Thursday, December 28, 2017

The Most Human of Years

2017 is wrapping up shortly
and I think it’s appropriate to
recognize it for what it truly was;
The Most Human of Years.

I believe 2017 was the most human
of years simply because it reflected
what is the most common and universal
trait of all humans, our capacity to

2017 was filled with so many
Oops-a-daisies and whoops-a-doodles,
it’s amazing we made it to the end.
From baffling election results to even
more baffling election results; our all too
human flaws were showing.

I feel 2017 was a raw nerve, finally exposed,
and we were doing everything we could
to keep people from poking at it. Sometimes,
we didn’t do it right and wound up just making
a grand mess of things. Or just lied about it.  

2017 was filled with backtracking, corrections,
re-evaluations, tactical reversals, contrarian
explanations, and general outrages over the lack
of outrage.  The human year, was a jumble of
emotions and thoughts, all running around
like kids at recess, screaming and shouting.

If 2017 were to have an image to represent
it, I would have to choose a giant finger pointing
at, “the other guy”.  It would seem the most reasonable
since we attempted to deflect any mistakes onto,
“the other guy”, for the majority of the year.

It is my hope that 2018 is The Year We Learn
From Our Mistakes. I know that the pessimism of
2017 will mark the first part of 2018, as the old year
can leave quite a bruise. Yet I remain hopeful in the face
of our collective humanity that we’ll do better, be better,
and rise above our common frailties.

Here’s to a New Year and the human capacity
to find hope in the darkest of places, valor against
the most difficult challenges and recognize the
humanity in our humanness.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Dear Mr. Christmas

Dear Mr. Christmas,
I hope all is well with you and
your kind and
things are swell and
not heavy on your mind.

Things over here aren’t so great,
I don’t want to be a nag
or berate.
But we’re in a pickle and everything
is a drag.

I write to you once more,
to remind you of what you said before,
when the kids were sad and you were
late, those words you spoke to make
us elate.

You said, “Quit your bitching and
shut up! I’m doing my best here so lay
off. I’m just one guy, doing what I can.
I’m not sure why I give a damn.”
Is what you said.

Mr. Christmas, you’re the best.
Saying what we can’t.
Puffing up your chest.
Fighting like a fire ant.
Mr. Christmas, you’re so cool.

What would Jesus do?
Walking on water when it freezes?
Mr. Christmas does it too,
he calls it ice skating and
does it when he pleases.

But Mr. Christmas, all that you know,
I’m just here to remind you of the season,
and to ask of you, before you show,
to look beyond our heart’s treason,
and help us if you can.

Here’s a list we made,
we hope it helps you out,
because off the path we strayed,
and with all your clout,
we hope you can make our dream true:

To make the Holiday bright,
treat each other right,
put our dicks away,
fight for equal pay,
Stop our warring ways,
end persecuting gays,
save the poor,
show the fats cats the door,
from pollution you can save,
keep us from the grave.

Mr. Christmas, can’t you see,
how much we need your seasoned
Mr. Christmas don’t delay,
you’ve only got a couple days.

Thursday, December 14, 2017


God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.
Let’s put those snowballs back
in the freezer shall we.
No one wants to see them right

It’s Christmas time and that means
we need to keep an eye on Santa to
make sure he doesn’t act inappropriately
while asking children to sit on his lap.
This is a horrifying concept to me.

Santa Claus, the iconic symbol of
Coca-Cola, can’t even be trusted.
I am just super glad he isn’t real,
imagine the sexual assault/harassment
accusations against Mr. Kringle?

Groping Claus isn’t probably invited
to your holiday party, or if he is, he’s
not allowed to have any eggnog or any
of the Rum cakes.

In fact, I don’t think any variation of
Old St. Nick should be allowed anywhere
near alcohol. Plus, I’ve never understood
the whole if you’re a good kid, this old
man will bring you presents while you sleep.

What’s wrong with us and our mythology?
That’s just damn creepy right?
Old man sneaks into your house and leaves
gifts because he’s been watching you to see
if you’re naughty or nice. Gah!

Maybe this whole war on Christmas is
right. Maybe the symbols of this season
should be less about pleasing an old white
man and more about being good to each other?

