Suicide is 10,000 times more deadly than Terrorism

Let me summarize this: No one cares about mass killings unless the killer is one of the 0.01% of Muslims who are complete evil... then we basically shutdown or alter every institution in this country and do a bunch of stuff that in no way stops (if not it emboldens) that 0.01% from acting again and only stands punish everyone, especially the 99.99% of Muslims who aren't mass murderers. This is not a GOP problem... it is a human problem - they just extort it.

Less than 50 Americans have been killed on US soil since 9/11 by terrorists, but the terrorist news is repeated over, and over, and over to the point where it consumes the masses thoughts. Since 9/11, approximately 500,000 Americans have committed suicide. We are doing absolutely nothing to stop this (and the fact that a lot of these people are mentally ill and a lot of mass killings are committed by mentally ill people). Ask yourself.. how many people do you know who committed suicide? How many people do you know who died in terrorism? You are 10,000 times more likely to kill yourself intentionally than you are to be killed by a terrorist. (we won't even get into accidents or heart disease or cancer)...

Before anyone refutes me, I recommend reading up on some of these facts.. about the psychological studies that have shown that people are more afraid of risks they feel they have no control over, even if they are less "dangerous" than risks they have some control over.


Today, until tomorrow

The front door of my house

I was such an easy kid. Ask my mom. Happy, mostly, at least until middle school. Not a rule breaker. An awkward people pleaser.

The woodwork in the door way of my son's closet has the halides of the periodic table carved into it. He did it when he was five. "What a smart kid," they tell me. "How am I going to get this out of the woodwork?" I think.

For three years we had BCBAs and ABA therapists over the house. You know, on top of working a job that had me on call about a week a month or working an extra half a day managing a staff in India, had to keep the house clean enough for these young women to come into our house, tell us how to be parents. Not covered in our insurance anymore. So much for autism laws. There's a loophole. Insurance companies find a loophole.

"Super heroes are stupid," my son says. He plays with a shirtless Pablo Picasso doll covered in marker. I see writing on my basement door "Here Comes the Son." I must not have gotten all the crayons picked up the night before.

I wake up on the couch most mornings. My daughter refuses to sleep alone. I end up downstairs. Trust me, we've tried everything.

Sisyphus pushes a rock up the hill, continuously. I have three floors in my house. I can only clean two of them a day when I work. I can only clean two on a weekend when I am with the kids most of the time. When I clean one floor, one is bound to become trashed, ending with my children having a breakdown when i tell them to clean up. Threatening to throw away toys, dolls... I've done it a few times. They remember exactly what I threw away.

My recently-turned six-year-old daughter watches youtube videos of other young girls playing. Later she'll mimic their conversation. You wouldn't notice it. She's just acting it out. "I love you the most of all," my daughter says to me. "I know you do," I respond.

My wife has been crying. Her eyes are red. It is not allergy season. She goes to her room. Bookbags and folders and shoes and jackets are flung on the stairs. The kids ate at 11:00, so they are starved by four. An hour later my wife emerges from the bedroom. "I don't know what to do," she says. She's been on the phone with social works, psychiatrists, our advocate.

We are at the football game. It's too loud. Both kids want to leave. It wasn't like the time I was working at Fenway Park and it was empty and my son ran around the infield without a care - he was young. Who would have known differently? But at the game they cover their ears. My son puts his hands all over me. He pulls on his pants, eats peanuts off the ground. I try to talk to him. We'll leave at halftime.

We've been through two special education directors, a lawyer, an advocate. Two schools. The teachers and staff, they always care .They usually do the right thing. So do the service providers. Doesn't matter.

"An IEP is just a piece of paper," said the Superintendent of our town's school system said. Try telling that one to a lawyer. We have a para for our son. We have a 504 for our daughter. The services on the IEP are gone with the new special education director. Legally it is a PPT decision to remove those services, but they just disappeared. Is the new special education director incompetent? Or is she trying to screw us over?

We say autism. Some people say Rainman. Some relatives don't even know, ones that know the children. And you'd think in time they will know. I'm embarrassed a lot. We've had to leave playdates. I've met up with friends and left early. Their sons do boy things. Normal things. Why can't they be normal kids that watch TV? So creative, it's a curse.

As I pick up my kids, the assistant principal meets me at the door. My son is in the office. I want to say "he did WHAT?" when he tells me. At a festival at school other kids tell me about my children. It's not always good things. The crying. The disruption of class. "He's the smartest kid in class." "She's the kindest girl in class".

Everyone says their kids are unique, but no one I've met has ever said my kids aren't. So much potential there, but so much room for error as well. Smart kids. Creative kids. Wild kids. Bad kids. Good kids. They could be anything or they could be nothing. Or worse.

Turned my back for two minutes to eat my lunch. It's the end of the November and they are now playing in a stream. I don't have more clothes for them. How am I going to get them home?

You love them all the same. You are a parent but with no margin for error. Make them great today. That's what I say. Don't take the lows too low but live for the highs.

All the reports are that the kids were great today. I didn't have carry my daughter on to the bus kicking and screaming. My son was happy when we got home and he's doing his homework on his own. Then, the kids play together. They put on matching outfits and call themselves twins. They play a creative game where they have invented a time machine. My daughter imitates the loving things I said to my wife and pretends that her dolls is her baby. Today has been great, until tomorrow. Who knows about tomorrow. At least we won today. 


Refugees and Fear

Spend some time googling images of Syrian refugees and you may expect to find people in foreign looking clothing, rail thin with bony, dirty faces, but you'll be surprised. You'll find western-looking outfits on families assembled together, in make-shift tents or boats... somewhere... but families remaining together. I think for some people it would be harder to see the "Western-looking" images than that of a perceived third-world nation, which Syria is not. It's not expected.

(Photo from the Guardian editorial

Four million Syrian refugees have fled their country (roughly the population of Connecticut and Western Massachusetts). These people, some not Muslim (some not religious at all, certainly) were stuck in the middle between a repressive dictatorship that used chemical weapons on its own people and the deadly-horrible terrorist Islamic State. These people didn't leave for jobs (that's a migrant labor), these people left because it was not safe for them to live where they lived. Some of their houses are gone. Some of their towns are gone. Some of them are safer sailing in a raft in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea than in their cities. Consider that for a moment. Your family in a raft at sea because your town had hundreds of mines around it, or soldiers, or shrapnel. It's hard for Americans to imagine that because it never happened here. The worst of the worse did not happen here. Katrina affected nearly 2 million people (as much as our government botched that on every level, there was some support). The Haitian Earthquake destroyed the capital city of Haiti and may have affected 5 million lives. In Syria, 12 million people have been uprooted in someway. That's New England's population and New Jersey.

This video does a much better job of explaining the scope of this crisis than can I.

