Jul 172016

I’ve learned a few things
I’ve learned a few things
in this long life

like dusk and dawn
being spiritual moments
in the day

and resting in stillness
can yield magic and healing
It is the beauty of silence

I’ve learned that I am not always right
and there are many things I am not capable
of understanding

and it’s good, very good
to acknowledge your limitations
because no one is perfect

I’ve learned a few things
in this long life

It is vital to seek justice
not only for the self
but also for others

Like “everyone counts or no one counts”
as Michael Connerly put it so succinctly

I have learned that everyone as the desire
to belong somewhere and to be accepted
and to have one’s uniqueness valued

Everyone has the desire to be loved

I have learned that there are people in this world
who want to control everything and everyone
and who want to be the king

There are those who want
everyone else to be a robot
or a clone

But I have learned that
there are also many good people
in this world

Good people who care
about more than amassing riches

They care about more than themselves
and they want to make this world a better place
not only for the rich and powerful,

But a better place for all
for every living thing
upon this planet

this fragile planet spinning through space
this fragile planet, blessed with the gift
of life

life that is precious
so why must we kill
and desecrate?

Why must we

and desecrate the planet,
I ask you?

Well, my answer is, we need not
It is up to us, those with a conscience
to do what we can

to exercise creativity
not only for ourselves
but for others,

for humankind and every other living thing
upon this fragile planet spinning through space…
Yes, I have learned a few things

sometimes through my own grievous errors
I am far from perfect, but my conscience is intact

and I have learned that the conscience
is our saving grace

Jul 122016

There is a stretch of Rt. 25
in a crumbling stretch of Arden,
mostly a bedroom town

Well, it has a sex shop and a pool hall
and a broken down building with one wall
covered in graffiti

and a distorted pic of Abe Lincoln

And then there is a rail yard
with freight cars parked

freight carsn from all over the country
God knows where each one came from
also covered with graffiti

Who knows where Arden is headed?
Who knows were the country is headed?
Who knows where the world is headed?

There is such a divide right now in the USA
reminding me of Dallas, November 22, 1963
Are we repeating history?

Are we repeating history with officers gunned down
and African-Americans gunned down and teens lost
with their graffiti scrawled on freight cars

freight cars scattered near and far
all over the country, empty freight cars
covered in messages

messages of desperation, and I wish
they were calling for reconciliation
but they are not

they are lifting up power and control
just what the white racists are lifting up
both messages of desperation

and mutual misunderstanding…

Jun 302016

Sometimes you just want to shut out the world
The hate and the violence, the masks people wear
and the money-grubbing

Who is there around willing
to tell you all there secrets?
Even I hesitate

Who is there willing to take all the time it takes
to share the spirit the a stranger, or even a friend
We’re all so busy trying to keep up the front

because in the back of our minds
we know it’s a scary world out there
and above all, we find a way

to self-protect
or at least that’s what we think
but it’s a futile tasks

It’s a futile task, my friends
We can’r straighten out the chaos
we see exploding

the chaos exploding around the world

So what are we left with
Well, we are left with one another
the people we know

the ones we want to get close to
the ones with whom we are willing
to discard the masks

and bare our souls
and share laughter
and shed tears

the ones we have truly come to know
because they are the ones we will turn to
when this crazy world explodes

Jan 212016

I am ignoring the political chaos and hate swirling around on the air waves. I will write about manifestations of good in our culture–of lovingkindness and empathy, manifestations of a giving spirit and the willingness of some–more than you think–to work for justice and a vibrant democracy. I will write about sunshine and shadow, green leaves and a hint of spring. One season follows another, and we will witness once again the rebirth of spring. Shrill, accusing voices will be stilled, and a respect for truth will be renewed, whether it be science-based or emanating from spirituality. Chasms of misunderstanding will somehow be bridged.


But total passivity will not bring about change; rather, nonviolent action, growing out of serious reflection, will win the day. Good people of various political persuasions will come together, realizing that we must restore sanity and good will and find a way to work together for the common good, for the sake of everyone, including the poor and powerless and those in danger of sliding into poverty and including all races.


Yes, winter will give way to spring and the eyes of many in this country will be opened to the beauty that lies in the restoration of respectful dialogue along with the reconciliation of opposing views. From the local perspective, green will be restored to the faces of the mountains of the Blue Ridge, and great birds, like the hawk and eagle, will fly proudly once again.


