Starry Night

There is a steep aloneness

Here in the silence and depth

Of the starry night sky.

This is not a world

For fragile souls, yet

Still we are of the Earth,

Its strength and resilience,

Its mountains, oceans,

And flowing streams

Urgent with teeming life,

And too of this Universe

Of burning suns whirling

Across time and space,

Life ever in movement,

Stillness and death surely

Only the makings of myth.

The measure of humanity

Begins and ends thus here

On this whirling path

Of fellow living travelers.

Only time is truly ours.

It is a lost belonging,

The connection to place,

The Earth and one another,

That fuels the emptiness,

The pain and cruelty

That scar both the Earth

And the human heart.

The face of America

To the Editor:
Donald Trump, his Cabinet coterie of thugs and robber barons, his White Nationalist cult following, and Congressional Republican go-alongs regard themselves the true face of America. It is not a pretty picture, and, sadly, to a degree it is true. Up until the Civil War, the wealth of the nation was largely built on slavery in the South and immigrant sweatshop labor in the North. Exploitation of human and natural resources has long held sway in the American economy and the resulting class hierarchy based on the power of money has created the increasingly disparate distribution of wealth we see today. This is capitalism run amok and it is destroying the American dream. One can call those trying to rein in the excesses of wealth socialists, but they are the people in reality trying to make America a nation of ideals benefitting more than an elite few.

– RP

Divine Revelation

To the Editor:

In trying to come to terms with the Trump Presidency, I find myself having to maintain that this is a Divine Revelation of just how virally insane mankind can (and has) become. Man, mankind, humankind, homo sapiens, how ever you want to call us, we are the apex predator/polluter/destroyer species on the planet, this “our” Earth. That the trajectory of the evolution of life–LIFE! for God’s sake!–has arrived at us would seem to be the penultimate act of Absurdist Theater, equally so those scriptures claiming man was made “in the image of God. Man! I hope not. That is not to say we do not have virtues. There are many, but clinging to the twisted sense of power that comes with deliberately double thinking and casting doubt on the existence of Truth and Reality in all things borders on personal and group dementia.  “Truth is Beauty, Beauty Truth”, that is something you can have both ways.


Time Capsule

Time Capsule

An errant baseball lying

Among the fallen apples

Of an overhanging tree

In hand has become a tactile

Time capsule bursting

With innocence and memory.

Baseball was summer

And sandlots, favorite bats

And big league teams,

Whiffle balls, heroic stars.

The town had Old Timer baseball,

Ages eight to fourteen,

And the Delta Blues,

A semi-pro, B League team

With games held at night,

“Under the lights”.

Foul balls into the neighboring

Small zoo would startle

The peacocks into alarm

And calls of “Help! Help!”

I knew a girl then already

Arriving at a philosophy of life,

While I wondered only

At the best care

Of a leather glove.


To the Editor:
In a self-professed democracy, it would be presumed that voter suppression is a punishable, criminal act, yet the manipulation of voting rolls, rights, and access has become a vital campaign strategy for the Republican Party.  That it has racist elements is additionally shameful, particularly in light of the contrast of the eight years of dignity, grace, and family values of the Obamas in the White House and the rise of an angry white mob in just two years of Donald Trump’s stewardship there.  Swings in the political spectrum are to be expected but this feels like the pendulum has fallen off its pivot.  What is America’s true vision of itself?


Chauvinism and DoubleThink

To the Editor:
It is hard to imagine a more bumbling exhibition of male chauvinism than that of the Kavanaugh Judiciary Committee hearings. The level of discomfort of the candidate and the Republican members at being confronted with the female gestalt belongs more on the psychiatrist’s couch than under full public scrutiny. None the less, Kavanaugh’s display of privileged, All-American, sports-loving, beer-guzzling, combative prolonged adolescence seems not to have deterred their support for seating him on the Supreme Court. In deflecting criticism to Democrats rather than at Dr. Ford, they do recognize they are playing with fire in regards to women voters, but that they found, despite Kavanaugh’s frequently less than forthcoming answers, both testimonies “credible” indicates how deeply embedded DoubleThink, the ability to simultaneously believe two utterly contradictory “facts”, has become in American politics. Truthfulness no longer seems to hold great value, and here Donald Trump is the master of creating and manipulating the ensuing confusion in people’s minds. That the Republican Party has gone “all in” on this strategy of assuming power is disappointing in its disregard of honor once having been a Conservative value.


Greatness/Great Mess

To the Editor:
The America Donald Trump wants to make “Great Again” is precisely the America that needs to be but in the ash bins of history.  Racism, industrial waste, economic and social elitism, the thirsts for wealth and power, and indifference to public education, health and wellbeing are the very weaknesses that are bringing America down.  The stated ideals of the Declaration of Independence and the “originalist” Constitution belie the reality that the nation was founded on white supremacy, slavery, the displacement of Native Peoples, and the conquest and exploitation of the natural resources of a “virgin” continent.  The greatest lesson of history is that while warrior cultures may rise to great prominence, they are destined to collapse in ruin.  The future of the New World is that which ultimately rises from the ashes of its ruins.


Of a Moment, Outdoors

The startled bark

And raised neck hair

Of my dog upon

Meeting a mushroom

Un-before seen

In the middle of

His accustomed path.


A broad-tailed hawk

Spiraling sunward,

Riding a thermal updraft—

Days later a raven

Rising in the same.


A tiny intrepid spider

Parasailing across my yard

On a thin silken thread.


Multiple popcorn

Gray and yellow bursts

Of whirling burrowing bees

Emerging from underground.


The summer yellow petal fall

Of a golden raintree,

Falling and fallen silent,

Like the onset of snow.

Supreme Rulings

To the Editor:
Regarding the excitement of a continuing Conservative, Heritage Foundation-branded Supreme Court into the foreseeable future, it should be noted that the two most radical decisions in recent history, Bush v. Gore, which ruled, in essence, that an accurate count of the votes was not necessary, thus anointing George Bush as President, and Citizens United, which equated money with Free Speech, were made by a Conservative majority.  The first resulted in the invasion and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, our full, “Shock and Awe” swan dive into the Tar Baby affairs of the Middle East, while the second has enabled the rise of a Libertarian oligarchy in which the power of wealth reaps and wields the lion’s share of benefit and influence.  It will be hard to top these, but best fasten your seat belts now.


Trump and Putin

To the Editor:
Vladimir Putin’s Russia is not much different from the America envisioned by Donald Trump and his high-end backers.  It is an economy and nation controlled by monied interests. i.e. wealthy oligarchs, and we can be certain that the Supreme Court will be fully (5-4 for now) in support of this Libertarian/Ayn Rand concept of small government and unregulated enterprise.  The deck is loaded against Abraham Lincoln’s “government of the people”.  Regaining control of the House and Senate is now the only antidote to this turn of injustice to the majority of Americans.
Robert Porath