Heresy in Protest

Heresy in Protest

Heretics abound, restricted
not by faith, or perhaps bound
by an overabundance of faith
in their cause, a method born
of a desire to establish worth.

Strike not those who would
strike against you, for should
not violence be left in the past,
even when considered to be
the roots of our success?

Yet, having raised the cost
of our labors to one negotiated
not on the streets but at the table,
is not the bargain assured
to those whose motive is profit?

When others would aid in that profit
by doing the masters’ bidding,
who is to blame those who trade
bargaining for violence, and who should
be the first to call them heretics?

This poem is my response to Poetics: Epiphany in the Time of Holiday, the prompt from Dora at dVerse ~ Poets Pub. Dora asks that we “write about such a moment in the context of its occurrence (shopping, socializing, celebrating, religious observance), a moment of epiphany.” I am not able to relate any holiday to an epiphany, so this will have to do.

As described by Dora, “An epiphany, writes critic X. J. Kennedy, is ‘some moment of insight, discovery, or revelation by which a character’s life, or view of life, is greatly altered.’” I have chosen to address a moral issue with my poem.

Mine is a blue-collar background in trucking, with more than thirty years as a member of the Teamsters union. With many nights spent beside fire barrels while manning pickets to protest management’s reluctance to bargain, usually during contract negotiations for a multi-employer contract, I also have stood by fellow members as strikebreakers were hired by their individual employers to replace them. Those times were no holiday.  Well into the 1990s, I saw picketers resort to violence, not physical violence against strikebreakers, but violent enough to cause damage to equipment. The movement was supposed to have moved beyond those tactics, but an argument against them could be futile when others saw no alternative. While I understood the history of my union and the establishment of the first nationwide contract in the 1950s, I never understood the violence that led to it. Having witnessed, first-hand, some degree of that, I made every effort to remove myself from anyone who subscribed to participating in it.

Image source:

Fear Not Faced ~ quadrille

Fear Not Faced

Climate change cannot be reversed unless we face it head-on. Ignoring it offers little hope for the future. How can we expect that to change if we continue to bury our heads in the sand?

fair weather
nothing but a dream
fears not faced

This haibun (of sorts) is my second response to Quadrille #140: Let’s Go to the Fair!, the prompt from Linda Lee Lyberg at dVerse ~ Poets Pub, which is to use a form of the word fair in a 44-word poem (excluding title), with no required meter or rhyme.

Image source:

Fairly Well ~ quadrille

Fairly Well

Fallen leaves and sunshine
hike with me, up hills and down,
along bluffs with a broad view
of a narrow river, past turkeys
with no interest in fair weather
or health, mine, much improved
over last year’s near collapse
on this very same trail.

This poem is my response to Quadrille #140: Let’s Go to the Fair!, the prompt from Linda Lee Lyberg at dVerse ~ Poets Pub, which is to use a form of the word fair in a 44-word poem (excluding title), with no required meter or rhyme.

Contrary to my thoughts last year, stamina is no longer an issue for me. In October 2020, I hiked a 6.1 mile trail in The Mark Twain National Forest. The hike should have taken 3 hours or less, but took 5 hours for me to complete. I was so winded that I needed to stop every 100 feet or so each time I climbed a hill – and there are a lot of hills and inclines on this trail. It turned out I had iron deficiency anemia. Two iron infusions in March of this year corrected that. I hiked the same trail this afternoon – in fact I hiked nearly 9 miles in 3 ½ hours — with no difficulty. It was a beautiful day for a hike, but most of the leaves have already fallen. Here’s a link to a blog about last years hike, with some colorful fall photos.

Image: Smith Creek in the Mark Twain National Forest, Missouri
~~ click image for larger view in new tab ~~

Bombarded ~ prosery



Who is to say what will wear down a man?

Bringing my mother into our home? No one wanted to see her in a nursing home, so she lived with me for more than two years. It certainly wore down something. My divorce is proof of that, though, in truth, it had been a long time coming.

Once my mother did go into a nursing home it was only three months before she was gone. But that wasn’t the end of it. Even as my mother’s health was failing, my sister was fighting a losing battle with cancer. Here it is a year later, and my sister is gone.

Would all of this be enough to wear down a man? How does anyone recover from three major hits in that short of a span? I need to know. I am bombarded yet I stand.


This is my response to Prosery: Bombarded, the prompt from Merril at dVerse Poets Pub. With Prosery, the challenge is to write a piece of flash fiction with a 144-word limit (here, exactly 144 words). Included in the bit of prose is to be a complete line from a poem. For this prompt, the line to be included is from “Planetarium,” by Adrienne Rich.

“I am bombarded yet I stand”
                                                                      – Adrienne Rich

Distant Voices

Distant Voices

A bench, at first, where solder flowed,
and wires glowed in anticipation
of the words and music that would dance
across waves that filled the air
before rasping from a tiny speaker.

