Sunday, June 30, 2013


Darkness into Darkness, sightless to the end –
When all are competitors, then who can be a friend?
Darkness into darkness, turned away from light –
When all we see is darkness, what use to us is sight?

Dark and deep the river, ceaseless in its flow –
When everyone is racing, then who can dare to slow?
Dark and deep the river, feel it swirl and rage –
When all around is madness, who listens to the sage?

Darkness into darkness, blindness cannot see –
When all that's good is dying, who wishes then to be?
Darkness into darkness, callous till the end –
When what you do is heartless, how can you be a friend?

2013 June 29th, Sat.


The Empire

The Empire

The Empire grows – and all must bow
To It, on bended knee,
Be they the nations of the world
Or those like you and me.

The Empire knows – and yet, we see,
This knowing, It denies.
So though we have no privacy,
We have our fill of lies.

The Empire speaks – and none can dare
To challenge what is said.
The Empire acts – and those who dared
Are silenced – or are dead.

The Empire grows – and who can stop
Its growth, oh citizens?
It's up to us to say, “Enough!”
Before Its next offense.

But each, who stands, will soon be crushed
Without that public space
And public ear – and voice and deed
That spits in Empire's face.

Yet spit alone won't do the job –
For spit is merely spite.
Our hearts and minds – they must be one,
To win, for all, this fight.

2013 June 28th, Fri.
(with last 2 stanzas added June 29th, Sat.)

Saturday, June 29, 2013



When all around, we see the suffering,
Then we forget our misery awhile...
And when we see the pickle we are in,
Instead of weeping, we may crack a smile...

So we've invested hours or days or years –
And all is nullified by those on high?
When fortune turns our work to ashes, then
We'd better laugh, instead of asking why...

For if we were the ones at fault, then we
Could rectify our actions, learning well.
But if it was another – or blind fate,
What use is it, on matters such, to dwell?

To see absurdity in what we do,
To laugh aloud at this, is saving grace...
If only zealots too could laugh at selves,
Of zealotry, we'd see but little trace...


Of all the things that helped our race survive,
It's humor that is often valued least.
And yet, the laugh, and most of all, at self,
Has been a savior to the human beast.

In every village, where they're left alone,
You'll always see the smile and hear the laugh.
But if you're in a city, then the kids
Might need the zoo, with monkey and giraffe...

The antidote for fear, the thing that sets
The ones at bottom level with the top,
Is laughter, at the pretenses we bear...
And once released, it's difficult to stop...

It's all we have to quietly mock the high,
And all that's left for us, at times, of grace...
But laughter can be cruel, most unkind,
When used to keep the beaten-down in place...

Let's wield this gift, this instrument, with care –
Apply it to ourselves, to sift what's sense,
Or use it as a weapon, when oppressed,
But not against the weak, who've no defense...


How many shades of humor, we discern...
How many more are hidden from our eyes...
There is the laughter loud of ignorance,
The startled smile, the snort at outright lies...

And so, from what is unexpected, we
Derive a form of pleasure.  From surprise,
We curious primates fashion sustenance.
And gentle humor marks the teaching wise...

And even from the darkest fate, we glean
That ember bright that lights the dismal gloom.
So laughter's left, when all the rest is gone.
For humor, in our hearts, there's always room...

So when a friend is worried or depressed,
And reason gives no comfort for a while,
A gentle joke or two might break the spell
And light a darkened face with brightening smile...

And if you need a bit of laughter, then
Watch passers by with clear and gentle eye,
Or pause to look at those with you at work,
Or at yourself, and ask a curious “Why?”...

If you have dogs or cats or children 'round,
They'll make you laugh, if you observe awhile...
And if you gently watch the elders, then
Their actions, too, will give you cause to smile.

And if you're by yourself, then memory
Or book, that's written by a person wise,
May bring such things to light as cause delight –
With healing smile or laughter of surprise...

Or if my verses past have caused you gloom,
Then think of me, who's typing, endlessly,
His prophesies so dire, face intent,
And gently smile or loudly laugh with me...

2013 June 28th, Fri.
(with additions on 29th Sat.)


Friday, June 28, 2013



I shall walk towards the mountains,
I shall climber past the vines,
I shall tread upon the needles,
As I climb by scented pines...

