Your Word is Your Bond

“From a young age, our parents impressed on us the values that you work hard for what you want in life, that your word is your bond and you do what you say and keep your promise, that you treat people with respect. They taught and showed us values and morals in their daily lives. That is a lesson that we continue to pass along. And we need to pass those lessons on to the many generations to follow. Because we want our children in this nation to know that the only limit to your achievements is the strength of your dreams and your willingness to work for them.”

American Dream
The Cheese Has Moved

To journey without being changed is to be a nomad.
To change without journeying is to be a chameleon.
To be changed by the journey is to be a pilgrim.

To journey without arriving is to be a refugee.

Bumper sticker: I’ll keep my guns, money, and freedom, you can keep
the “change.”

No man with four aces and a Smith & Wesson ever asked for a New Deal.

The cheese has moved.
  My calendar is now in pencil
for a year or more.
  Faint lines show where
a cheese moved.

“. . . we were left feeling
helplessly bypassed, as if
  the processes of the present
did not include us. We felt
  unheard, angry, and frustrated.”

This is a collage of sayings (Mark Nepo), bumper stickers, a mash up of folk wisdom, some original poetry, and lines from a Zen journal. I now understand the artistry of a good collage (even if I don't achieve it). 

—Jeff Taylor


The American Dream, Betrayed

In American, anyone’s child
  can grow up to be President.
Still, everyone knows they’re talking
  about straight, white boys, but
someone forgot to tell that nobody,
  or maybe she didn’t listen.
Now there's a Black man
  in the White House and . . . 
I mean, that’s not how it’s
  supposed to be.
If a cynic’s an idealist disappointed,
  what's the promoter of
the American Dream to do, when
  the “wrong” person
achieves the Promised Land
  putting the Unspoken’s
business in the street. Whatever
  it is, the mark has won,
the con man's lost and the rigged game
  is broken.
How true is . . . a rags to riches story
  that's only open
to Harvard men?

—Jeff Taylor


Awesome Poem

I told my wife 
“I’m going to write 
a poem tonight.”

And then 
Caroline brings this prompt, 
and it didn't seem like a prompt,

at all.

At least, not one
to inspire 
a poem, 

at all. 

I've started to notice,
more and more,
how some things tick me off. 

As we read the prompt,
together in unison, 
I  found myself 

somewhere between 

being ticked off, 
(very) supremely ticked off,
and wondering if 

these words were part 
of Michelle Obama's 
wonderful speech 

the other night (at the DNC).

I read 
she had no political intentions 

in her speech—
unlike the others 
she followed.

And yet, 
after the speech, 
many said, 

”she ought to be president.”

The prompt seemed dated, 
perhaps it was from 
the Cleavers 

in the 50s. 

My wife said at dinner 
something about how,
if we had better schools, 

things would be different. 

We ended up realizing
it would take about 
three generations 

to really make a change... 

A profound 
that is.

I think this tirade started 
with her 

how so many people 
could vote for 
a bully. 

I told her 
that the odds were…
he'd win.

My friend just texted me, 
“write something awesome.”

If I didn't know better,

So there, 
I tried to write 
an awesome poem. 

And then I wanted to say
“I'd pick my nose”
and you can't say that 

in a poem. 

In high school, 
did you ever read a poem 
about nose picking? No!

Or even about bullies, 
or the Cleavers? 

I heard the other night,
on NPR, 
a poet was told 

he had a terminal illness.

He became very depressed 
and wrote 
the best poems of his life. 

I thought, God, 
grant me 
a terminal illness. 

Oh, just kidding, God.

Let me try again:

The lime I stole from
the Zen center was so
delicious, it made my 
smoothie so great that
my friends drank it 
with such gusto—
so much gusto, 
in fact
that I didn't have 
any left today.

That's a dumb poem. 
Glad there are only 
two minutes left.

I can blame 
the advancing clock 
on my not writing 
anything close to awesome. 

Or I can blame it
on my lack of
having a terminal illness, 

Or maybe 
I wasn't raised right, 
like my neighbors, 

who had their mouths, 
washed with soap,
when they swore.

Kim Mosley

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