TRADITIONS OF TRUTH


Traditions

Our family had traditions,

Coffee, morning newspaper, crossword puzzles,

Discussions about upcoming plans,

American holidays, political candidates,

The winners and also rans.

The discussions blended together

And nobody cussed,

But one thing was sure, we sought the truth,

We took pride in knowing George Washington

Didn’t lie when he chopped down the cherry tree,

And Lincoln was known as “honest Abe”,

They were leaders we could look up to.

We believed our country attracted the world’s best,

And with hard work and determination

We could rise to the top with all the rest.

Our leaders were thoughtful and honest,

 We believed in a handshake or giving our word,

To lie or to cheat was simply absurd.

We believed in who we were fighting for or voting for,

And we wanted to be known for  loving more.

But somehow our love relationships and respect

For each other has gone out the door.

There are no more honest presidents like George or Abe.

Our words are not true and our relationships worthless to save.

We are not honest and always true,

Ugly Americans, we are called, and other words too.

Where are the immigrants, natives, and protectors of rights?

We hide in the darkness and run from the light.

It’s time to tell the truth.

July 22, 2017

 

 

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NEIGHBORS


NEIGHBORS

There is something odd about my neighbor,

I guess she’s under some kind of stress.

She stares without seeing,

And plays with the buttons on her dress.

She avoids attention, even light from the sun,

And I would swear she’s packing a gun.

She sits across the aisle from me,

Trying to ignore the things she sees.

A man stands at a corner waiting for our bus,

He is tired, hungry, defeated, just like us.

After days of searching , there’s still no work,

He’s just a fraction away from going berserk.

How can he survive if he’s living on pride?

Will he find a place to live safely outside?

A group of teens climbs aboard, boisterous and loud,

I wonder if one will escape the tenement and return rich and proud.

They threaten the homeless man.

He might have money stashed in a can.

They threaten the woman as she pretends to read,

Telling her they want her to meet their needs.

They laugh and suggest they could have fun,

Not noticing her hand touching her gun.

They turn their attention finally to me.

I was watching and waiting, it had to be.

Survival of the fittest, or the ones with most greed,

Somebody’s angels, or someone’s bad seed.

There is little to distinguish between me and my brother,

Hell will claim one, and heaven will get the other.

July 21, 2017berserk

  THE AIR LEAVES WITH YOU


 

When you exit the room all the air leaves with you,

And the world is not the same.

I still hear your voice.

I continue to call your name.

Time hesitates, suspended in air,

I’m confused and lost, without you there.

The world is bleak within my sight.

There is no color just black and white.

I gasp, I choke,

 Clocks have stopped in mid-stroke.

Where is love without you near?

And where is music for my ears?

Nothing is the same as it needs to be.

Please come home and bring air to breathe.

july 21, 2017

 

 

 

 

 

The Air I Breathe


 

THE AIR LEAVES WITH YOU

When you exit the room all the air leaves with you,

And the world is not the same.

I still hear your voice.

I continue to call your name.

Time hesitates, suspended in air,

I’m confused and lost, without you there.

The world is bleak within my sight.

There is no color just black and white.

I gasp, I choke,

 Clocks have stopped in mid-stroke.

Where is love without you near?

And where is music for my ears?

Nothing is the same as it needs to be.

Come home, my love, and bring air to me.

July 21, 2017

 

 

 

clocks,

 

 

SHE STOMPS HER FEET


She yells sometimes and often cries.

It’s easy to see anger in her eyes.

She stomps her feet when she doesn’t

Get her way.

It happens frequently, almost every day.

After a nap, she’s good as gold.

A beautiful angel, she’s a two year old.

7/21/17

CHOICES


 WHICH CHOICE SHOULD I MAKE?

 

I’m not crazy even though you disagree.

I’m simply a man wanting justice, for people like me.

This world is full of lonely people ready to explode

They carry heavy burdens and they need to unload.

Just because I got angry when you killed the cat.

Life to me is precious. What do you think about that?

“Animals are just creatures”, you said once or twice.

Some should be burned alive, the others frozen in ice.

You called my mom a slut right in front of her face,

I love my mom. Your remark was way out of place.

My blood was boiling, your tongue had no control,

Yet you continued talking, words that were cruel and cold.

You laughed, “There’s no reason for her to live.”

We had both watched a bag lady pull children from a fire,

Without concern for her own life, she didn’t stop to enquire,

What color, social group, language they spoke,

They were children, worthy of rescue from the blazing pyre.

You laughed, “There’s no reason for her to live.”

You continued talking, words that were cruel and cold,

My blood was boiling, and I finally lost my control.

Am I crazy? People might have a reason to ask.

I’m almost sorry I chose you to be my very best friend,

And now I’m trying to decide whether I can forgive you.

Should I walk away, turn you in, or let our friendship end?

July 15, 2017

 

Savage


 

Savage is a term that was both good and bad.  “You’re not dressed for church. You don’t have your “Sunday go to meeting” clothes on.  Neither do you have on your shoes. You can’t go barefoot.  You look like a savage.”

Savages to Grandmother were the painted Indians who ran around scalping the helpless folk. She rarely mentioned the atrocities committed by those who stole Indian lands, killed women and children while the braves were away. It was only when she was mad that she muttered “Indian Giver”, an insult directed at politicians, and other higher ups, a most distasteful term. “Indian Givers” were the whites who solemnly pledged their word and signed peace treaties, knowing full well the treaties were lies and were worth nothing. “Indian Givers” was a term worse than “savages”. “Indian Givers” spoke with a “forked tongue”.

