Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Such Clear Eyes

I am the sole possessor of the secret key
that fits into the keyhole in the cage of the
golden goose that produces golden eggs,
so to speak. What this means precisely
remains to be seen, but this is clear:
that passed down through the ages,
passed down through a fairy tale, which
seemed innocent, which seemed benign-
which is exactly the type of conduit one
would want to secure such a message,
so that the dispersement is complete
and the concealment is unexpurgated-
Ah! The trickery! The trickery of it!
And the beauty! For now I see with such
clear eyes the shape of the key in my mind.
Yes! Within Jack and the Beanstalk-
do not laugh- do not break the spell-
is the Truth that verily, verily, I, the man
you behold standing before you, am he
who has been chosen, foreordained,
consecrated by angelic hands in an invisible
realm, unbeknownst to the clamoring masses
of every day who run about shopping
for buzz-buzz-buzzing electronic devices
in their decaying tabernacles of clay! Yes!
I am the sole possessor, in this last generation,
of the secret key that fits into the keyhole
in the cage of the golden goose that
produces golden eggs!

When I Wanted Women

When I wanted women in my youth
I was wicked.  That’s the truth.
I desired only that which pleased the eyes:
smooth thighs, breasts, grapefruit-sized-
large grapefruit.  I didn’t want a wife
or a worthwhile, humble family life
as much as I wanted a collection
of female body parts, formed to perfection
prominently displayed in a locked glass case
and my wicked desires drove met to chase
supermodels.  But they didn’t like me.
Eventually, I married Beverly.
I’ve lived with her long, long enough to tell
that common monogamy works out well
and though the sight of Beverly casts no spell
she’ll keep my spirit out of Hell.

Sunday, December 28, 2014


So you’ve squandered your musical potential,
flunked out of some fancy private school,
pawned an expensive Christmas present,
burned every book your father sent,

and here you are, sitting in this bar, trying to look tough.
You’re a prodigal son, but you’re not hungry enough
to head back home.  That’s what I think. 
Hey, buddy, can you buy me another drink?

Honestly, I wouldn’t go back to your parent’s place.
They sound like snobs.  You’ll always be a disgrace
to them.  Forget the reference to the prodigal son. 

I think you’re cool.  You wanna be an electrician?

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Sitting on the Bench in my Front Yard

I’m at my house in San Tan Valley,
which is the suburb of a suburb of a suburb,
built over of fields of cotton, long since forgotten,
and which isn’t really a valley, technically,
and don’t ask me about “San," or “Tan,"
because I don’t have a clue
what they mean, nor do I know who
would know, or even care,
about such a thing.

But that’s what they named it,
so that’s what I call it. San Tan Valley.
If the name at first seems weird,
that’s normal. New haircuts, too,
seem unusual. They take a while
to grow on you. 
By the way, see this bench?
The neighbors left it when they moved away
so my wife and I brought it over one day.
I painted it purple. Do you like it?
And these are my daughters, Trudy and Greta,
digging with twigs in the gravel.
I used to think this town had no history,
that rows of tan stucco houses
somehow lacked authenticity,
but after five years of life in San Tan Valley,
I affirm that culture is
right here in my own front yard,
and that history is more than
cobblestone streets or
courthouses made of brick.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

I Get Sad

I get sad when I look at the shelf
with my collection of journals, now numbering seventeen,
a set of books I’ve filled with ramblings about myself,
from 2001 all the way to 2014,

and think that no one will read it.
Not in its entirety, anyway. Even I 
won’t read it.  It’s too long.  Oh, perhaps a misfit
grandson may sneak away with my ramblings while

his cousins play outside, but he’ll only skim,
skipping from scene to scene, looking for sex,
but when I sit in the pew with Steve Elliot, or Kim,
or you, or you, or you, and sing, we break the hex

of isolation, of irrelevance, of obscurity, and we're happy.  
All we have to do is sing “Upon the Cross of Calvary,"
once to expose the absurdity, the outright lie, that the
author is the of sole owner of any intellectual property.

The way I sing it, that song is my song too.
This hymnbook is the best work I can offer to you.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Heartbreaker, Nerverwrecker, Meansucker

for Wesley Willis
Three guys that hang around.
Three guys that really aggravate me.
Three guys that do not shut up.
Even if I break in an automobile windshield they still keep talking.
Heartbreaker, Nerverwrecker, Meansucker
Heartbreaker, Nerverwrecker, Meansucker
Heartbreaker, Nerverwrecker, Meansucker
Heartbreaker, Nerverwrecker, Meansucker
They don’t leave me alone when I eat at McDondalds.
They don’t leave me alone at Burger King.
They follow me into many other dining establishments.
They are evil people all the time.
Heartbreaker, Nerverwrecker, Meansucker
Heartbreaker, Nerverwrecker, Meansucker
Heartbreaker, Nerverwrecker, Meansucker
Heartbreaker, Nerverwrecker, Meansucker
I asked Gregory Howard if he saw them and he said no.
I asked other people that question also.
They all said no we cannot see them or hear them.
I want to crack open their heads but they are not physical.
Heartbreaker, Nerverwrecker, Meansucker
Heartbreaker, Nerverwrecker, Meansucker
Heartbreaker, Nerverwrecker, Meansucker
Heartbreaker, Nerverwrecker, Meansucker
Rock over London.
Rock over Chicago.
Volkswagen. Drivers wanted.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Poem To Be Read At Jesse and Mikel's Wedding, November 22nd, 2014

Most days most people do some ordinary thing.
They attend school, or work, or spend it looking
at a television. It’s true: most days bring
with them not much worth remembering.
But today, my friends, is not one of those days,
for today is the day that generations will praise
as the day Jesse and Miki decided to walk through life’s maze
side by side, hand in hand, hearts ablaze.
Remember November twenty-second, two-thousand-and-fourteen.
Jesse, this was not a day you fixed somebody’s air conditioning,
and Miki, you didn’t manufacture a single movie screen.
Today was your wedding! What a happy, memorable scene!
Now, Jesse and Miki, go live a beautiful life.
Jesse, be a good husband, and Miki, be a good wife.
Have babies, and smile, bring to this world a little less strife.
Grow old. Grow wise. Escort each other to the afterlife.

