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.