Little Grandma


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“Little Grandma” (as we all called her) was 86 when last I saw her alive on what was to be her deathbed. She smiled and asked about my broken arm. She was old, bent, wrinkled — and tired — so she said. I guess it was from her Native American bones that I inherited my love of nature, my peace with all of it; all that is natural and beautiful on this tiny jewel of a planet — the wild iris, the rose, the caterpillar, the crimson sunset and the rain.

The rain. But of course, there are a thousand kinds of rain. They come in so many colors, moods, and sounds. Tall sheets of rain seen from miles across the “Big Sky” country; cold, drizzly little fall rains; sudden laughing summer showers; lashing hurricanes that flood and kill and toss trees like broken toys.

When we buried you, “Little Grandma,” it was a gray day steel steady rain of tears from a sky that held unseen clouds. It was the rain, I guess, that drowned out the meaningless words of the poor man in the black robes babbling uselessly to comfort me. The grass was very green in your little spot beneath the black, dripping elm.

burial cemetery countryside cross

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On the rain fell, on the ancient little church, on the little crowd of black umbrellas, on the stones of the graveyard, gradually, gradually, fading out even the words carved in stone — but not the words carved in my heart, “Little Grandma.”

We don’t think of “Little Grandma” as a fallen soldier. In her longish life, however, she saw her children and then her grandchildren go off to war. Seldom even a heavily redacted post card. Never a call on the satellite phone. And her grand-daughter’s husband was killed in a war. So, I thought of her on Memorial Day — and all the other millions of women who kept life going — and all the while never knowing whether their sons and husbands would ever return whole — or return at all. Now, of course, women are also war-fighters. But haven’t they always been?

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Citizen Soldiers: Part 1


Donnie Boy Plays Captain Man


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“Donnie, look, I told you. My Dad has strictly forbidden me to let anyone else steer. Get away from the wheel.”

“I know navigation, Biff. I’m following Pluto.” 

“What are you talking about Donnie? You can’t see Pluto with the naked eye?” Biff shook his head; sometimes, it was unfathomable how ignorant Donnie could be about even commonsense things.

Donnie went on. “It’s the brightest star in the sky! It’s huge. It’s Jupiter! It’s the Jupiter of stars, I mean. It’s the biggest and the best and the smartest and it’s the farthest away so it’s the brightest so we can see it!” 

eye of the storm image from outer space

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As Donnie spoke, his voice became more and more impassioned. At the end of this meaningless drivel of words, Biff found himself wondering whether perhaps everything he knew about navigation and astronomy were somehow wrong. Then he sighed and shook his head. 

“Donnie, look. We need to get back to the dock. Look at the radar. There’s a storm coming. See these?” Biff pointed to a bunch of blurs on the screen. 

It made no sense to Donald so he ignored it. Best to change the subject, he thought. “Hey, Biff, how come you didn’t bring any girls on board? I could use one about now. I mean, if we’re going to die in a matter of minutes, why not spend it making them.… Do you keep any on board, like chained up?” 

“No. God, that’s sick. Donnie, go tell the crew that we’ve got to come about. Now.” 

Donnie thought to himself, what a big prick. He thinks just because his daddy owns a sailboat, he can order me around. Yeah, we’ll see about that. Jerk. Prick. “Aye, Aye, Sir!” Donnie saluted as he said this but Biff was looking at the instruments. 

photography of clouds during dusk

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Donnie went to the cabin door. He could see that Biff was paying no attention so he shot him the bird and thought to himself: my friend Jeffrey would have thought to chain some girls on board. Young, skinny ones. I could beat the crap out of them till they did what I want. I could be just like Daddy. 

The wind freshened so that Donnie had to shout to be heard. “BIFF SAYS TO DROP ANCHOR!” 

John and Mitt looked at each other and frowned. “WHAT?!” John yelled. 

Donnie repeated himself, “BIFF SAYS TO DROP ANCHOR!!” 

Mitt scuttled over to Donnie Boy, “That makes no sense. Look at the horizon! There’s a storm coming! We don’t…you must have misheard him. Go ask him again!”


aerial photo of waterfalls

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Mitt stepped up onto a railing to get around Donnie. As he did so, Donnie gave in, as he often did, to a sudden urge to hurt someone. He wrapped one arm around the back of Mitt’s knee and shoved hard with this other hand. The boat lurched just then and instead of watching Mitt scramble to keep from falling overboard, which would have been great fun, he instead watched Mitt plummet into the ocean — which was even more fun! Donnie looked around. No-one had seen it. He held tightly onto the gunwale as he leaned over to watch Mitt bobbing among the waves. He was waving his hand and shouting something about throwing a life preserver. Hell, why, thought Donnie. He’s already wearing a life preserver. Stupid. Mitt was screaming in earnest now. Somehow his desperate voice carried enough to alert John who managed to slide and walk over to the starboard. He looked over to see Mitt floundering in the icy water. He looked at Donnie who was standing right next to a life preserver. 


Just then, the boat lurched again and the boom of the mainsail flew across the deck and caught John across the back of the head and it made a wonderful sound to Donnie’s ears as it cracked the back of John’s skull. John flew into the water in a wonderful sort of drunken cartwheel that was great fun to watch. 

Donnie figured he would go somewhere where he couldn’t get hit by the bang. Or blast. Whatever it was called. So many fancy schmansy terms. Holding on against the bucking of the small craft, Donnie managed to get back into the small cabin. 

Biff saw him out of the corner of his eye and yelled, “What the hell is going on out there? Are those guys too drunk to help me?”

“I don’t know. I told them to … I told them your orders and they said to tell you “F&&& You! They wanted to drop anchor and watch the lightening.” 

“WHAT?!! Don’t be ridiculous! Why would they do that? Did you tell them a storm was coming?” 

island during golden hour and upcoming storm

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“Oh, they already knew. You can see it without the radar gun, Biff. Look!” Donnie pointed one of his teeny fingers toward the horizon. The sky had turned and ugly dark orange color. 

“Oh, crap. Why aren’t they trimming the sails then?!” 

“Biff, when I talked to them, they sounded high. Like they’d been smoking marijuana or drinking beer.” 

“Okay, Donnie but where are they? I don’t see either of them?” 

“Don’t worry, Biff, I’m sure they’re doing something to help you out. But, like you said, I don’t know anything about sailing so I can’t make head or tail out of it.” 