The Butterfly Fairy Princess

Tenderly I see the Butterfly Fairy Princess
Going flap flap flap in the wind…
I witness her gather the precious, oozing honey
Ever-so-daintily from a periwinkle;
then from a daffodil, then from a tulip,
because all these flowers have honey in them…
She holds the honey in her fairy hands
letting some drip-drip-drop into the open mouths…
of three precious baby centipedes,
each the color of sparkly mauve lipstick,
and the centipedes hug each other, and cry,
all because of love, all because of magic,
all because the Butterfly Fairy Princess
is also a Butterfly Fairy Princess Love Magician…
Then the Butterfly Princess flies above the sunny field
filled with a rainbow of all-green plants,
and the moon glows like a glow-in-the-dark sticker…
The Butterfly Fairy Princess ever-s0-gently
flaps her wings and flies, transporting the honey
back to her other butterfly friends, named Tammy
and Tiffany and Piper and Jane and Joy,
and they eat the sumptuous snack with
smacking smiling lips and happy flapping wings…

Wednesday, November 12, 2014


I don’t want to go to Rome,
or Australia, or even Tennessee.
I have work to do right here at home
and that’s all right with me.

I want to sit in my same old chair,
lie down in my same old bed,
stay on the porch and stare
as the sunset turns the sky red.

Go without me, Betsy. I’ll help pack!
Have fun, mail a postcard or two,
and whenever you get back,

I’ll fix some venison stew.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Right Now

I'm sitting in a car
somebody else is driving
heading someplace 
I don’t wanna go 
to work at a job 
I don’t wanna do
for eight hours,
maybe nine,
maybe ten,
and I forgot 
to pack a lunch.

And all I really want
to do is sit down 
in some restaurant
that never closes,
and they bring me
eggs, bacon, toast,
orange juice, hash browns,
pancakes, butter, syrup,
whatever I want,
and somebody else 
pays for all of it

and there's a stage
in that restaurant
where some women
play the guitar, 
dance around,
and sing.

They’re beautiful,
and so close to me 
that I’m nervous, 
but they keep on 
singing songs about love
and the stars and Jesus
and whatever they want 
until I feel just fine
for a long, long time.

I’m full,
and sleepy.

I go home,
bring the blanket
to my chin,
and fall asleep.

Friday, October 24, 2014

BLAST-OFF!!! R U a Honey-Cruncher Kid?!

Honey-Cruncher kids are cool and sly-
(just like Honey-Crunchers!) so they buy
all the Honey-Cruncher products, regardless
of price or quality! So go ahead, make a mess!

Overflow your bowl with Big Buzzy Buzzers
with your breakfast pals, the BumbleBee Brothers!
Then BLAST OFF to the nearest grocery store
and make Mom buy Honey-Cruncher stuff galore!

Like Buzzer-Blasting Berry O’s
Golden Chocolate Goblin Toes
Mighty Stingray Sugar Squares
Hibernating Marshmallow Bears

Rainbow Happy Twizzle Sticks
Cereal Experiment Number Six
Rhino-Dino Cinnamon-Bites
and limited-edition Licorice Knights

Get every Honey-Cruncher box on the shelf
because only then can you consider yourself
a true Honey-Cruncher kid, loyal to the brand.
Buy ‘em all. Eat ‘em all.  Then buy more!  Understand?!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

To the Woman Who Gave Me A Scholarship in 2005

Nine years ago I wrote a thousand-word essay
extolling the virtues of formal education,
licked an envelope, and mailed it away.
Do you remember my application?
My essay declared I was going to be a teacher.
I was going to dazzle a thousand students
with the grandeur of British Literature
and the beauty of a diagrammed sentence.
And you were philanthropic, or maybe drunk on beer.
Whatever the case, kind woman, you gave me money.
Turns out I only taught for one single year,
a year of darkness, failure, and hatred. Isn’t that funny?
Now I work the morning shift at a blue-collar job.
I manufacture auto parts, and I don’t care much for school.
You used to know me as Robert, but now I go by Bob.
In my spare time, I bake. Those students sure were cruel.
So we learn many have cast their bread upon the water,
and do not have it returned to them again.
Instead their bread is thoughtlessly gobbled by an otter
who gives nothing in return, only goes off to swim.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Rocks In My Front Yard, Formed Into A Spiral

