On changing the world and other small ambitions…

change-the-worldIn my inbox I was surprised to discover the answer to all problems. It’s as simple as taking a college course titled, How to Change the World, offered by Wesleyan University. Here’s the link you’ll need to change the world: https://www.coursera.org/course/changetheworld.

Good luck with that.

In the meantime, enjoy several shorter stanzas on the same topic.

Oh, to be a Jack

Jack of all trades, master of none,
was the watchword back in the day
and I always found it so annoying;
an excuse, I was sure, to just ignore
so much going-on, available to me,
ready to become part of my little life
and make it big and exciting and alive;
but because of a distrust in abilities,
my grasp of every little thing, lacking
discernment, the inability to discern
between lust and love, hyper-attentive
distractedness, and the damnable
curiosity that kills cats, I was told
I just didn’t need to know because
people in power like to keep secrets
in order to keep it for themselves;
but I didn’t want their power,
I was no master, I just couldn’t stand
being happy with not being a Jack.


Knowing and Spiders and Snakes

Of all the things to be frightened by – spiders and snakes,
the dark, those higher than high heights, and what’s
under the bed at night to a child or the dark of a closet,
and spiders and snakes, I’ve learned of two which I fear
and will never be anything but: the fear of missing out
is the first – they call it FOMO, but the acronym doesn’t
make it less fearful; it’s still the paranoia of an ideal life
which must be out there and we’re missing it, always
missing it, the greener grass, the rose colored glasses
ruining life; the second is the double unknown – not
knowing what I don’t know – is worse than can be imagined;
some will think it’s what the oracle of Delphi said
about Socrates being the wisest of Greeks, just because
he knew he didn’t know everything, but he knew
and he was confident enough to die, not me;
Socrates said he knew nothing, I wish to know what
cannot be known and therefore I’ll never be ready to die,
never happy to sleep, never unafraid enough to
enjoy being frightened by spiders and snakes.

Please tweet, retweet, forward, backward, like, love, admire, share, gossip, and/or Oxford Comma your way into my heart. Thank you.

The Purple Phantom and other stories…

imageThis is yet another short part of my manuscript on the fictional lives of real people living in a real place I completely made up called Elizabeth, Illinois.

(Like, tweet, retweet, post, copy, follow, forward and/or tell two friends they really must read this.)


When Pastor Webber arrived Mrs. Jenkins and Mrs. Winters were standing in front of the room, talking to each other and occasionally ordering obedient silence from the kids. Pastor Webber’s entrance was obvious, but needed to be officially announced by the leaders, but not until they consulted the clock and calculated twenty-five minutes left until they planned to serve a snack. You can tell them a story, or do a Bible lesson, Mrs. Jenkins said, and You’ve got twenty five minutes, and They’re all yours, were their final words.

He sat down, in front of the dozen and a half faces, most of them wearing a defiant look –a We dare you to get us to listen, kind of look. He was no Janice Reynolds –he knew that, Mrs. Jenkins knew that, Mrs. Winters knew that, and Janice’s sister Beth knew that, and there was no display board, no hidden picture, no black light resting in anticipation. Just a middle-aged man wearing jeans, running shoes, and a flannel shirt unbuttoned and untucked with a gray t-shirt showing.

Have you ever heard of the Purple Phantom? was how he started. Two or three kids shook their heads No in a disinterested way. Ever heard of the boy named Ralph? was the next question, and again they shrugged No.

Well, Ralph was about ten years old, and in school one day, in the middle of world studies and something about a map and culture and far-away places his teacher asked if anyone had any questions. Ralph raised his hand, Yes Ralph? Well, I have a question, but it’s not about those people. Go ahead, ask your questions Ralph. It’s kind of silly, Ralph said, and the teacher quickly responded, There’s no reason to be afraid of asking questions, and turning to everyone in the room he added, There are no silly questions.

What is your question Ralph? Well, I heard something about something and, I didn’t understand, so, um…, and I was wondering something, and, um…, and the teacher impatiently blurted out, What’s your question Ralph?! O…kay, the boy shyly said, I wanted to know about, ummm…, the, uhm…, the Purple Phantom.

With that the teacher’s mouth made a gasping sound, his throat choked, eyes flashed anger and meanness and without hesitating marched to the door, threw it open and ordered Ralph to Leave at once, Go straight to the Principal’s Office, and hurried the shocked boy with Go, Right Now! Go! Young man! And he left, leaving the room in shocked silence. The teacher slammed the classroom door behind Ralph as he sulked down the hall.

