Poem on the first Feast of Pentecost

They don't know what comes next.
They are trembling,
assembled together for comfort,
confused, bereft, vulnerable,
exposed to hostile forces,
on the edge of unbeing.
They've nothing to bless themselves with
and their manifesto looks dumb
without a party leader.
Where are they to go from here?

It was safe in his company,
despite the witchhunt.
The suffering had a purpose.
They trusted what he was about,
dimly grasping that the 'whited sepulchre'
must be blasted to shards.
To Regain Paradise by dint of law
and the redistribution of wealth
was both illusion and travesty
that cost blood anyway.

He had come to weigh himself
in the balance,
the fulcrum of those scales
unhinged by Adam for all time,
without some Mighty Advocate
intervene with a case
of special pleading and turn the tables
on the wealth-and-muscle hungry,
those with intellectual pretensions
and stiff-necked arrogance.

But why abandon his own,
just when the tide seems
to be turning? The corporate
wounds, defiantly repairing, are now
incorporeal. His mother, the chamber
of his incarnation, the only shrine
and single point of focus, holding it
all together: they could scavenge
with their eyes of dust until eternity,
the vision fumed with nostalgia.

But hark! This rushing wind fans
embers into conflagration.
He's here! In cloistered space!
Mary's haloed head peers heavenward
and hands are linked in concord.
Atomic Courage! Immortal Inspiration!
Babel rased to debris! Love reigns!
No power on earth can quench
Shekhinah's fire! Go, tell the world
and dare to live as if...

From JERICHO ROSE, Songs from the Wilderness (poetry collection in preparation).


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Roads I didn’t Take And Public Transportation

Many years ago when we were students and newly wed, I worked part time at one of the Steimazki bookstores in Haifa. A colleague, a lovely lady, had just moved to Haifa and told me that she was selling her house in Binyamina in order to buy an apartment on Mount Carmel. At that time, almost forty years ago, a house with a substantial yard in that small sleepy town cost the same as a modest apartment in the Carmel.

I had never really been to Binyamina, at that point, but felt that I knew the place since the train from Haifa to Tel Aviv stopped there. It seemed as though the town was within an easy reach from Haifa.

That night I went home and told my husband about that house, I wanted to buy it but he wasn’t at all sure. 

Please keep reading in the Times Of israel

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Human Relations

The world’s people aren’t really too good with human relations. The Holocaust is a big example. We all point to that as one of the grossest human relations mess in history. Shame on Germany.

Well, shame on America, too, right? We invaded another country and toppled their government, treating their people as savages, methodically hunting them down and murdering them using superior killing technology. Many of the nations and people we displaced in that process, first as a colony, and then as a growing nation who wanted stuff the Indians had, disappeared. Their survivors are still pretty bitter about it. Now the Indians fight to keep their sovereignty and keep their languages alive.

Meanwhile, a few centuries later, we invaded Iraq with almost the same scenario. They had stuff we wanted, or, like it was sometimes used to murder Indians, we just didn’t trust them. We didn’t like them. They were brown people, with a different culture and religion. You know they can’t be trusted, because they’re not much like us. Our newest hero, Kyle of American Sniper fame, made it clear that the Iraqis were savages and he didn’t think anything more than that about them.

It’s an attitude many have about blacks. Black slaves were shipped to America. They were an economic boon to the new bastion of freedom, liberty and independence. Surprisingly, many blacks, just like the Indians, and the Iraqis later, weren’t real pleased with their situation. Some fought back. That wasn’t a problem.  As pieces of property, they were easily put into their place, just like women who used to insist they were equal to men. Rape them, kill them, torture them, imprison them, that’ll teach them to be uppity.

I’m not bitter about this. But then, I’m a MAM – a Middle-class American Man. We mostly have it pretty good as far as rights good. I’m heterosexual, too, which improves my situation, generally speaking.

No, given all that, and my age and general financial situation, I’m in very good spirits today, yes, worried about things like our water supply and other people’s rights, and the police killing unarmed people and getting pretty violent, and people killing police and escalating it as well, but that’s sort of abstract from my POV. Nobody is hunting me, at the moment, at least that I can see. I’m a fiction writer. Some part of my mind always dwells in plots and paranoia, something fostered in me by military training to watch out for terrorists and military training to plan and train for the worst imaginable situations. I also sometimes plan bank robberies, as Dell's father does in Canada. 

