Jacob Lawrence – Men Exist for the Sake of One Another, 1958

Jacob Lawrence - Men Exist for the Sake of One Another, 1958

The Rains of Bissau

I miss the rains of Bissau –
the soft pitter-patter at dawn –
the heavy downpour, like clockwork,
in mid-afternoon – as chuvas veem –
the lightning and the thunder
at sunset, raging against the end of days –

I wish we had some postcards
from that magical place –
we have a painting of Joao Landing
before the Chinese built the bridge –
and statuettes from the Bijagos.
Manjaco cloth draps the sofa,
and music CD’s from the Tabanka
are on the shelf – but postcards não ha.


New Found Gap Highway, Gatlinburg, TN

New Found Gap Highway, Gatlinburg, TN

While we weep

Today I visited the national secular temple
to worship the Goddess Minerva, Virgin
of Wisdom and War –

we make ablution with the warm waters
of Jeffersonian idealism before we enter
the holy of holies –

we shut our eyes and ears to the hypocrisies,
and our collective birth defect gets banished
to the wine cellar –

while we weep, while we weep –

North Head Lighthouse – Washington’s Outer Coast

Lighthouse - Washington's Outer Coast

Making the bed

Since I retired my wife insists
on making the bed together every day.
I guess I was at work when all this excitement
happened before. We fluff and straighten
the pillows, aligned but not touching.
Sheets tight and tucked, folded over at the top.
All equally distributed side to side.
(She cannot think until the bed is made!)
Then she calls me an amateur when I
walk away before she has taken the final
measurements. “This is not boot camp,”
I whisper to myself. But by then
the kettle is whistling, the freshly ground
coffee requesting total submergence.

Josephine Goes Shopping, 1926. Honor C. Appleton (1879 – 1951)

Josephine Goes Shopping, 1926.  Honor C. Appleton (1879 - 1951)

Man and the expanding universe: art

moral courage died
and corruption’s stench prevailed –
lies erased the truth

my LinkedIn friends keep endorsing me
for Government. But me and Uncle Sam

are a shrinking universe. I’m leaving
the troop that errs, the team that lies,

leaders who destroy lives for sport, as art –
themselves a crime, a sin, a plague. Farewell.

Staircase Rapids, North Fork Snohomish River

Staircase Rapids, North Fork Snohomish River

The Lone Ranger

There is a rumor the Lone Ranger
was a Negro and that’s why
the white guys who always play him
wear a full-face black mask.

Hi-Yo Silver! Away!

When I was in the seventh grade
(must have been 1968/1969),
I wrote a theme paper entitled,
“The Story of the Negro Cowboys.”

Who was that masked man, anyway?

Nat Love, also known as Deadwood Dick,
Bill Pickett, One Horse Charley (also
known as Nigger One Horse Charley)
and Bass Reeves, slave-turned-lawman.

Was Bass Reeves really the Lone Ranger?

Maybe. Maybe not. But the last thing
we need right now is a mythological Negro,
on a white horse, here to save us from
a mythologized Negro on a white horse.

Hi-Yo Silver! Away!


An episode: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wenqye5H-A0

Grotte de Rouffignac (Dordogne)

Grotte de Rouffegnac (Dordogne)

Your poem about carrots
made me think about tobacco –
stalks so tall, rows so long,
long as the eye could see…

I only lasted a couple of weeks –
the fat worms on the broad green leaves –
and the hot sun beating on me,
on my head, the days so long.

Portrait of Christ from the Book of Kells

Portrait of Christ from the Book of Kells

Man and the expanding universe: peace

the big bang of war
makes us fear that peace is far –
removed from our dreams.

yet peace is gaining critical mass each
moment that passes: its energy is spreading

diametrically, at an accelerating rate, and reasons
for war and conflict are shrinking, like fear

and greed, and the senseless need to dominate
others. Let peace expand and grow.