“You’ve got to help me trim the sail! That wind’ll tear the mast right off the boat! Or, capsize us.” 

Donnie looked at Biff, “God damn, Biff. With all your money, you couldn’t afford to get a sail the right size in the first place?” 

“WHAT?! Donnie, oh CRAP!” 

There was a terrific crash and the boat seemed to be coming apart. 

A string of unprintable curse words came out of Biff’s mouth and then he screamed some primitive non-verbal cry of rage. He ground his teeth together. How the hell could this be happening!? he asked himself.  (More profanity followed). Biff clenched his jaw and his hands tightly. Damn, he thought; I’ll be grounded now for the rest of my life! Or, the summer, for sure.

As horrible as that might be, Biff was no dummy and realized it was better to be alive and spend the rest of the summer in the house than it was to be dead. “COME ON, DONNIE. HELP ME GET THE DINGHY.”

“I’M NOT LETTING YOU DO MY THINGY!” screamed Donnie. 

“DINGHY! DINGHY! You dolt, not your thingy. Where are John & Mitt?” 

Biff let out another string of the usual profanities interspersed with some nautical terms and the names of various Saints. He poked a button on the Captain’s console. He managed to have a strained conversation of sorts with the Coast Guard who said they would come give them a hand or a chopper if at all possible. 

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Relieved a little to know help was on the way, Biff cautiously worked his way out onto the deck to search for his friends. He was soon convinced that they must have fallen overboard.

He came back in the cabin. “DONNIE, I THINK THEY WENT OVERBOARD! I don’t see either one anywhere. Help me LOOK!” 

Donnie Boy put his teeny hand near his temple and said, “AYE, AYE, SIR!” 

Donnie cautiously went over to a part of the railing that had good hand holds. “BIFF!” he shouted. “BIFF! OVER HERE! I FOUND THEM!” 

Biff worked his way across the deck to where Donnie stood. Donnie held on with both hands but gestured starboard with his head. “THERE!” he shouted.

Biff leaned over to look into the waves. The waves were so high, it would be hard to see them. He might just catch a glimpse. They would soon freeze in this cold Atlantic water, he thought. As Biff leaned over for a better look, Donnie got down behind him on all fours and then stood up suddenly throwing Biff overboard with the weight of his body. He quickly stood up and watched Biff struggling in the water. “THROW ME A LIFE PRESERVER! THROW ME A LIFE PRESERVER! I FELL!”

Donnie held on with one hand as tight as he could but he couldn’t resist saluting “Captain Biff” one last time, “AYE, AYE, SIR!” Donnie shook his head. It was so easy to destroy people on your own side. They kept assuming you would work with them and you could literally get away with murder. That idiot Biff still didn’t realize that Donnie had pushed him. It was a lot more pleasant in the cabin, but Donnie braved the rain and wind to watch Biff’s stupid face as he realized right before hypothermia and exhaustion turned his features to stone that Donnie was not, in fact, going to throw him a life preserver. 

Later, safe and sound in the cabin of the large Coast Guard Cutter, Donnie tearfully explained how the storm had taken them all by surprise. Slowly, and as though against his will, he let it be known that his shipmates had been drinking a lot and smoking marijuana and that they began to get naked and engage sexually with each other because that’s what pot does to people and booze.

“It was disgusting! It was awful. They tried to force me to join them. Of course, I wouldn’t. But they were so busy fighting me that I guess they didn’t notice the storm coming. When it did, they panicked and started screaming at each other. I stayed inside the cabin. I didn’t know what to do. It’s probably my fault I guess that they’re dead. If I had given in, maybe they would have noticed the storm. But it’s so gross. I just couldn’t.”

The kindly gray-haired officer in charge put his hand on Donnie’s shoulder to comfort him. “It’s not your fault son. You did the right thing not giving in to those homos.” 


Donnie bit his quivering lower lip and nodded sagely, “I suppose you’re right, Sir. But Biff. Mitt. John. Whatever their sins, now, they are gone. It’s terrible. Just terrible. Honestly, I don’t think I’ll ever really get over it, Sir.” 

Donnie was playing the part so well and then suddenly he damned near laughed out loud. He had learned to see this coming in himself and quickly bit his tongue and jammed his right toe into the back of his left calf. He didn’t want to get hurt, but he did manage to cause enough pain to wipe the grin off his face. 

He thought to himself, and not for the last time, that it’s so easy to cheat people if you pretend to be their friend. How stupid everyone is, he thought, quickly hiding his grin in his hands. He pretended to cry as the idiot Coast Guard guy again patted his shoulder to console him about the loss of his friends, or as Donnie himself liked to think of them, his toys. 

herd of sheep

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Donnie Plays Bull-Dazzle Man

Donnie gets a Hamster!

Donnie visits Granny! 

Donnie plays soldier man

Donnie Learns Golf

Donnie Takes a Blue Ribbon for Spelling

Author page on Amazon



Blood-Red Blood


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Those tortured in the name of Our Dear God,
Racked, burned or sawed, bleed blood-red blood.

Sailing to Freedom, they slaughter
Their trusting brothers with reddish skin
And all their blood is blood-red, blood-red.

The black skin of slaves under the lash
Bleeding the blood-red blood.
Soldiers North in marching blue,
Soldiers South in riding gray,
Bleed their blood-red blood.

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The white skin of soldiers entrenched
Breathing the deadly golden mustard gas,
Coughing their lungs, their blood-red blood,
Coughing on their uniforms of blue or gold.

The Cambodian Killing Fields flow bright
With blood-red blood spurting from under yellow skin.

Genocide in Tamil —
Drunken driving in Toledo —
Bombs in Northern Ireland —
Whether the children wear green
Or orange, blood-red is their blood.

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Only that is clear. Blood is blood.
That, and the tears.
The tears are clear.
But what of hearts and thoughts?

In Flanders Field, so they say,
The poppies grow, red-blood red.
We know where hatred grows —
The fields of greed and fear.
But where on this green earth
Is there a space for love to grow;
For that magic drop of clearly know
That can save so many seas of blood?


Waterloo and Gettysburg
We can quickly find on a map.
Battlefields, Killing Fields,
Killing Camps, Hiroshima —
These we can pinpoint oh so easily.

Harder to see are the loving fields.
They lay only hidden deep within
That uncharted country of our own hearts.


