Category: Thoughts

In Anticipation of Labor Day

Thank you to the Dads and Moms, toiling at home or in an office, on a truck or in a field. Thanks also to the Thais and Turks and Filipinos and Sri Lankans, the Malaysians and the Indonesians, the Bangladeshis and the Vietnamese, and of course the Chinese, who make our clothes and shoes and socks....

Poem: Desafinado

Life is a melody played repeatedly By millions and billions of musicians All trying, with various levels of success, to make the song sound right. The normal hallmarks of practice — repetition, interminable repetition — don’t apply here, for there are no second chances, no do-overs at the beginning, no opportunity to return to the...

Poem: The Tomato

Evidence of an unwanted visitor: hunks of green flesh missing; pockmarks and scrapes, like the residuals from a Bad case of acne; Ants crawling inside the formerly impenetrable husk. The tomato has been breached, Probably by a rat Or maybe a bird, an enterprising finch, who pecked and poked and discovered that the emerald fruit...

Poem: Marine Layer

To the residents of far away precincts, in states where a vote for staunch defenders of the Holy Cross means one extra ticket to the carnival of Heaven, the shroud of velvet mist represents a shroud, like the one in Turin. Fog equals ennui. The sun-baked, though, see the cloud on the ground as a welcome...

Sexless Marriage

According to the bus stop advertisements and billboards around town, another disposable situation comedy is about to make its debut on network television. The conceit of this one, called “‘Til Death Do Us Part,” is that his adorable wife henpecks a regular guy (the aggressively unfunny Brad Garrett) to the point of emasculation. The tag...

The Price of Virtuosity

Not long ago we had the pleasure of hearing (and watching) the young soloist Hillary Hahn play the Mendelssohn violin concerto with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, at the Hollywood Bowl. She was sublime. The notoriously difficult music, which is hard even to hum accurately, came through her fingers with supreme grace, as though her body were...

Poem: Flowering Trees

Standing sentry beside the unblemished avenues of the upper-class fortresses which line Beverly Hills and Bel-Air and all the other places where winners live and those who Have not Discovered the magic formula May not reside, The lilacs and myrtles and jacarandi Burst forth Insistently. Proudly. Defiantly. Like hundreds of gravity-defying breasts, announcing to the...

Airport Security

News of an evil terrorist plot to blow up airplanes en route to America from London with liquid explosives smuggled onboard has inspired a new set of enhanced security regulations at our airports. Passengers must now place all liquids and gels in their checked luggage. Items such as shampoo, contact lens solution, and toothpaste must...

Poem: The Promised Land

Each side, wholly convinced of its birthright and More importantly The illegitimacy of its foe Has found a reason to live. Now Kasseem and Michael, Abdul and Eli, and all their friends and neighbors know why it is they arise In the morning. There is sacred land to be defended, no matter how denuded and...

Bravo, Connecticut: Joe, Ned, and the Iraq War

The front-page of the news yesterday announced that the incumbent Democratic senator from Connecticut, Joseph Lieberman, had lost his party’s primary election, only the third time this has happened to a sitting senator in 30 years. Normally, voters decline to return their representative to congress only in the most egregious cases of misconduct; and even...