The Palette Shifts

In the morning cast
Of sun light
After an early hard freeze
The palette shifts
The Fall glamor gone, 
Giving way
To warmer tones 
And shades,
Tans and browns,
Dried flowers, dried grass, 
Red kinnikinnick,
And ebony-branched,
Silver green sage,
The natural world 
A visual gift opening 
Wondrous this river
Of light and time.

Surviving January

Am I more than
My dog’s doorman?

As the Earth warms
Will Armageddon be
Low fat, vegan, bug-eating,
Lactose and gluten free?

No longer myth
The walking dead rain down death.
War, and mayhem everywhere,
And vampire capitalists thrive
On the blood, body, and brains
Of living souls.

And yet eastward,
Ultra-thin, a crescent moon,
The foothills westward red,
A cottonwood tree, charcoal sketched,
Sturdy trunks ebony and bronze
Against an amethyst sky,
Its last dry leaves sparkled golden
By the morning sun.


To the Editor:
Historically, WWII, “The Last Good War”, was fought to prevent Hitler’s military conquest of Europe and the Soviet Union. Metaphorically, it can be likened to radical chemotherapy aimed at stopping the aggressive spread of Hitler’s White Nationalist elitism. The Nazis were defeated, but the cancer has now metathesized into authoritarian regimes across Europe and into Conservative politics and religion here. That the Americas are regarded as God’s gift to the white race, its Manifest Destiny, is the greatest blasphemy of American Christianity. 



To the Editor:
 That Donald Trump finds it necessary to mock Greta Thunberg for being selected over him for Person of the Year by Time Magazine reveals how “needy” he is for the glitz and glamor of celebrity and wealth, a child’s ego ruled by wants. “A 16 year old, flat-chested girl is more important than me? Impossible!” (I’ve caught flak over the un-#Me Too use of “flat-chested”, but I am only imagining the President’s inner voice.) What he and his myopic, echo-chamber followers fail to realize is just what a refreshing voice in the wilderness Greta is. She speaks clearly, with focus. There is no equivocation, no manipulation, none of the usual double-speaking “Yeah, but…” Everyone needs to pay attention to what we are doing to the Earth. There are no loopholes, no evasions, no easy outs. That she has also created her own echo chamber by mirroring his mocking tweets back at him is another sign of an unusual mind. Wake up world, before it is too late.


Community Service

To the Editor;

The current spate of mass protests across the world have a common denominator: the global economy is not attending to the well-being of the general populace, with wealth increasing concentrated in fewer and fewer hands. The same can be said of the new populism and rise of autocratic leaders pushing for national self-interest. Global trade has spawned an economic order favoring the corporate/financial sector. The power of capital today spares only crumbs for the average worker whose employment resembles more and more an enforced community service. Modern China, with a government operating essentially as a mega-corporate entity, thus far has been exemplary in raising it citizenry out of poverty, and, other than in Hong Kong, Chinese people thus far have been willing to accept an Orwellian iron hand over thought and the flow of information in exchange for economic security. (1984 should be required reading for all Chinese students in America.)  It remains questionable how far Western democracies will follow this example. 


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.