I have a question for you.
I have a question for me.
Haven’t we shed enough of each other’s blood?
Are we really still surprised to see
Our enemy bleeds blood-red blood
Just like you and me?
Can we find something else to do now?
Some new game to play?
Are you not bored, like me,
With shoot and burn and slay?
How about a game that does not end in bloody red?
How about a game that ends in green, say?
How about working together to re-make Eden?
Let us make the woods and fields green again
Like a sparkling miracle of loving creation.
I think that might be more fun.
I am getting sick and tired of blood and red and dead.
How about you?

cascade creek environment fern

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Want to play for green instead?




Essays on America: Wednesday

The Pandemic Anti-Academic

The Impossible

The Truth Train

Sunless Sunday of Faith

Author Page on Amazon

You gave me no fangs


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You gave me no fangs.

You gave me no wings.

You gave me no claws.

Just a bag full of flaws,

And leftover things.

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You favored my brothers;

You favored the others,

Left me only these brains

To fend off the beasts

And fend off the rains.

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Cainly, I search and destroy

All my brothers and sisters alike.

With an efficient surgical strike;

Pop them to bits like a bustable toy.

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I chew off my paw,

But see if I care.

It’s the Law, the Law,

Though my cupboard grows bare.

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I foul my teeny, self-built cage,

But I don’t know & I don’t care.

I’m all in, in a self-imposed rage,

And nowise will dare to learn to share.

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Unbalanced and crazed, my genius so stable

I comfort myself with a reckless fable:

That Father will Save me, Save me at last

If I destroy it all in a nuclear blast.


You seem so bewildered and oh, so amazed,

That I’m so unfit; so  roundly unstable,

Yet, I’m the one whom you ceaselessly hazed

Then pushed away me from the well-stocked table.

cooked pie

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Mother, you made me; you made me this way.

Stay and play for the final slay.

I’m loonery toonery sure as I’m shootin’!

Lunatic Fringe? You’re damned well tootin’!

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So here I go with my terminal act.

Self-destructive and as fat as a fact.

We could’ve had earth as an Eden instead

But I guess I’d rather be greedy — and dead.

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Author Page on Amazon


The Impossible

The Truth Train

The Pandemic Anti-Academic

Getting In


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When at last, the final stone was atop the last of the four funeral cairns for the four Z-Lotz visitors, Eagle Eyes and Shadow Walker bathed in the stream and scoured themselves by crushing and using horsetails that grew so handily nearby. The cold water felt good on their hands which were rubbed rather raw by carrying so many rocks. 

Shadow Walker took a deep breath and sighed. He glanced over at Eagle Eyes who sunned herself, eyes closed, with her back against a sun-warmed boulder. He realized that he would have to look away while speaking with her. He swallowed hard. Looking away proved more difficult than he had imagined. He wondered again whether they should have taken the clothes of the Z-Lotz and used them as disguise. Once they moved away from the “burials” it would be even more of a pain to return and take the clothing. He glanced at Eagle Eyes again, wishing she would open her eyes. Did she really need to dry her eyelids he wondered. That’s absurd. He was just annoyed at his own reaction. It was only a short time ago that he had been with Many Paths. Eagle Eyes was both a good friend and a valuable resource in this — war — or whatever it was — against the Z-Lotz. Had they intentionally come while they were sick in order to spread this disease to the Veritas? All four of the Z-Lotz had now died so there were none left to question. 

Eagle Eyes opened her eyes, glanced at Shadow Walker and chuckled. “Time to get dressed, I see!” She grabbed her tunic and covered herself quickly. 

Shadow Walker reddened and did the same. “Yes, I was just thinking that we should get going to continue our journey.”

“I can see that,” said Eagle Eyes whose eyes flashed with humor. “Yes, that’s what you were definitely thinking about.” 

“I just…I mean,” he said, dressing as quickly as possible, “yes, there is no more trail back to follow, but they seem to have taken the same path to get to the Veritas. Now, that path is older but they are still not skilled at hiding their trail. Perhaps we can still find and follow the older trail.”  

“Four men walking. No sign of recent horses. Yes, four men — that should be an easy trail to follow.” She smiled at Shadow Walker. 

“What do you mean about four men? Do you think four women would be harder to track?”


“Just a joke. I don’t really know all that much, but this trail is just as obvious as the first one I tried to follow. That time, we said that perhaps it’s because they’re on horses so they feel protected by their speed. And, it must be more difficult to hide horse hooves. But this time, there were no horses. I just don’t think it’s a skill they care much about. I have a feeling…an inkling…that we are nearby to something I will recognize. As I mentioned, Shadow, the Z-Lotz City is larger than you can imagine. I’m not really sure how many people go in and out of the city, but I think quite a few. If our four — visitors — came on an errand to — to summon — as it seems — Many Paths to their city, it was no secret. They may have come by a very busy path — at least busy once we get much closer.” 

The walked along in silence for a time. Eagle Eyes finally continued, “Let’s go over to that knoll. Okay? I think I might recognize things from there.”

“Yes. Okay. By the way, I feel so much better after bathing. I think they had an illness that spreads easily among people — much like the mold that grows on old food. Do you also feel cleaner, Eagle Eyes?” 

“Oh, definitely. Apart from the eye-prints of course.” She stared at Shadow Walker.

He stared back at her, frowned, and wondered what on earth she meant about eye-prints. Then, it hit him. “Oh! Sorry. I was busy bathing and looked up. And, there you were. I — “ Both of them looked up at the screeching sound of Eagles soaring in the distance.  

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Shadow Walker smiled. “They are beautiful. Do you like being named after eagles?” 

“Oh, I like eagles! Yes. I may be named after them, but I am convinced their eyes are sharper than mine! I wonder how the training of the Eagles is coming. I cannot tell whether those are the eagles who have become our brothers and sisters. I wonder whether they can tell who we are at this distance. Maybe they can lead the way.” Eagle Eyes chuckled to herself. 

Shadow Walker saw them careen away into dots and disappear. He turned back to Eagle Eyes and asked, “What about this knoll?” 

Eagle Eyes pursed her lips and looked around in every direction. She looked at the peaks of the distant mountains. She sat in a meditative pose and closed her eyes. 

Shadow Walker began, “Do you suppose…?”

scenic view of waterfalls

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Eagle Eyes shook her head and put her finger to her lips. She brought herself back mentally to the time she and Lion Slayer had journeyed home. Shadow Walker had no idea how long she might stay in this state, so he sat upon the ground and began reviewing all the things he had observed about the ROI and what Tu-Swift had said about them. 

