Flyin’ To Ya

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Descended stairs
to the concourse
where piano played
a moving chorus
and he brought me
to tears
with Hallelujah.
Hallelujah,
Hallelujah,
always cry at
Cohen’s
Halle-lu-u-u-u-u-u-u-juah!

The sun’s not up
this Christmas morn
yet round the world
praise, “Son is born!”
As with the teeming throngs
we’re flyin’ to ya.
Flyin’ to ya,
Flyin’ to ya,
all jammed in aeroplanes
and flyin’ to
Ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-ya.

Though sting of tears
may mist my eyes
My heart still sings
joyous reprise:
Hallelujah,
Hallelujah,
Halle-lu-u-u-u-u-u-u-juah.

Flyin’ to ya,
Flyin’ to ya.
Not angel’s wings
just aeroplane
that brings me to ya.
Brings me to ya,
brings me to ya.
Halle-ay-ay-ay-lu-u-juah

“Love is not a victory march,”
you cleanse my soul,
uplift my heart
(Hope you knew that.)
Hallelujah,
Hallelujah,
Halle-lu-u-u-u-u-u-u-juah!

Hallelujah,
Hallelujah,
Halle-lu-u-u-u-u-u-u-juah.

Perspective and Praise

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I posted the following on Facebook:
“I can abhor Trump without demonizing his followers.”

This garnered 111 comments from friends, mostly rants demonizing the “other side.” (Le sigh!) In response to my friends’ rants I shared my poem “Base and Blind” to which my friend Tom replied, “I’ve read a lot of your writings. That may be the best.” Tom’s comment got me thinking about my writing from a different perspective, a perspective not of recording and sharing my thoughts, feelings and opinions but rather how my scribblings may be judged by others, a topic I only consider when dealing with extremely sensitive subjects. For the most part I write me with the unspoken invitation of, “Hey, y’all! Here’s what’s going through my head. Wanna see?”

Self-expression, rather than good, better, best (Or for that matter, bad, badder, worst!) is my priority, not the judgement of my readers. (Though I’d be a liar if I didn’t admit that I like “Likes” and LOVE comments.) Tom’s comment got me thinking about how my writings are viewed by me versus readers.

I started writing poems for friends decades ago and quickly learned that most people find poems about themselves FABULOUS! Sending someone a poem about them is almost sure to garner glowing praise but the praise tends to be shallow. They’re not evaluating the poem’s content, structure or ability to hold interest they’re just thrilled somebody (ME!) wrote about them.

When receiving praise from the subjects of my poems I try to remember a language lesson my tenth grade teacher MS Lyons delivered back in 1976. She warned of vapid, subject based accolades that do not reflect the quality of the writing but rather the predispositions and prejudices of the reader. MS Lyons explained that sometimes people who love kittens find any and every thing kitten praise worthy. Bad paintings, bad poems, horrid prose, doesn’t matter, if it’s kittens then they’re smitten. I love being told that something I wrote is good but praise based on subject rather than content, while appreciated, is given very little credence.

I try to evaluate my writing based on whether it works or not. Does it get my point across, does it keep the reader’s attention, does it put images in readers’ heads, is the spelling and grammar correct and therefore not a distraction? Throw in some fun alliterations and a few rhymes to make the writing fun and I may have written something I find praise worthy.

Last in my goals is word length. In today’s society a 500 word essay is considered long, a circumstance of which I am aware but rarely act on.

Base And Blind

Oh, we the righteous do decree
that all shall see the world as we
and if you dare to disagree
we righteous shall mock and shun thee

If you support the evil side
with widest brush we will apply
the taint from which can’t run nor hide:
We know the truth as testified

Inquisition not just old Spain
for we righteous bring back its reign
our instruments your blood will drain
as condescend and spew disdain

There are two camps, one wrong one right,
and you the wrong we right shall smite
for paradise, bombast, cordite
we know sole path from dark to light

Don’t speak to us of your concerns
contemptibles we righteous spurn
just get on board, backward slatterns
or be cast in bubbling cauldron

We know your hearts, we know your minds
your very souls are hateful kind
repent your sins, you unrefined
for all you are is base and blind

Blind to the truth of your cancer
that we can rout, we are the cure!
You are disease, you base adders
we righteous know how to skewer

We’ll call you out, though haven’t met,
for there’s no room for your dissent
and if you dare to share mindset
our wrath shall be your epithet

Oh, we the righteous do decree
that all shall see the world as we
and if you dare to disagree
we righteous shall mock and shun thee

Love of Ours

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The moon appeared in splendor, big and bold and bright,
watched her with my darling and felt my heart take flight.
Sky above Atlantic moon shared with sky of stars,
to south circled Saturn, red hued gave hint of Mars.

