Tuesday, February 10, 2015



I. A tribute to e. e. cummings and Nikki Giovanni

outrage is just a stone,
 it does not melt away,
  but it is ground away in the machine,
   and becomes a thousand useless little irritations.

yet  ... o (no),
 u left your ! and made even the most . a ?
and those () dear friend.  They belong to JONES
  softer more uncertain than the [],


and our bodies for what they are worth,
 were never meant to be accounted,
   and when multiplied, squared, or exponentialed,
    these conceits form no transcendentals.

I yes I yes I

II. Reflection and an important allusion if you want to understand this poem.

why do the heathen rage?
it is because I know a boy can fly.
that's why the heathens rage.

C. Gulliver on the shore.

Once he lay asleep,
"Them" up to him softly creep,
Lest he turn and "them" there  bury.
A thousand million eyes are wary,
Of any gesture he should make,
To give portent that he awakes.
And with their little ropes like thread,
Try to fix his arms and legs,
But foolish, nameless, hapless elves,
Their magic works but on themselves,
and When his shoulder starts to rise,
The terror fills their bright wide eyes.

4. I reflect on what I am doing

but why talk so bitterly,
and in couplets give any accidental praise,
to consider their vane thoughts,
in terms like human innocence?
no, they gave up their humanity,
the moment they ate again of the tree,
and no third coming's coming,
to replace the second fall.

All miracles are virtues in an evil age;
and what can be more natural,
then to deny the supernatural,
and see nothing outside the ego cage?

None. The real problem is the answer came before the question

Mirthless laughter heals no wound,
And mockery mocks down friend and foe,
"But this lies all within the will of God,"
Yet, I swear this is not the only language I know.

To see, to hear, to taste, to feel,
We turn towards the cooler air,
Perhaps we shall find him there,
And his shadow passing over, heal.

For to Job was given a riddle, and to Jonah a great sign,
To Elijah a widow and her child, and to Peter two coins.

I myself am rooted down by a thousand cares,
but may heaven forgive my pride,
not, of myself; No, I would not compare,
or dare think myself in that way justified,

The poet is infinitely greater than his poem.
No machine exceeds its inventor,
But there can be no art without an artist,
and praising a creation I praise the creator.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Lyrics to "Sins Against Hope"

Sins Against Hope

Never thought it would be this way
Hand-to-mouth, struggling through every day
Life is nothing but bills to pay
A better life – just empty words to say

But I am American
I am American
I am American
And I’m gonna be OK

You and I with a world between
Though I speak, you can’t know what I mean
Our eyes are glazed over sights unseen
Occupied, purple states and going green

But we are Americans
We are American
We are Americans
And we’re gonna be OK

Bombs away!  Daisy cutters, marching bands
For the young, blood soaking through the sand
Iron fists, velvet gloves and helping hands
Disengage, or kill what we don’t understand

But we are Americans
We are American
We are Americans

And you’re gonna be OK

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Lightning Bugs (& Glenmorangie)

It amazes me
how lightning bugs
have the power to entrance
higher beings
with their brief flash of light
in so simple a form.

Perhaps the angels wonder alike
at our brief moments of grace.

Friday, August 19, 2011

The last breath warmed

We waited with him all the night
She in her blanket
Me in my coat and boots
Like the watchers of the tower
Thinking that sometime that night
The sappers mines would be sprung
And we would tumble among the falling stones
Crushed and bruised among the ruins
And so we did not sleep
And at dawn, breathing still came

She rose to boil water for my tea
And I looked at the profile of her face
Long the shadow of her eyes
"It was the doctor" I said
"Bad enough that he killed him
but he made us all poor in the bargain."
But she said nothing though her lips
sang silently psalms as tired as her face.

"What should I care for all of that."
I said. "It is not even a single spark."
As the sun rose over the hill light burst in.
The gray room became a cold furnace of color.

Just then the dying man coughed,
his blue eyes opened
Every whisker of his beard stood out
around his dry gray lips.

She dropped the kettle and fell down at his side.
I remained standing in terror
Never had I seen...
"He," the lips said. "He."
The eyes stared down the long nose
And met mine.

We three silently exchanged accusations.
And I wished him dead.
But the eyes kept staring
long after the last breath ended.


