Posted in Musings and Reflections

Precedence Prescience Presence Day

a day of precedence
infused with presience
to contemplate the presence
of the king of kings and presidents

Posted in Longreads and Essays

Midweek Essays – Independence Day – Letter To The President

It is the Fourth of July and today is how this Fourth should be, grey and wet and cold.  There is no celebration of independence or freedom or democracy, only these angry, grey clouds weeping for the 200,000 blackened corpses buried in the desert sand, forgotten.  God knows, we’ve tried to forget them with our ticker-tape and parades and apple pie and prayers, but I will remember.  The blood of your brother cries from the ground.

It all seems surreal like some subtle nightmare and sometimes I wonder if I’m ever going to awake.  Two hundred million people celebrating Death.  Oh, I’m sorry, I mean the safe return of our troops and how so few were killed (300 is a few?).  But I forget.  The blood of Americans is so precious and the blood of others is, as someone once said, “of nigh equal value to swine’s blood.”

The President choked up during a recent speech when he mentioned how he prayed for the soldiers.  Well, Mr. President I prayed too; for the soldiers and for those others, well, you know, those forgotten ones, for peace, for justice, for real solutions, but my God didn’t hear me.  At least the fire that came down and licked up your sacrifices and the stones and the water in the pit and the bunkers and the metal and the flesh wasn’t in answer to my prayers.  And now I’m left with no altar and the priests and the prophets are all dead.  You killed them, Mr. President, you and your Medal of Freedom toting, media-blackout men.  So you win, Mr. President, your God is bigger than my God, my God of the Little; my God of mites and children and the poor and the mustard seeds and tiny babies in mangers.  You win.  You’re first and I’m last.  It almost makes me laugh.

It is the Fourth of July and this is how the Fourth should be, grey and wet and cold.  There is no celebration of independence or freedom or democracy, only a bitter taste in my mouth, sort of like vinegar and cheap wine and blood running down the chin of a dying Carpenter a couple of days ago.  You remember, don’t you?  The Crucifixion and how they laid him in a mass grave after he was dead.  Oops, I guess I’ve been misled.  But you know I wonder.

Whose blood was that that was shed?

July 4, 1991 – after “first” Gulf War

Posted in Leaves on the Poet Tree (Poems)

Heiwa Haiku 75 #notetopresident

You glorify war ~
You worship the warrior ~

Posted in Musings and Reflections

Step Right Up! There’s A New Circus in Town

The real reason Ringling Brothers circus decided to close after 146 years is because they knew there was no way they could compete with the current administration.

Posted in Leaves on the Poet Tree (Poems)

No Faith In Kings

i know it’s the in thing
the song we’re all supposed to sing
but i won’t put my faith in this king

the prosperity he promises to bring
is reserved for those fitting
a certain description
i refuse to participate in the conscription
that he is ordering

this business of governing
is a ground up thing
all of his teeth grinding
his habitual coniption
doesn’t change the prescription
or where my faith is residing

not in some reality tv lying
mene tekal on his building
this kingdom is dying
i sighing
trying not to trust in the empty promises
of kings

Posted in Musings and Reflections

Precedents Day


On this day we set aside to celebrate the more visible leaders of this nation,
some, who though to be remembered, should probably not be lauded overly much,
or at least not without extensive footnotes,
I propose to remember those lesser known individuals in history and in life
whose example of integrity and courage continue to guide me each day.

(If you are so led, feel free to list those who have set a precedent for you in the comments section below).

Posted in Longreads and Essays

Midweek Essays – Removing Statues

Let me be upfront right away.

I agree with the removal of Joe Paterno’s statue.

I am not saying it can’t go back up sometime years down the road, but right now in the wake of what we know, it is a symbol of divisiveness, of the abuse of power, of unhealthy idol worship, of organizational dysfunction, and of the violence that was allowed to continue to be perpetrated against children.

I believe at the core Joe Paterno was a good man. He made a horrible mistake. But he doesn’t need a statue. At least not now.

Then I got to thinking about all of the other statues we have dedicated to the heroes of this country.

Twelve of this country’s Presidents owned slaves and eight of these owned slaves while they were serving as President.

George Washington owned 200 slaves. Talk about a horrific and abusive system to be a part of!

Counting the Washington Monument, there are 10 statues of Washington in Washington, DC alone. So perhaps we should take them down, put them all in storage, and rename the Washington Monument and the District of Columbia. Of course, that is a lot of work. We’d have figure out what to do with the hundreds of other statues throughout the country and what to call the colleges and universities that carry our first President’s name. Perhaps we could keep the names and just say that they are named after Booker T. (who wrote Up From Slavery) instead of George. (Though there wouldn’t be much of a resemblance on Mt. Rushmore).

It wouldn’t cause as much of an uproar but while we’re at it, let’s take down the statues of the other slave-owning Presidents – Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, Andrew Jackson, Martin Van Buren, William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, James K. Polk, Zachary Taylor and Andrew Johnson. (U.S. Grant freed his slaves so we’ll leave his statues standing).

The lessons here are as old as the Golden Calf.

Idol worship is a set up for disappointment. Humans are not gods. No one is above accountability. Ultimate power corrupts ultimately.

And perhaps, just perhaps, there needs to be a little more humility and a lot less hubris in the world.

Especially when it means paying tribute to men, however highly we may think of them, whose actions or inaction greases the gears of a system that oppresses others.

Posted in Longreads and Essays

Weekly Serial Book 4 Chapter 3: Letters To The President

September 20, 2001

Dear Mr. President,

In light of the recent tragic events that have so profoundly devastated our nation, I urge you to restrain the strong arm of violence and vengeance. What is the role compassion, mercy, and forgiveness will play in “infinite justice?”

Ours is the strong hand, Mr. President. Let us not weaken it by bringing more death to ourselves and others.

Jesus has told us explicitly to love our enemies. You and your advisers are not exempt from that command.

Seek the road less traveled, Mr. President, while there is still yet time to truly change the world.


Letter to the President written Sept. 2011, nine days after 9/11

Posted in Longreads and Essays

Weekly Serial Book 4 Chapter 2: Letters To The President

May 12, 2001,

Dear Mr. President,

I am very concerned about oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Please sir, I ask that you rethink your commitment to this policy. I urge you to ask the American people to live lives more consistent with taking care of the earth rather than continuing to use most of the world’s resources. Is it too much to ask that we think of the rest of the human family?

God has given you the opportunity to be head of the most powerful nation on the planet. When your actions are weighed in the balance of history, will they be truly compassionate or simply preservation of the status quo?

The U.S. will truly be a great nation when we show the nations of the world the true measure of greatness – the creation of a society based on compassion for all the peoples and creatures of the earth.

What does the Lord require of you? This is your chance.


Letter to the President May 2001