As a ploy to prod productivity, I often write with a different “theme” or “genre” for every day of the week. Today is “Sonnet Sunday.” The basic idea is to write a sonnet every Sunday. Lately, in light of the Extreme Court ruling that states cannot enact laws that abridge the rights of guns but they are free to enact laws to abridge the rights of women, I decided that instead of the traditional five feet in every line of the sonnet, I would put an extra foot everywhere it doesn’t belong — just like the Extreme Court. So, instead of writing in iambic pentameter, I’m going for iambic hexameter.
You ever see Alito’s photograph with egg?
I speak of human egg of course: unscrambled dot.
Or, even posed with toddler twins who peed his leg?
He does not shed a tear nor care a shriveled shot
For fetus, females, Constitutionality.
He cites authority of judges from the past.
The six-teen hundreds! Where is rationality?!
We need to balance idiocracy real fast!
You ever see Alito’s nine month pregnant pouch?
He’s never even been a woman, right? Nor, fan.
Without an ounce of understanding, from his couch,
He beckons to the darkest beast in every man.
Don’t let a man who’s never felt a female’s heart
Dictate to you what’s straight enough, nor tear apart.
Fred shook his head as he clicked off his cellphone and laid it down carefully on the bedside table charger. His reading light was still on. He glanced over and saw that Geri was awake. He wished for a moment that the phone call had never happened; that it had just been a bad dream. He could see from Geri’s expression that she knew he was upset.
“Well?” She began. “Was that who I think it was?” Her exasperated tone, Fred knew, wasn’t a reproach to him. He shrugged. “He wouldn’t take no for an answer. Of course. He’s coming over in the morning on his way to close a big important deal, so he says. Wants to share the fruits of his genius by showering the boys with gifts.”
Geri sighed. She was, by now, quite familiar with Uncle Donnie’s “gifts” to the boys. The first such gift had come somewhere around their seventh birthday, he had “gifted them” bee bee guns. That would have been bad enough, but Uncle Donnie didn’t stop there. He regaled them with stories about his “bravery” in the “big war” and how he had shot many more “Japs” (as he called them) than he had ever gotten proper credit for. Of course, like all of Donnie’s stories, he completely fabricated this one. He had never been drafted and he certainly never volunteered. He never served in armed services. So far as Geri could tell, he’d never served anywhere for anything. Nonetheless, when she looked at the glowing faces of her admiring twins, she didn’t have the heart to debunk his tall tales. Donnie had left soon after an enormous breakfast to close an ‘enormous’ deal, the details of which he couldn’t disclose for legal reasons, but he assured them all, they’d soon be reading about it in the paper.
Donnie’s parting words had been: “Tell Daddy to take you to Dick’s soon! They have your rifles waiting for you! Who knows? Maybe some day, you’ll be a war hero too!.”
That evening, Geri & Fred had had the worst fight of their marriage. She couldn’t understand why Fred had not told the boys they weren’t old enough to have bee bee guns and that their Uncle Donnie had told them a pack of lies. Fred had ended up yelling and saying things he didn’t mean. Geri had ended up yelling and saying things she didn’t mean. They had never really “resolved” that conflict. But they eventually moved on. Since Uncle Donnie’s visits were only occasional, they came to an uneasy cease-fire about the necessity of debunking his lies. Geri promised not to burst the bubble of Donnie’s lies, but Fred understood that if she were ever asked directly, she would tell the truth. Fred said he would do the same. As it turned out, the boys never asked either of their parents whether Uncle Donnie’s tales were true.
Now, Fred regretted not havingmcalled Donnie out on his lies when he first told them. Well, Fred reasoned, now it was ‘water under the bridge.’ Hopefully, this visit wouldn’t last too long. Fred turned the light out. He knew he’d no longer be able concentrate on his book. Sleep would take awhile. He knew there was no point in worrying about Donnie’s visit or trying to guess what lies he would fill his sons’ heads with next. But that knowledge didn’t bring sleep.
