Poetry: The Extinction of Humanity

I feel helpless and hopeless
watching a world full of people
essentially committing suicide.

To say it’s a crazy world is not good enough.
Nature will in some way survive,
planet Earth will go on without us.

We have most of the wisdom and insight
to tweak life and existence from Her,
but we will not, and I can’t fix it.

Self-annihilation through denial,
ironically seeking a better life
believing what is bad is in fact good.

Deceptions. Mortality sings only a dirge,
cries of lament over what might have been.
Humanity: another great failed experiment.

Consider all options and look both ways.
Find and mind the gaps for the science of truth.

Sammi’s Weekender #144: sculpture


Cowboys look like Cooper, Wayne,
Marvin; or tall, thin Stewart. I seen
movies in the 50’s,
High Noon or Liberty Valance with
great songs.

Not s’posed to look like the sculpture.
The horse is right,
but the cowboy rock sittin’ is short,
round-faced with a big ‘stash and
no gun, holdin’ reins
lest Ol’ Buck runs off spooked.

The wrangler wears chaps and a jacket.
Reality ain’t movies, both’s art though.


Drop your blinders and look both ways.
Mind the gaps for, “The history of mankind is carried on the back of a horse.”


Essay: I Wear Lorry’s Ring

I think my aunt Lorry loved me a lot more than I realized. I remember how each week she’d cut the latest Dennis the Menace gag comic, single-panel cartoon from her newspaper along with a word of the day snippet, and she would mail them to me accompanied by a little note. My behavior reminded her of the cartoon protagonist, or vice versa. While I never saw the connection (the cartoon being more innocently contrived), it was the only mail I recall getting from anyone, particularly from an adult when it was not my birthday or Christmas. Lorry and what she did for me are among many things I failed to adequately appreciate in my childhood. But I do now.

When I graduated from Texas A&M, my mother’s older sister also paid for my class ring. Aggie class rings are a big deal to alumni (aka former students), as they are for grads of many other schools. I still wear the ring today, almost 50 years later.

Her real name was Dolores. My sister and I, along with our cousin, called her Lorry, but I never asked why. For most of my life, Lorry lived and worked in Washington, D.C., about a four-hour drive from Wilks-Barre today with light traffic, but almost twice that by bus in the 1950s. So, I didn’t see her often. She also never married and was considered old fashioned and a very traditional, staunch Catholic, even back in the day. She was not difficult, but would criticize wrongdoing when she saw it, explaining her labored relationship with my father.

I suspect Lorry was quite bright. Had it not been for the negative antifeminist influences of her early 20th Century culture and her family, she would have achieved more, not that she did poorly for one who entered the female workforce early in the Great Depression. But then, I’d not have a famous cartoon character as a childhood alter ego, my vocabulary might be less sufficient, and my word-love less geeky had she been different.

Unlike me and little Jackie Paper, Dennis (the menace) Mitchell is still five-and-a-half years old. The cartoon dates to 1951, and it is still in world-wide syndication. Can you imagine Dennis in his late 60s? (I smiled when I wrote that question.) I can. I imagine him in his early 70s, still with the persona of a five-year-old troublemaker.

For the record, Puff the Magic Dragon and Jackie Paper are in their late fifties. I try not to mentally associate them with AC-47 Spooky gunships through that song, but that’s part of me too. There is a certain sadness to all that 1960s and ‘70s stuff that my Irish nature seems to nostalgically understand, but few others get.

But I wonder. What would the Lorry I knew think of me today? As always, there are some aspects of me with which she would undoubtedly find fault. I’m sure she would explain where I could improve. Fair enough. But would she get my ironic sense of humor? What about my vocabulary? I’d probably get a dictionary or world atlas for my birthday (again). And what of her opinion of my writing? My poems (the clean ones)?

Do you have a troublesome young family member? Do you think he or she will remember you and write about you 40 years after you die? Lorry would not have thought so either. But she’d a been wrong. And she might have corrected my spelling and grammar. And I would change it – for her.

What we see as we look both ways changes with life and times,
but not really who we are.
Mind the gaps, but cherish the memories.

Sammi’s Weekender #143: elysian


My Nebular Hypothesis

As pale second-row space dust
fills elysian tensions
with galactic hues
of cosmic color,
reflecting star-glow visions,

Creations from passing stars,
with no night skies or eyes
to see wondering worlds,
gods of fortune
grant the ages.

An immortal Elysium paradise
of cosmogonic gods breathe
magic into lifeless particles,
and life is called forth,
a creation.


Look both ways, then look up.
That is an awesome sight.
Mind the celestial gaps
for they hide galactic wonder where we may wish to wander.

Poetry: Survival

What was the most tired you been?
Slept standing or fallen down tired?
Been so dizzy? I hallucinated.
At POW camp they
would not let us sleep.
Peed in a #10 coffee can,
locked in cell, both overflowed.

To learn how to survive capture,
being treated beyond awful, we endure
such misery; to live it, feel it, survive it.
I thought I would not. Might never try.
How did they survive not knowing;
forsaken and forgotten?
Many decided to die. Too awful
to live. Most decided otherwise.

Sometimes, dancing in the rain,
or walking through the fire
are both hard-learned lessons.

Look both ways for light at both ends of the tunnel.
Mind the gaps in the dark until you can see.
Find life. Love freedom.

Sammi’s Weekender #142: Looking-glass


i know. you know this privilege
denied many, this gift of age,
being long of life. pleasures
charging dues paid
with guilt, pain, and sorrow.

now i see that it’s
no longer me; old bones
with thin skin,
lost hair
or worthless white wisps.

does this looking-glass lie?
let me be what i was—

young. look, old man. look at me.
i’m your truth.


See truth and reality in the looking glass. Mind the gaps and ignore the bald spots.

 

Poetry: Put it on our bill

A Starbucks in a grocery store,
it’s still a place to shop
for food, and in this state,
wine and beer—a super market—
what my mother would call
the Acme (pronounced ack-a-me
in the vernacular of “The Valley”
where I grew up)—

those early places that put
the small Mom and Pop, corner
stores with personal
one-on-one service and where I,
even as a kid, could say,
“put it on our bill,” out of business.

No receipt. No stolen identity fears,
just trust. A time and place where everybody
knew my name and who my
family was, and knew more about all
of us than any one of us did. And
the cash register had a crank handle,

and I could walk there
in five minutes and nobody
had a credit card and Starbucks
and my first child were still
then, 15 years from now.

That Mom and Pop stuff
is all gone now.
But there’s $14.65 left
on my Starbucks gift card.

Look both ways, there is no time limit on gift cards,
and I will think of you every time I use it.
Mind the gaps, they have limits and must be used.