Ralph, what are you doing here, was the secretary’s question. I’m in some kind of trouble, he answered. Well, you’re such a good boy, what happened, the secretary asked. When he said he didn’t know, she cajoled him, Oh, come now, what on earth could you do to get you sent here? We were doing World Studies and teacher asked if anyone had questions, and I said I did and then I got kicked out of class and he told me to come here. The secretary knew he’d left something important out of his account and said, What was it? Ralph said, He asked in anyone questions, and I said it was probably silly and he said There are no silly questions, and I didn’t mean to get in trouble or cause trouble and I don’t know what happened and I got sent here. You mean you were Sent here, don’t you Ralph, and he admitted his poor grammar. What was your question? And Ralph didn’t want to answer, he was afraid and said so, but the secretary assured him that unless it was inappropriate, he was free to repeat his question to her and she just wanted to know what had happened. I said that I was wondering about…, well…, and the secretary blurted out, For goodness sake what was your question Ralph? and he said, I wanted to know about the Purple Phantom.

At that the secretary jumped from her chair and grabbed for Ralph’s collar, roughly pulling him toward the Principal’s door, dragging him behind her as she burst through the door interrupting the Principal who was talking on the phone and hurriedly said, I’ll have to get back to you, something’s come-up here…thank you, and he hung up the phone with a shocked expression on his face. What’s the meaning of this? he blurted out speaking to the secretary but looking at Ralph with a face of both anger and indignation, and with that Pastor Webber’s own face was scrunched-up in a contorted fashion that several of the younger kids mimicked and everyone was listening now. Mrs. Jenkins and Mrs. Winters were standing in the doorway mumbling back-and-forth, looking at the kids, then at Pastor Webber, with their faces scrunched-up in a contorted fashion

The secretary wouldn’t let go of Ralph’s collar and he was hanging there with his heels off the ground, his shirt pulled up into his throat, and his head cocked as he strained against her grasp. That’s enough, the principal said, Let Ralph go. She reluctantly released him, and said, It’s horrible, just horrible. What on earth is wrong?! Ralph just didn’t know what was happening, and he was shocked, and shook his head and shrugged his shoulders (and a few more kids joined-in with Pastor Webber’s shrug). Tell him, young man, tell him! the secretary demanded and the Principal looked straight at Ralph who hung his head and didn’t want to speak. Tell him! she yelled again, and he jumped, and so did the Principal.

I don’t know! Ralph responded quickly, I don’t know what’s wrong, I just asked a question and everyone got mad at me! and Ralph was just confused. Now, young man, that doesn’t sound likely, the Principal said in a deep, official voice, but Ralph just shook his head (and almost all the kids, except the older ones, were shaking their heads, and Mrs. Jenkins and Mrs. Winters were shaking their heads, but with a hint of disapproval). And the Principal said, Tell me…ask me your question Ralph, and he hesitated but answered, Well, I was in class and we were doing World Studies and the teacher asked if any of us had a question and I raised my hand, and the Principal was listening and encouraging Ralph and saying Yes…, yes…, and…, And, Ralph said, I asked a question, and he stopped. The Principal was waiting, and waiting, and Ralph didn’t want to keep going. Well…? Well, I asked about…, About what? the Principal insisted. I asked about the Purple Phantom, Ralph said quickly. And with that the Principal’s face turned red, the secretary huffed something, and Ralph ducked as if he would be struck. Get out! Get out of this school, right this minute, and the Principal pointed toward the door, and Go home young man, and the secretary grabbed Ralph’s collar again and roughly pushed him toward the door and out into the hallway before shoving him toward the exit doors.

Ralph walked and then ran out the doors into a cold day and started for home. Along the way he avoided people walking by him, and refused to answer when asked Shouldn’t you be in school young man? by a woman. He was scared and cold and he ran the rest of the way home and into his front door.