That pink one’s called rose quartz, the only one I know the name of.
That’s the rock most people like, so that’s why I put it above
all the others. Above, or rather, in front, if you look at it this way,
from the street, which is how most people see the spiral anyway.
Some of these - see the gold and green? - I bought at a rock shop,
like this rough one with a jagged yellow streak on top.
It’s a little store, in Mesa, on Alma School and the 202,
I’ve stopped in there a couple times, just to see what's new.
Most of them I found in the forrest a few miles north of Payson.
I drove up there with Jasper, looked at him long and said, “Son,
here we have a thousand rocks. Seek the one that's seeking you.”
And that’s how I got this white one, speckled with flecks of blue.
Oh, and I know the name of this one, too: petrified wood. 
Want to hear something funny? The truth is, nobody should
call it petrified wood, since it’s not wood, speaking scientifically,
It’s rock. Well, it’s alright. Call it wood. I don’t mean to disagree.
Petrified wood, petrified wood, petrified wood... Ha! It’s a lie!
It’s sediment that gathers in watery wood, and centuries go by
until it solidifies into rock, and that’s what I've got here in my hand,
a thing transformed. So, really, it’s made up of tiny rocks, or sand.
But it’s not wood. Oh, and this one's called a lava rock.
I found it about a year ago when I walked around the block
looking for vacant homes, and I trespassed onto some property,
and took some rocks. I know it's illegal. But so what? See?
Now I have a giant rock spiral, and spirals sure feel good.
And I don’t even mind if the kids in the neighborhood
dare one another to touch my rocks in the darkest hours of night.
The kids who touch these rocks will one day turn out right.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Food for the Soil

When we define the elderly in economic terms
we must say they are worth less than worms.
Worms pull their weight. Worms do not shirk.
They know their place and they work, work, work.
And when a worm is stiff, rolled up in a coil,
it works again, offering itself as food for the soil.
And gears do their work, and chains, pulleys, wires,
nuts, bolts, rivets: the sight of them inspires
the communists as well as the cold-hearted capitalists.
Never mind the geezer's religion, his beating heart, or stories.
We cannot squeeze a penny out of any former glories.
The old sick people better hurry up and die.
Ask the economically-minded if you want to know why.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

A Few Steps

I came to Nogales for cosmetic dental work at a low price
and now I have about thirty-five minutes to spare.
Somehow I get the feeling that it might be nice
to pass the time in an old Catholic church that they've got there.

I ascend a few steps and stroll through doors propped open,
passing by the holy water because I don't know what to do
with holy water. I don't think I should touch it. I'm hoping
that these Catholics won't be bothered by a tourist passing through.

Seated now, I look at statues, works of wood and stone, architecture.
If the clergy inquires, I'm merely here to see the beautiful pictures,
not to worship, not to pray, or to hear a priestly lecture.
Everything's in Spanish, anyway. How could I read their scriptures?

Oy vey. How do I tell my rabbi that, though Judaism is quite lovely,
I enjoy this church, and I like the Pope, and I no longer believe it's beneath
the customs of our people to reverently sit in such a place, occasionally,
next to Mexican men with bowed heads, wrinkled skin, and missing teeth?

Monday, September 8, 2014

The Agnostic’s Nightmare

In his dream he’s awake,
but sleepy, and he can’t make
much of his gray surroundings.
There’s fog.  The next scene brings

his head pressed into a warm pillow
by a pair of heavy, unseen hands.
Meanwhile, in real life, he dies,
and does not become one with the sands

of some cosmic ocean shore,
and is not, in any meaningful way,
enlightened.  Rather, he is reincarnated,
returning to life on a random day, hazy and gray,

and this time around he's an electron,
blindly thrashing about in the brain
of yet another agnostic who is
wracked with the pain of a migraine,

and without a reason, or a rhyme,
an awareness of the nucleus,
a knowledge of any past or future,
he pops in and out of existence.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Cops are Heroes, by and large

Dear Readers,

Sometimes I have a bad attitude about cops.  I just assume that they're jerks and bullies, but really they are probably nice people, and actually they're really brave and all this media circus around Ferguson has made me take the pro-cop side of things. See, the only interactions I've had with cops happen are when I get pulled over for speeding.  Can you believe I've been pulled over 5 times in my life for speeding, but every single time I've gotten off with a warning?  LOL.  

Oh, and one time my wife got lectured by a cop for walking across the train tracks at the last minute when the bells were ringing, but before the arm went down.  It was funny.  We were walking together, the train lights and bells went off, and we both had a split-second decision to make- stay behind or walk across the tracks quickly.  I stayed behind and she went ahead, so were separated by a train for a minute.  After the train went by, I saw a cop talking to her.  

And now that I think about it, I have another funny cop story.  About four years ago, I was really stressed out.  I had a six-month-old baby, and I decided to go for a long walk to Fry’s where my wife was working as a teller in the Wells Fargo inside the Fry’s grocery store.  It was cold outside, so I wore my trench coat.  I put the baby in a baby bjorn, which is like an external kangaroo pouch adapted for human use.  After a few minutes of walking with my baby in the bjorn, I took the baby out, held her in my arms, and flung the bjorn over my shoulder.  I just wanted to be comfortable and shift some weight around.  I went walking on a dirt road, behind a housing subdivision, and this police officer in a car pulled up beside me and got out to talk to me.  He said hi and I said hi.  He asked me, “Is that your baby?”  And I told him that she was.  And he said, “What’s that thing on your shoulder?”  I explained what a baby bjorn was.  And he asked me where I was going, and a few other questions, and the whole time I was a little bewildered.  I didn't understand why the cop was being so nosy, but I still politely answered all his questions.  Then finally he said, “OK, you can carry on with your evening.  I got a few calls saying there was a suspicious-looking character with a baby and maybe a big rifle.”  Ha ha ha!  I guess I must have looked pretty sinister!  I had a trench coat, I was stressed out, I had a weapon-looking thing flung over my shoulder… and I had a baby!!!!  LOL.

