I have been saying for the last years that I believe Trump is a narcissistic sociopath in bed with the Russian mob.  A correction is needed.  A certain psychotherapist of my acquaintance informed me there are two types of narcissists:  those who seek praise by being charitable and those who are just plain malignant.  Hence:  our president is a malignant narcissistic sociopath in bed with the Russian mob I believe.  Further, given his latest meme with the golf ball, he is an ass.  Now I shall reread the prayer that follows...

And just because we could use this reminder:

Lord, make me a channel of thy peace,
that where there is hatred, I may bring love;
that where there is wrong,
 I may bring the spirit of forgiveness;
that where there is discord, I may bring harmony;
that where there is error, I may bring truth;
that where there is doubt, I may bring faith;
that where there is despair, I may bring hope;
that where there are shadows, I may bring light;
that where there is sadness, I may bring joy.
Lord, grant that I may seek rather to 
comfort than to be comforted;
to understand, than to be understood;
to love, than to be loved.
For it is by self-forgetting that one finds.
It is by forgiving that one is forgiven.
It is by dying that one awakens to Eternal Life.
Saint Francis

Finding My Writings…

Angel’s Share now features Chapter 23 (Father and Fairs) of my Seasons for Everything:  Tales of a Reluctant Pastor.

"This Land" -- My Woody Guthrie road trip's 17 expanded columns (pending permission to use the lyrics) can be found under the heading of Columns

I also got playful this Labor Day and culled together a series of Religous Dim Sums, couplets (love that word) for pastors and congregations.  Enjoy.

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Click here to preview my "First Impressions" article about my impressions of church worship visits.

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Click here to preview my "Beyond Third Grade: A Primer on the Bible."  I have attempted to take texts ripe for skeptics and the curious and offer up the proclamation in the story.  Enjoy.

Poetry Corner (with apologies to Percy Dovetonsils)

We are witnessing the lull before the storm
The weather promises to be dry and warm
The circus tents are going up right on cue
Wine and beer delivered, tiki torches too
Bridal gown picked up, ready for her entrance
Better practice my father-of-the bride dance
Shsshhhhh – the tune will be a surprise
Young love oft requires parental goodbyes
So Lord, please watch over them , we do pray
May they love each other more each day
Each day richer than this good wedding day


Neil deGrasse Tyson speaks of multi-verses
How I wish through them I could transverse
As glad as I am to be in the one I am now
I can think of another I wish the gods would allow

It Burns

Forethinking Prometheus, thanks for the fire
For helping us, you received the gods’ cruel ire
Tortured by the eagle tearing at your liver
All because you became humanity’s giver
Body may have been bound, but spirit free
You boldly denying and defying Zeus’ tyranny 

Epimetheus, meanwhile, with typical afterthought
Couldn’t see the mischief the gods had wrought
In giving him as a heavenly gift Pandora his wife
Curious she lifted the lid and released such strife
But amidst the sorrows, human hope too escaped
Despite present evils, by hope life may be shaped


When lost upon wine dark seas,
Adrift and lonely all those years,
Cruel gods offering no guarantees,
Our sailor knew still the course to steer.
Driven across waters by her charms;
One life, one love, one eternal heart.
Her love was worth defying harm,
No ocean could keep them apart.
For wandering Odysseus declared:
“I have no need to chart by sky;
What are the stars above compared 
To the beacon of my lady’s eyes?”

Silly Days

Happy days, silly days, giggly days.  
How we miss them when they’re gone,
If not to keep us sane and not dismayed,
To give us reason to keep on keeping on.
There comes a time, after struggle, 
When you want to taste some reward,  
When you want a thrilling giggly snuggle.
You may not deserve it, dear Lord;
But given all, you sure have earned it,
Howsoever brief this happiness visit.

My Prayer

A joy to travel and talk with old friends
for some, discovering something new
for others, a chance for us to mend
learning to appreciate from these interviews
in listening to their stories gain dividends
and saddened by those I've lost
with every choice there is a cost
the sails of souls tempest-tossed
most of all, appreciative-love gained
Lord, may those I love happiness attain

We learn from talk
This humbling truth
No room to balk
True from our youth
They are our mirror
Revealing our dealings
We see ourselves clearer
Clumsy with other’s feelings

Cruise control is a good correction
Red Miatas draw police attention


Thursday morning awake in Braintree 
What I’d like is to give you a foot rub
What I’d like is you and me care free
A finer repast here than morning motel grub
Time for a massage and a warm shower
Enjoying time together, love bestowed
I’ll hand you the soap my wildflower
But alas, its motel coffee and hit the road

Worth the Price

The vexing price of being sixty-four
Is a raging hunger to explore more
Time is something you cannot waste
An incentive to savor new tastes
To try new things and see new places
Before you need walkers and braces
Cataracts, arthritis, hip replacements
Suffering age’s inexorable debasement
No, he says with a Promethean defiance
Age doesn’t require passive compliance
There may be fewer years left to anticipate
Still, why should we only linger and wait
We should grasp and enjoy what we want
Gulping life to the lees from romance’s font
For us only to appreciate what has been
Only looking backwards, well, it is a mortal sin
There’s time left to push the envelope 
Refusing to accept and meekly cope
If I only have a few years left before I cash in
I’d rather rush to the end with wild passion

English Teachers

A tooth can be impacted, meteors impact
Use better words lest grammarians react
Storms damage, affect – check the thesaurus
So weary English teachers implore us

Hotel Keys

Beantown Inn, so much fun
Take-out wings, chicken on a bun
Here I am putting in the nights
A few melancholic poems to write
Pulled my boxers on with a tug
A little bourbon in a mug
Me sleeping with Rachel Maddow
My motel bedtime foreshadowed
Too bad not much more furious
But here to be laborious not notorious

Lot’s Wife

She’s never given a name
But then she really is any of us
Genesis also fails to say
Which way she ended up facing 
when she becomes a pillar of salt
My guess her salted eyes 
were turned toward Sodom
There to remain
till wind’s erosion
There to stare 
At what she turned to see
What she didn’t wish to leave
More than mere nostalgia
A lament over change
More than a fear of the new
More a wanting to cling to the old
That ache and yearning
Of what she had 
Ever looking back on what is gone
Fixed and trapped
Unable to move on
unable to move


I am blessed with two churches
One for every Sunday versus
The other as a moveable calendar
The word spoken in vernacular
My church of “sleeping-in”
Demanding morning veneration
The sanctuary of sheets
Where the faithful meet
In this case where two are gathered
Jubilant singing choristers
Devotees speaking in tongues
Amongst the holy ones
In prayerful kneeling
Yes, sometimes pleading
Partaking in communion
Where anthems are fun
The offering freely shared
Professions of faith declared
A celebration of incarnation
Flesh of my flesh oblation
The ecstasy of spirit too
Where the pillow incense is you

Storm Warnings

One thing about storms
They come in many forms
Some in wind and water
Some in war and slaughter
But I do contend
Dearest friends 
The fiercest storm to experience
Is a woman’s passionate influence
So drown me please
May the surge wash me to the seas

Five Elements of Church

Liturgia means worshipping
Where we gather to scatter on Sunday
Working our worship through to Saturday
With order and ardor the divine is revealed

Diakonia denotes serving
The kindness of goodness into the fray
Both the suffering LGBTQ and KKK
The greater are those who serve the meal

