A child is told don’t lie
or god will be angry
and when he sees
he has been lied to,
[when he can find
no god in gilt-edged
guilt-ridden books]
when he craves truths
he rejects bronze-age gibberish
and braves a universe
unfolding as it must,
when he dares decide
for himself there is no god…
does he then lie with impunity?
Is this why self-proclaimed
believers assume atheisists
have a lesser moral sense?

Believers tell us religion provides
us with a moral base; this too
is a lie. Ethics and morals
need no supernatural intervention
and no one was brought to love
by coercion.

Might I suggest that
you tell a child not to lie
because, well, would
he want people to lie to him?




Pay Attention! (Benevolent Doggerel)

Be happy today
if gladness you choose –
there’s no other way
and no time to loose;
the secret’s in this
[believe it or not]
the root of happiness
is liking what you’ve got;
to just what extent –
to what precise measure –
you will be content
with this moment’s pleasure,
for happiness is here & now –
this instant is beyond worth –
finding happiness means knowing how
or else it’s nowhere on this earth



Catch Your Breath

Catch your breath
        (before it escapes around some corner)

     catch it – latch on
                              before it’s gone

     Listen to it           shatter
                   against solid matter

                     Breathe                    dammit !
            deeply           sanely
                       insanely      and know

     breath       is the antithesis           of death.  

          Screw Descartes – thinking is
                   for shrinking violets

    Feel instead the raw power of your lungs  
                  as they tell you

                 you       are          alive



Hub and Hum

like spokes of a wheel
    darkness turns
          the rim of brightness

     and on   and on

 a universe
    that is nought
         but vibration
             hub and hum

 lower, slower
     they come
       to produce sound
            bounding out of the dark

faster the pulse, the beat –
        higher the heat
           brighter the light
there is no why
that holds

   only wheels  
       that turn
          and turn
            that hammer
               hammer out
            day into night
      dark into light



The heathen sings grace (no foolin’)

ευχαριστώ – πολύ πολύ
ευχαριστώ – πολύ πολύ
ευχαριστώ – pour le soleil
ευχαριστώ – pour le ciel gris
ευχαριστώ – pour la journée
ευχαριστώ – la nuit aussi
ευχαριστώ – πο – λύ

ευχαριστώ – πολύ πολύ
ευχαριστώ – πολύ πολύ
ευχαριστώ – pour le poulet
ευχαριστώ – pour le perdrix
ευχαριστώ – pour le maquereau
tous les légumes et tous les fruits
ευχαριστώ – πο – λύ

The Backstroke and Beyond

mama’s hem was first crutch – dad’s trouser leg came then
steadily we tried to grasp the upright position
keen to give up crawling – to be just like other men
and somehow or other we passed the audition;

the ways of our fathers – we took in with mother’s milk:
who we were, who they were, to which the velvet, which the cotton;
nothing more important though than kith and kin …our ilk
and the hidden costs of all this? Unknown, perhaps forgotten;

wedded to our mythic forebears, lotsa fabled Big Begetters
[one wonders if there’s one among us singular at all]
if only folks bent down to glean sweet charity midst the letters –
I mean, if there were lesser fallout after the fall.

Listen friend, these ships might prove less sturdy than they seem
[even when you’re piloting your very own boat]
crash an iceberg – what remains? If you’re lucky, one strong beam;
best not even count on that – learn to face the sky… and float.



For the beggar on the corner

to keep your balance
when you lose your footing –
or your foot…arm, leg, eye
on the John Wayne Highway
to make the world safe
for democracy… or Monsanto,
Exxon…I don’t know
Godamn-Sachs, the gospel
according to Matthew, Mark
Locke and Smith.

of church and state, my ass,
more like separation of life and limb.
Don’t quite see it? Hard to face
when it might cost you
that year-end holiday bonus.
(Mammon was a pipsqueak)

God Bless
it said on the guy’s
curbside cardboard calling card –
hand written with a red marker
and of course the maimed vet believes !
Who wouldn’t hope for a fair shake
in the next round.