Ralph, is that you? his mother called to him from the basement, and Ralph finally felt safe and ran to her, hugging her around the waist. What’s the matter? she asked, and he didn’t want to answer. After a few minutes, after some milk, after some distractions, his mom persuaded him to talk to her, and sitting next to him on the living room couch Ralph started to recount how they’d been in World Studies, and the teacher asked if there were any questions, And all I did was ask a question, Ralph said. Oh, Ralph, there must be something else; you can’t get expelled from school for asking a simple question. But I did, that’s all I did, Ralph said, I just asked a question about the Purple Phantom. At that his mother jumped to her feet and screamed in horror, Go to your room young man, and you’ll wait until your father gets home! And Ralph ran to his room and threw himself on his bed.

Hours later Ralph heard the front door open and close, he heard his mother’s voice, he heard a quiet discussion, and then the sound of his father coming up the stairs and toward his room. The door swung open and Ralph’s father said, What on earth did you say to your mother that’s got her so upset, young man?! and he sat down on the bed next to Ralph. The boy began to recount the story. His father didn’t believe him –that all Ralph did was ask a question, What was the question? He didn’t want to answer, he was scared and he knew nothing good could come of his answer, but he talked about all kinds of things with his father and he hoped that if he told him he would understand. When Ralph finally said, I asked about he Purple Phantom, his father put his head in his hands and began to shake. It seemed like an hour but it was just a few seconds of silence until his father stood up, and looked the other way, drew a breath and spoke slowly and purposefully, You – are – no – longer – my – son – Get – out – of – this – house – and – never – return! When Ralph said in disbelief, What? his father repeated himself and pointed toward the door. A minute later Ralph was standing on the sidewalk in front of his house and his mother and father had slammed the front door and Ralph heard the lock click (and at the Click! Pastor Webber made, several children jumped in their seats as if startled, and Beth Reynolds, who had returned just before the sound, had a quizzical look on her face).

Well…, and Pastor Webber exhaled in frustration, Ralph began to wander and wander until he came to a remote place, off a road, near a river, with no one around him; he sat down and began to cry. Without realizing it, a man had walked up behind Ralph and stood there quietly while the boy wept. Ralph jumped in fear when he sensed the man nearby, but the man said nothing. He just stood near and waited for Ralph to speak (and Pastor Webber sat, quietly as if copying the man, and the kids were sitting on the edge of their seats waiting, while Mrs. Winters looked like she was about to cry). The man finally asked, What is wrong? and Ralph was afraid to respond. He had been through so much, from his teacher, the secretary, the Principal, his own mother and father, and all for a silly question. The man just stood calmly waiting until Ralph in frustration and anger that he was Expelled and disowned all because he asked a stupid question! to which the man said, Tell me the question, maybe I can help you. No, Ralph said, No you won’t help me, no one is helping me. Trust me, I am different, the man offered.

Well, Ralph had nothing left to lose, and although he was afraid he decided he that telling this stranger could bring nothing worse than he’d already suffered, Pastor Webber said. And so, he walked right up to the man and lifted his chin proudly and spoke (and Pastor Webber’s face was lifted and he noticed Mrs. Winters lifted her chin with him), I am just a small boy but I asked a question that has caused me all my troubles, and the question was…, and Ralph hesitated, trying to understand the man’s face and guess his what his response would be…, and Ralph blurted out quickly, I asked about the Purple Phantom. With that he almost ducked, expecting the same reaction he’d received from every other adult, and braced himself for the worst.

But the man said nothing and made no reaction. Instead, he calmly said, That is a good question, and you’ll find your answer across the road behind you and find a small house with a swing in the front yard. Ralph was so surprised that he asked the man to repeat himself, and the man calmly said, Turn toward the road and look for a small house with a swing in the front yard. Ralph was in shock and the man simply turned and walked away from him in the opposite direction, across an open field. Ralph jumped when he realized he was free to move, free to find the house, free to have his question answered. He started to run along the roadside looking for the house, running and running and running, without becoming tired; he was excited and enthused and there…, right there, across the road up ahead was a small house, red brick, white windows and a swing was in the front yard, and Ralph could barely contain himself as he ran faster toward the house where he’d hear the answer to his question.

And then…, and then…, as he started across the street, with the house just in front of him, so close that he could make out the open front door as if he was being welcomed, as if he was expected…, just as he started across the street, SMACK, Ralph was killed by a speeding truck (and Pastor Webber clapped his hands together and everyone was startled, and even Beth Reynolds jumped in the doorway to the kitchen, and Mrs. Winters and Mrs. Jenkins clasped their hands to their mouths with a gasp). And before anyone could object, or say anything at all, Pastor Webber stood and said, And the moral of the story is, Look both ways before crossing the road.