I shall mount, where lichens linger,
As the mists are speeding through.
I shall leave the clouds beneath me
And I'll see the dappled view...

I shall see the verdant valley
With its silver, winding thread.
I shall see, by golden terrace,
The rhododendron red.

I shall see the light and shadow
As they race across the hills,
I shall hear the peasant calling
To his oxen as he tills...

I shall drink of green and golden,
I shall sip of distant blue.
I shall watch, with clouds dispersing,
Olympus rise in view...

I shall view the peaks that glisten,
Reflecting dazzling sun...
I shall have my glimpse of heaven,
By dint of climbing, won...

2013 June 28th, Fri.


How Beautiful-II

How Beautiful-II

How beautiful and dark, your eyes,
How beautiful, my love...
I see in them the dark of night
And all the stars above...

How deep, that dark within your eyes,
How deep and dark, my dear...
I see in them the galaxies,
The planets far and near...

How melting warm, your eyes, my love,
That warm your lover's heart...
How innocent, your eyes, my love,
That speak of Nature's art...

I saw such eyes before, my love,
I saw them in a deer...
I saw them from afar, my love,
But now I see them near...

When you and I are gone, my love,
This vision will remain,
Be it in fall or wintertime,
In spring or summer's rain...

When this, our world, is gone, my dear,
This spinning orb, this Earth,
This dark I see, within your eyes,
Will see a planet's birth.

And on that planet, as it spins,
And circles through the vast,
A lover will, within such eyes,
Discern two lovers past...

How beautiful and dark, your eyes,
How beautiful, my love...
I see in them the dark of night
And all the stars above...

2013 June 28th, Fri.

How Beautiful

How Wondrous

How Wondrous

How wondrous is a living tree,
Resplendent in its leaves...
In summertime, it spreads its shade
And from that sun relieves,
On which it feeds, eschewing what
We animals must do,
Devouring naught that lives, unlike
The likes of me and you...

How beauteous, a living tree,
With branches spreading high...
How varied are its greens, when lit
By light of laughing sky...
How sweet, the scent of blooms, to those,
Who pass by it in spring...
How succulent, its fruits, for those,
Who light on it on wing...

How beauteous, the tree remains,
When standing in the nude...
How sensuous and strong, those limbs
In frozen interlude...
How poignant is the tree in death,
Majestic as it falls...
And even when it's dead, it speaks,
As little bird that calls...

2013 June 28th, Fri.


Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Summer Starts

The Summer Starts

It was evening.  I was walking towards the sunset in the west.
The light of day was ebbing but the heavens were alight.
The air was still and humid and the trees were silent, dark.
The rain had kissed the streets and washed the city's grime away –
And water, clear, in curbside pools, reflected sky and clouds...

I walked in silence, breathing in the moisture in the air.
The schools and work had ended, freeing me, awhile, of care...
I walked towards a funeral home.  Another one had died...
I asked the clouds who next would leave.  But none of them replied...

So summer starts – and freedom brings awareness and release.
And yet, I hear, in solitude, the clamor of the crowd.
So little fishes in a pool, beside a waterfall,
Might hear the ceaseless roar – and sense, perhaps, their transience...
And so might soldiers question clouds, expecting no reply...

2013 June 26th, Wed. & 27th, Thu.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013



The casket's sealed – and then is lowered down.
The homilies and prayers now are done.
The flowers wilt and then are thrown away.
So one plus one gave one – and equaled naught...

So some may weep and wail at funerals,
And others there may stand and quietly talk,
As others gossip, even laughing loud.
And some may sit in silence, lost in thought...

But as the days go by – and months and years,
The ones who smiled may then shed bitter tears.
And those, whom death had left disconsolate,
May find that they've been healed by balms of time.

And others, who sat silent or were terse,
Might now expound, in speech or prose or verse,
And though unreason seems to drive the world,
May find, in death, a reason – or a rhyme.

2013 June 26th, Wed.


Monday, June 24, 2013



The rain clouds – they have gathered and they've blotted out the sun.
The rain clouds – they are gathered but the rain has not begun.
It is warm and it is humid, and the cloying air is still.
So the breezes are not blowing – but we hope that soon they will.

We wait in expectation of the breeze that ruffles leaves,
We wait with skin that's fevered and with mind that still believes.
We wait in meditation for the rain that's coming soon.
We wait, with perspiration, on this torrid afternoon.