Geri for her part, also lay awake in the dark, struggling to find the argument that would convince Fred to permanently sever ties with his brother. How do you convince someone to forsake their demented and destructive brother? She worried about Donnie’s impact on her sons. What of them? They were bright boys, so their teachers all said. How could they keep falling for Uncle Donnie’s lies? Of course, when the four of them had arrived at the gun shop, Donnie had not paid for the rifles. What he had done was to have the stocks engraved with the boy’s names: “Teddy” and “Ronnie.” Uncle Donnie had assured the store owner that his brother Fred would come by and pay for the rifles and the engraving. Normally, the store owner insisted on cash up front for engraving, but after Donnie explained his status as a war hero and explained that he needed every cent right now to buy the old armory downtown where he was going to make a “first class” shelter for homeless veterans, the store owner agreed and even contributed twenty bucks of his own money.
Fred had paid the two hundred bucks for the air rifles and engraving. Every time Uncle Donnie visited from then on, Donnie had reminded the boys how he had “bought them” engraved air rifles and asked how their target practice was coming. They complained that their Dad had insisted on strict rules about using the guns. For one thing, they had to wear safety goggles. For another, they could only aim and shoot at paper targets stapled to trees. Uncle Donnie had clicked his tongue and wondered aloud what was wrong with his brother. “When I was in basic training, you know what we did? We shot at each other with live ammo! That way, we learned to duck and aim quickly so when I finally took all those island back from the Japs, it was easy. You don’t get to be a soldier by being a coward! Tell you what, boys, I’ll talk to brother Fred & see whether I can talk some sense into him!”
Geri swung her feet over the edge of the bed. She could tell that Fred was awake and upset too. She said, “Fred, I’m going to make some chamomile tea for myself. You want me to make you some too?”
Fred sighed. “Yeah, I suppose. Thanks, sweetheart. Actually, how about that Sleepy Time Tea instead? That has hibiscus too. I think it works better.”
The tea quickly sent Geri into dreamland, but Fred still couldn’t get to sleep until about 3 am. He kept going over the other disastrous “gifts” that Donnie had promised over the years. He couldn’t think of a single time that his brother had actually paid even a single dime for any of the gifts he had promised the twins. Nonetheless, the boys kept accepting the idea that Uncle Donnie was their generous and prosperous benefactor. On the few occasions when Fred had tried to set the record straight, the boys just looked at each other and shook their heads. Usually Teddy would pipe up first with a comment like: “It’s okay, Dad. We understand. Uncle Donnie explained it to us. You pay for our house, our clothes, Christmas and birthday presents. And, you’re not rich like Uncle Donnie. He says we shouldn’t expect you to buy extra gifts and that he’s happy to do it.”
Fred had not wanted to come right out and call his brother a liar. To the boys, Donnie was a war hero and a rich successful businessman. To Fred, it was more than a little maddening. After all, the boys had been there when he went to pick up their rifles. Apparently, they had been so focused on how “cool” the rifles looked and were so busy imagining getting a chance to shoot, that they had paid no attention to the fact that he, their father, had paid for the rifles and the engraving.
It seemed to Fred, only moments after he finally fell asleep that he heard the front doorbell ring. “Crap,” he muttered aloud. He rolled over. Geri was sitting up in bed. Then, Fred heard the the twins sprint down the upstairs hallway and piston their feet down the stairs. He could hear the happy greetings though he couldn’t make out what was being said. Fred & Geri exchanged a look. Fred took a leak, did a cursory job of brushing his teeth and ambled over to the bedroom door. He turned to look at Geri. “Are you coming down soon?”
Geri frowned. “Geez. It’s only 6:30 am! Who visits someone that early on a Saturday morning?”
Fred nodded. He said, “We know who. My brother. Donnie. Anyhow, I’m awake. You ready for coffee or breakfast?”
Geri half-smiled. “Coffee sounds nice. I’m not ready for breakfast. Tell everyone I’ll be down in a little while. We should use up those eggs. Maybe an omelet for everyone? You can just leave a bit for me?”
