Poem: How the Revolution Started (Second in a Series)

stroller patrol

How obvious and ingenuous and untenuous

Is the adoration she has for the child, the one she pushes in a fourteen hundred dollar

Stroller? Her smile radiates a protective shroud of love over the low chariot

And protects the sleeping boy inside, oblivious to what we sometimes call reality –

Oblivious as his parents, who pay her to push. The parents who crow to their friends,

“We pay her next to nothing and she’s grateful for it!”

She loves him as if he were her own.

On her worst days, when the bus is late or crowded

With handsy men and garlic smells, or when the dream she crafted and believed and returned

To faithfully, like a psalm, becomes hard to see, fading,

the screen

Cracking, distorting, the story ending faster

Than she wanted – on those dark angry no hope days

When she feels like a . . . → Read More: Poem: How the Revolution Started (Second in a Series)

Poem: Nostalgia

game players

If it’s not too early,

a bit premature for a fellow not quite ready,

I should like to look backward

on the imaginary continuum of then and now.

How marvelous it would be

to gaze beneficently

upon my childhood,


and maybe weeping softly

at all that’s been lost.


We called it the Court. Forty yards of hard-packed grass.

A giant elm was one goalpost, and a shorter piney thing was the other

and there was an asphalt ring around it

for racing and chasing

and we spent our childhoods there,

inventing games, skinning elbows, making friends, running away and running back

being boys

unable to imagine we would one day miss it all terribly,

as though it were dead,

as though it weren’t still there,

where it’s always been.

. . . → Read More: Poem: Nostalgia

A Modest Proposal For Solving Our Gun Violence Problem

a properly armed child

Guns are not the problem. People are not the problem. Young people are the problem.

They don’t listen. They play awful video game simulations of mass murder. They shoot six-year-olds.

And no amount of background checks or ammo-clip restrictions will change that. There’s only one way to solve the gun situation, one way to bring peace and civility back to our public areas while also not trampling on our inalienable American right to bear arms (as outlined with great clarity in the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America).

The maintenance of civil order in our fragile society rests on a rock solid foundation of family discipline. A child who disrespects his parents must be removed from society. Permanently. So that other children will see the importance of respecting their parents.

The only political solution left to the fundamental problems in our society . . . → Read More: A Modest Proposal For Solving Our Gun Violence Problem

A New Definition of Family

An Old-Fashioned Kind of Family

If you wish to align yourself with a mindset that no one will dispute and most will acclaim, proclaim yourself a paragon of “family values.” Earn a reputation as a “family man.” Put “family” before self. Found a right-wing Christian political bribery machine and call it “Focus on the Family.” Do whatever it is you want to do with your life, but remind everyone that whatever it is you do with your life it’s all about the family.

Repeat the word. Family. Say it clearly and often. Family.

Is there anything better? Is there any concept more sacrosanct? Ah, how we love our children and how we love our parents. They’re more important than anyone or anything in the universe.

Family: the folks we can trust and love, celebrate and forgive, rescue and remember, support and adore and abide. Family is the . . . → Read More: A New Definition of Family

Happy Birthday, Renice Konik

Renice Konik, Michael Konik's Mom

My beautiful mother, Renice Konik, turns 65 today. She’s now officially a senior citizen.

I would suggest, however, that if you didn’t have access to her government-issued identification — or a Web page trumpeting the fact — you wouldn’t guess that this vibrant, vivacious lass is eligible for Social Security (and bargain matinees). My mom continues to teach elementary school, where, far from being considered “Old Lady Konik, the Dour Ogre,” she’s lauded as the most inventive and creative pedant in the building. Her classroom, which has as many animals in it as books and inspiring epigrams, radiates the spirit of curiosity, and her students can’t be bored no matter how hard they try. There’s just too much to do and process and question. Plus, the youngsters must take care not to let their guards down. Fair and balanced be damned: Mrs. . . . → Read More: Happy Birthday, Renice Konik

My Mom


Mother’s are like dogs: Everybody thinks his is the best.

Unless we’re living in billions of parallel universes, everyone having the best mom (or dog) is impossible. So I would like to clear up any confusion surrounding this question and set the matter straight. It is I alone who have the best mom in the world.

Sorry. I’m just a lucky guy.

Now, I’m big-hearted enough to recognize the lovely and endearing qualities all the other mom’s out there possess, and I’m gladdened to know that countless sons and daughters enjoy something approaching the satisfaction I enjoy. Nothing in life matches a mother’s love and affection, her concern and care, her passion for her children. Maternal nurturing is one of the brightest forces in the known universe, and all of us fortunate enough to have a mother to guide us and protect us know the beauty . . . → Read More: My Mom

Grow, Purge, Renew


When I was a child, once a year my family would conduct what my uncle the Marxist called “the great purge.” We would cull from our closets old clothes and other unwanted stuff, and make a giant charitable donation to Goodwill Industries, a local organization aiding the developmentally disabled. There was a sense of cleansing and renewal as we stuffed worn jeans into plastic trash bags. Letting go of unneeded possessions instantly created new space, new possibilities, and soon thereafter these spaces would be claimed by fresh clothes, slightly larger than the old ones and more in tune with whatever the fashion key was at the moment.

I still try to execute a great purge once a year, though I’m finding as I grow older that the fewer clothes I have the happier I am with my closet. Where the concept of clearance-and-renewal is most compelling to . . . → Read More: Grow, Purge, Renew

To Mom and Dad: Thanks!

The omnipresent nanny

A study published this month in Pediatrics magazine suggests that toddlers who watch TV risk attention problems, including difficulty concentrating, acting restless and impulsive, and being easily confused.

This discovery won’t come as news to my parents, who raised me on a strict diet of one-hour-of-TV during the school week. At the time, of course, I resented the fascist restrictions on my youthful desires. While other kids at school were talking about The Fonz and Laverne and Shirley, I nodded dumbly and pretended I was in on the joke. And though I would beg Mom and Dad to let me vegetate in front of the glowing screen like most of my classmates, they were adamant that I would be better off reading a book, drawing a picture, or constructing an elaborate fantasy game with my brother.

In retrospect, I’m grateful for my parents’ Draconian TV regulations. I . . . → Read More: To Mom and Dad: Thanks!