An army of one
Proud Field Marshal for
Pearl of the Orient Seas
Baroque of dress
Greater than grace
In defeat or dismissal
Pride over human life, yet
Human to the core, to the corps
Look both ways. History is prophecy.
Mind the gaps and seek the truth that may never be told.
Only one American has held the title of “Field Marshal.” Douglas MacArthur was appointed Field Marshal of the Army of the Philippines in 1936 when the island nation achieved a semi-independent status. MacArthur was to create an army for the fledgling country. He wore a special uniform, complete with a Field Marshal’s baton.
Many beautiful lyrical poems pine after the Philippines. Here, “Pearl of the Orient Seas” alludes to the phrase coined by Juan J. Delgado, a Spanish Jesuit missionary, in 1751, and to a poem by Jose Rizal (Mi ultimo adios), wherein he refers to the Philippines with that name.
When Dad said, “secondhand store,” I looked at my hands. Wondered which was bought second. It’s a euphemism for used. Now it’s preloved. Just bought a preloved printer. Nobody loves evil printers. They’re used.
Daughter, Julie, likens me to George Carlin. Not as funny, but I’m snarkastic. We both rant about softening lingo with euphemistic bull shit excrement. It’s doublespeak. Even good bad words, a euphemism for euphemisms. What’s your favorite?
Look both ways: a euphemism for pay attention or consider all options. Mind both past and future.
So is mind the gaps. Maybe metaphor is mo’ betta’.
We see and seem to know nature from first smiles
to the sound of a baby’s giggles
there is a special happy glow in the hopeful eyes
of helpless, needy life.
And as years pass over, our senses tell us more,
who they are and who we’ve become,
and we learn there is light because of darkness,
that happy grows from sorrow and loss.
When the child looks back
do we see through the years, the fears, and the tears?
Into the now aging eyes to find the hopeful baby,
still there, now aware.
When we look upon others, do we see with humanness?
Do we look both ways to either a distant history or a promising future?
Look both ways to the very young and very old.
Mind the gaps where perfection is a trap.
It’s August again. Just another
one of twelve named collections of days
to mark our planetary position
relative to our Sun, called sol, in our
solar system spinning reliably about
in some outer spiral arm
of our Milky Way galaxy. Our home.
August is supposed to mean something important,
like some Roman title signifying reverence;
to hold in high regard. I don’t do that for August.
As a child, school started next month,
I was often bored, sunburned, a year older.
Halloween and Christmas were far off.
I feared some raging red-faced nun’s pounding footsteps
and bone rattling beads storming my way,
with some weapon of horror in her hellish hand.
Hormones made me feel things I didn’t understand.
I still don’t get all that. Crazy life.
As an adult, August now means hot and dry. West coast
wildfires raging on while US Forest Service bureaucrats
either fight or fiddle for smarter management
policies for mother nature to ignore.
I try to be respectful of August.
It’s the end of summer, the gateway for September
as promised glories of Autumn soon fall upon us. Coolness.
And color. And feelings. October promises more.
My apologies to summer lovers, tanned bodies,
teacher’s times off, vacations (because kids), and to Caesar.
I say it every year. Only Christmas can save August.
Look both ways to seasons past and yet to come.
Mind the gaps in government policies.
They’re only human, even if they can’t admit it, until the mic is hot.
They were big, ugly, dangerous,
and ubiquitous to us. Black piles
of sandy slag, hundred foot high
hills of grief daring us
to climb to the top, for no reason,
sometimes at our own peril.
This stuff was soft like black, dry
quicksand. My foot would sink
and the slag would rise above my ankle,
sometimes to my knees,
allowing the scree into my shoes.
Each step was a challenge.
Maybe that’s why we climbed,
for the challenge, the thrill, the view,
perhaps the danger.
We’d been warned not to go.
Sometimes culm banks caught fire.
Children fell into their sink holes
and suffocated. Anthracite coal
was the black diamonds of the barons,
deadly job resources for citizens.
All overlooked, denied, or shrugged-off,
both human exploitation and environmental
degradation. They were witnesses
to the need and to the greed.
I didn’t know it then,
most of the world’s anthracite
coal supply was crushed by eons
of pressure beneath my feet. It was also
why we were there: the sons, daughters,
and grands of the men who built the banks.
Look both ways with two perspectives, theirs and ours.
Mind the gaps as you watch for the traps.
Having descended recently
from progenitors, through
many millennia, I am tethered
to an inseverable past, a chain
of evolutionary becoming me;
this “I” is very much of that,
of then, literally of them.
Subject to the will of nature,
this intense soulful belonging,
universal humanity, who taught me
to walk, run, eat; to pee,
and to talk. Into the wonderous wild,
not benign, to risk danger, to
create art, to live as human
now, to feel art in my nature.
Look both ways and live for today.
But we are products of a past not our own.
Mind the gaps for more questions than there are answers.
in the smiles of others,
in visions of those we love,
people we care about,
that is where truest,
most honest, happiness thrives.
To see such dancing zest is to feel
the same in my bones, heart, and mind;
while tears of delight run down
my cheeks. When babies laugh.
Hope laden felicity. Even
an old man simply must smile.
To sing and dance
with those we love most,
to see and hear them rise
in rebirth to life’s glorious days,
to overcome fears and sadness
that come with what we call
our human condition.
How strange, that we may
give or receive no greater gift,
no higher prize,
no nourishing of the spirit,
no deeper love than to allow
others to be and to see us
high on being alive.
Even more, to here and now
let love swirl among us all. Hallelujah!
Look both ways for the joy of love.
Mind the gaps, but live and let live.
or is it my mind?
Whatever. It’s rebelling. Just for today, as they say in AA.
It will not allow
even a crumb
of creative thought
to come in,
to the page.
“No, no, no,” it says,
“I will not go!”
As I sit here.
(Ever have this?)
It feels like fear,
of emotion and purpose.
Where to start?
Much less, any thought
of how to finish.
Just this silence.
The sleep that disallows
doing the exercise,
with lines pulled too tight.
I feel stymied
by an overworked
it simply does not
work for me. I’m sorry.
I have ED of the mind.
I should leave.
Take a nap. Wane a bit.
They call it “block.”
I’m sure it’s temporary.
But what a shitty
I feel museless.
Look both ways for the walls of chaos.
Mind the gaps, gasps, and gyps. And this…
“Many people hear voices when no one is there. Some of them are called mad and are shut up in rooms where they stare at the walls all day. Others are called writers and they do pretty much the same thing.” – Margaret Chittenden
It’s Mexican Hat season.
They dance in the rain, anyway the wind blows,
swaying smoothly back and forth,
bouncing—just a little,
with wet touches from showering raindrops.
And now it’s time. Put away dark felt hats.
Get out the white straws with good brims
for hot summer days, sunscreen
for kids out of school and in the pool.
Masks down. Baseball games. Dad’s Day.
Lock-a-ways minus hugs-er-kisses, going or gone;
eating outs, coffee inside or out-back, it’s all on the list
as some virus ebbs but not yet gone.
Not yet. Not all gone.
Nature’s changing. Deer sleeping. Skunks are mating.
Birds begging loud and lively, ready to party at sunrise.
Long days inching sunsets later
as we give Spring a pass—its due.
All of us, a season older.
Here come the suns of another Texas summer.
Three sisters tapping on season’s door:
June, July, and August, ready
to straddle time—solstice to equinox.
I’ve memories, some good, some bad.
I want more, and more.
Then, I want still more.
Look both ways at passing seasons.
Mind the gaps and water the plants.