Fred smiled. After all, he did enjoy his life. Most days. They were a very lucky family, he reminded himself. His wife had barely survived having the twins. Lost a lot of blood. It had been touch and go. But all was well. And then, there was the accident. Randy could have easily lost his right eye. Probably would have if the bee bee would have struck a quarter inch over. After that little incident, Fred had put away their rifles for a month and made them promise to always wear their goggles no matter what his demented brother Donnie said.
Fred reached the top of the steps and heard the front door slam. Had the boys gone out for a walk? He took a quick detour into the boys’ room and peered out into the soft predawn. He saw the boys pile into the back seat of Fred’s “custom-made luxury car.” At least, that’s what Fred called it. Where the hell was he taking them? Not exactly cool not to discuss with us. Probably just driving around the block, Fred supposed.
Fred supposed wrong.
The boys did not return for breakfast. Or lunch. Geri and Fred were both worried, though Fred was reluctant to call the cops on his own brother. Donnie didn’t answer his cellphone. Nor did the boys. Upon checking their room, he found both cellphones on the nightstands. The boys hadn’t known they were going to be away long. Even Uncle Donnie couldn’t have kept them from wanting to text their friends. Their friends! Fred tried calling some of the friends of the twins. None of them admitting to know of any plans. In fact, Judy & Jill had expected the twins after lunch to come study algebra together.
Fred was fighting a feeling of dread. He felt the shadow of Geri in the doorway and looked over at her. She just stared at him. Fred nodded. “Okay. Okay. I’ll call.”
Fred still felt bad about calling the cops on his brother. He explained the situation and, in turn, the cops explained that since the man was a close member of their family, there was nothing to be worried about and that, in any case, their hands were tied for 24 hours. Fred wanted to explain that Uncle Donnie wasn’t an “ordinary” Uncle. He wanted to make them see that his brother was a liar; unreliable; a cheat. But he didn’t know these police officers. To them, it was just an Uncle out for a joy ride and all would be well by dinner time. Fred reassured himself that the police were likely right. He supposed the twins would be back by dinner.
Fred supposed wrong.
Geri didn’t exactly blame Fred. But when the weeks dragged on and no leads arose, Geri stopped crying audibly. Her cheeks bore the light little tracks of tears, silently shed, and she moved on past chamomile tea to heavy drinking and then to opioids. Fred became obsessed with finding the twins. Everyone at work understood. Nonetheless, he was eventually put on unpaid leave. On the few occasions when he tried to concentrate on some time-critical problem, he utterly failed.
Fred combed the neighborhood for the third time, hoping to trigger the memory of someone who might have seen Donnie’s wreck of a car and noted which way it had turned. But only one jogger, Alice, had noticed the car. At that point, the car was still going the same direction Fred himself had seen although Alice noticed that the car had no plates. But questioning her for the third time turned up nothing new.
When Fred returned home from a day of canvasing, Geri was gone. Geri’s clothes were gone. On the kitchen table, she had left a short hand-written note:
Horrors! People! No more pooping!! In a single day, a person may destroy 10**11 epithelial cells from the intestines! I’m talking about living human cells! This dwarfs the abortion epidemic by many many orders of magnitude! Just to understand the scope of this crime, remember that there are fewer than 10 billion people on earth. Ten billion is only 10**10th. So every day, you are murdering TEN TIMES the population of the entire earth!
Now, some people will argue that these cells are not really human beings, or that such cells cannot viably exist on their own and that there is a medical benefit to shedding these cells. To which I reply: “So what!!?” Each has the *potential* to become a fully functioning human being!”
From now on, each of these cells must be rescued from your poop. Then, from each cell, the nucleus must be extracted. This nucleus shall then be put into a human egg cell and implanted in a baby incubator device (sometimes jokingly referred to as a “woman”). Wait nine months and *voila!* a new and precious human baby will be born. Best of all, during that time, most rich, old, white, males won’t be the least bit inconvenienced.