Thus it is I conclude my contributions to the sterquilinium with this final inspection of mortality. I think it, perhaps, my best as it contains all my thoughts on the matter.

Quod Erat Demonstratum

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Late Night - An Experimental Poem

No dreams this night:
The silver portent - cold, bright
Hides behind her curtain
Looks down
Sees my lit window
and searches somewhere else
for another soul
to give her dreams to.

No dreams tonight:
The moral question - wrong, right
Echos around the chamber
Bends down
Fingers his gold trumpet
but considers another time
for another soul
to give his message to.

The earth is uprooted
And the cauldron is empty.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


The sun rises over the hills
her luminescence shattered into beams
by the towers and blocks of a
World, in its middle age,
with sins not excusable by sincerity,
but planned and scheduled like virtues.

Feeling has returned to my limbs
that had been numbed by the cold bed
of stones with the cold air
The old sweet stench inside the jail
becomes new and bitter in the sunlight
My jailer's breath dampens
all the teeth under his crushed eye are gone
he is here because he can not fight only swear
and he knows the captain

Lead me than, my friend, to the torture
To the place of martyrdom
Take me to the place of preparation
Where you will mock my old flesh with a shield and spear
And hang a bronze breast plate from my shoulders

I have comforted the others throughout the night
while we heard you and the captain laughing
at dice and women but you did not have your way
for your lust is hollow like your eyeless socket

While the bright sunlight burns the morning frost
the old women stir the embers and bow three times
boys throw stones at us from the alley
and laugh as they run away
You drag your feet at this duty
which brings you neither satisfaction nor discomfort
I shall only be remembered by you as an old man who
went to his death like a stupid beast
in blank confusion
and you shall spend today's wage
the total sum of all that I am to you
on sour wine and stale bread

And I shall pray for you

Monday, May 02, 2011

Reflections on the Death of Bin Laden

Watching the reactions of people to the death of Osama Bin Laden has been fascinating. From the aftermath of the initial report, while the ABC newsmen waited for the President, and filled up the empty time with queer speculations, the element of politics was present. Held at bay for a moment while the newsmen felt a passing twinge of shame ("it's inappropriate right now to talk of politics, but one must imagine that this will give the President a much needed political boost").

The jubilation and triumphalism followed - a kumbaya moment in which the glory of accomplishment outweighed all. But this was ephemeral, and over before it begun, quickly followed by crowds in the street chanting "USA USA USA".

And before the dust could settle on the neo-jingoism, a wave of contrition struck, with Martin Luther King cited again and again on Facebook, contemporaneous with a certain left-wing glee that the killing of Osama by Obama was spit in the face of George Bush.

Among the more idiotic reactions was that of Michael Savage, who gave Obama credit for offing Osama, but then questioned the timing. Savage even suggested that Obama timed the killing of Osama so that it would take the Royal Wedding off of the front page (Obama supposedly feeling snubbed for the lack of an invitation, and the Brits supposedly snubbing him because he sent a bust of Winston Churchill back with a return to sender note).

Where it leads tomorrow, I cannot predict. Probably into an endless discussion of the political ramifications, vote projections, political capital, and the feelings of the American Street.

But here's what I know:

Osama Bin Laden had fallen into evil. The world of man is better off without him. But, while the loss of his life is no cause for sorrow, we should (those of us who are Christians) still mourn the loss of his immortal soul - which in all likelihood, is lost forever in the gravity of the utter rejection of God. Where there is life, there is hope, no matter how thin, for repentance, conversion, contrition and purpose of amendment.

Those who killed Bin Laden (the CIA and Navy SEALs et al who participated in the mission) were acting in the just defense of both innocence and civilization. Their heroism is above reproach. You and I owe our lives and freedom to men and women such as these.

As for Obama, May 1, 2011 was the day that Barack Obama became an American President. Now, he has been for some time, the President of the United States, in that he was duly elected, and held the office and powers of that position. But prior to May 1, Obama was, like Jimmy Carter before him, an aberration, a misfit. Wielding the power, but both unsuited and unaccustomed to what that meant. He was President of a Party. Earlier that evening, at the White House Correspondents dinner, Obama was nothing more than the Comedian-in-Chief. Playing to that modern liberal doctrine that places a punchline ahead of policy. The world-view that places Jon Stewart at the pinnacle of politics. In essence, up to May 1, even through the assault on Bin Laden, Obama was so much like Jimmy Carter that only the failure of the helicopters to crash separated the two men. Much will be made of Obama's "gutsy" decision to send in the troops rather than to, ala Bill Clinton, just fire off some missiles. But Carter, too, chose to send fighting men on a daring mission into enemy territory. Had the helicopters all crashed, had the mission been a failure...?