Oh, ha ha ha.  I remember another cop story.  One other time I was standing on a street corner with a sign that said, “Tonight we’re gonna party like it’s 1776.” and it was a publicity stunt to advertise for a tea party rally.  Well, I had my baby in the bjorn, then, too, and a cop came over and asked me a bunch of questions, and he was concerned that maybe the baby was too hot.     

And then one time I went to the NAU police headquarters to report that the back tire and seat of my bike had been stolen.  The cop there was nice, but he told me that it was pretty much impossible to recover those stolen items.

So, I’ve never had the experience of being rescued by police officers, and I don’t think I’ve ever called 911 in my life.  My general perception of cops are colored by my personal experiences with them. 

I remember one time my sister-in-law, Malea was mad, and rightfully so, at the school her 7 year-old daughter Sadie was going to.  One day the subject of cops came up, and Sadie said, “Oh, I don’t like cops.  I’m scared of cops.  Cops are bad.”  Malea said, “where did you get that idea?”  Sadie said, “In school they showed us a video of cops spraying the fire hoses at people, and they would get their dogs to bite people.”  So, basically, the school had shown videos of the white cops being mean to black people in the Civil Rights Movement, and given my little niece the impression that cops were bad guys.  Now that I think about it, I’m mad at my niece’s school, too.  Schools ought to be teaching our children the truth, which is that cops are heroes.


Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Account of Captain Archibald Newton, who Bravely Traversed the Deserts of Southern Arizona, and the Many Strange Occurrences which Occurred There, Including the Occurrence of His Sneezing Fit, and the Occurrence of His Rock Eating, and Many Other Occurrences which Most Undoubtedly Occurred, Faithfully Dictated to Squire Pablo, an Ambidextrous Peruvian.

Ah! The desert!  Ah! The cactus!
Ah! The green-barked trees
which scraggle their crooked limbs
and twizzle their twisted twigs 
across the sun-beaming skies of Cochise County!
Or maybe it’s Pima County.  
I don’t know where I am right now.

Ah! Ah!  This desert makes me say "Ah!”
Mmmm… yessiree these palo verde trees 
sure do make me queazy in the knees
because they are sooooooooooooo dreamy!
And how pleasing to the senses
are miles of desert, without fences!  Ah-choo!

Actually, come to think of it,
they’re not very pleasing at all.
When the noon-time heat-breeze bashes 
its hot breezy fist of breeze into my face,
yellow pollen blasts all over the place,
especially up my nose!  
Ah-choo! Ah-choo! I sneeze!  

Hey, desert trees and desert breeze,
I’d really like to breathe,
so can you cut that out, please?  


Keep your pollen to yourself
before I chop you up
and turn you into a shelf!

Ah!  Though I shout out a protestation,
the desert theater begins its feature presentation:
Attack of the Breeze-Borne Pollen Monsters! 

I surrender!  I surrender!
Look! I’m down on the ground!

You want me to eat a rock?  
A tree is communicating with my mind?
That’s insane!
OK! OK!  I’ll do it!
I’ll do it for you, desert tree!
But just a little one, OK?

Munch munch munch
munch munch munch.

Franklin, hey, Franklin

Franklin, hey, Franklin, Dave is dead.
Linda told me.  Linda said
he had a heart attack yesterday.
It was sudden, it was quick, 
and now he’s passed away.

I really liked Dave.  He was my favorite cashier.
Isn’t it sad to think that he won’t be here
tomorrow, or the next day, or ever again,
to buy us candy, and say we’re living in sin?

Dave is gone.  Do you understand?
Franklin, will you please hold my hand?
He never reached retirement.
He never got his wish
of living next to a river 
and catching a thousand fish.

That’ll be us someday.  
That’ll be me and you.
I only hope you’ll marry me
before our lives our through.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

A Small Pink Flame

Wait until the dark of night,
turn out every electric light
and envision a small pink flame.

Make it as small as the flame
of a candle, but do not picture
the candle, the wick, 
the slowly melting wax.
Only the flame.

Allow the muscles 
in your neck to relax
but flex your mind.  
Focus and focus
until at long last you find,
eleven inches in front of your face,
the small pink flame, 
floating in the air,
bright, solid, constant.

Start to notice
the gentle opening
of your third eye.

Boy Scout Camp, 1993

dog tags, medicine bags, waving flags,
rabbit skins, mischievous grins, hairless chins, 
leather packs, gummy snacks, sneak attacks,
hamburger buns, moon-lit runs, big shotguns,
starry nights, dropped flashlights, initiation rites,
woodcarving tips, potato chips, the thighs and hips 
and eyes and lips of the lady lifeguard,
lounging with a cup of lemonade, taking sips.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Here's how I'm voting tomorrow in the Arizona Republican Primary:

Here's how I'm voting tomorrow in the Arizona Republican Primary:

U.S. Representative: Paul Gosar.  (He's running unopposed)

Governor: Scott Smith   (Smith is the best candidate.  Mesa is so much better off because he was the mayor.  I hope he wins.  Doug Ducey is ahead in the polls, though.  Ducey will probably win, but the race is close.)

State Senator: Taylor MacArthur (endorsed by Scott Smith and Jan Brewer)

State Representative: Kelly Townsend and Doug Coleman

Secretary of State: Justin Pierce

Attorney General: Mark Brnovich  ('m voting against Tom Horne more than I'm voting for Mark Brnovich)

State Treasurer: Hugh Hallman

Superintendent of Public Instruction: John Huppenthal

State Mine Inspector: Joe Hart (He's running unopposed.  He's been the mine inspector for decades, I think.  Come to think of it, I'm not sure why this is a political office at all.  Aren't all the other various inspectors, like health inspectors and construction inspectors, who are unelected?)