Sweet lovely, languid hours twilighted into night,
final days of summer, watch Selene’s arc of flight.
Sky of brightest azure transformed to smoke, then black:
Contrail pierces Luna, bleeds not from the attack.

On a strip of island gentrified beachy homes
laid out in grid pattern, dominoes wait for storm.
To everything a season, slipping into fall,
bright moon keeps on shining, reflection for us all.

No light does she emit, yet symbolizes love?
Both barren and frigid, why look we to above?
There’s love all around us on Earth verdantly rich;
warm hearts, human grappling, let souls entwine in tryst.

Selene with your magic you do naught but mock me;
ever cold and distant, yours is deadly beauty.
Beauty cold and distant? Without cal’rie of heat?
Never can compare to two hearts that as one beat.

Lover’s peaks and valleys, the heat of passion’s kiss,
these from Selene missing, let’s long remember this.
Give me flesh and sinew over a billion stars,
though reflection’s lovely rather have love of ours.

Solo Rider

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Colors of rainbow have all washed away
gone’s arco iris, all’s left’s black and grays.
Thought I had power and dreamt I had speed
left riding solo’s lonely place to be.

Longed for adventure, I needed to fly,
so I saddled up and went for bike ride.
Seems dark and dreary had entered my soul;
to cure winter blues knew I had to roll.

A lack of daylight and excess of mead
hitched my giddy-up so went out biking.
Goal was a roll with friendly peleton
alone at start line where have riders gone?

There’s strength in numbers, there’s value to herd,
camaraderie and to heights we’re spurred.
That’s all terrific but none of it counts
cuz on my group ride my solo-ness taunts.

Day was not tempting fact I must admit
cool temperatures and steady fine mist
but it’s been observed we don’t go to war
with army wanted as we roll forward.

Whether it’s warring or withering sky
weather’s the weather when time for bike ride.
The mail must go through in sleet, rain or snow
out in the drizzle this male man did go.

The wind was blowing to that must confess
a forty knot gale made my bike skittish
but I persevered and I fought the wind
as I cycled from home to ride begin.

Incredulous stares and a few horn honks
affronted my eyes as Klaxons did taunt
but I soldiered on despite wind and rain
I knew peleton would ease stress and strain.

Five miles I traveled by bike to get there
arrived wet and chilled at parking lot stared
expecting to find riders at the start
found I was alone it tore at my heart.

I shrugged my shoulders and inhaled deeply
made the decision to ride solo-ly.
Cursing the weather, resenting lost mates
I went for a ride turns out it was great.

Despite the weather, the wind and the rain
horrid conditions, fact I’m not quite sane,
ride on bicycle beats sitting around
but on next group ride hope lost mates are found.

Colors of rainbow have all washed away
gone’s arco iris, all’s left’s black and grays.
Thought I had power and dreamt I had speed
left riding solo’s lonely place to be.

Tony Kneel: “Daisy, Daisy,” part 2 of 3

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At the end of our ride I bid farewell to Jack, approached Nicolette and exchanged numbers. We agreed that I’d peruse the Potomac Pedalers rides and see which one fit best. I explained that I’d be riding the tandem solo to the ride start so we’d almost certainly do a ride that originated in Ashton or Olney. I didn’t explain that we’d have to start close by because I was carless, the reason wasn’t relevant, and Nicolette smiled while Geoff scowled as they drove away with their bikes atop their BMW 733i.

I cycled the five miles from Sherwood High to home, put the tandem away, (it was my most expensive possession) showered, grabbed some food and, since it was Saturday and I didn’t have to wait until after 11:00 for rates to go down, phoned Jean.

“Hey, baby,” I said into the phone, “how you doing?”

“Good,” she replied. “Just getting some last minute wedding details planned. You’re still planning to make lasagna for the rehearsal dinner at Marie’s, right?”

“Yep. Lasagna Florentine. Gotta Popeye it up.”

“Great. We can go shopping when you get here. You’re driving up with your folks?”

“Uhm, maybe?” I responded. “We’re all coming so I should have plenty of people I can catch a ride with. Maybe John and Brooke. Guess what I did today?”

“Heard from a school in Atlanta!?”

I exhaled heavily. “No. Sorry. Nothing yet. No. I went on a group ride with Jack on the tandem.”

“Oh. Yeah?” Jean responded non-committed. Jack was not one of her favorite people.

“Yeah. Potomac Pedalers? The bike club? We rode the tandem.”

“Cool. Have fun?”

“Yes. I’m looking forward to tandeming with you in Atlanta. Had a gal express interest in a tandem ride with me and so next week I’ll probably ride with her.”

“Oh, yeah? Somebody you know?”

“Not really,” I replied. “We’ve been on rides together, but we haven’t talked much. She usually hangs with her body-builder boyfriend.”

“Oh. Cool! Well, have fun! I got stuff to do. Talk to you later?”

“Absolutely. I should be home tonight. Call you around ten?”