I don’t know, I’ve had too much eggnog and
there are elves coming on to me. They want it.
Look at how they’re dressed. All tiny clothes,
and you know, curled up shoes, striped stockings,
yeah.   They want what this Santa’s got.

Ho-Ho- damnit I spilled my eggnog all
down my Santa suit.

God Rest ye Merry Gentlemen,
Shhhh, shut up, shhh……


Monday, December 11, 2017

Perspective by the Slice

                “So I’ll have the cheese pizza,” said Gary to the young man at the register.
                “What size sir,” asked the young man.
                “Oh, ummmmmmm……. large,” said Gary.

                Eight Guys Pizza was bustling with activity and customers stood in bunches around the four small tables by the large front picture window.  They ate their various pizza slices in their own various ways. They were all in a hurry it seemed. No one these days seemed to have any time for a casual slice. They had to choke it down as fast as they could so they could get back to work, or get back to shopping or back online. They seemed like animals, nudging and grunting at each other. Gary didn’t like them, but he did like the pizza.

                “So that’s one large cheese pizza, nothing else? No other toppings? Just cheese,” asked the young man at the register.
                “That’s right, just cheese, to go,” said Gary.

                The young man shrugged and entered the order into the register and Gary gave him a credit card to swipe.  Gary waited for his receipt, rapping his fingers along the greasy, yellowed Formica counter top. It was scratched and worn in many places. Gary could see the names of lovers, pledging to be together forever in the counter top. “Jaime and Chico, 4-eva,” and “TDogg + MissThing”, scratched into the surface of the old counter top.  He snickered and wondered if indeed Jamie and Chico were still together.

                The young man handed Gary back his credit card and Gary stepped away from the small counter as the next person in line stepped up to place their order.  On Gary’s planet there was no pizza. On Gary’s planet there was none of the essential ingredients of pizza. They mostly survived on vitamin infused gel packets and a substance called melmel; which to Gary’s palette tasted like hot glue and paper. Earth’s pizza was Gary’s vacation and he certainly was glad to have it.  

                He could only get to Earth every few years when his intergalactic postal route brought him within the solar system.  A few things had changed since his last visit but overall Earth was still the same churning and bubbling cesspool the rest of the universe had written off as a lost cause. The universe’s inhabitants found nothing redeeming about Earth and were pretty much waiting for the inhabitants to kill each other and the planet off.

                Gary liked the pizza though. It was good everywhere on the planet and there was nothing else like it in the Milky Way. He felt bad that once the inhabitants of Earth destroyed each other that the marvels of Pizza would probably die with them.  However, being from another world and having seen the mysteries of space and the rise and fall of multiple planetary civilizations; Gary couldn’t really bring himself to care too much for the humanoid species on Earth. They were doomed and that was fine with Gary.  But he’d miss the pizza.

                 “Gary,” shouted the clerk, “your pizza is ready.”

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Swinging at Snow

Looking for love is
like swinging a
sledgehammer at
falling snow.

Stumble bums and break hearts,
plead at the foot of some
romantic ideal, “The Woman”
with the bright eyes, easy smile
and carefree sexuality. Begging for a
shot at romantic love. 

“I brought my sledgehammer,”
the stumble bums and break hearts shout to
her. “Look, look, look, look, look,” they
say as they dip and bob for her eyes,
praying they fall up them.

Like looking for a cardinal
in a sea of blue jays,
looking for a porpoise
amid dolphins, looking for
hay in a stack of needles.

Love, without scandal,
judge-less, faultless, wherein
the only consequence is
happiness and a desire to mutually
suffer for someone else.

I’m swinging that sledgehammer,
hitting air, walls, beer bottles, sidewalks,
pedestrians, lampposts, cars, elephants
in the room, but missing the falling snow.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Culture Convulsion

Every few years there’s a
shudder that runs down
society’s spine.  A tingling
numbness that infiltrates
the culture, waiting below the

With each generation that
comes of age, they discover
the new outrage that their
parents never even considered
to be something to be concerned

This new outrage bends the
reeds of previously accepted
normalcy to the breaking point,
until they snap with all the fury
of a bomb, obliterating the reeds
beyond recognition.

