Wednesday, November 25, 2015

My Hat

I’m not typically a hat wearer, a cap donner, a chapeau aficionado, or even a hoodie flipper, but recently while perusing through a fine men’s wear haberdashery in a small mountain village of Bavarian persuasion smothered in Christmas sauce, I spotted a hand-made… Wait! Not just a hand made, but a "Responsibly grown, (and) beautifully made" hat (according to the sewn in label). A genuine member of the “Conner hand-made hats” family! And as fate would have it, it was an extra-large… just like my head!

To sweeten the deal even further, it was a dusty faded shade of pine green, pre-scuffed and pre-worn in all the right places; not quite a fedora and not quite an Aussie outback hat. It was… it was the perfect hat. And by perfect I mean it was the first hat to ever speak to me, and it said, and I quote, “Hey dude, I’m your hat”.

“I don’t need a hat,” I said back to the hat, and I set it down and continued walking through the haberdash… Ha! Who am I kidding? I continued walking through the overpriced Leavenworth gift shop.

Then I heard my wife say, “Do you like that one?”

“What?” I said. “Yeah, I guess, but I don’t need a hat,” I continued.

“You should get it,” she shot back.

I reluctantly returned to the hat. It sat there looking a little smug for my taste, but I picked it up and dropped it back on my head. It fit perfectly… “Slytherin!” it hissed. I flinched and the hat laughed, “just kidding,” it said. “I see you've read the books…”

“Yeah I read the…”

“I think you should get it,” my wife said, unknowingly interrupting my conversation with the hat.

I looked at the price tag and set the hat back down for the second time. “I can’t afford it,” I said.

She picked it up and checked the tag. “It’s $49.00. You can afford $49.00,” she informed me.

“That’s a lot for a hat!” I protested. But being as well-versed about hat prices as I am about the going rate of mangos in Dubai I was apparently unconvincing.

“Get the hat,” she said.

“Do you want this in a bag, or will you be wearing it?” the cashier asked.

"I'll wear it," I said, and I still wear it… Because after all, it’s the perfect hat.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Tipping Point

We enter the rapid
off balance.
The current
more than my paddle
sets our course,
and chooses our fate.

A fallen tree
reaching up like a beggar
nudges the side of our canoe.
An observing raven
flies from its branches
loudly calling out its displeasure,
as the river’s icy water envelopes us
quickly and completely.

Rising to the surface
my wife and myself,
our canoe and our gear,
scatter like raindrops
on a freshly waxed car hood,
gripped only by gravity.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

As Alexander Graham Bell Intended

Remember when you could end a phone call by putting the receiver… The receiver… You know, the talky part on the curly cord. Anyway, remember when you could end a phone call by putting the receiver back on main part of the telephone, in the cradle thingy, by the number dial? You could set it, you could slam it; with a little practice you could even toss it. As long as you got it on there halfway straight the call was over, fineto, finished! Geeze I miss those days. Now half the time I can’t figure out how to hang up my telephone... Er, excuse me, my “smart phone”.

Oh I know how to press the END CALL button. The problem is that it’s never there when I need it. Something always happens when I remove the phone from my ear to look at it. The screen has changed! The END CALL button that was just there a second ago has frickin’ gone AWOL! I don’t know where it goes, and I don’t know why my phone needs so many different phone screens. All I know is that this is why the telephone and the phone receiver should be separate like Alexander Graham Bell intended… So you can slam the two together when you’re done talking, and get on with your life.

But nooooo, we couldn’t leave well enough alone. If I ever leave you a phone message… oops, excuse me, I mean a voice mail. If I ever leave you a voice mail there’s a good chance it will end with, “How the hell do I hang this… Where the #%@* did that button go?!” followed by several seconds of silence before the smart phone figures I’m done. “Why do you even leave voice messages?” you may ask… If I coulda hung up before the beep, don’t you think I woulda?

Thankfully live conversations generally go better because while I’m flipping through phone screens searching for the magic button, the person on the other end hangs up and we’re done. If anyone as inept at this as I am ever dials my number we’re screwed. We’ll be stuck together all day. I’ll probably have to run into a public bathroom and throw my phone in a toilet to end the call.
Well, That’s all I’ve got to say for now. Good bye… Click!

Racism at the Highest Level

Rolling Stone recently named President Obama “One of the Most Successful Presidents in American History”, but imagine what could have happened if, like white pitchers throwing at Jackie Robinson’s head, a group of white lawmakers hadn’t since day-one been trying to take our President out of the game. Of course I’m talking about the Eric Cantor led group who vowed on January 20, 2009 to oppose every bill that President Obama supported regardless of the fallout solely to destroy his presidency. History will clearly show these men to be backwards immoral frauds who risked a nation in an attempt to take down one man of color for having had the audacity, like Jackie and others, to break down another one of their sacred racial barriers. Their back-slapping self-congratulating conversations will blow away in the wind, but their shame, just like Barack and Jackie’s success will be written in stone for the ages. Thank you Barack, for enduring and succeeding in a rigged white man's game for all of us who cheered, as well as for those who booed.

