.
It has no guile.
It just presents itself,

And one either gets it or not.

Gravity, for instance.
Even a MAGA hatter

Might be aware

That what goes up

Is gonna come down.

Some say hindsight is perfect vision.
That by looking back

At what actually happened

That that is clarity.

Maybe that’s valid.

This year we’ve witnessed

A bunch of rear ends

Making true asses of themselves.

Maybe that’s what the clichĂ© suggests:

Hindsight is 2020.

So many hinds. So much sight.
Perhaps that’s what it means.

So, what have we learned?

That’s to be determined

While sensible people mull:

What fresh hell will 2021 bring?

Friday, December 11, 2020

Once Ago


You said stay;

I said no.


You said go;

I said stay.

You didn't though.

What do we know?

Once upon a time

Was such a very,

Long time ago.

Here we are.

We're quite the pair.

One of us standing;

the other in mid air.

Neither of us

Actually there.

What do we know?

That we still care?

That we're friends

Who take the dare?

Show me the stairs.

It's been quite the year.

The plague is back in town.

As are the robber barons

And the racists in gowns.

The ne'er do wells

With the orange crowns.

Is that sun coming up

Or going down?


I look out to sea.

Dreaming of liberty.

But what do i know.

Once upon a time

Was such a very

Long time ago.

Sunday, November 15, 2020

The Art of Enjoying Suspense.

This blog entry is a reaction to what took place Saturday, Nov. 14, when Wake Forest tangled with North Carolina in Kenan Stadium in Chapel Hill. I belong to a UNC message board, and what follows is my take on a thread titled BE PATIENT. If you don't know the outcome (or care), UNC erased a 21-point deficit in the third quarter and ultimately claimed a thrilling victory, 59-53. Yes, you read that score right.

Like everyone else not rooting for WF, I had plenty to say at halftime. For some reason that I have yet to fully discern, instead of posting that ire everywhere on social media, i decided to mute the TV, and take a short nap. I figured the team was headed to a massively dismal outcome, one that would destroy a significant amount of what had been accomplished in regard to team growth.

I dozed deeply and opened my eyes in time to see WF go up by 21 midway in the third quarter. I glanced at the game thread, never a beacon of patience, but rather a G spot for venting, particularly by what might be termed amateur fanatics — those with armed with titanic passion and not much else. I know this kind of fan because I'm in that camp when it comes to football. 

I've been for UNC my entire life: my family moved to Chapel Hill when i was 4, my cousin played for Jim Tatum. I've enjoyed the few highs and suffered the many lows as if a character in a Russian novel; the obvious gist has been that "we're never going to get to Moscow."

This, of course, has no bearing on my right of self-expression. And like most passionate fans, at times my emotions do most of the talking.

A friend texted me his observations about the first half defense, and most of his words can't appear here without the post being deleted. Let's just say if you were distraught, unhappy, psychically bruised and petulant, our conversation had it covered. 

Then things changed. And this is where having acumen is akin to fortune telling. Those who noticed the personnel changes, those who were aware of the ferocious verbal challenge by Tim Cross at the end of the third quarter, those who gleaned that all was not totally lost were far ahead of the Rabid & Obsessed. 

When UNC tied the game at 45-45, the first half, even the bizarre ruling that gave WF an interception — a play that I took as a sign that might have been an omen — all of that was muddy water under a bridge once considered too far.

Like everyone who bleeds sky blue, what transpired in the fourth quarter is a series of glorious, perhaps legendary, plays that will be in our collective memory forever. Sam Howell being Sam Howell, over and over and over again as well as his elusive, 20-yard TD scamper that gave UNC the lead. Great stuff.

But the one play that served as catharsis for where the program has been and where it hopes to go was Javonte's block — so lethal an official ruled it a penalty, but after reality took hold, taken back. THAT was a block for all of us. That was the block that cracked the gate on the bridge on the outskirts of our fantasy destination.

Almost too good to be true. But it is. 

We are going to Moscow.

But what about the defense, a sane observer might ask. 

Check out the title of the OP. He's got it covered.


Sunday, November 8, 2020

A Month of a Week

The past six days felt like the country was playing checkers by mail and waiting for the USPS delivery with the next move.

I have not spent so much time in front of the same channel on cable TV in decades. MSNBC staffer Steve Kornacki evolved from a strong presence on election night to the arbiter of my reality by the weekend. I clung to his prediction of Pennsylvania as if it possessed the last remaining source of oxygen. And the grueling process seemed to happen one vote at a time, a version of water torture with a stubborn, cruel faucet.


What transpired after Tuesday night until Saturday morning, 11:20-ish EST might be described as a relentless stream of Ground Hog Moments, seemingly every few minutes repeated, almost verbatim.

But what a lesson on how to view votes as they come in. The hosts of MORNING JOE have already lobbied their network in favor of giving Kornacki a raise. Could not agree more.

Various guests helped fill the time with their views on where things stood and were likely headed, as well as, of course, the various legal shots-in-the-dark employed by the Trump campaign to raise doubt and encourage, if not demand, rancor.

Friday afternoon, MSNBC viewers had the great fortune of witnessing an incendiary Steve Schmidt takedown of 45 and total confidence that 46 was about to become reality. Rarely has anyone in an interview been so perfectly on point. Each syllable, each thought so keenly delivered and accurately presented with just the right amount of anger and certainty. 


Schmidt spoke for those who saw Trump coming in 2015 and everyone who grew to despise this mendacious nuisance, and now, all of us can gradually get used to the fact that this first wave of Trump nightmare is over. The legal issues that Trump is likely to face once he no longer has his presidential immunity might remove him from politics. That would be a great thing.