Which brings me to the sad response to the refugee crisis after the bombing in Paris (which now appears to be carried out mostly by people born in Europe). As of writing, 27 governors have announced their states will not be accepting refugees, and xenophobia is dominating social media, despite the fact we've had a pretty smooth path with refugees and terror since 9/11 (no refugee on US soil has been arrested for terrorism). It's the mix of foreigners and Islam and a media that is like caffeine to the part of the American mind that controls the terror sensors. We are getting some horrific "logic" arguments that "we should help our veterans" (since when has anyone cared about that, sadly) rather than refugees. In my home state of Connecticut, a recent article in the Hartford Courant sourced that there are 41 chronically homeless veterans in the state (vs. the 4,000,000 refugees from Syria). It's sad that we didn't take care of our veterans, but homeless people in Connecticut have a lot longer life expectancy than Syrian refugees because, frankly, it's safer to be homeless in Connecticut than to be Syrian right now. And on the question of "radical Islam" (whatever that means), thousands of more Muslims have died by the hands of ISIS than have "Westerners".

Maybe I'm missing the "fear gene" or logic is a deeper thing with me, but when I read the comments on social media, when someone writes "Sign this petition to stop refugees from entering the US" on their Facebook page, it translates to me "I'm irrationally afraid of not-white non-American people" or "I respond more to fear than logic". It's clear as day to me, as if I'm the only one who sees it and everyone who writes these things has a behavior disorder and doesn't realize they are advertising their fear and prejudice. It's like a "kick me" sign on the back of a school kid that they think says something else. Even my wife, who never talks about social media, complained to me today about these people who post "awful things about refugees".

I think some people need to google the images of Syrian refugees. Look up a picture of Steve Jobs as his father was Syrian. See pictures of people, not in turbans or robes, but Adidas soccer pants and logo tee-shirts, sitting in tents, massed in open fields or in store-bought rafts. I think people will find it harder to turn refugees away when they see how much they look like us Westerners.  They are humans, like us. We could be them, we just happened to be born in the West. These aren't terrorist people. They aren't people looking for a place to start a better career. These are desperate people, desperate people by no fault of their own. Just where and when they happened to be born. They don't want to blow you up. They want to sleep and not worry about dying over night. You have the chance to save someone's life. Or, you can choose to be afraid for the sake of being afraid.

Treat desperate people well. This is how you are judged by fellow men and higher-powers than men.


Freedom isn't free. Neither is terrorism.

Freedom isn't free. Neither is terrorism

Friday, November 13, 2015 will be a date synonymous with Paris just like 9/11/2001 is with New York City or Washington. The days that followed were for prayer, mourning and unity (French unity and nationalism, but also a world uniting with France). These were also days for investigation - what happened? How did it happen? How to make sure this never happens again.

We should pray for Paris. Keep them in our thoughts. Paris is one of the great cities of the world and one of the most important for cultural, economic and historical regions. Many things in our history come from Paris. The lives lost were more important than any "cause".

Americans have mixed views of France. France was our big brother during the American Revolution, lending support as we broke away from Britain. France was at our side in every where we fought, although sometimes they wouldn't let us use their airspace for air attacks (which Spain also did not allow, yet somehow we only focused on France). Some Americans love France - it is the fashion and gourmet capital of the world. But some Americans also hate France, perhaps because of their "socialist" government with a short work week and their lack of interest in fighting in some of our Middle Eastern wars. Aside from all of this, France is an ocean away yet when people crossed that ocean, the first thing they saw was a French statue.

So as time has moved based the initial hours since these horrible attacks, we must move on to stopping these attacks from ever happening again. (Note: I did not say "retaliation" - that is an endless bloody mess). In the upcoming days we'll learn more of the bombings/shootings, their source, the people who carried them out. I'd wager to bet most of the killers were young males, probably most of them coming from a background of poverty, war and (if they had better medical care in the past) mental health issues. Perhaps for some "religion" was a means of survival in their lives and a way to become a hero, a martyr. It's the formula of terrorism; find people who have nothing to live for, unite them in a highly-adulterated form of a religion, give them more money and fame than they could ever have otherwise and give them an enemy. It's low-level thinking for low-level people (and not confined to radicalized Islam). There was Al-Qaeda, there was the Taliban and now there is ISIS/ISIL and this group is not the junior varsity. These groups kills hundreds of fellow Middle Easterners and Muslims before they take aim at the west.

ISIS made an awful, un-godly move by their attacks in Paris. No one who is a lover of God, whether they call themselves a Jew or Christian or Muslim, would ever believe in mass-killing and self-killing. ISIS was doing awful things in their own region without much of the "Western" world caring. Now Russia is bombing at will. The US had just been doing drone attacks. Expect more from them. France is bombing now too. Iran would want nothing more to fight against ISIS as well.  Who is their ally? The place where ISIS is now will be a bloody war zone.

I'll ask this however. All these guns in the propaganda video: How much do they cost? These people in ISIS controlled areas... where does their food come from? There's not a lot of crops being grown in Northern Iraq/Western Syria? How do they get electricity? How do they get on the internet to post their videos? All these people in ISIS have lived lives of substance and constant war. In Iraq and Syria, both countries have been lead by authoritative dictators for most of these people's lives. On top of their brutality, numerous wars from Westerners have also been fought in Iraq. These ISIS people are poor and have lived lives of war and fear. They will die for their jaded beliefs because their lives are of so little value that they applaud their own children becoming suicide bombers. And someone pays them $700 a month to be an ISIS soldier. 700 times... how many soldiers? That's a lot of money. I couldn't afford to subsidize one ISIS soldier. Could you?

Someone is paying for this. We'll drop bombs on Syria and northern Iraq. I doubt the money men are there. Why don't we find them. We'll bomb a bunch of poor desperate people, perhaps into oblivion, so that only a few survive. Odds are they are the seeds of the next terror group. Terrorism just keeps going. Someone has been buying terrorism. Just like 9/11, we didn't follow the money. We invaded the wrong country and it was part of the reason ISIS formed where it is. Misguided people attracted to Iraq for the chance to kill "the image of Westerners" they had (when all they really killed were underpaid, overworked American soldiers).

The rich don't fight wars. Obama and Putin won't get behind a tank and pick up arms. But at the same time, wealthy people are funding ISIS. If you killed the money, ISIS would starve, lose electricity, lose weapons. Seems more efficient than sending in thousands of troops to me? Who are these people paying for ISIS? They need to die. They need bombs in their laps and mines in their pools. I don't care if they are in Riyadh or Baghdad. These rich cowards paying poor people to die need to become afraid. Wealthy ISIS patrons need to become afraid. They are more evil than the endless supply of foot soldiers.

Terrorism is a centipede. We keep cutting off legs, not the head.

#WhoIsPaying4ISIS ?


College is the tower, local public schools are the foundation

From my facebook page:

I don't like that the democrat candidates are talking so much about college tuition/college affordability as I think it would be better to invest in primary and secondary schools rather than "water down" college (or really just throw more money into a system that already increases its cost annually). I am all for spending the money they are talking about on schools.. but spend it at the local public school level - more teachers, better technology, more enrichment/special activities/arts/sports/STEM. Doing this will make an (already) free to-the-student public education much more valuable than just throwing money into college (and add value to college with better prepared students). I do, however, like that Obama has put an emphasis on 2-year/community colleges as some of these programs are a real game-changer for students who attend - many career-path based programs.