Corporation Comissioner: Tom Forsee and Doug Little

Clerk of the Superior Court: Amanda Stanford (This one was a tough one.  I guess I'm voting for Amanda because I like her personality more.  It's cool that she's running against her former boss, the current clerk.  There must be something wrong with Chad Roche if one of his employees runs against him.  I admire her tenacity.)

Justice of the Peace: Shaun Babeu.  (He's running unopposed.  He's the brother of Pinal County Sherrif Paul Babeu.)

I'd like to thank my wise co-worker for all the last-minute voting advice.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Senator from Utah, Mike Lee,

The Senator from Utah, Mike Lee,
brings true conservatives glee.
He'll fight any tax
like lumberjacks
confronted by a very large tree.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

My Latest Thoughts on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

In this post, I’ll try to persuade you to adopt the conservative, pro-Israeli position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  This post will be more persuasive if you believe in the Bible.  If you don't, this post might still be a little persuasive.  

The Jews took the land of Canaan from the Canaanites and Philistines, as recorded in the Book of Joshua.  The methods the Jews used to take over the land were extremely harsh. The Old Testament God didn’t really favor diplomatic efforts, to put it mildly.  God told them to kill all the Canaanites who didn’t run away, and to destroy their idol gods and to erase their depraved culture.  Did the Jews do the right thing when they took over the land of Canaan?  I believe they did.  

Legally speaking, the ancient House of Israel had no “right” to the promised land.  They didn’t buy the land.  Their ancestors didn’t live on the land.  The only justification for them taking the land from the Canaanites was that one of their great great great great great grandfathers, Abraham, claimed he received a revelation in which God told him that his posterity would inherit the land of Jerusalem.  

And so, one could argue that the Canaanites deserved the land.  They had lived there for generations.  I’m sure they had a legal system and a government that ensured that they rightfully possessed the land.

But… whose side are you on?   The ancient Jews, or the Canaanites?  I’m on the side of the ancient Jews.  They were the chosen people, specially favored by God.  Now, the multiculturalists among you would say, “Well… all the cultures are pretty good, in their own special way.  There really are no chosen people.”  But I would argue that multiculturalism is really just a practical application of moral relativism.  And I would argue that there really are “chosen people” from time to time, and that the ancient house of Israel were the “chosen people.”  If you believe in the Bible, then I think this is the position you have to adopt.  Deuteronomy 7:6: “For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.”  

What advantages did the Jews have over the Gentiles who have always surrounded them?  Paul answers this question in Romans 3: 1 - 2: “What advantage then hath the Jew?  Or what profit is there of circumcision?  Much every way: chiefly, because unto them were committed the oracles of God.” In other words, the Jews had the prophets.  The Jews had the revelations.  That’s what’s so great about being a Jew.  Sure, God communicated, or tried to communicate, with Canaanites occasionally.  His lovingkindness and mercy is always extended to every person on the planet, regardless of culture, religion, etc.  But the Canaanites were just too hard-hearted.  Their culture was too depraved.  In the communities of the Canaanites, God didn’t have very much human material to work with.  He just couldn’t raise up a prophet or a true religion among the Canaanites, because the Canaanites were too busy sinning.

And so, in the grand scheme of things, from a celestial point of view, the ancient Jews did have a right to the promised land.  

Now, let’s fast forward to the fighting between the modern day Israeli military and Hamas.  Sure, you could argue that the Arabs have a right to the land because more of their ancestors lived there.  Sure, you could argue that the way in which the nation of Israel was created was unjust.  But then, by these same arguments, the Canaanites had a right to the land of Canaan.

(By the way, you could also argue that the way the USA was founded was unjust or illegal.  And in fact, it was illegal.  The colonialists had no “right” to rebel against the British crown and form their own nation.  They also had no “right” to displace the Native Americans.  And yet… aren’t you glad that the Founding Fathers broke the law and fought the Revolutionary War?  Aren’t you proud to be an American?)

I think more important questions than, “Who has a legal right to the land of modern-day nation of Israel?” are, “What culture would do better things with the land: the Israelis or the Palestinians?”  and, “What culture affords a higher amount of basic human rights, democracy, peace, freedom, and prosperity: the culture of the Israelis or the culture of the Palestinians?”   

And maybe an even more important question is, “Who does God want running things in the land of Israel?  The Israelis, or the Palestinians?”  (Oh, and by the way, when I say Palestinians, I actually mean Hamas.  Hamas is calling the shots among the Palestinian people right now.  And, just so we’re all on the same page, Hamas is a bloodthirsty, depraved gang of terrorists.  They use Palestinian children as human shields.  They target Israeli civilians.)

This may sound crazy, but, in the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians, I do believe that God is with the Israelis.  Here’s an interesting article about how a lot of Jews believe that God is on their side of the war.  Israeli military personnel even claim that the hand of God has thwarted some of Hamas’ rocket attacks. 

Of course, Hamas also believes that God is on their side.  But they can’t both be right, can they?  God can’t be supporting both sides, can He?  No.  One side of the conflict must be mistaken, and I think that Hamas is mistaken.  God is supporting the Israelis.

Belated Birthday Poem for my Aunt

Sorry this poem is late
and though it’s not very great
here's a poem anyway.
Did you have a nice birthday? 

