I was confused today by the use of “us” and “them.”
The polarizing use of pronouns came as I relaxed,
Watching waves come in and out
While my heart rate settled into a super slow calm.

Further discussion continued to cause greater dismay
When questions about “ours” and “theirs”
Started being floated as I felt the sting of a social ocean breeze
Supercharged by defensive, albeit subtle, reverse racism claims.

Disappointment burned my skin, my thoughts, my heart
For I never expected to be having that kind of conversation
On vacation, with the people I was with, on the side I was on,
Which was nearly alone, my words floating like foam in a Nor’easter.

I find the victim mentality of cultural being to be insulting for all,
Erasure culture doesn’t work either, although, as my daughter said,
“There aren’t any statues of Hitler in Germany.”
So maybe the hateful in history are getting their just deserts as statues.

History should not be erased, it should be studied,
All my Social Studies classes said we studied history,
“To learn from our mistakes.” Racism, classism, zealots, dictators…
It seemed from our conversation that WE aren’t learning.

I know because people I listen to talk of loss,
Loss of their culture, status, or worth, misguided thoughts on statues,
While muddying the dialogue with stuff learned in incomplete schooling
Or from the last “breaking news” or trending post.

How do we take the hatred back from personal pronouns?
How do we teach people to be tolerant?
How do we get people to understand what has happened outside of “theirs?”
Be the waves and just keep coming with tolerance and acceptance…

Took a break from the sand today,
The deck was just fine,
Sunny, breezy, not messy,
Socially distant,
It was perfect.

Of course the world went on,
Bad weather, bad leaders finally wearing masks,
Bad people sporting guns,
Socially ignorant,
Not so perfect.

Tomorrow, I’m back to the sand,
Waiting for the waves to crash around me,
Maybe even some intermittent fasting,
To let go of a little weight,
It’ll work, I know it will.

For I’m going to cut out some news,
All of the news, avoiding the manipulation,
Denying the negativity,
The heaviness of the bull shit that is conditioning us.
Don’t worry, I’ll have my mask, just no media.

Shutting down the computer last night
Kept me from breaking an addendum to an exercise rule,
“Never run angry,” because the time it took to boot up
Allowed me a moment of peace
To find some understanding.

Maybe it was Big Country on the little speaker,
Maybe it was my petting my dog,
But the extra little bit of time got me past that point
Where I would have been drilling the keys
To make my point about that which had sent me over,

Over an edge of politics, religion, knowledge of an audience,
As people in my circle are sending me emails
Hidden in educational programs
That omit the horrific examples of treachery of some religions
In the guise of teaching children their “right way.”

Now, I’m not one to bash another’s religion,
Believe what you want, just don’t put your shit on me, AND
Acknowledge the things done in the name of your god that
Have been pretty effed up throughout history, especially
The hypocritical puritanical convenience believing practices.

Leave me off your email chains,
I’m politically independent, an issue-crat, leaning to the left,
I believe in something higher than myself, just not sure
Who’s getting it right, so much out there is appealing, but
I’m pretty sure most bastardize the good and make it wrong.

So as the Knack plays, after Modern English, and
Whoever comes next with the playlist that is light and “summery,”
Probably recorded by someone who runs afoul of your
Blinder-wearing religious pie in the effing sky glasses, please
Leave me email free. I should reboot, my temperature is rising.

Clouds are coming,
A storm is on the way.
Wind, rain, who knows what else.
Maybe it will blow all these ill winds away,
Take the virus to another place,
Relieve the racial tensions,
Let us all begin to heal from both.

Wouldn’t that be something,
A calm after the storm,
A reckoning with how to live with the virus,
A realization of how to live together.
Tonight, I’ll sleep in the coldest room in the house,
Smiling and hoping to see clearly after the storm
Works some good magic…hopefully…

Waking with a tight hip,
An unbending back, and
A lack of will to exercise
Put this day in sight of laziness.
Everything I could do to keep it there
Was done, although, some stretching did occur
And I walked on the beach far enough
To see a lifeguard going at it with a surfer dude,
Who must have been about forty-five.
The leftover tacos, the hard boiled eggs,
The broiled crab cakes, the cherry water ice,
Man, that was something today.
Even managed to squeeze in a nap before the beach and
A nap at the beach, snooze, sun, snooze…awesome…
Maybe that’s why my mini-golf game was a little off.