Pretty much half and half democrats and republicans (or neither, really) had some comments to agree with this. I wonder how out of touch the democrat candidates really are with what's going on. Well, at least they won't start a bunch of senseless wars or do awful things to gays or muslims...


I forgot I had a flickr account

My Flickr

I also still have my Italy trip journal up? Wow.

Time flies. I wonder what other social media footprints are out there that I don't even know about?


they yelled "Benghazi" like I yelled "Yahtzee"

I was in some public place the other day where Fox News was on with the headline "Can Clinton survive latest scandal?" You gotta give them credit - Republicans now I have national propaganda and distraction network disguised as news specifically tailored for the conservative mind-set - that they can have on at train stations, airports and McDonalds.

They created Benghazi.

It's time to:

Some of the right's more ridiculous strategies (blame Iraq on Obama, blame 9/11 on Bill Clinton) get very little play because they are so far-fetched that they can't come up with compelling info-graphics to make the story have any legs.

Then there's Benghazi. Benghazi has had more right-wing media attention and more congressional hearings than 9/11 now. Do you remember how poor the investigation was on 9/11 and who in our government was culpable? Why don't we talk about those warnings.... certainly more than 2 people died in 9/11?

Benghazi did require some investigation. Mistakes were made. Mistakes were made in Beirut and yet republicans don't yell "Beirut" at Reagan like they are yelling "Benghazi" at Clinton - like they are yelling "Yahtzee" in a dice game.

I still believe the democrats aren't perfect, still describe them as the lesser of two evils - but the Republican party hypocrisy is a far cry from the democrats "mediocrity problem". If I was a democrat strategist, I'd come up with a pre-election day strategy pointing out just how brainwashed some republican voters are .. clips of the same people saying "blindly support our president" when we invaded Iraq and saying "Obama is a war criminal"... show the numbers of Iraqi civilians killed (100s of thousands) vs. civilians killed by drones (100s). Shame the living hell out of these people. Expose how stupid their logic (or lack there of) is. I'd even make it comical... satire Fox News (I don't mean teethless-MSNBC) with right-wing attack coverage against Saint Reagan and GWB. They need to be humiliated and made to feel incredible stupid - maybe they will be shamed into not voting. Call them stupid. Tell them way. Use simple graphics. I don't know.

I have no trouble voting locally for republicans, or any part for that matter. No one should vote party line, especially locally because you will elect some awful people there that parties have nominated just to fill the ballot. But in national elections... be weary of the R.


...shorter Ben Carson

shorter Ben Carson...

Obamacare is like the holocaust... (forcing you to buy health insurance! The humanity of it all!)

ok... now lets talk Muslims... they shouldn't be president. They are immoral. You can't trust them. (Sounds like what Hitler said about the Jews).

Seriously, if you know someone who is going to vote for this clown you better plan to slash their tires on election day.



What does that mean--'tame'?

... It means to establish ties."

"'To establish ties'?"

"Just that," said the fox. "To me, you are still nothing more than a little boy who is just like a hundred thousand other little boys. And I have no need of you. And you, on your part, have no need of me. To you, I am nothing more than a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But if you tame me, then we shall need each other. To me, you will be unique in all the world. To you, I shall be unique in all the world . . ."

"I am beginning to understand," said the little prince.

A sad irony. Man most famous for writing a book about a plane crash, himself dies a few years later in a plane crash. Such is the story of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, author of the Little Prince. Writers write what they know about but in this case he wrote about what he would know later in life. Sadly too many know Saint-Expurey only for that one work.

The story of the fox and the prince in Chapter 21 of the Little Prince is one that can be applied throughout aspects of life beyond just relationships, as it was with the fox and prince. Through routines we tame ourselves.

I've felt my whole life like I was different. As a child it was true, true to me and evidently true. I had "exceptionalism" - but all children feel that way. As a teen I hated being different and as a young adult I fought being different - reminding myself that no one is really that unique. I stopped feeling exceptional. I started to fit in on the fringe. But this all changed. There was no one moment or cause, but over time, I realized once again that I am different. Part of it is - I hate routines. I'll always try new things. I like nostalgia, but I don't like to relive things exactly the way they happened before.

This "wrinkle" in me, as I've wrinkled, is relieving. Advertising is worthless toward me, in print, on "television" - I don't have the appeal to things I'm supposed to have, as if it lacks in my DNA. It's blissful to realize this. Nothing plastic, nothing owned is cherished to me - unless there is a human-related reason or memory associated with it.

When I walk into the coffee shop, I don't want "the regular"; I try new things every time. I don't show up at the same time, don't work out at the same time. I don't listen to music solely from when I was 18-25 and think music today "sucks". 

Most people think of the path the earth takes as a circle around the sun. A circle that repeats itself. Same things each time each year. Family traditions. Doing things that would seem slower, backwards or inefficient, other than for the repetition of swing's past. But that is not how the earth really moves - it's only how it moves relative to the sun. The sun itself is moving. The path of the earth relative to the black hole at the center of the milky way is more like an old telephone cord (with very small loops). 

So I isolate through the universe in space-time along some other path, not afraid to ask questions.



I think what I have liked most about the pope's visit to the United States is that his message is faith. Too many politicians have tried to spin or feign anguish over the views of the pope and the Catholic Church.

While I certainly don't agree with all views of the Catholic Church (especially on gay marriage or abortion), I feel like I can understand where Pope Francis's views come from - a genuine respect for life and family. While I may disagree about when life starts and what makes a family, I feel that life and family are important - as important as any thing in our lives - even relating to this as an amateur genealogist or a father or co-worker - the importance of life and those in our lives should be paramount. When Pope Francis speaks about peace - this is like Christ - the prince of peace. I feel this is what Pope Francis believes and speaks to believe to us.

Seeing the horrible tragedy at Mecca with the pilgrims on their Hajj, I am heart-broken. As I heard a muslim cleric say today - the Hajj is a surrounding of all sorts of life in peace. People of a joined faith putting aside the trivial hatred of life - generated from the "lack" of things we "need". When all we need is faith and each other.

We should all be one family at one table. There is more on this planet than we need to survive. There is also, regardless of what any dogma says, enough on this planet not just to feed us but to have us flourish in happiness. We must strive for that.

Faith should unite us, not divide us. As a Christian, I feel embarrassed sometime to bring up my faith, as if it means I am "better" than others.. as if it means I'm "right" and others aren't. But to me, faith is more about a view of the world and what created it. And that we can all be one within the world, even if we say different prayers. The heart can still be good.

You'd only hope someday our nation can be the same way. One, again. There seems to be so much power in keeping us divided even when opposing sides want the same thing. Peace. Prosperity. Faith. Hope. Love.