What brings me to my human relations thoughts is my adopted state’s history. I live in Oregon. I moved here from my previously adopted state, California, almost ten years ago. I lived in California about fourteen years. I know more about it from my elementary school history lessons than I know about Oregon. They taught us about California and Texas. They skated over Oregon – along with Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, and a whole bunch of square states in the country’s midsection.

I recently learned about Oregon’s racist past. When Oregon became a state, no blacks were permitted to own property. Blacks weren’t allowed to move to Oregon and the KKK had a strong presence reinforcing that position.

It frankly sucks. I’m proud of my new state in some matters, disappointed in others. This is an area that disappoints me. I had to wedge this piece of knowledge into the mosaic of my feelings and thinking. That’s what shipped me down the path through world human relations.

America isn’t alone in this. I watched Fingersmith last night, reminding me of how the English treated one another based on their class differences. Or peer into at the Middle East’s history. Or Africa. I hear Australia had some issues with their indigenous people, too. Killing to assert superiority, take over lands and improve security and welfare, whether we’re a country, nation, empire, tribe, clan or family, has been standard human methodology as far back as history is recorded.


Well, my mind and fingers are limbered up. Time to write like crazy one more time, and address the complicated lives and situations my characters face. It’s easier to cope with than reality.

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Get Your Gun

There’s a billboard somewhere in America depicting Santa Claus giving guns as gifts, a nice sentiment to add to that whole we are Christians, Peace on Earth, Good Will Toward Men messages being aired.


It’s good to have guns. They come in handy. A man got upset at McDonald’s somewhere this week. His McDouble Cheeseburger was missing from the menu. He did the natural thing and went and got his gun to fix things.

Yes, that’s natural. When I owned a business in West Virginia, getting your gun was many coal mining client’s natural response. Fortunately for the upset McDonald’s customer, most other customers and employees there had not embraced the NRA’s ‘Arm Everyone, Shoot Everything’ policy. No one else pulled a gun and demanded he leave. No shoot-outs were ignited.

So the good news for the customer is that it worked, proving once again that the armed customer is always right. The man got his cheeseburger along with Freedom fries, also known in some places as French fries. America indignantly started referring to them as Freedom fries for a while. Led by Congressman Bob Ney, who was inspired by a “Cubbie’s” restaurant owner in North Carolina, this was America’s protest to France’s refusal to back the Global War On Terror in 2003. You know the one, started as part of reprisals for the 9/11 attacks.

Oh, no, wait, I lie. The Bush Administration eventually clarified that this had nothing to do with 9/11, because Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. No, the Global War On Terror in Iraq was to wipe out Suddam Hussein’s WMD. You remember the late Suddam Hussein, the one the US kept in power for so many years, friend of Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney? Despite his human rights violations, he was America’s good buddy until he invaded another good buddy’s country, Kuwait.

Iraqi defectors always said Suddam had no WMD. So did the UN’s official inspectors but that didn’t matter to America! No sir, we knew better. We went in there to find and destroy those WMD and kick a little butt, show those French people and the rest of the world how it’s done. WMDs were never found. Suddam eventually was found and killed. The war would pay for itself, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld promised Americans. No lasting ground force would be needed there. The Iraqi people would welcome America with open arms as great liberators. That was important. George W Bush and the Republican Party had run on a campaign that included a revamping of America’s foreign policy. America shouldn’t be in the business of nation building, they lectured American voters and the Democratic Party. And if you are forced to go into armed conflict with another country, it’s necessary to have an exit strategy, yessiree.

George Bush, Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney didn’t have an exit plan, some Army generals and a secretary pointed out, and it was going to take a ground force and lasting presence to secure the peace, they warned. They were fired. Generals who agreed with the administration’s rosy predictions were promoted into responsible positions to execute the shock and awe cakewalk.

Meanwhile, intelligence was needed to support our claims that all this was working, that America was destroying Al Qaida, that we had them on the run, so we ramped up Gitmo and our torture program. Torturing folks is the way to go if you need information. Give them enough pain and they’ll agree to any damn thing, not a problem.

That’s how it goes. You want information, you torture. You want oil, you invade. Upset with the service?


Go get your gun.

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