Will the god of thunder, lightning bless the city with his rain?
Will our hopes and our beseeching be regarded – or in vain?
Will the tempest shake the branches, will the heavens break and pour?
Will we only sweat and suffer, unrequited, even more?

So the maiden waits for lover, who is tardy in his love.
So the shaman does his rain-dance, for the being up above.
Yet the leaves are still in silence, and the tempest is deferred,
As throughout these heated islands, all our prayers go unheard.

Will he hurry to his Radha, who is waiting for his touch?
Will he answer adoration?  Is she asking for too much?
She is parched and she is fevered. She is restless and in pain.
Will her quencher, who is Krishna, be her jilter yet again?

You can hear the flute he's playing, in the distance, in the dark...
To the tune that he is playing, with his Radha, we can hark...
But alas, she is uncoupled – and she waits for him in vain.
He has found another gopi.  There is little to explain.

It is summer – and we swelter, here in Brooklyn, in the Bronx,
In Manhattan, Staten Island and in Queens  – as do the monks,
Who will suffer and be silent, as they offer of their hurts,
While we suffer as did Radha – as we offer of our words.

2013 June 24th, Mon.

Note:     gopi:  cowherd-maiden / milkmaid

To My Father – II

To My Father – II

Will I write you a poem, now that you're gone?
Will I write you a poem, although it's too late?
Will I write for my father, who is ashes today?
Will I write for my father, who is taken by fate?

I will write you a poem, although you are gone,
I will write you a poem, for it's never too late.
I will write for my father, for the man that he was,
I will write for my father, for the man and his cause...

I will write for my father, who had traveled his land,
I will write for my father, for the skill in his hand,
I will write for my father, who had only one eye,
I will write for my father, for the light in that eye...

You are gone, oh my father, and yet you are here...
You are dead, oh my father, and my mother so dear...
You are gone, oh my parents, and you'll never return...
You are dead, oh my parents, and I saw you both burn...

I will go, oh my father, in my time, I will go.
I will go, oh my mother, and you never will know.
But I live, oh my father, and I'll live for awhile,
And I'll think of my parents and I'll weep and I'll smile.

I will think of my sister, who has gone on her way,
I will think of my sister, as I wake, every day.
I will think of my father, as I'm walking to work,
I will think of my mother, whenever I shirk...

You are gone, oh my parents, my sister and more...
You have walked through that exit, that portal, that door...
I will call you by name, but you never will know.
I will call you in silence, till I pass through that door...

Your were famous, my father, and your fame may persist,
But the labors you offered, I hardly can list.
You were famous, my father, if for only a while,
But you were also my father, who had made a boy smile...

You are gone, oh my mother, who was precious to all,
And the horrors you suffered, we still can recall...
You are gone, oh my mother, and we saw you depart.
You are gone, oh my mother, with the love in your heart...

You are gone, oh my sister, and your nurse, whom you loved,
You are gone, oh my sister, and so many beloved...
For we come and we go and we meet and we part,
And we each try to do, what we're asked by our hearts...

I will write you a poem, oh my father, I said,
But I wrote only this, that I'm writing, instead.
Be at peace, oh my parents, my sister and all...
Like the waves in the ocean, we rise and we fall...

Like the waves in the ocean, we are one and the same.
And yet we have quarrels, and we try to put blame...
You rose from the ocean, the ones that I loved...
You rest in that ocean, and you still are beloved.

I have written a poem that you never will see...
I have written a poem, and I'll let it now be...
What use is a poem, now that you're dead?
I write it for others, who are living, instead...

2013 June 24th, Mon.

dedicated to the memory of:

Sunil Janah,
1918, April 17th – 2012, June 21st

Sobha Janah (born Sobha Dutt),
1929, April 18th – 2012, May 18th,

Monua Janah,
1959, August 16th – 2004 January 18th

and all the others, beloved, now departed...

Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Summer Solstice / Not Asking Why

The Summer Solstice / Not Asking Why

The summer solstice comes but does not stay.
The sun that arced to north now treks to south.
As sunswept June replaces faded May
So will December see November out.

And in the winter, on that longest night,
The stars will shine like jewels in the sky.
And in the morn, we'll see the rising light
Has shifted slightly north, not asking why...