After a few moments, Eagle Eyes stood and smiled at Shadow Walker. “Found it! I think we just need to go over that ridge and I’ll be able to retrace the way that Lion Slayer & I used to leave the Z-Lotz. We should go that way — many fewer people.”

She sprang to her feet and put both her hands out to Shadow Walker. “Let’s go! You should follow me.” 

Unlike Lion Slayer, Shadow Walker immediately realized this was the wise course. 

Eagle Eyes turned back, drew close to Shadow Walker and whispered, “We are still a ways away, but I think we should whisper from now on.”

They walked on in silence till they got near the brow of the next hill. Eagle Eyes knelt down and, without looking back, gestured for Shadow Walker to do the same. He listened for and felt the wind caressing the tall grass around him. He only moved when the wind moved. The day still lay hot on the hills but small white clouds zoomed across the sky and each time they went from shadow to light or vice versa, a breeze came with the movement. This would make it harder for them to be seen. 

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Cat Eyes felt him draw near and when his ear was close she softly whispered into it, “If I’m right, just as soon as I come to the crest of this hill, I should know exactly which way to go. Before when Lion Slayer and I came, they were pre-occupied with the ROI and fresh news and now they may be more careful with their guards. Though it’s hard to predict the Z-Lotz.” 

Lying in the grass this close to Cat Eyes with the wind shifting this way and that, Shadow Walker could not help but notice how nice her sweat smelled. That reminded him of Many Paths and he slipped his hand into his pocket and took out one of the Rings of Empathy. He held it in his hand and, as usual, felt somehow more connected to Many Paths. He knew it was just an odd feeling but somehow, he felt Many Paths was not … not right … something was wrong. Maybe, he thought, I’m just feeling a bit guilty about being attracted to Cat Eyes. Or, maybe, I’m just feeling anxious about the proximity to the Z-Lotz and the Killing Sticks. He wasn’t sure whether he should share his odd feelings with Cat Eyes or not. He wasn’t even sure he could put what he was feeling into words.

“Cat Eyes,” he whispered. “Do you see anyone?” 

“No, but let’s wait another few minutes before we go to the top. We will see better there but also be seen more easily. I don’t see any cover at the top of the hill.” 

“All right. It occurs to me, Cat Eyes, that we may become ill with that strange red sore illness that struck down the emissaries that came to visit us. Or, the people at our Center Place may also get ill. We should take that into account in our planning. We don’t want to fall ill and unable to run or fight inside the walls of the City of the Z-Lotz.” 

“Good point. They became very ill indeed. It would be nice to steal a Killing Stick if we possibly can, but if either of us starts to feel ill, maybe we need to leave immediately.” 

Shadow Walker chewed on his lip for a moment trying to think. “Yes, perhaps, Cat Eyes. I’d hate to return empty-handed. But the people we saw…they were all fine just a few days earlier. Or, at least, I didn’t notice anything to make me think they were sick.”

“Nor I, Shadow Walker.” Cat Eyes added, “I know where we are now for certain. I was right. I think we are safe to go down this hill and into that grove of trees. We can wait there till after sunset. Then, we can go in by the small door I found, assuming it is still unlocked.” 

vintage brown wooden door

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They took turns keeping watch but neither heard nor saw anyone. After the last threads of sunset had faded and long before the crescent moon rose, Cat Eyes crouched down and carefully walked up to the edge of the tall grass. Closer to the walls, the grass was somewhat trampled down, but far less so that she remembered. She saw no sentries; she heard no sentries. She got down on all fours and waited till the wind stirred. Then, she began crawling toward the postern gate with Shadow Walker close behind.

When she arrived, Cat Eyes stood up slowly and tried the door. It moved a fraction of an inch. She put her ear to the crack and heard no-one near. In the distance, she heard a baby crying; apparently, the parents were unable to console it, for the distant crying continued. She heard nothing else. But the stench of the city was considerable. She hadn’t noticed that the last time. Maybe just the wind direction, she mused. She knew that small doors could make large noises so she patiently applied more and more pressure until the door opened another tiny fraction. If she hurried too much, it could move suddenly and make a loud scraping noise or creak on its hinges. The door seemed much harder to open than she remembered, but all appeared well. The door opened two inches, then three. Soon, a four inch gap opened. But she could move it no farther. Shadow Walker stood beside her and, hearing no-one on the other side, they both pushed. Nothing. She pulled the door back and tried opening it a little faster. The door opened easily but only for a few inches. They tried to crane their neck to see inside but to no avail. 

Eagle Eyes and Shadow Walker felt the nearby wall but it was far too smooth to climb. Eagle Eyes put her hand behind Shadow Walker’s head and bent his ear down toward her lips. He listened to her suggestion and nodded silently. He got to his hands and knees. 

Soon, Eagle Eyes was standing atop his broad shoulders peering over the top of the wall. She neither heard nor saw anyone. From here she could hear the sounds of people snoring. The baby still cried. But she heard no-one walking; she saw no one out and about so she swung her leg up and dropped down noiselessly on the other side. A large pottery urn kept the gate from opening. She pushed, but it did not move. She came to the gap and whispered to Shadow Walker. She lay on the ground bracing her back painfully against the door jamb and pushed with her feet while Shadow Walker put his shoulder to the door. They managed to move the pot a few more inches and then a few more. Finally, the gap was large enough for Shadow Walker to wriggle his flesh through the tight narrow opening.  

brown rock formation

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Eagle Eyes looked back at the gate. It stood ajar. She glanced at Shadow Walker who nodded and closed the gate. For a terrible moment, she was afraid the gate would latch closed and if it locked, they would be trapped inside, or at least one of them would. Then, she saw that they would be able to scale the wall by using the very pot that had proved an impediment to getting in. Would anyone notice that they had moved the urn? She doubted it. They walked into a narrow passage way that went behind the place where she had witnessed the Killing Stick used by NUT-PI. She noticed that one side of that passageway was now filled with books. Perhaps it had been before. She hadn’t known what they were and she likely simply had not noticed them. Shadow Walker picked two of these strange objects and put them into his pack. 

white book page on black textile

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At the other end of this passageway was another door. It was locked. Since it seemed that everyone was asleep, as per plan, they quickly began searching quietly for some killing sticks. Shadow Walker saw a low building a short distance away that reminded him of the place the ROI had been keeping weapons. He gestured toward it and they began edging their way around a large courtyard toward it. 

