A Simple Man

(A humble tribute to Ogden Nash, my hero)
I become confused, quizzical
When it comes to matters metaphysical

I am faithful, fairly spiritual
But please spare me the part that’s ritual

I am relaxed, informal
Except when told tall tales of the paranormal

I am equanimous, actually benign
That doesn’t mean you can lecture me on intelligent design

I am not vengeful or litigious
But I do take issue with folks who are overly religious

I am of the sciences, logical
So don’t try to influence me with phenomena astrological

I can do civics, geography, even history
The one thing I won’t do is, well, theosophistry

I am amiable, not too rigorous
But my defense of the rational will always be vigorous

A simple man, I stick to life’s highways
I try not to get lost in these pseudo-intellectual byways

My life, thus far, has been quite ordinerary
A journey with neither a map nor an itinerary

Cien

For the hundredth time I’ve picked up my pen
And sat down to write a poem  
Can't believe I'll do it - yet again

Feel so humble, so grateful today
That I took up writing - never knew
I had so much to say

Did not know what I would write about  
But I didn’t have to fret
As it turned out

Could not tell iamb from dactyl
Knew neither rhyme nor meter
I just wrote freestyle

Thought those were handcuffs
That would arrest my soul
I cast them like slough

And decided to set my verse free
Of all that could shackle it
And see if it helped me

The words just gushed out of me
In torrents of emotion
That became a lake, a river, a sea

Some great writer once said:
“I write because I don’t know what I think 
Until I read what I say”

That line rings so true to me
As I sit here and reflect 
On my own poetry

The Gift

Sometimes you have to drag your feet
Just to get through another day
Sometimes it seems there’s no meaning
To the words that people say

No matter how hard you strive
Things just won’t go your way
It seems so hard just to be alive
It seems like the pain is here to stay

Why me? Your soul wants to yell
Against the world you want to inveigh
No one listens to the story you tell
They make you feel like a worn cliché

Take a breath, friend, look up for a minute
Look at the green hills, listen to the blue jay
You are not alone, many of us are in it
Come out into the sunshine - come and play

There’s no doubt - these clouds will lift
The skies will no longer be grey
There’s no doubt - your luck will shift
And you will rise above the fray

All you need is a little persistence
And your life will be a long soirée
You were given the gift of existence
Please - do not fritter it away

Nine Eleven

Today, for the nineteenth time 
I will relive the terror
Of the day when the towers fell

Watching the jet plane blow up
In a giant fireball
That tore through the glass wall

Felt strangely cold
As if an icicle pierced my heart
And its freeze gripped my spine

The horror of the moment
Writ large on the twisted faces
With the dark dust cloud chasing them

How many more planes
How many more buildings
How many more people, we did not know

All we knew
As we stood arm in arm
Was that we were together as never before

That day brought to me
The very worst of humanity
Yet I also saw the very best that we can be

Nine Eleven
The damage can only be undone
If we come together again as one

Stranger

You lecture me about equality
Yet you thrived on enslavement
And you invented racism
The scourge that torments you now

You lecture me about gratitude
Yet you built your shining city on a hill
No! A burial mound for the natives
You massacred without remorse

You lecture me about peace
Yet you wage battles everywhere
You split the atom to win the great war
But left 146,000 dead

You lecture me about generosity
Yet you plundered what was never yours
Sucked the life out of your colonies
And sowed the insidious seeds of greed

You lecture me about compassion
Yet you put little children in cages
And build walls to keep out refugees
From the ravages of your own wars

You lecture me about tolerance
Yet every day your citizens kill their own
Blinded by their leaders’ provocations
And their own irrational fears

You lecture me about patriotism
Yet you conquered the whole world
And forced me to dwell in these borders
You drew on your colonial map

You lured me with your false promises
Made me a stranger among my own
I ran around your desert chasing mirages
You deprived me of a home