Paedea oozes nurturing
I appreciate the church’s maternal spirit
But sure could use a church with verve and grit
Raising up young ones for the common weal

Koinonia invites belonging
A solitary Christian is quite impossible to be
So try to be the change you want in others to see
Church as laboratory making it real

Marturia demands witnessing
Proclaim Christ’s tough message so it is heard
And, yes, sometimes you can use words
You never can predict who will catch the zeal


Theirs was a love unheard of till then
No alabaster or porcelain love theirs
No ideal nor idea of love plastered by sentiment
Fervent passionate romance theirs
Rather than romanticized
Theirs was the love of a woman and man
The love of beloved Eurydice and her Orpheus
Cherishing their days, relishing their nights
A love ruddy and rich and deep and full 
Of respect and gratitude for all time to come
Of flesh and laughter, tears and songs
For his beloved Eurydice Orpheus would sing
For beloved Eurydice Orpheus would play the strings
With each note and melody
Her eyes would shine like beacons
Her heart would swell with love
An enchantment born of truth 
Of goodness, of happiness most human
A tear of joy would adorn her cheek
When Orpheus gave her his music
Even the trees would sway 
The hart and hind would pause 
And draw closer
Flower petals spent 
Would blossom again
Even the gods would listen 
Free of godly jealousy 
Proud that such a man 
Could make such heavenly sounds
As beautiful as his beloved Eurydice

When Eurydice awoke one morning
She let her beloved Orpheus sleep
And skipped and danced along the shore
Of a meandering, clear stream
Gathering flowers 
A king saw her alone
craved her 
pursued her
impelled to claim her, 
use her
possess her

She tied to flee from his grasp
Fatally stepping on a asp
Orpheus awoke just then
And reached for her
missing her
Then rose up looked for her to kiss her
He had a new song to sing for her that
Came to him in a dream 
After they had loved that night

When Orpheus finally found her
Her body was cold
She was gone
Hades already had received her spirit
Orpheus picked her body up 
Carried her back to their bed
And Orpheus wept
He ached the ache no man should ache
He brushed her cheek and lifted her hand
He kissed her cold lips 
He too had died with her
And he offered her what he could
He sang and played the lyre
But there was no joy
All happiness flown
Life drained from his heart
His was a terrible lament
Haunting and cruel
For he loved his beloved Eurydice 
And she was gone
She was gone

Hind and hart nestled closer in grief
Even the trees drooped in sorrow
Flower petals fell upon the ground
And the gods heard his pain 
Moved by his loss severe
Even indifferent Hades shed a tear

Such love, such joy, such beauty 
Hades confessed should be returned
Eurydice deserved to live and love again
Orpheus’ loss is too cruel to bear
Their love deserved to be restored
The world, even the gods,
Need to witness this epitome of human love
Came the messenger to whisper
Into Orpheus’s ear
Come down amongst the dead
Hades himself will place 
Your beloved’s hand into yours 
You may lead her back to life
Spirit again flesh
Lead her from here below
Through the dark cavern 
And take her to the light above
Once there embrace her 
And sing again your songs of love
But promise one thing, grieving Orpheus
You cannot look upon her until you ascend
You must only hold her hand until the light
For if you look upon her, she must return
She must return to the land of the dead

Breathless Orpheus rushed downward
And reaching Hades closed his eyes 
Hades himself placed Eurydice’s cold hand
That Orpheus might hold hers
That Orpheus might lead her
Through the darkness and tunnel
Toward the light above
Bereft of sun and moon 
Orpheus could not tell how long they traveled
He sang a soft song to her who followed
Till he saw the light of the cave’s mouth
Tugging her faster he was full of hope
Pulling her along, he yearned to emerge
That he might turn 
That he might cover her with his kisses
That her warmth would return
That they would embrace 
That they could love again
Fuller and richer and ruddier than even
But then she slipped
A small stone near the mouth of the cave
She slipped, stumbled
Orpheus turned quick to help her
Only to lose her
He looked upon her
And turning into vapor
She slipped back below
Falling back to the land of the dead

…Orpheus never sang again

Tree Service

We decided we have to bring in a tree service
As our maples and crabapples 
Have gotten out of hand, we’ve been remiss;
$1,350 is his appraisal.
Seems strange indeed, whether trees or me,
The older I keep growing
The messier and more broken I am its plain to see.
It hurts, all this pruning
It stings, all this losing

From the Monthly Diary of a Retired Pastor

Monday – ate two boxes of Ring Dings
Tuesday – watched South Park
Wednesday – ate a bag of potato chips
Thursday – washed the dishes, twice
Friday – watched a rerun of Joel Osteen and corrected his sermon delivery
Saturday – folded the laundry
Sunday – woke early, gathered up our daughter’s old stuffed animals, and put them on the table.  They enjoyed the sermon I preached to them. 
Monday – waited by the phone in case someone phoned
Tuesday – looked out the window for the UPS delivery
Wednesday – a good day:  I put pants on
Thursday – refiled my old sermons
Friday – rearranged the cloth napkin drawer
Saturday – rearranged my copies of Bible commentaries 
Sunday – took pleasure in turning the TV off when Joel Osteen began to preach but felt sorry afterwards
Monday – counted the shopping bags in the pantry
Tuesday – googled the satellite image of my church
Wednesday – ate another box of Ring Dings
Thursday – sorted the spice cabinet and removed those past date
Friday – dusted the light bulbs
Saturday – decided to change my underwear
Sunday – counted the cars driving past my house in the morning
Monday – waited by the phone hoping for a call about problems with my computer 
Tuesday – made sure all the toilet paper hung down from the front
Wednesday – watched to make sure the kids didn’t walk on my lawn on their way to school
Thursday – ate 12 doughnuts to soak up the bottle of bourbon
Friday – replaced all the batteries in the remote controls
Saturday – watched my wife pack her bags and leave
Sunday – brought the stuffed animals into the kitchen and baptized Kermit the Frog

Finally Vision

Please do just lie there awhile
Lady in bed
Before we go much farther
No words need be said
Let me just look at you and admire
Admire you in this soft light 
Coming from the night stand
I need to take this time
To take my time
So often, too often, so rushed
It is cute how you feel so shy
Blushing the way you blush
The pulse in your neck
Reddening, flushed
Rising and falling with every breath
The pursing of your lips
The slight angle of your leg
Drawn up over your other
Babies born from you
Flesh to flesh
You incubating life still
Giving me new life
You have been kind to the years
And the years to you
Let me trace you with my eyes
Touching you with my eyes
Caressing you with my sight 
Before I turn out the light
And lose my focus
Exciting just to watch you 
So dear
I need to remember
Want to remember 
Must remember
As I approach my December
I want you indelible
Imprinted and memorable
The all of you
That when these eyelids close I will see you still


Girls do have more delicate heinies
Susie Derkins says
That’s what makes them so finey
A plaid skirt swish
You don’t want to miss
Add the boots
Loving her attributes

Essential Tenets

In affirming the high doctrine of predestination
Fatalism we quickly reject as false interpretation
Please do not think we are puppets on strings 
Marionettes obedient to invisible controlling
To be predestined means to trust God’s commands
It means your destiny is in divinity’s good hands 
You are free from worrying that heaven you’ll miss
We welcome redemptive and transformative justice
Yes, we fervently attest to the doctrine of free will
Responsible for our daily actions both good and ill
We fulfill
Pay the bill