How can I vote for you?

I consider myself pretty open-minded and sensible. I tend to rely more than anything on logic. I'd like to try to consider voting for members of all political parties. But, America, how can I?

Maybe it's just common sense but I don't think Mexicans are ruining America, I don't think Barack Obama is a secret Muslim communist, nor do I think Islam is bad. I don't believe gay marriage affects anyone who is not gay. I refuse to hide behind a church and/or think of the minority boogeyman as the cause of all my problems. 

Pick a worse set of actions: 1. selling arms to Iran while supporting the country they are fighting against and an embassy bombing that killed 100 US Marines that was warned... or 2. a treaty with Iran that ends their sanctions and an embassy bombing that killed 2 Americans. I want to ask "Who ordered the 'code red' on this one." Obama is not divisive, he's mediocre (I'll fault him on things, even though statistically fewer police have been killed during his presidency than Bush, Clinton or Reagan, I'll stay say he should have taken a strong stand on defending police), The same people who say he is divisive may be the same ones who say that "2" was worse than "1" above. Saint Reagan, of course. Reagan didn't fight wars and didn't get our troops killed. I'll give him credit there. Unfortunately many republican political candidates think we need to be less-Reagan like.

Scott Walker has said we may need to take action against Iran "day one" in opposition to Jeb Bush. Somehow Jeb Bush has almost become the sensible one among the Republicans, claiming that Donald Trump, is trying to insult his way to the presidency and Mike Huckabee who has almost become a conservative folk hero-saturday afternoon cartoon character. We've got elected representatives who run on Obama being a secret Muslim and building "the wall" because Obama is "taking away people's guns". Where's the proof? People voting on emotion, motivated by the fear of the minority-they-don't-know-next-door. The republican party is the new leaded gasoline and perhaps more dangerous to the unity of our country. Divisive, not as in the talking-point catch-phrase about Obama, but the actual meaning of the word. Dividing. Us and them. A wall between Mexicans. Guns for the good guys. 

I have my problems with democrats too, but they are much smaller:
If I had five minutes to talk to Bernie Saunders I'd tell him he has education all wrong. The problem isn't the cost of college, it's that many states are cutting costs with primary and secondary schools. When people from the community have to come into your school to teach art or music because they don't have those programs in your school, that's a problem. It's a problem when your school doesn't have special education. It's a problem when you have more Spanish speaking students, most willing and wanting to learn English, but you have no one to teach them. Our schools prepare kids for test taking and "classics", not jobs and careers. Those are problems. Not a middle-class white American sitting at a decent job but not able to buy a nicer car or go on 2 vacations because of college loans - that is not a problem.

I guess I'll vote for Gary Johnson again. 



I think of the ending. I think
of making the ending
Blissless, painless and black
How the ending is never remembered
the passes through
you passed through you.
because too many scenarios
have no acceptable solution
just less unacceptable solutions
we all end up
dissembled, disassembled alone
loaned nothing further
I think of the ending
the ending never felt
some knots are only untied
by sheering the rope
and the rope knows not
it is dissembled



Last night I was dreaming that I was in a town I'd not been in before. I was at a wedding at a restaurant. I stepped away from the restaurant to the bar to get away from the noise and there was a friend of mine I hadn't seen in awhile. We talked a bit before I sudden got very sad. I realized that she had passed away in real life. It was as if once I was fully aware that she had died, she would also disappear from my dream so I asked her quickly what she was doing here and she said "checking up on things". I knew I had very little time left so I asked her this:

"What is heaven like?"

"Sunshine," she said.

Then the dream ended.


I went to look them up but they were all gone. They are all gone.

They are all gone.

A few years back I wrote about some of the research I did on my grandfather and his life. One of the people I interviewed was another member of Company K in the 23rd Marines, Wilbert Hager. As the story goes, I got reconnected with those who served under company commander Captain Paul E. Smith (my grandfather) and got a mailing list, only to find that Wilbert lived literally walking distance from my office at the time. I drove over on a hot August afternoon and spent an hour talking with him, about the war and not just the remembrances of his CO but also all of his memories of war. The Fourth Marines - first in action - Roi Namur, Tinian, Saipan and Iwo Jima - he kept mentioning that. Sadly, I discovered that Wilbert passed away a couple years ago.  When I'd mentioned awhile back to other members of the company that I spoke with Wilbert, they'd told me he'd been sick and unable to attend previous reunions (this was a month after I met him). He seemed in good health when I'd met him and neither of us really wanted to bring up his health.

I recently found more photos graphs of my family including multiple albums of my grandfather's time in the military. I recognized the face of Felix Buvens, another office who served with my grandfather but was killed with many other Marines in Iwo Jima, before he ever got the time to meet his daughter Anne (a wonderful woman I spoke with on the phone). In Anne's emails, she referred me to another soldier, Wilford Overgaard. I'd not thought to look him up until last week when my mother and I found the boxes. Sadly, I found the same result - Wil had died, and just this spring. Another true hero from the great war of our grandfathers.

I don't get letters about reunions anymore. My mother and I tried hard, but work obligations kept us from traveling to the last reunion we heard about a couple years ago in Tennessee. They are all gone now. All those soldiers. Those who died in battle, like Felix, and those who lived with the torment and eternal heroism of our freedom, they are reunited once again.

As a genealogist, I've run into road blocks. Rule one of genealogy - Start Today. You never know when someone will be gone or a document will be destroyed (like much of the Marines, Army and Air Force records of WWII which were destroyed in a fire in 1973.)

We found my grandfather's two bronze stars and his purple heart while going through a shed and my mother reminded me that those incidents were with him the rest of his life. No man should endure war like that and no leader should ever put our bravest Americans in such a conflict without just reason. Such was the case in World War II when our country was attacked and we arose like a sleeping giant to become the most powerful nation in the world - built on the backs of our soldiers, our laborers and our leaders. These men didn't ask to be put into war; it just happened at a time that they happened to be born. The courage and valor of their actions, is eternal. Unfortunately, the voices that carried that history are not eternal. There's not many left from that generation. It's time now to ask them about it and to listen to their answers. Listen to the way they delivery their answers. That is what will be lost when they are gone. Even words can be recorded, but not the way they are said as it comes from their minds. I have albums full of photos of unidentified accidental heroes - never to be identified. 

I don't think my grandfather liked having his image used to recruit Marines or contribute to the war effort. Maybe, much like John Basilone, he thought his contribution was with the troops he served with, or perhaps he just wanted to distance himself from war. Earning a PhD, teaching students for 30 years of his life and working in farming and agronomy - that's probably more how he wanted to be remembered - that and being a husband and father (to my mother). But his stories and the stories of those who served with him should be told - as lessons - lessons in courage, lessons in action. Lessons in the value of war and in life and in country.

