Completed February 14, 2001

If only people knew
How much alike they are.
And that the differences are
Much closer to home than they think.
Everyone, everywhere hates grid locks,
Loves sunny weather, hates unfairness,
Loves babies, good music, good food.
We all have so much more in common
Than we have in difference.
Why not focus on all those things?
It would mean a lot more understanding
Alot more love, a lot more fun.
Thinking about the differences generates
All the wrong things: Envy, then hatred,
Then prejudice, then murder and war.
A lot more love, alot more fun.
What's wrong with that?
When we focus on our commonalities
Things always get better.
What's wrong with that?


It's a quiet morning,
I'm alone with this poem
Watching it write itself
On the sea of my tempestous mind.
So many directions to go,
So many thing to say;
The crest of an action here,
The trough of an emotion there.

Time is always pushing me
On to the next thing,
Like a howling wind
That rams through the waves
And tears out the rig,
But that always gets
The job done;
Always gets its way.

Time. So much of it,
So little of it.
Had enough of it.
Want more of it.
Never enough.


The spiritual perspective
Must be part of it all.
It ameliorates and softens
The effect of everything else,
Amid the gluttony and avarice
Among the self indulgence and delusion
There must be the spiritual.
It's that simple.



My old friends, of course.
Smoke, dreams, guitar,
Music, plus my company
With all its flaws, my wife
Upstairs and me down here.
A zippo lighter, a Miami cigar,
Zimo clippers, crystal ash tray,
A Hood Sailmaker's awl,
My daughter watching Baywatch.
An in-basket piled high.

- 1275-3


There was a woman
On the plane to San Juan
(On the way to St. Martin)
Who read the Santa Biblia
All the way for more than
Three hours. As the plane
Began an orderly descent,
And she was packing up her
Things, it was the last item
She tucked away in her
Over-stuffed -- somewhat small --
Handbag. As she put it
In its place, I noticed
That her hands were shaking
So hard that she had trouble
Checking her seat belt.
She was afraid,
Terrified, really,
All the way. Probably in her
Early fifties, somewhat dowdy,
This woman flew in fear
Clutching her bible
All the way home.



One more word on
The woman one seat up
And across the isle...
For three hours she never
Looked up, never looked
Around, never did anything
But clutch and read
Her bible, hands shaking in fear.
After I silently completed
My poem about her,
Dated and titled it
I looked up and she
Was staring at me.

Do you think God told her
What I was doing?



As we descended
She placed her shaking
Hands to her face
And began to pray
More fervently than ever.
Her mouth moving
Faster and faster
The lower the plane
As the wheels neared the
Ground she neared
full-blown panic.
Clearly, this was a
Torturous experience
For her. I was
Thinking about
Her complete lack
Of faith as
The plane taxied to
A stop and we
Began to gather our stuff.

The flight attendant said,
"Welcome to San Juan."

She was now clutching her
Bible and whispering,
I assumed,
Prayers of gratitude.


For all the good times we had
This song's for you, Dad.
It's a day just like other days
But I'm thinking of some things, some ways
That are gone now except for the memories
So secure they come again like anniversaries
Or like the turning leaves or the coming lilacs
Like the smell of honey-suckle dew.
Hey, Dad! I'm still thinking of you.



This 13-year-old boy
"Stowed away in the wheel well
Of a Columbian cargojet
And survived sub-zero
Temperatures on a three-hour
Flight across the Caribbean."
When the plane landed
He tumbled out, covered
With frost, but alive.

The authorities usually send
Stowaways back to their
Point of origin, but for
Guillermo, they are making
An exception.

No wonder. Imagine his
Thoughts as the plane took off
And the hydrolics of the retracting
Mechanism began to return
The landing gear to it
Tightly designed housing
Compartment where he was

- 6123-3

(with thanks to The New York Times)


My persistence in doing
The wrong thing
Is really unbelievable.
Despite everything, including
Clear signs of destruction
And disability and impending
Ruin, I go right on
Doing the completely wrong
Thing, vaulting over obstacles
That would have stopped
A lesser person.
It's really unbelievable:
that despite all the signs
That point in a better direction
Where a positive outcome is
At least possible,
I race down the wrong path
Like a dog chasing a car.
Why? Even now, emersed in
Effects, suffering, I can't
Explain my enthusiasm
To do it all over again.
It's really unbelievable.

- 10216-3


Sitting in my office I can see
The Rhododendrons blooming
In purples, light purples and pinks
Framed in green and white
By the leaves and the window panes.
Bumble bees are working there, too.
Diligently doing what bumble bees do:
They gather the nectar for the hive
And find their way back burdened
With the fruits of their effort.
It's a little world out there in the bushes
And, watching it, I was thinking
Of Dylan Thomas and his green fuse,
And of Housman and his heroes
And Myron O'Higgins and his gaming green
And Shakespeare's marriage of true minds....

From there I heard the distant call
Of the turning mill and to stand up straight.
From reverie, I found my way back to the hive,
But it wasn't easy leaving the beauty
Carrying the nectar.



From first time to time-out
From minute up to minute down
From sun up to head down
I'm having a ball
Of energy and exchange
A guiding and being guided
Of deciding and watching others decide.
The world is unfolding and
I'm part of a small corner
Where everyone counts
And every second is there
If I want it.

It's a roller coaster ride
With a comfortable seat
And a fantastic view
But the track may not
End quietly with sighs of relief
In the same place it

That's the fun of it;
Not knowing exactly
Where I'm going.


Really tired of
Car ads and pizza ads
And really tired of
Pain reliever ads.
I drive a ten-year-old car
Am on a diet
And never, never
Ever get a headache.
Every time I watch TV
I love my old car more and more,
Find pizza more and more
Repulsive, and realize
That Tylenol just isn't working
The way they say it is.



I wonder if all my
Explorations are really
Hideaways from bad news

I wonder if I'm truly as
Courageous and unable
To be intimidated
As people like to believe?

I wonder if in the face of
Something's coming
I'm not a coward who delays
And procrastinates and
Wastes day after day.

I wonder if there are some things
I would just rather
Not even contemplate
Let alone engage.


It was a sad day
Begun badly
Kept getting worse
Missed things
Things were unfocused
People were worried
I shuffled along
Dazed by day
Drifting toward night
Way too busy
For someone
So missing
So misted and grey.


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