This gets dicey because this means choices within our nature
Making wise and helpful choices, both learned and mature
Who I sleep with, what to eat tonight, What clothes I wear
My free will for things within my scope and under my care
But what of those choices and options beyond my capacity?
For choosing choices beyond my nature, have I the audacity?
Well, I try
Though awry

Consider the choices that to us are beyond the pale
Realities that must remain behind life’s thick veil
Might I freely will myself to spread wings and into sky fly?
Can I choose never to age, never to gray, never to die?
Or even to choose God revealed by Jesus of Gethsemane
Freely willing to obey holy ways rather than the idol of me?
No wonder I need
God’s spirit to intercede
Now I am truly free

Keeping the Faith

God bless the Southern Baptist pastor
Booted for following his Lord and Master
How dare he say we must repent 
Our unjust society we must lament
That our bigotry and racial idolatry
Denies God’s view of human equality
Hey, Christ, your gospel really is annoying stuff
I attend church and am saved, that’s good enough

Time to get a haircut, I admit
When my fedoras don’t fit

Three in One

Who wants a God you can prove?
Can you even prove your parent’s love?
Love like God is a truth we experience and receive
Faith means giving evidence for what we believe
That we can reason and think despite being finite creatures
Reveals there is something transcending mere nature
As Julian said: Your Maker, Keeper, and Lover reigning
The Trinity isn’t our objectifying way of God explaining
Far more exciting is how it describes divinity acting toward us humans
Dynamic blessings from the Father, through the Son, in the Holy Spirt – Amen and Amen

Why do we fuss about angels on pins when cultivating heaven here is at stake?
My seminary president gave us the best of charges:  "Do something for Christ's sake!"


Saying "I'm sorry" is essential in any marital tool kit;
He/she is just getting damn tired of always expected to say it. 

Four Loves (with due apologies to C.S. Lewis for being utterly shameless)

Storge, affection, isn’t very picky
Philia, friendship, can be terribly cliquey
Eros, lovely lust, arouses hickeys and quickies
Agape, Christ-like love, is both demanding and tricky
Without each and all to enjoy, life has slipped you a mickey

Hollow Words

Love isn’t what we live for
Love is the force by which we live
Wanting the best for her is how you adore
More than getting, what matters is what you give

Some of us have learnt this in sadness and hurt
Being preoccupied, busy, taking her for granted 
Missing precious gestures, hearts not in concert
Causing loss and loneliness, true love supplanted

The Glass

Optimists boast the glass is half full, 
As if a glass is a personality exam
Pessimists say it is half empty
For me, it entirely depends on how thirsty I am


Daddy Daedalus may have warned him
That wax wings and flying so high
Will melt the closer you approach the sun
Plummeting  to the sea, unable to fly
Yes, there is that risk of immoderation
So be content, mediocre, obey your mentor
Stay in your place, never dare, play it safe
But at least for once Icarus got to soar

Nighty Night

The sky is darkening
Bedtime is hearkening
The world is hushed
There is no rush
We pause to adore
Love’s rich rapport
In time we will sleep
Until we shall keep
In each other’s arms
Mystic charms
Come now beside me
Let me cherish thee
Now and eternally
My dearest lady

The Gods are Cruel

He begins to appreciate Antaeus son of Mother Earth
Goaded into a fight with Heracles to prove his worth
Heracles lifted him and pulled him off the ground 
From whence he derived his manly strength renown
How greatly with fatal Antaeus he does sympathize 
Weakened likewise to share his sad demise
Separated from passion’s grounding source
Parted from his lover's arousing force 

Labor Day Good Morning

It requires no effort to wake
The effort is getting out of bed
Dehumidifier drained, the coffee to make
The garbage out, meowing cats fed
The dog taken outside for a poop
Which all makes Labor Day a lie
No rest for the weary, what a dupe
Can I come back to bed he sighs
So what’s so different about today
Well, could be the French toast and syrup
Smoked sausages for this buffet
Instead of mugs, a day for china cups 
A today to remind us of what is special
See what happens without the daily strain
How life means work and sweaty wrestle
How life is produced from loss and pain
As you women know all too well
The risk and cost of making a difference
Blood and sweat wrenching heaven from hell
Doing nothing, well, you simply have to wait
Don’t take out the garbage or weed the garden
We then realize entropy is failure’s normal state
Doing nothing always results in just nothing
Whether gardens, homes, or relationships
Doing something buys the chance for something
A chance to enjoy time’s one way trip
So outcast Adam and Eve realized the bargain
This is what the Bible folktale is all about
We labor on with more courage than promise
No guarantees that everything will work out
The labor pains of hoeing or birth upon us
Which is why Mark Twain got it so right 
In his short story about Adam and Eve
When Adam had the choice to stay despite
But without her in the garden he would grieve
How he’d rather be outside beside her 
Than inside safe and easy but ever apart
With her and the hard labor he prefers
The struggle is worth the price of one heart...
However far, love is near 
Purchased in work, kisses, and tears
Love’s labor can be won
Love refuses to be outdone

Psalm 1

"the way of the wicked will prerish..."
please note: not that the wicked will perish for even they are cherished.

A Sunday Good Morning

He slowly stirs awake 
Early morning’s ache
Restless and eager
Turning toward her
Come closer please
Venus must be appeased


I accept how sometimes life requires an either-or
Letting yourself get trapped into the corner
For the binary choice conveys a failure to me
Better than win/lose are clever paths to explore
When forced to choose between an A or B
I tell my kids they should always choose C or D


If only all decisions were as simple 
   as choosing which shoes to wear
Sneakers for fun, wingtips for weddings, 
   two-tones for dance looking debonair
Penny loafers for school, boots for soccer 
   – shoes depending on the occasion
But how to decide dear friends and foes, 
   when the question fails an easy equation?
Nurses saying no to police thugs, 
   dreamers living here as their only home
Transgendered in the military, health care, 
   seas littered with Styrofoam 
I suppose by default you could absent yourself 
   and turn to the Magic 8-Ball
And simply let erratic fate decide, 
   letting whatever falls befalls
But let us take time at this moment 
   to list decision-making options
There is determining what is right by law 
   and what they say will be done
Or right by might, top of the heap 
   is the one who gets to decide
Then surely the law of self, 
   getting what I want as my only guide
Myself pressing my rights for me to get 
   regardless what is truly right
We could say to do what Jesus wants us to do 
   and follow the Light of Light
Which demands from us an abiding relationship 
   with love’s particularity
Not as easy as a universal fits all 
   but rather a paradoxical lack of clarity 
Easiest is to bow to being told what to do, 
   that external locus of control
The inner rule of love’s harder work 
   alone makes our world whole


Her pheromones 
Make me groan
Get into my bones
I am utterly thrown
Toward her I’m prone
Too late to postpone
Roiling hormones
Passion shown
Thank God we’re alone

Good Morning

It is not the morning light
That makes waking up bright.
My reason to live, I confide
Is wanting you to sleep beside 

Flood Damage

Calamity is calamity 
Tragedy is tragedy
Some get on the TV news
Some we exlude
Sad is sad
Bad is bad
Twelve hundred killed
The brunt of a monsoon’s ill will
Millions of homes destroyed by flood
40 million persons trapped in the mud
Hello there, India, Nepal, and Bangladesh
Our perspective on Texas we reassess
Hurt is hurt
None ought we desert
Sisters are sisters
Brothers are brothers
Family is family 
Demanding humanity