The water rises, peaks and then it falls,
As wave and tide respond to wind and moon.
As skies grow dark from clouds, a peacock calls.
The time to mate, he knows, is ending soon.

A stone that's thrown ascends, in graceful arc,
And then descends towards the waiting ground.
And so does light of day secede to dark,
As season follows season, 'round and 'round.

How many shining suns in peacocks' tails,
How many stars that burn in solitude...
By southern cross and star of north she sails,
The ship that bears the free to servitude...

How many drums are beating, soft or loud,
With rhythms – pulsing, pulsing swift or slow...
How many forms are taken by a cloud,
How many lives, in which we come and go...

The summer solstice comes but does not stay.
As new comes in, the old is ushered out.
So empires rise and reign and then decay.
So suns are born that shine and then go out.

This June will soon be yielding to July,
And summer will give way, again, to fall.
And fall will yield in turn, not asking why,
As winter will to spring – and we to all.

So Nature's limbs revolve – and so do we,
As instinct tells us what to do in turn.
And yet, at times, it falls to you and me
To question why – before we fill the urn.

We yearn for what has passed and won't return,
We long for solace – that of constancy.
The butterfly is touched by morning sun –
And we have moments, rare, of ecstasy...

The summer solstice comes but does not stay.
The guest departs before he's had his tea...
We basked in sun upon the longest day,
Not asking why we came, by chance, to be...

2013 June 22nd, Sat.


Friday, June 21, 2013

The Kite-Flying Rat

The Kite-Flying Rat


“You can see that you'll be dying,” said the spider to her prey,
As spirit looked at spirit in the eye,
“But it's out of love I do this, to be one with you in body
As in essence – as you know you can't deny.”


“Money makes the world go 'round,
Money makes it go.
Remember, dear, when you are grown,
Your mother told you so...

“So you’d better find your money, dear,
And sock your stash away.
For then you’ll never have to fear
That you’ve no cash to pay.”


Eat and be eaten, for that's how it is
As you're climbing the ladder of life.
A lifetime of sorrow, for a moment of bliss,
And your birth in this vortex of strife...

There's the worker who's fired and the one who's retired,
And they both have no income today.
There's the child who is dying and the mother who's crying,
For where is the money to pay?


I was walking and dreaming and heard, in my dream,
A sound that I'd heard in the past –
The sound of a kite as I stood on a roof
With a string that was reeling out fast.

I could hark to the sound of the kite in the wind,
I could feel how it tugged on the string.
I could pull and release, I could see the kite dive,
I could see it then rise and take wing.

On a zephyr it drifted, on a westerly wind,
And it floated and sank in the east.
But when the wind freshened, it rose on an arc,
That kite – and the heart in this beast.

There's a heart in this beast and a beast in that heart,
And that beast has a story to tell.
But that beast cannot speak – it can smile, it can weep,
And there's nothing it wishes to sell.

For the beast in our hearts is a kindlier beast
Than the beasts that are governed by mind.
Like the kite, it can soar, like the kite, it can dive.
It's a sensitive beast – you will find.


I captured and 'prisoned a dark little mouse,
In a jar with a lid that had holes.
And it leaped to escape and it injured its nose
On the sharps of that lid that had holes.

I went, with the mouse in that jar, to a field,
Where the grasses were waving in wind.
And I saw the mouse run, but it limped as it ran
And I knew that its captor had sinned.


I dreamed that I witnessed a kite-flying rat
That had weights, on its back, as a load.
And yet, with a gust, it was torn from its perch
And fell to its death on the road.

I dreamed that I knelt and I gentled that rat
That twitched as it struggled to die.
And as it was dying I took off its load
And left it unfettered to lie.


I dreamed that a hound was pursuing a deer –
And I saw the hound leap at the deer.
I saw the deer struggle and I saw the deer die –
And I saw its eyes widened in fear...

But the hound, with its fangs – it had love in its heart...
It knew little of music or math...
And yet, it had feeling – and feeling sans art –
Like the deer and the mouse and the rat...


I saw that a peasant was tilling the field
With the rays of the sun on his head.
I saw that a worker was limping, at dusk,
To sleep for awhile on his bed.

And the face of the worker was darkened with grime,
From his chin to the gray of his locks...
And the brow of the peasant was furrowed by woe,
As he struggled with plow and with ox...