At last they arrived at the door. It opened easily. She slowly opened it, being careful not to make any noise. She heard a dull thud behind her. She turned to see Shadow Walker falling sideways among three armed warriors. Then, she felt her own arms being pinned behind her. She struggled mightily but to no avail. The world then went gray for her. 



The Creation Myth of the Veritas

The Orange Man

The Forgotten Field– A Myth about the Importance of Finding Common Ground

The beginning of the First Book of the Myths of the Veritas

The beginning of the Second Book of the Myths of the Veritas

The beginning of the Third Book of the Myths of the Veritas

Author Page on Amazon

Donnie Takes a Blue Ribbon for Spelling!


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two girls doing school works

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[NOTE: This is a work of pure fiction. Any resemblance to characters alive or dead is purely coincidental.] 

“Children, let’s all clap our hands together. We want to congratulate Marcy for winning a Blue Ribbon for winning the Spelling Bee.” 

Donnie rolled his eyes. He had never liked Marcy. Her skin was dark, for one thing. Not as dark as a N——- but too dark to be a real person. Maybe she was “Port of a Rico” or something. Who cares, thought Donnie. Stupid spelling bee anyway. 


The teacher, Miss Galore, noticed that while most of the kids in her third grade class were clapping, Donnie was grinding his teeth and pounding the table and rolling his eyes.

“Is everything all right, Donnie? You seem upset.” 

Donnie made himself smile pleasantly. “Oh, I’m fine, Miss Galore. Thanks for asking. I’m so pleased as punch for Marcy. What could be better than winning a Blue Ribbon for a Spelling Bee?”

“Oh, good. I’m glad you’re okay. But since you brought it up, there is another contest coming up. This month will be a Science Fair. Let me see the hands. How many of you would like to enter the Science Fair?” 

Everyone’s hand shot up, even Donnie’s. 

Then, the bell rang. But Miss Galore ran a tight ship. The children knew that even though school was basically over when the bell rang, it would be impolite to leave until they were dismissed by Miss Galore. 

“All right, class. I’ll tell you more about the Science Fair tomorrow. For now, Class Dismissed.” 

The kids all began chattering with their friends, and walking out toward the place were parents were lined up in their air conditioned cars. 

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Donnie grabbed his books and walked over to Marcy. “Hi, Marcy! That’s really swell that you won the Spelling Bee! That Blue Ribbon looks very cool! Can I see it?” 

Marcy didn’t really trust Donnie, but his voice sounded sweet, so she handed him the ribbon. 

Donnie’s teeny hand shot out like a striking snake and he snatched the ribbon. He turned and dashed out of the room as fast as he could. He skidded around the corner and slapped into the door to the boy’s bathroom. He dashed over to the nearest stall, threw the ribbon into the toilet, and closed the stall door. Then, he flushed the toilet. He gathered his books back up, and opened the stall door slowly. He peered out. Only one other boy, Billy, was in the bathroom. Most of the kids were outside lining up to get picked up by their parents or chauffeurs, he thought. Billy, like an idiot, thought Donnie, is looking down at his thingie to make sure he doesn’t pee on the floor. Who gives a damn? So, Donnie pushed open the door to the boy’s bathroom. On the far side of the hall, only about ten feet away, Miss Galore and Marcy were both staring at him. 

Marcy’s bottom lip was trembling and there were tears on her cheeks. A big smile lit up Donnie’s face. That won’t do. He pushed his fingernails into his palms and forced himself to create a look of concern on his face instead. He had practiced for hours in front of a mirror, so that his look of concern was remarkably genuine looking. Now, he needed the voice to match.

“What’s wrong, Miss Galore? You look troubled.” 

Miss Galore took a few steps closer. “Marcy tells me that you took her Blue Ribbon.” 

“Oh, yes, I did look at it. It’s wonderful. You should feel very proud, Marcy!”

Marcy tried to make her voice sound strong, but at that, she failed. “You took my ribbon though! Give it back! I didn’t even get to show my Mom and Dad yet!” 

Donnie looked over. She was on the brink of squirting out more tears. Sort of like peeing on your own face, when you thought about it. I’ll never do that. What an idiot she was. If she didn’t want me to take her ribbon, why hand it to me, he asked himself. Stupid bitch deserved to lose her ribbon. 

“Miss Galore, I did look at Marcy’s ribbon for a moment. I gave it right back to her. What’s wrong? Did you lose it, Marcy?” 

“NO! I didn’t lose it! You took it!” 

“Oh, Marcy, I’m so sorry you lost it. We all lose things some times. As I’m sure Miss Galore will tell you — you have to be careful not to lose things —- especially things you like a lot.” 

Marcy was now screaming: “YOU TOOK IT! GIVE IT BACK! IT’S MINE!” 

Miss Galore noticed more kids were gathering round to see what was causing the commotion. She said calmly, “Donnie, can you please give me the ribbon?” 

Donnie looked affronted. “Oh, I don’t have it. I just had it for maybe — one minute — not even a minute — maybe fifteen seconds. And then, I handed it right back.” 


Marcy held back her tears, but barely. “Why did you take it in the bathroom?”

Donnie put a look of puzzlement on his face. “Why did I go to the bathroom? I had to use the toilet, Marcy. Isn’t that why you go to the bathroom too?” 

Now, Miss Galore looked back and forth between the two children. Donnie didn’t look upset at all. But Marcy certainly did. She wondered whether Marcy could have simply misplaced it. “Do you think it might still be back in the classroom, Marcy? Maybe we should take a look?” 

NO!” Marcy screamed. “I didn’t lose it. Donnie asked if he could see it and then he snatched and he ran out of the room and into the boy’s bathroom. I don’t have it. He has it.” She pointed at Donnie. 

“Well, I don’t have it. I will swear on a whole stack of Bibles. You can search me. Search me good. I don’t have your blue ribbon Marcy. I’m sorry you’re upset. I know it makes me angry too when I lose things. But you shouldn’t go blaming other kids when you lose something.”

“ARGH!” said Marcy. “I did not lose it! You took it! Make him empty his pockets, Miss Galore. I know he has it!” 

Miss Galore frowned. She couldn’t really do a thorough search of him. Maybe she could get one of the boy counselor’s to do it. She glanced around. Luckily, the teachers still stood out among the students. “Oh, Mr. Graham! Mr. Graham! Can you please come here a moment?”