And with that Pastor Webber walked right past all the kids, past Mrs. Winters and Mrs. Jenkins and Beth Reynolds, up the stairs, out the front door of the church and across the yard to the Parsonage to help Debbie with dinner. And the kids ate their snacks right on time.

Christmastime should be one word…


Look closely – christmastime is there

Or, it could be two words–one or two, but that’s it.

Successful Writing

Writing like this was once a joy
which came easily and early, excitedly, freely
as Christmas morning’s new toy
dreamed and hoped for, wished, ideally;

with Pollyannaish tones on parade,
words dancing and gliding, mating and meeting
like the way of a man with a maid
a romance and affair, tender, fleeting;

now lonely lines trouble the mind
pages toneless and joyless, lifeless, pointless
wondering wordless and unkind
no address to access, just success to transgress.



Free, is one of the good words,
of all the burdensome nouns and verbs
demanding so much of their import,
insisting as they treat us as sport;
but this one is careless and pure,
surprising to most, to some unsure,
unaccustomed to such freedom,
at liberty to be or even become;
for gifts are seldom gotten or given
without force, carelessly forgiven,
sailing at ease, running and forsaking,
all not’s and un’s there for the taking.

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Elizabeth, Illinois…

elizabeth mapYou may find your place using latitude and longitude, but still feel lost. (Who said that? Me… I just did…)

Here’s another selection from a manuscript in progress. The story is set in Elizabeth, Illinois (obviously), but the rest is made up.

Elizabeth, Illinois –latitude 42.317N, longitude –90.221W, used to be called Apple River, but today Apple River is upstate and a place to live on the Illinois-Wisconsin boundary with a newspaper and industry and better standard of living than here. And it’s not Apple River Canyon or Apple River Canyon State Park with vacation homes and campgrounds and picnic areas where people fish and boat and camp and hike on winding and hilly trails and frolic and relax where others once worked themselves to death mining. That’s all somewhere else from here, connected by some water that doesn’t run through it or much for that matter.

You’ve heard about French explorers in the upper Mississippi Valley in the seventeenth century, and about the mining, but you haven’t heard about a Scotch man named John Law, who was anything but law abiding –he  founded the Company of the West in Paris in 1717 based on a claim that the area held well-developed mines. When the truth reached France that investors had been duped, the fiasco became known as the Mississippi Bubble (something about the over-inflated estimates bursting). Some say John Law never came near the upper Mississippi Valley, that he culled information from explorers that either lied to him or told him the truth and he lied. Either way, his bubble burst.

Soon enough it was obvious that there would be no easy money from the area, but there was lead ore to be mined. That brought hard working immigrants (especially after the settlers had driven-out the Sauk and Fox Indians in the 1830’s), a railroad eventually connected it between Freeport and Galena, but that’s not for a while yet. It was called nothing at first, then Apple River Settlement, then Apple River, at one time it was Lewistown, but then it was Elizabeth and it has been that way ever since. One story says that the area was renamed after Elizabeth Winters, wife of John the farmer who held one of the first land deeds in 1825. While John planted corn, Elizabeth was one of the few women in the area and made it a place to live, eventually opening the first hotel and began development in the community. She was a Lady, as in a respectable woman with expectations and pressures and obligations and she met all of them, and even if she didn’t she was the one who had to pay the price. She worked hard to survive and so some people say Elizabeth is named after her.

Others say it was renamed after Elizabeth Armstrong who famously rallied the flagging spirits of settlers held up in the Apple River Fort during the famous battle of 1832. Either way, Elizabeth was still named after a woman.

And most of the people who live in Elizabeth to this day are women; they outnumber men 55% to 45% in the less than a half square mile that makes up the town. Back in the days of the Settlers it was 95% men and a few women who were all wives at first, then they had babies and some of them were girls. It’s hard to imagine how we get from a couple of male settlers to a community of families, but it might be like how the book of Genesis tells us about Adam and then Eve and then Cain and Abel who have wives and children and everyone winks assuming they married their sisters –six-of-the-one, half-dozen-of-the-other.