“Perfect. Love you!”

“I love you, JPT. Later,” I said, waiting for her to hang-up before disconnecting.

I consulted my Potomac Pedalers newsletter and found a ride that started from the Olney Theatre and called Nicolette. Geoff answered. “Hi. Is Nicolette there?”

“Who’s calling?”

“Tony Kneel. I’m supposed to arrange a tandem-”

“Nikki!” I hear Geoff call out. “It’s the tandem guy.”

Nicolette gets on the phone, we agree to meet at the Theatre on Saturday the twenty-fourth and go about our days.

Saturday May 24th brings another beautiful not quite summer morning to central Montgomery County. I cycle to the Theatre and find Nicolette waiting with Geoff who scowls. “Hey!” I say, “how are you this morning? You have water bottles?”

We place her two bottles in the stoker’s waiting cages and we three sign the ride log. I explain the basics of being a tandem stoker and then we’re off, heading northwest toward Old Baltimore Road. It doesn’t takes long before the ride group splits into a slightly smaller faster portion, and a larger slower part. Nicolette and I leave Geoff behind in the slower part as we motor through the mostly rolling byways of rural northern M.C. With nearly twice the horsepower but almost no additional aerodynamic drag, tandems allow riders to go faster on flats and fly downhills, with the flip-side being a more precipitous slowing on ascents.

Peter’s Seventieth

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We all know of Peter and his fairy pal Tink,
and army of Lost Boys from fount of youth did drink.
Neverland far away, yet ever is it nigh,
ADA accessible, as we all can fly.

Fly away in spirit, God Father, Son, and Ghost!
My Cath’lic upbringing this play reflected most.
Not too far from Dubuque, in eastern Iowa,
is where I lived longest, tall corn and short soya!

I too am an orphan, I too am four of five,
play made me remember times long ago slipped by.
Sarah captures nicely Midwest mid-century,
Wendy, John and Michael, Jane and Hook all family.

First we lost our mother and then we lost our dad;
only one not present when our Royal Dame passed.
Ten years span of siblings, eldest turns sixty-two
all love one another; I’m liberal in the room.

Spread out cross the nation, triangle of vast size
from D.C. to Memphis hypotenuse inscribes.
Though great is the distance hearts are our winning suit
for love of family for all’s an absolute.

Known to act a fairy, flit merrily around,
though the years weigh heavy life still holds me spellbound.
Here’s to sister Peter, my John and brother Mike,
Jane’s our youngest sibling, I will Captain our flight.

We all know of Peter and his fairy pal Tink,
and army of Lost Boys from fount of youth did drink.
Fly away in spirit, God Father, Son, and Ghost!
My Cath’lic upbringing this play reflected most.

Joe Kleen- Southern Hospitality: 02/11/90, 8 of 19

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FIFTY-FOUR

The foursome, tennis rackets in hand, exits the court and winds their way around the Hyatt’s grounds on the perimeter path, encountering a few joggers but mostly meanderers in the late morning sun shine. The smaller swimming pool comes into view as they round a curve and Joe nods to the right, declaring, “Our suite’s in the Royal Ponciana. You sure I don’t need to shower and change?”

“Only if you’re cold,” Darryl replies brow knit tightly. “And you certainly don’t look cold. I swear, mate, you sweat enough for two men.”

“At least,” Misty says under her breath. “You want to just hop in the pool before we eat?”

“In my clothes? No. I don’t think so. Plus, those showers are there to keep the dirty, sweaty out of the pool. I just don’t want to, as Bugs Bunny would say, ‘Offend.’”

“Joe,” Misty replies, “if you were stinky-sweaty-dirty I’d be the first person to insist that you shower-”

“-That’s for sure, MS one-part-per-million,” Joe interjects.

“-and since I’m not, you don’t,” she continues. “You’re fine.”

“You could rinse off in the shower,” Julie suggests. “There’s even big beach towels right there.”

“That’s a good idea,” Joe concedes. “I’ll just kick everything off but my shorts and take a quick rinse. Thanks.”

“Jules is full of good ideas,” Darryl replies, taking his wife’s hand, kissing and then releasing it. “I should wash my hands too. Got a bit grimy back at the court.”

“Big yes on that, Darryl. Grimy,” Misty replies as they stop at the poolside shower and Joe, slipping down to shorts, turns the water on. “It was a good match. I do have a question though. It seems like the match was more intense when we were ahead. Did you let up on us?”

“Hmm,” Darryl replied, twisting his mouth to the side. “Well, if I did it wasn’t intentional. Last night you mentioned that Sweaty Joe here knocked a bloke on his can during a mountain-bike race, right?”

“I did not!” Joe, declares from the shower.

“You did too!” Misty fires back, flinging her free hand skyward at the wrist.

“Okay! But I didn’t have a choice!”