I walked by the ocean, when the sun had gone down
And the stars had appeared in the sky.
I walked by the ocean and I heard the waves roar,
And I asked of the spirit, “Oh why?”

I walked by the ocean, with the stars in the sky,
And I saw, in the waters, a light.
In the darkness it flashed, with a glow that was green,
In the dark of the ocean at night.


I can still hear the sound of the wind on the kite,
I can see it dive down and then soar.
I can see how it climbs to the clouds up on high,
I can hear, in the silence, its roar.

There's the wave and the wind and the kite-flying rat
And the body that lies on the road.
And we wonder at this, the world we are in,
And we ask, why we carry this load.

There's the mouse that is limping, with blood on her nose,
And she's searching for those that she left.
There's the little ones squeaking, for mother that's gone.
There's a world, that's of pity, bereft.

There's the hound with the deer and the deer with her child
And the hound with her puppies that cry.
There's the white of the eye in the deer that will die,
And the beast that is crying out, “Why?”

There's the lord of the land, with his mansion so grand,
And the peasant who swears as he tills.
There's the worker who toils, who is blackened with oils
As he slaves for the man with the mills.


There's the one who's retired and the worker who's fired
And neither has income today.
There's the mother who's dying and the child who is crying,
For who has the money to pay?

Eat and be eaten, for that is the way,
The way of the world and of life.
Abandon your shame, as you're playing the game,
The game of the dollar and knife.


“Money makes the world go 'round,
Money makes it go.
Remember, dear, when I am gone,
Your mother told you so...

“What happened to your money, dear,
The money that you earned?”
“It’s mostly gone to bankers, mom,
And some of it, I burned.”


“I see that you are dying,” said the predator to prey,
As each of them saw other in the eye,
“But know, you will be living, oh my spirit, in this flesh.
So fear not – for I'll eat you, as you die.”

2013 June 16th, Sun.
(with additions during the week)


Monday, June 17, 2013

By the Sea

By the Sea

I wandered like a jackal by the sea,
Searching for my dinner, endlessly,
While finding morsels here and there to munch,
With feces, dry, enough for jackal's lunch.

I wandered, slowly, by the sounding sea,
And knew that little time remained to be.
And from that sea, these phrases soft I heard,
“The body leaves, but there remains the word.”

I wandered lonely, by the wind-swept sea,
With thoughts of us and them and you and me,
And wandered how, from sea of floating turds,
There still might rise, perhaps, immortal words.

And so I sat to scribble down some verse,
Not knowing what was bad and what was worse,
But trusting that, perhaps, from mangled line,
A future jackal might make dinner fine.

And so I looked upon the rolling sea –
And drifting there, I saw, were you and me
And those departed, drifting in that sea,
With wind-swept waves that murmured endlessly.

And then I knew, while sitting on that bench,
Beside the sea, that from the sordid stench
Of sewage, there can rise, with passing time,
The trees, the grass and this – my waving rhyme.

I wandered then, beside that roiling deep,
And knowing I had nothing left to keep,
I was content to let my verses go
And homewards turn, with footsteps measured, slow.

2013 June 16th, Sun.


Saturday, June 15, 2013

Said a 'Ghandi' to a 'Ghurka'

Said a 'Ghandi' to a 'Ghurka'

Said a 'Ghandi' to a 'Ghurka',
“Our names have been misspelled.
It's a pity that we suffer as
These myths are not dispelled.

“For the eitches are not bidden
To be followers of gees.
There are eitches that are after kays
And eitches after dees.”

“So it's 'Gandhi' and its 'Gurkha',
And that's the written truth.
It's the way that we are spoken,
And our spelling follows suit.

“For their English isn't English
As it used to be before
Their Empire had included
The Indians and more.

“So their eitches may be silent
When they follow after gees.
But they'd better not be quiet
When they follow kays and dees.

“So it's 'Dhaka' now, not 'Dacca',
And it was always 'Noakhali'.
And the 'Khalistan' that wasn't
Was not named for goddess Kali.

“And if they were to travel
To the Ghats of east or west,
If they left their “Gats” behind them,
Thay would find it would be best.

“For the eitches that are standing
After gees may be announced,
As they once were done in English
That was thoroughly pronounced.

Said the Gurkha who'd been silent,
To the Gandhi who was not.
“I've a khukri here to silence
All the ones, who hear you not.