Ah, vacation…

After a day where hypocrisy got taken to new levels,
Not only from my mouth,
But those not saying anything about insensitivities expressed
By just about everyone who lives on this planet,
I decided to pull the pin on my vacation diet.

Here’s how it went,
Tacos for dinner, which doesn’t sound that bad,
Two soft, two hard, lots of beef and cheese,
A handful of melt in your mouth peanut candies,
And some animal crackers all washed down with green tea.

As my cynicism grew, I realized, I had not done enough,
So I went all out Aunt Kate or Aunt May,
Great aunts from Corbett and ate another dinner,
Which I’m not sure they did, but in this round
I chose dessert first, a habit of theirs.

A handful of those colorful candies,
A hefty chunk of peanut butter Jersey Shore fudge,
Had there been cherry soda and vanilla ice cream,
I would have done my old relatives right,
But the second dinner would simply be pizza.

A two-day old slice that was sitting in the back of the fridge
Gaining flavor and holding it well in the cold was the main course,
I washed the cheese slice down with some “legendary” soda water,
And waited for the sign that I had been satiated,
Finally, a burp was expressed and I began chain sneezing.

Listen, standards matter, behaviors matter, we all need to raise our bar
There are too many asking for too much without doing all they could,
I’m not pointing my food weary finger at any one group,
People need to get their acts together, with protest or power,
Accountability, for Presidents, for athletes, for me, or for you matters.

It’s amazing how good a few lunges and squats can feel,
Simple exertion to take the edge off of being lazy.
Not many, maybe just about ten of each does the trick,
Letting there be a sense of accomplishment, a moment of youth.

Of course, when that is preceded by a bonking run
The kind where heat and humidity crush a spirit
Only about eight tenths of a mile from home,
It’s no wonder the squats and lunges work their magic.

It’s those moments of failure that let the successes feel so good,
Nothing like a few easy calisthenics to get the blood flowing,
To set the mind to dreaming again about another run
Where an outcome is certain, success, failure, or denial.

A baby bunny, about the size of a lacrosse ball
Wandered the streets of a seaside community
Tearing at people’s hearts,
The do gooders, the save the Earth kinds,
Those with the moral inclination to help. Good folks, all.

The baby bunny, in its diminutive stature
Made it through the heat of the day,
Managed the traffic on Pleasure Avenue,
Survived a quick pass through the five hole of a pit bull,
And will live as long as nature means for it to go.

I wonder what we can learn from this bunny,
I’m not sure, but there must be something in all of this
That the bunny accepts and we cannot.

No fireworks, what a drag,
Although, the snap, crackle, and pops
Doesn’t do much for me anymore,
Less for my dog, he scares easily by the booming.

The holiday in the USA has brought some interesting sights,
Phones that don’t float,
Angry dudes in rust bucket mud covered Chevy’s,
Three old ladies having trouble getting out of a Kia,
Any American flag wearing borderline patient patriot
Walking down a busy road returning my salute
As we drove past him,
Countless fire company calls to unknown emergencies,
A return of the karaoke sect down the street,
A flourish-year old taking out the wheel well of an SUV,
The SUV was parked,
At least the kid had a Dragon Ball-Z helmet
So he was not hurt and no damage was done to the auto.

I thought there might be fireworks on that one
As the kid’s mother came running,
The car’s owner came running,
All the while, the five year old sister kept riding her e-bike.

Really, our day was full of ‘Merica,
The craziness that shows the truth of our country
Being a place where all kinds of things are allowed,
Because like they said in The Wire, “we gotta.”
Except when you’re Snot Boogie or some mope from the real world
Who can’t understand that our freedoms are for all people
And you’re warped way of defining what we are
Has to include what the Declaration and Constitution
Say what we are supposed to be,
Which for those of you who didn’t pay attention in school
Means, “together.”
All of us, each and everyone.

On this birthday night,
I’m hoping people can learn that lesson
Despite the fact that there won’t be any fireworks to speak of.