“Well,” Darryl says, head tilted to the side, “I wasn’t there but in all likelihood you did, right? Have a choice that is. I mean, if it had been a training ride you’d of likely found a way not to collide. Same thing if you were riding with a newbie. My guess is you’d cut him some slack and explain things later, true enough?”

“True enough,” Joe replies, toweling off. “I think I’ll keep my shirt and socks off. They’re soaked.”

“No worries, babe,” Misty says, “we’ll sit under an umbrella so you don’t burn.”

Slip, slop, slap, seek and slide; right” Darryl declares.

“Pardon?” Joe asks.

“It’s the Aussie in him coming out,” Julie says. “The five S’s are the slogan for Australia’s anti-skin cancer campaign.”

“Big problem down under,” Darryl says with a nod. “We all have different levels of competitiveness for different situations. At least most of us do, we’ve all met the bloke who goes for broke playing horseshoes with a kindergartner. Same deal. I came to play hard but not tennis circuit hard and subconsciously I may have let up a bit after I felt like we were going to win. I promise I’d have given more if it would have taken more. Let’s wash hands and order, shall we?”

Flying High

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It’s easy to fly, it’s easy to soar at eighteen’s easy like lion to roar! Full of ambition, cornucopia, into blue yonder know will rise above.

Today’s Lion’s Day he’s out of his den, taste for adventure no doubt kid’s got yen. Around the corner and just up the street, life is for living heart thumps out its beat.

Above the worries way up in the clouds, feeling the G Force Sound Barrier crowd. Hot Pilot Yeager October fourteenth, X-1’s the rocket with which he did scream!

Over and under, with around and through, Glamorous Glennis past barrier flew. Up in Stratosphere, gross K-M’s in sky ‘nother hot pilot who loves flying high.

Today is the day reach majority, endless horizons stretch infinitely! Bernoulli’s keeping you up in the sky with lift ‘neath your wings you’re reaching so high.

Every day wonders in everyday world, horizons endless as tumble and swirl. Opposing forces, the yin and the yang, gravity’s present on air, sea or land.

Cumulous wishes won’t get the job done, mark, ready, get set feel lift of freedom. Today turn eighteen you’re itching to go, wild blue yonder goes Laudadio!

Joe Kleen- Southern Hospitality: 02/11/90, 7 of 19

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FIFTY-THREE

The match, though hard fought, finishes with a team Lewis win of six sets to four.

“Well done!” Darryl declares, rushing the net, right hand extended, racket under his left arm, adding, “Bravo to you both!” as he shakes Misty’s hand while Julie and Joe exchange handshakes. Switching partners he adds, “Misty, you had me a bit nervous after that first set skunk; rather afraid you two were some sort of grifters who travel the world winning drinks from unwary tennis pros.”

“Wow, now that’s a crazy idea, isn’t it, Joe?” she asks, smirking at her husband.

Joe, breathing hard as the sweat pours from his pores, nods before speaking. “Absolutely,” he says, bending at the knees and placing his forearms atop his thighs as he breathed in and out gaspingly. “Kinda hard to make a living betting on a round of drinks. And speaking of which I need to refill my water-bottle. And get something to eat. Café con nada may not have been my best pregame nourishment.”

“There’s a cooler yonder,” Darryl says, pointing to the far southeast corner of the four-court enclosure. “Should be towels as well. I could use a towel myself. Jules? Shall I bring you one?”

“I’ll come with. I could use more water as well,” Julie replies as the quartet ambles slowly to the cooler. “Misty? You sure you weren’t on your high school tennis team?”

“Me? Nope. Basketball all the way. I played through college but now mostly cycle and run as Joe said earlier.

“Wow, Joe,” she adds, looking at her husband with eyebrows raised, “good thing we came while it’s cool; you’re a running river over there.”

“Chocante!” Joe says back, lifting both hands to his face, running them backwards over his hair and quickly sweeping the sweat from his brow so it hit with an audible splat to the ground. “It’s after ten, what more do I need to sweat buckets? I need some breakfast, a shower and a nap.”

“That’s disgusting, Joe,” Misty says with an eye roll.

“Olive, I yam what I yam,” Joe replies as he fills his bottle. “I gotta be made a wool ‘cause I’m a sweater.”

“Yuck! That you are!”

“You did great, mate!” Darryl says. “Get you some proper equipment and some lessons and we’ll have you two on the circuit in no time.”

“Do you think I should shower and change before we eat?” Joe asks.

“You mean drink?” Darryl says with a chuckle. “The bet was for drinks, not victuals.”

“You drink, I’ll eat. And hydrate,” Joe responds exhaling loudly.

“I think you’re fine, babe,” Misty replies. “We’ll sit outside. Under an umbrella. You just take it easy and we’ll get breakfast and drinks rounded up.”