Miss Galore explained the situation quickly. Mr. Graham frowned. “I’m not doing a strip search of the boy! How about this: write a note and ask the parents to search him when he gets home. Donnie, turn your pockets out.” 

“But Mr. Graham, I didn’t do anything. I didn’t steal her stupid ribbon. I looked at it. It’s — I have to tell you, it doesn’t look that nice up close. Her little medal isn’t even real gold. I don’t have anything bad in my pockets.” 

“Donnie. Do it now! Turn your pockets out,” said Mr. Graham who could pretend to be genuinely outraged over nothing and he genuinely didn’t like back-talk from students.

Donnie shook his head and appeared very reluctant, but he turned out all four pants pockets Except for a pack of Kleenex, and what appeared to be the wings of a dragonfly, his pants pockets were empty. Mr Graham nodded. “Thank you, Donnie. Hand me your backpack.” 

Donnie shifted from one foot to the other. “Mr. Graham, my driver, Pom-Pom is going to be mad that I’m so late. It’s just books mostly.” He handed the backpack to Mr. Graham who searched the inside and turned each book upside down to see whether there was a ribbon hidden between the pages. He turned to Miss Galore. “Nothing.” 

“You see?” said Donnie. “I told you I didn’t steal her stupid ribbon! She’s such a liar! She probably cheated to win the ribbon in the first place!” 

Miss Galore wanted this to be over. “Okay. Okay. You two get over here. I want you to apologize and shake hands. Marcy, you apologize for accusing Donnie. And Donnie, you apologize for … not making sure that when you handed the ribbon back to Marcy, that she didn’t drop it. I don’t know. Anyway, just shake hands and I don’t want to hear any more about it. I’m sure your ribbon will turn up, Marcy.” 

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That evening at dinner, when he had eaten his fill and Fred Senior seemed to be in a reasonably decent mood, and not yet drunk, Donnie casually said, “Say, Sir, did you know that there are N——-s at my school?” 

Fred Senior, sputtered through his mashed potatoes. “WHAT? Are you sure?” 

Donnie looked at the ceiling and pretended to think. “No, but I think so. She might only be half N——. I don’t really know. She has dark skin though. I never paid much attention but today she told a lie to try to get me in trouble at school.” 

“What the F*** are N****s doing at your school? I’ll talk to the Principal tomorrow and get this straightened out. Are they teaching you kids anything useful at that school?” 

Fred Junior said, “Yes, Father. I am learning algebra. That’s useful.” 

Fred Senior smirked and snorted. “Doesn’t sound like it, but the main thing is you’ll get into a good college.” 

Donnie added, “I’m going to win a Blue Ribbon in the Science Fair. I’ll find out more about it tomorrow.”  

Fred shook his head. “Christ! What rot. Anyway, how about desert?” 

Mary brought over a large dish and placed it proudly into the middle of the table. In it were little scoops of watermelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew. There were slices of apple and banana as well as some ripe strawberries all arranged quite artistically to Mary’s eye. 

Fred Senior grimaced and shouted, “What the F### is that? Seriously, Mary, have you gone nuts? I asked for desert! Not a f###ing salad!

Mary swallowed hard. The A/C was out. It was hot as hell on this day in mid May. She had remembered that fruits were so much better for you than pies, cakes, and cookies. She thought maybe it would nice to have a cool fruit salad on a warm and sultry night. She had thought. That was her problem. She should never think. She should just do whatever Fred tells her too. Her mind raced. What could she get to assuage her husband quickly. 

Fred Senior glared at her. He had stopped yelling though, thought Mary. His voice instead had that soft, sweet, syrupy sound that it made…whenever things were going to go terribly badly for her.

Fred Senior did indeed speak in a soft, controlled voice. “Children. Go upstairs now and do your homework. I need to have a little chat with your Mother. You know. Big People stuff. You wouldn’t be interested. Boring really. So upstairs. Go on. Up. Now.” 

The children pushed their chairs back and looked straight down at the ground. They had been taught that, even a glance at each other or at Mom or Dad could — would — be considered as a reproach to their Father. So, they all tip-toed up to bed and immersed themselves in a book; they learned that if they did it well enough, they could ignore the noises — whatever they were — that would be coming from the kitchen and dining room. 

All, but Donnie, that is. His procedure, was to go up with the other kids and then sneak back down and watch. It was one of the biggest risks he ever took in his entire life. But he couldn’t help himself. He loved the way Daddy made Mommy so weak and pathetic. It made his Daddy so much bigger and stronger and manlier. He would be that way some day. He would be just like Daddy! And, next week, I’ll win a Blue Ribbon in Science! 

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Other blog posts: 

What about the butter dish? 

Inventing a New Color

There’s a pill for that

Citizen Soldiers: Part 1

Citizen Soldiers: Part 2

Citizen Soldiers: Part 3

After the Fall

Author Page on Amazon


Sports Fans Only


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Sports Fans Only

football game

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Many people in America, as well as many other parts of the world, miss watching sports during the pandemic, or participating. In many places, it is okay to play tennis and golf with special procedures in place. (e.g., no rakes in the golf bunkers; don’t take out the flagstick). Other, more full contact sports pose problems. But the biggest problem is the in-person audience when it comes to professional sports. 

If Trumputin is re-elected, we won’t have to worry about that — because there will be no sports — not in the true sense of the word. There may be acted-out charades of sports. But instead of actual competitions among people who are mainly on the “up and up” rather than “on the take.” At first, the replacement of honest sports with charades of sports, will only be sporadic and limited to the sports Trump happens to care about. But eventually, everyone in the administration will join in to wield their power and influence — not for the good of America — but for their own petty interests. The best athletes will simply quit. I can’t imagine the top tennis stars would participate in a scripted simulation of sports with the outcome known in advance so that money would flow from other people’s pockets, yet again, into the coffers of the Trump Crime Family. 

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I’m reminded somehow of Lyme Disease and deer ticks. Deer ticks are the vector for spreading this disease to humans. It’s a nasty disease, and in some cases even crippling, but you don’t notice the worst effects for a long time. You get this little tick, barely visible, and it burrows into your skin. Then, it starts sucking your blood. You would think that if something started sucking your frigging blood out of your frigging body, you would bloody well notice! But the tick has a little trick. A tick trick. It squirts out a local sedative. Isn’t that sweet? You don’t feel the pincers pierce your skin. You don’t feel the barbed mouth parts drilling in to lap up your blood. You don’t feel a thing. You’ve been sedated. 