Nowadays, of the population fifteen years and older, half the men are married but only a third of the women get married, only a few men are widowers while one quarter of the women are widows (which seems to mean that marriage is killing the men but not the women), and fifteen percent of the men are divorced but just a handful of women are divorced (and everybody knows who they are, their stories, why they shouldn’t have gotten married in the first place and I told her so, but she wouldn’t listen, and Who did What to Whom). Ironically, churched women get divorced at the same rate as unchurched women, but churched men divorce less frequently than unchurched men (go figure…).And one-in-four of the men never marry so divorce isn’t an issue, and one-in-five of the women never marry, but I bet four-out-of-five of them would give marriage a try if an offer came their way.

The name of God and other fantasies…


Melvil Dewey (a.k.a. God)

I come from traditions (yes, plural – traditions) where it is blasphemy to dream God.

This is my blasphemy.

God’s Name is Melvil
It’s Melvil who divided up
everything that could ever be known,
dreamed, recorded, or wished in just
ten—Pythagorean ways
of perfection;
all because he thought it better than
organizing books by size and color
and memorizing
which nook or cranny
a certain volume was hidden,
stupidly saying
a child walked on water
because he didn’t know he couldn’t;
that was either religion (because
some believe what can’t be),
philosophy (because what kind of
world thinks this impossibility),
arts (because some will
depict anything that frustrates
reason), or literature (because no
one cares it if is so); and
this is why God’s name is now
Melvil Dewey.

Time to be God
Imagine the day begins where it ends
and winds backwards from there
with every new thing not new at all,
there are no novelties, inventiveness
is absent, second guessing overwhelms
every surprise, every moment, every
joy. Some say that’s the way God
sees us, the world – everything;
all immediately present and nothing
new, but perfect hindsight
ahead of and behind and all around
all that could ever be. That doesn’t
seem like it would be fun, and I wouldn’t
wish it that way, even if I were God.

God’s Friend
I forgive myself for being human,
just as I have God for being God;
birth is no defect, no dimness of lumen,
just being’s not worthy of saying flawed;

no longer do I demand, no longer cry for
life without what makes it more trying,
if Job could argue and Moses invite more
I’ll gladly enjoy joy as well as my crying;

without blaming God for my deflection
I now in turn say the same of myself,
forgetting, remembering all affection,
and taking sin’s mirror off every shelf;

no need for theodicy’s happy fault,
no tale from which a good God is saved
Great Oz needs no defending assault
and I’ve no need to be so enslaved;

the solution lies in refusing the priest
who demands to be needed at worst,
divinity needs no dark cultic feast
if redemption’s a grace not coerced;

this forgiving means religion’s dead,
or at least it’s tottering to an end,
no lack of efforts to supply its stead
but I now am surely God’s friend.



When an author is not just an author…

author mta_large1Half (and not the good half) of an author’s life is about what it means to be an author, and the other half is about forgetting that first half.

Concern for a Living
I am a struggling author;
poor, undiscovered, hungry,
delusional, fond of intoxication,
paranoid and jealous of others’
prose and publication,
ignorant of my own surroundings
in a proud detachment
I must have learned as necessary
to the self-imposed sadness
to summon my muse,
my war, my tragedy, my novel
which will save me from myself,
propel me reluctantly to fame,
movie and gaming rights
or allow me to write freely
without concern for a living.

Dear Author
It has taken me all month to finish your novel,
the one about two friends who were once close
but for some unexplained reason are no longer,
living lives vaguely dependent on each other
in some mysterious, invisible cosmic fellowship
which you take six hundred pages to explain,
how once they finished the other’s thoughts,
liked the same ordinary, everyday things
which fill lives without reason or purpose
but define idiosyncrasies like dental records,
they both had a bad experience wisdom teeth,
girlfriends, tomatoes, an inability to finish things
like friendships until they meet again on a train,
airport bound and discover nothing’s changed,
just older and fatter and both flying to Houston
for the same trade show, one selling, one buying,
same hotel, both divorced, kids indifferent
and unimpressed by life, they should grab a bite,
catch-up, where has the time gone, etc.,
but they never see each other it turns out,
and that’s okay – that’s how you end the novel,
and the dust jacket is dotted with quotes
from famous authors, all filled with praise
about how this is the Great American Novel,
because this is America according to everyone.

