Yesterday I said I have no words
And it was very quickly pointed out
That such a statement is what logic nerds
Would call an oxymoron. Without doubt,
I am possessed of words, which I then shared
(Oxymoronically, so good for you
For spotting that) in hopes I’d be compared
With Malcolm X because of my haiku.
Like Malcolm, any necessary means
Of protest will be willingly employed
By me, but passively: Disruptive scenes
In public I endeavor to avoid.
So, with humility, I’d like to say
Trump’s kidnap policy is not okay.
Fear of fatherhood was never
Something that bedeviled me.
Infants simply aren’t that clever!
I was sure they wouldn’t see
How grossly unprepared I was
To teach them how the world works.
The proof is in the pudding, ’cause
They’re grown-ups now, and rarely jerks.
I’m older, too, which means I’m wise,
So here’s the secret: Read ahead!
And when you’re stumped, be sure your lies
Are silly, so they go to bed
Still giggling at what you said.
They’ll still be laughing when you’re dead.
“The next three words–you, read, will–set the tone
For what awaits you in the coming year.”
Twelve months to navigate with those alone
To guide and comfort me? Facebook, it’s clear,
Believes your influence, benign or ill,
Cannot be overstated; should I need
More proof–though, since it’s you, I doubt I will—
I’m sure to find it when I read my feed.
If skepticism dressed in khaki slacks
And running shoes, just those who know me well
Enough to find me in the used book stacks
I’m wont to haunt, our differences could tell.
It’s Facebook, after all, that thinks it’s true
That I will read their quiz, but that was you.
I’m thankful for the opportunity
Bestowed upon me each Thanksgiving Day
To quote myself before my family
And friends. But I still don’t know what to say.
I love that we don’t argue, scream, or fight;
That politics and sports don’t spoil the meal;
That most of us would choose a quiet night
To one in which we slur the words we feel.
I’m thankful that I’m looking forward to
Our late-November gathering of clans,
And that the trope of kin-without-a-clue
Has never reared its head: We’re family fans.
The difficulty is, it’s always thus.
Are there new ways to say I’m glad we’re us?
The carpenter gets credit for the house
And not the saw, the hammer, nails, or wood,
So after each mass shooting we espouse
That tools should not be blamed, that guns are good.
It’s hard to argue: Piled on a site
In heaps, unhanded tools will never build
A home for humans; likewise, in a fight
Between two armories, no gun gets killed.
Absent our capacity to plan
A tool or gun is just a pointless thing.
(Well, nails have points, but, still.) Without a man,
A crown is just a hat and not a king.
And yet, unless he’s paving roads to Hell,
An artisan sans tools won’t do too well.
I talk to squirrels. They don’t speak to me.
I say, “Good morning! What a lovely tail!”
As if a cedar room inside their tree
Held options: Fuzzy, flat, or bought-on-sale.
I tell the squirrels what I’d hope to hear
From them if our respective roles were swapped
And they were benched and sipping brown-bagged beer
While I scrounged hopefully for scraps they’d dropped.
They chitter, chirp, and squawk, but that’s not speech.
They talk amongst themselves like I’m not there,
But when I try to imitate their screech
They stop their conversations cold, and stare.
I’d like to teach the squirrels empathy
And algebra, but they don’t speak to me.
Because, of course, it’s up to me, I say:
That isn’t music, that’s just noise with words.
Music is the thing musicians play,
Or Nature, like with waterfalls or birds.
Because it’s up to me, I’ll make this clear:
Your so-called “god” is just a made-up tale.
The real God — mine — inspires faith and fear,
And tells us what it’s like inside a whale.
It’s up to me to tell you what is good,
And so it’s good for you I’m glad to share
My perfect grasp of how a person should
Behave; such generosity is rare.
It’s up to me to tell you how to act,
Except in science class. A fact’s a fact.