My grandfather barely made it back from Saipan alive. My mother told me the story how they chose the "most expendable" man to take him back to the hospital boat (from the photo above). As they went back to the boat, they slipped and fell down a ridge moments before Japanese soldiers opened fire on it. Had the man, who is nameless, who's name I'll never know, hadn't slipped - there would be no me - no children of mine and no mother of me. Fate changed in one misstep. I wonder how many other tens of thousands of soldiers have stories like this? Where the heroism of their lives was just as important as surviving to contain their families. 

There's one last man I can contact - Major Everett (Bud) Hampton. He served with my grandfather. We spoke before a bit. I do know that he is alive still down in North Carolina or Virginia. I think I will call him this week, try to send him some of the photos I found.

Soon they will all be gone. Those brave men who were born at the wrong time, or, at the right time, to serve our country in one of the many ways that has made is special. 


Where I come from - Entitlement

Recently listening to Politinerds interview of Greg Gutfeld, I thought of the importance of the first question asked by moderators Doug Mataconis and Jazz Shaw. "Tell us about where you come from." The point being made by the hosts of the podcast was, where you come from creates a lot of your views, as was the case with Greg Gutfeld and his upbringing in San Mateo, California and university years at California-Berkeley. While Greg grew up in "liberal" San Mateo and went to ultra-liberal UC-Berkeley, he ended up being a libertarian-leaning voice in politics. Gutfeld was also raised Catholic and is now an "agnostic atheist".

"I became a conservative by being around liberals (at UC Berkeley) and I became a libertarian by being around conservatives. You realize that there's something distinctly in common between the two groups, the left and the right; the worst part of each of them is the moralizing."

Where I came from influenced me in a similar way, although much in the opposite direction of the political spectrum. The town where I grew up, Madison, Connecticut, is arguably one of the wealthiest towns in a very wealthy state (outside of Fairfield County, at least). Family ties to town, wealth (or the appearance of wealth) were important for getting ahead social AND, at least when I was growing up, getting ahead in general. The other part of the story was growing up poor (relatively, of course). I grew up with a single mom who only worked full time once my sister and I were in school full time and had a job that paid very near minimum wage, serving lunch to many of the town's elite. I grew up working in "high class" restaurants like the prestigious Madison Beach Club and the former Cafe Lafayette (now Cafe Allegra), restaurants my family could not eat at because they were not club members or couldn't afford the price of dinner. Not everyone in Madison was wealthy, but most everyone had more than we did. We had a car (which was necessary in Madison due to its complete lack of public transportation) but for much of my childhood we had a car that could drive only 20 miles or so before it overheated or broke down. Many of our meals were discarded food from the restaurant where my mother worked. We didn't own a home - we rented - so our house was always open to inspection by the homeowners. In middle school, I remember avoiding the beach during the summer because I didn't own a bathing suit and only had a couple pairs of shorts - when they were dirty, I stopped going to the beach until we could afford to the grocery store to buy laundry detergent.

Other children who were my peers lived a fairly "normal" childhood - they had food on their plate. They only went skiing two or three times a winter on top of a summer vacation.  And being in a wealthy town, even those who were not wealthy, made sure that you knew about their excursions and purchases. As un-normal as this sounds to most readers, this was the normal I grew up with. It took awhile into my adulthood to realize that not everyone was so "entitled".

Yes, this influenced my view of entitlement. The word entitlement (in a political sense) brings about images of welfare, EBT and food stamps, medicare and government programs. My view of entitlement also includes "anything that you were given as a child", "anything you have that you did not buy" and "anything you inherited". Yes, inheritance is an entitlement - because it's not earned. I lived in a very wealthy town, despite being a Republican-outpost in a state awash in blue, I was "entitled" to a very good public education. But here's where I differ with many others. I was just as entitled to that education as any other student who attended those schools, regardless of the wealth of their families or parents. I did as much to "earn" it as anyone - which was nothing. The luck of who your parents are is the only reason you grew up where you did. Luck. Luck created entitlement. Americans do nothing to earn citizenship, unlike Swiss or Israeli citizens, they were just born here. Luck. This is how my view has shaped on this and other issues of entitlement.

Kids I grew up with did not do much to earn so much. I think many realized as they got older that they did live in a bit of a fantasy-world growing up. Some didn't. On social media I find it funny that so many of the wealthy kids I grew up with are now adults who are so right-wing economically - when they grew up with 18 years or so of complete entitlement in wealth and in name and status. But I guess where you grow up helps determine your views.

Status and name, whatever the label is, became as important as wealth. I got passed over for scholarships, places on athletic teams and learning opportunities because my name was nothing in town. Had I grown up five towns over where many of the athletic banners have my last name from my uncles, father and grandfather, I probably would have gotten the same unfair advantages that many in my town did. When I was in college as a "super senior", I took the baseball class with UConn baseball coach Andy Baylock. Working in the indoor cages, Baylock was watching me pitch to a kid who wanted to walk on as a catcher on the baseball team and Baylock, watching me throw, asked where I was recruited to play in college. I said I didn't even play in high school, never had the chance (even if I'd gotten on the baseball team, my mother was working full time at that point so I had no way to get home from school but to walk 4 miles back or 7 miles when in middle school). I wanted to show Baylock something he'd remember, so the next pitch I threw a splitter to the catcher that broke as much as I could make the pitch break. Baylock told me to check my availability. But it was too late for me.

I don't feel as bad as I did when I was younger about where I grew up, but with age I've become more aware of how mistreated I was as a child in my town - how I had random entitlement (parental wealth and social status) thrown in my face daily and somehow survived. Especially in my middle school years, very few teachers or staff gave me a fair shake. I was labelled a bad kid - although I wasn't a bully or violent or destructive - no one should be labelled like that. I struggled to finish school work because it was either too easy for me or because I saw other kids getting more by doing less (that's the view of a middle schooler). Once in high school, I finally had a chance to feel less awkward due to some of the great programs in town (this is probably why I find value in individualized programs) but I also saw many adults and educators in town turned away from running programs because they didn't seem to be part of the clique in town - I'm intentionally being vague here as I don't wish to name the people involved but an example would be a program that was run by a teacher in school but was cancelled because that teacher (certainly not a member of the town elite) upset one parent by being "fair"... again, being vague here - that teacher's decision was completely correct but it upset the wrong person and thus the program was ended.

So that probably explains "entitlement" from my life-span view. What is really earned doesn't start with parents or their wealth or who they are or where you were born. None of that stuff is under any individual's control - so that is entitlement. So the next time you complain about something someone else "gets as a handout", remember the first 18 years of your life, your citizenship, your race - you earned none of that. It was just handed to you. Pure luck and entitlement.

Further reading on your age vs. your political leanings (New York Times).  (allows user to make some interesting assertions about people voting in their best interest)

I see some rich guy's house with a sprinkler system
and I know that guy has just played the system
the myth that hard work is all it takes
while our soldiers in Afghanistan are in the sun and bake
they are working for a dollar harder than you'll ever know
keep telling us how hard you work and my head will blow
my mom working for something near minimum wage
you think this is something that explains my rage?
two kids at home, how's she supposed to go to school
it takes just much luck to get ahead you fool

so keep voting to support the rich
cause your status in this country probably won't switch
I'm sure they'll give you a note of thanks
as they laugh at you all the way to the banks


When "spin" covers up the real issues...

