Monday, September 27, 2004

Poem: Lies Behind the Smirk

Obviously, this was written a few months ago, as the death toll has continued tragically upward from the level stated in the poem.

Lies Behind The Smirk

Twelve more young soldiers have died once again.
Six hundred and counting with hardly an end.
Justification for actions had been borne from a "threat."
Weapons discoveries; we’ve not found any yet!
Distracting the mission from where the danger still lies.
Motivations of power, though our "leader" denies.
Iraq’s for the oil, and the truth sits here bleeding.
While they mock all dissenters, no one is leading!
Loved ones are slaughtered in a shameful disgrace.
Bush speaks before us with a smirk on his face.
His family’s in bed with the oil regimes.
The monies exchanged have only fed our worst dreams.
Saudis and extremists and Republican power;
The root of the cause of this terrorist hour.
And while enemies flourished in the Afghani distance
Our arrogance pulled us with wrongful persistence.
Until now we discover Iraq awash with insurgence.
We opened these doors for more terror’s emergence.
This quagmire was built with a foolish portrayal.
And our country’s been duped by this greatest betrayal.
The love ones since lost, we can never replace.
Still Bush stands before us; fuckin’ smirk on his face.

Copyright SGW 2004

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Thomas Jefferson would be a Democrat

I am just back from a weekend visit to one of my favorite places; Monticello, Virginia. I love Thomas Jefferson and sometimes I just have to get in the car and make the trip down to Charlottesville to say hello.

Republicans would probably be up in arms at the subject-line title above. They would scream at the top of their right wingnut lungs about how Jefferson was a states' rights guy; how he was anti-Federalist. Half of that argument is correct, as Jefferson did believe in a government where the states had total power to govern except for what was implicitly bestowed upon the Federal Government in the U.S. Constitution. Further, I am certain that he would see the size of our current governing structures in Washington D.C., and find it repulsive.

However, Jefferson's being an anti-Federalist does not imply a Republican slant. For all their talk about small government, deficits seem to grow under Republican leadership, not Democratic leadership. Also, despite their talk to the contrary, Republicans are the equals of Democrats in their ability to pork up a spending bill. So, let's eliminate that Republican argument right off since we can clearly state that Republicans spend at a level equal to, or exceeding, that of Democrats.

Staying on this line of discussion, let's also recall that Jefferson was very much opposed to having a national debt, and in fact, significantly reduced the Revolutionary War debts of the U.S. during his tenure in the White House while also completing the Louisiana Purchase. I further believe that while he would be strongly against our tax system, and would likely not like the size of our government, he would be ever the pragmatist and at least have a much more progressive, or Democratic, tax system in place, and would fight tooth and nail against tax cuts for the rich at the expense of the lower and middle classes.

Still, there are several other reasons why Jefferson would be a Democrat. The most obvious one to me would be religion. While Jefferson publicly conveyed support for Christianity and even wrote into the "Declaration of Independence" several references to God and the Creator, he also wrote the "Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom." He was quite clear in that all Americans should be free to practice religion according to their own beliefs, and the matter was strictly and completely personal. Some have even questioned his true religious belief system. There is no question that he would consider the attempted infiltration of religion into our public society by the Bush people and Republican Party in general. The Republicans use of religion in the abortion debate, school prayer(despite the nature of some of the courses taught at the University of Virginia when founded by Jefferson), and gay rights would bother Jefferson a great deal. He would also be sickened by Bush's constant references to God and faith. Jefferson would see it as disingenuous and a slippery slope to try to ascend.
Jefferson would support stem cell research in the name of science. He would support insuring that anyone wanting an education would be able to get one. He would support gay rights(he was wrong on slavery and he knew it). And he would certainly be a proponent of protecting the environment, while also being very cautious about allowing big business too much of a voice in setting government policy.
Lastly, in looking at George Bush, he would see a man with no imagination, no curiosity for knowledge and no interest in detail. He would have no respect for someone who was not well read or well spoken. Jefferson would not approve of Bush's stubbornness and unwillingness to see mistakes and change course. Bush would strike him as a simple man in the worst sense; someone not up to the task of leadership and not of able mind, spirit or conscience.
Thomas Jefferson would be a Democrat.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Poem: The Black and White Cookie

I am heading to Charlottesville, Virginia for a three day weekend, but before I go, I wanted to leave you guys with something ...

