I stood from my chair,
Walked over to my sleeping dog,
The evening light from the front door
Still strong enough where I could clearly see
His graying snout and my wrinkled hands.

His heavy breathing was calming,
I took a moment to just pet him,
Thinking of the current madness,
Thinking back as far as I could,
Remembering what has happened.

Grainy memories of Tet and Watergate,
Adolescent patriotism versus Iran and Russia,
The horror of LA, the shock of space shuttles,
Disbelief during 9/11, and
Confusion as to how life goes on now.

History’s calamities painting an aging picture,
The past an unwavering indictment of our worst,
Even so in our present as germs infect lungs, politics, and decency.
Time seems to wreak havoc on society
Much like the grays creep into a snout and wrinkles into hands.

The moment was too beautiful,
This golden hour of light glowing with an ease of spirit.
I sat next to my trusty pit, his soul having been dipped in good,
Leaned my head to his ribs,
And listened to the easy sound of his breathing.

Carolyn, what a tale you have started,
I was too oblivious to know about El Salvador,
Seeing pictures in Time, that’s
Just about all I can remember,
Turns out those were stories of Nicaragua,
How can it be that I never heard so much
About the killing, the moral indiscretion, the awful ways of the powerful?

I can’t wait to hear more,
I am learning so much,
Tell me whatever you can,
So I can know how to inspire others,
How to report on the truths of those not protected
From the ravages of war, corruption, and silence.
I want to know.

The Wood Brothers are playing,
I’m back in Williamsburg
In the heat of a swampy Tidewater day.

It’s raining outside,
A cool Pennsylvania New Year’s Eve rain
And that delta blues groove is drawing me in.

I could be sitting next to the James
With the wind blowing lightly,
The spirit of Carter’s Grove as conflicted as ever.

The land fit for a king,
Supported on the forced servitude of slaves,
Evolved into a sanctuary for me.

And The Wood Brothers are tapping into that energy
Sending my soul to that place where I care
The one where I wish I could wave my hands to erase history

The history of slavery,
The history of doubt,
The one where my head spins without reason.

Truth is those cool breezes spoke to me,
I knew they were telling me things could be better
For us, for me

That people could get along,
That I could be cool with me,
That New Year’s Eve could be sober.

Those breezes are still with me,
They blow a little stiffer now,
Especially, the warm one about caring and purpose

For I’m traveling,
With the energy of the new year,
And maybe I’ll wind up in Williamsburg for real, maybe not,

But one thing is sure,
I’m open to messages everywhere,
Apathy has no shot.

“I challenge myself to stop comparing what I learn to the past.” Scott Belsky

Perhaps the past is cliche
Maybe to reflect on yesteryear is to stymie growth
Just look at those who hang onto history too long for our good.

A run is a run is a run.
Step after step after step.
Nothing more, nothing less.

A drive for meaning in the context of what was
Makes little sense of being right now
Which has little to do with what will be.

All that makes perfect sense
When I remember that I’m not a statue
For I can continue moving

Without the circus of the ridiculousness
Of being stuck in the same old, same old
Because I understand how important this moment is.

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There was an article of Nixon
Describing his thoughts
In the days before his resignation.
He thought of using his power to pardon
To let off all of the guys who paid the price
For his sinister ambition.

The wiser ones suggested
He also pardon those who dodged Vietnam,
Which Tricky Dick refused,
Suggesting that some crimes against the nation
Cannot be forgiven,
So his boys went to the pokey.

There was also something amiss with Richard’s taxes,
Rumors of off-shore accounts, and
A general dismay in his running of the country.
The story ran on May 23, 1977,
A mere forty years ago,
Very little has changed.

The edition of the New York Times
Also featured an advertisement for Hertz Rental Cars
With The Juice running through an airport in
A business suit instead of pads,
A briefcase instead of a football, and
That smile hiding him from us all.

Celebrity was his gift
As OJ made fame his legacy.
Perhaps football fame would have been better
For this summer he comes up for parole.
If all works out
He’ll soon be running the streets again.

Perhaps all of this is coincidence,
A president with legal issues to consider,
Celebrity, at least in the political arena,
Is running for cover, some of his guys probably
Hoping to make their next flight
Free of the shadow cast by their boss.

Crimes?
Taxes?
Hubris?
Celebrity.
Ego.
History.

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Photo Credits: Google Images

Growing up near Yorktown,
I got a steady dose of education
On liberty and resistance to tyranny.
I flew kites on the battlefield
Where America finally was delivered
And the idea of united states,
Free from the whim of dictators and kings,
Would allow everyone
To get as far as they could get.

Maybe I took those lessons on as an idealist
Believing the pageantry promised by the American dream.
Maybe I basked in the propaganda of the Tidewater area suggesting
That speaking up, the law, and principles
Were something of honor, something expected from great leaders.
Maybe my schooling failed me
By not preparing me
For the realities of today
When I look to the government with jaded eyes.

Don’t get me wrong, the ideals of America are still passionately within,
But the mirror that our government is supposed to be
Is cracked and showing the distortions that exist
In “We the People.”
Apathy, greed, and all sorts of other self-serving shenanigans
Have allowed the powerful people
To do exactly what the framers battled against
Way down n Yorktown way.

So now I live in Philly,
Lately known more for it’s hosting of the NFL Draft
Instead of the determined persistence of revolutionaries
Who dared to say that they were not subjects and
Who would set forth the declaration that they were done with England.
I’ve learned in this great city why booing is important.
I’ve learned that the journey to realize the vision of 1776
Is still a long way off.

Because in Philly there are problems of inequality,
Violence puts safety in peril, and a racial divide makes me sick.
Hopefully, though, recent events have people thinking
About how each person is responsible for this mess
By not speaking out against those who are wrong,
Corrupt officials of either political side
Up to and including the President,
None are above the law.

Yet, all are a reflection of who we are.
Apathetic, greedy, consumed with self-serving shenanigans…
We have let our control of the government slip into a gang mentality
Where it’s us versus them, Republican versus Democrat,
Rich versus poor, culture versus culture.
In voting with such limited vision, we have created two countries
Where there is supposed to be one, just as was fought for
From the very beginning.

As the firings continue and the glasnost takes at dictatorial turn
Americans would do well to take a trip to a battlefield,
A museum, or maybe even a book.
Perhaps we should stop ranting about the stupidity in government
And realize we put the idiots there.
Then like parents, we should give the government a timeout
Since we are the ones holding the power
To stop the madness happening in the District.

Wake up, America.
Hold the extremists on the left and the right accountable.
Put people in charge who understand compromise.
Put people in office who understand the padding of their wallets
Is of no concern of people trying to survive.
Our concern is to live in a democracy, not a board room
With a paranoid-revolving door HR department
That terminates challenges to the totalitarian’s flimsy hair.