Oh, Governor Malloy blew it again. Right after "caving in" to business interests, a major employer decided to announce it was leaving the state of Connecticut - Bristol Meyer Squibb - the only problem is - that is probably not the real reason. It's about education.

Upon closer inspection, most of the jobs are moving to Massachusetts (a state which its own residents call "Tax-achusetts"). This "Universal Health Care State" (yes, unlike Obamacare which is a health plan that doesn't actually give away insurance, Massachusetts insures everyone) has an advantage on Connecticut in higher education. Companies flock to the Boston/Worcester/Route 9 Corridor because - there's a ton of universities that prepare people for science jobs... Harvard, MIT, Tufts, etc... and people are younger in that area than they are in Connecticut - less experience, lower salaries. Massachusetts is actually ranked the 25th best state for corporations to do business. Also the Route 9 Corridor is loaded with other science-tech companies. Connecticut's only other major pharma is Pfizer, a company that has made some pretty horrible purchasing decisions lately and once spent 249 million dollars to open a research center they closed two years later - note, when Pfizer lost all those Connecticut jobs, where were the people who are attacking Malloy now to attack felon ex-governor John Rowland? Somehow his sketchy plan to give corporations money to move into the states was less sketchy than that of Malloy?

Here is where I feel bad for people. All three areas where the jobs are moving from Wallingford are way more expensive areas to live (San Francisco, CA, Cambridge MA and Livingston, NJ - a very wealthy suburb of New York.) And as far as California and New Jersey, worse states to do business (tax-wise) than Connecticut.  I actually worked on that same road on the Meriden side for half a dozen years before my office was closed (we all kept our jobs, fortunately) so that offices could remain open in New York and California - and that company with those jobs in those places crumbled (one reason because running an arts and entertainment/technology company in Orange County, CA is about as good a fit as a pharmaceutical company in CT - and in my old company's case, the only local rival had a lot more money). I used walk behind the Wallingford Bristol Meyer Squibb building at lunch sometimes. Beautiful campus. Probably will remain empty for some time while all the former co-workers look at trying to afford a house in Cambridge or San Francisco - maybe they'll have to pay more for employees - but at least they can recycle industry workers like we do in Hartford with our insurance jobs.

Putting Dan Malloy in charge was like taking a rookie manager and putting him in charge of a last place NBA team that traded away all its draft picks. The problems in Connecticut started way before him and a lot of it comes from the fact that Connecticut and its wealthy are writing large checks to Washington and not to Hartford. Malloy, who is surprisingly popular outside the state among democrats, isn't even popular among his own party in the state, especially after making concessions to big business at the expense of services democrats covet. Malloy's interview on liberal beacon WNPR are cringe-worthy. Malloy has made a lot of mistakes, but this company leaving the state - it's not on him.


This matters

This matters

I attended a wake today of a woman I'd only seen once in my life. I don't think I even had the chance to talk to her - her daughter married a good friend of mine last summer. She'd spent the final two decades of her life battling a disease that had left her disabled - so by the time of the wedding she was in a wheelchair and needing constant care by family members as she was unable to take care of herself. The two things I remember about her the day of the wedding was that she was very weak - struggling to drink through a straw - barely able to speak over a whisper. And I also remember she was in a beautiful dress and smiling the whole wedding and reception. I wanted to remember the dress that she wore, but when I looked at the wedding photos I took there were only a couple of pictures of her from the side of her wheelchair where only her hair and hands were visible. I wish I had taken the time to talk to her - which I did not.

The wake was beautiful. Many people remarked they were sad that she was gone but new the pain and suffering of her disease was gone now too. She was a teacher and former students, students who idolized her and some would become educators themselves  (like her daughter as well). Many photos of her were displayed in the waiting line showing her as a mom, a beautiful young woman and baby. I thought of how photographs (when I received the package of my mom's grandparent's belongings) answered questions and writings caused more questions and in this case her obituary, which was on display, told the story of a strong, well-educated woman and mother and her photos captured meaningful moments of her life. The prayer card was printed on picture of a beach she had taken in Bermuda. Those were moments that mattered, not just because they happened to be at the moment a camera lens was opened, but because they were representative of what was important in life - family, friends and experiences.

Earlier in the day, I spoke with someone I respect in my industry who had lost their job earlier in the day, a high-level executive position, and he reminded me as we spoke - "in the end, it's just a job". I think of how devoted I was at times to the many jobs I've had, which have lead to great experiences and even friendships, but I also think how much stress I allowed myself to feel to complete tasks with what were really arbitrary deadlines. I'll admit it - twice I was a bad worker and just blew off work. The first time - I don't even remember what it was that was so important that I'd been stressing - I just called out sick and took my wife and son to a Thomas the Train event across the state. My son loved it (this was so long ago that I only had one child). I don't even remember what it was at work, what project, what deadline it was, that I missed. I didn't matter. The second time I skipped work, it was only for a few hours. I do remember what I missed - doing a software release package - for a software which, at the time, had no clients using it. I admitted to my boss why I'd missed it later, and he understood. I'd been tipped off to a secret show and signing appearance at a store near by with my favorite athlete of all time - Don Mattingly. Meeting my childhood idol exceeded all expectations - Don was kind, funny, signed a ton of memorabilia and took photos with me.

This weekend, the OutRun38 group is holding a half marathon. Social media is abuzz with friends and classmates of mine getting near to the end of their quest of running a half marathon. I did five ridiculously hard miles of hills last week, but I don't know if I could ever do 13.1. I wonder how many of them thought they couldn't do it either - before. Some of the OutRunners I've talked to are going through great personal struggles, with finances, with their families and with their health, but being part of a group like that is meaningful. One of the co-founders and the inspiration of the group, my high school classmate Liz, has cystic fibrosis but hasn't let it affect her life in a negative way. She's one of the most inspirational people you'll ever meet, a very caring person and also a very good writer. I'd told her that instead of it being just a total negative that her disease causes such challenges, she's made it a positive how she's brought everyone together as a group, a community. Every day matters when you're told you "might" make it to a certain age and you exceed it and thrive. It also matters for a lot of people who will be taking part in a 13 mile race over the weekend - motivated by her, but driven by their own two feet to an accomplish that can never be taken away.

I guess it is one of those days you evaluate what is important - what matters. I watched a video tonight with my son about the human concept of counting and how our number system hides the way our brain puts together sets of numbers; we think logarithmic rather than linear (the way we count)- which may be one of the reasons why are perspective of our lives is so off. Our childhood seemed so long because in perspective, each year we lived was a much smaller percentage of our life than the year before (someone who is 2, turns 3 and lives 1/3 of their life that year; while someone who is 20 and turns 21 lives 1/21 of their life that last year). As people age, they lose friends and family around them, relationships die, people die but we move on. We can lose track of what matters over time if we become too focused on what does not matter or by basing our lives just on old photos that become iconic (rather than feeling what they represent). But what we can do - is find out what a meaningful life is - what matters to us. And live for that. It's what you chose to make it. 