“For I know there was a Gandhi
Who was all for that ahimsa,
But when it comes to using eitches,
We are calling for some himsa!

“For we're sure that there'd be riots
If the Scots were robbed of lochs.
So should Gurkhas then be mangled,
Or be packaged in a box?

"Yes we know their ears can't hear it,
But they still should write it right.
For if they continue this,
We'll be looking for a fight!

“For we're sure they wouldn't like it
If we wrote the Thames as 'Tamhes',
Although the eitch is silent,
As it also is in 'Tomhas'.

“And if we wrote 'a bhoroug'
Or we wrote of  'gosths and goulhs',
Then some might laugh, but others
Would tell us, 'There are rules!'

“There's a gherkin, but we're Gurkhas,
So they'd better learn to spell –
Or they'll be joining all the murkhas
Who've a special place in hell!”

2013 June 15th, Sat.


The Gurkhas are an ethnic group in Nepal and adjoining parts of India.  They earned a reputation as fierce warriors in the British Indian Army, being used in in WW2 against the Germans in North Africa and in savage battles against the Japanese in Asia.  The Gurkha soldiers were allowed to carry a traditional weapon, the sturdy, curved machete called the khukri. (This is pronounced,
by most Nepalese, either as spelled here or, more often, as "khukuri".  Unfortunately, it is usually spelled as kukri in English texts.)


The Sanskrit word ahimsa (usually pronounced “ahingsha”) has been rather loosely translated as “non-violence” but is more accurately a state of mind, with himsa (“hingsha”) being its opposite – being the state of mind that harbors or nurtures highly negative emotions and thoughts against others.  Such a state of mind may be conducive to unkind words and acts and may even result in unnecessary violence.

The Eastern and Western Ghats (literally, “steps”) are the coastal hill ranges of peninsular India.

Dhaka (once spelled 'Dacca') is, of course, the populous capital of Bangladesh.  Noakhali is a southern, riverine district of that country.

Secessionist Sikhs in India were once calling (and fighting) for a “Khalistan” in the Indian half of the Punjab ( the land of five rivers -- Panj-ab -- in Persian).  This was conceived of as a “pure land” for the Sikhs. (The Farsi word ab is cognate to the Latin aqua, as panj is to the Greek penta.)

The Sikhs, being monotheists, are usually far from being followers of the Hindu goddess Kali, who is still worshiped widely in Bengal and adjoining regions of eastern India – as well as in places elsewhere, being an ancient, pre-Aryan deity, as was Shiva.  Both were assimilated, to some degree, into the Hindu-Aryan  pantheon, with Kali/Durga being central to the Shaktas and Shiva to the Shaivites.  

The two are seen interlocked in mithuna (coitus) as Shiva-Shakti in some temple sculptures. 

Similar figures, often of much fiercer mien, may be seen in the metal sculptures of the Tantric form of Buddhism that found its way to Tibet.

Kali may have possible connections to the “Black Madonna” of the Mediterranean region, still worshiped furtively by a next-door neighbor of mine (an aged southern-Italian woman)  in the Bensonhurst area of Brooklyn, New York, where I have lived for close to thirty years.

The Sanskrit word murkha is loosely used to mean  “fool/idiot/moron/imbecile/unlettered”.  But its proper meaning may be “ignorant, unlearned, unwise”.


To Be a Bee

To Be a Bee

On walking home today, I stopped to see
The doings of a busy bumblebee.
It sipped the nectar from the fragrant blooms
And seemed as happy as a bee could be.

With gentle breezes blowing from the sea,
I stood and thought, “I wish that could be me.
If only I could sip from fragrant blooms
And be as happy as this humble bee!”

How often has a human thought to be
A hummingbird, a butterfly or bee?
To rise and dart, to hover, dive and sip –
How many felt, “If only that were me!”

Alas, I only stopped awhile to see,
As pesky voices kept reminding me,
“You've things to do!” And so, I felt the whip
And could no longer stand and be that bee.

2013 June 14th, Fri.


Thursday, June 13, 2013

To Our Gary (to Gary Brazel)

To Our Gary

There's satisfaction left in teaching yet,
As may be seen, in some who've lasted long.
Amidst the madness of the endless race,
We still have islands left of silent peace.

There is the labor that is endless, yet
Is done with care to smallest filigree –
No declarations loud, no evidence
Except what may be found by eyes that see...

