A Brief Moment of Wonder, Then…


… a gasp. No, not even that. All the air went out of the room, the shop where we learned “Industrial Arts” in the 8th grade in East Rochester. For at least those few seconds where our not yet adult minds we were all on the same page. There were no jocks, no nerds, no cheerleaders, heads, goths or whatever label young people like to apply to themselves. The only label that mattered after what we just saw was heartbroken. Continue reading

New Poem: Primate House

primate house

I don’t label myself, not really, when it comes to politics. A lot of people say I am a lefty, some call me a radical (I have actual radical friends that probably would get a good chuckle out of that,) progressive seams to stick. If I were to label myself I suppose I would say I am a compassionate rationalist, which does mean many of my policy opinions come down on what would be called the left. Funny how we use an outdated seating arrangement turned outdated mode of academic discussion of a “political spectrum” to create an identity.
One thing I never call myself, though, is “liberal.” Not because conservatives turned it into a dirty word. No, because so many of the so called “liberal” pundits have more in common with the conservatives they say they hate, especially when it comes to the working class. They love us, until they don’t.  I guess we’re good for a laugh though. Continue reading

Little, Plastic Soldier


He misses his little, plastic soldier.
His little, plastic soldier
that he kept in his window sill,
in his bedroom,
in his apartment,
in a country now far away.

The little, plastic soldier stood watch
as his brother and his friends
took to the streets,
marching and chanting
about things he did not understand.

The little, plastic soldier stood strong
as the real soldiers came to town,
followed by shouting and screaming,
followed by his brother disappearing,
followed by his mama crying all night.

The little, plastic soldier remained firm
when the men in masks
appeared one day,
promising hell and vengeance
on all who would not follow.

The little, plastic soldier was left behind
when mama and papa packed his bag,
stealing him and his little sisters away,
hearts full of panic,
as they avoided angry and ecstatic eyes.

The little, plastic soldier cannot help
as the five of them are packed
with hundreds of others
in the smelly, rolling, rusty ship
and air has become as precious as gold.

The little, plastic soldier fades away
as new soldiers scowl under berets,
forming a barrier between the families
and those who feel invaded,
and no one knows who is protecting whom.

The little, plastic soldier stays home
a home no longer home,
blasted to rubble,
drowned in blood, rage, and righteousness,
and the boy wonders if he still keeps watch.

Delicate Art of Saying Yes


I keep forgetting to post this. My chapbook, “Delicate Art of Saying Yes” has been available for sale for some time now. Previously it had been a give away to those who helped promote this blog, but I figured, “hell, why not make it available to everyone?”

You can either buy it from my CreateSpace store, or better yet, go to your local independent bookstore. They can order it through Ingram for you. Lift Bridge Book Shop has copies on their shelf.

Lies, Damn Lies, and What Does it Mean?


“Send them back where they came from.”
Cry the descendants
of those WithOut Papers,
or those who “need not apply.”
Because history has a sense of humor
and it is self aware
even if its perpetrators are not.

“Home of the brave”
you tell me and I try not to laugh,
as you quake in fear at the sight
of the hungry,
and dispossessed.

“These colors don’t run”
but they sure as hell curl up in the fetal position
when the well dressed dogs of war
on their TV screens
begin to bark
at the kids across the street,
while the real threat laughs away.

“Freedom isn’t free”
and you sure as hell would know
when you buy it with the chains
on your neighbor’s ankles.
Meanwhile their freedom is somehow
still on lay-away.

you chant the word in thoughtless hymns,
never asking what it means.
Freedom from what?
Freedom to what?
Freedom for whom?

“Red, white, and blue”
or bloodied
and bruised:
what we have been left with
after generations of a myth
that could at least be inspirational
if we were not too busy using it
to buy another few decades of the status quo
for the chosen few.


I was getting breakfast in the Seymour College Union at SUNY Brockport and everyone was glued to the big screen TV. The first plane had just hit and I went straight to my folks. Not knowing but suspecting what happened I worried which way America would jump. By the time I got to mom and dad’s house the second plane hit and they confirmed my worries.
Over the next few years too many Americans and almost all our politicians were willing to throw values we had at least played lip service to under the bus. I even let myself get pulled into bs, neo-con thinking on the Iraq War in the beginning, budding student of international relations and comparative development that I was. And yes, we were lied to about Iraq, though that does not excuse my lazy thinking. Demagogues  used that terrible attack that lost us both three thousand lives and our sense of invincibility that we developed through the Cold War, to line their pockets and solidify their status at the expense of more lives, both foreign and domestic. The terrorists won that day because we lost our soul, arming our police like the military in the name of an impossible perfect security.
So I want you to remember today, the three thousand plus who died in the attack, the millions of New Yorkers who spent hours, then days, then weeks sifting through the rubble and/or wondering if someone they knew was not coming home, scarred by the cloud that burst forth from lower Manhattan, the hundreds of thousands of Afghani, Iraqi, and now Syrian, men, women and children thrown on the fire of our rage and grief over the acts of men from none of those countries. I want you to remember them, and remember that after several thousand years of written history, all of us, from every corner of the planet, still allow ourselves to be played by men crying out for their place in history using our petty, tribalist instincts. 9/11 WAS our wake up call, just not in the way we became convinced of.