Getting back to organized but predetermined “sports,” when people realize that all of professional sports is simply a charade — a show put on for the rich and powerful and that it has nothing to do with skill, or experience, or tactics. It’s all about who already has the most wealth. It’s a table with no bet limit. It’s a table with no bet limit. Now — what does that mean? It means that whoever has the most wealth and power can determine the outcome every single time. Everyone else will lose on average.  

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At some point, the deer tick becomes completely engorged with your blood. Her body swells up grotesquely, but apart from looking gross and losing a bit of blood, she has likely left behind a little gift for you as well. That gift is a packet of bacteria that will now proceed to infect your entire body. As I said, it’s nasty for most people, and some never fully recover. 

At first, the corruption due to any infection is somewhat localized. But soon, sports at every level will be corrupt. And why shouldn’t it be? Isn’t school to prepare people for life? What kind of school would prepare children for a fair world when the actual world is completely unfair? So, the incentives will be for school to teach children — not actual physical skills and fair play — but instead, teach how to cheat, what to do when caught, how to bully, how to kiss ass. These are the skills they will need in sports or in any other endeavor.

I hope we do fully recover. The Class of 2020 gives me hope.



Trumpism is a New Religion.

The Truth Train

The Anti-Academic Pandemic

You Bet Your Life!



True Believer


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“Walllll,” began Grandpa; as he always did, with a long pause and a sucking of false teeth as he held that final labial consonant, “yep, there marched time, quicker than you believe, conceive…”  (He had that oh-so-annoying habit: rhyming terminal words). The rain pitter-pattered on the canvas of the huge gray tent. Alabama’s like that: sunny days; drenching night-ways. 

He gobbled another greedy shot of Jack Daniels. Spat. Rolled eyes to skies.  (Oh, Lord, not me too.)

“…when Earth hung lower on firmament’s edge, and all of us’ns believed in the Testament.  AMEN!”

His glory days as child wonder preacher got juiced up with juice. Even in those glory days, that sad, dark, wooden church held a few dozen and that was on special occasions. But it didn’t matter. Because in his mind, he was preachering before the congregation of a magnificent cathedral if not God’s own thrown.

“A-MEN!” he repeated, as though this one AMEN was the one that would put us over the top and headed toward the Promised Land. He said ‘Amen’ as though his life depended on it, and perhaps he really thought it did.

I could see Light, Holy Light, rekindle in his eyes. “We BELIEVED! And, God so loved the World of Alabama that He gave his only begotten Son, who won, the One thing that is Done. AMEN!”  

Well, he foamed in fine form for this night, I thought, shaking my hanging head slowly, perhaps, showily. 

“And, Oh, Dearest God, what have you revealed, concealed from your flock, your true stock?” 

The crowd began to sway and have its say, “AMEN!” came the shout above the rain, explode the brain.

“The Ghost, the HOOOOOOOLY Ghost…will enter you and make Him Yours and He makes you His. Yeah! It’s the Way! Can I hear you say Yeah!?”

Shouts all around. Surrounded in sound, I found myself hoping for a Sign, a Line, a Find of Mind. I die. I see the Lie, but cannot fathom Why. Oh, Why?  

680174EA-5910-4F9B-8C75-C15B3136FB06_1_105_cAuthor Page on Amazon

If Only: short mystery about a chance meeting on Tower Bridge around 1900.

Donnie Plays Bull-Dazzle Man. 


Absolute is Not Just a Vodka


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Absolute is Not Just a Vodka

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If you continue to support Trump out of loyalty to him, please understand that your loyalty to him supersedes every other thing that you care about in life. You may not yet realize that, but it does.



The Truth. 

Your Possessions.

Your Soul.

Your Neighbors.

Your Friends. 

Your Spouse. 

Your Parents.

Your Siblings. 

Your Kids. 

Your Wealth. 

Your Reputation. 

Your Feet.

Your Arms. 

Your Face. 

Your Mouth. 


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Your life is over. You are now part of the Trump machine. And, as such, you are expected to fulfill your role as subservient and without question. You may think I am exaggerating, but if so, go back and look at what he has done to the careers and lives of those who questioned him when he was dead wrong!  This is the way of dictatorship. Read about Stalin’s Russia or Hitler’s Germany or Mao’s China before it’s too late.

You will believe as you are told to believe.

You will give to the State whatever it requires.

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You will embrace evil. And, you will know in your heart that it is evil even though people will give you all sorts of rationalizations about why it’s for the greater good and it’s only a few people dead and a few more and a few more and ….

You will tell authorities about any neighbors who are people of color or people of a different religion or people who have a funny accent or people who don’t watch Faux News. Of course you will. 

You will betray your friends as well if you overhear them saying something that used to be true such as “The earth is round” but which is now out of favor as being just a sissy-science nerd thing. 

You will betray your spouse as well if they don’t go along with the new regime. It sounds as though it would be a pretty soul-wrenching thing to do but then it occurs to you that they might do the same to you. Of course it will occur to you. 

And you decide to beat them to the punch. So, you gather evidence so that in a case of he-said, she-said, you will have the upper hand. Of course, it might not even be true at all. You might just be tired of your spouse, but a convincing accusation is all that is needed. Even if your spouse is completely innocent, it will serve the purposes of the state by making their execution public. 

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You will betray your parents if asked. They did it in Russia. They did it in Germany. They did it in many places where absolute tyranny ruled. Not everyone did so, of course, but it’s easy to make rationalizations. 
“Oh, they were old anyway.” “Oh, they were in bad health and they probably would have died anyway.” “Oh, they were never that nice to me anyway. Always preferred my older brother.”

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You will betray your own children as well. Of course you will. You’re currently supporting someone who is in bed with oil companies including Russian oligarchs. And, they aren’t snuggling just to stay warm. No, they are in positions that would even make Caligula blush. 

As a result, Trump has worked tirelessly to roll back as many environmental regulations as he possibly can. This means your children — and their children — will grow up in a world of dirtier air and dirtier water and a more corrupted food supply. It will smell worse. It will taste worse. It will be a world that predisposes people to diseases such as cancer, asthma, and auto-immune disease. In some places, such as Flint, Michigan, it will cause brain damage in children. So, yes, you will betray your children for the sake of your loyalty to Trump. 