Even in the wake of the success of the mission, Obama could have remained Carter. A buffoon whose hamfisted handling of the economy, whose twisted idealism, and whose ineffectual grandstanding led America deeper into a morass forged in the socialist policies of his predecessors. But that all changed with Obama's speech to the nation. Rather than cite Bush's failures in Tora Bora, rather than repeat his puerile pandering in the Cairo speech; rather than issue a tepid apology, Obama for the first time raised the flag of American Exceptionalism. Obama recognized that there was something different about America. He cited our Values, our Character, our Resolve, whether these things still exist or not. From the childish anti-colonialism that typified his foreign policy before, Obama changed course, placing himself at the head of the columns, and for the first time publicly, was unashamed to be an American.

Now, I cannot predict where Obama will go from here. In all likelihood, he will return to form, bowing to foreign Powers, descending into partisan wrangling and petty pandering. But at the moment of his speech, he joined the ranks of American Presidents - a leader of OUR nation, a champion for the good that is in US; not a condemnation and reproach. No matter where he goes from here, he has definitively joined the club. He has been branded with having both perceived and acted upon the most basic and inherent duty of his office: that of the Defender.

And, of course, in his speech to the nation, Obama tried to separate the actions taken against Bin Laden from actions taken against Islam. And, he recognized in his speech that George Bush did the same. Islam, he said, is a religion of peace and Bin Laden cannot be laid at its feet.

He had to say this. As did Bush. Perhaps Obama believes this, having much more experience than Bush in the nature of Islam. But, again, he HAD to say this. Could any President, Obama, or Bush, stand before the world and accuse Islam of being a religion of blood & destruction? What end would that serve?

But Islam is not a religion of peace. Islam is to peace what Christopher Hitchens is to sobriety. That is, Islam and peace are occasional but uncomfortable bedfellows. But, then, Christianity is neither a religion of peace. Oh, certainly, we are lulled into picturing the sandal-wearing, hippie-Christ dispensing platitudes, but we forget that Christ said "I come not to bring peace, but a sword," and promised to set father against son, and brother against brother. The reality is that secularism, the religion of both Bush and Obama, desperately wants the religions of Abraham, to ultimately reach a passive syncretism that leaves faith as a tepid coloration that does not interfere with the ultimate secular goals of power.

But Islam, like Christianity, like Judaism, and like Secularism itself, cannot be a religion of peace. Islam lays claim to the Truth. A Truth that is incompatible with the Truth followed by Christianity. Truths that are mutually exclusive. Certainly, Obama, Bush, and the secularists like them have been lulled into quiescence in the face of Christianity in which common Christians barter their birthrights in the marketplace of Mammon. But the innate submission of western Christians to the enlightenment only has a weak analog within Islam. Certainly, the muslims of the tribal regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan are lusty, ignorant savages, but they are more human than you and I, with our sterilized, plastic existences. I do not for a moment cede Islam Truth. But I respect that muslims have, more than Christians, resisted the secular goal of reducing humanity to efficient cogs in a materialist machine.

Like the crusaders, admiring the Saracens for their vigor and devotion (if not for their reputed civilization and tolerance - a 19th century invention by self-despising westerners), we must recognize that, as St. Augustine opined, the City of Man and the City of God are incompatible, and that more separates the pious from the efficient than separates the Christian from the muslim. We can strive for the just ordering of society, but the Christian can never be at home in this world. This is the world of man. To be at peace in this world is to bare one's throat to that very beast that can destroy the body but cannot touch the soul. In that relatively endless struggle, the Christian must deplore the death of Osama Bin Laden, adore the devotion of the soldiers who sacrifice all for the safety of their countrymen, admire the men who, like Obama, shoulder the burden of protecting the sheepfold, and cling stubbornly to their faith, remembering the promise that the gates of Hell shall never prevail against us.