I talk you talk we'll talk


February 2016




The town that has a gal,
According to Glenn Miller’s band

Has lost that trust in wrecked
Romance; the “sweetest gal”
No longer waits in Kalamazoo,
Does she?

And does he want to explain
Himself? The driver who took
Fares when bouts of shooting
Anyone was done

Silently, she now attends
In another state of place,
Gated from harm


(random shootings in Kalamazoo,
one killer who worked taxi-like)

Delhi and Flint

Delhi and Flint

Pay for water; no water comes

There is no Moses at the spring
To channel water from an
Ordinary source made
Miraculously (cleanly) abundant
Through divine agency

Flint, a town in Michigan,
Faced with lead-infecting water
For the families and the other
Centers of community

Delhi, the second most-populated
City, now with broken waterways
Facing silent threats of thirst
And starvation and disease

Mis-directed plans, protests
Aggressive, violent

Innocents trapped between;

For lack of clean, living currents,
Why cannot—in global, protected
Pipes the size of bunkers made
Of (lead-free) new solid kinds
Of concrete and PVC (see, plastic
Can have its use)—why cannot

The world simply drink?

I’d do the same with food to
Stave off starving, if I could, and
Disease, if it could be tunneled
Under without harming anything,

But instead of magic utterances
Or nations’ decrees

I have only these

Half the Nation

Half the Nation

Half of all Syrians trying to escape—
Too many, for one reason or

Running not due to defiance, not
Because they are combatants

They run because otherwise
They’re killed

Can you imagine half of a nation’s
People trying to run from war?

I’m not sure I can

Please, help

That is my cry from my safe,
If disabled place

At least, for lack of bombs exploding
Near my children’s ears, I can hear
And feel to think

What else shall we do?

To make homes not over-wrought
But simply safe from civil—civil, we
Call it that—extinction

After half are gone, what can the
Remainder do? This is not simple

Half a nation left is not division,
There is no numeric cohesion, for

What is left is unmeasured ones of
Split in twos

First ones fled into frightening beyond-
Numbering equations


(news covered in The Skimm,

Black Life Matters

an opinion expressed potently
in a White House meeting about
murdered Blacks, the living
marginalized—here’s my response


Black Life Matters

Do I even need to say it
Yes, I do

My best friend was Black
He died too young—
Complications from surgery

What a teacher
And a humorist as well
At least, to me

I am not Black, part
Native American according
To a family historian,
Which is good, though
Looking at me, I doubt
That you could tell

I am not female; I am
The enemy: an older,
White male

I eschewed the ol’-boy
Invitation and have
Often paid the price

Not in my life (though
Maybe there, too)
But in my work
In which I’ve lost the
Favored political place

Maybe each one has
A circle drawn around
From fear and politics

Leaving that (or never
Entering) means that
Protection from the
Core is not available

And some measure of
Persecution too easily
Is acted on

“Loving Engagement”
From a better Black-drawn
Circle of union and
Society change—I don’t
Know if I’ll be let in,
Resembling and, appropriately
(Regrettably), perceived

I’d stay in the back
And write my verse
In which I argue that
All are free

And should be free

That to usurp the job of
God in assessing human
Worth is about as wrong
As this world can get

Black folk (Black discourse
Uses that word; and,
Being from Kentucky, I like
Folk and folks, though I’d
Change the old state-song
Lyrics, too)—Black folk are
Self-determining, of course

I cringe to have to make the
The claim, as all persons,
Being made, are free and
Free to choose



Psalm 28, a song when I feel haunted

Psalm 28
a song when I feel haunted

I need, Lord, your love

Who doesn’t need the love of

And yet I fear

I fear the ghosts that haunt me
From the past into the present

How do you proceed in this

How do you love?

How might I know peace this
Day from all the days wrought
In iron pain, now fully steel-

You are here, I know

You can bear sinuous demon’s
Presence away, even into

Yet I feel possessed, perhaps in
Lack of faith:

Past wrongs, mine and theirs, that
Aberrate the life that you first

Maybe this is why, in life, the (first)
Psalmists say, Make straight your

For the line of majesty arriving as
The lord of care

Travels truly—with economy and
All divine electricity—on the line

Made edged and replete when we
Ally in your design

Psalm 27, a birthdate song

Psalm 27
a birthdate song

My day once a month,
Nine times three or
Thrice three multiplied

Such numeric niceties:
How much do they

I make special one day
In my own way, taking
The number to own

My little arrangement,
My small deal, to
Negotiate in the world

A little something
Shadowed that is mine

Small possessions, Lord,
Do you mind?

I’m guessing not

We all need to remake
Certain days



My word for the day,
My gift from Oxford
Dictionaries (add a
Circle-R or TM, I’m

Define—a woman who
Remains stylish, given
Limited means (I

That’s good work
Now define a woman



We leave the church, and
Were we ever there?

Passing through television
Channels, lighting briefly on
Local access showing state
Legislators quite literally
Working on the plumbing
(Plumbing contractors) in the
Commonwealth (which is

This is what we do: in government,
We fix the plumbing

In church, we fix the pipes as
Well—yes, the organ has pipes
(If there’s one)—but I think you
Know what I mean, for you’re

Wise enough to on occasion
(Split infinitive, I know) to worship
God or wrestle with the concept—
And in some togetherness we
Wonder through sensorial
Experience: sound, sight, touch,
And taste (and, when there’s incense,
Smell), and what happens?

We leave, readier

Unless we’ve done all we could
To avoid changing from the experience

In which case, the processional
Might challenge us

When we go next time

North American Union

North American Union
(not NAFTA, more than)

So my friend Dennis
Who taught me how
To smoke a pipe (don’t
Worry; the pipe for
Years now serves only
As a decoration)

Well, Dennis once
Posited a plan—that
Canada and Mexico
Merge with USA

Dennis from Canada,
I the USA, while we
Lived and worked
Close by the San-Diego-
Tijuana border; we
Spoke of our

Now-new nation (and,
Admittedly, this is
Somewhat stereotypical
Thinking from thirty
Years ago), a country

Enjoined: vast resources
Of nature in the north
With great human ability,
From the south with ever-
New technologies from
The land between

So there, Dennis, shared
In time of friendship,

Knowing that all mortal
Things are finite and
So need care to last then
Maybe last again,

Shall we disassemble
Walls—add a writhing
Serpent into bald eagle’s
Claws, all set upon
Autumnal maple leaf—
This our new metaphor
To try?

Perhaps this is a time
To arrange triangles of
Tables, negotiating
Continents of possibility

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