On Memorial Day

On Memorial Day

To give life for one's country, something 1.3 million American servicemen and women have done, is a sacrifice beyond many of us. It's not just an individual sacrifice, but also a sacrifice to the family and community where these soldiers lived and worked. Memorial Day is the day where we honor those soldiers who gave their lives with parades, flags and solemn cermony. I'd propose, as well, it is a day where we take a critical examination of our country's path into war. With the sadness of losing so many heroes, we must also consider the anger that comes with it - anger of those who lose loved ones - anger of those who wish to end conflict.

There is no better day to analyze our history and learn the lessons we should not repeat. Soldiers go to war not for glory, spoils or other selfish reasons - because none of them get that - they go out of patriotism and love of their country. Those who make the decision to engage these patriots in battle where life and limb are risks, need to value those lives more in their decisions to start battle. In the history of the country, less than 50 years have been war-free years. No one before in the 21st century has ever lived their lives in a time where there was no war where the US was involved. The oldest of those born this century are in their teens and will soon be entering the time where they can decide to serve our country.

The war in Iraq isn't the first time we've fought a similar conflict in the same place multiple times. We've come to decisions of isolationism in the past and failed at making the right decisions. When the spoils of World War I went to the victors, that and American isolationism were components to start the second World War. And rarely in history has war been engaged between two democracies - so there is value in "democracy building". However, before committing military force and the potential lives of those in uniform, other means of diplomacy need to be exhausted. For every conflict we've avoided, countless lives of our military (and civilians, perhaps even our own) have been saved. The early 1980s were the last great time of peace and diplomacy for our military though much of the time was a tight-rope between peace and conflict balanced on mutually assured destruction. Diplomacy and democracy won - not that there wasn't a cost outside of our country - but our national focus gained in science and space exploration rather than paying the expensive cost of sending troops to war. Not to undermine the mistakes of 1980s internally or in the handling of third-world nations, but general wide-spread war was avoided.

On Memorial Day, think of those lives of soldiers who were lost defending out country. It goes beyond whether their invididual conflict was any more just or necessary than any other conflict that our nation has participated. Those lives have a value of valor and heroism that is defined by their loss first and foremost. But also keep in mind that our country is a safe place, thanks in part to those troops. When leaders start mobilizing toward war - ask questions - look for peace. Don't let these numbers grow bigger.

"It seems to me that any sensible person must see that violence does not change the world and if it does, then only temporarily." - Martin Scorsese


100 Years From Now... The History Books Will Say...

I think too many people are too inflexible on their political and sociological views. The inflexibility scares me, in a whole, being someone who is unique to a fault. I think we'd all be surprised if we could view the history books 100 years from today...

What if every president after Kennedy and LBJ was viewed as bad presidents, much like those who lead up to Lincoln? I can imagine that Reagan, George W. Bush and Obama would be viewed very similarly - all corporatists and lobby-owned. Children reading about the early 21st century will be shocked to view how differently Obama and Bush were viewed and how polarized the country was. While Reagan was not a polarist, he was from a different time than the second Bush and Obama. I've often theorized as well that Bush and Obama are viewed so poorly by the opposition because of the bias of the media and the ability to chose news totally based on one's beliefs. I generally think Obama will be viewed more favorably than Bush because of fewer wars and Obamacare will be the start of something good. I think the lines between Clinton and Reagan will become more gray as well.

What will entertainment be like in 100 years? Will people actually attend events anymore? Or will it all be electronic/virtual.

Will we run out of internet bandwidth to the point where it is a commodity now like the way we view fossil fuels now?

I think in 100 years our fuel supply will be less of an issue than now. Fission, Solar, Tidal, Wind power... eventually someone will find out how to make a lot of money from these things and money will talk.

Your thoughts on 100 years from now?  


Nepal, Baltimore and our world in general

As I've gotten older, major tragedies have seemed to affect me more. Maybe it was my experiences on 9/11 working in a stockmarket's operation center, although 50 miles from the WTC, listening to the lines of communications with the traders going out all at once that morning. Perhaps it was putting my son on the preschool bus 40 miles away from Newtown as the police announced that a whole room full of first graders was "gone". Perhaps it comes from being close to those two tragedies that the large-scale human dramas that unfold over the world seem to affect me more than before.

Right now on the other side of the earth, entire villages have been lost in Nepal in a tragedy that has claimed at least 4,000 lives in minutes (a number nearly unfathomable in American lives going back to the second world war.)  A Nepalese co-worker of mine shared stories to our work group that put the scale of the national tragedy in perspective. It reminded me of the stories like that of a friend of mine who travelled back to Haiti after the great earthquake there to assist his family. Great human suffering of a perspective beyond our "American Minds". The general apathy (don't even start with social media) toward what happened in Nepal is upsetting.

At the same time, rioting occurring in Baltimore has caused the displacement of many and danger to people in city neighborhoods. I know too many good people in law enforcement on all levels from the small town cop to inner city or federal police. Not all cops are bad people. Most are good. Check the salaries, divorce rates and health problems associated with a career as police. People choose that career for a reason which usually transcends financial gain. But just like any group of people, there are bad police. There is racism, prejudice - not just in the police force, but in all of America. I can't watch this video of Eric Garner being arrested and not get sick to my stomach. This wasn't some deep south "redneck" town; it was New York City. And the situation in Baltimore is disgusting. A disgusting death and some very disgusting reactions.

The two stories are totally different in nature; Nepal a disaster out of anyone's control and the story in Baltimore that of urban angst after apparent injustice. But from them we see the reaction of those affected as a chance to lift the human spirit. To do good in the face of bad, whether caused by evil men or the condition of being human. There is not only a chance to learn, but to act well in times like these. The way we study future earthquakes we should figure out why there have been so many urban riots since the Rodney King incident years ago and do something about it.

There is a lot of potential to be ugly. I hate seeing names like "thugs" or "animals" being used to label people around protests in Baltimore (no racist overtone there, right? Vancouver "thugs" nearly burned down their city when they lost the Stanley Cup and most Americans laughed - although in the link other Canadians did call them thugs). The things I heard after Katrina about New Orleans residents were so different than what was said about New Yorkers after 9/11, but both tragedies were as devastating to those involved. After Haiti, Americans I knew complained that we were helping Haiti too much because they would never help us (get some perspective on the world, geez, their capital was destroyed and 230,000 people died).

What can you do? Go past the ugliness. Talk to people. Talk to friends in law enforcement about these kinds of situation. Too often the police are expected to be an omnipotent and blindly just force when all the are is people with special training - it can be too much to ask, right? I'm sure you will find friends who are police that are just upset at some of the actions that have occurred in stories that have gained national attention.