Did you get a new sweater?
I bet your birthday was better
than the former birthdays
during your working days,
because now that you’re retired
you can sleep whenever you're tired,

even if it’s the middle of the day
or near the end of the day
or right at the start of the day
or in fact any part of the day.
Even at, say, 3:23 p.m.,
you can turn the lights down dim
and invite the sandman in.

And with the days and nights of slumber
bringing peace to your aging mind
your family and your friends will surely find
that you've developed a power,
and a soul, and a heart,
all loving, all steady, all kind.

Friday, August 8, 2014

About Divinity

The Book of Isaiah. The Book of Revelation.
Abstract paintings. Charts of the Universe.
Thick novels, rife with symbolism, perched
on bookshelves like menacing gargoyles
that guard ancient, sacred, dark cathedrals.
It’s good to keep these things around the house.
Climb the mountain, reach the peak,
and still you will not find a wise man,
nor an up-to-date, all-encompassing dictionary,
nor a cosmological telescope in which to peer,
only an army of charlatans in trench-coats
stocked with knock-off merchandise
and armed with tranquilizer darts.
They’ll get out their guns and shoot you
and then, while you’re fainting,
assure you that they can fathom infinity
and know all there is to know about divinity.
Along the trail, though, you may encounter
a few of your fellow hikers, who will faithfully,
freely recite the words of holy revelations.
Hear them when they speak to you,
for they love God as fish love water.
The fish attempt no transoceanic analysis.
They feign no theology of the water.
They merely live to bubble along,
humming a joyful, fishy song,
and swim and swim and swim and swim,
pausing to pray now and then.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

8 Reasons to Support Scott Smith for Governor

Dear Readers,

Here are eight reasons why I support Scott Smith for Governor of Arizona, written in a hurry before I have to go to work:

1. He oozes maturity.

Listen to Scott Smith speak for a while, and you’ll learn two things: he’s mature, and he’s smart.  He has a firm grasp of all the issues facing Arizona.  He avoids clever one-liners and buzzwords, and can get into the nitty-gritty of any legislation or any issue.  For example, I heard him on the radio discussing why he supports, or at least tolerates, Common Core.   He said something like, “look, 80 % of Arizona children attend public schools, and it looks they’re not going anywhere.  The answer to fix education is not to have everyone leave the public schools.  It’s to fix the public schools, while still maintaining a multitude of parochial, private, and charter school options.  And in the public schools, Common Core is already well established, and the teachers are saying that within Common Core, there is a great amount of flexibility.”  All the teachers I’ve talked with like Common Core. The people adamantly opposed to it seem to not know very much about it.  I’m not saying I love Common Core, I’m just saying… it’s not that bad.  

2. He’s trustworthy.

Scott Smith has grown up in Mesa, and over the years has gained trust as a great businessman, accountant, church leader, family man, and Mayor.  I personally know some people who have worked with Scott Smith, and these people tell me he’s a good man.

3. He’s tough, yet realistic about the border.  

Other candidates will talk about satellites, mass deportations, and “sending Obama the bill” but Scott Smith is just… well, realistic about the whole situation.  

4. He’s got the experience for the job.

Scott Smith is the only candidate in the race with executive experience in the private sector and the public sector.  He was an accountant and a CEO for a home-building company for twenty-something years, and he was the Mayor of Mesa for… um… I think it was six years.   (I would go look up the exact years, but remember I told you I was in a hurry to get to work?)  Both the private sector and public sector enterprises flourished under his leadership.

5. Infrastructure

As Mayor, Scott Smith built the Mesa Arts Center, the new 24 freeway, the cubs stadium, the light rail, and lots of transportation and infrastructure improvements.  These have greatly improved the quality of life for Mesa residents.  Also, he got Apple and other big corporations to move in to Mesa.  That means more high-paying jobs for your friends and neighbors.  And he built all that while creating a surplus in the Mesa City budget.  

6. Budget Know-How

Even while cutting the budget of Mesa Police and Fire, he kept Mesa as one of the safest cities in America.  He knows how to cut out non-essentials in any organizations and fund the things that really matter.

7. Endorsements

People from Arizona endorse Scott Smith.  Governor Brewer and about a ba-zillion Arizona mayors.  Doug Ducey may have a lot of big name endorsements from some great people like Ted Cruz and Sarah Palin but how much have these people actually worked with Doug Ducey?  Not at all!  Scott Smith, on the other hand, is getting the endorsements from the right people- local people who have known him for years, people who have actually worked with him.

8. Electability

Scott Smith is electable.  If he wins the primary, he’ll win in the general election.  And the latest poll numbers show him only 2 points behind Doug Ducey!  That’s great news!

I could go on, but you can see for yourself why Scott Smith is the best man for the job.  Go to his website, and vote for Scott Smith!



Saturday, July 19, 2014

On Viewing “Robots With Tater Tots”

It’s nothing but a big blob of pink paint
in the middle and a smattering of green
speckles on an otherwise blank canvas.
But it’s an original, and it’s a Mudge Torfin,
from his early “blobbing” period!

It would remind me of clouds…
if clouds were a bit more abstract…
Instead I’m reminded of spaghetti,
which, by the way, is what 
I’m having for dinner today.
But what exactly was the artist seeing
when he passed it off as being
genuine artwork?  Hmmm...

