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
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
(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
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
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