This thought woke me up the other night
How from the chaos of molecule to molecule they cohere
The separate and disparate combine 
The impulse of the Ground of Being 
Creating a new form from the union of each
Whether as ice cream, planets, or stars
Even when it seems deconstructed 
Star explodes projecting waves and energy
Energy is
Even the ice cream eaten only seems to disappear 
Only a transformation 
Reversion to apparent chaos
Meaning even chaos follows form and laws
Do then the laws of physics apply to humanity?
We molecules individual
Like sounds and syllables 
Brought into a whole
Forming a word
Or from molecule to organ to you
Or from passion and choice to us
Whether forming a romance  
Or making a society 
Or mewling newborn
Each with the other taking larger shape
Grander form
And when the form breaks down
We see even no shape has a shape
Each molecule has a place to belong
We all and each are gestalt
We are our own dialectic
The body electric 
Each synthesis and antithesis 
Forming the next 
The next to be

Writer's Block

What frustrates writers I’ve heard
Is how you cannot hug a word
Even if well penned the theme
You cannot wake beside a dream

A Slight Variation on Line 18 from Tennyson's 'Ulysses':

That I cannot turn the clock back, I am glad
  Would you really want to if you could?
And lose those powerful moments joyous or sad?
  If life is no dress rehearsal 
Neither can you rewrite life’s play nor reshape the set
  I do not think I would
For I am the richer and better for all I have met
  Love should never be ungrateful
  For you I am forever thankful
Beautiful, soulful, fateful, tearful

From a conversation today with a Mommy (31 August):

Where do babies come from, asked her little daughter
   Giving mommy pause 
Assuming she had to answer, for that’s what parents oughter
   Describing to a kindergartener 
The way of genitals, hormones, organs, and sex
   Assuming she wanted facts
Mom decided instead to listen, turning to ask her next
   Where do you think little brother came from?
Little girl blushed and hummed and smiled, saying
  You pray to God for babies 
Giving thus the obvious answer she returned to playing
  Yes, they really do know better

Another fun ballad for Bruce (mayhaps, this 31 August):

Please stay here with me, my dear
Let us refuse to part so soon
Though the bustle of the day nears
Though the light of dawn is rising
We’ve only had the night to love
May the light shine on us smiling

   Giving each other passion’s pleasure
   Us finally taking romance’s measure
   Us growing old together
  This morn growing younger together

Hungry mouth tasting your eyes
The contentment of half asleep
Breaths whispering  secret lullabies
Lips brushing flickering lashes
Your face nestled on my chest
Let us remain here while the world passes

   Giving each other passion’s pleasure
   Us finally taking romance’s measure
   Us growing old together
   This morn growing younger together

We have created our own oasis
Never a place, always a who
It takes a you to offer a kiss
Never a where, always a when
Intertwined is the only paradise
So we remain this morn to love again

   Giving each other passion’s pleasure
   Us finally taking romance’s measure
   Us growing old together
   This morn growing younger together

Fathers and Daughters

My father would have been mortified
Letting the shop girl carry his carton outside
At any fellow manner-less toward the lady at the store
A real gentleman cannot help opening the door 
Ladies first, anything less comes from a cad
Why, because first and foremost he’s a Dad
Some men are just that old fashioned
A gentleman’s ways, like love, cannot be rationed 
Expecting their daughters to be treated likewise
Forbidding her ever to date a guy with a van
Honking for her in the driveway is no worthy man
Hence a father’s wary regard for unsuitable suitors
Lest they fail to love and protect and her adore
Adore her as he has whether she's twelve or sixty-four
Even with those nights of slamming doors 
Shouts and fights, sneaking home after curfew
Anxious for her well-being and her virtue
Driving him mad with her tantrums and moods
Or adventures he never heard about, bad rendezvous
Still, whether sixty-four or five or ten 
She is his little girl, Dad’s gift from heaven
Sharing a pot of tea after school 
Or a hug when friends have been cruel
Cuddling on that familiar couch 
Arms holding her close do vouch
Finding love still at the center of her storm
Her teaching him how a Dad should perform
Suddenly then wedding dresses in too short a while
Praying to God as he walks her down that aisle 
He spent a life preparing for a father’s dance
Now he must support her choice in life’s romance
It isn’t only that he would die for her
Life is quixotic when daughters are conferred
Lives strewn with many deaths augur many rebirths
And in dying at her birth he gained his greatest worth
His old self did die when she arrived
The man died quite happily for then he thrived
To be called daddy and to hold her little hand
And walk with her is any daddy’s dreamland
Yes, dear ones, the greatest joy and legacy
That is, when father becomes a memory
When dad, your daddy, goes to his creator
Is when his daughter tears up years later
Remembering a love that Father Time cannot divide
For In her misted salty eyes your Father’s love abides


Too many ghosts haunt his nights
Friends and lovers gone from sight
The vision of one most special
Of times most sentimental
Is a ghost that often comes and appears
If only he could reach out and hold her dear

Bob feeling the end of summer (30 August) and back to something pretty:

Did it ever take place?
Memory the only trace?
Days and nights seem a fantasy
Figures in mists so hard to see
Times spent, trips taken
Was it really real then?
So I suspect it will seem
All before a wispy dream
On my deathbed when death befalls
Did my life ever happen at all?
Did them and that ever happen at all?

And some Danville Haiku:

Touch of fingertip
Brush of lips
Saying all

Flower petals
Curling close 
Throughout the night

Eyes demure greet
Passion’s invitation
Closed eyelids welcoming

Cut redolent rose 
Placed in crystal vase
Petals fall quicker

White peasant blouses
She smiling fresh and sheer
Him envying the linen

Old men
Remembering love when
Sleep deep

Dawn’s whispered sighs
Palm pressing palm
Breathing in her breath

Grabbing for brass ring
On carousel spinning too fast
Misses his chance

Fingers lightly linger
Tracing from the nape
Heartbeats pulsing in rhythm

Hidden inside the cloak of ideology
You’ll find naked self-serving methodology
I’m fond of a little nudity
But it could use a little beauty 

My biggest problem isn’t them, she, or thee
The one to blame, indeed, is me

If the primary focus of your life is on getting…
well, what happens will be upsetting
Still, I’d really like some satisfaction
That is more giving than abstraction

We’re in deep trouble it is understood
when YOURSELF is your highest good.

Churches!  Now is a moment
That must not be misspent
With so many suffering nature’s cruelty
Our only doctrine must be sacrificial fealty 

Good morning feeling precious and cute (August 28)

The tortoise shell cat curled and dozed
On the soft hassock fully reposed
While grey tabby and the terrier 
set out together for something merrier
than terrier chasing his ball around the house
and grey tabby ignoring the catnip mouse
they wanted adventure and to explore
so ventured they forth through open door
side by side they into nature they hunt
tiger and wolf prowling for prey to confront
through daylilies, rose bush, and marigold 
each outdoing the other in being bold
till crow cawed and bigger dog harassed
and ran they back to the house so fast
happier to be back home, a happier place
where terrier began busily licking tabby’s face
with the tortoise shell cat curled and dozed
On the soft hassock fully reposed

Another one for the cats:

