Observation Series #1 - Poetic comments on everyday happenings, sometimes with a political or moral comment.
          Talk Radio

          Across the nation
          the anger is heard on talk radio.
          All in the name of the national good.

          The self-proclaimed all-knowing spew
          diatribes on the evils of liberalism
          or some other categorical contrivance
          furthering divisions and dissension.

          Even in jocularity
          the bellicose and sinister lie not far
          beneath the surface.

          All feed the frenzy of uni-thought
          the antithesis of the callers' claims.

          Distrust and anger rule
          often promulgated in honor of the Teacher.

          The One who long ago proclaimed,
          "Blessed are the peacemakers
          for they shall be called the children of God."

          Comments: While driving and surfing through the radio channels, I often come to a station that has the latest talk radio host spewing out his or her venom while fueling the fires of mistrust and anger despite claims of furthering democracy and peace. I have yet to find the bogeyman of media liberalness. In my radio surfing journeys I have not found a talk show host that even closely resembles such a creature. Instead, the conservative pap flows across the air waves. Thank God for NPR.
    Dropzies in Las Vegas
    Wrestling his bag up to overhead
    Ready to depart Sin City.
    The ring tumbles out
    Unbeknown to him.
    It rolls and rolls past many feet
    Before being rescued by another.
    The Good Samaritan returns to him
    This failed symbol of his marriage.
    At once the owner gasps
    As he fades sheepishly into his seat.
    Amid the smirks and quiet laughter
    And the knowing of his character.

    Comments:: The poem takes a somewhat judgmental view of the event. For example, the gentleman could have simply been keeping it in his bag so that it wouldn't be scratched.
            Economy Plus
            Evening has come
            Scrunched in economy plus
            A bit better than economy
            Tantalizingly drifting from first class
            The scent of food
            Real food
            Even silverware
            Only two rows away
            Mouth waters knowing
            Not even a snack will arrive.
            I not alone

            As the multitude looks
            Toward the blessed few

            Comments: A humorous look at the class system. Little did I ever realize that the food I once criticized would be missed on the cross-country flight. Soon, if coach class levels of service continue to deteriorate , first class passengers will be disturbed by the incessant mooing coming from coach. The poor souls won't be able to recline and sleep.
      One-armed Bandit

      Pull the lever
      Watch the numbers spin.
      Another quarter, a dollar, a fiver,
      Into the slot they go.
      Each intently watches
      Hoping for the BIG one.
      Some guard two chairs
      Lest someone steal their luck.
      The faces come in all shapes and sizes.
      Many show the years of life spent
      With wrinkles creased deeply into their souls.
      Smiles are few in this unhappy place.
      Even winners are only momentarily distracted
      Before returning to the monotonous pull.
      Pull the lever;
      Watch the money go.
      Pull the lever;
      Watch life go.

      Comments: Many including myself have gone to casinos and played the slots. On a recent visit I took time to watch people. Within a short time I had to leave. I became so depressed. Obviously, this poem speaks to my thoughts of that experience.
      A Single
      Sitting alone
      .....surreptitiously looking here and there
      .....trying to appear oblivious.
      The buzz goes on.

      On the right, the Brits talk of wine and lobster;
      .....on the far left, two teachers discuss what else,
      .....children and travel.

      Later, another gentleman is seated next me.
      ....."Is this the single section?" I inwardly ask.
      He picks at his salad, barely looking around.
      ....."Perhaps he doesn't have my voyeuristic tendencies."

      Another couple stare intently at each other.
      ....."Hmm! What will they be doing this evening?"

      The food arrives and disappears.

      As I savor the St. Michelle Late Harvest,
      .....my mind drifts from those around
      .....to past pleasant moments of dining alone.

      So many wonderful memories,
      .....all starting with the reply,

      Comments: I was attending a conference near Boston and arrived at the Marriott after my cohorts had already departed for dinner. Thus, like on many occasions, I replied, "Single," when asked by the hostess, "How many?" Many do not enjoy dining alone. However, over the years I have grown accustomed to the experience and use the time to observe, reflect, and, as on some occasions, write as I did that evening. By the way, the late harvest was exceptional.
      Should I?
      Should I take a picture
      .....to place in an album
      .....so others can see?

      Or, should I tuck
      .....the memory away
      .....to share within
      .....again and again?

      Comments: I am an avid photographer, one who carries elaborate equipment with him wherever he travels. I try to transfer three dimensional beauty into two dimensional form. Over the years, I have come to realize that once I take the picture, I often forget what motivated me in the first place. On the other hand, I recall with great clarity the 'great shots that got away.' Thus, one day last summer as I ferried through the San Juans, I put my camera down and just sat taking in the beauty. I find that I do that more often than I use to – hence, this short poem.
      Modern Cocoons
      Strapped into too narrow a seat,
      .....scents drift to the nose.
      Surprise! Cinnamon
      .....and others more pungent.
      Funny, I've never noticed before.

      The usual expressions,
      ....."Please hurry, you're in my way."
      Stoic looks are also there.
      A few, “What else is new?”
      Others smile and wait.
      Each offers a snapshot story.

      Bins closed and seat belts fastened.
      The ubiquitous safety film –
      .....and into the air.

      For the next few hours
      .....most return to their cocoons,
      .....emerging only when the wheels
      .....again touch ground.

      Comments: The modern cattle cars aren't always too pleasant. Thankfully, some airlines are offering more legroom. While this poem hints of the discomfort, it really speaks more to social attitudes during air travel. I have observed many times individuals sitting next to someone for hours, barely acknowledging the person's existence except an initial nod. Interestingly, perhaps after a four-hour flight, as the wheels are touching down, the seat mates will begin to talk – emerging from the self imposed cocoons.

      So Busy
      So busy taking on demands
      .....Real and imagined
      Sitting in my umpteenth meeting
      Offering occasional responses
      My mind wanders and wonders
      .....Is the world better because of this time spent?
      .....Am I better?

      How fast the seconds turned to years
      Only a wink ago
      .....A mere lad
      And now a man on the high side of middle age

      Again sitting in the meeting
      Is it worth the moments
      .....Never to be lived again?

      Comments: This poem was generated after sitting through a district level meeting. That Saturday was not a day I wanted to sit in a meeting. But because of my elected position, I felt obligated to be there. As the group discussed a rather inane topic, I asked myself, "How is this bettering the world?" As I grow older, I have less time to spend on the unimportant. What about you?
      At the Cafe in Spring

      "Ah, life can be so good,"
      drifts through my mind
      as I enjoy my soup and baguette
      accompanied by a rich merlot.

      The sun casts late rays
      upon the cafe umbrella.

      Spring breezes
      shower me with white blossoms,
      a few coming to rest upon my shoulders.

      Time slows for moments of rejoicing.

      Comments: May is a beautiful month with the blossoms in full bloom before taking on the rich greens. Following a state poetry meeting, I ate at a favorite French cafe in Worthington. As I enjoyed my soup and sandwich, white blossoms showered me. I wrote the poem while continuing to enjoy my food.
      Silicon Valley

      High above, looking down
      .....upon the mountains
      .....and rolling green hills,
      .....I do not see the bytes and bits,
      .....though this is the fabled Silicon Valley,
      .....where great minds
      .....create the unthinkable.

      Instead I see the bounties of creation
      .....that mere mortals cannot begin to equal.

      Comments: Funny the perspective one has when high in the air looking down.
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