We saw you Gary, heard you as you worked,
Although you labored unobtrusively.
How many children entered, every year,
Those wondrous rooms, whose doors you opened wide...

We'll miss you Gary, miss that space you filled,
Your silent presence that was comforting...
Your students, they will ask, when you have left,
For you – and we'll, for once, be silent then...

But then, we'll say, perhaps, that you've retired,
So you can do those others things you loved,
To travel far, perhaps, with family –
To walk in wooded hills – in joyful peace...

Your classroom, where you taught, will still be filled,
The desk, where you had sat, still occupied.
And teachers young will come, as we retire,
And some will use the work you've left behind...

So teachers come and work for many years –
And teachers leave, and others take their place.
But each, who gives of labor and of love,
In ways unique, we never can replace...

You left the race that we have had to run,
Creating quiet worlds for those you taught.
We wish that we could emulate your work,
But know there'll never be a new Brazel.

Your name may be forgotten, when we've left,
Except by all those thousands that you taught.
Your work will live in them, our quiet friend,
Whom we'll remember as we age and end.

Perhaps you'll write a book that some will read,
With all those things in it they did not know.
So humans learn and then they pass it on.
And some are there, who take and add to it...

So knowledge grows within our species, yet
There also grows that great forgetfulness...
So madness rules, although the hope remains
That sanity and sense will yet prevail.

2013 June 13th Thu., 3:26 am


Sunday, June 9, 2013

Data-Driven Supervision

Data-Driven Supervision

Said the miser to the river,
“How beautiful you are!
I will keep you in my basement,
To look at, in a jar.”

Said the river to the miser,
“You can watch me as I flow.
If you try to catch and keep me,
There'll be nothing left to show.”


Said the scholar to the flower,
“I like the way you look.
Allow me now to pluck you
And to put you in my book.”

Said the flower to the scholar,
“You can look at me, my friend.
But if you try to pluck me,
Then our friendship's at an end.”

The worlds of suits and ties and those
Of workers rarely mingle.
But “Data-Driven Supervision”
Is suited for a jingle.

How many ways to make men work,
How many ways to lie...
But rather than be docile slaves,
It's better, far, to die...


Said the bosses to the workers,
Who were toiling at the schools,
“You will work for less and faster.
We will measure you with rules.”

Said the workers to the bosses,
“All your rules make little sense.
If you think that we are asses,
Then let's stop with this pretense.”


You can write upon the water,
You can try to net the air,
You can measure love and caring.
You can ask us if we care.

You can supervise the infant
Or the boy who's running wild.
But if you rule the adult,
You will make, of him, a child.

2013 June 6th, Thu. *
New Utrecht High School
Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, NY

* formerly “Brooklyn-Queens Day”, but now
“Staff Professional Development Day for
Schools in Brooklyn and Queens”, for the 
New York City Department of Education

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Returning Home + Bradley's Way

Returning Home

How peaceful are the shades of blue above,
With streaks of white that arc across the deep...
How glorious, the greens in slanting sun,
How restful, those in shadows cool below...
How comforting, the reds and browns of bricks...
The city seems at peace as sunset comes...

And soon enough, it will be dark again,
As blues give way to indigos and blacks.
And far from city lights, a villager
Will see, afar, the myriad burning suns...

How beautiful, this world, in which we are,
How wonderful, this fleeting chance to see...

Returning home, from frenzied place of work,
With no one home, to whom to hurry to,
A little time is found, for breathing free,
A little time, to lift the head and see,
Remembering the ones that are no more,
With sorrow – yet with gratitude to be...

2013, June 4th Tue.
Bradley's Way

How peaceful seem those shades of blue above,
Until they see those streaks of white appear,
Those villagers, who scatter if they can,
Who seek the shadows where the elders hide,
Uncomforted.  And then, the dreaded blasts
That shred the children, who were on their way...

How further, this pretense that cannot last,
This city, driven wild by Mammon's lust,
Where children go to school to be the tools
Of those that wage those wars that have no end?

And in those growing children's eyes, we see
The kindled fires of that insanity...

And when will soldiers sent abroad return,
And those, that fly the drones, from horrors, turn,
To see, with eyes renewed, the sky, the trees,
To watch their elders and the setting sun,
To lift their children in their arms and say,
“No more of sin. We walk on Bradley's way.”?

