Monday, June 29, 2020

Proverbs 6:6-9

There's an ant

crawling across my computer screen

seeing what I see

but completely differently.


from his vantage

must look


from mine.

Same world -

different perspectives.

A lesson for our time?

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Wisdom is Unwanted

Wisdom is unwanted

Ignorance preferred

when events make you question

your view of the world.

Better, yes, to bunker

to hunker down and stew

to reaffirm your worldview

all challenges eschew.

Wisdom is unwanted

Ignorance preferred

when events make you question

your view of the world.

To salve your soul you harken

to voices that affirm

"Don't listen to the experts!

You've nothing left to learn!"

You know you will feel better


to your echo chamber

where "friends" and "followers"

feed your anger

at strangers

who don't do as you do.

Because wisdom is unwanted

Ignorance preferred

it's dangerous to question

your view of the world.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020






for the just system

that's placing them on top.


since birth I've

always been on bottom

and I believe

I come

from damaged stock.

Saying this aloud

makes me sound




would make me right

that I'm "not right."

Genetically inferior

despite my skin

and bloodlines

or rather - because -

those bloodlines mustered


The dented



Sure, I can

but not without

superior help.

Overlooked in every room

Not pretty




I was charming once.

It was a mistake.

Or an accident.

I've since learned

my place.

And it's not among

a superior race.

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Country People

Today I cried

for the country people

the small town people

whose suffering

until today

I refused to see

because they're different than me.

Today I cried

for the country people

the small town people

the mom and pops with shuttered shops

the closing mills that employed generations

the "backward" people clinging to coal

'cause it's all they know

Today I cried because I saw

the pride

of the country people

the small town people

who, despite owning next to nothing

put some flowers on their modest table

My eyes

could not handle

the flowers.

I cried because

the life they knew


A problematic life?

It's true.

But who among us

hasn't clung

to something toxic

just because

it's The Devil We Knew?

I cried for the people on the economic fringes

who've had wealth and gilded guilt

the dangled carrot of prosperity gospel

preached at them through digital screens.

Lifestyles to which they're told to aspire

that we all know they will not achieve

and their conservative upbringing teaches them

it's their fault.

Their lack is a personal flaw.

The wound is real and it's raw.

I cried for the country people who

like injured animals

lash out

bite the hands trying to feed them

and elect those

that will perpetuate the very cycles

that hold them down

I cried because

I realized

It's people like us

that contribute to the cycle

that hurts the country people.

And though some are walking wounded

still others keep their open hearts

offer cookies to Jewish photographers

who show up on the doorsteps of their modest homes

to take pictures

of the flowers

on their modest tables.

My own sensibilities say

now's not the time

to cry for the country people

many of whom

might not

be crying

for the suffering of others

suffering we're seeing

played out on urban streets

across America.

But my heart says

my inability to cry

for the country people

mimics their inability to cry

for the suffering we're seeing

if, indeed, they are

not crying

And some of them

Those in pews of tiny, country churches

those for whom Christ Jesus is real

and loves all people

They are crying.

And we do them an injustice

not to think so.

But whether they cry

or whether they don't

I am wrestling with my own heart

because I turned a blind eye

to their pain

Because I did not like the way they expressed it

In short - I am confronting


my own hypocrisy

I come

from country people.

But even I

have forgotten them.

Until today.

I cry for country people

who feel

- and it's very real -

that they're being Left Behind.

Country people

angry and wounded

by the very same lies:

That all men can succeed.

The money comes, if he tries.

That wealth and health is earned.

That God rewards the virtuous and wise.

I cry for country people

because none of its true

because, so often

the size of the bank account

is the inverse of virtue.

I cry because "The System"

doesn't work for them either

but they keep courting the hand

of that abusive father

And every time he beats them

they double down harder

"I just have to try harder."

"I just have to try harder."

Lambs to the slaughter.

I cry for the pride

of the flowers

on the table

I cry for the sentiment it speaks

about my grandma's generation

12 in the house

drinking water from the well

working the family's mechanic shop

it was hell

and their names?

Near 100 years later are still above the door.

I cry for the country people

without funds for education

without access to healthcare

for the backbone of this nation

They see only that we urban liberals call them backward

And in some ways they've earned it.


But who among us has never been wrong?

And who among us has liked to hear it?

Who among us wants to hear all of our flaws

from someone who won't acknowledge any of our hardships?

I cry for country people

whose humanity

I've denied

in my own arrogance

and ignorance.

I cry for country people

because I cry for this country.

And who among us

doesn't deserve

flowers on our modest table?

Monday, June 1, 2020


If you think

this isn't my fight

because I'm white

Then, friend, I'd remind you of the song:

Red and Yellow, Black and White,

ALL are PRECIOUS in His sight,

and if "brother" stops at "color",

well - you're wrong.

It's not my place

to dictate

how a race

I don't share


its despair.

But as a Jew

I pursue

Tikkun Olam.

I'm required to do better

be inspired

use my letters

lest my Talent be buried in the sand.

When I stand in His glory

what will be my story?

Did I CROSS on the other side

- or -

like The Good Samaritan, lend a hand?


For we, too, were once strangers in a strange land.


Hated, feared, seen as "less than."


Sages: "walk a mile in their shoes."

Philosophers: "a mile begins with a step."

Me? I plan on running 'til I run out of breath.

Because more than once I have witnessed

"Stop! I can't breathe!"

Knowing all the while

It won't happen to me.

Knowing all the while

I won't get the knee.

Knowing all the while

that those precious to me

can't say the same.

Which is why we say their names.


Which is why, though I'm white

the plight

of my brother

is a fight I must take.

The fate of our world -

the future's at stake.

And the Torah, it teaches

every life is a world:

an eternity of possibility

in every boy and girl,

And if you take one

the damage you've done

is immeasurable.


So I say "not another one."


Not another one.

Tikkun Olam.

Not another one.