The slo-mo outrage explosion ripples across
the social landscape, uprooting
convention and perceptions of
acceptability, tossing every belief into
the air like so many twigs on the

“We didn’t know,” scream the old guard,
as they pinwheel through the mushroom
cloud of outrage.  Bonking their bodies
against the rubble and debris swirling around
them. “We didn’t know, we didn’t know,” they

“You should have,” shouts the youthful cloud,
 “you should have!”  Their rage in a roiling
boil over the perceptions of past generations,
“You should have known!” They howl as they
beat their breasts and chant for change.
“Your old ways are done!”

The old guard retreat into clumps as they
fall from the sky, blankly looking at each other,
mystified by what just happened.
They thought they were doing so well.
They thought they were doing such good.
They thought it was under control.

The old, older guard, stand on their porches,
and point with their canes, “See, see…,”
they cajole, “we told you it would happen to you,
damn hippies.”
The deposed wipe their noses,
bloodied,  but still they think they’re in
the fight.

They don’t know it but their generational
bubble has burst. It’s over, ended and
joined the choir invisible, to be footnoted
by future historians who’ll remark,
“Unbelievably, people once acted this
way, much to the chagrin of our current
social morays.”

There’s no change like the change that
makes change. Except its very changing changes
how that change will be changed.
I just convulsed a little.  

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

How Do You Write About Thanksgiving?

Here is it again,
another Thanksgiving;
a day set aside for
celebrating what unifies family,
friends, co-workers,
and the occasional stranger.

Yet, how does one write
about this Holiday?
In this era of cultural sensitivity
and being “woke”, (a despicable term)
 can we still celebrate this day without the
shadow of guilt creeping in?

Abraham Lincoln created Thanksgiving
in an effort to unify a divided nation
during the Civil War and remind the
citizens of this nation that we are still
one from many.

Lincoln’s intention was as that of a healer,
while ignoring the ineffaceable scars
of tragedy the early settlers endured and
imposed on each other and the Natives
upon which we built our country.

It’s a holiday designed to help us remember
that though great strife, suffering and difficulty,
we have remained united and that there is
no event, no instance so terrible as to wipe
this Democracy from the face of the world.

It is a day to be thankful to the forbearers
of the greatest of all ideals, that we, that all people,
can and should be forever free and any yoke of
oppression can be overcome through standing

I guess that is the best way to celebrate this holiday,
with a reverence for what came before and knowledge
of the trials yet to come, and in that knowing reverence,
be thankful we are here, together. 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Dear People

Dear People,
do not be people.

Do not admit to being
imperfect, fallible,
or human.

Value each person,
but don’t be one,
because that would
imply imperfection.

We must be above person
or people, beyond reproach,
and incapable of even the
slightest judgment error.

Do not be people.

If people are human,
and humans make mistakes,
and if to err is human, and if
being human is to be people,
then people make mistakes.

But no, do not be people.

Be perfect, never make any
mistakes, never acknowledge any
dalliances of youthful ignorance.
Never be held hostage by
your immature thoughts.  

Never lay in bed at night,
re-living the embarrassments
of your past and shake your head
in shame and disappointment.
That would make you a person.

And you’re not a person.
You’re not people.

Don’t be people.

You’re just an Idea,
someone else had. 

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Shaky at Best

The cars herked and jerked,
hmm… “herked”, is that even
a word?

It’s not.

“Herky-jerky”, is appropriate to
describe the motion of the cars
in traffic as I was originally

But “herked” sounded better,
but it’s not real. Something can be
jerked, but not herked.
It really threw me off my poetry

I’m not even sure anymore
why I was starting a poem
about traffic, seems less
important now.

It probably had something
to do with my love life,
or relationships or some
other metaphor to color
the stop and start nature of

But I wanted it to be “herked”,
but grammar wouldn’t let it be.
So now I’m here, all herky-jerky.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Death on the Moon

To die on the Moon,
that’s what I want.

I want to drink a bottle
of red wine, put on a
spacesuit, spacewalk to
a moon folding chair and
sit, facing the Earth.

And die.

I want to see the planet
I’ve called home in its fullness
and wholeness and try to
work out why it’s so hard to
live there.

