No Gift to Give His Children Except . . .

He has no gift to give his children this Christmas
Except love, hugs and kisses . . . and a heart-poem
. . .
If I could give you a large mansion with room for expansion, I would;
If I could give you gold, as cold as the metal might be, I surely would;
If I could give you the stars so far away, I would give them one by one;
If I could give you fine clothing and a nice bottle of wine, I would do so;
If I could give you the moon, so soon would I fetch it down, all for you;
If I could give you cars to travel afar and a reservoir of jewels, I would;
Yes, if I could give you both all of this and more from some Santa store
Please know that I would, and allow this thought grow in your hearts:
I would give you material goods made of silver, metal, jewels ‘n wood,
But I can give you only my love and pray you do not shove this aside,
As well as my affection with no rejection nor reduction in my gratitude
For the two of you . . .
You both are my own gift as you lift my spirit to an heavenly altitude!
So with this I say, ‘merry Christmas’ with a kiss you surely won’t miss



Happy Holiday Thinking

Do you think of the person who looks for a place to lay his head,
Wondering where he’ll get his next piece of bread?
Who finds a place to curl up against the cold winter’s night
Only to be told to move when he has nowhere to go,
Except maybe six feet below?
Or the little girl who whirls around from alleyway to alleyway
Trying to find someone who cares but only ends up
With some pervert that binds her behind locked door?
Do you consider the old woman with shopping cart
Who makes dumpsters her grocery mart?
Or the wandering band from a foreign land
They used to call home?
Or the shell-shocked children of Gaza
Who search for toys among rock and rubble plazas?
Do you think oils spills that poison drinking water
Or the mountain of bills the poor cannot afford to pay?
Or the bullets that kill amidst the shrill screams of war?
Or the ill who have no medical care
Because they cannot bear the cost?
Or the man lost in his own world without hope of escape?
Or blackened drapes, sour grapes, formless shapes,
And untold rapes?
Say, what do you think when you blink your eyes at the world?
Before you say ‘happy holidays,’ think and sink into reality . . .
* * * * * * * *
Do you consider the person who looks for a place to lay his head,
Wondering where he’ll get his next piece of bread?

Blessed be the Poor

Do you know what it is to beg for bread?
Do you know the dread of not being fed?
Have you ever had to hang your head?
Have you ever felt the need to plead?
And have you ever been misled,
Given stones in place of bread?
It’s not easy and makes you very queasy;
Some people quickly think you’re sleazy!
Oh, but to be turned down with a frown,
Especially after you’ve helped so many,
Giving a twenty when you had plenty –
Or even when you barely had a penny –
It makes you sick, like a kick in the gut!
When you yourself fall into a rut,
You’re mistreated like filthy smut;
Even your temple-church cuts you;
No more wanted; no more needed;
They have nothing to give for you to live!
Tell me, do you know the dread
Of begging for merely bread?
To be in need of even a few small seeds?
. . .
‘Blessed are the poor, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.’

Falling Thru the Cracks

She broke her back and fell thru the cracks,
And it was a nasty basement, filthy encasement,
But nobody said ‘goodbye’ and no one heard her cry;
Sighing was all she had left, ‘cept lying to herself,
But one good lie would dry her tears despite her fear
Because she was alone with nobody near to hear;
No one missed her, and no one came for her,
                                                 And this pissed her,
But what could she do with broken back and lack of help?
Yelping would not keep her sane, so she chose to sleep
On a neat pile of rags, about which she could not brag,
But all in all she knew her situation was not unique;
Many had fallen thru the cracks with broken backs!

As the Cold Wind Blows. . .

As the cold wind blows and far flies the snow
For winter’s grand freezing show, do we know
How the blood slows for so many in low places,
Without blankets, socks, coats or moccasins
As they sleep on blocks of ice? Isn’t it nice
To have warm home, safe from storm of chill,
With the thrill of toasting our toes by the
Crackling fire; many are ready for funeral pyre.
Do you know the show’s not so grand for band
Of wandering poor, who see only death in store?
Perhaps, then, we could spare some few layers
To save lives, rather than being thick knaves?

After all, what is in store for those who ignore the poor?
Surely there’s a place to show your face and donate, too?