Friday, July 24, 2015

My Best Pet Yet

Note: This was written for a poetry prompt. The prompt was "What pet should I get," written in 20 lines or less.

What Pet should I get, or should I get two?
Should I get a duet, or will one creature do?
And where should I keep it, here under my bed?
And if it won’t fit, then my closet instead?
Should it be furry, or covered in scales?
Something that scurries, or has a long tail?
Something that swims, or something that purrs?
And what should I name him, or should I name her?

And where should I look for this new pet of mine?
Should I look in a book, or go shopping online?
Should I look in a guide? Should I look high and low?
Well when I decide, I will let you all know.

Well it’s time to report that I got my new pet!
I named him Mort. He’s my finest  pet yet!
I just went in the yard, and I climbed up a tree.
It wasn’t that hard. I just caught me a bee,
in a little glass jar, with some holes in the lid,
and it may seem bizarre, but here’s what I did.
I gave him his name, “Morton J. Bee”,
then I opened the lid, and I let him go free.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

WARNING: Iceberg ahead

Some people say, America today is a lot like the Titanic was in 1912, heading straight for an iceberg; and they may not be too far off. But blaming people on food stamps, Medicare, welfare, etc. for our current mess and dangerous trajectory makes about as much sense as blaming the poor people who perished on the lower decks of the Titanic for that disaster. No, those poor immigrants searching for a better life at the dawn of the last century didn’t steer the ship “full steam ahead” into catastrophe, and neither are today’s immigrants, working poor people, or those receiving needed government assistance steering America “full steam ahead” into the looming shadow of her iceberg.

No, the poor are not the reason we’re in this mess. The two men taking turns at the ship’s wheel are David and Bill Koch. They’re the ones taking us on this rich man’s joy ride. “Too big to fail” is the new “Unsinkable”, and in their arrogance they actually believe it’s true. But why wouldn’t they? We bailed them out when they capsized the last ship with almost no protest. We handed them the wheel long ago by allowing gerrymandering to fix our course, and the Citizens United decision gave them all the coal they need to power the engines “full steam ahead!” Meanwhile money-drunk CEO’s and their Wall Street cronies are partying on the deck, unconcerned about the collision that lies ahead.

And why should they worry? America’s iceberg is still several fiscal cycles away. They have plenty of time to cash in and get off the ship. Then what? Democracy and the poor slobs working to power this nation sink to the bottom. So What? What’s it to them?

Of course we could do something about it… Yes, you and me, and the other 99% of this country. We could stop fighting each other, and stop blaming the blameless long enough to veer this nation away from oligarchy, and back toward representative democracy. We may not be allowed up on the deck with the luxury passengers, but if we all stick an oar in the water from down here, we can turn this thing. My oar’s in the water. How about you? I’m making another small donation to the Bernie Sanders for President campaign today. And when I can afford to I’ll do it again. You may choose another candidate, but I encourage you to hear Bernie out before making a final decision.

Note: A lot of the web sites selling Bernie Sanders merchandise are NOT a part of the campaign, and are simply profiteering off of Bernie’s growing momentum. And many of the “Bernie Sanders for President” web ads you’re likely to see are actually collecting donations for “Act Blue” which is a legitimate site, and they do a great job as a PAC collecting and effectively spending money on behalf of Democratic candidates, but to contribute DIRECTLY to the Bernie Sanders campaign go to …As good as Act Blue may be, Bernie doesn’t need a middleman. Besides, PACs are a part of the problem we're trying to fix.

Well, that’s all I’ve got to say for now. Enjoy the Republican clown show, but seriously, seriously study the candidates… their words, but most importantly their record. WARNING: Iceberg ahead if we don’t.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Going to a Funeral (A poem about life)

I got up this morning
to continue my journey.
It’s a long goddamned grind it is.
The trip to my funeral I mean.
I’ve been at it for as long as I can remember,
and even before I can remember
when I didn’t realize where I was going;
when I was a toddler wandering aimlessly;
and later riding my tricycle
half the time in the wrong direction,
away from my funeral,
and toward something else.
Toward something I can no longer recall.
Toward something that became
just the memory of a memory.
Toward something that once was
an audible and visual recollection
that repeated itself again and again
in the back of my mind,
and then slowly faded away.
It was a recollection from another life.
A recollection of the end of that life.
The one before this one.
The one in the wrong direction.
But I’ve been pointed right now
for almost fifty years,
walking the zigzag path
toward my funeral,
knowing full well that I’ll likely drop dead
a few days before arriving.
But with the help of the living,
I will show up on time.