From the moon,
where I die.

I want each Spacesuited breath,
to be filled with awe and wonder
as I pass from this life to the
next. I want to watch the world
spin and see it go on without me.

I know that it won’t happen.
I will never set foot on the Moon.
I’ll never go to Space. I’ll never
see the Earth as a whole,
So I guess I can never die.

On the Moon,
like I want. 

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Just an Idea I Like

Miyamoto Musashi was a Samurai
born around 1584 and was likely
one of the greatest swordsmen that
ever lived.

Before his death in 1645 he wrote
the Dokkodo, or "The Way of Walking Alone",
a book on self-discipline with 21 different
rules to live by.

He made a point in this book that
I think is appropriate regardless
of religious belief and it’s rule
number 19.

He wrote, "Respect Buddha and
the gods without counting on their help,"
which ultimately means, that it's okay to
believe in a God or have faith in one,
but your actions are your own and
should never expect divine intervention.
You should “take care of your own business”, as it were.

It’s an idea that I like very much.

I just thought I’d say so.  

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The Monster's Speech

“Rwar, rah, raaarg-ha, graa-org,” shouted
the Monster at the crowd.
They pelted him with rocks and
poked at him with flaming torches
and pitchforks.

“Naarragh, gree praa Haarrgrahag,”
said the monster as he covered his
hideous, malformed face from
the onslaught of projectiles and vicious

“Kill it, Kill it,” screamed the frothing
crowd as they bore into the monster,
“Smash it’s ugly face,” they yelled and
chanted, stepping ever closer to the
monster’s corner refuge.

“Wha, wharrrgha, kraagahall-gah,” pled
the monster through his scaly lips and
twisted yellow fangs, his forked tongue
frantically whipping about, searching for
a place to breathe.

He tried to climb up the stony walls of the
castle’s exterior, hoping his long lizard/eagle
like talons would help him flee, but they could
find no purchase on the stones due to the rain and
slick stone faces.

“It’s trying to get away,” shouted Reverend Stall,
“don’t let it escape!” He threw a rock that hit
the monster square in the head. The monster was dazed
and stumbled forward and then was spun backwards
by another large rock.

“Narrh, narrrh,” grumbled the monster as he fell to the
cobblestone street.  His arms up in a last effort to protect
himself.  The world aglow from torch light started to
dim and the monster found himself in a long tunnel,
the echoes of the mob growing more faint.

The monster felt himself lifted by many hands
and drift toward the few stars visible in the
night sky. They twinkled in and out of his view
as he seemed to tumble endlessly towards them.
He wanted to reach out, but he could not.

“Eht es arr frar bwhetter rast Eye gho trooo,”
mumbled the monster as he finally vanished into
the darkness.  He was wrapped in burlap, chained,
bound, weighted with cement and dumped into
the Bay.

The townsfolk forgot their own viciousness,
but they stay out of the Bay. It’s become a
dark place, thick with fog all year round,
with the sounds of sobbing floating on
the salty breeze.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Halloween Dance

Edgar Allen Poe and H. P. Lovecraft
were caught smoking in the parlor
and Edgar kept yelling, “Nevermore”
as he was escorted from the floor.

H. P. vanished into thin air,
reciting an incantation from
his pocket Necronomicon,
leaving more smoke on Edgar to blame.

The Chaperones were diligent
in keeping this rowdy bunch
away from the spiked punch,
which of course had a real spike in it.

Mary Shelley was telling tales again
with Bram Stoker  as they danced
in the high school gym.  They swayed
and swooned in a spot light dance of gloom.

Stephen King and Dean Koontz stared
at each other, devising each others
untimely, yet mildly entertaining demise,
through gore and subtle social commentary.

The Proctor separated them to keep
the calm but Neil Gaiman couldn’t resist
poking the bear and arrived with a bucket
of pig’s blood to share.

“Out, out, out! Damn spot”, shouted the
Proctor, “We’ll have none of that Neil!”
A quick fist bump between Stephen and
Neil, before they were shown the exit.

“No Carrie re-enactments, it was posted on the
door,” said the Proctor. “Now outside with you
both, leave poor Dean alone.”
They were hustled out into the night. 