I realize that some people will argue that such a procedure would be absurdly expensive and inconvenient. So what?! We cannot allow abortions simply because having a baby might be beyond the economic capabilities of a family or that it would disrupt their lives or reduce their ability to care for their other children or endanger the life of the mother. It certainly doesn’t matter that saving these babies lives would hasten the destruction of the ecosystem all humanity needs in order to survive. Well, it’s the same thing with all those babies-that-could-be in your bowel. Who knows? One of them could be the next Einstein or Saint Teresa.
Please save these unborn babies out of your poop! Don’t let them be wantonly destroyed!! Write your Senators and Representatives today! And whatever you do, stop pooping until the proper procedures and mechanisms can be set up to save all these potential babies! Until then, simply hold it. Of course, it isn’t merely your own poop that you must be concerned with. You must do your part to make sure your neighbors also hold it till we’re ready to save the babies. Needless to say, what applies to your right to control your neighbors bodily functions goes doubly for your own family. So make sure your kids don’t poop either. No-one’s ever too young to avoid becoming a parent.
Oh, and you’ll be happy to know that the Bible agrees with me 100%. Well, not really the Bible, per se, of course, but the Bible as interpreted by a small number of people. You’ll also be happy to know that the US Constitution also agrees with me. Well, not really the Constitution, per se, but what the founders meant by what’s in Constitution as magically divined by the Extreme Court.
By the way, you may want to lay off the grains & greens until everything’s set to make sure we save the babies!
The Self-Made Man awoke. That is to say, his eyes snapped open, as they typically did, one minute before his alarm setting. He quickly turned the alarm off. After all, it was only a back-up system. His superior brain constituted alarm one.
The Self-Made Man swung his legs (legs that evolved courtesy of the four-billion year old evolutionary struggles of his ancestors) over the edge of his memory foam bed. (Memory Foam had been invented in 1966 by NASA. NASA was America’s space agency. The tax dollars of US citizens paid for that, and for many other inventions).
The Self-Made Man didn’t believe in paying taxes. Taxes, he thought, were for suckers. The Self-Made Man, according to his judgment, spent his money on things he found worthwhile such as making more people like himself. Why should he send his hard-earned money to Washington DC and let the government of the people decide where his money should be spent? That made no sense; after all, it was his money! (Money, by the by, was invented about 2000 BC, approximately 4000 years before the Self-Made Man was born.)
The Self-Made Man slipped his feet into his slippers. Slippers, of course, provide an easy way to add protection to your feet. Slippers are not unlike the moccasins that many Native Americans used for over ten thousand years before Europeans came to destroy most of them with germs and guns. The moccasins of The Self-Made Man were not made of deer skin or moose skin, but of synthetic fabrics which had been developed over the preceding century by thousands of scientists working for “rubber” companies and chemical companies. Some of this research was funded by US taxpayers but the money spent on tires for their cars paid for most of the research.
As The Self-Made Man slid his feet into his slippers, he did not think about these things. He was thinking about a speech he would be giving later that day encouraging people to fight for lower taxes, especially for the wealthy. Somewhere in the back of his mind, The Self-Made Man, was vaguely aware that poor people tended to waste their money on such mundane things as clothing, shelter, food, healthcare, etc. How tedious! Rich people were far more imaginative and spent money on important things like golden toilet seats, yachts that were so large they couldn’t enter harbors, cryptocurrencies, and politicians.
The Self-Made Man didn’t waste much time thinking about poor people at all. They were fools anyway and actually worked for their money. How stupid is that, when you can be rich enough to own things and make more money from owning things than anyone could possibly make from simply doing things that provided value to others.
The Self-Made Man picked up his smart phone and “dialed” his head speech writer. The “smart phone” of The Self-Made Man had grown from technology that was largely, though not entirely paid for, by the taxes of US citizens. No matter. Of course, the very smart people who developed that technology had been able to do so largely because of their education. Most of that was paid for by taxes of US citizens. But that education itself depended upon thousands of years of development of language, mathematics, science, etc.
