There’s a reason why it’s still here
That “old” music, emblematic of all our firsts
Rhythmic scorching guitars
Saxophones – longing or lucky
Pianos running us up and down
ranges of emotion
Bass and drums defibrillating
All spooning with words
That led us in that timeless
Along the Watchtower
Among the purple flowers
In that Purple Haze
There’s a reason for “oldies stations”
Sanctuaries for melodic reminders, telling us
Passion, its usefulness, is deathless
As long as humans prevail
“Old–school” music will continue
Demanding answers to questions
That should have been asked
Of the past
What is that time called
Just before sleep fully takes over
When the night-mind, in acid-etched clarity
Lines up the day’s matters
Forcing them to kneel in pain’s shadow?
What is that time called
That sounds its claxon for battle
Swinging the Damoclesean sword
The nubile dreams of the innocent?
The time just before being delivered
To the mercy of that clamor
Accompanying the onset of dreams
That time when heart and brain come
Together each with its own music;
Sharps and flats dueling for supremacy
Offering a clarion call sometimes
So lovely as to be taken as anthem
Shepherding the heart
The basic drawing-and-quartering of life.
What is that time called?
They’ve marched in on dreams,
Printed conversations with those
Who’ve mastered their form
They’ve fallen from my tongue in hailstorms –
WTFs after reading NYT’s homepage
Today, I am stuck at the intersection of
“If only” and “Where to now?”
30 minutes ago, over coffee and sunrise
I knew where I was going
Now, not so much
We walk the dog
I look for the cardinal who had
Been singing his bright red song
For weeks now
He’s gone – beating the lockdown
Finding a mate who loves his music
But I am still here
Quarantined in paradise
Wrestling with each letter
Words; unheard cries
Unraveling the earth
Before it dies
NOTES FROM A FREE-RANGE PUNDITIn an effort to be less judgmental of my Florida neighbors, I’m striving to remain open and friendly. Yes, different from my angry social-media persona. Hey, I’m trying.
I was walking Ellie when I spoke to my down-the-street neighbor – a man who normally turns his head when I walk by. That day, though, I was able to establish eye contact and be the first to say, “hello how are things?” He mumbled something like, “They’ve been better,” as he continued to close his gate. Good start, I thought as I continued on my walk. Then, on my return, I saw him still standing in his yard and after asking questions about Ellie and her “breed” he patted her on the head. I thought – he can’t be that bad he likes my dog.
We began to talk. He told me he is 78 as we discussed the coronavirus and how people will be more willing to communicate now in spite of the six-feel-of separation rule. We discussed our ability to speak and even agree on some things while not on others. I agreed that it was nice to communicate in spite of our differences. Then, as if he needed to know this before he got any older, he asked me my racial heritage. I told him bi-racial, black and Anglo but I identify as African American. He proceeded to tell me what he thought about blacks with Dred-locks (dumb assholes). I told him he should have seen me in my Angela Davis-huge afro. Silence – I could almost hear the whooshing sound of that visual flying right over his head. He moved on to his fears that the current isolation will cause people in the cities to go crazy with break-ins and such before marching on to the Florida Keys and his place (I looked around – – unlikely in my estimation). I listened, surprisingly unoffended – I really did like – something about the guy. Pity – maybe, for all his fearfulness? I asked him what he thought the color of the face of these break-in artists was? “Black,” he said. I told him he had another kind of sickness – and bad. I said he was far too fearful and that he should quit watching Fox News.
In an effort to redeem himself he pointed out to me that the thieves who were certain to come and break in his house were – Haitian, not African American. I guess he wanted me to share his fears.
Oh well, some days, six feet will not be enough. ;(
I walk the aisle in awe
Stripped of bum-cleaning supplies
People fearless of bums rubbed raw
Toss in single and double-ply
Stocking up in preparation
For coronavirus’ hit
When needed is just separation
And reliable testing kits
Don’t tell that to these locals
Who’ve survived Irma’s rage
They’re more apt to get real vocal
And war they’re willing to wage
So I am quiet as I judge
The woman who’s caught my eye
As she swipes the last Scott Tissue
Both single and double-ply
I’ve pondered such movements rarely
Overreaction — I guess is fine
But by the time I get to dairy
I turn and head for the wine
It is inaccurate to say that I hate
everything. I am strongly in favor
of common sense, common honesty,
and common decency. This makes me
Forever ineligible for public office. H.L. Mencken
I’ve written about my perception of decency and, it appears, I am writing/preaching to the choir. My friends feel as I do.
As for people who see things differently there seems no “healthy” debate available to them. So far, it’s all been name-calling and put-downs. People who want healthy debate, it appears, are having that debate somewhere other than on social media. And, honestly, I’m not so sure decency should be debatable. Aren’t there are rules already set for what is decent in a democracy?
There are recognized standards for decency. There is the recognized standard of what is proper and in good taste. And we live in a democracy in which our representatives are expected and elected to adhere to a certain standard of decency. I find it difficult to understand those who support elected officials who fail to follow even the faintest path laid out by (what used to be) our collective decency.
In 1954, as an amazed television audience looked on, Boston Lawyer Joseph Welch – after one of his associates was accused by Joseph McCarthy, of having communist ties – responded with the immortal lines that ultimately ended McCarthy’s career:
“Until this moment, Senator, I think I never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness.” When McCarthy tried to continue his attack, Welch angrily interrupted, “Let us not assassinate this lad further, senator. You have done enough. Have you no sense of decency?”
What has happened to our collective sense of decency? When did it become okay to be cruel and reckless with the lives and well-being of American citizens and other people around the world?
Where is our sense of decency?
This is a question that should haunt us because the answer will certainly define us as we move forward.