Tag Archive | Occasional Poetry

On the lighter side: Molly Talks in June Cotner’s “Dog Blessings”

I’m taking a break from the election (Please!  Please!  When will it be over?) to announce that my poem immortalizing my beloved pooch, Molly, has just been published in June Cotner’s DOG BLESSINGS. See the poem below, and here’s the link to June’s website where you can buy the book and read bios of all the contributors. (You can also get the book in the usual other places.) This little book is a sweet compilation of “Poem’s, Prose, and Prayers Celebrating Our Relationship with Dogs.” Divided into sections including “A Dog’s World,” “Puppies,” “Our Bond,” “Devotion,” “Aging Gracefully,” “Partings,” “Reflections,” and “Prayer’s, Blessings, and Inspiration,” the book includes work by wonderful dog loving poets from all over the country. A great gift for a dog lover…. Really!  

Below left: This serious (although very cute) dog posing with the book is June’s.  

Below right:  Whereas that extraordinary dog below is Molly and her friend Huddie. (Molly’s the chocolate)


This very cute dog posing with the book is June's 



Mine does. Mine talks a blue streak.

Has a full English vocabulary, colloquial and formal,

uses simple and complex sentences,

and muscular prose,

accompanied by a full range of gestures, tricks and expressions.

Grammatically iffy sometimes, but always deeply felt.

A fine sprinkling of Italian and Yiddish, too.

Here is a sampling:

·      Welcome to our house. I’m Miss Molly. See. It says so on my chair.

·      Mom, can you believe it? This guy won’t get out of the car. He thinks I look fierce. Ha. Ha. Ha.

·      I prefer THIS chaise lounge (chair, rug, hole) right now, and if I turn around three times first, it’ll be even more perfect. Ain’t life grand?

·      I’m really, REALLY sorry, Mom. I didn’t feel well.

·      Move over, would you? And by the way, I was here first.

·      I’ll come when you show me the goods.

·      Okay then, if I lie down and put my face on the floor between my paws, will you PLEASE give me some?

·      Are you upset, Mom? Here. Let me love you . . . put my head on your thigh . . . lick your face . . . rub your nose . . . put my paws around your neck . . . make you laugh with a brilliant antic. Or we can just sit here, if you want.

·      Are you talking AGAIN about what a great dog I am? Talk on, and I’ll listen and thump.

·      Ummmm. Get a load of these lilacs . . . carrion . . . goose (horse, dog, rabbit) poop . . . new mown grass . . . fish . . . birds . . . air . . . the weird smell in the hallway. Life is delicious, and smells SOOOOOO great.

·      Okay. If I can’t come, I’ll just wait here until you get home.

·      Oooooh! I just LOVE it when you brush me . . . tickle my ears . . . rub my belly . . . my hind quarters . . . that place on my back . . . no, not there! THERE!

·      Ahhhhhhh! This is the life.








More guns, more death, more grief

Every day now, it seems, we have to eat more of the poisonous fruit that has grown out of the election and re-election of George Bush. Yesterday’s 5 to 4 decision by the Roberts Supreme Court endorsed a so-called “personal right to own guns,” and overturned precedent of seventy years. What happened to Roberts and Alito’s promises during their confirmation hearings that they would honor precedent whenever possible? We can’t have “activist” judges, conservatives scream.

The net effect will be more guns, more death, and more grief. More mothers and fathers will suffer unspeakably over the tragic and unnecessary deaths of their children. More sisters will grieve over brothers. More brothers will weep over sisters. More grandmothers and fathers will have to bear watching their children endure the worst possible thing that could happen to them. Perhaps the honorable Justices who think there should be MORE guns in this society and not fewer guns would like to provide funds for grief counseling for the victims of their decision, one which completely defies decency, reason, and common sense. Oh, I forgot, Congress provides funds.

According to Adam Liptak’s news analysis in today’s NY Times, the precedent in this case was a 1939 decision in which the Court, in United States v. Miller, upheld a federal prosecution for transporting a sawed-off shotgun. A Federal District Court had ruled that the provision of the National Firearms Act the Miller defendants were accused of violating was barred by the Second Amendment, but the Supreme court disagreed and reinstated the indictment. This was followed by decades and decades which a majority of “courts and commentators regarded the Miller decision as having rejected the individual-right interpretation of the Second Amendment.

The court’s slim decision is yet another in a long line of devastating and destructive decisions that have followed from the stacking of the Court with conservatives. Here’s NPR’s Nina Totenberg, writing a year ago, about this matter.

“For conservatives, this term was pretty close to the best of times, and for liberals, it was pretty close to the worst of times. Although Roberts and Alito both promised at their confirmation hearings to honor precedent whenever possible, in their first full term together, they effectively reversed a number of key precedents. In each case, it was by a 5-to-4 vote.”

And the trend has only escalated during this current term.

During the arguments the appallingly arrogant and seriously misguided Justice Antonin Scalia, the darling of the right, parsed the meaning of the words “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” Justice Scalia argued that “the prefatory statement of purpose should not be interpreted to limit the meaning of what is called the operative clause.” His word-parsing, semantic argument is not unlike the argument over the placement of the comma in the clause that has been going on for some time now, and which, for all I know, may even be part of the decision. How do we argue semantics over common sense? That’s what I want to know. The “liberal” Justice Stevens argued more globally and sensibly that the majority’s understanding of the Miller decision was not only “simply wrong but reflected a lack of respect for the well-settled views of all our predecessors on the court, and for the rule of law itself,” and was “based on a strained and unpersuasive reading of the Second Amendment.”

As the kids say, “Whatever.”

The net effect will be more guns, more death, more grief.

I so well remember a conversation I had back in 2004 with a young woman who said she was going to vote for George Bush, because he would keep us safe. I decided not to address the “safety” argument, and pointed out that the reelection of George Bush would lead to the overturn of Roe v. Wade, which I knew she cared about, and many other laws that she counted on without even realizing it. She looked at me and shrugged, “Never happen.” Well, it IS happening, and it will continue to happen…

And it is yet another reason to support Barack Obama for President. John McCain comes right out and says he will continue to appoint conservative Justices like Scalia and Alito and Roberts to the Supreme Court. We cannot and SHOULD NOT just shrug that off, we should take John McCain at his word. Here’s yet another case of the unquestioning acceptance and operational reality of “doublethink” in this country. WHO are the “activist” judges?

Let’s do some real straight talking. If John McCain is elected, we can look forward to even more poisonous decisions by the Supreme Court, with majorities that will not be so slim.

Immersed in the language of our dissolving country

their cronies

and the poor

American landscape

disappearing in the rockets and red glare,

battle hymns of them and us.

Who are these people who

hang unbroken in creation

stimulate their Jesus action figures

steamrolled by flat-out hucksters

stupefied by the complex,

stream across the detritus of America

abrogate treaties, inform parades

circumnavigate the globe with their

misbegotten little wars,

sell any crapola like Good News,

stir any Orwellian double talk into their soup,

eat any fiction they find strewn across the open plains,

while little girls spread their legs

and people die without good reason

and we eat the poisonous fruit.

What is human without a microphone?

To which country did my grandfather Abraham come,

carrying his clothes on his back?