Sweet, Sick Home Alabama

Alabama[1]Alabama, Alabama! How beautiful and baneful; how promising and poor; how stout and strong, yet sick and wrong!

Thirty-ninth in education? Yes, tragically so … and I weep. Or, perhaps, the seventh least educated state in our country.

Forty-third in health and medical care? Yes, tragically so … and I weep.

Forty-seventh in poverty? Yes, tragically so … and I weep. Sweet home Alabama ranks only 42nd in per capita income… Is this, too, the case? Yes.

Is it any wonder?

Rounding out the best states for the wealthy is Alabama, one of several Southern states that are overwhelmingly friendly to high earners. The wealthiest 1 percent pay just 3.8 percent of their income in taxes, while the poorest taxpayers shell out 10.2 percent. The middle class isn’t far behind, with 9.4 percent paid in taxes on average.

Third in divorce rates? Yes, tragically so … and I weep. Ah! But the second most religious state in the nation, as well! And this … this nauseates me!

Forty-sixth in eco-friendliness? Yes, tragically so … I weep.

And to make up for its budget shortfall? Alabama legislators have decided to slash $156 million from Medicaid, (which does not include federal matching funds.)

Both legislators and officials say the cut could mean the end of the Medicaid program in Alabama. It would not only hurt some 1 million Alabamians who qualify for the program, but force the closings of rural hospitals and devastate nursing homes and pediatric practices.

Yes, tragically so … I weep.

When, oh when will we learn? There are other states faring well enough — much healthier, vibrant, stronger, more robust — why does the grand maiden of the South continue to close her eyes and ears … to shut off all sense and sensibility to what is good, progressive, workable, beneficial in the long-run? Why do so many have to hurt, have to endure pain and suffering throughout this state, when solutions have been on the table for years upon years? Ah, but there are those with fat wallets not especially keen on financial diets!

So short-sighted, so tragically short-sighted … and stubborn and arrogant, too. Other states might do well to learn an invaluable lesson from what will surely, finally be the “Decline and Fall of Alabama.”


Soiled, Maybe, but You’re Too Clean!

You’re out!
Out of line and off the mark,
Out in left field, off the track!
You’re out!
Out of your mind,
Turned from your kind,
And now you’re blind!

Ah! And all because I’ve embraced my mothering God, who is father as well? All because I honor the woman as equally as the man? All because I care for the poor and downtrodden as much as I care for defending our country? The best defense we can build for our country is to build up the people who make up our country. Is this out of line and off track?

Yes, you’ve turned;
In everlasting hell to be burned!
No ideology as yours so pale,
No god ere some fragile female!
No poor but made themselves poor,
Nothing to do but shut the door!
Yes, you’ve turned!

Oh! And am I so pitiful to cling to mighty Deborah? To Jael and Joan of Arc? So weak to love earth and sky, bird and field as brother, like unto Brother Francis of Assisi? Sick in heart and mind all for love of the downtrodden oppressed, repressed and possessed of hunger and wasting ill, like Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, Gautama Buddha, Mohandas Gandhi, and the Reverend Doctor King?

Yes, you’re out!
Out far from your life-way,
Out to your kindred betray!
Yes, you’re out!
Out in revolutionary field,
Out with radical battle shield!
Yes, you’re out!

Ugh! You make me sick with your thick lies and heavy sighs! Am I following not in the footsteps of One who turned our world upside down and inside out? One who was nailed to wood by politics and religion for being so radical? Have I turned away from the lonely, poor and destitute he came to save? Left behind the love of the God who is Love? No! I may be soiled, but … you’re too clean!


Priorities, Priorities

Just today many of us learned the sad ~ dare we say, angering ~ news that the U. S. Senate is recommending $1.7 billion in education cuts. Wow! Meanwhile, military spending is projected to hit right at $598.5 billion for fiscal year 2015. Not to be too terribly political here, because my readers know how I loathe being political (LOL), but does this not seem just a tad bit skewed? I mean, in trying to get spending under control, kind of like swatting a fly when you have a thousand cockroaches running around the house?