If I were born in Iowa I should have
become an author,
which is very different from a writer
or even a poet;
for the long winters would force
dark, ever-more
complicated plots descending
down snow banked, gloomy ways
with just flashes of light
passing so quickly they first blind,
then force you to wonder if they
were real at all;
Iowa doesn’t beget writers, for their
ways are hurried,
whiplashed barrages of shallow
persons with ironic twists
turning into ever more ironic
turns in the helter-skelter ways of
cities like Chicago which has more than
its share of such people – writers as well
as such persons too busy
complaining about what is
considered normal in Iowa that
it is become their sport;
now a Minnesota birth would surely
encourage poetry, but usually
the kind that rhymes with
everyday life,
because, let’s face it,
in the confines of cabin those
tight circles of rhymes
come easily as a neighbor
with a hot dish
ringing the door chime, or,
maybe, it would be
birds on fences, cows a-lowing
in a nativity
outside the Twin Cities,
the wisdom of matches
cobbled from life’s woods near
Emo, or how quiet
farmers are the salt of
the earth, no doubt in part due
to the pickled herring;
yes, it’s easy to see what I
would be if born in Iowa, so it’s
too bad I’m from Muncie, Indiana.

Aroused at meridian to a brilliant dismay,
mentation unfettered from eremitic seclusion,
banishing juvenile primum non nocere,
no longer pursuing the illusory conclusion.

Analogies abound in the world of intention,
reference revered in the present symbolic,
authors contest with readers’ intervention,
creating the occasion of receptive frolic.

Burrow wide and well in channel virginal,
render again and anew the company kept,
embrace untried manners regarded novel,
sequestering fantasy and religion except.

Construed for current contentment,
the extant subscriber seeks to narrate
hermetic theft  of meaning’s attendant
tomorrow’s uncertainty day gestate.

If I could dream I would…

boy_dreaming_blue_by_intao-d5b88u4When I dream, it’s about dreaming.


They Say If You Dream

Escaping what is, and therefore
what’s painful, is what dreaming
                                    is for.

Not day-dreaming, but submersing
yourself with the goal of never coming

 which may lead to slipping into that world,
   the alternative of someone’s making,

 where things are different and that’s
all that matters – whether out of
                        boredom or

shyness or fear or pain (but pain
usually wins in the end), or blindness
                                                to life;

   they say if you dream, 

maybe this can happen, but it never has,
   not by trying, not by praying, not in
                                    my lifetime.


My Gravity

I was awakened from a dream,
a dream about me – they’re always
about me it seems as the axis
of the world is under my feet,
all eyes turn to me, all words
are said for me as if pulled by
my gravity, and yet I never speak,
never a word, as space shrinks
close and closer, faces approach,
the ground and sky too come
to me, and just as it is all to be
enveloped in me as a fold
I wake, and I speak but no one
hears me, the sky opens forever
and forever away, familiar
faces withdraw, turning
carelessly, no calling stops them,
no motion halts the sky, I’m
being spun by the pull of true
gravity and lean back into
myself just to keep from falling.

Anonymity and other unknown things… (part 2)

When nobody knows anybody (or is it ‘When anybody knows nobody’?), life is what we call normal. If that bothers you as much as it does me, then you might enjoy this…

Humanized Anonymity
It has come to my attention
that doctors have a 100% failure rate,
if life is what they preserve,
and I’ve never seen one attend a funeral
unless it’s theirs, of course,
so I propose they be required to show
last respects for all their patients,
by law they must be there, embarrassing
as it will be, and apologize
along with everyone else saying ‘I’m sorry’
in the line winding around
the casket, and they will be one of the
only ones who truly mean it;
while I’m at it, I propose that
historians be forced to stand in public
at regular intervals, reciting
the names and a brief paragraph about
the millions and millions
they gladly ignore or anonymously label
when writing their big books
of sweeping, majestic generalizations
while a mother’s baby failed
to thrive and died in her arms yesterday,
a stupid boy, so unloved,
thought nothing of shooting a neighbor
so he might belong to a family
he’d never had before, or the paranoid,
wrinkled woman named Lucy
who spied out of her drawn drapes
at her new neighbors because
they didn’t belong in her neighborhood;
with funerals well attended
and public recitations going on daily,
we’ll be quite entertained but
probably not concern ourselves as we
go about ignoring important things
until we see our doctors dressed to mourn
or hear our name recited; and,
doctors would be so busy with funerals
that they’ll be unable to save lives,
and the writing of history books would
suddenly include observations
of the practice of public recitations and
how this is just a concession
to a silly and meaningless public clamor,
for meaning for humanized anonymity
that they’re happy to supply.