“Cool. Sounds good to me,” Joe replies, grabbing a clean, dry towel that is soon thrown sopping wet into the hamper.

Des Moines: 11/21/2020

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Good morning, nieto!

This is the last time this year we are likely to wake up in the same place and almost certainly the last time before you turn four-years-old on Wednesday. Your mom and Pat got you a birthday cake and last night after dinner we sang happy birthday to you. After we snarfed cake we watched Disney’s ZOMBIES 2 and you were going CRAZY what with dancing, jumping and doing cheers. It was an absolute pleasure to watch you cavort in such a joyful and uninhibited manner. I hope you never lose the ability to just have FUN!

You did not have fun on your bike ride to Woodlawn yesterday. First you wanted to ride the 12″ bike that you HATED on Wednesday and which I had already put the pedals and training wheels back on as it waits in eager anticipation of being ridden by a little brother or sister your parents are hoping to produce one day. You got mopey when I said no and then you wanted Pat to push you to the school playground. I’m afraid I got both you and Pat upset when I insisted that you pedal your bike there.

Your dad came with us and I wanted to show him how best to encourage you to ride and I’m pretty sure that I failed in achieving that goal! I brought you the bicycles way back at the end of spring and I’m afraid your parents didn’t have you practice at all which makes me concerned that without some instruction to your dad that you won’t be riding after we leave either. That’s one reason why I’m working with you every day to learn to pedal. Cycling is fun, it’s good for you and once you get older it will give you great freedom to roam so I really want to help you learn; the problem is is that it’s hard work and until you get a little mastery it’s not that much fun.

You don’t like to pedal uphill because it’s too much work and you don’t like to go downhill because you go too fast and even though the hills between your house and Woodlawn are tiny they still intimidate you. You have made fantastic progress pedaling on the flats and steering but you are very resistant to learning how to use the coaster brake. I say, “Pedal forward to go, backwards to stop.”

You say, “I can’t!” which isn’t really true because it’s that you won’t rather than can’t. Even though I know it’s hard I insist that you try and that led to a lot of tears yesterday.

I have my, ‘More in sorrow than in anger,’ voice that I use to cajole but as you get frustrated you ask Pat to push you which I veto. Pat gets upset, you start crying and my resolution wavers but I still don’t give in. Pat walks back to the house, you and I sit on the curb (Multiple times!) while you cry in my lap and your dad stays with the two of us. In the end you pedal to Pat who waits at your driveway, your face beaming a smile of triumph- I’m just not sure if you felt triumphant over cycling or just getting back to the house and Pat!

As I said, I’m not sure that I did a very good job showing you dad the best way to teach you to ride.

We had planned for all five of us to go for a ride yesterday but wound up doing some work around the house instead. The person your parents purchased the house from put an interior door (?!) from the outside into the garage and over the years the rain literally made it crumble to ruin. I bought an exterior one and your dad and I installed it while Pat and your mom did other yard work. I’m afraid it’s not my best work because your parents don’t have a lot of tools but at least it will hold up to many Iowa winters and can be closed and locked!

I’m very sad to be leaving you today and thankful for the modern technology of video phones. I’ll see you when you wake up and then via phone because your mom does an EXCELLENT job of making sure we get to talk with you many times per week.

LOVE,
Paki

P.S. Pat took you into our bed last night when I fell asleep on the couch so I wound up sleeping in your bed.

Xenophobia and Racism

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Xenophobia and racism continue to flourish and thrive in the USA and most of its adherents aren’t even aware that we are afflicted. Taught to view racists as the Klan of sheet clad miscreants flying Confederate flags above banners of insipid insensitivity and myopic race baiting we fail to see the systemic racism, oppression, condescending exclusivity and inculcated fear response towards “other” which we are taught from the cradle as we blindly deny our own infection in the great national disease many suffer with even as we spread the malignancy that glibly and blindly puts knee to neck across our land.

Did I lose you yet because I’m talking about me as well as you.

Our Tree of Liberty is an ailing Elm, an arbor of exclusion, a diseased softwood with sickness seeded in our DNA that separates us into camps of Them and Us, it is a tree with roots diseased with an illness that must be fought through the application of reason over instinct if we are to counter the blind hate and dehumanization that insists differences of pigmentation and melanin makes us enemies rather than siblings.

Oh, but not you, not me, I mean of course not US. WE don’t judge, we don’t hate, (Well, not out loud anyway.) we know we’re all Dog’s children and that Dog commanded us to love one another as we love ourselves, and we do! Honest Injun!

We don’t hate and we know that we got where we are through hard work, not handouts. We know ‘Murica is the Land of Opportunity, a land where anyone can get ahead if they just reach for the stars because America is a land where we’re all equal. Just look at Oprah! Or Ben Carson! Barack Obama, Kamala Harris! (While half of us declare that Obama and Harris aren’t REALLY black because they’re “mixed race,” a term without biological meaning.)