Talk to people who have visited Nepal, Haiti or areas affected by the Boxing Day Tsunami. Try to get a scope of how great the destruction was, if only to become grateful for what you have and the blessing of safety and fortune to be born in this country.

Don't be afraid to talk to people of different races, backgrounds, sexuality, home-countries. Ask them if racism/bigotry still exists. The stories I've heard in my life from non-white or non-hetro or non-Christians are disturbing; they make you really question the nature of mankind. I'd say, ever black person I've ever asked if they got pulled over or followed while driving for no reason in particular - probably two thirds say yes. That may come as a surprise to a lot of you reading this. Racism exists still - and it's not just traffic stops and certainly the police in general are not the main culprits. It's best to reject any doctrine that tries to justify segregation, exclusion or bigotry rather than hide behind it.

It comes down to this - we can learn from these things and we can become better people, by making some effort to view the world through other people's lenses. Or we can keep suffering.

Additional note: Not all protests in Baltimore are violent: 


No time for anything but the past...

With a new job and the usual responsibilities on top of that there's been no time to write - even though I've got a ton of things that have interested me recently.

For now, just a flashback - some old writing from years ago.

(originally titled untitled e)

i could make myself wait quite awhile at the
r.r. station in westbrook before I felt a breeze
as gentle as your palms. and it would be so
uncommon to note the song that you spoke before

the best transgression I ever forgot just at the birth
of this period of tranquil disillusionment beginning
with the shake tremble foot steps I made and a throat
filled with a rasp very unique to being awake

this side-effect controls those breezes that are not
quite as forceful as your delicacy and far less memorable
than amnesia-induced by your absence. the forgetting
of all turmoil soaked in vinegar (something i care to remind)

sometimes i wonder why i even question your motivation
when i know it is just something you said last time we were
tangled (without touching) and we matched pulses in a matter
of speeches prepared by our ancestors (not that I would try it)

yes, the shuttering yawn of your wits circumference makes me
idolize. and, yet, yes, you. The one who is so willing to be alive.
this fountain of my arms reflects this non-pause of your movement.
so great! to be in love. and vested in your desire!


the chill that rusts the leafs
and the rain that feeds them
i will be the candle in your bedroom when you are making love
and just as coy, i will be the wind that blows it out
just when the clocks have counted down to seduction
center of this pendulum
which revolves around life
as the sun revolves around seasons
i am the beat of all sambas
a blond haze
that wands and dulls the magic of entrances and exists
i am the sunrise only because the next day is assured
so close you will never need to search
found in every shadow you require

something sadder than death thinks

something sadder than death thinks
fragile mortal jubilance
a souvenir of flesh and ashes, stepped in
it makes your questions dissolve
alzheimer’s rat like a mind of alka seltzer
even a great mind catacomb some days
gets enough of a spark to set back years of
cavepainters master struggles
too many have equated before to hourglasses
so that the joy of smiling is replaced by the sorrow of remembering
when the turn of lips was fresh and involuntary
this is the only time you are really living
not a void

Flowers falling from dying hands

it was flowers falling from dying hands
blowing on the interstate like feathers
on a dry summer dust afternoon

it was an inconvenient, radiant, erotic, unannounced thunderstorm
in early June
which was only appreciated once it was past

it was a sneeze interruption gap in a remarkable non-brilliant career
more than a spark, less than a flame
some how a passing passion

it was a shadow in October that disturbs the trees
in their funeral attire in their dénouement
only to act as imperial lighting

it was a car full of girls driving beside mine
on a long vacation for a stretch
trading elusive peek-a-boo back and forth until I turned

it was your smile in memories and pictures
and that was the satisfaction imprint
the gentlest kiss of dust in the wind against my back

Flowers falling from dying hands (2)

it was flowers falling from dying hands
blowing on the interstate like feathers
on a dry summer dust afternoon
with windchime sunsets
in New Mexico, or
in the suburbs
the untangling of roots
an apple released like leaves would be later
I couldn’t figure the trigger
that ended this canon
it was too much like
the way you made me wonder
when you wrote “whitewash”
finding and replacing you somewhere
in all the sockets in my mind
it made a light cloth visible
and the shadow over took it
footprints forgotten by waves
words regressed to meaningless sounds
then given the breath of new meaning
somehow lingered away
like the weakening scent of orange blossoms and you
when driven away from
a peaceful passing laid in a cathedral
this was the calmest death I ever died

Flowers falling from dying hands (3)

it was flowers falling from dying hands
blowing on the interstate like feathers
on a dry summer dust afternoon
dust with hourglass potential
flowers traveling on the backs of ideals
less than adventurously
a mellow-dramatic escape
a bridge from which i leaped twice
into different bodies
this was evolution
Darwin smiles
a selection and evaporation
never quite known when you are asleep
just that you've been
the loss of guilt
an expansion of death
too subtle to make this smile
it came from what has been not what is to be
you looked at Dali's Christopher Columbus Discovers America
and you blended into one of the crosses or apostles or jesuses
as you stood away from everyone else looking
an episode that just blurred
as if i could erase the end of every sentence
but it was beyond
the relevance of those notions
a madness disease cured
the sand had been washed away

North Branford

the mid-life christ
in sunken, aging cliffs
a sleeping giant out of its prime
it was this tribe that ended
the famous supper of the gatekeeper in the land
of insanity and unquenchable haze passions
too often I was left thinking of
the monument in its place
a mediocre career like mine
the faults and cracks can be covered
grass or hardwood, always timed
so the youth are misguided
halloween angels violet potential
and once I was fertilized nearby
before I was a stepchild
not last borne native tongue
then, this was pleasance only
I followed the game where goals
were heard more than seen
to be told I was not the type
with what I’d type
always outside of the familia looking
into windows of old sports cars
even reminded by the angel catcher
the passion passage never passed
in a sordid past
again winter will be welcomed again
with the wind, snow or sun
these brothers and sisters across the land
captor of spirits
nurtured again the silent wolf of flock
where the scrapes of rocks
that trees can’t cover
don’t make me rain where I can’t reign
it is a bright field in cliffs’ attendance

reagan-loving yankee

the 80s, to the one I have fooled
they are shingles; we
were sprung from the

This is a reason to be born singing hymns
your house, older than statehoods
we, so happy to say, live in rolling starfields
one or two technobeatnick potholes along the way

and a sullen sunburn, disenfranchised tongue
(without some R’s as you go north)

we are patriots
not Imperialists
we are independents without the in the pants dance
we are smart enough not to be told we have to be guilty

we are
the oldest souls, very little
is useable to decipher us from our homes
from all-American literature
we are the theology, not the executors

we do not believe, support, facilitate
have faith within the
Ideological Imperialism

we will let you breathe your own freedom
however you cook it

On the forehead of one of many nations under
God, though He loves the poor we still
Prosper, perhaps, promises to
some devil? til the world spills

(And on that day we will cry,
first of all cries,
we are New Englanders)