Category Archives: soldiers

Make America great.

On an early day in February, in a quiet moment, I sat at my desk, in my study. I was warm.  I was not in want.  I was lucky as deaths from the virus passed 450,000. 

And I thought about making America great again. Maybe he was right, that America is no longer great, but was the reason because we lost manufacturing jobs to China? Does that make a country, great?

I believe we are no longer great because we have lost our way.

America once stood for something.

Not just one thing many things.

Freedom, Justice, Equality.

It was a place of hope where people would come to, from all over the world, for the chance at a better life.

Our founding fathers, imperfect individuals, many of whom own slaves, created the Constitution and Bill of Rights because they envisioned a more perfect union. They knew that they were not capable of getting there, but they gave their children and children’s children the ability to go beyond what they could even imagine.

Lady Liberty calls to the world, Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free.

She does not say give us your white Christians and the rest can go to hell.

My parents’ generation, the greatest generation, fought in World War II to end fascism not to import it to our country.

Dr King did not want perfection.  He just wanted to place where his children could sit at the same table. Was that too much to ask for?  To sit at the same table with people who disagree with you and talk as equals.

Being great is a process not a destination. We were never great, but we were always on the way to greatness. I fear we have lost our way.

Can we believe in God and not believe;

That all men are created equal? 

That we should help the widow and the orphan? 

That we should welcome the stranger in our midst?

That we are stewards of the Earth but we do not own it?

Even the small plot of land where we will be buried is not ours.  With our very last molecule of energy, we feed the bugs and worms and nourish the Earth around our disintegrating coffin.  If our last act on Earth is one of charity, why is being charitable so hard to do when we are living?


Dear Mr. President 060220

Dear Mr. President,
Do you think by using
overwhelming force
against your own people,
you will accomplish anything?
You are not even putting
a bandage on a gunshot wound.

The anger that your people feel
cannot be contained
if they are forced back
into their homes
or prison cells.

There is no justification for people
to commit acts of violence
against innocent people.
It is wrong when committed
by an individual
or the government.

The problem is a racist system.
The problem is not a brick through a window.
You cannot solve the problem
by silencing the victims.

Racism exists
On city streets,
In quiet neighborhoods,
In public parks.

In the Inquisition there was a saying,
You have not converted a man because you have silenced him.
Social inequalities will not go away
unless we make them go away,
through legislation
through education
through a redistribution of wealth.

Patriots say, freedom is not free!
But neither is equality.
Neither is justice.
We need to fight for equality.
We need to fight for justice.
Not only when it is in the news,
But every moment that we breathe.

Victims have long memories.
We will remember the knee on his neck.
We will remember the plea for mercy.
We will remember the death
in a quiet neighborhood.
We will remember the call to the police.

The troops you send against us,
Will not wipe those injustices,
Or the thousand others from our memory.
Change will.

 


The Soldier Memorial Day 2016

As he lay dying,

He didn’t think of his country.

He thought of his mother

And the tears she would shed

As she buried her only son.

She always told him

Take care of yourself, Albert.

Come home

To people that love you.

 

He did not think of the country he was giving his life for.

He did not think of the rhetoric of politicians.

He did not think that God wanted this war.

 

He thought of his girlfriend

The girl he loved since sixth grade

But only got up the nerve

To ask her out a year ago.

 

He thought of her smile

That was often followed by giddy laughter

In response to something silly he did.

He thought of her deep brown eyes

That would make the rest of the world melt away

And made his heart both weak and strong.

 

He did not think of the country he was giving his life for.

He did not think of the minimum wage.

He did not think of bathrooms or wedding cakes.

 

He thought of his kid brother

Barely in his teens and

Already getting into trouble.

Who will teach him life’s lessons,

While playing basketball

On the court set up in their driveway?

Who will keep him in line,

While giving him space to grow?

 

He did not think of the country he was giving his life for.

He did not think of the racism or the crime in the streets.

He did not think of the hatred of the stranger in the land of liberty.

 

He thought of many things.

He thought of the people he loved,

Their words, their smiles, their laughter.

And then he thought no more.

 

And we, whom he died for,

Think of bathrooms and wedding cakes.

And listen to the venomous rhetoric of our politicians.

And moan that the weather did not cooperate for our barbecue.

And haggle at car dealerships with salesmen

As they look for their next customer.

 

We, whom he died for, hardly ever

Think of the soldiers

Whose last moments

Were alone

But filled with memories

Of meaning.

 

 

 


Monday Night Poetry and Music

Tonight I am going to Monday Night Poetry and Music to read some of my stuff.  It is at the East Bay Meeting House, 160 Meeting Street in Charleston.  It starts at 8.  Hope to see you there.


The Soldier Memorial Day 2016

As he lay dying,

He didn’t think of his country.

He thought of his mother

And the tears she would shed

As she buried her only son.

She always told him

Take care of yourself, Albert.

And come home

To people that love you.

 

He did not think of the country he was giving his life for.

He did not think of the rhetoric of politicians.

He did not think that God wanted this war.

 

He thought of his girlfriend

The girl he loved since sixth grade

But only got up the nerve

To ask her out a year ago.

He thought of her smile

That was often followed by giddy laughter

In response to something silly he did.

He thought of her deep brown eyes

That would make the rest of the world melt away

And made his heart both weak and strong.

 

He did not think of the country he was giving his life for.

He did not think of the minimum wage.

He did not think of bathrooms or wedding cakes.

 

He thought of his kid brother

Barely in his teens and

Already getting into trouble.

Who will teach him life’s lessons,

While playing basketball

On the court set up in their driveway?

Who will keep him in line,

While giving him space to grow?

 

He did not think of the country he was giving his life for.

He did not think of the racism or the crime in the streets.

He did not think of the hatred of the stranger in the land of liberty.

 

He thought of many things.

He thought of the people he loved,

Their words, their smiles, their laughter.

And then he thought no more.

 

And we, whom he died for,

Think of bathrooms and wedding cakes.

And listen to the venomous rhetoric of our politicians.

And moan that the weather did not cooperate for our barbecue.

And haggle at car dealerships with salesman

Who are looking to their next customer.

 

We, whom he died for, hardly ever

Think of the soldiers

Whose last moments

Were alone

But filled with memories

Of meaning.