It’s not that you don’t care about your kids. Of course you do! But Trump knows that too. He and Putin’s targeted cyber-campaign have used that love to help convince you that the only way you can really protect them is to let him have absolute power.

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And do you know what you will get from Trump in return for giving him absolute power?



No protection. No wealth. No opportunity. Nothing.

Maybe that’s not quite true, because you might get, perhaps, a thrill out of being on the winning team even if the team cheats in every possible way. Personally, I find those kind of victories make me feel worse than losing fairly when I’ve done my best. Your mileage may differ. 

Perhaps you get a thrill out of chanting along with the President. 

Perhaps you get a thrill out of thinking about all the pain Trump causes “liberals.” 

I don’t know. 

But I do know this. There are many ways to get thrills that do not require you to give up everything you care about in return. Why not enjoy one of those instead? 

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Other than that thrill? 

Look around your life. Look at the people you care about. Do they look more peaceful and loving than they did four years ago? Do they look happier? What about you? Are you happier? Are you wealthier? Do you feel safer than you did four years ago? Do you feel healthier than you did four years ago? Does the nation seem better off? More united? More respected throughout the world? 

Well, however your life is different than it was four years ago, that change is what you are trading your life for. You are pledging to give everything to Trump if he wants it.


Everything you love. 

You have no real choice. 

You have given up your life as an autonomous human. 

And, as nothing more than a meat machine, you will inevitably be replaced by a cheaper, faster, metallic and plastic version. It may take a little longer if you are a lawyer, or a banker, or a manager, or a computer programmer or paid companion than if you are a grocery clerk, or meat packer, or bus driver, but it will happen nonetheless. 

What you have forgotten is that your life, like every other human life has value in and of itself. 

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The value of your life, as enshrined in our Constitution, comes from being born. The framers of the Constitution called it a God-given right. 

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. 

And if you let one person have absolute power, then they can absolutely take away: 

Your Life

Your Liberty 

Your Pursuit of Happiness. 

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Instead, you will be working for their happiness. And, you’ll be giving up your own life and the lives of those you love for the word of someone who doesn’t even know you exist — someone who will throw you under the bus for nothing more than the pleasure of hearing the crunch beneath the tires. 

When one person has absolute power, no-one else has any at all. 

You may comfort yourself by thinking that, while you may not have much control over your work life, at least you’ll have control over the rest of your life. 


You won’t. 

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There is no invisible boundary around your property or your house or your bedroom or your body. Of course there isn’t. In a democracy there is such an imaginary boundary. 

There are things like courts of law, and search warrants, and fair trials. Those are gone. So, if someone in power wants your property, or your house, or your son or daughter, or your life — who’s to stop them? You’ll haul out your assault weapon? Come on. 

Once the rule of law is gone, a whole truckload of weapons won’t help you keep what’s yours. And neither will a truckload of MAGA hats. But don’t worry! You won’t even need to fight!

Because you’ll want to give it all away. You’ll convince yourself it’s for the best. The power over you is then absolute. People are already putting their lives and the lives of their families at risk for no better reason than that they’re told to do so. And it feels to them as though they are freely choosing to do so. 

You may want to exercise your freedom to choose while you still have any such freedom. Because it is disappearing a whole lot faster than the virus is. 

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Absolute is not just a vodka. 

Essays on America: Wednesday

What About the Butter Dish? 

The Myths of the Veritas: The Orange Man

Essays on America: The Game

You Bet Your Life

The Truth Train

The Pandemic Anti-Academic



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Made of Snowflakes.


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Photo by Egor Kamelev on

Everyone comments: “Every snowflake’s different.”

It’s a cliché.

However amazing that may be, 

Amazing still is every snowflake’s sixfold symmetry.

“What’s so special about that,” you say. 

How does the three millionth molecule out near northeast

Know what the three millionth molecule out near southwest

Is doing?  

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Photo by Jill Wellington on

I’ve a story to explain: 

Once upon a time,

Everything was One.

If truth be told, 

It was a boring too much One of Oneness.


As matter is wont, 

We Big-Banged Ourselves into this far-flung Universe:


A multi-colored, 


Extravaganza of galaxies. 

And yet, 

We (not just you and me)

We (meaning all of existence)

Seek that underlying, undying, 


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The mystery of gravity. 

(Why else would everything 

In the universe be attracted to everything else?)

In between the ting and tang of bells;

In between the yin and yang of all;

In between the sweetness of the notes of song;

In between this moment and the


In all those in-betweens we glimpse:




We are all One.

And always shall be. 

So quell your fears of Worst.

Slake your thirst.  

Let the snowflakes, 

Fall, fall, and melt upon your tongue.


Wars? Scars? 

Hate? Fear? 

What chance do they have

In the longest run of all who run?

Division is but the ignorance of too    few    years

Brewed into flat, stale, tasteless beers.

Routed and touted as though it were a fine wine

Touched by Heaven’s Gate – a touch divine. 

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The Mad King shatters all of US

And all the US of US

He throws each one of us

Under his failing falling galling bus. 

The roads all darken with the dirt and blood and salt.

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“It’s not my fault! It’s all your fault! 

And you and you and you and you — you all must lose. 

And I will lie and check and slay all day. 

I sing the electric assault. 

I sing it’s time to kill my foes. 

I sing it’s time to burn the world!”

And all the while, each snowflake shows, 

Each flag unfurled,

Each insult hurled,

Turns the earth a greener hue;

Turns the air a cleaner blue. 

In the stillness and the in between, 

We now begin to see 

That we are we. 

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Bound thus together by our common scenes

And bound together by our common genes

We reject the clown’s inept inanity.

We see so clearly now that we are one humanity.

And all the screaming, scheming, double-dealing

Gets rightfully confined to back ward dreaming. 

All across the world, humanity is teaming. 

This is one large, deadly test 

To see if we could see

That we are we is manifest 

For all humanity.


Let snow abound.

Our unity is found.

We very nearly drowned.

Our feet at last are touching ground.

Our voice: at last a singing sound.

Prometheus at last unbound!

Our truth at last is found!

Our world is very clearly round!

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Photo by Pixabay on


The Impossible

Mother’s Day

The Truth Train

The Pandemic Anti-Academic

Author Page on Amazon

Index to Pattern Language for Cooperation