Yet, let’s not get ahead of the next two months. There’s still a petulant child in the Oval Office, and no one anticipates a smooth shift from the current administration to the newly elected team. 

Saturday night the first steps of this transition began in a parking lot in Delaware when Kamala Harris and Joe Biden spoke to all Americans.

Harris took the stage first and knocked her speech out of the park, and then some. Massively compelling, insightful, optimistic. Harris is a rising and incendiary force, and her participation, unlike most vice presidents, will be vastly effective, profoundly influential.

Then, for the first time in almost 4 years, a man who will be president spoke about what he was going to do, not what he had accomplished. Biden was energetic, forceful, and like his running mate, equally compelling, insightful, optimistic.

Love emerged on that stage and ushered hate to the sidelines. Hope replaced dread, and most important, clarity cut through what has been a fog of self-absorption, unbridled narcissism and lethal mendacity.

What a month the past week has been. During this COVID-19 phase, how could we have anticipated anything different?

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Make It So

Don't about you,

But I could sure use

Another email or text

Telling me what’s happening next:

If I don’t send gobs of cash

Immediately to John Doe

Or is it Don Jo?

“Yo ho ho,”

Said the limb to the stump.

Bet you a buck

That MAGA hatter

Forgot his mask.
It’s too much to ask.

People tearing down yard signs,

Throwing rocks, yelling,

Making threats in all sorts of guises.

Got to say I’m beyond fed up

With all these October surprises.

And I don't need more analysis 

Of the polls — just about anyone

With a computer is doing a poll.

Joe is up in Texas; Trump still

Has supporters in New York.

The Titanic will hit the reef.

My mind and heart needs relief.

I tried baseball,

And LA brought it home.
But now what?
What can get me to Nov. 3?

I’m so bothered

By what might be.

Can’t focus,

Can barely breathe.

Then I remembered

A soothing balm

That helped me get

Past Haliburton,

Water boarding and Katrina.

Just about that time

When all was going wrong

I could tune into fiction

That I needed to be true.

Have to say this afternoon spawned

One of those Trump funks

That a visit with Jed, Leo,

Toby, Sam, Josh and Donna

Provided the only sane path.

What’s more, when

I saw them again

I realized I could hope

And I could still laugh.

Yes, it’s just a show on TV

That serves an ideal.

But does that make

Its humanity less real?

It’s cathartic

To see functioning

Adults in that building

Keenly doing things for

Rather than to.

So if you’re aching,

Agitated, nervous

And much more than subdued:

This might be a day

When only The West Wing will do.

Friday, October 23, 2020

A Slow Rinse

 One of the saddest aspects of the Trump era is that his behavior is gauged against himself, rather than an agreed "normal." If Trump were to be judged by an actual normal, the meter would never budge off zero.

Last night he was not as unhinged as the first debate, and looking back, I think one of the factors that led to that shit storm is that Trump had tested positive, and the first wave of his symptoms weakened his minuscule self-restraint. And he went nuts.

So, last night Trump began "relatively" conventional ... but his COVID denial on the very first question was totally in character, and maybe it was just my eye, but i saw his arrogance and petulance thermometer rise sharply from the midway point on. Instead of actually answering a question, Trump attacked Biden.

I hope the undecideds noted that when the question was asked to talk directly to  minority communities, Joe did exactly that first. Trump, however, continued to attack Biden.

At times, Biden seemed flustered, almost tired, and emotionally charged and drained at the same time. Who can blame him? 

I think he hurried himself a bit, and at times fell short of the lightning bolt clarity that I hoped to see. But that's Joe. Thought he did have enough strong moments overall.

Thought the moderator was all right, though she did allow Trump more time in the first 45 minutes or so. Perhaps "all right" with a Trump involved is actually damn good.

More and more the most salient aspect of the debates is how pointless they are. GOP candidates routinely avoid answering the actual question, while DEM candidates try to please everybody. The debate has devolved into talking points of choice, and by this time in the race, an enormous waste of time. 

If you are a Biden fan, he won last night. If you are a Trumpie, your goon won.  That makes it a wash, and yet no one is clean.

Saturday, August 22, 2020


Early one morning moments after a fresh pot of coffee has just been made.

ME: Wait a minute, and hold the phone, Nellie! Are you suggesting a politician would prevaricate? 

REALITY: Yes. But not just your run of the mill mendacious elected official.

No, in this case it's Trump, who will  falsify, belie, misrepresent; pervert, twist, distort, strain, warp, slant, color; gild, varnish, gloss, doctor, dress up, embellish, embroider, exaggerate, inflate, blow up, puff up, magnify, enlarge on, Inf. pile or lay it on, Inf. lay it on thick, carry too far; boast, brag, Inf. talk through one's hat. 

As well as mislead, deceive, lead up the garden path, throw off the scent, put [s.o.] on a false scent, drag or draw a red herring across the trail; misinform, give [s.o.] a bum steer, pull the wool over [s.o.'s] eyes. 

In addition, that charlatan will lie in his throat lie grossly or maliciously, slander, defame, libel, calumniate, traduce; perjure himself, swear falsely, bear false witness; lie through his  teeth, lie like a trooper, lie like a rug; speak with forked tongue, Inf. tell the big lie.

ME: That about covers it.

REALITY: Assume nothing.

(Karma wanders into the kitchen in his pajamas, yawning,  grabs an empty coffee cup and fills it.)

KARMA: You rang?