We were raking leaves and shoveling driveways to earn cash before we hit ten-years-old. We had dozens of lawns we cut every week and families for whom we babysat long before we got our First Job at age sixteen, a job that provided us with earnings which we wisely tucked away so we could put ourselves through college.

We know we earned our way to success but we fail to realize that we were handed the privilege of living in a neighborhood that had lawns and driveways and neighbors who were able to pay a scrappy kid willing to do odd jobs to make money. (And parents with lawnmowers we could “borrow.”) We ignore that being able to drive Mommy or Daddy’s car to that first job was a circumstance of privilege largely determined by Zip code which was largely determined by skin color.

But hey, we’re all equal, right? I mean, equal opportunity is the Law of the Land.

If we refuse to see the inherent racism woven deeply into the fabric of the USA, if we deny that poverty is a legacy of slavery, that funding schools based upon local property taxes is a means to perpetuate unequal opportunity, that voter repression and disenfranchisement is a racist goal that serves to reinforce the myopic, self-serving delusion of white superiority then we will never have a just and equal society and our much touted Shining City on a Hill will be forever an exclusive address ringed by a wall of fear, hatred and privelege, a reality with which I fear many of us are just fine.

Joe Kleen- Southern Hospitality: 02/11/90, 6 of 19

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FIFTY-TWO

Misty, sunglasses and visored sport cap in place, stands on the northwest side of the court just behind the baseline, bouncing the ball against the sand-fortified, green-painted asphalt, eyeing Julie who stands cater-corner to her.

“Should we review the rules of the game?” Darryl asks from the southwest side of the court.

“Whoever serves first on a team serves throughout the game and whoever receives first receives throughout?” Misty replies. Miming a serve she adds, “After the serve either player can hit the ball. We alternate which team serves based on which team misses a shot or hits a ball out-of-bounds. Points are only scored by serving team and the outside lines are our boundaries. Balls hit on the line are in. If I hit Joe or the net with a serve it’s a fault, if I hit either of you it’s a point. Ball’s gotta bounce on a serve before you hit it.”

“That sounds like a well-grounded understanding of the fundamentals,” Darryl answers. “All right you Kleen cut couple, we’re ready when you are.”

“Right,” Misty responds nodding to Darryl before turning to Joe, raising her brow, tilting her chin and asking, “Ready?”

“Ready,” Joe says. “You may fire when ready, grimoire.”

“What?” Misty asks, shaking her head.

“Really?” Joe responds, left hand flipping his palm skyward at the wrist. “Gridley, grimoire? ‘You may fire when ready, Gridley?’ Nothing?”

“Sure,” Misty says with a shrug, “whatever you say. I am familiar with the expression, ‘You may fire when ready, Gridley?’ but after that I am 100% lost.

“Charles Gridley?” Joe demands. “Admiral Dewey? Spanish American war?”

“I think you lost this battle, mate,” Darryl says with a chuckle and a salute. “Best let her serve.”

“Serve on, Misty D’Meiner,” Joe responds with a shrug, “serve on.”

Misty gently lobs the ball into the air and, racket swinging ineffectually, barely manages to dribble the ball to the Lewis side of the court but only after it strikes the top of the net. “Darn!” she exclaims. “That’s a fault, isn’t it?”

“It is,” Darryl confirms. “That’s alright, take another go. Just put a bit more muscle into it.”

Misty nods, puffs out the lower part of her left cheek by pushing her tongue hard against it, raises and lowers the ball twice and then executes a lightning fast, expertly placed serve that bounces just to the left of Julie who’s backhand swing arrives stunningly late. “More like that?” Misty asks.

“Indeed,” Darryl says, nodding. “Aren’t skunk and stinker synonyms in the States?”

Des Moines: 11/20/2020

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Good morning, Jack!

Yesterday started poorly and did not go as expected, but we rallied in the end. Remember what I said about you, Pat and me sharing that full sized bed? Pat gets half of the bed and you and I get to share the other half which is not what I would call an equitable distribution of land considering that I am the biggest of we three and have the most back problems, but there it is. The bed accommodations means that none of us gets a great night’s sleep as it contorts two of us into weird positions and Wednesday night you did a number on yourself.

Thursday morning you woke up crying in pain and holding your ear. Your mom thought it was an ear ache and made a midmorning appointment for you at the doctor and your dad took you. Turns out you kinked your neck and with your limited vocabulary and our limited ability to read minds we figured you were sick. Nope, not sick, just “injured.” I understand about the pain. My back has been giving me fits for over half-a-year now and even though I’m going to physical therapy I’m not very good about doing my rehab exercises so PT doesn’t help much if I don’t do my part. Silly Paki!

(By the way, your house has three bedrooms and because of your pain in the neck you slept in your own room last night. I missed having you to snuggle with but I know Pat and I slept better without the third little monkey jumping on the bed!)

