Wednesday, February 16, 2022


I do not know

if good intentions prevail

among the elected,

among the appointed,

leaving me apprehensive

that the fate of my land

is not in good hands.

Like many before me

I burn with outrage

at injustice

inflicted on so many.

Like many before me

I do not have the power

to right wrongs

and can only rage

at endless abuse.


The door to advancement

is opened wide.

The ambitious

rush through,

intent on high office.

Each one promises

to make life better

for most Americans,

a patent lie

believed by many

in the frail hope

someone is able

to avert disaster.    

Public Approval

The clamor of the crowd

for ambitious politicians

confirms the choice they made

to run for high office,

allows them to forget

who pays for the route

to desired privileges.

Guns, Not Butter

The biggest expense in America,

aside from the national debt,

is the Pentagon budget.

So big it could end poverty,

homelessness, all the ills

that plague our society,

but there’s as much chance

of the Pentagon giving up funds

as the rich returning their tax breaks

to the needy nation.


A psychiatrist

recently explained

symptoms of paranoia/schizophrenia.

By the time he was done

there was a remarkable resemblance

to President Trump,

posing one important question.

Are his extremes dangerous enough

to threaten the well-being

of our conflicted nation?

Gary Beck 

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

 Announcement of the Annual Victim Awards 


Hello again. It is my grave displeasure to welcome all of you to our umpteenth award  

ceremony for our ubiquitous and enduring victims. This year we have added a new category, and we can only hope that this year will be the last time we mention it: covid victims. We will be giving special recognition, but not an award to this group. As I mention each year, there will be those who disagree with the award decisions, but let us not forget that the perpetrators want us to fight among ourselves to keep the limelight off of them. Don’t buy into their tactics! 

In eighth place, as is always the case, are the elderly. For suffering with age discrimination, social invisibility (even those in the Medicare commercials look middle-aged), physical and mental abuse in nursing homes, fraud and scam operations, verbal abuse (“dirty old men,” “old hags,” etc.) and that proverbial command, “Act Your Age.” 

In seventh place are Asians and Pacific Islanders. A rather new category, even though they have been victimized for centuries. We have much to thank them for, specifically, dying while building our nation’s railroads, for instance. For suffering discrimination, verbal abuse, and more recently, physical violence based on the “China flu,” a xenophobic phrase created by one of our most infamous perpetrators. 

In sixth place are the physically and mentally challenged, formerly called disabled. We all know that changing a name doesn’t lessen the severity of victimhood, but I digress. For suffering with discrimination, abuse (physical, verbal, mental and sexual) and stigma. 

In fifth place are Native Americans. For suffering with genocide, land destruction, poverty, slaughter, discrimination, stereotyping in the media and sacred ground defilement. 

In fourth place are those in the LGBTQ community. It might be worth saying that in this category new members are being added all the time. We are much more aware of transgender, non-binary and others based on genetic, hormonal or philosophical bents. It never ceases to amaze us that victimization always follows new developments. For suffering with discrimination, all kinds of abuse including murder, stigma, medical malpractice/ignorance and religious intolerance. 

In third place are children. For suffering with trauma and abuse, neglect, predation, kidnappingchild marriage, sex trafficking, and abandonment. There is special recognition for sexual abuse by Catholic priests in this category. 

In second place are females. It must be said that females are in all of the awards listed above, so we are singling them out specifically for their gender in this category. We also acknowledge that last year they won first place, and there are those wondering how they slipped to second place this year. That will be explained shortly. For suffering with discrimination, abuse (physical, sexual, mental, verbal), sexual harassment (e.g. by employers, members of the military, teachers and landlords), sex trafficking, misogyny, genital mutilation, predation by serial killers and sexual objectification. 

In first place are African-Americans. It is our great sorrow that females and Blacks vie for such recognition. For suffering by slavery, discrimination, police brutality, voter suppression, poverty, racism, murder as well as increased threats from white supremacy groups which are a result, again, as a result of our most prestigious perpetrator. 

We are honoring a very special victim this year, Hilda M. She is a 90-year-old, Native-American, lesbian, paraplegic. 

We hope we have not slighted anyone this year, but we always welcome suggestions for new victim categories. We will be adding victims of climate change next year, since we are confident that human beings are responsible for this potentially catastrophic planetary event.  

As we do every year, we honor past first place winners such as Jews, Tibetans and other people around the world who have been, and continue to be, victims of ethnic cleansing.  

We don’t look forward to meeting with all of you next year. Good night. 