Why we suffer three annoying cats I cannot say
Each one thinks they are boss and I obey
Nyssa stares and chirps at the door
I come though now she curls on the floor
Adric trills and demands an ear scratch
Pushing his head in my hands so I act with dispatch
Hughie hisses and wanders confused and scared
That’s because he’s incredibly impaired
All three loudly chirp when time for food
If not fed soon, they turn a demanding mood
Open the door for me right now
Let me in when outside they meow
At sixty-four, I am grateful to have found my purpose
And in retirement, I am the trained act in this circus
All because of three cats for whom I am the servant
It is the way of cats to live a life of preferment

Sunday's playful ditties (27 August):

Fed up with frustrations
It’d be nice to taste some reward
Damn those expectations
Jesus and Buddha warned me of such sensations
Guess it’s best is keep moving forward
Someone and something to which to move toward

Tough to master Quaker clearness
With so much chaotic nearness
Plus all this melancholic queerness
Adding this sanquine impulsiveness
Let alone lost in this wilderness
Far from a loving stillness
My emotional thickness
Where is forgiveness?
All this crazy mess within us
Time for another Guinness

A Song for Us (inspired by listening to Bruce this morning)

We shall walk together
Side by side together
To a place that is yet to be 
To a place we yearn to see
Brave because of each other
We shall walk hand in hand
Through the shadow of a land
Filled by loveless men
Who only know to destroy
And since when has joy been easy
In the darkness your eyes shine bright
Showing lost me the way again
Those times you pull me forward 
Where you walk is my right
Those times I push from behind
We shall scrape our knees 
Wiping bloody lips 
Moving forward will we find
Even when we stumble
Even when we trip
When weary I shall carry you
Your head on my shoulder
Your eyes closed on my chest
Upon my heart my lover rests
And since when has joy been easy
Hand in hand
Side by side 
Tears and kisses be our guide
Pressing toward that land
Taking our stand
We two
Filled with heart-filled courage
And since when has joy been easy 
We shall walk together
We can do no other
Your love is what I become
We are each other’s freedom
Side by side from a hope scorching bright
And lay together through the nights

Intimacy When Ill

It changes it does, when sickness comes
Frankly, it used to be a hell of lot more fun
Now given her frailty and painful arthritis
It is so many ordinary things he must assist
It’s helping her get dressed every morning
(he used to be better at unhooking than hooking)
Now kneeling to help pull on her shoes
Her hands can’t do what they once could do

Him taking the shaky coffee mug from her hands
She’s braver than him with what she withstands
Or picking up the pill dropped on the floor
Reaching high for the muffins they store
Tearing the banana from the bunch
Cutting her meal for her midday lunch
Come evening when she reclines in her chair
There are dishes to wash and the laundry downstairs
Strapping on the ice pack for shoulders that throb
The laughter once shared usurped by silent sobs

Then comes bedtime with TV 
Her wan smile turned towards me 
Pulling the quilt to keep her tight and warm
For now romance has acquired a new norm
Then a kiss on the cheek, once more again
A palm placed on the covers remembering when


You deserve plenty of pampering
  After all those lonely years
You deserve lots of canoodling 
  After so many pillow tears
You deserve all the caring
  After all the sacrifice
You deserve pleasure and pleasing
  After paying such a price
You deserve someone escorting
  After forced to do it on your own
You deserve loving and living
  Because you are beautiful and giving
  Us cherishing the woman now known

A Prayer in Remembrance of this Day (17 August)

Life most precious in our arms
Keep them, Lord, from hurt and harm

Help us bring them a world so kind
Where goodness and friendship they will find

Where love and grace is freely shared
Where hope and dreams are fervently dared

It goes so fast, the hours spent 
Of these tiny lives to whom us are lent 

May we live worthy of this incarnate trust
Creating for them a world so just

Thank you, Lord, from Thee they are given
For us to give them on earth your heaven

Lullaby for the Little Ones

Gently blows the bedtime breeze;
Soft and sweet it bids you leave;
Sails of down billow wide
And float you out with evening’s tide

Sail away, sail away.

You sail along the moonlit beach,
Out within heaven’s reach;
From your crib  you voyage far;
In your eyes the spray of stars.

Sail away, sail away.

Feel the warmth of time’s ocean;
The rhythmic roll of love’s motion;
Hear the song of silent seas –
God’s lullaby for you and me

Sail away, sail away.
Through dreamlit seas of night’s array,
Till morning’s light beams the homeward way…
Sail away, sail away.

The Loss  (do you think Bruce might like this ballad?)

Caught on a memory
Like a fox in a snare
Only one way to get clear
Gnawing my own foot off
Lame for life impaired
Leaving little to stand on
Hobbling along
Running away like a crippled fox
Blood stains on fresh meadow grass 

If I had been a better man 
I wouldn’t be here 
Can’t go back there
Caught on a memory
She hungering for reality
Me the fantasy 

Caught on a memory
Hanging in a tree
Cannot shake the slipknot loose
Cursed by mine own damnable truth

If I had been a better man 
Could have been the better man
I wouldn’t be here 
Can’t go back there
Caught on a memory
She hungering for reality
Me the fantasy 
Her warmth and shining eyes 
Sublime were those times
More than I ever had known
Eyes still staring in my mind asking why
Despite how I justify
Leaving her behind
I was so blind
Just a message left on her phone
Just a message left on her phone

Caught on a memory
Like an eel in a weir
Cannot escape the destiny
Of all her undeserved tears

Caught on a memory 
The hurt I caused will never disappear
If I had been a better man 
Could have been the better man
I wouldn’t be here 
Can’t go back there
Caught on a memory
She hungering for reality
Me the fantasy 

Caught on a memory
Like a fox in a snare
Only one way to get clear
Gnawing my own foot off
Lame for life impaired
Leaving little to stand on
Hobbling away like a crippled fox
Blood stains on fresh meadow grass 

Dim Sums (for fun):

Retirement’s blandishments?  
Acknowledgement of Banishment!  
Oft languishment.  
Where’s the ravishment?

Never let your son eat lobster
He’ll realize his parents have been monsters
Feeding him hash and meatloaf, merely subsisting
It’s no fun realizing what you've been missing

There once was a marriage so stale
Dear hubby could only beg and bewail
Till they kicked it up a notch
Loosening up with sips of scotch
Now their lovemaking is off the scale

How can you sell your soul
And think it’s yours to control
When it isn’t your own
It belongs to God alone

One bad idea sure to put you in a bind:
To choose a Terrier as a guide dog for the blind

Should say before you rue:
"I do love you"

Would that I could 
for I surely should

Drivers who stay in the right lane
Drive me insane!

Curse those mountain-tops
Joy from experiencing bliss
Till you realize it’s gonna’ stop
Getting use to what you miss
Valleys are where we exist

I’m so gosh darn restive
Got to channel it positive

Ignite combustions

I write my poems 
To survive my doldrums

A kiss on the lips
worth the trip

Friends and lovers I do miss
Loneliness comforted with a kiss

Given all these automatic doors
Will ladies need gentlemen anymore?

Says Elaine
most refrained:
From nose to toes,
no mo' MOH's!

Might I buy you a wine
That on your lips I may dine?