I loved Seinfeld. I love black and white cookies. I would really love racial and religious harmony. The first time I performed this poem in public, I had someone hand out fresh black and white cookies to the crowd.

The Black and White Cookie

So big in size these cookies are,
A world of cookie treat,
The black and white stand side by side,
And are equally good to eat.
Not separated within different wrappered places,
They share a common space,
The cookie’s special because of both,
Neither one could we replace.
Perhaps it’s diversity that brings a value,
Or the contrasts which offer something true,
There’s just one thing I’d wish to add,
A cookie of Christian, Muslim, Jew.

Copyright SGW 1997

*Inspired by an episode of "Seinfeld" and my love of Black and White Cookies

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Poem: Puget Sound Orcas

A few years ago, after recovering from cancer(5 1/2 years cancer-free now!) and from having a back surgery that allowed me to do some traveling, I decided there were things I needed to see. One was orcas in the wild. August of 2003, I flew to Seattle, and one of the things I experienced was a ten hour boat ride around Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands to go orca watching. What an experience!! I will go back sometime soon, but here is what I wrote about that day.

Puget Sound Orcas

Soft, chilling waters alive in this Sound
Worlds since uncovered where a beauty abounds
Eyes roam the distance of shorelines of green
Ride to horizons with bluest of gleam
Chance to bare witness to sea mammals resting
Bald Eagle sits in the trees of its nesting
Man’s yet to spoil remarkable visions
Hope he stays wise in his future decisions
Heart starts to race as I glance my first fin
Black and white beauty in their mystical swim
Look all around to the pod we’re among
Bask in the warmth in my skin that’s begun
From every which way are new sights to behold
Glide through the waters with a strength that’s so bold
Just off to starboard, whales coast right beside
Revealing appearance that the waters would hide
Can’t help but marvel at the wonders they bring
Find us encircled in an Orca-made ring
Familial in nature, the pods form a whole
A bonded communion where each has a role
Watching, I smile with grin ear to ear
Puget Sound Orcas are a heaven so dear

Copyright SGW 2003

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Poem: Revelation

This poem speaks for itself as to just what type of people Bush, Cheney, Rove, Rumsfeld, etc..., are.


Lie in the shadows
Intentions concealed.
Public persona;
So little revealed.
Money and power;
Inflicting belief.
Those who are needing,
No new-found relief.
Waging their battles.
Infect and consume.
World for the pleasure
They bluntly assume.
Covert or open;
Stamp out dissension.
Laws of the nation
Never get mention.
Freedom discarded.
Rights seen diminished.
Words of the founders
Long since are finished.
Hate for all difference.
Disdain for a choice.
Thought a distraction;
They’ll not lend a voice.
Blind with this redness
The country is led.
Built of no reason;
For reason is dead.
Sit and accept it,
Or speak to the cause.
Men with the power
Revealed for their flaws.

Copyright SGW 2004

Monday, September 20, 2004

Make a little time for volunteering

I have a quote from Francis J. Rella that I love. "It takes extraordinary people to take care of complete strangers." In my links listing, there are three links for charities that need your help:

Big Brothers Big Sisters
The American Cancer Society
The Lance Armstrong Foundation

Please check out these sites. I would encourage all of you to donate some money if you can, but they all need volunteers to give time, too. Do a Relay for Life with ACS. Sponsor a bike run for LAF.

Be a mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters. It takes only about 2 to 4 hours a week and there is no financial obligation to volunteering. There are so many children who need an adult role model and the "work" is so easy. I have been a mentor for about a dozen years now and there is always enough time in a week. You don't have to make time for the kids; just include them in what you are doing already. Wash a car together, take in a ballgame, shop, bake a cake, walk on the beach, hike in the woods ... it is easy. Please contact an agency near you.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

An Empty Void

I told you this was an unfilled space, but you just had to see for yourself, didn't you!?