The Self-Made Man showered in hot water and cleansed himself with soap. Having hot water at his fingertips grew from the magic of yet other inventions. Without thinking much about it, he not only cleansed himself of dirt and dead skin but also benefited from the action of soap to kill some of the germs that lived on him. Indoor plumbing itself had been invented about 6000 to 7000 years earlier in India. Sometimes, the Self-Made Made let the shower water trickle into his mouth. Luckily, government agencies had ensured that this was safe to do. Those agencies had been paid for by the tax dollars of ordinary US citizens who were too stupid not to pay taxes.
The Self-Made Man dressed and went to his home office to take a last look at his speech. He quickly accessed all his needed information using protocols that had originally been developed by DARPA using the tax dollars of ordinary US citizens who had paid their taxes. He scanned through the speech. The Self-Made Man thought it merely adequate. He reckoned it did a nice enough job of arguing as to why The Self-Made Man was the most important kind of man in the world. But something was missing. The speech, in a way, was the heaven part. It explained why The Self-Made Man and others of his ilk were bringing about a veritable heaven on earth. That was fine. So far as it went. But where was the “Fire and Brimstone” part? Where was the part that aroused the hatred of unions and workers who supported them? Where was the part that would make the audience be willing to do anything to keep the rich and powerful in control? Missing. The Self-Made Made shook his head sadly. Using the Internet protocols and hardware inventions of generations of scientists and engineers, he fired his main speech writer and alerted his second violin speech writer to add the “Fire and Brimstone” part. “Demonize these people the way they deserve to be!”
Firing people always gave a little thrill to The Self-Made Man. Firing was always a “Triple Play.” First, it made “The Self-Made Man” feel good immediately. Second, it taught the person fired a valuable lesson. Third, it rekindled the fear in his other employees that they too could be fired at a moment’s notice if their work wasn’t up to snuff. And, it worked. As it almost always did. The “Second string” speech writer added some nice demonizing text and even included a Bible verse about the value of hard work.
Soon, The Self-Made Man’s chauffeur zoomed them along an Interstate highway system (paid for by US taxpayers) toward the airport (which had largely been paid for by tax dollars). The Self-Made Man’s limo was a marvelous example of pollution whose external costs were almost all borne by others. The land beneath which the oil lay had mainly been stolen without compensation from the Native Americans (and other indigenous people throughout the world) who had lived there for tens of thousands of years. The extraction of the oil and its refinement to gasoline polluted air and water and required the dangerous labor of many. The combustion of the gasoline poured still more pollution into the air including carbon dioxide which was warming the planet so quickly and so radically that every year, people died from various climate catastrophes.
The Self-Made Man soon arrived at the Conference Center (paid for largely by tax dollars, because, after all, conventions brought business to the downtown). His speech was well-received and several Self-Made Men walked up afterwards and congratulated him on his brilliant speech. Three from The Self-Made Man’s social media team tweeted and instagrammed excerpts from his brilliant words. These were soon echoed by several of the politicians he owned.
The Self-Made Man was too busy to stay and chat long. One of his assistants handed The Self-Made Man a cup of coffee as they rushed out to the waiting limo. As he began to take a sip of the beverage which had been invented far away and long ago, the top came off and burned the thumb and index finger of The Self-Made Man. He noisily fired his assistant on the spot. He shook his head sadly as he slid into the rear seat. The Self-Made Man began feeling the scald in earnest and therefore began screaming at his chauffeur. “Where the hell is the damned ice! Can’t you see I burned myself?!”
The limo was a marvel of sound isolation, and in fact, the chauffeur had not known anything about the spilled coffee. “There’s ice right beside you in the champagne bucket,” the driver said matter-of-factly.
The Self-Made Man wasn’t about to reach all the way across the back of the limo to get his own damned ice! He screamed: “Pull over and get me the damned ice!”