Ah!  Perhaps he really was seeing 
a pink blob and little green spots floating
on a stark white square...
because he was hallucinating...
because he was on drugs... 
drugs that induce hallucination…

In which case, I offer this painting praise,
alongside the high-minded critics who 
commend it, for “Robots with Tater Tots”
is certainly the most accurate rendition
of the artist’s psychedelic vision. 

Monday, July 7, 2014

Art Dies When Subsidized

Why should I care if the art class gets cut?
No, I will not buy a muffin, a T-Shirt, or a pencil,
and no I will not purchase a magazine subscription 
to the latest incarnation of the Daily Worker 
and I don’t want that magazine
and I don’t like that magazine.
Oh, you think that I might like that magazine?
No! I hate that magazine!  
It ought to be burned!
Turn away from my doorway, I say, before I burn 
that magazine, you ignorant, misguided, pompous teen!

I happen to know Mrs. Kritchly personally-
she’s supposedly the art teacher who supposedly teaches art-
her eyes burn bright with a violent red, that communist!
That whole school’s ran by a pack of communists! 
They’re trying to turn all the kids into communists!
Even the custodian carries a communist card!
He flashes it about while he's raking the yard!

Where are you going?  Please, don’t leave.
Wait, maybe I’ll buy your muffin.  Listen,
I have an interest in the de-ignorant-ization
of the rising generation.  I want you to bloom.

No, no, no, I’m not against art.
How could I be against art?
You think I’m against art?
Ha!  I might as well be against rivers!

Speaking of rivers, young man, the idea of rivers 
presently presents itself for use in instructive similes, 
like a worker bee arriving at a honey-dripping hive:   

Art, like a river, gushes through gulags, killing the communists. 
Art, like a river, gathers strength from the free-falling 
pitter-patter of raindrops, heavenly, heavenly raindrops.
Art, like a river, rises beyond her banks, engulfs a city
of corruption, and sets Beauty upon her rightful throne.
Art, like a river, guides the lonesome traveler home.
Art, like a river, cuts through earth to the heart of the earth, 
and then swells from the heart of the earth, turns, twists, grows,
and without compulsory means, gives life to those 
who stop by to drink, or perhaps to dip in their toes.

Let the school children learn art the way Elizabeth Cotten
learned art.  (Please, don’t let Elizabeth Cotten be forgotten.) 
She heard a freight train rolling through her North Carolina town,
wrote down some lyrics when nobody was around,
played on a banjo she borrowed to pluck out her sorrow, 
boy, she’d pick at that thing and moan and sing 
all night long ’til she broke a string. 

Saturday, July 5, 2014


If you believe in God
and seek to do His will
the communists will tell you
that you ought to remain still
in your home or in your church
for what they call your hate
and what you call salvation
is not tolerated by the State.

And when the Spirit moves you
and when you dare to spread
the everlasting love of Jesus
they will hunt you
they will find you
they won't stop until you're dead.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

If I Only Had Porter's Brain

Scene: BEN and PORTER are in a library, doing math homework.

BEN: (trying to do a math problem) Five, three, carry the seven- Oh! I’m terrible at math! Porter, I wish I had your brain!

PORTER: Had my brain? What an intriguing scenario, Ben. But, what would you do if you had my brain?

(BEN and PORTER begin singing the following song, set to the tune of “If I Only Had a Brain,” from the Wizard of Oz.)

BEN: I would wile away the hours
taking numbers to some powers
to see how much value the original numbers would gain.
do do do do do do do
All my cares would be dissolving
as equations I’d be solving
if I only had Porter’s brain.

I would open up a math book,
and then with only one look,
tell you the square mileage of Spain.
do do do do do do do

PORTER: With the homework you would finish
all your grades would not diminish
if you only had my brain.

BEN: Oh I, could tell you why,
the quadratic formula’s called a formula.
I would know which train got to California
if one left at seven,
and the other one exploded (BANG!)

I would not be just a dummy,
poking at my tummy
until I experienced pain.
do do do do do do do

I would answer every question
and be done with this homework session
if I only had Porter’s brain.

Originating At the Heart

When a man appears to you,
perhaps in the bathroom mirror,
perhaps beside you as you walk alone
along a roadway in your city,
(this will only happen when you are alone)
saying he has a message from God,
request him to shake hands with you.

If his essence is chiefly angelic,
he will shake your hand,
and you will feel his hand,
as you do when you shake 
the hand of any ordinary man.
He will then deliver his message,
and indeed it will be a message from God.
A deep, abiding, familiar warmth, 
originating at the heart, 
will spread inside you,
reaching to the tips of your toes 
and to the crown of your head,
and you will rejoice.

If his essence is chiefly demonic,
he will attempt to shake your hand.
He will reach his hand forward and
you will reach your hand forward.
The air around you will drop in temperature.
Yet, though the hands will appear 
to touch, you will feel nothing,
and by this means you will detect him.

Remember these instructions,
teach them to those who believe,
for today I have given you a grand key 
whereby you may test the veracity 
of any alleged fourth-level communication.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Improper Disposal of Chewed Gum

Before I was a high school graduate, wearing a cap and gown 
and smiling for the camera, before I was a Boy Scout displaying 
a sash decorated with merit badges, I was a Cub Scout, because 
my Mom put me in Cub Scouts. Something happened to me then, 
or, rather, I did something, when I was eleven, as a Cub Scout, 
that I have never told a single soul about,
something that I want to tell you, now that I’m thirty-two, 
now that I’m a little more free to live as a I please, 
now that people and things appear to me a bit more clear.