They ran into Edgar, still crying, “Nevermore”,
in the parking lot, on the hood a hearse.
Ann Rice spoke from the car, “He won’t move,
the sad sack, keeps pining for his date, Annabel Lee.”

“This Halloween party blows,” said Edgar,
wiping the snot from his nose,
“Let’s go to my place, Sheridan Le Fanu,
and Daphne du Maurier will be there.”

The band in the gym played a
cover of The Monster Mash
and the writer's agreed, going to Edgar’s
was better than this.

“Where’s your place,” asked Ann
as they drove.
“Sepulchre Drive, there by the sea,” said Edgar.
“Of course it is,” said Stephen, “of course.”

Friday, October 20, 2017

Monster Fight Instructions


Frankenstein’s Monster


Sparkly Vampire
(Punch & Stake)

Creature from The Black Lagoon
(Fishing Lure & punch)

The Mummy

The Wolfman


(Punch the air)


The Devil
(Punch & Jesus)

Finding a strong, mutually beneficial,
stable relationship with a partner willing
to accept you for who you are and sexual
(Um….. punch?)

Thursday, October 19, 2017

New Autumns

Each year of life presents us with
new Autumns.
For every minute we live,
it is inevitable that change will
come, like leaves falling, after their
burst of Fall color and dormancy.

For some, there is only a final
Autumn, a last change into dormancy,
before a revival of color though whichever
faith, culture or belief allows, adheres or
expounds.  In which we find solace until
the Spring.

The mingled Autumns that persist with
the living and paused Autumns of the dead,
rapt in each other in a seasonal cycle,
driven by nature’s desires to replenish, renew,
remake and re-spark. To make a mark in
the mind, in the heart and soul.

Autumns are quickly forgotten in the
brisk Winter winds, the snow drifts up to
your knees, the Spring melt and rains,
and the long hot days of Summer. Fall
is all about  change and we have a hard time
remembering or even liking change.

The steady Summer sun, the refreshing Spring scents,
the dastardly depressions of Winter, burn brightly
in our minds, yet Autumn is glossed over since it
reminds us too much of endings. We don’t want to see
these endings as beginnings of a new stage, a new life.
We don’t like the visual, visceral, passage of time.

Yet, each Autumn comes and it takes from us. It
hides the dead in promises of life renewed, and we,
mistrustful of those promises, we scowl, we cry and
we mourn. We fear the rebirth because of our
pessimisms, and terror of our own final Autumn.
Yet it will come, death and life, budding and blooming. 

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

October Impact

The impact of October
should be chilling, thrilling,
and terrifying.

Reds, yellows, mixed with
graying skies is the backdrop
to a most haunting time of year.  

The October setting sun;
blistering the landscape with
Autumnal hues.

The long, Fall shadows
should give us pause to wonder
what was that noise in the hall.

Was it coming to get me?
How did it get in here?
It’s just a cat. I don’t have a cat.

It’s the toothless murderer,
the one on the news. He broke in here
looking to satisfy his blood lust.

Another creaking floorboard,
I’m doomed. Doomed!
There’s no escape!

The wind rattles the windows,
the house shivers,
and every noise is a death knell.

That’s the impact of October,
the growing abyss of Autumn,
and the powerful fear it stirs.  

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Thanks for Seven Years!

Today marks the Seven Year Anniversary of A Minute With Michael. Thanks to everyone for their support and continued enjoyment of my passion project. I swear there's another book coming out, really. I mean it. Thanks again!

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Do I Have to Say It Again?

                                           Dodge City - 1879

                The Wild West wasn’t the Wild West. Most “Wild West” towns had very strict gun laws. So strict, in fact, that you couldn’t even walk into town with a gun on your person.  As such, some of these towns, like Tombstone, Deadwood, and Dodge, had surprisingly low murder rates, two murders a year perhaps. Of course one has to remember that the populations of these towns were fairly small, but the idea of gun control was still heavily enforced.  While people were allowed to have guns at home for self-protection, frontier towns usually barred anyone but law enforcement from carrying guns in public.[1]

                The image of the firearm being the trusty tool of the American west is a false one, created by Hollywood and purveyors of “the image of the Wild West” for profit through tourism and less than creative screen writing.  The lone American Cowboy bravely defending the honor of a fair maiden in the dusty streets is complete bunk and as likely as Knights of old fighting dragons with lances and magic swords. Yet, somehow, this image persists and some Americans believe that carrying a pistol on their hip as they order a chicken sandwich at a fast food restaurant is their “right”.  The pistol, six guns, what have you, was indeed a tool of necessity, but its use and how they were displayed was strictly controlled. Toting a gun around for “safety” is an antiquated, and mostly imagined, notion of a bygone era.