A desk would follow, dials and needles
on your radio measuring signals,
those received from far places,
yours, a response to those voices
and clicks with your own.

I may have had the desire to follow,
and you did encourage me,
but my discomfort in talking to others
over the air was just as real for me
as talking to them in person.

Years later, I found myself at a desk,
talking to the camera as I vlogged.
It seemed that I was finally ready
to talk to people, even if remotely.
You would have enjoyed that.

These days, it’s blogging, and I could be
anywhere. At the kitchen table
or in a recliner with a laptop,
or on my phone as I remember you
and write a poem about your ham radio days.

This poem is my response to Poetics: In the Light of Other Days, the prompt from Laura Bloomsbury at dVerse ~ Poets Pub, which is to write a poem recalling some specific thing or things from the past, or more generally about what evokes a memory or memories in you.



The roadside flagman nods as I pass,
tells me my wait has just begun.
I count slow turns of the tires
on the semi beside me. A thresher
going nowhere, rows of dried corn
before it, turns in a nearby field to pass
corrugated columns, steel silos
that bear witness to our parade to nowhere.

Its dust cloud approaches, stalls
over stalled traffic, then moves on.
A space appears before my car,
revealing pavement marked in red,
the only warning I receive before I move
slowly past the remains of a deer that tried
to cross this highway at the wrong time.

It could have been weaving its way
between the cars and trucks around me
in traffic that’s barely creeping.
A small car sits just off the road,
its shattered windshield witness to the scene.

A spaniel leans from a car window,
hoping for a breeze to materialize.
When we finally reach normal speed,
I glance across the median to see rubberneckers
who get to enjoy the delay I leave behind.

Medical appointments next week mean that my trip to Buffalo has to be a quick six days, with two days driving each way. As usually happens, the road has gotten my poetic juices flowing.

Cursed ~ duodora

This poem is my second response to the prompt from Lisa at dVerse ~ Poets Pub, dVerse Poetics – Halloweeny Humans, which asks us write a poem speaking to a human attribute that is particularly irritating, using a Halloween or Samhain theme. I’ve considered my first response and rewrote it to meet Lisa’s further challenge: “For extra candy corn bonus points, write the poem in the Duodora form!” My sweet tooth couldn’t resist.


Cursed, they should be
Always with their snooping
Digging in the dirt
Hurting whom they will
Never satisfied
So intent on the godforsaken truth
Those damned and dreadful souls who know no guilt

Cursed, they should be
Whose closets hold no bones
If the truth were told,
Their own lives laid bare
And lies brought to fore,
They would not be so sanctimonious
There, within the glass houses they have built


The Duodora is:
~ a quatorzain made up of 2 septets.
~ syllabic, 4/6/5/5/5/10/10 syllables per line.
~ rhymed Axxxxxb Axxxxxb
          ~ line 1 is repeated as a refrain that begins the 2nd stanza.
          ~ x is unrhymed.

Beyond His Depth ~ haibun

Beyond His Depth

Steve showed up at the dive shop in Saint Ignace early in the morning, looking for a chance to board a dive charter to one of the wrecks in the Straits of Mackinac, so they rented all of the necessary gear to him and sent him to the dock with the boat captain. When the captain asked if he could join our charter, my friends and I decided we could make it work. He had been a diver in the Navy, so he was no novice. So he said. He would buddy with one two-man dive team for the deep wreck, then join the other dive team for the shallower wrecks we would see after lunch. At least he was certified for deep diving, or the shop would never have rented the gear to him. How bad could it be?

Our first dive was to the Cedarville, a 588 foot wreck lying at 106 feet, upside-down at a 45 degree angle with the rail of the ship 25 feet from the bottom. When our new partner had trouble descending, I waited at the rail while my buddy, Pete, kicked toward the cabin just below us. It was clear that Steve was having trouble breathing when he finally joined me. I checked his tank gauge to find that he was nearly out of air. I wrapped his arm around the rail and kicked off to get Pete. Steve was having even more trouble breathing when we returned, and his eyes were large with fear. 80 feet deep, and he was out of air.

I shared my octopus (spare) regulator with Steve, and we made a slow ascent to our first decompression stop. The remaining air in his tank had expanded enough that it registered on his gauge, so he dropped my regulator, took his own into his mouth, and shot to the surface. We surfaced ten minutes later. Fortunately, Steve did not suffer from an embolism, a high risk occurrence in rapid ascents.

The second dive of the day occurred without incident, but after the dive we learned that it had been several years since Steve’s last dive. As for the first dive, the whole reason for our 10-hour trip, Pete and I chalked it up to experience.

out of cold water
warm sunlight before next dive
gulls circle the boat

This haibun is my response to Haibun Monday 10-25-21: Fear, the prompt
from Frank Tassone at dVerse ~ Poets Pub. I’ve also written about this incident here.

Image source: Straits of Mackinac Shipwreck Preserve