Speaking of vocabulary, you are a very bright little boy and your ability to speak is starting to catch up with your ability to understand and reason. I went to college to become an elementary school teacher so I know stuff about child development, intelligence and how we all mature differently but I have to admit that your slower than average speech attainment worried me a bit over the last year or so which makes it even GREATER when I get to see you blossom in your abilities!

I had hoped we would practice your bike riding some more yesterday but you didn’t want to and since you weren’t feeling well I capitulated. We did take you for a walk in the baby jogger and when we came to intersections you would say, “Turn this way!” and point.

I wasn’t having any of that and would say, “Which way? Left or right?”

You continued to point but also would say, “Turn left, Paki!” or, “Turn right!” as appropriate. That’s pretty high level stuff for someone who doesn’t turn four for five more days. You also do really well with colors and animals. We’re working on letters and numbers/numerals and I plan to throw the four seasons in the mix soon.

Dad went on a bike ride with us Wednesday but his butt got sore so it was just the three of us yesterday. Mom took the day off work today so I know we’ll all do something together.

Speaking of together, last night we went to J.C. Penny and got our pictures taken! You are in EVERY SINGLE PICTURE and there are pictures of just you, you with mom and dad, you with Pat and me and pictures of all five of us. You did a great job of listening to the photographer and Pat already made a picture of the three of us her Face Book “profile picture” which her friends are loving.

And let’s end today’s note with loving. When your father was born I realized just how much my parents loved me, something I had taken for granted and not really understood until then. Having a child made parental love so vivid to me and having you as mi nieto opened up my eyes concerning grandparenting. Pat and I love you more than you’ll likely know unless one day you have a child of your own.

Love you!
Paki

Joe Kleen- Southern Hospitality: 02/11/90, 5 of 19

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FIFTY-ONE

Julie turns out to be far more adept at returning Darryl’s gentle lobs back across the net than are Misty and Joe but the performance gap between the two women quickly lessens.

“Very nice, MS Misty,” Darryl declares enthusiastically. “Excellent backhand!”

“Yeah, it’s something I have to look out for,” Joe says with a smirk.

“Don’t blame her a bit, mate. Gotta keep us blokes in line. Sure you’re not using black magic there, MS M?” Checking his watch Darryl adds, “You ready to try a game or would you rather do a few more drills first?”

“I’m ready when they are,” Julie declares. “How do we want to team up? Joe, would you rather have me or Misty as your doubles partner?”

Joe’s head jerks to the side as his mouth curls and brows rise. “Hadn’t thought about it really. Just assumed it’d be Lewis v Kleen. Misty?”

“Same. Darryl’s challenge kinda implied spouses as partners. I’m fine with that unless there’s a reason not to?”

“I believe my darling is trying to even the playing field, or the court in this case,” Darryl replies. “Obviously we both have a lot more tennis experience than you two. Happy to mix up our mixed doubles if you’d prefer.”

“I’m fine with us going mano a mano con ustedes,” Joe says. “Misty? You want to team up with me or Darryl? If he’s your partner you get to backhand me to your heart’s content.”

“That is tempting but I thought we were racing for pinks here?” Misty says with a grin. “Not much point in betting if we split it between us. I’ll race what I brung,” she adds pointing her thumb toward Joe and smiling more broadly.

“Ah, the wager. I wasn’t going to bring that up,” Darryl says. “Alright, Misty and Joe on one side Julie and me on the other. Would you prefer to serve first or shall we flip a coin?”

“Mist?” Joe asks.

“Let’s serve,” Misty says. “Who knows, maybe we can skunk ‘em.”

“‘Skunk them’ is American slang for beating us without our scoring a point, right?” Darryl asks. “I like your attitude. Would you prefer to start on the north or south side?”

“This side is fine,” Misty says, tapping the court gently with her borrowed racket.

“North it is then. And the wager?” Darryl asks. “Drinks by the pool?”

“That works for me,” Joe says nodding. “Loser buys first round?”

“Only round, I’m afraid,” Darryl declares. “Don’t want too much of that dog hair.”

“Amen to that!” Julie says, adding, “Let’s play!” as she heads around the net and stands by Darryl’s side.

Must Count Again

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“We the People”
have been deceived
Great election
must not believe!
A ruse, a lie,
a phantasm
With outcome false
must count again!

Must count again
till get get it right
From start to end
we’ll win or fight
Concede conceit
is our great feint
Won’t let numbers
our vict’ry taint!

A landslide win
makes Forty-six?
The lying Left
used dirty tricks
Such dirty tricks
voter turnout,
Early, mail-in
destroyed Trump’s rout

A route, a path,
to victory
Ordained by God
You Tube clearly
Mass Media
is run by crooks
All pedophiles
won’t be mistook

Comet Ping Pong,
Satanic Rites,
Edgar M. Welch
knew wrong from right
Hillary C.
pizza parlor
He broke that up
with his AR

The Cover Up
that was exposed
By Info Wars
host Alex Jones
A True News Site
serves God above
Trump’s instrument
of holy love!