There’s a tree in my bed
Odysseus said
Where she smilingly led

Calypso and Circe Odysseus fully knew
But his lady in Ithaca was who he wanted to….(say hello to)

A night of abandon
Is best in tandem

Male and female anatomy
Works just fine for me
We fit so admirably
Indubitably, connubially

A night of loving
Makes her a wife;
When fully giving,
Can be a life

Bourbon’s the cure 
When life’s a blur
Champagnes the trick 
For amorous gymnastics

A man tumescent
Is eagerly effervescent

Two nights more 
Deserves an encore

Your lover’s clothes, which are none
Greatly excite your imagination

Her presence proclaimed
The twin bed was rightly named

A red Miata is lots of fun they say
Despite the stick shift getting in the way

You might as well laugh
Even when you've been gaffed

God bless our president
Monumentally improvident

Please shoot me in the head
If ever I resort to a separate bed

The lady flaps her wings to soar
Drafting dreams yet to explore

A bottle of prosecco 
Delights finer than art deco

Pour me more prosecco 
While I chase her echo

Gin and tonic with lime
Is splendid anytime

Irish Coffee so sweet
Who needs to eat?

Torch songs sung
Signal night’s begun

Guys love pubs
Women their foot rubs

Time for another brew
How about you?

Black dresses low cut
Inspire me to strut

I’ll take Soho 
To go

Washington Square
--who can compare?
Bleeker Street
--is neat
Waverly Place
--plenty of grace

A weekend in New York leaves you broke
But ‘tis a trip you’d never revoke

Alas ---
Empty glass!



White Nationalism is a sin-sick sin
From which our nation must repent
Strident prejudice and false pride in skin
Rooting out this unholy detriment

There can be no unity without us penitent
Nor a chance unless idolatry of race perishes
Nor a future when humanity waxes violent
Nor a hope unless tough reverence flourishes

Taunting from fear, insecurity, victimhood
Viewing with hatred the other as enemy
Waving the confederate battle flag  -- these bring no good
Only bringing shame upon America’s Old Glory


I am prone to forgive and never hold a grudge;
From neighborly courtesy I never will budge.
Just please don’t expect pastoral compassion
When you suffer set-backs and dissatisfaction.
For while neighbor kids giggled and played,
A few were told they never made the grade.
While in your backyard pool others were excited,
Our son stood on the driveway uninvited

A Prayer

He (and she) is hoping it will get better
Praying what is now isn’t a harbinger
This isn’t what either expected
When one hurts, the other is affected
Her getting sick at this time of life
From ability and freedom to pain and strife
A little slower yes, grayer too, given years
But infirmity’s frustrations comes with tears
Pushing aside the plans they laid
Of enjoying romance before it fades
Of travel and sights to see 
London, Lisbon, and Tuscany
Now it is helping her get dressed instead
Covering her with warm blankets in bed
Reaching over to buckle her seatbelt
A better hand of cards she could have been dealt
It is said when one promises for better or worse
It ain’t multiple choice no matter how adverse
So now it is carry on and hope
Life doesn’t allow time to mope

A Rabbinical Haiku

Returned the other day 
from just another funeral
Adding up all the goodbyes
And all the hellos in our lives
My calculus figures within the heart
Too many numbers for my mind

Survivors find meaning in both
And I suppose the balance is just
Even when the balance isn’t fair
But of the two I suppose
The hurt inside from the goodbyes 
Is rarely softened by hellos

Which makes the Rabbi wise
Who said to the hurting:
How else can God’s grace and love
Ever pressed upon the heart
Tumble inside the heart 
Unless the heart is broken?

A Life in a Dream

He pushed through the mirror one June
Discovering joy when arose the moon
   Enjoy your Looking-glass land
   Twas brillig to hold a dream by hand
For once awake you wish you could return soon

Tea Parties

Happy Un-birthday we grin and purr
For the present is always the real present
Drinking tea and eating bread and butter 
For in Wonderland sense is irrelevant

Ravens and writing desks, riddles and puns
The truer sense more one of feelings
Less so of mind when Rabbit-time is begun
When dreams and hopes send us reeling

Sleeping and breathing and the other way round
In a dream where no girl ever turns gray
Where play, delight, and joy is forever found
And tell me truly: what did the Dormouse say?

There becoming part of each other’s stories 
Even when twinkling madness consumes you 
It’s who is at the table that most matters, you see
For there it is love not tea that is brewed


Chasing white rabbits down the rabbit-hole
Some warn once you fall there’s no control
  But how else can joy be begat
  Intensity smiling like a cat
Love’s feline adventure for your soul


Desire’s dark eyes casting a spell
Night’s light wind rustling leaves
Mystic incantations sleep dispels
Fortune and fate in wanting to please

Half-awake early morning ramblings 
When in darkness sky and earth blend
Charms for the charmed she brings
Cares of the world beyond suspend

Cat eyes glowing at the self-giving 
Of human taste and touch and need
Kisses eager to confirm the wanting
Bodies by which the soul does feed

Then hushed pillow talk of hopes and dreams
When morning comes what might be inspired
Will desire’s nighttime spell still redeem
Desire’s enchantment desiring to be desired

Post Bachelorette

The house is back to normal as can be
Complete with empties and party debris
     The ladies chauffeured to bars
     Creepy guys too many are
Ladies now groggy from all the whoopee

Bridal Showers

The wonder of a Bridal shower isn’t all the gifts  
Estrogen on high, feeling the lift
The wonder is all the work needed to bring it off 
Those only with sons, you dare not scoff
But take a lesson, host it elsewhere rather than home
When daughter demands, it’s wiser to roam
For the list will get longer of chores you must get done
Dad cannot avoid it, it sure won’t be fun
Roberto the lawn boy mowing twice and pulling weeds
In a garden bed, thorns make you bleed
Bob the painter painting doors and rooms and walls and more
Given all the guests, a house to restore
Bobby the nurse helping ailing wife get dressed in the morn
  Pain is no fun, but it must be borne
Rob the plumber caulking the tub and gluing tiles 
Pants down the butt, plumber’s got style
And that is just the last few days before the festive show
The Amish housekeeper, we’re on the go
Sandwich platters to pick up and make sure there’s enough ice
Cannoli’s to taste, cakes to slice
Then new flutes to dishwash for prosecco by the magnum
Ladies giggling all around, sipping till numb
It is Penelope’s bridal shower menagerie
Prelude if you will, of love’s decree
For of course, the truest wonder of the Bridal shower 
As women know, those led to the bower
When every woman deserves to feel like a young girl 
Fresh and loved and new, a precious pearl
And every girl deserves to cherish her special day
Where love is here, humanity’s only way

Love at 19

He finally felt what it meant to be alive
She in giving herself his soul revived
Her gift of found humanity derived

From her what it meant to breathe
From her what it can be to receive

Love given without hesitation
Love shared without obligation
Love fueled by eager appreciation
Anticipation, palpitation, consecration

Love’s fulsome free abandonment 
Flesh and soul's bedded sacrament

But a thrilling touch that couldn’t be
Him smiling till aged in his sadness of she
Their young moment of joyous discovery
Savored now only in memory
Brief too brief leaps love’s eternity

The Unseen Rose

On a hilltop a white rose bloomed
Though unseen was rose from sight
Blooming only during the night
Two nights this rose was given room
Cultivated in passion’s womb
Petals shimmering like moonlit sheets
Pressed together like lovers complete
Unseen but felt this white rose bloomed

The Dance

Upon the lawn the couple danced
Lit at night by lantern flame
Love’s lost years to reclaim
Hearts hungering for a new chance
Hands reaching for a touch of romance
Music from stage rhythmic and soft
Songs like prayers carried aloft
Upon the lawn one soul danced

White Rose

Cultivo una rosa blanca,
En julio como en enero,
Para el amigo sincero
Que me da su mano franca.
Y para el cruel que me arranca
El corazon con que vivo,
Cardo ni oruga cultivo
Cultivo una rosa blanca.