You might think that I am naïve to think that a radical change will occur in this country—for the good. Obviously, it will take more than the passage into one spring to transform the cultural-political atmosphere from schism and recrimination, to dialogue and mutual respect. But I believe this can happen, if Americans with an intact conscience will put their shoulders to the wheel, speak out or write forthrightly, support political candidates who believe in justice FOR ALL and have the desire to heal the wounds that seem to now irrevocably divide political adversaries.


In truth, I would like to see the rebirth of political moderation in this country. I would hope that political moderates would regain the balance of power in the USA. But I realize that there will always be diversity of opinion; I only hope that liberals and conservatives will find a way to integrate the best of both perspectives.



Jan 142016

Democrats can groan and moan about the election results, but bottom line is: it does no good to cast blame on the tea party or rich people for this result. Getting lost in the blame game takes the focus of what we must do as Democrats and Independents to move the country back to the reasonable center, politically.

Another way of saying this is to assert that it is self-defeating to adopt the victim role. This way of thinking can lead to apathy and disengagement from social action and political engagement.

We must focus upon what we must do as individual citizens to bring back a level playing field in D.C.

The fact is, in my view, that the Republican Party has sold out completely to the radical right and unprincipled rich. (Not everyone on the right, not every rich person, is unprincipled, of course.) But whatever the case is politically, we must focus on what we can do as individuals to advance our political goals, making sure that the tactics we employ are above board. We must do all we can to counter gerrymandering and unreasonable voting restrictions. Social justice writers must write. Social justice. on-the-ground activists must do their thing. Phone bankers must work twice as hard. Party leaders must be called to task when they fail to provide adequate support. The media must be confronted when it presents a biased or sensationalistic viewpoint–just to stimulate ratings.

But wallowing in recrimination, or even guilt, must stop, or we will not move forward politically. I am sure that many on the Democratic side could have exerted much more effort. In North Carolina, which sports a population with moderate sentiment very much in evidence, there is no reason why Democrats cannot advance on the state level, politically.

Just as in our personal lives, we must take personal responsibility for our mishaps. No matter what we face of a noxious nature in our immediate environment, we need not lose our motivation to make constructive changes, personally and in terms of our political and social justice action.

I honestly think that grassroots people can do more than the professional politicos to revive the hopes of those who wish to advance the fortunes of the Democratic Party. Organization Democrats must exert every effort to solicit feedback from the rank and file on tactics to be employed in local and national races

Jan 142016

The things that truly matter:

We must not lose focus on them;

Compassion, loyalty,


meaningful work, creativity

Taking good care of mind and body

considering the fate of the cosmos


Exposing oneself to music and nature

sharing your creativity with others


It is so easy to get distracted

by noise, cars whizzing by on Route 25

Sirens waiting, motors revved up


shouting from the project

across the street.  You wonder

if a child is being hurt


bills, and dunning letters and harrassing phone calls

though of course we myst strivce to m pay off mour debts


The state of America and the world

too much schism and acrimory


too much emphasis on material possessions

Too much emphasis on trying to out supoerior

and make someone else small


too much manipulation, too little straight talk

too little really hoinest sharing


Focing on the things that matter

vital for everyone to pitch in

ikn this time of travail


Aug 282015
Heading back from South Carolina to North
approaching the first Blue Ridge mountain range
Many shades of green, too many to count
Soon the leaves will be falling
changing in color to golden-brown
Soon there will be other changes
many lives will change
our country and the world
will change
For the better or worse?
It’s up to us, it’s largely
up to us
Jul 132015

In a grocery store parking lot, in Western North Carolina, a car with a rebel flag sticker and “F-you Obama” below it. I am so fed up with the hate generated by the extreme right and the constant attacks on Obama. I am asking the mainstream press to stand up against right-wing extremism and racism in this country, both of which has gotten out of control. Let us have reasoned dialogue and debate instead of this noxious mudslinging directed at President Obama. Let the tragedy in Charleston serve as a lesson to us all–to cool the rhetoric and instead sit down and reason together, folks with a conscience on the left, right, and at the center of the political spectrum.

Jul 012015

“It is always the right time to do what is right”  Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Jun 282015

Day winding down
A lone bird cry pierces the quiet
I am thinking about the need
for change, inside and out

The world is in peril, there is no doubt
But if we don’t clean up our own act, there is little
we can do beyond our shores

We must look within to figure out
the source of our own anger

Then deal with it, make some changes
or say your peace without inflicting pain
on others