My Mom really wanted me to get the Arrow of Light award,
because if you get the Arrow of Light award, you also get
a patch.  It has a yellow, right-pointing arrow stitched 
onto a blue background, and the entire patch is about the size
of a stick of gum that you chew for a minute or two until the 
sugar’s gone, and then you press the slobbery waste up against 
the slick underside of a school desk, smirking. You smirk 
as you press the wad of gum up in there, where the wood
meets the metal, even though you’ve previously been reprimanded 
by those in authority for the improper disposal of chewed gum.

If you get the Arrow of Light award that comes with the 
patch then you also get put through an award ceremony where 
they turn off all the lights and you slowly walk up the steps of a 
miniature staircase that lights up with each successive step 
you take while a well-intentioned man with a microphone talks 
about what a great little boy you are and about how the straight 
and true arrow on your new patch represents the straight and true 
manner in which Cub Scouts live their straight and true lives.

My Mom really wanted me to get the Arrow of Light award
that comes with that patch, so I had to observe insects
and identify leaves and learn the difference between 
a standard screwdriver and a Phillips-head screwdriver,
which are all good and proper and worthwhile things,
but there was this one patch called the Physical Fitness patch, 
and it was a required patch for the Arrow of Light award,
and so for thirty days in a row I had to exercise and write down
how many sit-ups and push-ups and jumping jacks I did.
I started the process, but I never finished, and I told my Mom
that I did finish, and I remember fabricating a document, because 
Mom wanted me to get that Arrow of Light award and Mom wanted 
me to get that patch and Mom wanted me to go through with 
that ceremony where I stood in front of everybody with a smile 
forced onto my face and everybody looked at me and everybody
clapped, so I lied.

I lied.  I told a rotten lie to my dear, sweet mother, and I climbed 
those steps and I let that man with the microphone keep talking 
about straightness and keep talking about truth because 
I was only a boy.  

For years after the ceremony, every time I saw that patch on my
Scout shirt, I was reminded of the secret that I dared not tell, I
was reminded of the counterfeited exercise chart, and I knew 
that I was a crooked Cub Scout. I knew that I was a deceiver, 
and yet, I now perceive, that I had also been deceived.

Is it any wonder that on the day I left my parent’s house, I threw
away all my Scout stuff to make more space in my suitcase 
for Bob Dylan CD’s?

Friday, May 23, 2014


With quiet feet and determined eyes
a girl with braces
borrows a green pair of her mother's pants
and tiptoes to the bathroom.

The bathtub fills with warm water
as she squeezes both her
legs down one pant leg.

And now that her little ocean
has come alive, she flops in, face first,
wanting desperately to feel
what it's like to be a mermaid.

But no, it's nothing whatsoever
like being a mermaid.
All she's doing is making
a big mess in the bathroom.
Her splashing, blubbering experiment is failing.
She's nearly drowning!

It's a bad and dangerous imitation
of the state of being a mermaid,
just as punctuation is a sorry substitute
for the soft sounds of human breath.

Lessons From Little Red Riding Hood

There are wolves to kill.
They will lie to you. They will
tell you they are trustworthy
and appear to you as family
but stop. Look closely.
Your grandmother doesn't have teeth like that.

Send little girls off into the woods.
Give them a basket full of baked goods
and make them go walking alone.
If you don`t, then, when they are grown
they will be timid women, paralyzed by choices,
startled at the sound of their own voices.
They will push down the power
that swells up inside them,
the power to kill wolves,
the power to distribute bread.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014


Don't get me wrong-
I don't go looking for beautiful women
to look at. It's not like 
I bring binoculars to the beach.
But if I happen to see
a foxy woman, and she's
weighing mushrooms or feeling cucumbers
when I'm shopping at the store,
well then, yes, I confess,
I want to look some more.

Soothsayers. Electromagnetism. Lava. The Number Five.

when you went
to the car wash
and the guy
who wiped the windshield
with a wad of cloth,
moist and maroon,
was actually a raccoon?

I remember that.

That was crazy.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Now in the Summer, Here in the Desert,

some kids reach their hands 
deep into the gaps between 
minivan seats, feeling for 
one more nickel, enough 
to go down to the gas station 
and get a blue and cold slushie

and the pigs plop down 
into the mud and slowly roll,
trying to bury themselves 
in that thick brown slime

and an old chained-up dog 
tries to sleep in the shade
of the wooden steps that lead 
to the door of the mobile home.
A few flies descend on 
the dog’s moist nose,
and commence their fly dance,
complete with wing flutters
and rapid limb-rubs, right there 
on the peach-colored nose
of the grandfather hound, who watches
the flies with half-interested eyes,
not bothering to shake his jaw,
or to lift a heavy, hot, and tired paw. 

And upon these kids 
and upon these pigs
and upon this dog 
and even upon these flies
are bestowed a knowledge unknown
to those who live beneath cooler skies:
a knowledge of the summer,
a knowledge of the desert.

Monday, May 5, 2014

A White Stone

Dark Matter. Dark Energy.

It’s an expansive darkness. 
When we look up at night 
at the space between the stars,
we see the universe as it mostly is.

Even the park at noon is mostly dark,
when we consider all the darkness 
beneath the grass and all the darkness
inside the tree trunks and all the darkness
inside our own bodies.

For dark is the gate
and dark is the way
that leadeth to darkness,
and many there be
which go in thereat.

Only a few bodies
will be transformed into stars.

Perhaps it will be your body-
Pray that it will be your body-
which will be among the few
to receive a white stone
whereby things pertaining
to a higher order of kingdoms
will be made known,
will be made bright,
will be made alright.