The limo driver sighed. “Sir, there’s no place safe to pull over right here. I can pull over … “
The Self-Made Man screamed even more loudly. “What the hell’s wrong with you?! Pull over NOW!”
The chauffeur complied.
Meanwhile, the bus driver behind them had his own issues. Of course, it wasn’t really the bus driver’s fault that the airline schedules were all bolloxed up. And, somewhere in the back of his mind, the disgruntled passenger must have known that too. But it didn’t keep him from screaming at the bus driver just long enough to prevent the bus driver from noticing the oddly parked limo.
Before the crash rendered everything in the limo burned beyond legibility, there had been a prominent sign in its passenger compartment which read:
“Please buckle up! It’s the law.”
The Self-Made Man, of course, felt himself much too important to follow laws of any kind.
Although The Self-Made Man was rushed to a hospital (mainly paid for by tax dollars — but not his) and once there, received trauma treatments developed by thousands at a cost of billions of dollars and thousands of lives, his particular and largely insignificant leaf detached and fell from the Great Tree of Life and was no more.
As less, and bless twin evils: Slave & Masterhood.
Yet dimly saw perhaps a democratic arc.
Provide for ways to grow a land of humanhood.
Remember to find the light — wherever you can. And then add to it. No matter how small, it helps.
Alas that dream seems dashed upon the rocks of creed
A manic sycophantic oliphant has come
To overturn both logic, love with crap & greed.
Pretending not to notice what we’ve learned; plays dumb.
It tramples rights of non-white, poor, and double X’s.
Projects itself upon a pedestal, and hexes.
The real strength of the oliphant is less than you think; because it is fragile as anything based on a lie inevitably will be. Strength requires being tied to reality without being enslaved to it. We can imagine and strive toward something better.
They practice witchcraft of a very shifty sort
And thus, with evil devils, they themselves consort.
The logic they pretend to worship, they contort.
They gorge on earth and every shred of life they can.
They cite the lies with which our history once began
Ignoring all the truths since learned so they can ban —
The lives and loves of what they do not understand.
They stuff their ears to drown the sound of those they’ve banned.
They cover eyes to blind their brains to flames they’ve fanned.
The air and sea are fouled: – by blood-soaked, unlearned hand.
They point their blame toward each direction in the land.
If everyone caves, they’ll expand their demand. We’ll all be damned.
It cannot stand. Fallacious fascism falls and fails.
It won’t be folx, but traitorous cheats who’ll fill our jails.
The Fire of Love is Fire that Works: The Fire of Life.
Fulfill America’s Dream. The Dream beneath the Dream.
Help everyone see and feel the Theme beyond the Theme.
The Fire of Love is Fire that Works. The Fire of Life.
We need a land that works for everyone who’s here.
For rich, and poor; for men and women, straight or queer.
For blue, for yellow, red and white. Behold the Light!
For each heart knows that “Cheat and Lie” cannot be right.
Divide’s a trap for fools. It’s history that schools:
Don’t follow those who promise jewels then break all rules.
Instead, we’ll stand, hand in hand, across the land.
We’ll sing a song still better than the one we planned.
We’ll sing clear air; we’ll sing our forests back to green.
We’ll sing of love; we’ll face the truth; grow strong and clean.
We need not join dictatorships of scum and hate.
That’s not the arc of America’s fate. That’s not our gate.
It’s over on that hill of green. That place of sun?
That place of light and love? There’s room for everyone!
The Fire of Love is Fire that Works. The Fire of Life.
The future is ahead of us. A thousand wars of strife
Will not turn back the seasons nor the sun. The Light
Will grow the Tree of Life beyond the Fear and Fight.
Come climb the hill and in the valley far below
You’ll see the hands around the campfire and its glow.
You’ll hear the singing. Join and you’ll help quench the strife.
The Fire of Love is Fire that Works: The Fire of Life.
The Fire of Love is Fire that Works: The Fire of Life.