We Crusaders
of modern times
Will boogaloo
to smash their lies
Lies Shifty Schiff
tells to deceive
As plots TREASON
against Great Chief

Good folks, both sides,
in Charlottesville
Knew then and there
must do Trump’s will
Trump’s wink, Trump’s nod
we did receive
And that message
it did relieve

Relieved the doubts
weak entertained
That WHITE POWER’S
not God ordained?
Saint Don’s profit
(spell word both ways)
Spreads truth and light
with pepper-spray

Our militias
armed to the teeth
Work hand in glove
Commander Chief
He said, “Stand down,”
and to, “Stand by,”
if Trump don’t win
bullets will fly!

There’s just two camps
that’s US and Them
We’re Red, White, Blue
they are mudmen
The race mixers,
and girly boys
the welfare moms
Democrat whores

Great USA
under attack
Left steals the vote
we’ll get it back
No greater land
no greater creed
M, A, G, A
will fill great need

Founding Fathers
limited vote
White Christian Males
with deeds, bank notes
Life, Liberty,
and Happiness
are best served by
those of whiteness

We The People
shall be appeased
When overturned
count of Commies
Radical Left
must not let win
Concede defeat
terrible sin

January
Trump will stand tall
He’ll show the world
Inaug’ral Ball
Our Destiny
is Manifest
All Know TRUMP’S Right
not wrong like left

“We the People”
have been deceived
Great election
must not believe!
A ruse, a lie,
a phantasm
With outcome false
must count again!

****************

A little slice of life, far right, “fake noose,” first person POV poem of insanity.

Des Moines: 11/19/2020

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Good morning, Buttercup!

A funny thing people do is talk about the weather, especially old people. Des Moines had snow early this month and the winds were ferocious Sunday as we drove here but starting Monday the days have been mostly accommodating concerning rain, wind and temperature. The nice weather has allowed us to go outside and play every day since we arrived and we have also loaded you up in the Burley Trailer and taken you on two one-hour-long bike rides along with going on two nighttime walks with your dad and Cereza. One night your dad put Molly in a kitty-carrier backpack and we four two-legged animals plus two four-legged ones walked for nearly an hour, though you got to ride in the Baby Jogger and Molly just lounged in her carrier.

Monday I spruced up your dad’s Cannondale bicycle and attached the Burley trailer to it and you, Pat and I headed northwest on the Trestle Trail bike path. We only went a few miles before we came to the spot up near Beaver Creek and I 80 but the trail there is still closed. We did a little exploring to find a way around the trail closure but only found the Beaverdale Little League ballfields, not a way to continue northwestward. (Turns out we just had to hit a little section of gravel if we wanted to continue, but no big deal.) We rode an hour but you slept most of the way!

You live very close to the Woodlawn Education Center which is a public school pre-school. Normally Woodlawn would be swarming with students during the day and we would stay away during school hours but COVID has the kids learning remotely which leaves the playground to us! Monday we loaded you in the baby jogger and walked over and the three of us played for about an hour while mom and dad worked.

Tuesday Pat said it was too cold for her to go biking but she did carry your bike to Woodlawn as I pushed you in the baby jogger. Once there we alternated between unstructured play and circling the short, paved walking trail.

No offense, but you are not a natural when it comes to riding the little, red 16″ Trek bicycle that I brought for you last year, but I “patiently” insisted that you try. In this case “patiently” means I didn’t holler at you but did insist that you keep going. Slow. Tedious. Progress. But definitely progress. We played, circled the track, played, circled the track, played and then you rode the bike home! As I said, you made remarkable progress but not a, “Duck to water,” scenario.

Yesterday morning I tried having you ride the 12″ bike with no pedals and the seat low enough that you could use it like a scooter. No bueno! You hated it and we quickly gave up, but you did ride your bike to Woodlawn as we walked beside you. We played there, circled the track, played some more and you rode home. You do not like having to push hard up the small hills that separate you from Woodlawn nor do you like going “fast” on the downhills but you’re making progress. We’ll try again today. We also rode an hour with you in the Burley and your dad on his old Schwinn mountain bike that I fixed up with new brake pads and a bit of TLC. We had fun!

Today the plan is to head over to Woodlawn where you can play and practice pedaling, pack you in the Burley for another ride, do some yard work and get some family photos taken. I’m looking forward to spending the day with you.

Love you!
Paki

P.S. You, Pat and I are sleeping in a full size bed and it is very, very crowded. Having you to snuggle with is worth the discomfort but boy do you take up A LOT OF ROOM!