The coppery Thrasher and the modest Catbird
and the Mockingbird that carries the family name
from the gravel to the treetops flashing
its white-banded coat of arms
are poets in the same aristocratic style
with more or less extravagance

The common western Meadowlark
and its eastern immigrant twin
distinguish themselves
by a long drawn fiddling arpeggiato
and a shy inquisitive sweep,
the homesteader and the migrant worker
sharing the wide Kansas prairie

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420 chars #8

My opinion on Romney’s alleged prep-school bullying: Drop it. Till now the issue was whether gays should have equal rights. If we have to answer for stupid things we did at 17, the issue becomes whether we have the right to change our minds. Obama evolved. Let Romney evolve. Focus on equal rights, not “foolish consistency” (Emerson). Two truths: 1) People change. 2) We’re all better than the worst thing we ever did.

Posted in 420 chars | 6 Comments

Please Say You Forgive Me


SAM, a man, well groomed, thirty-something

WARREN, a man, sloppy and unshaven, same age

(Front room of a beautifully furnished house or apartment. The doorbell rings. SAM gets up and opens the door. WARREN is waiting outside.)

SAM: Yes?

WARREN: I’m Warren Crawford.

SAM: Yes?

WARREN: And I believe you’re Sam James.

SAM: Do we know each other?

WARREN: Don’t you remember me? Warren Crawford?

SAM: Warren Crawford. Warren. …Worm?

WARREN: Yeah, Worm Crawford! You do remember me.

SAM: Okay, what do you need, Crawford?

WARREN: Man, it’s been fifteen years. Fifteen long years.

SAM: Not long enough. Continue reading

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for Trayvon Martin — R.I.P‎.

you gotta fight back, I say you gotta attack
cause you got no buddies who got your back
you can’t relax, can’t wait for the facts
can’t take a chance when he starts to make tracks
when you’re face to face, I mean face to back
with a 17-year-old Black With Snacks
Blacks With Snacks
Blacks With Snacks
gotta watch out for them Blacks With Snacks

Posted in poems | 2 Comments

420 chars #7

When you wake up at 2:30 with this stuff on your mind, you might as well get up and write it out. –gb

If you trust only corporate scientists and voices, hear only corporate media, & worst of all, mistake corporate interests for the will of God, you’ve sold your birthright. To protect your right to know, you have to become aware and mentally alert (turn on), listen for minority and unpaid voices (tune in), & stop trusting corporate media (drop out). Let us phoenix Tim Leary without the LSD: Turn on, tune in, drop out.

Posted in 420 chars | 2 Comments

420 chars #6

Free speech involves two rights, to speak and to hear. We have to exercise both. Understanding breaks when the few shout down a speaker, when the many shout down the few, when speech is so ugly everyone leaves, when hate overwhelms respect, and when free speech costs money. If we don’t tune out the corporate media bullhorn, if we don’t seek reason, we hear only money. Use the free Internet. Dissent. Listen & respect.

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420 chars #5

This one started a lively discussion on facebook:

Shakespeare didn’t work stoned. Art doesn’t escape reality, it embraces it. Creative people must see better, not worse, and bluntly confront what they see. They don’t use warped lenses, they must see with exceptional clarity. They see below surfaces and through cultural haze. Imagination isn’t the ability to create images from nothing, it’s the ability to understand what one sees and communicate what one understands.

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420 chars #4

A problem with “America is founded on Christianity” is that it is idolatry. It equates faith with nationalism. If America is the Body of Christ, to criticize its policies is blasphemy. In election years the House of Representatives pushes a Constitutional amendment to make it a crime to treat as anything less than sacred (“desecrate”) the flag. It smells of magic. It does not smell of liberty, and it’s not democracy.

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420 chars #3

Note: It always amazes me how the sacrifices you have to make to reduce 630 characters to 420 feel like cutting off your arm while you’re doing them, but the result is often a cleaner, clearer, though forbiddingly dense expression. This one takes some unpacking, but it’s all there.

I also present a second version incorporating a discussion with Bryon in the comments below.

First edition:

America’s national god is not Jesus but Mammon. Jefferson expressed Locke’s “life, liberty, and property” as “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” but the identity of wealth, luck, and happiness persists in the words “fortune” and “hap.” The Framers protected liberty by separating church and state. Now liberty is on the ropes because they hadn’t the guts to separate wealth and state. Let’s correct that. (415 characters)

Second edition:

America’s national god is not Jesus but Mammon. Jefferson turned Locke’s “life, liberty, and property” to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” This identity can be etymologized in two continuums: property=​fortune=​luck=​hap=​happiness, or wealth=​blessing=​bliss. The Framers protected liberty by separating church and state. Now liberty is on the ropes because they hadn’t the guts to separate wealth and state. (417 characters)


Posted in 420 chars | 6 Comments

The Glasses

“Did you water the tomatoes?”

In the air-conditioned car, Freddie felt suddenly hot. His dad had told him to water them before they went to the pool.

“You didn’t, did you?”

There was nothing for Freddie to say.

“You’re almost eight. You have to learn to handle responsibility.”

Freddie drooped. The fun went out of the day.

Continue reading

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