And this along with the considerations I mentioned in a previous blog article:

In 2013, there were 45.3 million people in poverty. For the third consecutive year, the number of people in poverty at the national level was not statistically different from the previous year’s estimate…

And importantly:

Many families in America’s struggling lower-middle class – defined to include those with income between 100 and 250 percent of the federal poverty level, or between roughly $15,000 and $60,000, depending on family size and composition – live in economically precarious situations. Though not officially poor, these families experience limited economic security; one major setback in income could push them into poverty…

Nearly one in five American working-age families with children lives in poverty, officially defined as being below 100 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL). Approximately 30 percent of families have incomes that place them between 100 and 250 percent of the FPL. Federal poverty thresholds vary by family size and composition, meaning that families with the same income, but with different household compositions, can be in different positions relative to the FPL… These families’ proximity to the poverty line means that any unanticipated downturns in income could push them into poverty. For this reason, we could reasonably consider these families to be the struggling lower-middle class.

discretionary_spending_pie,_2015_enacted[1]Some other interesting factoids to add might be that “according to the International Centre for Prison Studies, there are 2,228,424 prisoners in the United States. That is enough to make the United States first in that category. The second highest number of prisoners is in China, at 1,701,344.” And yet “according to Pearson, the United States has a ‘cognitive skills and educational attainment’ score of 0.39, which makes the United States rank fourteenth out of forty countries ranked in that category.” Any connection? Likely so… But I’m not an expert sociologist, criminologist, or cultural analyst … still less an accomplished political scientist. So … what do I know? Well, as an average, ordinary, everyday kind of guy, I know we seem to have our priorities “upside-down, inside-out.”

Nelson Mandela said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Touché! More poignantly, perhaps, is an old Tibetan proverb, which teaches, “A child without education is like a bird without wings.” Again, touché! There must be something to all of this, after all; so too, the Hebrew proverb comes to mind, to wit: “Train up a child in the way s/he should go, and when they are older they will not depart therefrom.” Continually slashing education expenditures, lowering the academic quality of education that is provided, and the astronomical number of men and women in U. S. prisons… Is there some connection here? Yes, methinks so, and all the while we spend well over 50% of our national budget on military and para-military equipment, operations, personnel, research and development, foreign engagements and/or defense, etc. And please do not imagine I am anti-military! I come from a family of military personnel, who have or are proudly serving our country in uniform. And I heartily support the brave women and men of the Armed Forces of this country, in which I am truly thankful to live. However … it’s still priorities, priorities! And we have ours screwed up right now!


Spend an Old Penny to Help the Many

poor-old-woman[2]What’s the old woman worth, who can’t afford to pay her bills and eat her meals?
Just o’er the poverty line, she wears a sign, “I’m not poor, and so benign.”
Cereal, one piece of toast, days to wait for medicine, and nothing to boast
On the heels of check so small, no one to call, while the rich stand oh-so tall.

Spend an old penny to help the many, outdated information not counting inflation,
Methods suggested generations ago, still guarded today like the prize of our nation.

Millions upon millions pay the billions to keep afloat the boat of corruption
With no interruption or disruption in Washington nor Wall Street, and ne’er eruption
From the downtrodden mass of the poverty class, stumbling thru life o’er broken glass;
With in hand checks so small, and no one to call, and trump-rich standing oh-so tall.

Spend an old penny to help the many, outdated information not counting inflation,
Methods suggested generations ago, still guarded today like the prize of our nation.

He makes painful sacrifice only to ride wind of change; to end and begin again,
New chapter, new pen to break the baneful chain, to live on peaceful plain;
His children running free in soft-falling rain, no fear of lack or broken back
Under load too heavy for any to carry ~ this, his dream shoved in a haversack.

Spend an old penny to help the many, outdated information not counting inflation,
Methods suggested generations ago, still guarded today like the prize of our nation.

Crawling out from safety hole, little girl takes the park stroll, no one to console,
To see what she stole just to fill her breakfast bowl; ah! tis only a sweet roll
And lump of coal to keep her warm on winter night, safe from blight but not from fright;
They may take her yet, the seamy crowd so proud to do with her what’s not allowed.

Spend an old penny to help the many, outdated information not counting inflation,
Methods suggested generations ago, still guarded today like the prize of our nation.

In God we trusted, divine love busted; justice burned, and charity’s court adjourned.