Archive for October, 2012

We’ve got a sub today, 

they say with a sigh that sounds ennui

I watch them file in, glancing my way.

Some force a smile, stopping to say hello

while a few bold souls push their hand

in front of my face and announce their name

I say call me Mister because I may never see them again

and they will forget me anyway,

unless – of course – I do something unusual, which I will.

I call the roll and labor over Hispano-Anglicized and ebonic names,

then I wait as they chat or yell or yawn, eyelids drawn to cell phones

I say ‘excuse me’ and wait, while they abuse me.

They give me five seconds of pretense to prove I deserve

three cents of attention,

then go back to being bobble-head guys and dolls.

They turn to whoever, to say whatever they say

everything but the content of the paper I lay on their desk.

Before they go I ask them for something:

Do you want to hear a romantic poem?

Several mutter yes, because the risk is low,

they know a poem will not hurt or embarrass.

I tell them the background of this love sonnet,

then I start itunes and play something on it from jewelbeat,

They wait out two full measures, in  big-eyed silence.

I start the poem The Love Canals of Mars

Suddenly my ribs effervesce and sends chills bubbling off my collar

I’m thrilled to birth consonant blends and vowel twins and tercets.

What follows is applause or snapping fingers, which I only faintly hear

because . . . I’m raptured by then,

covered in Adamic, pentamic glory,

warmed in Horace’s choicest oils,

bathed in Shakespeares’ tears,

I’m Milton wax, unmoveable, but

satisfied to have spoken even one wordsworth

of poetry.

Sub means itinerant poet.

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What is time?

How is it defined, or redefined?

Is time a problem to be solved?

Does its meaning evolve over . . . well, time?

Are its rules fixed, its route set?

Does it speed up or slow down, even a bit?

Does it stop going forward or around?

Can the hourglass sands go up and not down?

How do we measure it?
Arbitrarily, or as science?

Is our reliance on time justified?

Do we have to put the numbers in order

or can we set logic aside?

Do we have to make the hands different lengths,

and make them move at different speeds?

Why can’t we just change it to fit what we need?

What is marriage?

Is it clay in the hands of a government potter or

a new language to be interpreted by an expert linguist?

Is it the result of the pull of a slot-machine,

or a Choose Your Own Adventure book?

Is it a dance act for a TV panel to judge,

a planet like Pluto in need of a downsizing,

or a credit rating on S&P’s downgrade list?

What is love?

Is it a mere physical act,

a passing feeling, a concrete fact?

Is it a cause to march in the streets?

Is it laws and legislative feats?

Is it always reason for marrying,

or for benefits like retiring or burying?

And time,

isn’t it an unchanging thing,

an unyielding dictator, an absolute king

with an unbroken record of success?

Are marriage and its bonds any less?

It has rules, just like time

and different hands that make it work.

They’re not the same and never were.

This clock of matrimony was made and finished,

so changing it would only diminish

and confuse us minute by hour

and the little second hands that run around and around.

And love, is it not shown

in times of war, when men are known

to give their blood, life’s full measure

for something so opposed to craven pleasure?

Isn’t that love between men, and pure?


And women, who keep the home fires burning

Sleeping alone, tossing and turning

Hugging and weeping during times of distress.

Isn’t that love for one another?

And those who fought for women’s right to vote,

And for abolition of slaves chained and yoked—

that was love.

So, has marriage then evolved,

its definition and application unsolved?

What is holy matrimony, then?

Is it like this clock? Since when can we make time stop?

We must look back to its institution

The original Timemaker & Matchmaker.


It’s the antidote for the solitary

The recipe for pure physical love

A portrait of the masculine and feminine qualities of God

and the only machinery for making a happy family.

It’s a movie trailer of the upcoming marriage of Christ & His people

So, friends let us not tempt fate,

“What God has joined, let no one separate.”

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I recently witnessed people at a rally aiming cameras at protesters, as if to say: “Watch your step. Your every move is being recorded!”

Is that really good for freedom of speech, when it is monitored and held over your head as a threat? Even the police were recording the protesters. It is disconcerting to think that one’s constitutionally-protected actions on a public street may end up on Youtube or in police video files.

When every move someone makes in public is subject to review, and that review fodder for prosecution, doesn’t that sound eerie to you? It does to me.

I marvel at how cameras are being used and how their use has evolved. A camera was once an instrument for creating or finding art in nature, making permanent the memories of families or friends, or capturing sacred events like weddings and baptisms. Now we hear about a new phenomenon called sexting, a form of harassment in itself. To a much lesser degree, but nonetheless troubling, cameras are now used for public embarrassment. One example was the online posting of a lady falling into a mall fountain while texting.

What if we used cars the same way. My car is bigger than your car, so you’d better not get in front of me! Or do we? Trucks often run up on my tail if I am slow and in the left lane, but a Smart car or Fiat has never ridden my bumper. Hmmm. . .

What does it really mean when someone walks up to you from the side and videotapes you in an argument or in an altercation with someone else? Isn’t it abuse – of either the camera, or of our fellow Americans?

When you cannot stand on a public street and disagree with someone’s actions without being held up by someone wielding a thin rectangular weapon of plastic and circuitry, my friend, I am afraid that we are no longer free, and even if we are, freedom has become a risky business.

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I had the most unusual and unsettling dream last night. I was on a stretch of country highway surrounded by farmland. Cradled in my hands was a wooden crate in which I thought was something good. When I opened it, it was empty except for a few dozen small insects. I left the crate open and walked away. Then I heard what was like a radio announcement. It said, “What is coming will be disastrous and it will destroy all the corn.” This frightened me and I turned to turn back up the hill to close the box of insects. I found in my arms another crate and I looked inside it. It held a couple of dozen healthy and hungry green lizards. I raced toward the insect crate with terror hoping to get the lizards there before the insects escaped. As I reached it, I looked up and saw that the insects had gotten wings, multiplied, and were swarming high in the sky. I knew then that I could still let the lizards out and maybe they could slow the pestilence. When I woke up, I realized that the number of the lizards was the same as the number of  days before the Presidential election.

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