By José Martí

Political Quips

Bob stream of consciousness (sending this thought to our senators):

Suggestion:  as part of the flood recovery spending, include a version of the Works Project Administration.  How can we put America back to work?  Employ teams of those seeking work to go in and help with flood recovery, cleaning, rebuilding.  

Bob wondering why she just doesn't shut up:

Pity poor Ann Coulter
Why is she so bitter?
Is there nothing pretty in her life
To heal her from being a shrewish fishwife?
Everytime she speaks or writes
She oozes such malignant spite
Is there any way to help her
Embrace goodness instead of slurs?

Ex sheriff Arpaio --
For his crimes no pay-oo
For his sins we’ll see-oo
o me-oo, my-oo

Not so cute (29 August):

What would I like to see?
Rather than stewing in their hate
Fondling their own self-righteousness
Fond of what they destroy rather than create
Nursing judgmental idleness
That members of Antifa and the KKK
Stop being such jerks and agree
To row together where they
Might rescue the suffering 
victims of this horrific flood
by decency them discovering
we humans share the same blood


On Donald Trump's mean meme today (24 August):

It is a foolish moon that boasts
It has eclipsed the sun 
and vaunts itself the most
just check the minute hand run
and wait for who will shine
ego moon only impedes
and will in time decline
revealing the humble who exceed

Bob laughing at Trump's platitudes in his monotonous speeches (24 August):

Trump voices his appeal for unity
When what he means is conformity
And demanding personal loyalty
To praise and adore him docilely 
For he demands compliance dictatorially
If you’re not with him you’re against him unpatriotically
So mark me no patriot
Before him I'll bow and cower not!

I have it on good authority, Trump's newest approach to North Korea will be to enlist the services of Gamera and Godzilla...

Bob frisky on Sunday morning: I say let's run Rufus T. Firefly for president!

Mrs. Teasdale: Notables from every country are gathered here in your honor. This is a gala day for you. 
Rufus T. Firefly: Well, a gal a day is enough for me. I don't think I could handle any more. 

Rufus T. Firefly: [into radio] Calling all nations. Calling all nations. This is Rufus T. This is Rufus T. Firefly coming to you through the courtesy of the enemy. We're in a mess folks, we're in a mess. Rush to Freedonia! Three men and one woman are trapped in a building! Send help at once! If you can't send help, send two more women! 
[Pinky enters and raises three fingers] 
Rufus T. Firefly: Make it three more women! 

Bob getting ready for church (20 August:  With all the fundraising cancellations at Mar-a-lago, what I want to know is what on earth was the Salvation Army and the American Cancer Society doing there in the first place?  Sounds less than thrifty to me.  But then, in my world our idea of a place for hosting events is either a Jesuit Retreat Center or a college gym...

For those complaining about how ill treated and mocked is Trump, would you please rewind and revisit what was said about Obama and his family, the vile jokes, the insults.

Bob aghast at my relgiious brothers and sisters (18 August):

Trump offends, slurs, and lies
Conservative Evangelicals bend over and comply

OOOhhh I'm so afraid of pathetic white nationists screaming stupid slogans and beefing up for a fight.  Pathetic, pathetic.  A sad joke in tight black T-shirts.  Though I would suggest the KKK would look far more fetching in pink robes.  Friends:  let me tell you that even though you do not love yourselves nor love others, Jesus loves you.  I'm working on it.  Give thanks for America is bigger and greater than them, heck, we are bigger than our pathetic President...

Trump, Bannon, and white supremacist belligerents
prove that we whites isn’t

The real snowflakes
Are white supremacists who quake
At a nasty woman
Who doesn’t need a gun

A national blight

Rebel flag fan?
You’re anti-American

White supremacists
America’s buttocks cysts

Trump unfit
It's definite

By the way, I would advise the White House stewards to make sure Trump doesn't take any of the artwork or silver when he's evicted...

Bob reasonable on 16 August:  a reasonable solution for the confederate statues is to relocate them to where they are historically appropriate, Civil War battlefields.

In light of today, why, o why, is my beloved church silent?

Bob shaking my head (after the press conference today, 15 August):  Ah, Donald 'the mussolini' Trump - we know how much you value the facts before you make a statement.  I join Leonard Pitts:  he is contemptible and I will show respect for the office of the president when he does.  My comments of incredible shame upon his election have been proved fourfold.  Damn, I so love this country I hate to be prophetic.  How can my family and friends defend him still?

Remembering who I am (15 August, 2017):  Let us avoid the cowardice of silence -- I just left Woodbine Clinic and a pick up truck was displaying the battle flag -- Had to tell him to get over it the north won and when leaving he told me to keep moving and I gently suggested his flag is the same as the swastika.

As Christians let us be informed by the writings of Will Campbell in his book, "A Brother to a Dragonfly."  Christians are called to love especially the hateful, hold each other to account but love them. He described how if someone is incensed and quick to condemn, we must analyze where the anger and prejudice is coming from.  Years ago a white Baptist preacher named Will Campbell served a small church in rural Mississippi;  they sent him to Yale to get his degree.  He came home and became active in the Civil Rights Movement.   He was sitting around the table with other leaders of the movement when they began cracking jokes about the ignorant rednecks.  Later he caught up with his brother and repeated all the jokes.  His brother stared at him, saying: “Dear brother:  you are a redneck -- those are your people.”  His brother’s words hit him hard.  Angering his Civil Rights friends, preacher Will Campbell began a ministry reaching out to the members of the KKK.  Will Campbell learnt that he needed to love them all the more.  They too were victims.  If we hate those who hate, we’re worshipping them rather than God.   We do not have the luxury of hatred.  

Bob two mornings after (14 August, 2017):  Hey Trump supporters, how's the fleas from the bed you slept in?

Another lesson for Trump:  I would dearly love Mitch McConnell to tell Trump to shove it.  McConnell isn't Trump's employee.  He's only the President and a loser of a President at that.  Lord, I miss Obama.  

A history lesson for Trump (8/10/17):  The preachers visiting the White House:  "Mr. President, you must destroy our enemies and make the south pay!"
President Lincoln:  "If I make my enemies my friends, do I not destroy my enemies?"

Bob the interlocutor:  Insofar as the Boy Scouts of America had to send to its membership an apology for our president's speech to them, I ask my friends who are dedicated to the BSA and who may have voted for Trump to please explain this.  

Trump is doing a good impersonation of Mussolini these days (in reality he is such a pathetic, desperate man, weak and confusing the need for love with power, praise, and admiration -- he really needs our prayers -- I did offer my services as a pastor to him but he never replied). Consider his cast of characters:  Steve Bannon = Rasputin, Stephen Miller = Neidermeyer, Jared Kushner = Damien

Musings Most Personal
An Appeal

It was more than a passing thought for me to think about traveling to Washington DC to participate in the Thousand Minister’s March on Monday, commemorating the 54th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream Speech” of 1963.  For two reasons I have decided not to.  First (and it may sound a little too selfish), but I have a prior commitment to a bunch of young boys and their first soccer match as a team.  Perhaps, I can achieve more helping coach than marching alongside Al Sharpton.  We talked at practice on Thursday why the English Premier League calls the score the ‘result.’  Why?  Because the score is the result on focusing on more important matters, such as playing well and playing right.  The second reason I have decided not to is because the march begins at the statue of Martin Luther King Jr. but unfortunately ends up at the Department of Justice.  I would rather the march end at the Lincoln Memorial or the National Cathedral, emphasizing hope and promise rather than targeting opponents. 