Poem: September 11

Only a week removed from the third anniversary of the WTC bombings, I find myself thinking back to my first visit to the site. I can remember everything about 9/11. I can also remember the anger and fear, and attending a High School friend's memorial. I helped raise over $200,000 to aid the victims' families in the town I work in and to build a memorial there, but the most emotional moment for me was visiting the site. We all saw the images on TV or magazines, but driving there and seeing an empty space in the skyline, and then standing on the platform overlooking the frightening devastation, provided me with images that I will never relinquish. I live about an hour from NYC and had been in the Towers many times; while in college, I sometimes worked for my dad as a messenger into the Wall Street area. So, going to the site, and seeing the ruins, left me with a tremendous disconnect; until I saw the unscathed sidewalk in one spot. After being interviewed, half numb, by NPR, I drove home, sat in a coffeehouse and wrote the below piece.

World Trade Center

I drive in in silence and search through the distance;
Gone are the Towers; I accept with resistance.
An emptying feeling of the cost to the nation.
Lady Liberty provides comfort, holding strong to her station.
The quiet consumes me and my thoughts reminisce.
Often taken for granted when I stood in their midst.
I discover me thinking of days when I’d passed
Through the walls and the walkways I had assumed ever last.
Now as I’m viewing from unnatural perch,
I look for some comfort in my harrowing search.
Yet nothing’s familiar in the ruins of steel,
Until finally I focus on one image that’s real.
At the base of the rubble lies a sidewalk alone.
Pictured, my memories of other days I had known.
I can now see the Towers standing proudly once more.
I turn with this vision from what my eyes so abhor.

Copyright SGW 2002

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Poem: Mind The Eagle

Mind The Eagle

Wings spread wide in strengthened flight
Sun’s rays feed with warmed invite
Far in heavens of paths in grace
Clouds imprint defined embrace
Talons held by clutching feeling
Eyes set forth toward worlds revealing
Life below’s removed in distance
Glide the breeze with soft resistance
Perched on high residing regal
Sits at peace this mighty eagle

Copyright SGW 2004

Poem: False Portrayals

False Portrayals

Greed seems pervasive in every decision
Hiding their truths with a willful precision
Actions they take they deny through revision

Harming a nation through ill-thought out planning
Damage consuming a worldwide-felt spanning
Hatred and failure in winds they are fanning

Speak of religion in guise of believing
Hearts of the masses their game of deceiving
God’s been ignored in the lies they’re conceiving

Mask their contempt in a homespun portrayal
Quick in the judging a dissenting detail
Measured for morals, they repeatedly fail

Waving the flag to bring out valored rejoice
The time they should stand up; a chicken-hawk choice
If sacrifice needed they’ve quieted voice

Fervor to bask in patriotic devise
But love for this country their strongest of lies
Republican virtue an empty disguise

Copyright SGW 2004

Poem: Georgie's Dick

Georgie’s Dick

Poor little Georgie was shocked,
Cheney’s arteries again had been blocked,
Who’d run the nation,
It wasn’t his station,
For Georgie’s capacities were hardly well stocked.

We’ve often had Presidents to run,
Who had a Veep we would much rather shun,
But never before,
Had our country worried the more,
For the Veep rather than Prez who has won.

So Dick is back in his chair,
And Georgie is left unaware,
For as long as Cheney’s heart beats,
Georgie’s sole greatest feats,
Will be choosing the ties he should wear.

Copyright SGW 2001

A word of welcome

Ah, here I go, entering the ever-growing world of blogging. At the urging of Natasha over at Pacific Views, I am christening this blog, "Poetic Leanings," and we will see where things lead. I hope to be posting poetry from time to time, but also my general thoughts on politics and various other topics.

This blog will tilt to the Left politically because, well, tilting to the right would just be stupid. I will also speak out on issues near and dear to me such as mentoring, the environment, life in New Jersey, sports, poetry, books, and, well, whatever I damn well feel like writing about - it is my blog after all!!

Assuming I figure out how things work in this brave new world of blogging, I will try to reference things from my favorite blogs - Pacific Views, Smirking Chimp and Daily Kos. I also will nag like crazy to raise funds or awareness for causes near and dear, such as Big Brothers Big Sisters, The Lance Armstrong Foundation, various political, environmental and social groups, and independent music that I love.

Ok, so my first post is done. Let's hit publish and see what happens next! Let me know you are out there so I know I have an audience to write to.

Addendum of December 19, 2007: The political commentary is gone, but the leanings remaining in the words of many of the poems. Enjoy.