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Political Correction

October 28, 2014

African American—forgive me, black?

Just last month it was reversed;

It’s not the manners, but the time I lack:

See, it takes three minutes to recall the word.

Then, you consider, the names get grander:

“Indian” to “Native American,” then some tribe

Whose moniker makes the tongue meander

Through syllabic swamps a full minute wide.

If that was all, there’d be no harm done:

(Four minutes isn’t so much time)

But after those are wasted and gone,

You must waste twenty-seven more, to whine.


Standing at the Head of a Winding City Street

October 28, 2014

What, if you should say “this is not quite”—
What, if passion flies to tonight
To bliss some other, others, beyond this I;
If split, like rainy pavements, we try
But miss what lovers, across the gulf of sound
Or sight, feel for, reach or bound;
We stand so like the shambles of a street,
No place, where our two places meet;
But fearful at the head of life we start
Mortal, impeded, stopping, short—
Then see embracing roofs just out a pace,
Hoping, breaching that unknown space.

The Wisest Guy

October 28, 2014

“Don’t give money to homeless people;
they’ll use it for drugs”
said Ralph, chewing his hot dog
quite omnisciently

He was saving his chips
for if he got hungry
and because you have to
grab chips while you can


June 28, 2014

I Know That My Redeemer Leads To Green Pastures In Day Or Night He Reaches My Reaching Sees My Seeing Follows My Following He Now Says Praise In My Adoring Mouth We Are Not To Not Never Not No And Not, And Forever Amen What Sweet Joy To Sweeten Joy Such That Joy Will Mean It Has Been Sweetened We Will Forever Amen And: Amen Death Where Is Thy Sting It Is Gone, Lost, Out Of Sight, Swallowed Whole In White Clean Almighty Rays Or Beams Of Sun Deliver Us From The Temptation Of Being Cast From My Eye The Motes And Beams That Diffract Your White Radiance Into Spectra I Saw A Poor Man On The Street I Went And Helped Me To His Service And He Was The Least Of These My Gods And May God Rest His Mighty Soul Distinct From My Mighty Soul His Hands Were Nailed Up Like Here And Here I Nail To Make Great Drops Bleed From My Empathetic Pinning I Cannot Turn Great God, We Are Blessed By This Our Humbled Eternity Pray Decipher God My Code Of Blessing Praise


September 23, 2013

If the past is “everything that has already happened,” there’s little chance for us to ever communicate to anyone, ever–including ourselves. So we pick certain little elements from our past and stitch them into narratives.

Every time I access the past it morphs into something new. That’s true of all our pasts. If you want to know about the past, good luck. You have about as good a chance of understanding the past as you do the future. The present is often just an iteration of the stories we’ve been telling ourselves about the past.

If you want the future, you can very well look to the past to get it. Because every time your past changes, so does your present. What is the future if it isn’t just the constant forward momentum of presents becoming new presents? And what easier way to create a new present than to reinvent the past.

I used to have vivid, warm memories of a certain Christmas eve. While cleaning the attic several years ago, I found a home video of that same Christmas eve. It all looked just as I remembered it–but I was shocked to realize that this Christmas eve took place several years before i was born. The memories I had cherished were of the home video, watched as a small child. The memories had changed every time I accessed them in subsequent years.

A testimony is gained in the sharing of it.

Mormons should reverence writers: we rewrite ourselves by rewriting our past. Zion and its counterparts are the future we are writing ourselves towards. 

What happens when we write imperfection out of our past? and replace it only with the word, “imperfection”–the idea of imperfection without its substance–the disclaimer, rather than the celebration, of imperfection?

There’s something horrifying about the whitewashed wall and the scrubbed out text and the cremation of the natural man. I don’t know that I’m afraid of oblivion, but I wouldn’t want it to come while I’m still alive.



Ekphrastic from a Sunday School Manual

July 20, 2013

I’ve seen those pleading, penitent hands before

Face buried before the wooden Bishop’s desk.

A tweed jacket reaches out over the sinner

And only good sense convinces me he will not strike,

But comfort him.

He is frozen for time and eternity

No motion in those rescuing hands—

Rather the stillness of a photo op,

Or of one balking over that question:

Am I God that I may forgive these sins,

Am I God that I may create them?


Say God—Judge of Israel—say God

And tell His will.

Only know that Godly sorrow is

God’s kind of sorrow

And Endless is His name.

See the child—

Whether hell is before his eyes

Or in those clean, clasping hands.


July 16, 2013

When discussing “filthy lucre,” it can be useful to specify that the filthiest type of lucre is paper-lucre of the lower denominations, such as $1, $5, $10, lucre-bills. Coin lucre is also fairly filthy, but unlike paper-lucre, it is rarely tucked into intimate clothing and virtually never used as a toilet paper substitute.

Here in Romania, the lucre is made of a hardy plastic material which does not fit in the wallet, but can be placed on a cookie sheet, stuck in the oven, and shrunk down to 1/3 its original size. Warning: vendors are unlikely to accept shrunken bills as currency.

The famous “Sacagawea gold dollar” is the cleanest lucre available, because it rarely comes in contact with the filthy human hand. Instead, it travels directly from the lucre-mint to various obscure vending machines across the U.S., which are hand selected by the President. On those rare occasions when one receives a “Sacagawea” from a vending machine, it is appropriate to pause and recollect the rich Native American culture existing in our country, before opening one’s candy bar, M&M-bag, or nut-sack.

People who choose to pronounce “Sacagawea,” SaCAGaWEa, constitute a vibrant sub-culture in America, and should not be threatened with violence, unless they attempt to bend the wills of others to agree with their own pronunciation preferences, in which case the use of “reasonable force” is forgivable, in accordance with Article 35 of the Penal Law.

Three days ago I purchased a nut-sack from a vending machine, but found the nuts to be unsalted and therefore unpalatable. True will power is to eat but one salted peanut. To eat but one unsalted peanut is not a test of will power at all. To eat but one unsalted peanut is merely to be less fortunate than the person who has not eaten any unsalted peanuts.

My German roommate, Henning, recently said, “Did I mention Hitler had only one ball?” I replied that I didn’t know this fact, but asked if he knew that Lance Armstrong also possessed only “one ball.” Henning said he did not know this, and we both walked away from the conversation having learned something new, which is what I value most in intercultural dialogues.