TV in the ’50s

Always on, the ‘56 black and white Philco flickered promises
into crowded living rooms across America
A better tomorrow for working families
All it takes, stare hours at your TV screen
Let the subliminal messages do their work

Wishful thoughts, soaring away with Dinah Shore
You’re in the USA with a Chevrolet
What’s good for GM is good for America

In retrospect, we know better
Back then, what we bought was who we were

Many blamed TV for misdirecting youth
Bigger than life ideas filling their heads
Blame our Philco if you like
but there’s another side:
All those jobs in Pittsburgh, Cleveland, hanging
on whether folks bought the contraption
advertised during Phil Silvers Show

Diversion was our god, aided
by Lucille Ball, Jack Benny, the Marx Brothers
Making us laugh, rather than cry
as advertising created a nation of consumers
Having was how we found meaning

In another way, our Philcos, Zeniths
and GE TVs helped us get beyond
face-to-face sameness, filling
small towns across America
Hungry for new role models, TV provided them

For those growing up a long way
from New York City, Chicago, or Los Angeles
TV sets brought them closer
to the reality, soon changing us all
Perhaps we should be glad someone told us
even if it was Howdy Doody

As September Draws Nigh

Summer plans one final act, readying
to turn over the stage to autumn, whose invitations
out early this year
have captured the hearts of the sun, leaves
remaining flowers and birds

None can resist fall’s impending magical dance of color
its extravagance, spell-bounding beauty
The trees must sleep, after a long hardworking summer
The flowers return to seed, rejoining the earth birthing them
And the birds draw straws, seeing who will stay
and who will flock and head southward

With just a glimmer of sadness, I watch
as September draws nigh
the last of summer drift past my window
and autumn’s glorious color show begin

Life Between Trash Pickups

Tuesday, trash day
Roll the big green dumpster to the curb
Filled, with life’s residual matter
Leftover stuff: corn husks, used tissues, cereal boxes
other unmentionables, revealing how we live

Life happening between trash pickups
Not a glamorous depiction, but realistic
for all consuming and disposing
Curiosity overtakes me…
I lift the green monster’s lid, exposing myself
to dreadful smells, making me wonder
what kind of life I lead

Ancient Near Eastern civilizations had their tells:
Mounds of trash and rubble, built upon
by their future societies
We have stinking landfills; some now larger
than the cities they serve

It frustrates me, we throw away so much
but at this moment, it haunts me even more
life is what happens between trash pickups

Our Attitude about Money

money isn’t the devil
some say it is
it’s a reality of our existence
and can be a resource for good

how we come by it matters, and
how we use it is important
not a ticket to happiness, and
many other things are more important

though, it concerns me
when folks disparage money
calling it the root of all evil
saying it doesn’t matter

it also worries me
when people only want money
don’t care about other people and things
believing money and life purpose are the same

our attention manifests the life we have
no more, no less
same is true with money, and
everything else in life

if there isn’t enough money in your life
ask yourself why
explore your deepest attitude about money
it may be an impoverished one

Unleashing the Child Within

children, so inventive
always something new
new things to do
new ways of doing
new ways of looking, and seeing

the child’s mind: nimble, malleable
open to the moment’s presenting
learning…a game
bringing joy and excitement
just for the sake of playing

as we grow older
mountains of beliefs, ideas
ways of being, expactations
bury our inner child

unleash your inner child
challenge him to leap these mountains
carrying you to fresh new starting points
just on the other side

Reflections on Rush Hour

I think of those people
trapped, in their Chevys and Toyotas
with their favorite lame radio talk show host
drinking up airwave poison
inching their way through stop and go traffic

A Dalai Lama moment seizes me:
Somebody taught these folks to drive
but forgot to teach them to think
I smirk, but glancing in the rearview mirror
see myself, also suffering
like the fish swimming in the bowl all about me

Each way, an hour or more
Trying to get somewhere
getting nowhere
Due to a bad hair day, their Imus is gone
A victim of self-combustion
But Howard Stern’s still there
interviewing guys, liking to suck women’s toes

My own fog aside, I cringe
watching the Goth chick next to me
engulfed in a thick cloud of cigarette smoke
Barely making out her University Hospitals parking sticker
I wonder, who’d come to her for healthcare
She passes me
I give thanks her window is up

Many, as they drive
sip and guzzle Starbucks grandes
As I reach my exit
a second Dalai Lama moment occurs to me:
Stop and go means something else to them

Letting Go

Entire books on the subject
You can read them
Some are great
Save yourself some time
Just do it
Let go
Of whatever anchors you
To the pain of wanting

Start small
Let go of something easy
Work up to something harder
Keep going, until you’re free
Letting go is simple
Just don’t hold on
Let go, let God