Constance Woodring 

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Free Man Don't Need The Blues


Charles Gayle (tenor sax)


when club owners wouldn't call back
to pretend they knew his name
and all he had to play


Gayle opened venues of his own

on street corners and down subways,

slamming his tenor up against

taxis and trains to find anyone
he could pull close

like a pro wrestler whispering

let's work this angle together;

it'll be a better show than

if we only butt heads


how about you, lady with a fancy bag,

you want to go three rounds

with me? What about you sir,

care to take off your tie and

scuff those shiny shoes? Hey kid,

why not skip school? I can

teach you something your class

will never know: your lesson


for today is that when someone

needs something this bad they'll work

in the rain, fight through the snow,

and I may not be much to look at now

with my beat-up shoes and bent

old sax, but believe me when

I tell you I'm a luckier guy than you;


I'm here waiting on the day

when my ship comes in

but they'd be crazy to let me take off;

everyone knows

I do my best work down here



Stop Press



the good news is

there is no good news;


there never has been

any good news,

and there never will will be

any good news


until every page

of every 'paper

is blank;


and there is no one

left alive to read

the good news




Last Stand



Never thought I’d exit the blue carpet

smeared with cigarette burns and stars

and only feel relieved

that the matinee ride was over.


But in every new blockbuster

I spy the shade of those that lit up

my youth: when Wolverine slashes Mystique

I see Ripley squaring up to the alien queen,

or Arnie’s thumbs-up in Terminator 2

when his mettle is humble and cooled.


The sensible voice beside me says

take it as a sign to re-wind the video,
accept that DVD is dead

and downloads are here to stay;

I know you watch Ingmar Bergman

when I’m out of the house.


Oh yes, I know you’re right:

this is how I learn to live

without the old illusions, or learn

to re-invent some new. But giving up

summer films means giving up

on summer, the chance I’ll exit

the matinee and find daylight

has added a new colour to the mix;

and for a moment really believe

I might drive around the world

to prove it’s no flatter than a screen.

Because being young is the only ticket

everyone gets for free; the rest

you have to work for, and mortgage against.


So here we are outside the Plaza
peering over the heads of strangers’ kids.

It’s either The Seventh Seal

or X-Men 7. Tell me again what it is

you really need to see.



On My Knees, Lord



In the bad days
of the good book
s a serpent,
a jackal, a bull with no horns

but he
s always a she to me;
on her knees
begging me to beg
down in the cold
where we fashion
with the tools of our souls
a new kind of Hell

then scream the hour of prayer
with my broken brothers
all over the world

but never drown your whisper.
The bell of your breath peels my fingers
back to the old Exodus
so I can read you naked
I can read you shamed
hear your laughter in the garden
lick your milk from the leaves

and I wonder
when I pray
and I pray
when I wonder;

devil Eve, is it
for you
I wear the wire,
is it for you
I wield the whip?



All Aboard



We had it easy for an hour

or two; sat on the tracks

and picked a few daisies,

secure in the knowledge that

all points were diverted,

no train was due. But today

we’re on the timetable,

engines gunning hard,


and woe betide any passenger

who might stumble on the tracks.

These trains are expressly

on time and will not stop

for anyone, even those who imagine

they hold the dead man’s handle.


Hide on the platform or scream

on the rail; either way heads will roll.

Ian Mullins 


Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Certain Scoundrel


At the cocktail party

in celebration of

our thirtieth anniversary,

amid friends and relatives;

someone asks my wife,

who has never been

an overtly romantic sentimentalist,

what the secret

is to our longevity.


She holds her

pregnant pause

a little longer than necessary,

looks at me and says,

“Better the devil you know

than the devil you don’t know.”

And with that

gives me a wink

and a kiss on the cheek.

Acquired Tastes


To know the bouquet of wine,

You must first

Let it breathe

And then allow it

To escape the glass

With its unique perfume.


To know the flavor

Of wine

There must be a first

Time taste.


Then with that experience

Behind you,

The complexities

Of each varietal

Can be stored

In the memory.


And so it is

With you.

Gathering Essentials


Wednesday is errand day.

I find my keys in the rose petal bowl,

my wallets is in the carved wooden tray


my blue hat on the door hook.


I cannot find my phone.

I search, curse and research.

Finally I find it,


in the powder room.

(Who charges a phone

in the powder room?)

There are two text messages

I sent myself with reminders to buy

strawberries and Dawn dish soap.

I would have forgotten them.


As I am backing the car

out of the garage,

I suddenly turn off the car

and hurry back into the house.


I’ve forgotten

your heart

and I never go anywhere

without it.

R. Gerry Fabian

Helpless I do not know if good intentions prevail among the elected, among the appointed, leaving me apprehensive that the fate ...