Grandmother knew I couldn’t go dressed like that. Church time was very important. It meant wear your best after getting cleaned up.  It meant being attentive and listening quietly to lessons from the Bible.  It meant no funny faces at the preacher or the girls who giggled because I was misbehaving.  It meant sitting straight without any fun until the preaching was done. It meant my world had to stop until my parents heard the lesson for the week. 

The quiet time gave me time to think.  How could God expect me to be quiet when birds were singing, cows were mooing, babies were crying, and Mom was hushing me?  God also liked lots of music, with voices singing His favorite songs.  Yes, even the savages chanted and sang songs.  On Saturday night, Dad told Indian stories, Cherokee and Choctaw mostly, because he and Mom believed they had “Indian blood.”  After those stories came card games and the adults played with intensity, their voices loud and clear. During those games news of kinfolk and news of the world were exchanged. 

It was easier to be poor during those hard days.  The Dust Bowl and World War II were over but supplies of food were limited.  Mom and Dad grew gardens, bartered, or worked extra jobs to maintain the family.  We lived outside of reservations so we weren’t entitled to Indian rights but we also were free of many of the government restrictions.  The only proof of Indian blood we had were a land grant certificate signed by a President, a box of arrowheads made by an expert warrior, and a few stories handed down orally. The certificate and arrowheads disappeared while we were in the process of moving, and the stories were shared by strangers and claimed to be part of another tribe.

I took pride in having Indian blood related to one of the “five civilized tribes”, a name given to the five largest tribes that were squeezed into Oklahoma.  I could see with an inner eye, follow the stars in the sky, and knew I belonged in the world.

I saw little difference between those of any color, any culture, any language.  At times, all people were savages. All had to stop and sit up straight and listen to the lessons of the week. Then and now, after the lessons, then came the fun time when I could wear comfortable clothes and run barefoot.

July 9, 2017

QUILL


Quill

After dinner, when everyone was settled for the night, he began writing stories he had stashed away in books and nooks and crannies.  He was always surprised to see some story starters he had written.  He called them acorns, little nuts that would grow into large trees.  When he was lucky those acorns would match perfectly the new stories that were taking shape out of his dreams and life. They would blend together and spring full grown, with a little tinkering, into a poem or story. Usually the acorns were the springboard and the new ideas kept the characters and their personalities running true without too many deviations. Thus, he was able to relax and write without stress.

This night was different. The acorn he found was not cooperating. He tried beginning with old ideas and then new ideas but nothing was working.  From computer to pencil and back to computer.  He was blocked. His method of letting ideas fall into place was simply non-existent. What was wrong? What had stopped his thought processes?

There was one thing he wanted to try. He wanted to make a quill.  Searching the house he found nothing that satisfied him. He went outside and looked for a goose feather.  In a short time he found one that was suitable. He sharpened it and dipped it into ink.  He felt a surge of energy. The quill was inspiring him!

He heard a noise outside and went to investigate. Quietly he slipped from the barn to the supply room, one building to the next until he saw a dim light burning.  He peered into the room and was surprised to see all the farm animals in organized rows.  There weren’t many horses or cows so they reluctantly stayed close to each other. The pigs were very smart but lazy with ideas that were only partially thought out.  The chickens and other fowl were continually chattering. It was past their normal sleeping hours and they forgot details.  Why were they there?  Who was in charge?  The animals were getting very noisy and some looked very nervous.

The farmer watched with interest as the groups got organized but there appeared to be no leader. Then, a huge skunk squeezed through a hole in the wall.  He strode to the front of the groups and leaped up on a bag of chicken feed.

“Listen up,” he yelled.  “I want this to be a short meeting and we have many items to consider!”

“I’m the best qualified to run this meeting. Right?” He looked around from group to group.” Who’s with me and who is against me? I want to know that right away. Horses, do you agree?”

The two horses wanted to be left alone but the skunk was forcing them to support him.  “We’re with you.”

“Chickens and other fowl, you are not the kind of power troops we need.  If you are considered worthless you will be moved to cages, tenderized and eaten. Are you with me or against me? Should we eat chicken, pork, or beef?”

The chickens were sweating under the lights and were tired and sleepy.  They were running all over, acting like their heads could be cut off.

The pigs suddenly realized they could be bacon without any friends to back them up.

The cow saw the light. Her calf could be hamburger and she would be doing TV commercials recommending chicken as the preferred meat.

The skunk was glib and persuasive.  All the farm groups soon fell under his spell. He had one more thing to say.  “We will begin our plans tomorrow.  First, we wipe out the dogs. They are our common enemy.  Then we get rid of the cats. Our future depends on your dedication. We will expand our territory and right the wrongs committed against us. Onward, my soldiers.” 

The farmer slipped away from the shed, got on his motorbike and rode across the land warning all who would listen. He used a special code, one honk if the animals are coming by land, two if they come by sea.  He rode through the night and might be riding still.  He left one final message. “Be alert and watch out for the skunk.”

 

July 8, 2017

DASH AWAY!


Just before I dash away to work,

I check the mirror for my smirk.

Yes, the smirk is there. I’m  retired

and I can dash away or not at all.

Yet out of habit I grab my coffee,

my phone, a pen or two,

a notepad, and head for the door,

stopping for a moment or more,

to throw in an extra dash of sugar.

My coffee has to be extra sweet

in case the president calls to remind me

that I’m not so perfect either.

That is a real possibility because I dash around

telling every new friend I’ve found

that our country is still sound as a dollar,

at least for one more day.

July 3, 2017

 

 

 

 

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