                Responsible gun control is our right, as evidenced by the “wild” West towns that encouraged and mandated strict gun controls. They knew that a civilized society had no need to be armed to the teeth to accomplish their daily tasks. The laws of the Wild West towns showed their practicality and respect for public safety.  It’s amazing to me that those lawmakers of the past had more respect for their constituents than the lawmakers of today.  Really? Go ahead and get a silencer? What…? Who wants that? What segment of the American population was petitioning Congress to loosen silencer restrictions? Or were clamoring to let Mentally Ill persons purchase firearms? Was that a thing I missed?

                The Wild West towns certainly never had access to the fire power we have today; but no one was toting a Gatling gun through the streets, or pulling cannon around in a wagon, it wouldn’t have made any sense to those Old Western folks for a common person to have access to such high powered weapons of warfare.  I don’t believe they would have stood up for that “right” because it’s dumb, and they were far more practical than we seem to be. Somehow, having access to military style weaponry, ammunition and accoutrements today is totally fine and is in the perceived interest of public safety.  

                I’m with the Wild West on this one. You’re a jackass if you think you need an AR-15, M-16, or other high powered weapon for “home protection” or, “hunting”.  The Zombie Apocalypse, yeah, that’s TV and not going to happen. The likelihood of the fabric of society falling apart to such an extent that we’re shooting each other in the streets over water rights is incredibly mind-boggling slim.  Crime is a reality, there’s no denying that, but maybe with some common sense gun controls, like they had in the Wild West, crime can be better handled or contained to create confidence in public safety.

                I’m disgusted by the Americans who trot out the 2nd Amendment to hide behind and say they will not accept any limitations on their “right” to bear arms. If Wyatt Earp was here, he’d tell you to turn those guns in at the Sheriff’s office and then have a good time in town, but if you kept any weapons on your person, he’d bash your damn head in and throw your dumb ass in the town jail. He was interested in the safety of the townspeople in general over your perceived threats to your personal safety.     

                Yet, we as a people have decided imagined threats to our personal safety somehow overrode the general safety of the public. Somehow, an individual’s right to obtain as many high powered military style weapons is totally cool, in case of the Apocalypse of course, or to hunt those vicious, blood thirsty deer with their shoulder mounted .50 caliber machine guns.  We’ve let the “gun nuts” intimidate legislation and the calmer, practical approaches to gun control.  That has to stop.

                I don’t much care for guns. I never really have. I’ve written to my representatives over and over again about common sense gun control. I have watched as efforts to do anything, even talk about gun control, slowly fizzle into the backdrop of “politics as usual” and I’m tired of it. I suggest we as the people follow the example of our “Wild West” forbearers and tell the NRA and whomever they support that we no longer give a shit about their influence nor are we afraid of them or their alleged lobbying power. We don’t want your guns in town.

 If you as a member of Congress have received donations from the NRA or voted to loosen the restrictions on assault weapons, you’re out. We’re done with you because America has no need for your slippery conscience or indiscriminate pandering to a group of gun toting jack holes. The consciences of America will eventually get you. We will no longer tolerate your allegiance to a gun lobby over your constitutional duty to protect the citizenry from public safety threats.

I’m tired of writing the same thing after every tragedy this country has to bear. It’s simply time to have the conversation, to come up with a plan to protect the people from these tragedies. It is the time damn it. Don’t you dare change the subject into hotel safety requirements. That’s cowardice.  Deal with the real issue, gun control.  If it was good enough for Tombstone, it’s good enough for Chicago, Las Vegas, Miami, Washington D.C., Los Angeles, and every city in between.  Do the just thing.