Invasion

I view every face with suspicion
In a crowd I hold my breath
This is how you’ve clouded my vision
Where I once saw life I now see death

They tell me to keep “social distance”
They tell me to remain at home
They tell me I’m old and lack resistance
So I am confined now, while you roam

It’s not only lives you destroy
You can decimate an entire nation
Does this give you some devilish joy
While we squirm, helpless, at your invasion?

Just as our nasty wars were ending
And the world heaved a sigh of peace
Just as our broken fences were mending
We now face your deadly disease

So all my plans are now on hold
Everything is suddenly uncertain
Dumbly I watch your drama unfold
Will I survive it, or is it curtains?

I feel you gnawing at my insides
I fear that you’ll forever remain
You may not yet be in my body
But you’ve surely invaded my brain

Make It Stop

Every morning I wake up and face a new day
The first thing I do is kneel down and pray
Tell me how to make it stop

I see young children locked in a cage
My heart is overcome with rage
Tell me how to make it stop

Bystanders getting killed by thugs
Who want us all to buy their drugs
Tell me how to make it stop

Rich men who already have all they need
Still grab more with obscene greed
Tell me how to make it stop

Cowards send their sons and daughters
To fight their wars and get slaughtered
Tell me how to make it stop

Driven from their homes for taking a stand
Refugees exiled in their own homeland
Tell me how to make it stop

Another school shooting - I hear their screams
Innocents are dying - they haunt my dreams
Tell me how to make it stop

Parents grieving for their loved ones
Politicians want still more guns
Tell me how to make it stop

Global warming has seared our souls
Our leaders want us to burn more coal
Tell me how to make it stop

Lies from the left, hatred from the right
We’re all stuck in the middle of this fight
Tell me how to make it stop

Racism, sexism, ageism, casteism
All that’s missing is simple humanism
Tell me how to make it stop

God, if you are really up there
And if you even pretend to care
Tell me how to make it stop

Let’s Keep It Simple

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

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

I am relaxed, you can say 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 neither vengeful nor litigious
But I do take issue with folks who are overly religious

I am of the sciences, very 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 pleasant journey, with neither a map nor an itinerary

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

Outrage

In 1990, five New York youths were wrongfully convicted of the rape, assault and attempted murder of a jogger in Central Park. It later emerged that the police had manipulated them to obtain confessions that were false. In 2002 the serial rapist who had committed the crime was apprehended, his DNA matched that found on the victim and he confessed. The five young men, who had served over ten years in prison where some were brutalized, were released and the charges against them were vacated, but their lives were altered forever. The story of the Central Park Five has been dramatized in a new television series called ‘When They See Us’. It is on Netflix.

The next time someone tells you even the littlest white lie
Stop them and ask them please to reconsider: Why?
For this is the story of the Central Park Five
Who were forced to lie and nearly paid with their lives
 
Four young children, a young adult who wasn’t even there
Convicted of rape and murder in a manner most unfair
Hoodwinked by the cops, caught in their vicious snare
Condemned by a cruel city and a society that just didn’t care
 
A vile man even advertised that these five kids should die
He simply wouldn’t buy the truth that they were made to lie
That man is now our president - to him we turn a glass eye
Even though he’s committed crimes that he continues to deny
 
Bullied, cajoled, deceived by the law, five children took the fall
A justice this blind, this broken, should we call it justice at all?
When a young girl was raped and killed, on a whole nation it cast a pall
Five young innocents went to prison - no one bothered to answer their call

Five young humans faced the fearsome fury of a million naked apes
This is the heartbreaking story - of not one, but six gruesome rapes