In rereading the “I Have a Dream” speech, it not only occurred to me that King is talking in present tense but that it is time to update the speech.  The premise for his speech, rightly so, was because “America has defaulted on this promissory note [unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness] insofar as her citizens of color are concerned."  His premise remains true but needs to be expanded to include a wider band of citizenry who suffer disaffection, denial, default.  Just as the color line has blurred in 54 years so has the definition of those who are hard-hit.  I speak of those for whom Trump is a symptom.  

I highlight in this light lines in Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech:

“Now is the time for make justice a reality for all of God’s children.”
“Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy”
“Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood”
“We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline”
“…many of our white brothers … have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny”
“No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream”
“Let us not wallow in the valley of despair”
“I still have a dream”
“With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood”
“And if America is to be a great nation, this must be true [let freedom ring]”

If we take the speech to heart it must include us all.  The racist too is a victim of racial injustice.   In other words:  Al Sharpton’s destiny is tied up inextricably with Donald Trumps and vice versa.  We are either all free together to claim our inalienable rights or none of us will be or can be free. 

Sydney (PBS Mystery Grantchester) is a vicar who has had an affair and is fighting the church and God.  Geordie is his best friend, a police detective, who also had and affair and has lost his wife and family.  Mrs. McGuire is Sydney's housekeeper sad that he has decided to lay aside his ordination.  He has to in order to marry his lover who is divorced.  

I'm going to use this in an article about the humanity of worship experiences as I've been visiting different congregations for the first impression.  Not about the usual mechanics but the content and incarnational experience.   These lines of dialogue really spoke to me.  A little CS Lewis:  not the idea of love but the real thing.  Has to be human to be divine.   Faith, love, hope, God even -- what good if in the abstract?   In the end, Sydney probably made the unfortunate decision.  

Sydney:  God forgives you.
Geordie:  I don’t believe in God.
Sydney:  Well then, I forgive you, as a friend.  As someone who loves you.  I forgive you.  I believe in you.
[Geordie begins crying]

Mrs. McGuire:  People need you Sydney.  They look to you.  Not to the church.  They look to you.  

Haven’t had time for either poetry or politics (Trump the buffoon can stuff himself, I've got better things to do, although:  Steve Bannon = Rasputin, Stephen Miller = Neidermeyer, Jared Kushner = Damien) – there’s a bridal shower here on Saturday  -- well okay, while the tile adhesive is drying I got one more in me -- actually, I got plenty more but I'd get in trouble if I wrote them down...

A Confession

Forgive me if this sounds fatuous, self-serving, or even “poor poor pitiful stuff,” but here in my sixty-fourth year I believe I was born never to be a truly happy man.

Yes, I have experienced outbursts of happiness.  

• The freedom of a dance
• That surge of unrestrained laughter in Honduras over a decade ago
• The wonderment of our children born
• Then in the expressions of love I have received:  I need the enjoyment of the tactile and passion to assure me, bring me out of myself – it is my need and weakness.  

Again, forgive me if this sounds way too sententious.  I begin to see why I’ve been so restless and hungry all my life.  I believe such unhappiness goes with this calling.  To live with a broken heart which sometimes causes a broken heart.  Yes, there can cheerfulness but never the relief from the heartache.  Never the relief when others are sad or unwell or lonely or unfairly treated.  Perhaps it comes because the calling demands that you cannot be happy when the other is unhappy.   Perhaps that is why at parties I like to cook – that others will enjoy.  Enjoyment from others enjoying.   I am so selfish.  

To be born to be an unhappy man.  Not dour or depressed.  Quite the contrary, I love life.   I’ve always loved being robust, immoderate.  I am a most grateful man for those with whom I have shared my life and moments.  But my joy is neither bubbly nor effervescent but subterranean and churning, colored by a sad loneliness too many feel too often.   A joy that is measured in melancholy and even in anger.

• The anger of frustration when, as in “Far from a Madding Crowd,” the mob ganged up on the young woman.
• The anger of frustration when they invited the police to patrol our High School hallways.
• The anger of frustration when others do not receive the love they deserve
• The anger of frustration when little Erin couldn’t be saved so many years ago, or when Penelope suffered the loss of her Harrison and the world was helpless.

It makes a person like me a perpetual outsider, perhaps a spectator.  Even as a boy I realized I never have fit in or gone along easily.   Lord I hate Facebook.  I believe my mother understood it about me.  Hence the back-scratches to soothe my childhood fits.  

I need not to be important but useful, dependable.  To have a purpose.  Aside from those moments of abandoned affection, I am happiest when there is a worthy work accomplished.  When I’ve been able to contribute something that might last.  Of course, the Sisyphean curse is that there is always more work to do.  There always will be heartache to be absorbed. 

Bob pumped on 27 July, 2017:  It is a brand new day, a Springsteen day, a day to make things happen.  Let our pathetic loser of a President taunt and fail and show his inner Mussolini, we got better things to do that are positive.  Triumph over the negative with love and commitment and hope and joy and responsibilities:  first and foremost time for Elaine to get healthy and be able to function without pain, time to plan a creative writing club, time to help a boys soccer team, time to finish these bloody Cameo Conversations, time to write a few new articles, maybe a few more poems, time to knock off those books and get an agent because I want people to read what has been written, time to let go of my selfishness and focus on others, even time to let go of worrying about being happy or personal happiness -- our basement is recovered from the flood, we've got prosecco to buy for a bridal shower and the kids coming home, we've got a wedding in September and then we travel.  Cunard awaits.  Time for museums and theatre.  Got to visit NYC and Brooklyn and walk the Brooklyn Bridge, time to make it a good day.

Cool.  My talk on 'The Other Side of the Coin -- the Life of the Danville Mill Worker' is now on Youtube, courtesy of Van Wagner.  


Nathaniel's Call available for purchase! 

The paperback edition (355 pages) can be purchased from the following vendors:

Amazon at www.amazon.com 
for 18.95

Barnes and Noble at 
www.bn.com for 16.52 (plus shipping)

Booklocker at 
for 18.95

Nathaniel's Call Cover

Nathaniel's Call by Robert John Andrews 


The Presbyterian Writers Guild has selected the Rev. Robert John Andrews, a pastor in Danville, Pa., to receive its prestigious Presbyterian Publishing Corporation First Book Award for 2014 for his novel set in the Civil War, Nathaniel’s Call.

Andrews’ book ― self-published in 2012 ― was selected from among 17 entries in a variety of genres to receive the biennial award, given in Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) General Assembly years to the best first book by a Presbyterian writer during the past two years. The PPC First Book Award winner is recognized at the Presbyterian Writers Guild’s General Assembly luncheon, which this year will be Thursday, June 19 in Detroit.

Jane Hines of Nashville ― retired director of communications for the Synod of Living Waters and chair of the PPC First Book Award Committee ― said, “Several genres are represented in the 17 books we received (teen science fiction, memoirs, poetry, young adult fiction, novels, journals, dissertation re-writes).  We were just looking for the best writing in any category and found it in Nathaniel’s Call.

As a Nashville-based committee comprised of Southerners, Hines added, “we don't think it will be a best-seller in Vicksburg and Richmond, but we see Nathaniel's Call as a splendid example of the art of writing.”