June 8th, Sat.

It's Raining Now In Brooklyn

It's Raining Now In Brooklyn

It's raining now in Brooklyn as the sky is lit in grays.
It's raining now in Brooklyn as the trees are glowing green.
It's raining now in Brooklyn as the congregation prays.
It's raining now in Brooklyn on this evening so serene.
It's raining now in Brooklyn as the day is ending slow.
It's raining now in Brooklyn as I slowly homeward go.

It will rain tonight in Brooklyn as the water slowly seeps.
It will rain tonight in Brooklyn as the cars are whooshing by.
It will rain tonight in Brooklyn as the tired city sleeps.
It will rain tonight in Brooklyn as the clouds become the sky.
It will rain tonight in Brooklyn as the world is turning slow.
It will rain tonight in Brooklyn and the dreams will come and go.

It will rain tomorrow morning and through all of Saturday.
It will rain tomorrow evening, as the skies grow dark again.
It will rain till it is dawning, when I will wake and I will say,
“The rain has finally ended.  And there's nothing to explain.”
And I will rise to walk in Brooklyn as the sun is rising slow,
I will rise to walk in Brooklyn as I've nowhere else to go.

2013 June 7th, Fri.

Orbs Celestial

Orbs Celestial

I've seen, at dawn, the red and rising sun.
I've watched it sinking sadly in the west.
And in the noon of tropic summer, I
Have felt, upon my skin, its fiery zest.

And I have seen the ever-changing moon,
From crescent pallor, in the light of day,
To shining disk, with Venus at its side,
That lit my path on lonesome rural way.

And I have seen the planets and the stars,
On lifting eyes towards the desert sky –
And having seen, it seemed I'd drunk enough
Of wondrous joy to be content and die.

I've walked to work, before the light of dawn,
With Orion overhead – and silenced soul.
And so have orbs, celestial, touched this ant
And made, what man had madly sundered, whole.

2013 June 1st, Sat.
Bensonhurst Park,



When we are injured, in our flesh
Or in our spirit, then
There are reactions that we feel
And pain is one of them.

The body heals or does its best.
The spirit too can heal –
But only if we act – or breathe,
Observing what we feel.

But if we tussle with our pain,
It only deepens more.
For words, to self or others, can't
Repair the part that's sore.

The hurt we feel is real, yet
It need not turn to hate.
Do not dismiss or nurse it. Watch
It form and dissipate.

And so it is with loss and grief,
And others hurts as well.
They come to us – and for awhile,
Within us, grow and dwell.

But then, like all that lives, they leave,
And that's as it should be.
As long as we're alive, from hurt,
We never will be free.

But that same breath, which lets in hurt,
Releases it again.
Whatever starts, has end – and so
There is an end to pain.

2013 June 1st, Sat.

The Way It Is

The Way It Is

The world is full of madness, cruelties –
And people seem oblivious and proceed.
They pay attention to the petty things
But either can't or will not see beyond.

It may be blindness, callousness or fear,
Necessity or duties that prevent
Our seeing or our acting as we would
If eyes and conscience stayed in good repair.

We can't be saints or martyrs, every one,
But if the ones, who know the right from wrong,
Are silent, then the ones, who don't, prevail.
The sins excused become “the way it is”.

How hard it is to go against the flow,
To speak or act, when others will not join.
The emperor parades without his clothes,
And “adults” have the “sense” to smile and bow.

How many zealots have we suffered from,
Jihads, crusades and endless “wars against”,
Exterminations of the ones who're meek,
Intimidations of the ones who speak?

Competing with the zealot is the lord,
Who thrives from greed, corruption, violence,
Whose hired thugs extract the pound of flesh –
Who yet assumes, with time, the throne “divine”.

Oh pity us, this wretched human race,
That's cannibal and feeds upon itself.
Our wolves can prey at leisure on our sheep,
Who strive to see that errant ones obey.

And yet, amidst the cruel madness, see,
There still are islands left of sanity.
There's duty, love and silent sacrifice.
There's kindness left – and there's sincerity.

For every ten, who say, “That's how it is.”
There's one, who says, “That's not how it should be.”
For every one, who seeks for fame and wealth,
We've ten, who labor cheap and namelessly.

2013 May 30th, Thu.