Farewell Justice

Farewell Justice

You fought with words and logic—
powerful weapons for justice
in reasonable times
but it’s easier to manipulate
some folks by advertising fear.

You struggled for so long
and now to honor your memory,
we must continue the battle,
to march in the streets,
to cast our ballots,
to assure your legacy is not erased.

You weren’t in the majority on the court—
but you represented all of us,
We the People.

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Government of Idioms

Government of Idioms

We elected a flabby fox
to guard the hen house.

That’s like putting a coal
lobbyist in charge of the EPA.

oops. He did that.

That’s like naming an anti-union lawyer
your Secretary of Labor.


That’s like nominating
Al Capone to run the IRS.

And I have no doubt a dead gangster
gets confirmed by this Republican Senate.

Want to change things? Make sure you’re still registered then vote!

Inspired by this week’s Living Poetry Prompt.

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Storm Haiku

I was struck by lightning
scorch marks on my lips
from your kiss

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Upon Re-election

Upon Re-election

The Emperor strode on stage,
“I declare this is the classiest suit
I’ve ever worn. More comfortable
and tremendous and I made it myself!”

Grateful reporters saluted
and his devotees cheered.
Serious pundits on television debated
both sides of his magnificence.

Hospitals filled with flu.
Streets filled with families
begging coins of the realm.

Poets and children laughed at his length
which his supporters refused to see
yet asserted that it was huge.

(Happy Labor Day! Expect even more political poems through Election Day. Don’t forget to register to vote and double-check your voter registration at the 2020 Voters Calendar.)

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Grave of Ruth Carter Farlow (1742-1837)

Last week I revisited Marlboro Friends Meeting outside the little village of Sophia, North Carolina, about half an hour’s drive south of Greensboro. I knew my third-great grandfather, John Farlow (1809-1879) was buried there since I already had a picture of his stone but I was hoping to find more.

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On The Spectrum


On The Spectrum

The world is not black and white
nor is it shades of grey
we live in infinite color
more than our eyes can see

purple is both red and blue and neither
people can be wrong without being evil
poems can be about more than one thing
get used to it

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The Grave of Randall Jarrell


Yesterday I visited the grave of Randall Jarrell, 1914-1965. Besides being a poet and professor, he was the Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress for 1956-1958, now known as the Poet Laureate of the United States.

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The arc of history may be long,
too long for my taste,
and I’ll grant it bends to justice,
when observed over centuries
but what good are years
to those whose time has been stolen?

George Floyd
Breonna Taylor
Walter Scott
Tamir Rice
Sandra Bland
Michael Brown
Eric Garner
Trayvon Martin
Emmett Till

I could and should go on,
list the names, longer
than this so-called arc.

Do not take solace that the road
will somewhere curve to the left,
it’s time to yank the wheel,
with our voices and votes,
with our feet and fists
raised high

and no longer accept the unacceptable.


Written for this week’s Living Poetry Prompt and all those whose names I didn’t list.

To my fellow citizens of these United States, better make sure you’re registered and make a plan to vote in November. Don’t leave it to the last minute. https://2020voterscalendar.org/

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I wear a crown about my jaw,
encrusted not with jewels
but pie crumbs.

It’s not gold, never was.
Call it platinum or silver,
just not gray.

I crowned myself, like Napoleon,
and, without a Josephine to complain,
it has grown into its majesty.

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Charles Bukowski (1920-1994)


This is the 100th anniversary of the birth of one of my favorite poets, Charles Bukowski. I love how he takes the mundane and the profane and illuminates the poetry in each. He can be both coarse and sublime in the very same line. If you aren’t familiar with his work, I encourage you to check out these three poems:

8 count

The Laughing Heart

back to the machinegun

“Somebody asked me: “What do you do? How do you write, create?” You don’t, I told them. You don’t try. That’s very important: not to try, either for Cadillacs, creation or immortality. You wait, and if nothing happens, you wait some more. It’s like a bug high on the wall. You wait for it to come to you. When it gets close enough you reach out, slap out and kill it. Or if you like its looks, you make a pet out of it.”
Charles Bukowski

Let’s raise a glass to Hank tonight.

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